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Old 05-29-2020, 05:00 AM   #1
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Visible skin damage on Betta

Hello friends,

I started to notice some weird looking spots on my Betta. I researched it as much as I can but couldn't put it in to a certain category. These spots are on one side of the fish. I will leave some pictures below. If anyone experienced something like this, I'm open to all suggestions.

These are the images I could took.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:53 PM   #2
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He has clamped fins, too, he doesn't look very happy...the white spots look a little bit like a Columnaris infection - have you looked into that? Or possibly some kind of fungal infection. How long has he been like this? Also, what are the ammonia/nitrite levels in the tank? Is the tank heated and filtered? With sick fish the most important thing to do is keep the water squeaky clean. That means regular water changes, proper filtration and avoiding overfeeding. You might want to buy some antibacterial or antifungal medicine or an immunity-boosting conditioner, there's lots of products available on the market; some can be used as a dip in a separate container, others can be added directly to the aquarium. If you choose to use one, make sure to read & follow the instructions carefully. I recommend adding some Indian Almond Leaves to the tank - they have mild anti-bacterial properties, lower the pH and help to reduce stress in bettas.

Keep the tank clean and heated, if necessary - medicate, and he should recover.
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:47 AM   #3
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Hello,

Thank you so much for the detailed answer. I'm a new fishkeeper. I've done my quite share of research and I keep doing it. Unfortunately there are too many things and I'm sure I'm not keeping up with everything.

I've set up a 70l (20gal) tank with a filter and a heater. I've connected the heater to a seperate circuit so it can control the water withing 0.3 degrees resolution. So the temperature is set at 26C and only drops to 25.7 before the heater kicks in. I'm gonna assume the heat is stabile.

For the water, I've unfortunately only cycled for 2 weeks without a fish and with some fish food. Then I've added a betta. This decision was supported by the pet shop owner but now I see it's not the correct way. I've read the popular tutorial about fishless cycling afterwards. I think I'm cycling with a fish right now. But it's only one fish. I measure the parameters the best I can and change some water every day. On weekends I do %50 change. I'm also measuring the water parameters and they are actually looking good.

I've had issues with overfeeding last week. New food came in. I didn't realize they exfoliate in the water. And accidentally overfed my beta. Then I did a 2 day fasting and a little pea feeding. Probably reduced my fish's immune system.

Now that I checked Columnaris infection, that might be it. It's not like mold it's just flaky scales. The symptoms kinda check out. Do you think misdiagnosing and dosing the fish with medication can be dangerous? Also they suggest lowering the temperature down to 23 degrees before treatment. Should you suggest that ? I will do it in 0.5 decrements.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:50 AM   #4
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Do you think misdiagnosing and dosing the fish with medication can be dangerous? Also they suggest lowering the temperature down to 23 degrees before treatment. Should you suggest that ? I will do it in 0.5 decrements.
Using the wrong medication could be unnecessarily stressful to the fish and potentially make things worse (especially if it's strong stuff and/or you overdose) - but if you're not sure what kind of infection it is there are more broad-spectrum products that you can use. You'll have to look around online or in your lfs as I don't know what's available in your area. Aside from more targeted medication, aquarium salt and Indian Almond Leaves are helpful natural ways to reduce stress & improve physical condition and shouldn't interfere with the cycle or interact with other medications (salt may damage live plants though, and it's dangerous to catfish - keep in mind if you have any). If it's columnaris then yes, it's probably a good idea to lower the temperature to slow it down - but not too quickly or you'll shock the fish. I've never dealt with it personally so I can't be of much use beyond some generic internet-based advice - sorry

An uncycled tank will make both treatment and recovery more difficult, but I suppose there isn't anything you can do about that now (unless you have another tank to move him into, or borrow media from) - keep testing the water, you're aiming for consistent readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and traces of nitrates (<20). Add some starter bacteria to the tank if you haven't already - might help speed up the process.
And never blindly trust pet shop workers XD There are some that know their stuff, but unfortunately many are clueless and/or just want to make a quick sale. Take what they say with a pinch of salt. It's always better to do your own research.
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:30 AM   #5
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I completely agree with you. I didn't trust myself enough to make decisions but it got me here. I'm doing the cruel treatment now.

But for the past few days, I've been doing aggressive daily %50 water changes and the scar like structure on my fish is getting better. It was like an open wound now it's just like an old scar with a mark.

I will first try the salt and almond leaves while lowering the temperature to 23 slowly. I'm living in the Netherlands and like you said the medicine's you've recommended are not being sold here. But you've mentioned the active material of the medicines. I should be able to find one with the same dosage.

He is living alone in a 70l tank right now. So it's kinda like a quarantine tank.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:33 PM   #6
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I've ordered the leaf and the salt. Waiting on that.

But today I came from work and my betta has a clear white spot on his head. The photographs I shared here was his left side. They are getting better by the day. But now, this happened in the time from yesterday night to this evening, his right side is suffering from some damage. I was able to get a highly magnified clear shot and it kinda looks like some scales were dropped.

Also I noticed some damage on his tail. I'm wondering if he is inflicting some kind of self-damage ? Is it possible for stressed fish?

Here are all the current photographs showing his on-going condition.


I also added a photo showing his left side is getting better.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:44 AM   #7
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Also I noticed some damage on his tail. I'm wondering if he is inflicting some kind of self-damage ? Is it possible for stressed fish?
Yes, it's possible. Some bettas bite their own tails out of boredom or stress, and it could be a gateway for other infections. But he could also have torn it on some decor, or the damage could be because of fin rot. It looks like your betta's fins are also kind of stiff/bunched up, which might be due to poor water quality or too high pH...not quite sure though. (I've dealt with a similar problem before and I managed to cure it with water changes and daily dips in salt and Tropical Healthosan - not sure if it's available in NL). And - I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the last picture kind of looks like hole in the head disease (Hexamita). I'm not 100% sure, but it looks a bit weird, like someone stuck pins into his face (or acne scars if you will), which is usually a telltale sign. It doesn't look 100% healthy. He's definitely dealing with some kind of bacterial infestation (possibly more than one), it's good that you ordered the salt but I'm afraid it might not be enough. Some more targeted medication is probably necessary. You'd have to ask in your local pet store, or try online - here's one of many sites that operate from the Netherlands and offers a varied selection of water treatments and medications: https://www.aquastorexl.nl/aquarium/medicijnen/ From what I understand the eSHA 2000 is an example of a broad-spectrum medication that you can use if you're not sure of the diagnosis. But you can browse, read about the different products and choose one you think will be most appropriate. There are other sites as well, if you don't like this one.

I'm 99% sure that most of his problems are because of water quality. It's good that he's by himself in a big tank, that will definitely help. Does he have any other symptoms besides skin damage, like loss of appetite, lethargy, trouble swimming or rubbing against objects in the tank?
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:55 AM   #8
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Also, you might find this helpful: https://www.koi-bettas.com/diseases.html
Apparently, according to this site it might be a better idea to do the salt bath in a separate container rather than adding it directly to the tank, as prolonged exposure might be bad for the fish.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:30 AM   #9
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Does he have any other symptoms besides skin damage, like loss of appetite, lethargy, trouble swimming or rubbing against objects in the tank?
I think my problem was the test kit. I was measuring about 7.2 PH (with a test strip). I thought the PH was stable so I was not testing it when I was doing my daily water check (with a proper water testing kit). Today I brought some water to my workplace to check the ph with a calibrated ph meter and it's 8.5. I hate to say it but probably I was causing all that pain to the fish due to my laziness.

He goes crazy when he sees me outside of the aquarium. But not in a nice way. So chaotic. Also for the past few days, he is constantly rubbing against the glass or going into the filters output stream that throws him across the aquarium. That resembles an ichy skin. Also I'm thinking he may have bumped his head in to a decor or a rock. Because it kinda looks like some of the scales were removed.

People recommend not dosing your main tank. I don't have a quarantine tank. But I will figure something out.

Thanks for the website recommendations. I've used aquastorexl before. My local pet shop owners are a no-no. So I order everything from online. That medication you recommended, Esha 2000, looks spot on for the problems I have. I will order it right away.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:11 PM   #10
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For future reference, test strips are notoriously inaccurate. Liquid test kits are much better

For very short dips (a few minutes/hours), and depending on the type and concentration of the medication, you don't necessarily need a quarantine tank, you can use a Tupperware container or a regular glass/plastic box (e.g. like the ones used for storing food) - just make sure the material is non-toxic and that you know the volume, that way it will be easier to adjust the dosage. And ideally use water from the aquarium, as it will be less likely to cause shock/stress.
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Old 06-13-2020, 05:18 AM   #11
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This is an update post.

Thanks to Enchantress' suggestion. I bought the medicine, almond leaves and aquarium salt.

I started treating with the medicine for 3 days according to the instructions. After that I did a %50 water change and added the leaves and the salt.

His infection is healed. His scales and skin are looking more vibrant and healthier. Finally he is not clamping his fins. At least not when he is swimming. I think that is normal.

I'm still carefully watching every day. I changed his diet. Bought 2 different food and been cycling between them every day. Also every 3 day, I've started feeding frozen blood worms. He is looking really happy at the moment and I'm doing my best to keep everything stable.

He has lost a good portion of his fin and tails due to fin rot and my lack of knowledge but we are making a new start here. Hopefully he will recover and regenerate some of his fins.
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Old 06-13-2020, 05:42 AM   #12
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So glad to hear he's doing better! Don't worry, the fins will grow back. Good luck with the recovery, and do keep us posted
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Old 06-15-2020, 08:36 AM   #13
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I'm back with an update.

Now that everything became so peaceful in the aquarium, I decided it's time to populate the aquarium. I bought 6 gold danios and 3 corys. Water is stable, new guys are happy and adapting but my betta is stressed again. I bought several big plants and improved overall aquascape for fishes to have hiding spots, reduced flow on the top etc.

This, I said is fine. Complete new environment for the Betta. He will adapt. But I'm seeing signs of fin rot again. Maybe my treatment didn't fully healed him?

I have added photos below. They are taken with an extra light shined on the fish so they look more brutal then what it looks like in the tank.

Please check his dorsal fin. It is reduced to a string and now there are red/white patches on it. Should I medicate the water again? This time, I have 9 more fishes inside.

This is a small video of him that clearly shows all fins
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:58 PM   #14
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You shouldn't have added any more fish until the betta was fully healed, as now it will be more difficult to medicate, and it caused him additional stress which is not ideal when he's in recovery...He's definitely not 100% healthy yet, the fins are shredded and stiff. The fin rot could unfortunately come back. You may have to medicate again, but for the time being I suggest observing him and making sure the water is clean. If it gets any worse, medicate. Btw, what's your pH level?

Also, these aren't golden danios. They look more like albino white cloud minnows, which are cold water fish (temperature shouldn't be higher than 22 degrees), and as such are not compatible with bettas...if you can, you should return or rehome them. And I'm not sure what kind of substrate you have, but it looks like gravel, and that's not suitable for catfish - they can hurt their mouths and bellies against it.
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Old 06-16-2020, 04:46 AM   #15
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Also, these aren't golden danios.
Unfortunately you are right. I went to the pet shop with the idea of buying 6 ember tetras and some corydoras. They didn't have ember tetras but the staff recommended me these golden danios. They are called chinese danios too. They told me it is perfectly fine to put them together with a betta. One guy even told me he had them together in his house before. So I accepted blindly. Yesterday I was searching the origins of the fish and came to the same conclusion. They are called White Cloud Mountain minnow and they are not tropical. I will surely return them. As for the corydoras, it is extremely hard to change the substrate. I checked all the water conditions so they match. But I didn't know about the substrate limitations. I will figure a way out for them.

The PH of my water is around 7.1. I'm trying to keep it extremely clean and healthy. I will keep watching them. Betta is feeling more comfortable now. I've seen him releasing his fins at certain spots that he accepts as safe places.

I'm mostly paying for my lack of knowledge continously. I'm constantly researching and learning so I keep them healthy and happy but there is so much to know. Adding more fish was definitely not the right idea but it happened.

I'm keeping the water at 25.5 C all the time and the new fish seems to not mind it. They are super playful and excited. But I will not feel comfortable knowing this is not the right environment for them. So I will return them this week.

This is a short clip of the Betta, I captured yesterday. The dorsal fin broke apart apparently. It is much shorter now. And the broken part was the unhealthy part. I want to assume this is better.
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:56 PM   #16
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Yet another reason why you do not blindly trust pet shop workers Anyway, it's good that you are returning the minnows, as for the cories - if you can't change all of the substrate then you can add a layer of sand, or a smoother substrate on top of the one you currently have so that they aren't in direct contact with the gravel. Or just remove and replace part of it, it's better than nothing. You can create an area of the tank that has only sand, as a sort of "play area" for the cories. They enjoy digging and playing around in sand, they are typical bottom dwellers. Smooth and rounded gravel could theoretically be OK, but they are definitely happiest when kept on sand.
Don't worry about the betta's fin - even if part of it fell off, it should regrow in time. The fins don't look infected, there isn't anything growing on them or any visible soreness, and that's a good thing. They just look kind of stiff and torn. I don't think he has active fin rot right now. Maybe try looking into fin melt – he seems to be showing some symptoms of it (the fins have a bit of a “melted plastic” appearance). Try showing him a mirror, see if he is able to flare. If not, then I think I had a similar problem with my betta a while back, his fins were very stiff, clamped and had holes in them (and he was unable to flare), and to this day I'm not sure what caused it (probably water quality + some kind of bacterial infection). I cured him with daily dips (in a separate container), first in salt (for a few minutes), and then in this product: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tropical-He.../dp/B019J5GTVK (for several hours at a time) - I did it every day for I think close to a month (+ regular water changes and a constant supply of almond leaves), and in the end the problem went away. If you’re curious, I've got some before and after videos of him:
(before)
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:19 AM   #17
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That is an amazing transformation. I will definitely look into it. My boy needs some special treatment too.

I swear, every day, before I can act on your advices, there is a new problem. Today I woke up to my betta having a fungus infection, I think. The part of the dorsal fin that fell off is infected in my opinion.

The medicine I have, Esha 2000, looks to be a fix for it too. But I would love to have your opinion on that too. And also, would it be ok to dose the tank with healthy fish inside? According to this manual it should be fine. But I'm having a problem trusting blindly any more

Little video as always.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:48 PM   #18
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Today I woke up to my betta having a fungus infection, I think. The part of the dorsal fin that fell off is infected in my opinion.

The medicine I have, Esha 2000, looks to be a fix for it too. But I would love to have your opinion on that too. And also, would it be ok to dose the tank with healthy fish inside? According to this manual it should be fine. But I'm having a problem trusting blindly any more

Little video as always.
Yeah, that fin definitely has some kind of fungus growing on it. I've personally never used the Esha2000, but from what I read it should help with that too, as it acts on a wide variety of pathogens. Dosing healthy fish is not ideal, but Esha2000 seems to be quite mild and safe (even for cories), so I wouldn't worry too much. Might be a good idea to keep a close eye on the other fish while you're using it - just in case - but imho it shouldn't cause any harm.
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