Routine steps can be taken to prevent sick bettas. Keep the betta water tank clean. Do regular water changes. Feed appropriately and remove uneaten fish food. Keep proper temperature. Quarantine sick fish promptly.
Signs of illness:
The betta are gasping for air, are lethargic, lying on the bottom of tank, have limp fins, or are swimming off balance. They can show discoloration of the gills, skin or fins.
If the betta is in a community tank, isolate the sick fish to prevent infecting other fish. Even an individual fish may be transferred to a sick tank to aid in treatment. A smaller tank will ensure proper medication levels. A bubble stone will increase the oxygen level of the water. A shallow tank will allow the fish to reach the surface easily to help feeding and surface breath. Typically aquarium salts in a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water will increase the salinity to a level that the betta can tolerate but will kill the infecting organisms. Frequent water changes are needed.
Medications can be to target a suspected infecting organism. Antibiotics such as ampicillin, tetracyclin and kanamycin can be used for bacterial infections. Broad spectrum antibiotics such as Maracyn and Maracyn-Two can also be used. Bettafix, a safe, all natural botanical extract, has shown to work without medications. Antifungals such as Jungle Laboratories Fungus Clear or Pimafix can be used for fungal infections. Parasitic infections can be treated with CopperSafe or Jungle Laboratories Parasite Clear.
Gasping for air at the surface. Sign of foul water with low oxygen levels due to
ammonia. Need to move the fish to another tank and properly cycle the tank.
Red-brown streaks on the gills. Need to move to another tank and properly cycle the tank.
An internal infection causing swelling of internal organs, enlarging the body and making the scales stick out like a pine cone. It is typically a bacterial infection.
Appears as bulging eyes due to bacterial infection and swelling.
Swim bladder disorder:
Typically not an infection but due to over eating and constipation. The betta swim off balance. Proper feeding or fasting can be a preventive. Feed the betta a quarter of a thawed, skinned frozen pea. The undigestible fiber in the pea aids in digestion.
Fins and tail appear to be rotting and may parts may fall away. It is due to a mild bacterial infection. It can be caused by stress or injury. Typically easy to treat but the fins may not recover their original appearance. Treat with antibiotics.
A contagious protozoan parasitic infections. Appears as white spots on fins and body. Treat with Aquarium salts and targeted ick medications.
An algae protozoan parasitic infections. Appears as small white spots that are difficult to see. It may be golden or rust colored. There are parasitic specific medications.