Q: KG wrote,
I was wondering if you could help me. You have a beautiful Betta blog and I was wondering if I could ask for your opinion regarding the course of treatment for my Betta. I have had this fish for approximately 9 months and bought him at a local pet store. He has been healthy until now. About 5 days ago he came down with what appeared to be fungus. It seems to slough off his body. For two days I used BettaFix but it didn’t seem to work so I purchased some MarOxy and began using it two days ago thinking it was true fungus. Today he did not look any better and I bought some Maracyn and aquarium salt. I now am using a combination of MarOxy and Maracyn and the salt (1/2 of teaspoon). The fish is in a 1 gallon tank. I changed the water two days ago completely. I usually do a full waster change every 5-6 days. I believe he got sick because there was a problem with my heat and the temperature dropped to 65 for two days. He is an unheated tank but my apartment is at a pretty steady 73-75 degrees in the winter and he seemed to be thriving. His color is still very good and he is active and even flaring. He is eating normally. Am I doing all that I can for him? Should I get stronger medicine? The store doesn’t have Bettamax but does have tetracycline. When should he get better? He has these white tufts at the end of his tail and dorsal fin which look as if he snagged some cotton. He also has some growth on his head especially around his gills and mouth.
I hope that you could give me some advice.
A: I’m sorry to hear your betta is under the weather. True fungus is pretty
uncommon with bettas and usually occurs on dead or dying tissue. Not
knowing exactly what your “fungus” looks like I have to guess that it
could be something more common like a bacterial infection. Something
like Flavobacterium columnare appears as a white, grey or brownish
fuzziness that often grows around the mouth and gills or along the top
of the back like a saddle. It can really appear anywhere but those are
the areas most commonly infected. Sometimes it looks short and tufty and
other times it comes in long wispy strings. Most people assume it is a
fungus but it’s actually a gram-negative bacterial infection and is
often treated successfully with Mardel’s Maracyn-Two. Since you haven’t
seen any improvement with MarOxy I would discontinue use. Regular
Maracyn treats gram-positive bacterial infections and is commonly used
in conjunction with Maracyn-Two since the great majority of infections
are gram-negative. It might be a good idea to try the two in combination
on your betta. Continue to keep the water clean, the fish’s water
temperature warm and stable and monitor him daily. Since Maracyn and
Maracyn-Two are antibiotics you should be sure to finish the entire
recommended course to avoid any antibiotic resistance. The addition of
an airstone can make your Betta more comfortable since antibiotics have
a tendency to strip oxygen from the water making it more difficult for
them to breathe.
I can’t say with total certainty that your betta has Flavobacterium
columnare but here’s a link to more information to help you make a
Good luck and I will be thinking of you and your Betta.