Common Name: Wounds & Physical Injury
Scientific Name: boo boos (kidding)
Description: wounds caused by physical interaction, not bacterial, viral or parasitic
Symptoms: cuts, abrasions, open soars, missing scales, ripped fins
Cause: sharp objects, aggressive fish, filter intake, jumping the tank, etc.
Medications: clean water, BettaFix, MelaFix
Ingredients: Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil)
Notes: Secondary infections, like bacteria, can infect wounds and create further complications.
In cases of physical damage and open wounds due to an injury or fish attack, begin treatment with good clean water. Increase water changes by a fair amount. It’s recommended every other day or so until the wounds begin closing and the fins are well on their way to being regrown. A water conditioner that enhances slime coat may help with healing too like Stress Coat or NovAqua (used in conjunction with AmQuel). There is a product called BettaFix that claims to fix all sorts of ailments and while it may not be the cure-all the company claims, the one thing it is quite good at is keeping wounds clean and speeding up the healing process. The active ingredient is 0.2% Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil) and it’s a natural antiseptic. Melafix is another popular treatment and is essentially the exact same thing in a stronger concentration (1.0%). In rare cases anabantoids (like Bettas) will have a negative reaction to the Melaleuca so it’s recommended to dilute Melafix by at least half.
Clean water and one of the above-mentioned antiseptics are the best treatment while waiting for the Betta’s own immune system to take over. Continue to monitor the fish daily for infection keeping a close eye out for symptoms including:
- blackened or bloody fin tips
- pieces of fin falling off
- ragged and torn fin tips
- unnatural redness in the body or red streaks.
- fuzzy patches or fibrous strings on the body, mouth or fins
- open sores that grow or spread or turn color (yellow, gray, red, black)
- secondary infections like Popeye, Velvet or Ich
If signs of infection are observed consider treating with an antibiotic. Most of the symptoms above indicate a bacterial disease. Velvet and Ich are parasites and tend to infect stressed fish with a weakened immune system. If signs of an infestation are present then an antiparasitic medication will be necessary. In the mean time though, keep the water clean, warm and stable.