THE FACE OF A KILLER Diagnosis and cures for some betta diseases.
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See the red blotch on this betta fry's forehead? It's a killer.
During the first four weeks of my second spawn, I'd only had three fish with a mild and quickly cured case of fungus and one with popeye. I thought I was home free. Then a bacterial infection hit and I lost fifteen fish in 24 hours. The picture above shows what the infection looks like.
The morning of March 26 I noticed a few of the fry had what looked like a trauma to the forehead. It seemed like something caused by swimming too fast and crashing into the filter. Bright red blood marked a roughened area. The next morning four fish were dead. By that night eleven more would die. I quickly ran to the disease guide on the Betta Talk site and diagnosed the problem as one of the deadliest illnesses a spawn can have: a bacterial infection. It is very contagious and, as I had already found out, a quick killer. I'm using tetracyclin to treat it and will update this page as to how well it works.
This occurrance highlighted three disease issues for me: (1) Because of the difficulty of photographing fry, there are few pictures of diseased fry to help betta raisers identify diseases; (2) While most betta sites recommend treatments for diseases, I have yet to find one that gives detailed information on the problems with using them and anicdotal cases how well these treatments work; (3) I have never seen a statement on how many disease outbreaks, and of which kind, a typical spawn has. This last issue is important to people like myself who are new to spawning so they know if they are having an acceptably normal series of problems or if most spawns are completely disease free, indicating that they are doing something very wrong.
NEW!!! Please see below for Tammy S.' account of curing a case of dropsy, a fatal disease that's supposed to be uncurable in bettas.
What follows is a chronicaling of my second spawn to provide an example of the type of information needed.
Basic conditions and care: I used tap water treated with 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt, 15 drops AmQuel, 15 drops NovAqua, 3 drops Aquari-Sol, 8 drops MarOxy, and 2 drops of Vitamix Plus for every 2 & 1/2 gallons. Water temperature is maintained at 79-82 degrees. I feed the fry vinegar eels and baby brine shrimp. I thoroughly siphon the bottom of the tank every third day and replace 95 percent of the water. My biggest failing is a tendency to overfeed.
Fugus outbreak: The fry were two weeks old when I noticed pin-point white spots on the tails of three of them. I diagnosed (guessed) it was fungus and treated it with Aquarium Products Anti-Fungus treatment. Within 48 hours all signs of the spots were gone leaving only small holes on the edges of the fins where they were. One week later the fins had grown back. The fungus never returned. The instructions on the bottle failed to say how long to use the product and the medicine turned the aquarium sealer in the tank blue.