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Sick Betta: What does a healthy betta's poop look like?


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#1 Plakadian

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 09:55 AM

My betta is acting as normal as ever; however, a few days ago I noticed a white, fuzzy-ish spot at the base of one of his fins. Then a little over a day ago, I noticed that whitish spots were appearing on his mouth. I placed him in hospital tank and began treating him with erythromycin pills. Today I noticed that the water in this hospital tank is full of floating pieces of thin, stringy translucent film. Is this bacterial growth or the result of using the medication in a small, unfiltered tank? There may have also been traces of melafix and pimafix in the water, as I had initially been using those in his bigger tank (I thought he might have just torn himself).

Also of concern to me is my betta's poop. I honestly never even noticed his poop before moving him out of his big tank, so I don't know what a healthy betta's poop should look like. Now I'm seeing his poop lying at the bottom of the hospital tank, and it looks strange to me. It looks like a large ball that spirals into a thin tail. I'm used to seeing fish poop that looks more like a thin string, like the tail end of my betta's. The larger, ball-like end is a darker gray color as well, and the tail end is much lighter and almost pinkish.

Anyway, after treating him with erythromycin for a couple days, he still acts like he's fine, and it could be my imagination, but it seems like the whitish spot at the base of his fin is fading. The spots on his mouth are less apparent (this could also be the result of placing him in a tank with no lighting), but one of them appears to have turned red.

Also, I've added a small air pump and some aquarium salt to his hospital tank.

Any suggestions?

#2 Eudie

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:01 AM

Okay, your poo sounds pretty normal. I have several who do the kind of clumpy ball with a tail thing. Usually they are brown, but with meds in the tank, or due to what you feed him the color could be grayish. The things to watch out for are long stringy poos that look white and sometimes they look like they have lumps in the stringy part.

Next, I don't ever use melafix on my bettas. It is tea tree oil and doesn't help with anything other than coating the bettas scales and gills and causing problems with breathing in too large a dose, as well as burning fins. It's far better for Koi and pond fish than for tropicals. I believe pimafix is made by the same company to be used in conjunction with melafix. I know a lot of people will tell you to use it and what good luck they've had with it. Since it isn't a medication I find that hard to believe, but I know that if you use it full strength on a betta it will burn it's fins. I never use it.

As far as the fungus on the tail and mouth go, it is hard to say without seeing it. Sometimes columnaris starts with fungus around the mouth and tail area, but it usually also shows a pale area on the back of the fish similar in shape to a saddle. RandomWiktor has an excellent article pinned at the top of this section on columnaris and it's treatment.

If you don't see the saddle markings it could be body fungus which usually clears up pretty quickly with a dose of Jungle Fungus Clear available at most pet stores. There are several good products out there, I just prefer that one, but most will work.

The filmy stuff in your water could be caused by the melafix or even by your dechlorinator. The airstone should clear it up. And good for you to put an airstone in. Meds will deplete the oxygen in the water and stress the fish without one. The aquarium salt will help gill function and help prevent secondary problems like ich and velvet which will attack stressed fish, so you're doing good there.

What is the temperature in the tank? It is very important to keep them at a constant temperature. Usually anywhere from 76 to 82 degrees normally, but you will need to adjust it for treatments of some illnesses. Some need to be treated at high temps and some at cooler ones depending on the problem.

#3 Plakadian

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 02:04 PM

What a relief! I thought the poop was a really bad sign. Good to know it's normal, thanks!

The water temperature in the hospital tank is slightly above 76 degrees. I'm starting to doubt that it's columnaris affecting my betta, so I'm going with body fungus. I'm gonna go pick up some Jungle Fungus Clear in a minute.

I have stopped using melafix and pimafix, and now that I know they can be harmful to bettas, I won't be using them at all anymore! I guess I'll just donate the nearly-full bottles to the local pet store or something.




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