Sick betta - running out of options. Please help!

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Registered Member
Nov 13, 2019
hi guys,

I’ve had a betta fish for several months now. He was rescued from bensons with bad swim bladder. He would float on top of the tank and this lasted for probably a couple of weeks and resolved with fasting and a green pea. He was living in a cycled tank - to be honest I didn’t have any strips to check he parameters but his temp was around 76-78 with a heater. He was eating and doing great then I noticed he had trouble grabbing at his food. I feed him the Wardley Betta pellets - usually 2-3 twice a day. He has some live plants and a moon stone cave in his tank. I noticed he had some nematodes in the gravel and not knowing what they were at the time, I took him out and put him in hospital tank. I noticed a bump on his chin, between the gills - not discolored or anything. He did also have some slight white fuzz on his chin. I put him in a hospital tank - heated to 78, not cycled but conditioned with aquasafe. I put some Seachem polyguard in the water. He would eat flake food but not the pallets - just couldn’t grab them even when he tried. He seems to eat better over the next couple days but his fins started to get frayed. I had to do daily water changes as he was in a gallon tank (down from his usual 3 gallon) and the one day I didn’t change the water he seems to do worse, became lethargic, and would hang out in the bottom of the tank breathing heavily. I changed the water and he was better. Still couldn’t eat the pellets but his chin fuzz went away. I would put medicine in the new water with every water change. Then he started laying sideways on things - like the cave and his leaf hammock - more and more. He would eat the flakes, swim, and then kinda lay down on his side. Eventually he couldn’t swim up at all. I put him in a cup suspended in like netting to bring him upward more so he would be able to get air and so that he was still exposed to about a gallon of he heated water. He got worse, stopped eating, and would just lay there breathing heavily. After about 5 days of him not getting better with the meds, I went to bensons and they recommended API general cure suspecting gill flukes. I had been thinking swim bladder but he fasted for probably a week at this point and pooped. I couldn’t get him to eat any peas. So I got the general cure and did that for 4 days - as directed. Repeated after 2, no water changes while dosing. Actually day 3 he was still not better so I want back to bensons and bought API erythromycin. I also had some API Pimafix around. I did hours of research and found on their site that all API meds can be used together so I added the erythromycin and the Pimafix on day 3 to cover all my bases - for antibiotic, antiparasitic, and antifungal. Day 4 I changed his water because it was getting dirty. For some test strips. All parameters are good. So now he has the 3 meds - 2nd day - and he’s still not better. He swims up sometimes but it’s hard for him. Idk what I’m treating but I’m thinking at this point do anything possible because I’m thinking he’ll die anyway - hence all the meds. I attached the pics of him. Fins are frayed but not fuzzy at the ends like they were a little bit before. You would think swim bladder or parasites would result by now. He still has the bump on his chin which I don’t think is a tumor because of the sudden onset. Any ideas??6DB1C389-3854-4AE3-AFBC-BA6EFA7433A1.jpeg34B47A10-D649-47FD-BA40-3986C851079A.jpegB4195F4D-D693-4A96-9E15-0AEBE4134A9C.jpeg


AC Members
Jan 20, 2007
Hi water changes are probably the best thing you can do for him seems like you’ve given him alot of meds. I wouldn’t dose with anymore meds. In the pics you posted I can’t see the bump you are talking about. As far as feeding I have a betta & I only feed the bettamin betta flakes once daily. 2-3 times a day is an awful lot. I hope your betta gets better soon am not totally sure but read up on it aquarium salt sometimes does the trick in helping fish heal. Good luck hope he gets better soon!


AC Members
Jul 13, 2021
I have two bettas in a 30 gallon tank. They are sick. One is swimming sideways, the other seems to just stand still. I think they have bladder disease. The main causes of this symptom can be that the betta is constipated or from overeating. Let the fish rest for three days to allow the digestive system to heal and also clean itself. Low water temperatures in the aquarium are also a cause. Low temperatures can slow down the bladder, leading to constipation. One of the reasons that bettas can develop total bladder disease is a bacterial infection. In this case, I suggest that you consult a fish specialist who can treat the fish.