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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have had my male betta for about nine months since acquiring him from the centerpiece at a friend's wedding. He has been flourishing until recently. My air conditioning broke a couple weeks ago, and the tank temp shot up to 85 before I was able to get my AC repaired. I turned off the timer that the tank light was on, thinking it would help keep the tank temp down, but that combined with the high temp may have been the cause of this disaster. (Tank gets some ambient light but not direct.)

The very next day, when I woke in the morning my poor fish had popeye. First sign anything at all was wrong in the tank. I immediately treated with a dose of Mardel Maracyn-Two that I had left over and went to the store to get more. However, all they had was API products, so I got Triple Sulfa and began treating with that the next day. I put in a packet two days in a row, then did a 25% water change with tap water treated with Top Fin betta water conditioner (I usually use distilled water but didn't make it to the store to get some). I then put in a packet two more days in a row and did another 25% water change with treated tap water, completing the treatment it says to do on the box. I had removed my activated carbon from the HOB filter and returned it after doing the final water change, as well as returned the mystery snail I had removed because I was not sure if Triple Sulfa is safe for invertebrates.

By that time the popeye had cleared up, but the betta had become listless and was sitting at the bottom of the tank the vast majority of the time. He also began breathing more heavily than he normally does. I started a second round of treatment with the Triple Sulfa, but it soon became apparent to me it wasn't doing any good, so I stopped. He also began losing his blue color completely and was mostly white by Wednesday, which is when I first noticed a red spot, as if he were bleeding internally, on his side. By the time I got home from work Wednesday, he was dead. I fished him out. The mystery snail still cruises around like always.

Well, here's the kicker - this morning I noticed, on the glass about a half-inch from where my snail was at the time, an extremely small white creature. It was shaped like a grain of rice but MUCH smaller - had it been any smaller, it would have been invisible to the naked eye. I stuck my hand in the tank, pressed him against the glass and pulled my finger out, but there's no way to tell if I got him out or even killed him.

Here's my questions - I would like to restock, potentially with something other than a betta, but I don't want the new fish to catch what the old betta had. Will it be gone? Was that thing I saw a parasite? Do those parasites feed on invertebrates, and if not, will it die soon without a fish to host on? I don't want the new fish to get the old parasites.

1. Size of tank? 10 gallons

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? Slightly over zero - I'm not too good with telling the color matches. Didn't test the rest of these during this latest episode but in the past they have all been fine.
b. Nitrite?
c. Nitrate?
d. pH, KH and GH?
e. Test kit? API Master Liquid.

3. Temperature? 79 now, 85 when this started

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? 10 months

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? One male betta 10 months, normal size, one smallish mystery snail been there for two months.

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? N/A

8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants? No live plants, one fake silk plant that has been there for about eight months.
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? Gravel
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? Fake rock, fake bridge, both have been there since the tank was set up

9. a. Filtration? Top Fin 10 HOB
b. Heater? Yes

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? Lights on 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? Indirectly, yes, probably from about 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. or so. I'm not there during the day so I'm not sure exactly.

11. a. Water change schedule? Every month
b. Volume of water changed? 25%
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? Usually distilled water, tap water during this latest treatment as described above.
d. Water conditioner used? Top Fin betta water conditioner
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? With every water change.

12. Foods? Aqueon betta pellets. Have tried various other things but he rejected them.
How often are they fed? Once daily.

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? Described above
b. Appearance of poop? Normal.
c. Appearance of gills? Fine until last couple days of illness - then inflamed.

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis?
b. What meds were used? Described above.

15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary. - No photos taken.

398 Posts
Popeye is a bacterial infection. Distilled water is not suitable for fish or snails. Must be remineralized (more for hard water fish or less for soft water fish). I don't believe that was a parasite. It's highly unlikely that it was the only one. Keep un eye on the tank, you'll find more, especially now that betta is gone. You'll be surprised what else you see in a fish tank. Use a magnifying glass or a microscope. Better yet, don't look if you think that what you see will freak you out.

4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update: I saw at least three more of the rice-looking things this morning. Very disturbing. I tried to get them like the other one but don't know if I actually killed them or got them out. He always seemed to like the distilled water better and the water stayed clearer, so that's why I was using that despite reading things on this forum that said it's not good. I just don't trust tap water, frankly.
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