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Fish/mysterious betta sickness


A while back, a got a female betta sorority. All the other girls have been fine, but soon after i got them, i noticed one would stay hidden in the shadows and usually had clamped fins and pale colour. But she would come out to eat and had no other physical symptoms. I hoped she would get better by keeping up very good water conditions.
But when she stopped eating and i found her stuck to the filter intake on day, i took her out and started treating her with furan, which i've heard and read is very gentle and a very wide-range healer.
Now, this is shocking, but it has been well over a month since then, maybe two. She has still not eaten! She has darkened to an unnatural dark brown colour, and her tail is so clamped it's a small point like a needle. She floats at the top, sometimes on her side, and can't seem to swim down. Her swim bladder is not bloated. She's very lethargic and just lays there among fake plants all day and night and doesn't move except to breath from the surface. I've added a parasite cure and recently sulfa antibiotics (all 3 meds can be used together) and change the water every couple of days. There is no change, but a few days ago, she started breathing faster, her gills going in and out.
I feel so bad that she's lived this long! I thought she would've either gotten better or else died by now! I've thought about euthanising her, but if she's lasted this long, wouldn't it mean she could get better?
There is no other external symptoms that i can see.
What else can i do?
Please help me help her. I feel so bad for the little girl!

Hi Joleen,
 Unfortunately you have already tried everything I would have suggested so I really don't have anything new for you to try. Sorry.  

-- Ron C.
  Cichlid Research Home Page <>


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Ron Coleman


I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.


I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

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