TOPIC: untreated tap water and sick betta

Q: My adopted fish has velvet and fin rot.  I bought him a new tank and treated the water with aquarium salt, stresszyme, aquarisol and chlorine remover (he was living in unchanged tap water) and he seems happier but not healthier.  What do I do to save my fish?

above question submitted by Eden, Irvine - California

Hello guys! The column is back! 

Let us roll up our sleeves and tackle  Eden's question. This questions brings to mind quite a few betta related topics which I feel necessary to (once again) address.


I said it a zillion times, I will say it again: It is a lot easier, cheaper and more effective to prevent a betta from getting sick, then to healing one that has fallen pray to sickness. Prevention is easy, what would it take you ask?

  • be informed. Do your homework, make sure you know what your betta's needs are. the only investment here is one of time, for it will cost you NOTHING to find all this vital info on this site!! If you do not know what a betta really needs (the minimum required to keep him alive and well), then you are likely to make mistakes, so of which will be costly.

  • be prepared. make sure you have everything you need to keep your betta healthy and happy. This includes a decent large jar or small tank set-up, decent food, basic betta meds and most of all DECENT WATER

  • select the proper supplies. water conditioners are not all created equal. There is a reason why I recommend Amquel and Novaqua. Some cheaper brands may claim to neutralize chlorine, but they may leave a lot of harmful other components in the water, including ammonia, heavy metals etc... Only go with the best (or deal with the consequences). See my water page and water conditioners page to learn more.


I don't think I would be wrong if I claimed that of all ornamental fish, bettas are the ones that get most abused. And if you are not going to agree with me up front, let me swiftly make you change your mind by bringing up the following points:

  • betta are inexpensive. At least the basic mutts you find at pet stores, which are mass produced in the far East, are. One can get a betta for about $4.50 out the door. Hence anyone can buy one on the spot without giving it much thought or preparation. People will also not fuss around much on a $5 fish, while they are more likely to pamper a $40 one.

  • bettas have little requirements. Almost ALL ornamental fish will require a filtration system, larger tank and air pump (in short a more elaborate, more costly set-up). Bettas don't, get a cup, a bit of water and voila! (or so stores claim).

  • bettas are well equipped for adverse conditions. Name one other fish that can really do OK in a cup of water? Even a goldfish will perish after a while for it will surely run out of oxygen in the end.

Because of all above, bettas get purchased by anyone, oftentimes on a whim, and the new betta owner leaves the store with a cheap pet, too small of a jar, no information, no clue as to how to properly care for the fish, the wrong food and oftentimes the wrong water conditioners. Or sometimes, as in above case, no water conditioners at all. 

Although bettas are equipped to adapt to adverse conditions (such as small body of water, with low oxygen content), they are not immortal and very quickly, if the water is not kept clean or not treated properly to make it betta safe, the bettas will succumb to many ailments: Fin rot, pop eye, body rot are but a few. Death will follow. :(((((((

Now to answer your question directly. Here is what you need to do:

  • Read this site, especially the part about : "betta care"

  • read the water page and buy the proper conditioners: Amquel and Novaqua.

  • keep the water very clean

  • since you have to now battle diseases and battle them on 2 fronts (parasite infection and bacterial infection) I would suggest using Maracide (30 drops per gallon) and Maracyn II together. One will hit the velvet while the other will hopefully hit the bacteria that caused the fin rot. 

  • I recommend also liquid vitamins for your fish for his organism will need the extra boost.

Live an learn and best of luck with your fish!

Enjoying this column and all the free info? Please consider donating something to help me with the high costs of keeping this website going and the ever so huge storage space and bandwidth needed to store/provide all the data, photos, videos and especially livecam this site offers you, free of any membership or subscription fees. 
Thank you! 

support this website!