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Fishy Triage

It’s been a hectic week in the aquarium side of life! One of my fish up and died out of the blue, which is usually a sign of something being wrong, especially a relatively young fish like Thing One.

So, I pulled out my handy water testing kit and found that my nitrates were painfully high. Of all the things that can be wrong in a tank, that one is relatively “minor”, but still a problem. I’ve been doing partial water changes every few days for far too long now, and it’s still a fighting battle.

I had set up a 1.5 gallon tank in my office, for a new desk fish and put a betta in there. Only, after I did that, I realized that the betta in the community tank was very ill. He stopped eating, spent all his time in hiding, and was turning funny colors. So I fished him out (which was harder than I expected, clearly he wasn’t too sick to run away!), fished Desk Fish out of the small aquarium, put him in the community tank, and the sick betta in the small tank. Let me tell you how much easier it is to medicate 1.5 gallons versus 20!

So I spent 4 days medicating Sam in the little tank. Poor thing had something awful, he had this giant sore on his side! I can only hope that it looked worse than it felt, cause I feel soooo bad for this fish :(

Bettas are kind of hard to diagnose, as both a fungus and a bacteria can cause all his symptoms, so I went for a shotgun approach and medicated with a blend of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-something else medicine, as well as some anti-stress and fin repairing medicine. That caused a new problem of mega stinky water, but daily water changes kept it tolerable.

Days later, the nitrates are in a better place and my betta is eating and back to his normal color again. The sore on his side is almost healed all the way, too! Here’s hoping that everything will be good in a few days so I can put him back in the big tank, he seems lonely now! He’s in a smaller container for easier final medicating, and Desk Fish is back on my desk (after cleaning the quarantine tank, of course).


  1. Nancy J Cooley
    Nancy J Cooley Feb 28, 2011

    Kaite, You’ll make a good mother!
    Signed by:
    Your Grandmother

  2. Aimée
    Aimée Feb 28, 2011

    Yay betta bettas! I’m pretty sure I had that exact same tiki man in my little fish bowl when I had a goldfish (may Eduardo RIP!)

  3. Layne
    Layne Mar 16, 2011

    Heya, how ya been?! I thought betas were mean and beat up all the other fish, at least the ones they don’t eat.

    • katili
      katili Mar 16, 2011

      Bettas are often misunderstood! They’re actually very good community tank fish, they just need to be with docile fish that are not tiny and don’t have long fins. They’re also only “semi-aggressive”, and other aggressive fish are more likely to pick on the betta than vice-versa.

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