Betta First-Aid Kit

If you are new to keeping Bettas, it is smart to have certain items and medications at your disposal to help combat frequent Betta diseases. Here is a brief overview of a couple frequently-used items and medications carried by experienced Betta enthusiasts.

Hospital Tank: Having a separate tank as a “hospital tank” will help isolate your fish so their fish friends can’t catch their disease. Some medications also kill the biological filter of cycled aquariums, so a separate tank is helpful. Another great benefit of Hospital tanks is that it makes dosing of medications a lot easier. Some people like to use 1 gallon containers as a hospital tank and some like using 2.5 gallon containers.

Aquarium Heater: Increasing the temperature in your hospital tank can help accelerate the life cycle of parasites, thus making it faster to kill them. In conjunction with other medications, heat your tank to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit for common parasites such as Ich and Velvet.

Water conditioner: Removes chlorine, chloramines, and other harmful/poisonous elements found in tap water. It is not recommended to use de-ionized water because there are some helpful elements found in tap water. Some conditioners contain aloe or other additives to help reduce stress and restore the natural slime coat found on fish. Water conditioners should be used regardless if your Betta is healthy or sick.

Aquarium Salt (or Rock Salt): Salt helps prevent parasitic diseases such as Ich and Velvet. Salt also encourages regeneration of fins after fin rot. You can also use a salt bath in fungal infections as it helps dehydrate and kill Fungus. Many enthusiasts add 1 tsp. of salt per gallon of their Betta’s water at all times as a preventive measure.

Epsom Salt (Found in the Laxative section of your local Drug Store): Helps treat Betta Constipation. Dissolve 1 Tbsp. of Epsom salt per gallon of water. Let your Betta soak in his Epsom Salt bath for 15-20 minutes. Then return your Betta to their normal home. This can repeated about twice a day.

Melafix: Contains Melaleuca oils and are good for promoting the regeneration of fins after fin rot. Do not use this to treat Fin Rot because it does not kill bacteria. It is most effective when used after the fin rot bacteria is killed. Add 1 tsp. per 10 gallons or about 12-14 drops per gallon of water.

Jungle Fungus Clear (Blue Tablet) or Jungle Fungus Eliminator (Yellow crystals in a bottle.): Both medications are antibiotics, have the same active ingredients, and treat the same diseases. Contrary to what the package say for JFC and JFE, they do not treat Fungus. Instead, these work well as for minor bacterial infections such as Fin Rot and Columnaris (sometimes mistaken for fungus). Add 1 tablet of JFC per 10 gallons of water. Add 1 tsp. of JFE for 5 gallons or add ¼ tsp. per gallon of water.

Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics: There are two types of bacteria that cause illnesses in Bettas. Some antibiotics, such as Marycyn I or Marycyn II, each target only one type of bacteria. If you decide to use Marycyn, it is best if you use I and II together. Kanacyn –or– Tetracycline are both broad-spectrum antibiotics that target both types of bacteria and work great for severe infections including: advanced cases of Fin Rot, Columnaris, Septicemia, and sometimes Dropsy. Typically, add one pill per 10 gallons of water, unless otherwise stated on package instructions.

Methylene Blue: Many pet stores add this to the containers they sell Bettas in. It is effective in fighting fungal infections and sometimes helps treat Ich. Methylene Blue is also used to help sterilize aquarium equipment by soaking nets, aquarium decorations, tongs, etc. in solution. Add 1 tsp. per 10 gallons or 12-14 drops per gallon of water.

Copper-Based Medications: Good for treating parasites such as Ich and Velvet. Copper is poisonous to Bettas, so it’s is well advised not to overdose. Some medications, such as Cupramine and CopperSafe contain a safer type of copper. Aquarisol does not contain the safer type of copper and overdose can lead to copper poisoning. These medications will kill invertebrates, such as snails, and will sometimes harm plants. Use as directed.

*A special note about dosing medications*
Medications are typically sold in dry tablet or pill forms. An easy way to administer medications is to dissolve the tablet or pill in water and add the solution to the treatment tank. If your tank is smaller than 10 gallons, say a 5 gallon tank, some people dissolve one tablet or pill in 10 tablespoons of water and add 5 tablespoons of the solution to the treatment tank. However, once these tablets are dissolved in water, the medications start to become less effective and essentially useless in a couple days. If your Betta is in a smaller tank, such as a 5 gallon tank, you can prevent wasting the left-over solution by dividing the tablet or pill in half before you dissolve it. For 2.5 gallon tanks, you can cut the original pill into quarters.