We all know the complications that can happen when you take a betta into your home. Most betta pet owners do not keep their bettas in large tanks and many times, the medications only give dosage instructions for 10 gallons or more. We hope this page can help you understand what each medication can do for your betta as well as how to properly medicate your betta.
Important Notes about Medication
1.) Do not medicate a betta unless you are positive about what his or her symptoms are. Medicating a fish for the incorrect illness may cause them unnecessary stress. Also, try to medicate with the least amount of medications as possible.
2.) Always fully complete a round of medication for the recommended time period, even if the fish appears to be better before the period is over.
3.) Be aware that some medications may affect the biological filter, live plants, and other tank mates such as snails. Always take proper procedures to understand how each medication should properly be used for your tank. A smaller hospital tank is good to have on hand to treat sick fish in.
4.) As a general rule, it is usually safe to mix medications made by the same manufacturer although you should always check the package for recommendations or warnings. If unsure if medications are compatible, contact the manufacturer through their website or hotline before mixing medications. An example of a safely mixed medicine combination is Maracyn I and Maracyn II, both made by Mardel Labs.
The Betta Medicine Cabinet
Why is a betta medicine cabinet important? Oftentimes, it is good to have certain items on hand for general care or in case of emergency for your bettas and it is helpful to have all of your supplies in one place. Also, it is a place you can keep all sorts of medicines and as your betta gets sick, if you do not have what he or she needs, you can get it then and add it to your cabinet for future use (not that I hope you would need to use it again!)
My kit contains not only medicine, but also extra food, aquarium salt, and the chemicals I treat the water with. Something that is too big to fit in my Tuperware container is a container of purified water from the grocery store, just in case.
Now, remember, your medicine cabinet might not have exactly what I have in mine and that is quite alright. In order to start your cabinet, you need something to put all the items in. I have a 1 gallon, elongated Tuperware container I bought from a local store. It needs to have a lid so if it falls over, you won’t be looking under every appliance known to man trying to find your Jungle Fungus Eliminator.
Recommended items to always have on hand for your bettas
Note: this is not a complete listing of medications, but it is constantly being updated.
Aquarium salt is useful for both disease prevention and treatment. As a preventative, you can add 1/4 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water at each 100% water change.
It is always good to have extra food on hand in case something happens to your main source or if a betta becomes picky and chooses not to eat a certain type of food. Remember, a jar of betta pellets should be replaced every couple of months.
Water Conditioner (extra bottle)
Water conditioner is essential for a betta that lives in tap water and it never hurts to have an extra bottle or two on hand in case something happens to your main one. Make sure your water conditioner removes Chlorine, Ammonia, etc. I recommend Prime, an all-in-one water conditioner.
A jug or two of bottled spring water
Although it is rare, sometimes tap water can become contaminated or have spikes in the conditions that will cause harm to your bettas. It is always a good idea to have enough jugs of bottled spring water to provide all of your bettas with a safe water supply if needed for a temporary situation.
Tetracycline or other broad spectrum medication
An antibiotic that treats both gram-positive and gram-negative is good to have on hand in case illness strikes. Tetracycline specifically is effective against ulcers, open sores, frayed fins, inflamed gills, mouth and body sores, red patches, bacterial infections, livebearer disease, fungal infections, dropsy and columnaris.
Jungle Fungus Eliminator
Jungle Fungus Eliminator comes in a pill type bottle and is in a yellow crystal form. It is used to help treat cotton fungus, sores, greying skin, bloat/dropsy, fin rot, mouth rot, filmy eyes, red stress streaks and swim bladder.
BettaMax is a great pick me up for bettas that are pale, lethargic, have loss of appetite, or just appear a bit under the weather. It is a mild tonic with vitamins, but not a heavy treatment that will cure a betta from an illness.
Melafix (or BettaFix) is a natural product made of Tea Tree Oil that is great for use after a fish has been cured from fin rot and you would like to promote faster fin growth. Used in conjunction with Melafix, Pimafix made from West Indian Bay Oil helps to fight stronger infections. These products are ok to use with live plants in your tank.
pH Test Kit
It is always important to keep in eye on your water’s pH when doing water changes and during the week to make sure it stays consistent. A changing pH is very stressful for a betta and may be the cause of what appears to be an illness.
Ammonia Test Kit
Ammonia is toxic to your betta and it is essential that you test their water for it on a regular basis. You always want to try to change the water in the tank before any Ammonia is detected or Aimmediately after you get a reading of some present. Ammonia poisoning may be the cause of illness.
If you feed your fish live, frozen, or gel food it is beneficial to have Pepso Food on hand to ward off the possibility of internal parasites by feeding once per week or every once in a while. It is also a good medicated food to feed your fish if they get an internal infection of some sort.
Note: I do not really keep anything on hand specifically for the treatment of Ich or Velvet. If you want to have a few options for these – Common Ich and Velvet Meds: Maracide or Coppersafe made by Mardel Labs, Jungle Ick Guard by Jungle Labs, Aquari-sol by Aquarium Products.