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Old 06-12-2012, 09:21 PM   #1 
mursey
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Bettas with SBD in big pet stores, or is it something else?

I've noticed 2 different fish in 2 different pet stores (one Petsmart and one Petco) that I first think are dead because they are lying on one side floating at the top of the cup, but when I pick up the cup to look closer, the bettas sort of "wake up" and swim around like they are fine .. or at least not as close to dead as I previously thought.

Is this swim bladder disease, or are they about to kick the bucket? There is one fish (I can't tell if it's a female or a plakat . . it's little and I know they can be mislabeled) . . . but anyway she is cute and I sort of feel bad for her. i was wondering if it's swim bladder disease/disorder and if it's likely that that is what it is . .. if anyone has had experience fixing this. I already read a lot of articles about HOW to try to fix it . . but it also says it may not be fixable. just wondering in everyone's opinions if I would be stupid to try to buy a sick fish and heal her. Then again. .. there's the whole thought about maybe boycotting the large stores .. although at least at this particular Petsmart they seem to be in bigger cups and in smaller quantities than Petsmart .. . so the fish don't seem to suffer by staying there so long.

What do you guys think?
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:33 PM   #2 
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Well what would you do stuck in a cup for days? Betta are naturally pretty sedate. Most of my fish have done what you describe but come home they are fine.
If the fish is floating on it's side, can't sink or go up properly, then I'd be worried.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:43 PM   #3 
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Ok, Olympia - but I have 4 bettas and none of them were lying on one side in their cups when I got them, this is why I ask. I'm talking about one in 20 at my Petsmart or 1 or 2 fish out of about 50 at my Petco that look like this, so it's obviously not something EVERY betta is doing.

I should clarify that both fish I am talking about were lying one one side at the TOP of the water, if that makes any difference in diagnosis. Just wondering if it's common to have swim bladder disease at Petco/Petsmart and if it's likely they would get over it with some care and attention.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:53 PM   #4 
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it DOES sound like SBD to me. pretty easy to treat.

how are the conditions at both stores? if the fish are usually very healthy, cups are usually clean, i say it wouldn't hurt. if there's a cool employee or manager who'll let you get the fish despite the condition, tell them about it. maybe you could get a discount.

make sure you have a proper sized tank for both, though. and make sure you can care for them both properly as well. :U taking on a sick fish, even one with an easily treated illness, isn't something you should jump into if you're unprepared.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:00 PM   #5 
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Hmm, well in that case it may be SBD.
To clarify, swim bladder disease isn't a real disease. It's a huge blanket term aquarists use to simplify things, as exact diagnosis is impossible for the average hobbiest. It covers everything from viruses (incurable) to bacterial infections (curable with persistance) to genetic (often manageable). Fish like gold fish can get it from gulping too much air (not a betta issue). It most often will affect the swim bladder and kidneys, but can occur from any internal organ malfunctioning or swelling, whether permanent or temporary. So, it doesn't even always involve the swim bladder!
This is why you have people trying to treat it, but often failing. It really depends on the cause, which is impossible to determine. I'd probably give her/him a 75% survival chance if you're determined, but it's probably higher than that.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:31 PM   #6 
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Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
Hmm, well in that case it may be SBD.
To clarify, swim bladder disease isn't a real disease. It's a huge blanket term aquarists use to simplify things
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Aha . . so it's kind of like fishy "IBS" .. (in the way that it's a blanket term)

Ok, thanks for the advice, people! BTW I don't want both fish, just one of them I am thinking about. (I could try to take care of one sick fish but no more, since I know I want to get a fish for my birthday in the late fall and I already have 4 tanks. But until today I always thought the fish were just about to die, then I realized when picked up the cup they seemed pretty lively. It was strange since they really looked dead until I looked closer.

I am going to think about it. Have to think if I should support more box stores selling bettas . . but maybe if I show someone the betta is not looking normal they would sell it cheap enough they don't really profit much? I don't know. I'm still torn on the boycotting issue. 3 of my bettas are from Petco but after I got them I started thinking about where I should be buying more fish from.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:58 PM   #7 
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If I ask for a discount the lady always says it's not in her lower to do that. I'm shy as it is and stopped there, but if you ask to speak to the manager they can give you the discount/free, just explain it's a sick fish and say you don't want a guarantee on it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:08 AM   #8 
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I hear you- I'm pretty shy about that stuff too! I never haggle . . but I may try to get past that! :)
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