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Old 10-30-2012, 10:24 AM   #11 
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I managed to feed him a bit of a pea this morning. But yeah, he's not bloated so I don't know what could be causing the SBD symptoms. It must have something to do with his heavy breathing. The SBD happened last weekend when he no longer was able to stay at the surface without struggling, and started sinking like a stone to the bottom of the tank. The heavy breathing started 2 weeks ago and got worse over time. I don't know what could be causing it, though. Maybe he has a damaged gill? Maybe he injured himself? He has a tendency to smash into the tank wall when he gets overly excited (especially when I feed him bloodworms). So maybe he damaged his gill or swim bladder from that. I thought he may have velvet because the symptoms are labored breathing and lethargy, but he's not scratching against anything, and I really can't seen anything unusual about his color.

I get a lot of mixed opinions on frequency of tank cleaning. Some say 100% once a week, others say only partial changes. I just did a full change now because I wanted to add aquarium salt. I added 1.5 tsp. I never have put it in his water before, but wanted to give it a try to see if it'll help his breathing a bit. I may have to do a 100% tomorrow too so I can change the salt.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:58 AM   #12 
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Do you have a heater? I had the same problem for the last few days; my betta had swim bladder disorder and was floating sideways. I fed him peas, fasted him, added salt, did water changes... nothing worked until I put in a heater and it resolved itself in hours literally.

I've read that the correct temperature benefits their metabolism since cold water slows down these processes; by implication, proper temperature probably helps other important functions as well.

EDIT: And to answer the title of the post, I use a tooth cleaner aka waterpick ( which is essentially a syringe with a really small 'neck' so it picks up little pieces of food great and it's not as dangerous as skewering the pea and risking injury to the fish. I think it's available at most pharmacy stores... if you have the pea bits submersed in water, the waterpick can pick it up easily

Last edited by fishyMcDoodle; 10-31-2012 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:02 AM   #13 
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Yes, I have a heater. It's always 78 degrees in his tank.

He actually had a bowel movement yesterday, but he's still sinking to the bottom of the tank. He wants to swim around, his his bottom end keeps weighing him down until he's too tired, then he sinks back down. It's so depressing to watch.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:04 AM   #14 
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Okay, now we have some symptoms...

I would go ahead and start Epsom Salt (sold in most places with a pharmacy, in the pharmacy section.. unfragranced/undyed.. dissolve it prior to adding him in it)..

2 tsp per gallon, daily 100% water change adding in the salt + water conditioner each time.. it can take about 8 days of treatment for SBD to correct itself. No more peas- but fast for a couple of days and then feed him his normal food in small amounts until he is better.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:16 AM   #15 
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Isn't Epson salt more for bloating? I've read it can be very stressing to the fish. Would I be able to just give him baths in it, like for 20 minutes or so? I have a 2.5 gallon bowl that I can use for that.

Is there any treatment I can do where I don't have to take him out of the tank? He's really stressed right now with all the full water changes I've been doing over the last few days, especially since it's harder to catch him now that he sinks to the bottom.
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