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Old 07-08-2013, 04:37 PM   #1 
Rosencrantz32
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Location: New Mexico
Clamped, lethargic... possible SBD?

Housing
What size is your tank? 2 gal
What temperature is your tank? 80-82 F
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New Life Spectrum Betta Formula
How often do you feed your betta fish? about 5 pellets twice a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? was trying for 50% daily. but was more like 100% every 2 or 3 days...
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? see above answer
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? 1ml stress coat+ and 1tsp aquarium salt per gallon

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0.25 (I'm super confused about this one )
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.4-7.8
Hardness: --
Alkalinity: --

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Clamped. Colors look darker if anything. The red of his fins is very dull
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Clamped up and wedged atop the thermometer so he was right by the water surface. When he swam away from that perch he would end up completely vertical, nose to the surface, as if he can't keep his tail afloat. He also will occasionally twitch a couple of times. It seems to only happen if he moves.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning after he was fed
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Did a 100% water change and only filled the tank up half way with conditioned water. I left the aquarium salt out.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He had fin rot when I purchased him (~3 weeks ago) and is still being treated for it.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him the day before Father's Day and he's maybe 1.25" long (not including fins)

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I did add a new heater to his tank yesterday because I needed the one he had for a different tank. When I fed him this morning he seemed fine. Then, maybe 30 mins later, he was floating on one of his plants near the surface and didn't react to me. I wasn't terribly concerned until I got home from class a couple hours later and he was still clamped and floating at the surface, surrounded by sick bubbles :(
I did a 100% water change and rinsed all the stuff from his tank as well as I can (heater, plants, thermometer, tank). I only added the heater and one small plant back into the tank after the water change. I'm currently still acclimating him to the clean water. Hopefully that will help some.

Since I brought him home he has never clamped up like this. He'll get stress striped if I cup him for a 100% water change (which is why I tried doing ~50% instead), but even then he almost never closed up his tail. It was always at full spread no matter what. He also almost never stopped moving. So the fact that he's all clamped up and lethargic now makes me super worried.

Any input as to what might be going on and what else I could possibly do will be extremely appreciated! Thanks so much!
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:12 PM   #2 
Rosencrantz32
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I suppose I could of mentioned my little boy's name... it's Cyrus.

Anyway, I got Cyrus into the clean water about and hour ago and he's not showing any signs of improvement. When I let him out of his cup he swam/twitched around for a little bit and then slowly floated back to the surface. I had a fish with swim bladder problems before and he would rocket to the surface like a cork. Cyrus didn't do that, but he's floating at the top much like my sick fish did.

If it is swim bladder problems, how should I proceed? I know most of the methods of treating it (from my previous sick fish) but I'm wary of trying anything without someone else's opinion... nothing I tried for my last boy ever helped and... yeah... SIP little sick fish :'(

I really don't want Cyrus to end up with the same fate if possible...
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:49 PM   #3 
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I would remove anything new that was added to the tank. (Ie: remove the heater!)

Then, since water changes stress him out, I would do a series of partial water changes, using a low dosage of Epsom salt.

Epsom salt is often helpful for resolving buoyancy issues. Since you've treated for swim bladder before, I'm going to assume you have some available. If you don't, let us know and we'll tell what you need, and how to get it.

Add 1 teaspoon Epsom salt to a gallon of water. Add conditioner! Stir/shake until the Epsom salt is completely dissolved. Using this Epsom salt solution, do four 25% water changes, 15-30 minutes apart. Ie:
1) Do a 25% water change.
2) Wait 15 to 30 minutes.
3) Repeat the above steps three more times.
This will give you:
Initial - No Epsom salt
1st water change - 0.25 teaspoons Epsom salt total
2nd water change - 0.31 teaspoons Epsom salt total
3rd water change - 0.33 teaspoons Epsom salt total
4th water change - 0.33 teaspoons Epsom salt total
The goal of these water changes isn't so much to increase the Epsom salt dosage, but to remove toxins from his body and/or the water. Since water changes stress him out, hopefully, the partial water changes will be more tolerable to him.

Cover the top of the tank with plastic food wrap. Be sure to leave at least several inches of air. This will increase the humidity in the air, which will help him breathe more easily and has a calming effect.

In about 12 hours, if he's still having buoyancy issues, or seems unwell, I would add 2 teaspoons Epsom salt to a gallon of water. Add conditioner! Then, do another series of two 25% water changes. Wait about 30 minutes between changes, to give him time to acclimate.

This will give you (if needed):
3rd water change - 0.58 teaspoons Epsom salt per gallon
4th water change - 0.65 teaspoons Epsom salt per gallon
Monitor him closely.

If his buoyancy seems to be getting worse, you can increase the dosage of Epsom salt more quickly. You can increase by as much as 0.5 teaspoons every 12 hours, until you reach a maximum dosage of 3 teaspoons per gallon -- BUT I would only advise this is he's displaying symptoms of dropsy / pineconing.

As for the heater, does it have any type of odor?

I would soak the heater in vinegar overnight, then rinse well, and soak it another time in tap water that contains conditioner. This will help remove anything on it that may be toxic.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 07-08-2013 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:14 PM   #4 
Rosencrantz32
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Thank you so much for responding! I'll try to get the heater out and the salt in asap. My problem now is how do I keep his water warm without the heater? That's the only heater I have for him to use right now...
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