Zatoichi, my male betta, is in a 2.5g planted tank. Do H2O changes every 2-3 months cause it's so heavily planted. I use DI with Seachem Nutro Regulator as pH buffer, so pH usually stay around 7.0-6.6. Never nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia. The issue is that there's no heater, or water flow, just a low-heat, UV light for the plants. Seachem Florite as gravel and Seachem bio media. (Did I mention that I LOVE Seachem?) I've been fighting fungus, I believe?? (white "sores" that aren't fuzzy, but white, that leave pock marks in his face, and is starting to move off face and down body) that I've been doing hour long Paraguard dips in DI (with no pH buffer-prolly should). I know fungus can come from temp fluxes, which I know the tank is having. Thing is, he's been having a bloated stomach. I worked in a pet store for a while that was betta heavy and saw a fair share of male bettas have stomach bloat for a week, then die, even when getting the same Paraguard dips. Is this over feeding? Is this gulping air? I don't think it's dropsy, unless someone wants to argue against. Is this all temp related?
You should probably up the water changes a bit even if your tank is heavily planted. your schedule just seems to leave a lot of room for ammonia spikes that you might not catch that can adversely affect your betta.
How much are you feeding him and what are you feeding him? Do you fast him at all? Is his poop a regular color (should be the same color as his food)?
If his poop is regular in color, I'd stop medicating him since it takes a toll on his system as well as lets parasites and bacteria to build up resistances. Fast him for a day or two and see if that helps. If it doesn't, then premix 1 tsp/gal of epsom salt (safe to use with live plants since it has been used for fertilizer) and add it to his tank water. this isn't a bath so you have to leave him in it for the full course of the treatment.
So, fast for a day or two, then premix 1 tsp/gal of epsom salt and do daily 100% water changes for 10-14 days or until the problem is resolved.
Also, bloating issues can also be temp related based on the intake of food and how slow the metabolism becomes in colder temperatures. Ideal for bettas is 78-80*, so if you're below 76, you probably need to either be comprehensive about your feeding schedule or invest in a heater to keep temperatures up and stable.
Last edited by Pataflafla; 09-13-2011 at 03:14 AM.
I agree with the salt baths. That is a good idea. I do need to invest in a heater, and will do (this betta not only has a super cool name, but it is super awesome looking! All dark navy blue with bright yellow fins!! Blue outlining fins!). I feed him heavy. And I have Seachem's (I love Seachem) ammonia and pH detectors in his tank, and I never see ammonia levels go up. I test quite often for nitrates, none either. Msybe a fast, but you really think 100% H2O changes are good? I have always felt the opposite. I mean, water changes are essential when upping a fish's health, but never 100%... I mean, ever. One can flush away a huge portion of essential bacteria when one does that.
Technically you can, but in such a small tank you're letting ammonia build up. the plants can only use so much of it. And cycling in such a small tank is unreliable since levels can spike at any moment.
You could reasonably get away with removing enough water to keep the gravel covered while you're treating with epsom salt. afterwards I'd do that at least weekly to keep things clean in the tank and to remove any poop the plants haven't used. If you had a filter that would mean less to do, but there's also the current to deal with for your boy.
the 100% just makes it easier to correctly dose the epsom salt so you don't go over the safe limit as well as removing any poop that might bea problem.
You could qt him in his cup from the store and change his water daily from there so you don't have to bother your tank too.
...There's no ammonia. There isn't. I'm stating a fact here. I have a tester sitting in the water, testing everyday for the past 6 months. This thing. I stare at it daily, which means I'm testing it daily. Never has the ammonia gone up. I'm sorry, but I disagree with your advice. I have no ammonia so there is no reason for me to do 100% water changes daily. I don't even believe in doing 100% water changes... ever! You do a 100% water change, then you get an ammonia spike cause you sucked out all your essential bacteria. Biologically, it doesn't make sense. I like the salt idea. I think that's definitely a good place to start, that and a heater.
But my original question is still not answered: What causes a betta's stomach to get super bloated an then kill them a week later?
In store conditions it's overfeeding and cold temperatures as well as bad water conditions. Another issue might be parasites or organ failure (dropsy). Most causes are the feeding schedules that employees use and the lack of warm water as well as clean water. The bettas are being bombed with food, but their metabolisms aren't fast enough to compensate for it.
With all the health issues and now the bloating....the lack of water changes even with the live plants....its most likely is a water quality issue.....the clip on monitor are not very reliable to start and they are not recommend with pH under 7...then all the products you are adding.......
With planted tanks-you should make water changes before you feed the plants to remove unused/unneeded fert so they don't build up...build up can adversely affect the fish and then you have DOC's that build up that can be as harmful to the fish and this is evident by your Betta being ill with chronic problems......
What species and number of plants....
Right now-I would start making 25% daily water changes on the tank for 3-4 days and only add dechlorinator....hold all other chemical additives for now......take some water to the pet shop and have it tested....
Get the Betta in a small QT-bare bottom, no water movement-temp in the 76F range, dim lit and quiet location-cover the top with plastic veggie wrap to retain heat and humidity for the labyrinth organ
Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 3tsp/gal (Not aquarium salt)tannins-either IAL or Oak leaf and let this steep for 30min....Use this premixed Tx water for 50% water change every hour for 3 hours today and tomorrow start 100% daily using this premixed treatment water for 10-14 days....while in the QT container not the tank...it is better to treat in QT.....
Hold food for 2 days then offer small frequent meal-if you have access to mosquito larva offer them one meal a day....
Last edited by Oldfishlady; 09-13-2011 at 07:55 PM.