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Old 10-25-2011, 02:26 PM   #1 
smellsfishie
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Floaty betta

Hi guys

As some of you may know, one of my bettas (Tumult) has been dealing with a swim bladder type problem for months now... I can't kick it in the bucket... Could parasites possibly cause swim bladder type problems (floating on his side?) I feel like he has lost his quality of life, and wonder if it is cruel to keep him alive like this. Sometimes he seems fine, he eats like a champ... but he really can't swim. He is essentially disabled. And I'm not sure what else I can do to help him... I just read on the sticky maybe changing his diet...? Has anyone had success with that?

Housing
What size is your tank? He was in a split 10g, now he is in a petco cup.

What temperature is your tank? Varies, around 76

Does your tank have a filter? No, but his tank used to. He did very bad with a filter though and I think that might have caused part of the problem. He was never strong enough to swim in the current even if I baffled it or it was very light.

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No

Is your tank heated? no

What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none now, used to be 2 other bettas (divided)

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One Betta Buffet pellets

How often do you feed your betta fish? 1-2x per day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Now, every day

What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 95%

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Stress Coat

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Not tested recently, but in the past when he was in the 10g all parameters were normal, except our water has high PH

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His eyes have turned from black to blue... (not sure if that means anything), his stomach appears more of a peach color, and he lost most of the black on his body also. He used to be blue and black, now is mostly blue.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He can no longer swim normally, he floats at the surface either on his side or with his back at the surface, almost like he sticks to the surface. He tries to swim away but he can't get away from the surface.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? months ago...

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have tried epsom salt treatments and fasting, and i tried tetrycycline incase he had some other bacterial issue. Now, he is in 1tsp/gallon epsom plus daily water changes.... i feed only 1-2 pellets once or twice a day...


Does your fish have any history of being ill? Before this, when I first got him in June, he may have had a parasite issue. I treated him with general cure and he perked right up.

How old is your fish (approximately)? Approx......... 9months-1 yr?
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:55 PM   #2 
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Poor guy, sounds like he's had a rough time of it. Parasites could cause bloating and SBD, is he thinner than he was before? If you didn't want to medicate him, you could always soak his pellets in garlic juice and feed those to him for the next 3 or 4 weeks. That would be a gentler way of treating the issue, and if there isn't any parasites then it won't hurt him. Keep up with the epsom salt too. Varying his diet with live/frozen food is a very good idea. Live or frozen daphnia has alot of fiber in it, and a high fiber diet is often beneficial for fish with SBD/chronic bloating.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:56 PM   #3 
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I have heard that sever SBD can permanently damage the swim bladder, causing permanent SBD, but I don't know about parasites. Hopefully someone will stop by soon!
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:07 PM   #4 
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have you tried fasting him? that always worked whenever Cup would get floaty like that. he'd take a poo, and be fine afterwards.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:22 PM   #5 
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Thanks guys. Yeah, I tried fasting him when it first started and it may or may not have really helped. i think he straightened up (not so tipsy) for a day but he never stopped "sticking" to the surface. I am going to try some frozen food... I will check if I have daphnia, not sure but I probably do. He goes from sideways floating to just hanging at the top... so... he can straighten himself out, but he keeps "sticking" to the surface if that makes sense. He can't lay on the ground. If anyone else has suggestions please let me know! Thanks :)

oh, and no he is not super skinny. He has stayed about the same weight. So maybe it is not parasites. But he has a ravenous appetite.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:53 AM   #6 
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It could be a genetic issue or the damage could have been done at the fish farm...its not uncommon for the fry to be fallers or floater-it is due to a poorly developed swim bladder from-either overfed, wrong food, too cool/dry air, poor water quality..some will get over it and swim normal again only for the symptoms to return as they mature or get stressed in some way...not a lot can be done since it is a deformity......generally fry that show these signs should be culled at the fish farm-never to be sold....but uncaring breeder often only see money.....

Comfort care with low water level, no water movement, Epsom salt, quality water, tannins, good nutrition....is about all that can be done and if the Betta seems to be suffering....you need to do what is right by the Betta.......generally they can still live a normal life even as a floater.....
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:48 AM   #7 
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when Cup would float, i'd take a small sandwich baggie, open it, then close it again, so it's got a little air in it, and set it on the surface. it should only be done with wider tanks, so he still has a place to breath and eat from, but Cup would rest under it, so he wouldn't dry out, or be stuck on the open surface all the time. made him happier while he floated.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:04 PM   #8 
earthworm88
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I agree with OFL there. I have a betta that has pretty much the same history and symptoms as yours. I think whatever cause yours had, it had probably become chronic. If you really want to confirm if it is a type of genetic defect, stop feeding him for a week and it is likely he can swim and stay down easier and longer. Also, as he gets older, his fins may become longer and heavier and that can help him swim down easier. As long as he looks comfortable and eats well, then he should be fine.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:52 PM   #9 
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Thank you for the advice. I fasted him today, maybe I will wait one more day then try to give him some frozen food. He is still alternating between floating on his side to floating upright. Epsom salt is on board. When I first got him in May or June, he was dumpy like I said and needed some TLC... but then he was completely fine. I noticed he had some trouble with the filter current because of his long flowing fins (he is a very long finned halfmoon) so I baffled the filter. He still had trouble. Even when I changed to a very low current filter he would swirl around like he had no strength to swim against it. :/ Hopefully a diet change will help him out.
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