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Old 12-21-2012, 09:02 AM   #1 
Jane3dog
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sick betta fish

My fish has been swollen like a ballon for seveal weeks.I am unable to upload photos, but he has a translucent yellow belly. On the 4 Nov we noticed he was "fat" which I assumed was because I had been away and my husband had been feeding him. I did total water change and did not feed him for two days then started to give him 3-5 pellets only per day. Previously he had huge pinches of food and bloodworms in the afternoon. Mostly he seems quite happy, lively and always greeting me for food. However, here and there I have thought he was dead or dying. I found him one time curled up in a ball on the bottom of the tank, but he recovered. Today he is in a dive with his mouth on the bottom and tail up, but he came up for food. I have done Epsom salt baths and change the water 50% per week. I contacted a fish vet who said he is probably just fat, but there is definately something wrong with him.

Here is back ground info.

He is in a 5 gallon tank by himself with a heater at 80 degrees.

I switched off the filter/aerator as on your site someone said it makes them work too hard when they are sick and indeed I think the still water is better for him to rest.

He is on Aqueon Betta food, 3-5 pieces a day (eaten with great enthusiasm)

I use TopFin water conditioner when I cahange the water 50% weekly

I tested his water 2 weeks ago at PetSmart, they said it was fine.

I have had my fish "Flushie" 18 months. He belonged to students who were going to flush him down the toilet as they left college. My son saved him. He was in a dirty horrible vase at the time. So he had a very bad start.

As I said I have done Epsom salt baths, but he is pooping, I see that. I keep his light off and the water still and feed him daily. I dont know what else to do for him. I hate to see his bloated tummy and hate to think he may be uncomfortable or even worse.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be truly appreciated.

Jane Marshall
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:22 AM   #2 
shellieca
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At 18 months he may not be as active as he previously was, aging can slow them down. My CT male doesn't move around much, likes to lay perfectly still on the substrate at times but he still eats with gusto & he's had this behavoir for months with no change good or bad, so I quit worrying about it. As for the bloated belly, cut back to how much you feed & be consistent with the amount, I'm not familar with the pellets you are feeding so I don't know how big they are so you'll have to be the judge of how many to feed each time. Remember their bellies are about the size of their eye so it doesn't take much food. Is he pineconing, when you look down on him are his scales sticking out? IMO, you're doing everything correctly, 5g tank, heated, weekly water changes, etc.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:20 AM   #3 
callistra
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It sounds like you're doing a good job keeping up on his water. If you've turned off the filter though you will need to up to 100% weekly. 1.5-2 years is still young for a betta. Mine are still very active. But your guy is so swollen he probably has a hard time getting around.

I would continue to fast fast a few days and treat with epsom salt and possibly a good internal antibiotic, but at least the epsom salt for 1-2 weeks. Make sure it's pure with no additives (check the ingredients label) and make sure you predissolve in in a cup with some tank water before adding... how much were you adding before? You can start with 1/4-1tsp and some say up to 3 tsp as long as you increase it slowly and he can stay on that very safely for a 2 weeks +. Monitor his poop and see that it is normal. If it is ballish he is constipated. If it is white, clear or segmented he has an internal infection as well and as big as he is that sounds either infection or tumor... I would be looking around for a good internal antibiotic like Kanaplex, Maracyn Plus or Furan 2. If the epsoms and those meds don't work then he probably has a tumor.

I would get a different pellet as those are wheat based and tend to cause constipation. Look for Omega One Betta buffet or New Life Spectrum Betta. A good place to start for Omega One is 3-4 pellets a day split up, and NLS can be fed 5-8 split up (much smaller). Also make sure you are fasting one day a week.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:26 PM   #4 
Jane3dog
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sick betta fish

Thank you Callistra for your suggestions. I will do everything you suggest. Could you elaborate on the epsom salts for me. I followed the advise of a posting on this forum for dosage and now cannot remember what I used except it was 2 teaspoons in some way. When you say he can stay on that for two weeks do you mean put it in the water now and then when I renew the water in a week add it again? Can I also add antibiotics if epsom salts are in the water?
Thank you so much for your time in answering this.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:39 PM   #5 
Oldfishlady
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A pic would really help....You don't want to confuse a normal rotund belly with bloat and treat needlessly.
With bloat issue you usually will have other signs/symptoms along with the enlarged abdomen. Like-buoyancy issues, lethargic, clamp fins, hiding, non-responsive to you, appetite changes/stops eating and stops pooping, however, not seeing any poop isn't a good indicator since some fish will destroy or eat their poop.

Other things that can cause enlarge abdomen-tumors, bacterial, parasites, blocked duct, fatty liver, poor quality food, overfeeding and constipation to name a few common cause.

What are your normal water changes before you started treating him-how much and how often and how many days has the filter been off. Does the tank have a lid or do you see condensation build up on the walls inside the tank. It is important that the air above the water is warm and humid for the labyrinth organ-especially if the room air is cool and dry.

In a 5gal without a filter and without live active growing plants-What I recommend for water changes is....Weekly 50% with vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything and 90-100% every month, however, you may or may not need to make a complete water change monthly either with a single Betta and no other livestock-like shrimp and/or snails.

Nutrition-the more varied the better...Feed good quality varied diet in small frequent meals. Alternate between several different foods if you can. What one is missing the other might have for more complete nutrition intake to support overall health and strong immune response.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:18 PM   #6 
Jane3dog
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sick betta fish

Thank you for your reply.

Before my fish got sick I did not do the recommended water changes. I have learned a lot in the time I have had my fish.

He got his bloated look on the 4th Nov (or before) when I was away for 10 days. I have a lid on the tank but no light on currently. Several times I have thought he was dead on the bottom of the tank and then he perks up and is OK again.

It is hard to fast him, he is always looking for food!

I have tried to upload a photo for you. I will get antibiotics tomorrow if you think that is my next step. Again thanks so much
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:17 PM   #7 
callistra
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That's exactly what I was picturing by your description, so what I suggested before is still what I'd go by. You can mix epsoms and antibiotics safely.


By one week the ammonia level in a 5 gallon with a bare bottom whose poo is vacuumed every time it happens will be about .5ppm. If you wait a month to do a full water change your fish will see quite a lot of ammonia. I always do 100% weekly, based on careful testing and experimenting. If you want to do less than I would be testing daily with a drops test kit for ammonia and make a change anytime you see .25ppm ammonia.

Last edited by callistra; 12-21-2012 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:25 PM   #8 
Jane3dog
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My poor fish died in the night last night. He was very perky yesterday with intermittent periods on the bottom. We are all so sad :(

Thank you for all your help, I will be a wiser fish owner in the future.
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:11 PM   #9 
callistra
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Sorry he didn't make it :(
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:24 PM   #10 
Jane3dog
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Thank you Callistra. I wrote him up in the memorial section, it felt better to write about him and what he meant to us.
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