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Old 02-11-2013, 10:56 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Question Super Bloatation

HELP! I've had Betta fish in the past and none of them have done this to me! Superman is my daughters fish that I take care of. He was fine and I noticed yesterday that he was really fat. His scales aren't raised up, I'm thinking he is constipated but I need some assurance, not just for me but for my daughter as well, that our little Superman isn't going to die. Here is what he looks like.

Will this get better?
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:02 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
That's more than just constipation.. especially if you say it came on overnight.

More info is needed:

However for now you need to predissolved 1 tsp per gallon epsom salt 100% pure magnesium sulfate and add slowly over an hour to avoid shock. Your fish needs to be kept in salt at least 2 weeks, and you only need to redose with a water change (only as much as water you change). Along with this I would fast him - several days maybe even a full week and watch his poop to see what it looks like.

I would also be looking for a good internal antibiotic like Kanaplex.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:20 PM   #3 
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Well he's been like this for (I'll admit) about a week or two. I just figured he was porking out on his food (which I'll admit he's been WAY overfed). My step-son was being helpful and poured half his food into his tank a few weeks ago and that is when I noticed him packin on the fishy pounds.

I changed his water like I do every month on the 11th, and today he did the unexpected, he swam into the palm of my hand while I was trying to remove his plants (fake ones). I had already set up his temp tank before hand and transferred his main tank to the bathroom. Since his temp tank was preset I figured he was ready (I have a strict routine with him and he knows when it's tank change time). Anyway back to my point, he literally swam and just sat in my hand. He's never done that before.

After placing him in the temp tank, he pooped but it wasn't much. I am really afraid that he is going to die. :( This will be the fourth Betta my daughter has had in the last 4 years if he dies.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:55 PM   #4 
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What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

1.5 US gallons
Yes Filter
No Air stone
Yes Heated, submersible heater
No tank mates

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Mainly pellet and once a week flake as a treat
Once or twice a day

How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Monthly water changes (on the 11th of each month)
All the water is changed since I don't have a poop vac
Bi-monthly aquarium salt; monthly chlorine remover

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?

Other than girth no change.
lethargic, uninterested in food, lays on bottom of tank
a couple weeks ago the weight started
Only treatment that has been done is water change and I haven't fed him in 2 days.
He has no history of being ill.
He is approximately 1 year old.

Last edited by SupermansMommy; 02-12-2013 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:56 PM   #5 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
You're only changing the water monthly? In a 1.5 gal tank, the ammonia builds up so fast that, even with a filter, you should be doing 1 - 100% and 1 - 50% water change per week to remove the excess wastes, especially if you have no live plants. Callista gave some great info on medicating (knows his stuff), so I would follow that advice and do water changes daily until his condition improves.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:17 PM   #6 
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Why are you adding aquarium salt? It will just make his internal issues (bloating, etc) worse.... Plus, Bettas are sensitive to salt. It should only be used when needed to treat an external issue, and even then, it should not be used for more than 10 days maximum.

I'd recommend following the advice that both Callistra and Kwomais gave you. Every time you do a water change, you'll need to acclimate him to the new tank water. To acclimate properly:
  1. Note the temperature of the water.
  2. Using a plastic cup, scoop him, along with some of his water, into the cup.
  3. Clean out the tank. Refill with water at the SAME temp. Be sure to add the correct amount of water conditioner.
  4. Since he is bloated, dissolve Epsom salt in his tank water. You should use 1.5 teaspoons in your 1.5 gallon tank. Make sure the Epsom salt is 100% pure magnesium sulfate. (No dyes, perfumes or additives.) Dissolve it completely in the tank water.
  5. Float his cup in the tank for about 15 min.
  6. Add a SMALL amount of NEW water to the cup. (Several tablespoons, or about 1.5 ounces.)
  7. Let his cup float for about 10 min.
  8. Remove a SMALL amount of water from the cup. Discard it.
  9. Repeat steps 5-7, until at LEAST one hour has passed. (He needs time to get used to the Epsom salt and new water.)
  10. Gently release him into the tank.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:33 PM   #7 
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I am definitely making notes. I was told by the pet store to use aquarium salt. IAm I not supposed to use aquarium salt? :-/ I feel like I've failed at being a fish mommy. What about the use of peas? After not feeding for a few days could I give him a piece of a cooked and shelled pea? I have noticed that he is a little smaller today than yesterday though! So I guess thats good news.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:57 PM   #8 
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No, aquarium salt should not be added, unless you are treating a specific external issue. And it should not be used for longer than 10 days max.

You're using tap water, right? If you are, it already contains some dissolved salts in there. You don't need to add more.

Peas are a controversial topic. Some people recommend them. Other people say they can cause internal blockage, and should be avoided. (I, personally, prefer to err on the side of caution, so I don't use them.)

Epsom salt is a laxative (in both fish and people). It is safe to use, and you can leave your fish in there for weeks, if needed. It will help relieve internal issues such as bloating and constipation.

I would continue to fast him for a few more days. Bettas can go quite awhile without food, and it sounds like your guy was overfed. I would also keep him in the Epsom salt solution. Since he is in a 1.5 gal tank, he will need one 100% and one 50% water change per week. Be sure to redose the Epsom salt every time you do a water change.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:37 PM   #9 
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Hey everyone; I just wanted to let you know that despite everything said here and all the steps I took to help cure him, Superman passed away today. :( Over the course of last night he lost nearly all of his coloring on his body and some of the color on his fins. He was almost transparent. His abdomen got even bigger than it was in the photo. I want to thank you all for the time you took to help assess our situation and the time that each of you took to respond to try to help me. I really appreciate all the advice and help.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #10 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
In the future:

1)Change his water more. Twice a week in 1.5 g
2)Feed a high quality pellet food (NLS/omega one) in small amounts twice a day.
3)Fast your fish one day a week
4)keep the temp stable.75-80 is a big swing

So sorry for your loss.
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