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Old 12-27-2012, 02:29 AM   #1 
BettaNovice
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Unhappy Possibly constipated betta

My fish, Ares, has had a pretty tough go of it since I brought him home from the store. He became lethargic three days after moving into his tank on my desk, and showed a fuzzy white fungal patch on his left side a few days later. He just completed the API Pimafix antifungal treatment earlier this week for that, and was beginning to regain some color and interest in food. He then began twitching, which was 3 days ago, and now seems bloated and constipated. I haven't seen any poop droppings on the floor of the hospital tank he's currently in, and combined with the bloating of his abdomen, I think he's probably constipated.

All of the tank parameters I have are listed below. If anyone has ideas on what else I might be able to do, just let me know. Ares has been a fighter so far in terms of dealing with post-Petco sickness. I'd like to try to fix him if at all possible. Additionally, if pictures are helpful, I'll be glad to add any to the post. Thanks so much.

~Ariane

Housing
What size is your tank? Normally a 3.5g tank, but in a 1g hospital tank currently
What temperature is your tank? 78F
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? Wardley Betta fish pellets, bloodworms as treat
How often do you feed your betta fish? One pellet twice daily. The pellets in my particular container are about the size of his eyeball, so I've begun cutting them in halves or quarters so they fit into his mouth.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Currently every day, normally every three to four days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Currently 100%, normally 1/4 to 1/3 of the water.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API Stress Coat/conditioner combo

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Instead of bright red, he is now very dark, almost a dusky color. His stomach below his side fins has bulged a few millimeters, and the same goes to his sides when viewed from above.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He initiallly seemed to just twitch when he would surface for air, but now is floating on his side most of the time in addition to the twitching. When the twitching began, he stopped eating.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Twitching began about 3 days ago, and the bulging began earlier today.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I've made sure his water is clean, heated, and kept him fasting. Earlier today I tried giving him a small piece of pea, but he acted uninterested, and couldn't even stay in an upright position long enough to attempt eating it.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He just recovered earlier in the week from a fungal infection, and completed the API Pimafix antifungal treatment.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Bought from the store about 2.5 weeks ago
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:02 AM   #2 
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Never use any of the "fix" meds on bettas - primafix, melafix etc. They contain ingredients that can coat their labyrinth lung and cause them to suffocate. The twitching and floating on his side may be from the primafix. Get him out of all of it into fresh water.

Can you share photos? Are his scales raised at all? http://www.bettainfo.com/wp-content/...dropsy-top.jpg http://www.bettatalk.com/images/dropsy_copy.gif This is dropsy and is internal organ failure. He needs to be in epsom salts - predissolved and they must be pure magnesium sulfate with no additives. You can get them from pharmacys or pharmacy sections of grocery stores. I know CVS sells a pure brand. Dropsy is usually extremely fast moving so do not hesitate with this. Start with a mixture of 1 tsp per gallon - predissolved - and add that to his qt slowly over the course of an hour to get him used to it. You can bump this up to 3 tsp over the course of the next 3 days. Usually I would suggest a good internal antibiotic like Kanaplex or Maracyn Plus along with it, but it's a delicate balance of curing what is causing the bloat and not making it worse by putting too much pressure on the kidneys. At least get the meds then more info and pics will help determine if we should administer.

In the meantime watch his poo. If you see anything clear, white, stringy, or segmented that means go for meds. If it's brown but ballish he was probably just constipated, and or the primafix sent his system into a whirl.

Wardley is low quality food that can lead to constipation due to its high amount of wheat and fillers. For once he's recovered, look for Omega One Betta Buffet or New Life Spectrum Betta - the later being my personal favorite. Blood worms are fine treats as long as they're only given once a week one or two at a time. Just make sure if they are freeze dried you soak them throughly in a cup with some tank/dechlorinated water to soften them or they can also swell due to being so dry and cause constipation.

As far as his main tank.. 3.5g, assuming it is fully cycled (you need a drops test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) a once weekly 50-75% water change may be okay. But I would keep a weekly eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrates (should be 0, 0 <20ppm) because it's very hard to maintain a good healthy supply of bb in anything smaller than 5g. You may need weekly 100% changes. If you test and you see ammonia or nitrities the tank is not ccyled. You will need to continue testing daily for these and do a water change any time you see ammonia or nitrites hit a max .5ppm but more ideally .25ppm. Eventually ammonia will come to 0 and then nitrites to 0 and then you will see some nitrates and then it should be cycled, assuming it can be maintained. Without a fish in your tank to keep the cycle going, it will break down and restart. You can feed it by putting a few pellets of fish food in there while he's out but before he reenters his tank you will need to test the water and probably do a 100% change to get all the muck out and water back to ok conditions. http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=47838

Last edited by callistra; 12-27-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:32 AM   #3 
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I know other people may have had different experiences, but I have always used puma fix at half doses with great success. Give him a little bit of a boiled pea, then fast him for three days. Watch for poop. It should be normal looking or a bit green from the pea. After this, get him on high quality food without much filler. I don't know why Callistra says blood worms are a treat, they are very close to what bettas naturally eat and make up a large part of my (very healthy) fishes diet.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:36 AM   #4 
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MattsBettas, you're lucky with the primafix. There's a lot of documentation about these problems and even the maker says don't use it.

Peas aren't a good idea to do generally and should be deshelled and only fed half max in little pieces if you chose to do it, which I wouldn't suggest in his case.

Do a google search for bloodworms. They don't have a high enough nutritional value to be given to bettas as a staple food. It's like candy or potato chips for them.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:49 AM   #5 
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Callistra, I am aware of the risks but it has always worked for me when I use very low doses (like drops) for a short amount of time. Blood worms are basically mosquito larvae, what they eat in the wild. I don't only feed bloodworms, I also supplement with pellets. Please explain how feeding man made, wheat filled, fish byproduct is better for the fish then natural, healthy, unmodified insects.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:00 PM   #6 
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MattsBettas, sorry but I'm really not interested in spending a lot of time and energy debating with you. You're welcome to hold onto whatever ideals you wish. Now, unfortunately, I feel we're just basically spamming up the OPs thread so this is the last I will comment directly to you about this. I will only say that you can do a google search and find tons of info on it, and that I have never at any point advocated wheat based pellet full of fillers, only fish byproducts, and other crap. I only feed my bettas high quality protein based pellets and that are filled with multiple sources of whole fish and vitamin fortified. I have also never said that feeding a wide variety of live or once live sources is bad.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:20 PM   #7 
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Callistra,

I've changed his tank water so it only has the stress/slime coat in it right now. I'm on my way to the store to go get some of the epsom salts you've recommended. I definitely came to the conclusion that Wardley doesn't make very good pellets for bettas, especially after watching him try to eat them for a few days, and seeing that he became constipated. I'll try to get the New Life Spectrum. I think I saw them at the store when I bought the first pellets.

I have photos of him, but I'm having a hard time uploading them to this reply. Do you have any idea how to insert photos that don't have a URL? Mine are from my home camera and aren't on any webpages. This is the info about them, if that helps at all: The one in the small cup is while I changed out his water, and it's from above. His scales aren't sticking out at all. He seems very streamlined, aside from a little bloating right behind his head. Hopefully he'll respond to the epsom salts before dropsy would set in. Thanks for the webpage link.



I had his tank cycled prior to him getting sick, but I changed out all the water to try and eliminate any fungal spores that might have grown in the water with his first illness. Do you think getting the API Quick Start would help establish the cycled tank again any quicker? Also, is a sponge filter ok for this size tank, or should I get one of the activated carbon ones? Ares has been such a fighter so far, so I don't want to give up on him without having tried everything possible to improve his environment.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:28 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattsBettas View Post
Callistra, I am aware of the risks but it has always worked for me when I use very low doses (like drops) for a short amount of time. Blood worms are basically mosquito larvae, what they eat in the wild. I don't only feed bloodworms, I also supplement with pellets. Please explain how feeding man made, wheat filled, fish byproduct is better for the fish then natural, healthy, unmodified insects.
Callistra is pretty much right so far.. Bloodworms aren't mosquito larvae. They're actually the larvae of an insect called a midge. The larvae of midges actually eat sugary foods and fats.. The real deal, mosquito larvae take in blood of course. So basically, the betta eating bloodworms is just eating fat and sugar. Which is really bad for their health.
Pellets are still better, as they have the nutrients the betta needs besides the peas and bloodworms. The pellets aren't entirely made out of wheat, most are made of vitamins and fish meat that has been ground up and nutrient enriched.

So which is better now? Peas that shouldn't be fed, and sugar/fat rich insects, or nutrient rich pellets and some other frozen foods? Your choice.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:32 PM   #9 
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OP, sorry for the hijacking about the food stuff. lol
I have no idea about the photos, sorry. All I do is upload the photos to my laptop and then attach it from attachments. The API Quickstart won't really help the cycle at all. I believe Seachem Stability and Dr Tim's One and Only are proven that work. Sponge filters are better as carbon just suck up the cloudiness and meds in the water. It basically removes any unneeded minerals/liquids in the water. Good luck with your fish, and hopefully there will be no dropsy.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:37 PM   #10 
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Callistra,

I bought the New Life Spectrum pellets that you suggested, and just started adding some magnesium sulfate epsom salts into Ares' water. What final concentration do you find to be best for helping your fish through constipation?

Thanks for all of your help!
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