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Old 11-16-2010, 01:34 AM   #1 
Colibri
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Unhappy Swim Bladder Disorder?

Hi everybody!

I've been noticing that my betta Bettito is having some problems "diving" or swimming to the bottom of the tank. He's usually staying at the top. Every time he tries to swim down he "floats" fast to the top again. Like if you would try to push a balloon into the water, it just comes up. He's eating normally, he doesn't look bloated and I don't think the filter has something to do with it. He really tries his best to "dive" but he always comes up to the surface. When he's relaxing on the surface, he suddenly turns over one side of his body and stays like that for a moment, then moves again. Could it be swim bladder disorder? He always swam perfectly, so I'm not sure what happened to him. ! Could someone help me diagnose him?

What size is your tank? 5 gal divided tank
What temperature is your tank? 25C - 78F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, under-gravel.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? The column of the filter and an air-stone.
Is your tank heated? Yes, adjustable heater.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Female betta in the other side of the tank.

Food

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Azoo Micro-pellets, live brine shrimp, mosquito larva.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 or 3 times a day small portions.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change?
I just did a 100% last Tuesday and a 50% on Sunday. Every time I do partial water change I siphon the bottom. I do this every 3-4 days.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25-50%.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Ahm... It's something called Neutra-Stress. I live in Mexico so we don't have the products I usually see named around here. It neutralizes chlorine, protects mucous and other stuff. I also add some aquarium salt but in really small proportions. It's not even a teaspoon for the entire tank.

Water Parameters:

Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
No.

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

Symptoms and Treatment

How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
No.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He tries to be active as usual and swim around but he just can't seem able to do it.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A few days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No, I'm not sure what it could be.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He had Ich some months ago, but did just great and hasn't gotten sick since then.
How old is your fish (approximately)? He must be a year old I think.

Last edited by Colibri; 11-16-2010 at 01:38 AM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:02 AM   #2 
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I think he gets desperate not being able to find his balance. ! I don't want him to be uncomfortable! What can I do? I've been watching some videos I took of him, and it seems he's been having this issue for 2 weeks or more maybe. I've been reading about this and it's suggested to fast the fish for a few days. Is it necessary?
Here are some pictures I just took of him. On the first one it seems his swim bladder is REALLY bloated but I believe it's some optical effect.





Last edited by Colibri; 11-16-2010 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:21 AM   #3 
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I just had this happen to my poor little fishy Alvin.

For me the only change in his diet was adding brine shrimp. They made him constipated. Following Old Fish Lady's advice, I mixed up a solution of 1tsp Epsom salt to 1gal water and kept him in the solution in a cup secured to the top of his tank. I fasted him for two days, changed the solution in the cup 100% every morning, and waited.

His first poop was a hard black ball, after he got that out, he started swimming better, but still not quite normal. I kept him in the salt solution fed him his normal pellet food that had been soaked to soften it up, then waited until I saw poop in the cup that looked more normal.

Today he is back in his tank and a happy and relieved little fishy. It took about four days to get him back on track.

I'm going to be really careful with the shrimp now. I'm switching to bloodworms.
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:38 AM   #4 
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That is what I would recommend for your Betta too-Epsom salt 1tsp/gal (Not aquarium salt) along with 100% water changes daily for at least 10 days in a QT container-also covering the top of the QT container with plastic veggie wrap to keep the air warm and humid can also be helpful-hold all food for the first 3 days and then offer half feeding every other day during the treatment

Epsom salt 1tsp/gal works as a laxative, help reduce swelling and has a antibacterial/fungal effect

Some Betta GI tract can get clogged and put pressure on the duct between the intestine and swim bladder-this duct can get inflamed/infected-the ES will help relieve that

Sometimes it can be too cold and dry air and the labyrinth organ become inflamed or in away...they catch a cold-but usually with this you will not have bloat-just the buoyancy issues

Some Betta also can have genetic problems or development/deformities related to the swim bladder as well-often called floaters-this happens at the breeders from poor breeding, poor water quality, over feeding...etc.....some get over it and are later sold only for it to show back up as they mature....sometimes Epsom salt can help these symptom and sometimes not all depending on the root cause.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:43 PM   #5 
Colibri
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Thank you Oldfishlady! I'll get some Epsom salt right away. Do I buy it at a drugstore or can it also be found at Walt Mart? I'll stop giving him food starting now, it's supposed to be breakfast time and the poor little guy is looking at me with his broad eyes like saying "I'm waiting!!". How large should the bowl be? I have on hands two "hospital bowls" that are 1/2 gallon, they have a thermometer. If I'll be doing 100% water changes for the epsom treatment, would it be OK to have him in one of those? Do I add the usual additives I use (I'm not going to put any aquarium salt)? I really want him to enjoy his tank again soon.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:55 PM   #6 
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I get my Epsom salt at the local walmart in the pharmacy department

Anything will work for a QT container-I like to use something really small and clear, bare bottom so that I can see the fish-I like to try and keep the water temp at least 76F-you can also float them in a heated tank to maintain the water temp if needed, just make sure and attach it to the side of the tank so it doesn't accidentally sink

I also like to pre-mix my Epsom salt 1tsp/gal in a 1gal jug to make correct dosage and the 100% daily water changes easier and add any dechlorinator to the pre-mixed jug as well... you always have to use dechlorinator with any water used for the fish
I also add my native dried oak leaves to my jug so they will steep and make a nice amber colored water, Indian almond leaf will work too...but neither are needed per se but can be helpful.
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:06 PM   #7 
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OK, I'll do that then Oldfishlady. Thank you very much! I'll keep updates coming on his progress.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:18 PM   #8 
Colibri
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! I couldn't find Epsom salt ANYWHERE. I went to my local WalMart, another supermarket and a pharmacy. None has it. I've been thinking that maybe a drugstore could have it but here in Mexico there are not many. I could go to one on a few days, tomorrow is a complicated day. If I fast him without the Epsom treatment, will it work also? Is there something else I could do?
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:31 PM   #9 
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How odd, it is a common product here in the US- other than for fish it is used for foot soak, sore muscle, human laxative taken orally, flowering shrubs. plant food...etc.......all it is-MgSO4 or magnesium sulfate....if you have any older neighbors or garden centers ask them...you never know...until then I would do lots of water changes and hold food, cover the top of his container with plastic veggie wrap to hold heat and humidity for the labyrinth.....good luck.....
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:20 AM   #10 
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Yes, I know. I was surprised that I couldn't find it. I checked the website of a drugstore that's and they have magnesium sulfate powder. I think that's it! I'll try to get as soon as possible. Thanks Oldfishlady!
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