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Old 01-26-2013, 08:35 PM   #1 
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Exclamation Swim Bladder Disease, constipation or Dropsy?

Last night I noticed that my Betta fish was very lethargic and was having a hard time swimming to the surface. It has been very cold where I live during the past few days so I moved him to one of the warmer rooms in the house. This morning he wasn't any better. I googled his symptoms and it seems most likely that he has Swim Bladder Disease and/or constipation, which can be caused by the cold causing his digestive system to slow down and overfeeding (during my research I realized I was overfeeding him). Anyway some suggestions were to cook and skin a pea to feed to my fish and to put Epsom Salt in his water. However my fish refuse to eat the pea, every time I get a piece of pea in his mouth he spits it out. I tried all day to get him to eat the pea. He hasn't gotten any better and just sits at the bottom of his tank only coming up to get air.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

A list of his symptoms are:
-Bloated abdomen
-Faded coloring, white stomach
-Trouble swimming (he really has to work to use his fins)
-Sits at the bottom of the tank just opening and closing his mouth
-Won't eat
-As of now his scales are not sticking out and he does not have the pine cone effect

Any suggestions welcome!

By the way, sorry two of the pictures are sideways! My computer is having problems
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:29 PM   #2 
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Photo quality makes anything difficult to diagnose except I can tell you that your betta is extremely clamped.

More info is needed:

Also what color is his poop?
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:32 PM   #3 
Hadoken Kitty
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I've read a lot around here that feeding peas is a no no. That may be why he's so reluctant to eat it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:48 PM   #4 
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Ok here are the answers for the questions. Thank you!

Oh and also, he has not been pooping at all.
What size is your tank? About 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? It dropped in the last few days but I think I've gotten it up to high sixties lower seventies
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? It has a lamp that helps heat the water
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None, he is alone

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Some basic Betta pellets, I was feeding him about 10 a day but I read this could have caused my fish's problem so I plan on dropping it to about 4 pellets twice a day.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Right now once daily but I'm planning on doing twice daily, two pellets per feeding.

How often do you perform a water change? Usually every two weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? All of the water, take all the rocks and decorations and wash them. I clean the entire tank.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I add a water conditioner specifically for Bettas

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I have not tested my water, I plan on picking up a kit soon.

Ammonia: I don't know but sometimes there are uneaten pellets on the bottom. During my research today I read this can be a problem that adds ammonia, so I am going to make sure I keep an eye on that.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He started to lose his color and his abdomen became bloated. He has gained some color back but he is still bloated.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He has become very lethargic and doesn't want to eat. He has trouble moving and isn't flaring like he used to.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About 24 hours ago, started doing treatment about 10 hours ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, I changed his water, putting less in so it's easier for him to get to the top for air, cooked and skinned a pea to try feeding my fish but he didn't eat it. I also put a teaspoon of Epsom Salt in his water.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No he has been very healthy
How old is your fish (approximately)?I got him about six months ago from the pet store, I don't know how old he was when I got him, but I imagine fairly young become he has grown since I got him.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:18 PM   #5 
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I just looked in the tank and there is some white stuff floating at the top of the tank. I'm not sure if anyone knows what that is.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:25 PM   #6 
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He needs a heater ASAP, his temperature should consistently be above 76!! They are tropical and need a constant temperature between 76 and 82. A lamp, unless it is kept on all day everyday will not cause the temperature from fluctuating, and temperature fluctuations such as what you are describing can cause extreme stress and death.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #7 
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Ok I will go buy a heater and thermometer today
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:41 AM   #8 
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he's definitely going to need more frequent water changes too, for 1 gallon, I'd be doing a full change every 4 days or so. ammonia builds up quickly.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:12 AM   #9 
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Exactly what pellets are you feeding? For now, don't feed for the next 2-3 days and watch his poop. Report back on what it looks like. I would also use epsom salts - 100% pure magnesium sulfate with no dyes perfumes or additives of any kind. Predissolve at a rate of 1/4-1/2 tsp per gallon and then add slowly to the bowl. You only need to replace this with a water change and then only add back as much salt as water you replace.

Heat lamps are not appropriate to heat fish because it causes swings in the water and those swings are hard on fish, and can even be lethal.

2 gallons is minimum for keeping bettas long term. Bettas kept in 1 gallon bowls will live an average of 2 years, as opposed to double+ that in larger well kept containers. This is because ammonia builds up too fast in the 1 gallon bowls and you could even see as much as .5ppm of ammonia in as little as 48 hours.

A 2 gallon can accommodate a good adjustable 25w heater. I suggest a Marineland Visitherm or Jager. I know Petco has Topfin that people have used successfully. You need an in tank thermoemter:

If you keep the one gallon bowl however you can't use a good adjustable heater. You'll have to use one of those tiny preset ones.

You should always give any new heater a 24 hour test run in similar size container with thermometer to monitor temp and make sure it is holding one constant appropriate temp. Once you have determined that the heater is working properly you can slowly warm up your fish. How you do this depends on if you got a good adjustable heater or one of the preset ones. But you cannot just place the heater in the tank and let it heat up fully with your fish in there.

Bettas are topical fish and need to be kept one stable temp of 76-82, but 78-80 is ideal. They need to be placed on an interior wall away from exterior doors, windows and any air vents as these will all cause swings.

For a 1 gallon (or even 2 gallon) you need twice weekly water changes of 50% and 100%. Using Prime or AmQuel+ as your water conditioner will help reduce the toxicity of ammonia they will see between changes but it will not completely remove it nor will it replace a water change.

To do this without shocking..
*Use a turkey baster (new rinsed no chems) to remove 50% of his old water and as much of the debris in the gravel as you can.
*Use tank thermometer under the tap to match tank temp) and fill up gallon water jugs (like you get at store.. rinsed with hot water but no chems), add your conditioner, shake it up a bit to distribute the conditioner, and then use this water to refill the container.

*If you're doing the 100% he will need to be removed by using an opaque plastic solo-type cup and sat aside somewhere safe. I also suggest wrapping it in a towel for warmth.
*Use same temp water like before but this time you will fully empty the bowl and rinse everything off including the gravel - no soap or chems.
*this time float in the cup for an hour, adding a couple tablespoons of the new water to his cup every 10min before releasing.

At this point you need to get on top of your water changes
You need to get him warmed up
You should look into getting a 2 gallon+ for long term health
You should fast for now, use epsom salts, and watch poop

Last edited by callistra; 01-27-2013 at 11:15 AM.
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