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Old 01-10-2013, 11:57 AM   #1 
McMarvel
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Swim Bladder Disorder, Overfeeding Questions

I don't think I've ever had a greater experience in fate than last night. I ran into Petco literally 2 minutes before closing last night, and out of probably 40 cups, picked one on the bottom shelf without even looking at the fish inside first, and fell in love. Despite his muted color palate, which made me a little hesitant at first, I'd never seen a betta have so much personality inside those sad little cups before. I didn't even bother looking at the others because I just knew they wouldn't even compare. He had a name before he got home: Stonewall Jackson. I'm considerably more attached to him than other fish I've owned, which sounds ridiculous because it hasn't even been 24 hours yet, but please help him get better!

Not knowing the last time he'd been fed, I gave him one pellet last night about 9:30pm before putting him into his tank. This morning around 11, which is normal feeding time, I gave him two more pellets and sat down to watch him, at which point I noticed him experiencing very classic signs of a mild Swim Bladder Disorder. He's still very curious and active, and still attempts to swim around the tank, but as soon as he stops to rest he floats automatically to the top, sometimes upright and sometimes floating on his side. He has only minor swelling.

When I got to thinking, his predecessor Petrelli had the same issue. Both were double tails, which I have read have a greater chance of SBD because of their shorter bodies. Which led me to wonder if I'm overfeeding? Petrelli was slightly bigger than Stonewall Jackson and received 3 pellets a day. However Petrelli was difficult to fast, as his SBD never improved and he seemed to tail bite as a direct result of not being fed. Is tail biting typical during fasting? Also, is fasting still the treatment of choice for SBD? What else should I be doing?

I have yet to figure out how to post pictures directly to a thread, yet I have uploaded pictures to my profile albums. He has his own designated album, the picture labeled "photo 3" is from today, others are from yesterday. Also, I'd be interested to know more specifically what type of betta he is beyond the obvious "double tail"

Sticky Time!
Housing
What size is your tank? I have an Aqueon "Evolve" 2 gallon tank
What temperature is your tank? My tank is not heated. Room temperature? My apartment is kept around 70 to 72 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, however the filter is not on because the current is too strong. I'm working on finding tubing to fix this, as well as plants to better block the vents.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New Life Spectrum Betta Formula Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 Pellets once a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? One 30% change once a week and one 100% change once a week
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Topfin Betta Water Conditioner and API Bettafix

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Minor abdominal swelling
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Swims slightly less
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Fasting
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Unknown

Thank you for all your help!
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:09 PM   #2 
Sixwolf
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He might be a bit more active and healthier if you get him a heater. Their immune systems are a lot tougher when you keep the water in high 70s to low 80s. It's possible the sbd might be part of his genetics, in which case he'd have trouble for his whole fishy life. If it's just a bit of overeating or constipation causing it, he should get better. I've noticed some bettas just can't stop biting their tails. It's a bad fish habit in the way people biting their nails is. Some people also feed a tiny bit of blanched pea to act as fish ruf***e in the case of bloating or constipation. Also, I like to soak my pellets on the days I feed mine those, since they soften up and won't swell in his belly and he has an easier time getting them down.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:14 PM   #3 
McMarvel
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Can you recommend a heater for a small tank? The only reason he doesn't already have one in there with him is the fear of overheating.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:17 PM   #4 
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Actually, I think one of the bigger ones, the ones with adjustable temperature, might be best. I've used a non-adjustable heater preset at 78 plus or minus 2 degrees in my 5-gal, and I saw overheating sometimes. The adjustable ones seem like the best bet, although I would watch for any fluctuations with new heaters.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:26 PM   #5 
Oldfishlady
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Poor fella....

Its not uncommon for some Betta to have chronic buoyancy issues-A lot of this can be due to genetic, deformity and/or how raised at the fish farm. Not a lot can be done, however, usually they can still live a normal life-albeit with buoyancy problems. With that said, you don't want to give up either...

What I would recommend-I would place him in QT for the Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) and tannin treatment. The small temporary cup he came in will work great for this. Place him back in his cup-cover it with plastic veggie wrap to retain heat/humidity over the water for his labyrinth organ. Attach the cup to the side of the heated tank so it doesn't sink. You want to keep the water temp in the 76-78F range for treatment.

Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water. Add Epsom salt 2tsp/gal-Add a tannin source-either IAL(1lrg crushed/gal) or naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf (20crushed/gal) Let this steep for 30min...Shake well before use...

Using this premixed treatment water-make 25% water change every 15min for 1hr today. This will get him properly acclimated to the new chemistry and start the treatment.
He needs to stay in this covered QT in this treatment water for the duration of the treatment period of 14 days.

Tomorrow-using the premixed treatment water-Make 50% daily water changes to complete the treatment duration.
If you used a tannin source-the water should look darker every day in the jug and this is what you want.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals and if you have access to live mosquito larva-offer several rinsed a couple times a day.

If the buoyancy is due to genetic, deformity or poor rearing and he has a chronic issue-he may need to stay in low dose Epsom salt 1tsp/gal for his whole life, lower water level, limited water movement and good nutrition.

Edit-you don't want or need to soak the pellet-By soaking the pellets it can leach nutrient and water soluble vitamins. While the food might swell in water-they don't swell in the gut due to gastric acids and enzymes that break the food down.
Good luck...

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 01-10-2013 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:44 PM   #6 
Sixwolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Poor fella....

Its not uncommon for some Betta to have chronic buoyancy issues-A lot of this can be due to genetic, deformity and/or how raised at the fish farm. Not a lot can be done, however, usually they can still live a normal life-albeit with buoyancy problems. With that said, you don't want to give up either...

What I would recommend-I would place him in QT for the Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) and tannin treatment. The small temporary cup he came in will work great for this. Place him back in his cup-cover it with plastic veggie wrap to retain heat/humidity over the water for his labyrinth organ. Attach the cup to the side of the heated tank so it doesn't sink. You want to keep the water temp in the 76-78F range for treatment.

Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water. Add Epsom salt 2tsp/gal-Add a tannin source-either IAL(1lrg crushed/gal) or naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf (20crushed/gal) Let this steep for 30min...Shake well before use...

Using this premixed treatment water-make 25% water change every 15min for 1hr today. This will get him properly acclimated to the new chemistry and start the treatment.
He needs to stay in this covered QT in this treatment water for the duration of the treatment period of 14 days.

Tomorrow-using the premixed treatment water-Make 50% daily water changes to complete the treatment duration.
If you used a tannin source-the water should look darker every day in the jug and this is what you want.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals and if you have access to live mosquito larva-offer several rinsed a couple times a day.

If the buoyancy is due to genetic, deformity or poor rearing and he has a chronic issue-he may need to stay in low dose Epsom salt 1tsp/gal for his whole life, lower water level, limited water movement and good nutrition.

Edit-you don't want or need to soak the pellet-By soaking the pellets it can leach nutrient and water soluble vitamins. While the food might swell in water-they don't swell in the gut due to gastric acids and enzymes that break the food down.
Good luck...
The only reason I soak mine for a few minutes is because my betta can't seem to get them down otherwise. He's not yet fully grown and will attempt to eat the dry pellets only to spit them back out and let them sink. :c The soft ones he gobbles down easily, however. He does get other foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms to supplement his diet.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:51 PM   #7 
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This sounds like exactly what I am dealing with. My fish continues to float on occasion, not constantly. But doesn't matter what I feed him. Even on days where I fast him - he will float, then not float, then float again. I have to assume mine has a genetic problem. He also never looks bloated! He just floats. He only gets three pellets a day. Did well on that for weeks. Someone here mentioned that he may be so small due to not feeding enough because Omega One pellets are very small. So I upped it to 4. Immediately after he started floating again! Hopefully when he gets back to normal, and I go back to 3 daily - the floating will stop for good. I don't even want to feed him the frozen blood worms I bought. I'm afraid that will also make him float!
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #8 
zebra3
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Originally Posted by McMarvel View Post
Can you recommend a heater for a small tank? The only reason he doesn't already have one in there with him is the fear of overheating.
I got the Hydor 25W for my tank from amazon, 3 gallons, it works perfectly.

I'm having a similar problem to yours, only my fish has not displayed it before now.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:55 PM   #9 
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the temperature is to low. it needs to be 78 to 83 I think. get a pea and let it hit room temp. then put it in his tank and let him eat it. it works as a laxative. Don't feed him his food for a whole day.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:04 PM   #10 
McMarvel
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Thank you guys! With warmer water and fasting Stonewall Jackson appears to be on his way to recovery! I have not purchased a heater yet but I've been using the hot water bottle trick until I find the correct heater for his tank.

However, I've noticed some shredding on his top fin, which based on the positioning and nature of the damage really appears to be true shredding, and not the biting I had expected. Is this related? I already add a fin regrowth/protection formula to each water change, but should I be doing anything else?
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