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Old 01-19-2013, 12:40 PM   #1 
wmuav8tor
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Suspected constipation

Hello, I'm a new betta keeper. I recently bought some betta pellets for my fish and fed them as instructed by the container (feed as many as fish will eat in 3 minutes) I later found out through these forums that I should have soaked the pellets first before feeding and that I should probably only give him one or 2 at a time.

I noticed my bettas belly began to bulge so I researched it and began treating him (fasted for 2 days then gave him a small piece of pea) I later read on here that I shouldn't have given him the pea but had already given it to him from other sites I found while researching what to do. I read that other things I could do is raise the water to 80 degrees but I can't do that since my heater has no temperature control switch and give him Epsom salt. I'm not quite sure how to give him Epsom salt because of the fact that he is in a filtered 5 gallon tank with some shrimp, I don't have a hospital tank to move him to and I thought I read somewhere not to keep them full time in a tank with Epsom salt.

One wierd thing I noticed is that both the 2nd night of fasting and last night I woke up the next morning and his belly was totally back to normal size and he was swimming normally again. I got excited thinking he was better both times but didn't feed him anything just to be safe but by lunch time his belly is bulged again and he can't dive without a struggle. Should I just continue to fast for a few more days?
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #2 
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No, don't soak, unless you are soaking in vitachem or garlic guard (garlic guard for very short soaks..like a minute just to get the garlic covered, vitachem for 10minutes or so). It leaches nutrients.

What pellets are you feeding?

Is he pooping daily? What color is the poop?

Are his scales raised at all?

Photos would be helpful.

More info is needed: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:18 PM   #3 
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I read somewhere that pellets should be soaked so they dont expand in the betta's belly since they are dry, thats why I said that. but i'm feeding him Aqueon Betta Food

He is in a heavily planted tank so I dont always see his poop but I have not seen any poop since he got bloated except for a very small piece this morning while he wasnt bloated that went flying when he flared at his shadow in the glass, it looked white.

No, his scales are all fine, doesnt appear to be Dropsy

I'll try to upload a picture but my phone is my only camera, he looks the same as other pictures i've seen online of constipated Betta fish

Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 75F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
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? 2 Ghost shrimp

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? answered this above ^
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day before the bloating, none since it started

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Tank is new so no water change yet, planning a 25% change in at the one month time and every month after that
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? planning a 25% change in 2 weeks at the one month mark
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Stress Zyme and tap water conditioner

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


Tested last Monday
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:0
pH:8
Hardness: dont have a test for this parameter
Alkalinity: dont have a test for this parameter

Tank is still cycling

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Bloated belly, everything else looks normal
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? When bloated he just floats near the surface, has to struggle to dive at all

When did you start noticing the symptoms? 3 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? already stated above ^
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? had him for 3 weeks now

Thanks for your time
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #4 
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Here is a picture
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #5 
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Oops, somehow it inverted itself, sorry about that
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:29 PM   #6 
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Some people say that specifically to avoid constipation issues, but most people will agree it's a bad idea because it sucks the nutrients out of the pellet. Really the cause of expansion/constipation issues with pellets is when people use low quality pellets with lots of wheat. A good pellet should have the first two or three ingredients as whole fish, not fish meal or wheat. If you have a good quality pellet and you feed correctly it should not cause issues. Aqueon is not the worst, but it's not the best either. For that one I would feed 3-4, spilt up into twice a day feedings and one fast day a week. If you wanted to soak those with vitachem that would be fine though. I wouldn't soak in plain water. I suggest looking for a Omega One Betta Buffet or New Life Spectrum Betta as they're better quality. At this point I would continue fasting for a few more days while you monitor poop in QT.. see below..

Your tank is too cool. He needs to be bumped up between 78-80F, and you should have an in tank thermometer monitoring temps. It should be a stable one temp, and not fluctuate. A good heater should not have a problem with this. What heater are you using?

Would discontinue stress zyme as it messes with ph which is dangerous

Last monday you tested? Even then ammonia was too high. You haven't done a water change in 3 weeks? This is the cause of your problems. Once fully cycled, a tank of this size will need a weekly water change of 50%, including using a gravel siphon to gently clean the gravel around the plants in bare patches - don't disturb plants. Cycling takes up to 2 months though and during this time you should be testing daily and doing a 50% change any time you see ammonia or nitrite hit .25ppm. In addition to this a weekly 50% change is needed. You also need to use a drops kit and not strips as they are not accurate.

It's probably more than constipation at this point.. it's probably an internal infection, which is why it keeps fluctuating like that.

At this point you need to do a series of several 50% changes over at least the next 3 days to get water quality under control. Test with a drops kit before and after each change and let us know what it is.

As for your betta, I would remove him from the tank entirely and QT him by floating in a 2+ gallon acrylic bowl or critter keeper, filled half full. There I would do alternating 50% and 100% water changes daily along with 1 tsp per gallon epsom salt predissolved. This salt needs to be 100% pure magnesium sulfate with no dyes, perfumes or additives of any kind per the ingredients label. and added slowly over an hour or more to avoid shock. The salt only needs to be readded when you do a water change, and then only as much as water you actually change. In the meantime, monitor poop and let us know what it looks like. He may also need meds.

Last edited by callistra; 01-19-2013 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:18 PM   #7 
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Ok I will do that with the feeding once he is better.

I have a Tetra HT10 heater, it has no way to change the temperature. It says on the package that the heater should keep the water at 78F+/- 2 degrees. I do have a thermometer in the tank and it has always indicated 75F.

I was actually told in another post I made somwhere on this forum that .25 Ammonia wasnt bad for a cycling tank and my API Master Test kit says that it is normal for it to go up to 4.0ppm before rapidly falling so that is why I wasnt worried about the ammonia. But I will do a water change as you recommended.

Just did a water test with my API Master Test Kit

pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0.50
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

If I QT him, can I do it without a heater? I only have one heater and it has to stay in the tank for the shrimp. Also where would I buy Epson salt?

I'll be doing a water change in a bit
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:50 PM   #8 
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I would invest in a better heater. That one is really below par and not up for heating your tank well, as you have found. I would get a 50w Aqueon Pro (black one not regular line glass one with is sub par), Jager or Marineland Visitherm. 75 is just too cold for this tropical fish.

It's fine for fishless cycling but it's harmful for fish-in. 4ppm is CRAZY high and potentially lethal level.. even less is poetically lethal. It would definitely be causing damage well before that point.I'm not sure who told you it was fine. Maybe they didn't realize you had fish in there, or maybe they were just giving bad advice. Sorry.

You need to do a series of water changes on the tank, like above. I would do it asap. Then follow the guide to cycle it safely.

You can float him in the main tank to maintain warmth as I outlined above.

Last edited by callistra; 01-19-2013 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:07 PM   #9 
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after water change

pH: 7.8
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:0
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:37 PM   #10 
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Would all of those fit nicely in my 5 gallon marineland tank? is there any single one of those 3 that you would recommend over the other 2?

It actually said that in my API Master Test Kit manual about the 4ppm. Maybe they meant that was ok only with no fish in the tank but they never clarified fish vs no fish.

After doing the water change he has actually become active again and is right now swimming around flaring at his reflection in the glass, it looks like the swelling has gone down some (not totally though) and he has no trouble staying in the middle of the tank now. I will see what I can come up with for something that I can float in the tank for him
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