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Old 01-31-2013, 01:15 PM   #1 
mushumouse's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: chicago, il
betta acting sick, floating on side

ok, i'm beginning to worry my fish is more seriously ill than i'd thought. i hope he only has SBD, but i am worried it might be septicemia and i know nothing about it and can't find any pictures of fish that have it for comparison, so i would really like your opinions. :(

sequence of events:
-1.5 weeks ago- changed fish's foods, from wardley (expired) to hikari gold (bought when i was buying my fish). during the next week occasionally noticed bloat i hadn't seen before, but nothing severe.
-??? weeks ago- fish continued to change color, getting darker. noticed his body becoming pinker, one or two reddish spots on his fins alongside the growing bluish spots.
-2 days ago: i changed the water as usual, with the addition of a couple drops of flourish for my plants. ammonia was at .25, nitrite was at 0. did a 50% change. very shortly after the change, my ghost shrimp died- i was perplexed but since the water tested fine chalked it up to not being able to tolerate the ammonia swings as well as a fish. still not sure this is related or not. noticed an unusual amount of activity in my fish, before and after water changes- "frantic" swimming- attributed it to stress, turned tank light off early.
-2 nights ago- checked on fish and discovered it floating on its side, in the dead current area behind the filter. breathing was a little shallow, but he reacted when i turned the light on and resumed trying to swim, but he wasn't making use of one of his pectoral fins most of the time, it was strange. he was visibly bloated and the rest of his body almost looked more skinny? and i could tell he was having trouble swimming down. put him in a cup with new water- treated with stress coat, prime, and epsom salts- & floated this in his tank. did not feed the next day.
- yesterday afternoon- fish seemed fine again, had pooped quite a bit. it was the color of the food, but with a white speck of sand in it (white sand is my substrate). i thought he must have been constipated and released him back into the tank. however, i noticed he kept swimming to that small spot behind the filter.
-late last night- checked on fish, he was in the exact same position as before, on his side behind the filter. when he wiggled himself out when i came in, he swam for a bit, then sort of floated down on his side, ended up sort of lying propped up on the driftwood breathing heavily. i could see he looked bloated/skinny again. i was vey worried he would not be able to reach the surface like this- i wonder if that's why he had been wedging himself at the top of the tank behind the filter- so i filled the cup only halfway, put more of the same fresh treated water i had used before & floated it in the tank.

picture today:

he no longer looks bloated... i fed him 2 nls pellets to test if he was hungry and he ate them immediately. he is better than he was, but still lists a little to the side when he doesn't have the fern to tangle in, and just generally doesn't look too hot. he pooped a bit more in the night, looks normal.

the spots that appear brownish on his fins and on the top of his head look more reddish to me irl... for the top of his head, he may have scraped himself up behind the filter, it's a very tiny spot basically the width of a suction cup. i'm not sure about the fins- he has been getting those dark spots rapidly in black and blue and copper since i brought him home (see my avatar for how he used to look), so i have no idea to tell if they're the sign of something wrong or just more of his colors coming in. :( if anyone has any pictures of fish with septicemia for comparison, i would really really appreciate it! i'm not sure if any of these symptoms are related to septicemia at all except for the red streaks in the fins, but the behavior and streaks together are really worrying me.

What size is your tank? 3 gal
What temperature is your tank? 81
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? none- ghost shrimp died recently

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? hikari bio gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day 5-7 small pellets

How often do you perform a water change? usually every other day- water tested every day
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%-70%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? seachem prime, stress coat, last water change added flourish

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

Ammonia: .15 (less than .25 more than 0)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: ?
Hardness: ?
Alkalinity: ?

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? a little pale in the face, darker colors in the fins, including some reddish
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? sometimes floats on his side. wedges himself behind (in-tank) filter.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? fasted w epsom salts
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? got him 1 month ago

Last edited by mushumouse; 01-31-2013 at 01:24 PM. Reason: clarified some details
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:02 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Queensland, Australia
Hey there,

Your boy is a marble which generally means that dramatic colour changes are pretty normal. Does he have a history of Swim Bladder Disorder. It is strange how your shrimp died so suddenly. Maybe something toxic somehow got into his 3 gallon tank. I would suggest doing a 100% water change and rinsing everything really well, just in case. When he gets bloated look at him from above, are his scales sticking out at all? After he goes to the toilet does the bloat go down?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:01 PM   #3 
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HE doesn't have septecemia. He doesn't look sick except for the clamped fins... But he is in such little water that ammonia could get at high as 4ppm in 24 hours and your'e just letting poop sit in there at the bottom.. you don't normally leave him in there do you?

You are feeding a very high number of hikari and they are bad for bloat because of their high amount of wheat and fillers. I suggest finding a pellet whose first who or three ingredients are whole fish and not fish meal or wheat being the worse. then cut back to 4-5 a day and see how he does. Also fast him once a week.

What color is his poop?

Is he acting ok now that you've fasted him on epsoms?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:45 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: chicago, il
thank you guys,

calistra: no, i don't leave him in there- he was in the cup like that for about 8 hours since 1 am last night, with the water level low because i saw him lying on his side in the tank like he was totally exhausted, and i was worried he would have trouble getting to the surface without something like the filter to rest on or would get stuck somewhere in the night while he was weak and suffocate (i don't have a betta hammock). i took the picture in the morning, including his poop because i know you guys usually ask about what color it is (you can see it in the picture, it was solidly that color, which is more or less the color of the hikari, maybe a shade lighter). the other day it looked the same, only it was huge- like a little curly pile, not a long string- and had a speck of white sand embedded in it. currently he is back in the tank, and swimming ok though still a bit clamped- he's also still putting himself behind the filter, but i wonder if now that he's learned how to do it it's his reaction to being stressed out by all this, because it keeps him almost at the surface of the water and is a small closed-in space. there is a coffee cup cave in the cage but he never uses it. food: i was told to feed him more of the hikari because they're so small. i guess i overshot then. :( i did get nls yesterday because i suspected the hikari might be causing the bloat, which is why i said i fed him two nls pellets this morning in order to check his appetite, and they are also very small- should i also be feeding him 4-5 of those then? i was feeding him 3 of the wardley before, but they're so big i had to crush them for him. i am REALLY RELIEVED that it's not septecimia though. ever since those streaks have been coming in i've been nervous.

veggiegirl- i had wondered if he was a marble, someone told me he was a cellophane but he seems to be getting a lot of color spots. his scales fortunately do not stick out when he bloats up, sometimes his spine looks curvy but it might just be the way he's trying so hard to swim. both times he's pooped has been while i'm asleep, but i've found that the bloat has gone down in the morning. he pooped a bit more in the 3gal this evening too, which also has epsom salts in it, i really hope the stuff causing it is out of his system now. :( he has never had SBD that i've noticed before, but i've only had him a month.

to anyone- are there any old threads where a betta did have septecimia? i would like to see how it presents, watching for "bloody looking streaks in the fins" is going to keep me really on edge as long as he has this red showing up in streaks like this, lol. geez, i don't know how owners of those neat looking bettas with black fin edges don't have nervous breakdowns.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:53 PM   #5 
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I've seen bettas with septecemia in the forum but I don't have any threads bookmarked..

Google produced this: I know it's a goldfish but it will look the same in bettas. It literally looks like the fish is bleeding
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:17 PM   #6 
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thanks a lot calistra. i will save that picture for future reference.
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