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Old 02-22-2013, 12:34 AM   #1 
shushcat
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Betta Constipated? Peas? Epsom Salt?

I'm having a little trouble with my betta Leviathan.

Since last night, my normally energetic and outgoing baby has been very lethargic and calm. He's making nests, yes, but they are sick betta nests. I suspect he is constipated, and his change corresponds with me giving him more food (I used to feed him one pellet/foodthing a day, but I switched to two since the internet recommended it. However, in hindsight, I realize he was used to what I gave him). I have heard that peas are good, that peas are bad, etc. I just want to know what is going to make my baby, who wiggles about in his caudal fin area, feel better.

My plan now is to fast him for a few days, but I'm not sure whether or not to incorporate peas since I've seen varying things. Also, if there is anything that would lessen his discomfort, I would love to do it. Trouble is, I don't know if I should use epsom salt or not since the internet is divided on that as well! :\

In Betta Health,
Shushcat
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:37 AM   #2 
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I should note that his tank temperature is 78 degrees in a 5.5gallon tank. Heated and unfiltered. I tested the ammonia, and, generously, it is 0.125ppm ammonia. Otherwise, 0ppm. Some of the best water parameters I've had with him (I started as an inexperienced betta mommy).
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:03 PM   #3 
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I personally would fast him for a day or two before trying anything else, but I'll let someone who is more experienced answer the question because I've only resorted to using epsom salt once when my boy was so bloated his belly went from blue to silver. It worked for him & he didn't have any bad reactiona to it, but I ussually just fast him for constipation.

I was wondering if anyone has tried the veggie tank nibblers to prevent constipation? My baby girl loves them as a snack & has never gotten constipated even though she eats so much.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:13 PM   #4 
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When my betta got constipated, I fasted him for 2 days, did daily water changes, and did epsom salts. I had great success with it! I never tried peas before.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:21 PM   #5 
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I would definitely go with fasting for a day or two before you start dumping stuff in his water or feeding him things that aren't part of his diet.

Many people will suggest feeding peas but I'm personally uncomfortable with the idea of it.

Fasting and a good flaring session may be all your boy needs.

What I do is every night I turn off all lights except his tank light which causes his reflection to be more visible and I watch him flare around until he poops or we hit 3 minutes of flaring.
Its also a good workout for him.

Also, if you don't already, presoak the pellets using a drop from his tank water before feeding him so that they don't expand inside his tummy and cause more constipation.
They'll digest easier and faster so that you aren't just pilling more inside of him before he can make room for more.
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #6 
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You don't want to confuse bloat, constipation etc...with normal full tummy and treat needlessly. Usually with constipation and bloat-you will have other S/S along with the enlarged abdomen-like-more lethargic, hiding, clamp fins, buoyancy issues, stops eating and stops pooping, however, lack of poop isn't always reliable due to some fish will either eat it or destroy it.

IMO/E-fasting for 24-32h along with flaring to try and stimulate.
Feeding de-shelled pea pieces on occasion is not harmful to a Betta IME-However, you don't want to feed Pea as part of their staple diet due to poor absorption of nutrients in the short GI tract.
IMO/E-You don't want or need to soak the fish food-It is true that pellets will swell up in water, however, the stomach contents of a Betta isn't water-it is gastric acid and enzymes-this breaks down the food so the nutrients can be absorbed and waste expelled.

Fish foods that cause the Betta to bloat are usually high in grain/grain byproducts and it is the gases produced from the grains that cause the bloat-not the food itself per se. You may need to switch brand of food-It is best to feed a good quality varied diet in small frequent meals. Depending on the size of pellet you are feeding-it sounds like you might be underfeeding and poor nutrition can be a stress factor that can compromise the immune response.

In the 5.5gal unfiltered tank-how much and how often are the water changes, live plants, water temp, type of additives used, any tank mates and appetite.
How long have you had him-and has he ever been sick and/or treated-if so-details.

What kind of testing products used and what are your base-line test on the source water. What is the source water-well water, city supplied tap water. Do you have a water softening unit hooked up and if so, can you bypass it for the Betta if it is the type that uses salt.

Symptoms-lethargic with bloated tummy....No, buoyancy issues, clamp fins, hiding, scales sticking up-correct....

He is still eating, swimming okay and responding to you...correct...

Can you post a pic
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:29 PM   #7 
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Thank you all for the great advice! I'll definitely try getting him to flare and look into getting him better food first. I had been so concerned about overfeeding that I never really gave a thought to underfeeding.

He is definitely not acting like his usual self and his color has dulled, but he seems to be doing better now than he was last night. He's been resting a lot on the plants near the surface, and he's not terribly responsive when he does that. But when he swims away and does a brief patrol, he is.

The water is city supplied tap water, and I condition with Prime and test with the API Master Testing Kit. I do about 20% water changes every two or three days depending on the ammonia reading, and I have live pennywort, amazon swords, ancharis, and java moss in the tank. Other than the plants, he's the sole occupant of the tank. Currently the temperature is about 79F.

We've been together about a month, and this is the first time he's been sick other than mild fin rot he's had since I got him (that got worse for a little while because he injured his fins but is getting better).
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #8 
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I can't figure out how to edit my reply to insert the image, sorry.



He's been resting like this for the past day and a half. The spot where he injured himself when he first arrived in his tank is looking worse, but there is no change as far as the scales go; it's just color. This is the first time he's rested on the thermometer (usually he's on the plants), so at least I could check him out easier...
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:01 PM   #9 
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Leviathan's health took a huge dive this morning, and he died this afternoon. Thanks everyone for the help.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:35 PM   #10 
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Sorry to hear that. :(
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