Thanks Callistra. I upped the amount of epsom salt (3tsp/gallon), so hopefully that will help. He was still bloated this morning, but moving around. I haven't seen anymore poop, white or otherwise, though the area around where it was coming out yesterday looks white - like it's stuck in there. Poor little guy.
Hi Melodica and sorry for the late reply; I was away from my computer all day yesterday.
From the pictures, it does indeed look like he could have a tumor. :( In this case, not much can be done except to make him comfortable and let nature take his course. The bulge he has is typical of a fatty tumor because of its location, its size, and from the fact that he is still eating and hasn't pineconed.
However, because he also had some white poo it's possible that the bulge is caused by a buildup of internal parasites or as Callistra said, possible constipation. You can continue treatment with the increased dosage of epsom salts for a few days or even a week and if there is no improvement or if you see more white poo, you might try treating him with the parasite medication API General Cure.
If the bulge hasn't changed after treatment, it most likely is a tumor. Bettas have been known to live comfortably with tumors of that size for months and as long as he can swim, reach the surface, and eat, he can go on for a while yet.
My fiance (who I've charged with checking on him since he works from home) said he saw something white and curly coming from him. I assumed that was more of the poop. His stomach doesn't seem to be going down though.
I will definitely keep treating with the salt. Quick question about that - the filter won't draw the salt from the tank, will it? I read somewhere that it wouldn't, but I think that was reference AQ salt, not epsom. If that hasn't helped in a few days, I will get some of the API General Cure and try that.
I've got my fingers crossed that it's not a tumor or anything life threatening, but if it is, I'll do my best to make him comfortable and happy. It's amazing how attached we get to these little guys.
I got home and he was floating at the top of the tank. Usually he's very responsive when he sees me, but even waving my fingers in front of him got very little reaction. He didn't really even respond to food, which is highly unusual.
I noticed when he was swimming that his right fin isn't flapping at all. It's kinda stuck into his body. Now he's lying on the bottom of the tank, tilted slightly to one side. His eyes are responsive - if I move, he watches me and he doesn't seem to be breathing heavily.
I'm going to get some of the API General Cure and try it, but given the rapid decline in his behavior, I'm doubtful that it will help. I just hate to see him suffering.
You can start with general cure in the water if this is all you can find, but I'm not so sure this is parasite in nature.. and if it is, feeding meds is much more effective because really treatment needs to be 3-4 weeks and I'm not sure GC is not safe to use for that long.
His symptoms can also be bacterial in nature.
Bettas who get internal parasite infections must have a source of infection.. meaning either they were fed live or frozen foods containing the parasite, it was brought in by a new fish that shared equipment, or new plants that weren't carefully quarantined.
If none of this applies, it's actually probably bacterial.. and I'd fast with epsoms and an antibiotic like Kanaplex, Triple Sulfa or if you can't find either Maracyn and Maracyn 2 in combo.
Well I'm not sure. Kanaplex and Maracyn is in the same family so it may be more effective.. but Triple Sulfa may be gentler. I'm not sure, as I've not done much research into the individual meds in Triple Sulfa.
I actually just returned from picking up the General Cure. I saw Maracyn (I and II) at the local Petsmart, but I don't think I saw Triple Sulfa or Kanaplex.
I haven't put anything new in the tank, including plants or fish and no new food had been fed to him before this. I DID feed him some frozen daphnia, but that was a few days after he began looking bloated. None of the other fish in the tank appear to be ill either.
I've already added the General Cure (I followed the dosage on the box). Should I go back tonight and get Maracyn and add that too? If so, which Maracyn - I or II? And lastly, do I need to do a water change to remove the General Cure? I don't want anything to react badly with the Maracyn.
On a positive note, he DID eat a pellet when he noticed it floating, but he's hardly moving at all and his little fin is so pitiful.
I really REALLY appreciate all the help you guys have offered. Even if he goes, at least I know everything possible was done to save him.