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Old 03-07-2013, 04:34 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2013

Hello all, I come to you with an ongoing problem (of the last couple days) and I'd like to explain what's up, what we've done, and if anyone has any ideas or insight into how to resolve this.

We have a really nice, pleasant female betta that we keep in a 60 liter/15 gallon tank with eleven other fish, most of which are about the same size. I presently have no way of testing the water; I change the water daily (during the week), about 20 liters/5 gallons, with the exception of Monday and Friday, when I change about 30 liters/8 gallons.

She's bloated up a lot, moreso on her right side than her left side, right around her front fins. She hasn't bloated up anymore in the last day or so, but she also hasn't deflated.

My suspicion is that she's constipated. I've come to understand that it is a fairly easy thing to happen to bettas if you aren't careful enough with their diet. For a long while I was feeding them all flakes specifically for bettas, but ran out and have been giving them instead some basic form of pellets for the last couple of weeks. No doubt the fact that they are more compressed, being pellets, was too difficult for her to digest properly.

We gave a ring to the aquarium shop and explained the situation, and he recommended serra's baktotabs, a food substitute. He said it combats bacterial infections that cause bloating, as well as bloating from constipation. So I've been giving them this for the past three days.

After the first day I looked more into it, since there isn't a lot of information on the translation sticker on the container, and it seemed like it didn't actually address constipation issues, and I'm fairly certain she doesn't have a bacterial infection, since some of the other symptoms don't seem to appear.

So I went to the pharmacy yesterday and picked up some Epsom salts. We put in about a teaspoon and a half of it per 5 gallons, or about 20 grams, and then after a few hours we put in 10 grams more, or a little less than a teaspoon per 5 gallons.

Came back to the office this morning and no change in her bloatedness. I was thinking to treat again after doing the daily water change, to keep with the bakto tabs in case it is a bacterial infection, but it seemed like a great idea to look for additional input into the situation. What do you all think? I refrained from trying giving peas because I understood that Epsom salts will give more direct and immediate results, but nothing so far, and I understood that it should work within a couple of hours. Should I start feeding peas?

She's still very lively and has an appetite, nothing has changed in this sense since yesterday. Also, in the case that this problem resolves, any advice on a balanced, healthy diet for her would be greatly appreciated! I understood that we should restock on the brine shrimp because it is supposed to be good for their digestion.

Thanks for your time! :)

Last edited by willows888; 03-07-2013 at 04:35 AM. Reason: wrong quantity given
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:21 AM   #2 
Join Date: Feb 2013
I am no expert compared to some of the people on this forum but you may want to try fasting her for a few days while maintaining good temp. and water quality. I have a tiny male who used to get bloated alot when I first got him. I was overfeeding him. On a couple of occasions I think I fasted him a whole week before his bloating went down. I've since reduced the feedings and no more bloating. I also presoak his pellets. I vary his diet too - frozen bloodworms, green pea occasionally, and pellets. I think this summer I'm going to also try to cultivate some mosquito wrigglers for him as he has some keen predatory instincts. He also gets 2 fasting days a week on Saturday and Sunday since I keep him at work.

Last edited by tp0214; 03-07-2013 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:41 AM   #3 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: tn
Mysis shrimp is even better I believe. Definitely fast her a few days. For bloat and constipation, the first thing to try is fasting.

My betta tends to get a wee bit bloated too, from hogging his tank mates food. I have to fast him twice a week.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:39 PM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the forum....

I assume the other fish in the tank are not Bettas-correct....

It is better to treat in a QT container-especially with community tanks since the other species of fish may not be tolerant to products used for the treatment.

Can you post a pic-if the swelling is asymmetrical it may not be bloating pre se-it might be a tumor or egg related.

If the only symptom is enlarged abdomen-without buoyancy, lethargy, clamp fins, loss of appetite, hiding to name a few common S/S with true bloat-You may only need to watch her for now, however, if you do want to treat-I would QT in a covered-small bare container that can be floated in the heated tank to maintain temp of at least 76-77F or bring her home and use a 1gal for a couple of weeks.

Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 2tsp/gal and tannins-either IAL or Oak leaf. Using this water make small water changes over an hour to get her acclimated-Then 50% every other day for 7-10 days. She need to stay in the covered QT-in the treatment water for the duration of the treatment period.
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