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Old 03-15-2013, 04:31 AM   #1 
Starfish1's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
What is wrong with my betta's stomach?!

What size is your tank? 3 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? no
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

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellets, flakes, bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day


How often do you perform a water change? every 4 days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? water conditioner

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? pale, fins clamped, reddish bulge coming from her stomach area which is NOT poop
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? listless, just hangs around the top of her tank
When did you start noticing the symptoms? she started being less active a few weeks ago, but ate fine and came up to me for food, but in the last day or two has become pale and listless.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? got her 9 months ago from Petco, she was full grown, but I'm wondering if she could be a little older than I thought (past breeding age) because she is kept next door to a male betta and pays no attention at all to him. The girls at Petco had said she was there for a few months before I took her home.

Has anyone ever seen a reddish thing bulging out of their fish's stomach? Take a look at this picture, right above her ventral fins. Definitely not poop, and doesn't look like any pictures of eggs I've seen before. I put something between her tank and the male's tank just in case. She never even really noticed him anyway, I think she is past breeding age. It looks like her stomach is coming out or something. It has been two days since I took this picture and the bulge has gotten bigger and she has gotten more listless but will come up to me if i try to get her to. Didn't try feeding her today just in case but it doesn't look like a full stomach to me because whatever that is, is a different color than her outside color. It looks very different than a normal betta who ate too much. Something is hanging there. Thanks, anyone who can help :)

Note: white blur on her tail is water mark on the outside of the tank. Her fins are all fine they are just VERY clamped in these pictures.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:10 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
I don't really see what you are describing in the photos.. sorry.. I do see the major clamp. Maybe someone else can comment on the bulge.. constipation does look like a round ball though..

Looks like from that angle his temp is 82 degrees. If this is the case I would drop it a couple degrees.

Make sure you do water changes like this to avoid shock, which can create clamped fins:

The 50% changes the betta can be kept in the bowl and use a turkey baster to remove half the water and as much of the debris as possible. For the 100% you need to remove him - scoop him out with a plastic solo type cup and set aside while you thoroughly rinse the bowl and gravel to remove the debris. Then he should be acclimated to the new water by floating for an hour while you slowly add a couple tablespoons of new water to the cup every 10 minutes. When you release him, try to let as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. All water changes should use same temp water, matched to running tap using the in tank thermometer and the water needs to be premixed with conditioner before adding it to the betta tank. If you don't already have anything, you can use gallon water jugs from the grocery store - rinsed thoroughly in hot water but no chems.
Flakes aren't good nutritional value, and especially with something this small they muck up the water quickly causing excess ammonia. I would not feed flakes any longer. You should look for a good quality pellets whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal or wheat. He should be fed two small meals a day (how many depends on the pellet you pick up) and one fast day a week. The blood worms should only be fed once a week as a treat - feed one in replace of pellet meal. If it is frozen it should be dethawed and fed in pellet-sized chunks. If it is freeze dried it needs to be thoroughly soaked in separate container for at least 10 minutes to soften thoroughly - you can use just a little of his tank/treated water, or you can use something like vitachem or garlic guard to boost immune system and health.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:16 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Worst case scenario is that it's a hernia. Yes, fish can develop hernias but its less likely with the smaller species since their tanks tend to give enough space for adequate exercise, etc. It could also be a tumor, parasite, ulcer, etc. You can try fasting her for a day or so and see if she's just constipated. What kind of water conditioner do you use? have you changed brands recently?
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:49 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
It kinda does look like a hernia, but I also haven't seen any poop in the bottom of her tank lately, it's Friday and I changed her water on Wednesday. Nothing there. It doesn't look like just regular constipation, I'm wondering if whatever it is, causes her not to poop.

She is much less clamped today, and her color looks better. Still hanging around in one spot at the top though. I'll fast her for a few days and see what happens. Couldn't be eggs, could it? I'm still keeping some paper in between her and the male next door so they can't see each other.

I changed from Prime to API water conditioner a few months ago, because I was getting an allergic reaction to the Prime. This one seems to be fine I guess? What kind of problems could a different water conditioner cause?
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