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Old 05-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2013
Exclamation Sick betta- Help!

Hi. I've had a male betta named Czarie going on about 3 years now. (I've owned 3 other betta's previously; the oldest living over 4 years in my care. I noticed when I went to go feed him the other day, that he was lying on the bottom of his bowl, breathing heavily. He did not respond to noise, food, or movement. His eyes also struck me right away as looking swollen and cloudy. He was moving his fins quite fast, but not in order to swim. His gills are wide, and his defense gills are also flared. I have never had an ill betta, occasionally, all my betta's have gotten what I call "bloated", where their stomach looks bloated and they float for a while. But they always get over this and it never seems to bother them much.
As soon as I saw my betta looking so ill, I quickly did some research and found this website and followed some of the information I found on here. I did a 100% water change right away. I scrubbed his bowl and got out quite a bit of calcium deposits along the rim. I also scrubbed his false plant, and decorative rock. (I treat my tap water with TetraAqua, AquaSafe water conditioner.) I placed him back in his bowl. While his eyes seems less swollen, they still look clouded.
I made a quick trip to the pet store and bought API Stress Coat and Aquarium Salts. I also bought some bottled water. (The tap water in my area has A TON of deposits in it, hence the calcium rings in my fish bowl.) I put a small amount of bottled water in his smaller bowl, and treated it with the Stress Coat. I noticed that it also looks as though his stomach is white-ish yellow. It's not very noticable, but it looks like there is something wrong with his stomach. I am also putting a heating bag around the outside of his small bowl. I do not heat it very hot, I just give it a tinge of warmth and reheat it every half-hour. He is moving around a bit more now, but he still won't eat. He seems to like the heat and moves towards the warmest part of the bowl. He is in less than a half gallon of water, in a small bowl.
Also, when he swims, he sort of does spirals, swimming upside down and right side up, as well as on his side. He seems to prefer lying on his side.
As of now, I think he might have Popeye? I do not think he could have been sick for more than 3 days. The way I am planning on treating it is by keeping his bowl very clean, varrying in treating it with aquarium salts or stress coat.
Can anyone tell me what is wrong for sure? And if so, how to treat it specifically? Am I doing anything wrong in the way I plan on treating it?
Here is some more info:

What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? Not sure
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? HBH Betta Bites
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3-4 pellets every other day

How often do you perform a water change? roughly once a month (I learned via this forum that I should change a gallon bowl much more often, so I plan on changing the water 100% at least every three 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? Previously, I was using TetraAqua: AquaSafe Currently, I just used API: Stress Coat
I plan on using Aquarium salts as well. (Can I use aquarium salts in combination with StressCoat?)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Have not tested, do not plan on testing
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Clouded eyes, swollen eyes, discoloration on stomach
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Very lethargic, lies on bottom of bowl, won't eat, swims in spirals, sufaces very rarely
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago specifically
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? 100% water change immediately, now in isolated empty bowl with no plants, rocks, or bowl decor, in bottled water purified by Stress Coat.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? How old is your fish (approximately)? My fish has never been ill like this, and has hardly ever seemed sick besides appearing "bloated". I have had him about 3 years.
Any suggestions would be helpful in treatment. I don't really want to upgrade to a larger bowl with a heater. The previous betta's I've owned lived in a very similar bowl without a heater. All the heaters I could find at the pet store treat 2 gallons at the least, and as I have a 1 gallon bowl, I didn't want to run any risks.
I can post some photos if that would be helpful.
Thank you! Please help if you can!

Last edited by TheScissortail; 05-05-2013 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:14 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Kentucky
I'm no expert on betta fish care, so I'm going to leave the treatment up to someone else to talk to you about, but 100% water changes tend to be very stressful for the fish. 50-75% should suffice for a water change for the every three days you plan to do. How warm is your house? The tank will generally run a few degrees colder than the house is at. (ex. My room is 72*F in winter. If left unheated, my tanks are 68*F)
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:16 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2013
Response to PhischAndChips

Yes, I found out that the 100% water changes are typically not recomended, but in small tanks, like what I have (1 gallon), the amonia levels build up much faster, so the water needs to be changed more frequently. And while the fish is sick, especially, the water needs to be kept very clean.
I have pretty much always done 100% water changes with all of my fish, and this seems not to affect them too much. While they don't like it, they have had no adverse health problems because of it.
My problem, I believe, is on the regularity at which I cleaned my betta's bowl previously. I found out that I have not been cleaning it as often as I am supposed to, which in turn, could lead to the betta getting an infection.
FYI, my betta's water had not been recently changed, so I know that this sudden illness couldn't have been caused by the stress of a 100% water change.
I got the suggestion to do a 100% water change from this website, from various other forums I've read through. As of right now, even when I do water changes, my betta isn't reacting much because he is so sick. He hardly moves when I scoop him.
I understand your concern with the water changes, but as of now, my poor fishy isn't too concerned about being moved.
My place is a little cold as of now. (72 degrees-ish) I wish I had control over my a/c, but I don't. I have shut the vents in the room where I keep my betta, and am using the previously mentioned way of heating his tank. So I know he must be a little cold, but none of my previous betta's have ever had a problem with heat, and I don't own an aquarium heater.
Thank you for your suggestions though! Much appreciated!
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cloudy eyes, lethargic betta, sick betta, swimming odd

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