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Old 06-25-2013, 02:45 AM   #1 
xxRho's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Managing Swim Bladder Problems

What size is your tank? 4L
What temperature is your tank? 24C (75.2F)
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. I just keep my room really warm to keep the tank warm
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none (if you want to be technical he is in an 8L barracks with Zorro my red CT but it is completely divided).

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Zoo Med betta floating pellets, sometimes some Nutrafin Max Betta Colour Enhancing Flakes, and very occasionally freeze dried blood or black worms

How often do you feed your betta fish?
1-3x a day up to 5 pellets total but usually between 3-4. He also gets a fast day or 2 a week.


How often do you perform a water change?
25% 2-3x a week
50-75% 1x a week
I also make sure to suck up all his waste every water change

What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
Anywhere from 15-100% but above is my usual schedule/amounts

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Marine Master Water Ager. It says on the front it "Removes harmful chlorine & chloramine from tap water" - I'm going to change brands because I've been told it isn't very good and I don't like how I can't find out the ingredients
Occasionally put in 1/8 tsp AQ Salt.

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

Ammonia: it should be 0 last time I checked
Nitrite: -
Nitrate: -
pH: I'm pretty sure it is 7 but I lost the colour card (I'm using API liquid pH test kit and it came out green)
Hardness: -
Alkalinity: -

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
He was bloated but not severely (it looked like he had eaten too much kind of distended)
His spine went in the "S" shape.
Not lethargic but he physically couldn't be himself; I saw him try to flare but he couldn't extend his gill covers (not sure of the actual term; mind blank).
He looked like a balloon swimming.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
He couldn't swim away from the surface so part of him was always exposed to the air.
He also seemed peeved that he couldn't flare at Zorro or myself.
He always seemed alert and tracked me with his eyes and tried to "greet" me as best he could.

When did you start noticing the symptoms?
3 days ago although the day before exhibited symptoms was his fast day and technically he had fasted 1.5 days before he exhibited symptoms.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Yes as soon as I realised he wasn't dead (I woke up to see Albus floating so my sleepy brain jumped to conclusions) I fasted him but since I had an end of semester exam I didn't really have the time to do much else (first I made sure he wasn't suffering and that the water seemed clean).
Once I came back to my dorm it was pouring and so cold (my hands/feet were blue) so I couldn't go out and get him anything (I was thinking maybe Epsom Salt). So instead I did a 75% water change and used 1/4 level tsp of AQ Salt because I figured as long as there was some ions creating an imbalance it would help to draw some stuff out of him.
The next day he could swim downwards but couldn't stay down without help from his silk plants (much to my relief because his side was always exposed to the air) and I did another 25% water change without adding AQ Salt.
Today he seems almost normal but his spin is still "S" shaped a bit

Does your fish have any history of being ill?

How old is your fish (approximately)?
6 months

Although he seems almost normal though I feel like I have failed him.
I also feel really confused because my other male is fine and he normally gets fed 1 pellet extra than Albus.

Like some people said to put him to sleep but I read somewhere that it isn't painful so I just can't justify ending his life prematurely.

He may not be the prettiest cellophane in the world but he is my Albus and I care for him just the same as my other fish.

I'm thinking he is predisposed to this condition because he has always had the slightest kink in his back (you could only tell when he wasn't swimming and if you looked for it).

I want to know what should I do if this happens again and any other thoughts/opinions/information. Like whether I should feed him less from now on, should I treat him any differently than any of my other bettas? Stuff like that.
He has already fasted for 4 days now so I've fed him 3 pellets today because he seemed fairly normal.

p.s. sorry if this is in the wrong section but I really want him to be okay
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:40 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Rhode Island
Okay there's no need to put him down or anything, what you need to do is stop using AQ salt. AQ salt is for external stuff like Ich, Velvet, fin rot and slime infections. What you want to get is Epsom salt, that deals with things inside your betta like SBD, bloat/internal parasites and stuff like that.

So when you can do a 100% water changes for the two of them and use 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salt per gallon. So Epsom salt can be found at any pharmacy/wal-mart, it's for humans usually but works well in fish. You need to find 100% Magnesium Sulfate, no additives or scent. It's usually used as a laxative.

So for the first day do 1 teaspoon of Epsom per gallon so you've got a 2 gallon I think so that's 2 teaspoons. Make sure you dissolve it first!

So after your 100% change, give them a whole day of just fresh clean water, switching meds/salts so suddenly might hurt them so that's why you just let them sit in clean conditioned water for a whole 24 hours. After that time you can dissolve your 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt and dribble a bit in every 10-15 minutes. Then leave them for 2 days no water changes or nothing, but feed them regularly even Albus.

After the 2nd full day, do another 100% and do the same thing, add 2 tsp. of Epsom Salt. Let set for another 2 days. If he get's better in this time you can stop using the Epsom salt and he should be all set! However if by the time 6 days have passed (so 3 100% changes all together) and he's still not better or getting better but not quite there yet, you can do this pattern up to 14 days. Then take him off of it after that.

If he's still have severe swim bladder problems you can use a therapeutic dosage of .25 teaspoons per gallon so you'd be using just .50 tsp for your 8L. This dosage can be used indefinitely for severe cases of swim bladder, but he just might have something stuck in him and the salt will help release all fluids. AQ salt actually makes them retain fluids whereas the Epsom is a laxative so they release fluids.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:49 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Thank you so much! I didn't know whether to feed him or not but now I know he will like that I'll be giving him his normal amount of food.

Also now I feel more comfortable with using Epson Salt.

Thank you for being so detailed =D
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:16 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Rhode Island
Very welcome! I'm glad that I came across the thread for sure ^_^ I know it can be daunting with all the different meds and salts and what have you's lol, so yes! Epsom and then just feed normally and he should be set to go!

Feel free to update whenever you want or if anything changes you can either PM me to ask or continue this thread too!
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:19 PM   #5 
xxRho's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
He seems to be doing much better! Although he still has the slightest kink in his spine. He is back to his evil little self again (he bit some of his tail when I was transporting him home for semester break but still manages to scare away my red CT in the opposite tank lol ).

He always looks slightly underweight - do you think that could have played a part?
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:28 PM   #6 
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It might not help, you can feed him a little more to make him gain more. Or split up feedings with morning and evening feedings so he doesn't got 24 hours without a meal.
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sbd, swim bladder disease, swim bladder disorder

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