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Old 07-06-2013, 12:17 AM   #1 
TheOnlyCanvas
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PetSmart Rescue with SBD, constipated, not eating

*My biggest concern right now is getting this fish to eat*

Basic Run-down:
I found a female crowntail at PetSmart floating on her side at the top of her cup of blue water, bloated and surrounded by uneaten food. Management gave her to me for free because they knew they wouldn't be able to help her, but thought I might be able to. She looked like she was on the brink of death. Her gills weren't moving at all and she only moved when her cup was jarred. She could not swim down from the surface even when she tried - she was extremely buoyant.

Housing
-Small tupperware (larger and more shallow than store cups) QT 'tank' floating in my cycled 20 gallon

-Temp: 79 degrees

-Tomorrow she is being moved to float in the 5 gallon tank with my baby betta, as the water is a warmer 81 degrees, which I think would benefit her.

Maintenance/Treatment
-Daily water changes

-Water is treated with stress coat, 2 tsp/gallon of epsom salt (1 tsp was not helping) and a small amount of IAL

-Brought home July 2nd - floating in a tupperware QT container in my heated and cycled 20 gallon

-Treated water with 1 tsp/gal of epsom salt, stress coat, and some IAL

-Upped the dose to 2 tsp/gal the next day, as she continued to be extremely lethargic and generally appeared to be dead

-Daily water changes


Current Condition
Currently she is doing remarkably better. She is managing to float upright more often now rather than on her side. Her gill movement has increased and is just slightly exaggerated. She is much more active and often does laps around the edge of the container, lthough her activity is frantic as if she's frustrated that she can't swim down from the surface of the water.

She had a small bowel movement yesterday, but the poop was loose and green.

She has not eaten in the three days that I have had her. The first few days I figured it was fine, that she was constipated and needed to clear out and rest. But now I'm beginning to be concerned. How long can she safely go without food? And how can I get her to eat?

I've tried giving frozen food, different types of pellets, pellets soaked in garlic juice... none have worked. No pet stores within reasonable driving distance have live food available, although if I get desperate I'll make the hour drive to get her live food. I'm honestly not sure she'll eat it, though.

Does anyone have suggestions? I'm encouraged by the improvement she's showing and I think she may just pull through, but I don't want to have her come through it and end up starving to death.

Here's a video of her from early this afternoon (she's doing even better since), and below is a picture from the morning after I brought her home. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii6bxef2z-c
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:34 AM   #2 
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After a great deal of patience and coaxing I finally got her to eat a frozen bloodworm this morning, 4 days after bringing her home.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:55 PM   #3 
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You're doing a great job. Epsom salt can take a few days to work, and she may have needed the slightly higher dosage to "jumpstart" things.

Showing an interest in food is a good thing. I would keep her in Epsom salt for another day. Offer her food again. If she eats it and has no bouyancy issues, you can try cutting back on the Epsom salt dosage.

She is adorable, and it sounds like she's improving quickly.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:01 AM   #4 
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Your call with bloodworms and garlic is spot on and it sounds like everything you are doing is literally perfect and will give the fish what it's immune system needs to do for him to get better...the gains you described further indicate you are moving in the right direction and the most critical hours have passed. If you can bump the temp some, you will speed metabolism and boost the immune system, and I've found fish eat better at higher temps when feeling unwell. New Life, Hikari, and many others make garlic pellets if you havent already tried them, plus many of the higher quality foods with trace elements can help get the guts going well too.

Your thought on live food is also a great call...fish which are predators that strike will often show a reflex reaction to the presence of food in which as soon as they see it, they become to stalk it and then they hit it with great speed and agility so fast that it's like "woah, what just happened?". I've mainly used frozen bloodworms, but given bettas are predators, they may benefit from this feeding instinct also. With a lot of ill cichlids, I've had luck using this to get them over the initial hump of them not eating to beginning to eat.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #5 
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Thanks guys!

She's doing really well. She's still struggling with buoyancy issues so I'm going to keep her on salt for another couple of days, but her appetite has returned (still sticking to blood worms for now) and she's having more regular bowel movements. She's also been much more active, and manages to stay upright most of the time!

I now have her QT tank floating in the 5 gallon I have set up for my baby betta, which is kept at a comfortable 81 degrees.

For a while I was really concerned that she wouldn't make it, but as NickZac said I got her through those critical hours and over that hill.

I'll have to look into those garlic pellets. I imagine they'll be good to have on hand
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:05 PM   #6 
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Good luck with the Epsom treatment, have you tried making the water shallow? That will make it easier for her to breath, if she gets down at all that is.

Also, Hikari is a very, very bad brand.. It contains many fillers which might make her constipated, which of course makes her develop buoyancy issues.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:28 PM   #7 
lilnaugrim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LebronTheBetta View Post
Also, Hikari is a very, very bad brand.. It contains many fillers which might make her constipated, which of course makes her develop buoyancy issues.
Actually there have been two different formulas of Hikari. When they first came out their formula was absolutely fantastic and then they fell into a rut with many fillers coming into play and now they've boosted their formula again so it just depends on the timing and which formula the person got. With the good formula, Hikari is right up there with Omega.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:03 PM   #8 
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Have you tried frozen daphnia? It works as a laxative and will help move anything out of her system. I've used it with my SBD cases, and it works like a charm.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:57 PM   #9 
TheOnlyCanvas
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The cup she's in is at most 4 inches deep, so she has easy access to the surface.

I had heard that daphnia had that effect - I may go swing by the store tonight and get some :)

She has yet to eat any pellets, but I only feed either Omega One buffet or NLS betta formula to my other fishies, so she will get the same once she shows more interest in pellets.
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:16 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LebronTheBetta View Post
Good luck with the Epsom treatment, have you tried making the water shallow? That will make it easier for her to breath, if she gets down at all that is.

Also, Hikari is a very, very bad brand.. It contains many fillers which might make her constipated, which of course makes her develop buoyancy issues.
The formulation I have for bettas by Hikari is almost as good as New Life + Omega + few small mom/pop blents. Main ingredients are similar and not fillers at all. If formulation has changed, then I apologize for advocating Hikari as good food but at least the Hikari Gold I have is reasonably good food for the price even though I personally prefer New Life of all formulations except when I made food myself with a recipe from Discus Hans. Mind you, I haven't been a New Life retailer in almost a decade, so formulations may have changed???
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