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Old 08-15-2013, 05:38 PM   #1 
TurboSE
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What's wrong with Buster?

My girlfriend and I have had Buster the male Betta for almost a year and until this past Monday, everything has gone swimmingly...get it?

I'll give as many details as possible.

29g tank
water temp: 78-80*

Aqua-Tech 20-40 filter, I know it's a Walmart filter, but I used them exclusively with my Oscars for almost a decade without failure.

Tank mates: 2 or 3 ghost shrimp (bought 3, but we never see them all together and Buster does like to play with them...I know there are 2 left for sure. 2 intentionally bought snails and about 6-12 pests snails...we round them up as often as possible. But he's lived with all of them since we took him out of his cup.

Decor: Well planted, mostly silk, all artificial.

Ammonia: 0-.25ppm (API liquid test kit for all tests.)

pH: 8-8.2, (a bit high I know, but I've found it's better a little high than to mess with it)

Nitrates/Nitrites: I forget the exact numbers, but according to a pretty thorough Googling, they were perfectly acceptable. I can retest if it would help.

-the problem_

On Monday, she came home from work to find Buster laying on the bottom, his fins kind draped, and kinda listing to one side. He was a very active fish until then. His lips were moving almost like normal, if not a bit heavy. Occasionally he'd swim, not dart...swim to the surface, then he'd wander around a bit until he found another spot to lay down. He has shown zero interest in pellets or the shrimp. He doesn't flare, and he used to flare at everything...snails, shrimp, me, his reflection. As of this morning, his lip movements are softer and I couldn't find any external signs of anything wrong. No white spots, gills look normal, no pineconing, fins look good.

This afternoon, we tried feeding him a freeze-dried bloodworm and he couldn't care less. But a few minutes later, he took a brief "exploratory" swim and then laid back down.

We've both searched online and all we can come up with is constipation. He hasn't been fed since Tuesday and yet he still refuses food, so how do we get him to eat the pea?

If anybody has other suggestions, please let me know...I'm a "big fish" guy, but she's grown very attached to him...and honestly, so have I.

Please help Buster.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:05 PM   #2 
Syriiven
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A lot of people do and don't advise the pea (I dont)

Anyways, it sounds like lethargy definitely, which could be caused by all sorts of things. If he's having any trouble getting to the surface, you should consider a small tank to qt him in where you can watch him more closely and arrange things so he's near the surface.

Also, bettas do sometimes get bored, so a change of scenery might be the pick-me-up he needs. Another thing to consider is age - I assume he's store bought, so he was likely in the 4-6 month range which is average for fish stores. If he's darkened considerably over the year, age could be a symptom, but that's really hard to tell sometimes. If he's still vibrant, then age likely isnt the issue.

So, if you do choose to put him in a smaller temporary set up, watch him for a day and see if his mood changes. Try feeding him something, and if he doesnt take it, dont feed him for a day. Since you havent seen any physical issues, my next thought would be internal. So in this temporary tank, try 1 tsp plain epsom salt per gal. No scents, no coloring, just plain white available most anywhere epsom salt. Try that for a day or two to see if he poops.

If he returns to normal, I'd keep him on treatment for atleast 3 days, up to a week, just to make sure whatever is bothering him is gone.

Anyways, this helped with a friend's betta who had a similar big setup who got lethargic rather suddenly on her. After a week in his own place on epsom, he was fine and rejoined his community tank.

Just remember to acclimate him properly, and keep the smaller tank at close to teh same temp that he's used to in the big one. Shock can turn this small issue into a much worse one.

Goodluck! Let us know how he does!
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:37 AM   #3 
TurboSE
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Sorry for the slow update. We moved him to a 1g bowl in a effort to keep a better eye on him. He wouldn't touch the pea. Nothing in, nothing out...obviously. He is hanging out at the top now and occasionally swims around. (Oddly doing some backward swimming...kinda following the curve of the bowl.

Not to dismiss the epsom salt advice, but I've read as many bad reviews about it as I have good.

I've been considering Pimafix, as I haven't heard much bad about it. I've also heard a lot of surprising reviews about Jungle Lifeguard from WalMart/Petco. Any opinions?
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:02 AM   #4 
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Dont use any meds with -fix in the name..alot of people claim they can sufficate bettas by destrying their breathing organ.

If you dont want to do the epsom salt, and he IS bloated...fast him for a few days. Also daphnia is suposed to help them..er...go. Not sure if its something you can be from a petshop or what. I have only ever seen freeze dried but I think it is also sold frozen?? As for the pea...I thin that is more for goldfish and other veggie eaters. I have never had a betta eat a pea...algae waffers but not a pea.

I have used epsom quite a few times and for swim bladder/constipation it almost always works within 24 hours.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:16 AM   #5 
TurboSE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikibirds View Post
Dont use any meds with -fix in the name..alot of people claim they can sufficate bettas by destrying their breathing organ.

If you dont want to do the epsom salt, and he IS bloated...fast him for a few days. Also daphnia is suposed to help them..er...go. Not sure if its something you can be from a petshop or what. I have only ever seen freeze dried but I think it is also sold frozen?? As for the pea...I thin that is more for goldfish and other veggie eaters. I have never had a betta eat a pea...algae waffers but not a pea.

I have used epsom quite a few times and for swim bladder/constipation it almost always works within 24 hours.

I've heard the -fix thing is only true for Melafix because of the dosage. They make Bettafix, and it's just a diluted form of Melafix, by 1/5. Either way, I've heard they can be dangerous because of the melaleuca they contain. Pimafix doesn't contain that. I will look into the daphnia is it a food or a treatment? I will give more serious thought to the epsom salt treatment. Thanks for your reply!
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:18 AM   #6 
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Question about the epsom salt, if he's not constipated, can it hurt him?
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:32 AM   #7 
Syriiven
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No, not unless you have him on it longer than 10 days but I would be very surprised if it took that long.

Also, daphnia is a food....um, dragonfly larvae I think
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:48 PM   #8 
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I have used Epsom salt quite successfully multiple times. Its not actually a salt, it is the mineral compound Magnesium Sulfate, and is supposed to be very gentle on them as long as you use the correct amount.
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:36 PM   #9 
TurboSE
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I think I'm gonna give it a try. Should I keep his temp at 78/80 or should it be higher? Should I leave the carbon in the filter?
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:39 PM   #10 
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ok, now looking at him today, he has a small red growth on the top of his dorsal fin and his side is kinda bloated.

Any other ideas?
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