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Old 08-24-2013, 10:10 PM   #1 
OrangeAugust
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I think my betta has swim bladder disease

One of my male bettas has been a little weird for a few weeks. He spends most of his time on the bottom and it looks like it's a chore for him to swim. He has a hard time coming up for food (he always does, though). He doesn't have any symptoms of common fish diseases, the water temp and parameters are good. Plus he's in a divided 10 gallon with another betta and the other betta is fine.
I always thought swim bladder disorder causes the fish to float and then I read that it can cause them to sink also. Does it sound like he has swim bladder disease? I've heard of Epsom salt or a pea as treatment. Which one is better and what is the dose of ep some salt if I were to use that?
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:51 PM   #2 
sunlight
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How much (in %) you change his water?
How often you do water changes?
Is your tank cycled?
How long he has it?
Do you have hospital tank?
I would put him in the hospital since he is weak and have problem to swim . It will be easier for him. If you have hospital tank use the new dechlorinated water and the tank water and put him in the hospital tank without the filter.
Betta with sbd will have buoyancy problem, can be bloated, not able to hold himself upright and swim on sideways.
Do you think you could overfeed him? If you overfeed him he probobly would be bloated. If you think you overfeed him definitely fast him for a day and see if he is better.
When is last time he pooped?
The best food for him now is good quality pellets as New Life Spectrum or Omega one. Very good for constipated betta is frozen daphnia.
http://www.bigalspets.com/betta-form...lets-50-g.html

http://www.petco.com/product/116563/...FUui4AodwA8AXQ

Epsom salt is helpful as a laxative and for mild internal problem . It has to be pure 100% Epsom salt (unscented, not other additives) . Pre mix 1 tsp/gall and make sure it dissolved before you add it to the tank. Next treatment day add 3 tsp/gall . Do daily water changes. You can alternate 50% with 100% water changes. Again i think it better to put him in the hospital tank , just in case it something contaigious and you don't want your other betta get sick and also you don't want to add Epsom to the main tank.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:55 PM   #3 
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What do you feed him? Some bettas are sensitive to grains/fillers, and can do better on high-protein foods that contain less grains. (I have one like this.)

I would use Epsom salt. (Not the pea.)

Epsom salt has a fluid reducing effect, which can often help with buoyancy issues. Look for plain magnesium sulfate. (No dyes, additives or perfumes.) It will not harm any plants. (It's a fertilizer, actually.)

I would start with a low dosage of 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt/gal. The easiest way to do this is simply put some tank water in a cup. Since he's in a 10 gal tank currently, stir in 5 teaspoons Epsom salt.* Make sure the salt is completely dissolved. Then, over the course of an hour, slowly pour the solution back into the tank.

As sunlight mentioned, you may want to put him into a hospital tank with a lower water level. This will make it easier for him to reach the surface. (*If you put him into a QT tank, you'll need to adjust the Epsom salt amounts accordingly!)

It may take a day or two for the Epsom salt to start working. But if this dosage doesn't help after 1-2 days, you can increase it to 1 teaspon Epsom salt/gal. You can do this by repeating the above instructions.

Then, when you do water changes, pre-mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt/gal before doing the water change. This will maintain a constant dosage of 1 tsp/gal. Do this for a week, if needed, and see if it makes a difference. If it doesn't, let us know as he may need something more.

I went through this kind of quickly, so if you need more detailed instructions on anything, please ask!

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 08-25-2013 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:58 PM   #4 
OrangeAugust
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Thanks.
Yeah, the tank is cycled, the temp is about 80, I change about 25% of the water weekly. No, I don' over feed them. I used to use Wardly betta food and I would give them each 4 pellets in the morning and 4 at night. Then I switched to Omega One and they got bloated when I fed them the same amount so I cut back to 3 pellets in the morning and 3 at night. They don't look bloated at all now. I will put him in a hospital tank and lower the water, and put some epsom salt in there.
Thanks a lot.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:32 PM   #5 
sunlight
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minimum dosage for the Epsom is 1tsp/gall. So don't put less than that. You can increase the dose on second day of the treatment up to 2 tsp/gall and on fallowing day up to 3tsp/gall.
And its advised to do 50% weekly water changes with gravel vacuuming weekly. And rinse the filter in the tank water. And since you have 2 bettas in the tank i would even do more water changes a week then 50%.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:30 PM   #6 
LittleBlueFishlets
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@sunlight - Is there a reason you're recommending such a high dosage of Epsom salt? (Just wondering, as I generally prefer the low doses, unless there's a major issue going on.)
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:00 AM   #7 
sunlight
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I just used to see Oldfishlady recommendations. I think she used to recommend 2-3 tsp/gall. And i also learned that it very mild and less stressful on fish than aquarium salt . And since it's acceptable dose i was thinking it better chance to help:) I was reading some threads where people used 3tsp/gall and it helped. But you definitely know more than me so i would go with your advice. I should read your post more carefully, somehow i thought you also recommended to increase the dose ...but it was up to 1 tsp/gall. I thought that if 1tsp/gall not going to work then 2-3 would.

Last edited by sunlight; 08-27-2013 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:35 PM   #8 
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Sunlight: OK.... Yes, I recommended a lower dosage because he didn't appear to have major issues (at this time).

Epsom salt is pretty mild on them (as compared to medications like antibiotics, etc). But it can cause issues with the higher dosages..... If they have a problem like dropsy/pineconing, then you have to go to the 3 tsp/gal (and do it quickly), since they're in severe danger from their illness.

But in this case, he's not bloated at all per the OP's writeup, and just appears to have some minor SBD issues. It could even be constipation causing this.... So I recommended a low dose of Epsom salt.

Also, if you review OFL's instructions, she always recommended partial water changes. (Four 25% the first day, followed by 50% every other day for the next 14 days.) I worked it out, and it takes the fish to the following dosages:
Day 1: 1 tsp/gal
Day 2: 2 tsp/gal
Day 4: 2.5 tsp/gal
Day 6: 2.75 tsp/gal
Day 8: 2.87 tsp/gal
Day 10: 2.94 tsp/gal

So even though she advises people to premix a 'treatment solution' with 3 tsp/gal, they're doing partial water changes every other day. It's not until about day 10 that they're actually reaching the full 3 tsp/gal dosage.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:34 PM   #9 
sunlight
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Ok thank you for the explanation ! I will follow your advice next time i will recommend some one to use Epsom salt. Awesome !!!
Questions
How long people can use 3 tsp/gall?
And if the fish is really bloated from constipation or from the internal parasites what is the first dose of the Epsom ?
Thank you;)
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:07 AM   #10 
LittleBlueFishlets
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No no... You don't have to just follow my advice. Every situation is different, and sometimes, you need to decide what the best treatment will be, given the history of the fish, its current condition, etc. Also, everyone's approach to caring for our Bettas is going to be a little different. That means that all of us may vary a little in the treatments that we follow. Some people are quicker to prescribe medications, others prefer a more holistic/natural approach. In the end, it's up to the fish's owner to determine the best course of action to take.

As for using 3 tsp Epsom salt/gal, I personally just recommend it for 'severe' illnesses/issues. For example, if a fish has dropsy, etc. Then, since the next step beyond dropsy is often death, well, if it was my fish, I'd keep using that dosage and not really worry about a specific length of time. But, again, this is my personal philosophy, not any 'definite rule.'

On the other hand, I have a fish who tends to become bloated easily. I just use a low dosage of Epsom salt when this happens. Since this is my fish, I know what works, which is usually about 0.25 to 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt per gallon. As soon as he poops, or becomes less bloated, I do a water change to remove at least some of the Epsom salt.

So I would say that, again, there's no 'hard rule.' You have to look at the pictures and read the history. But usually for nonsevere bloat/constipation, I'll recommend:
- 1 to 2 days of fasting to see if it helps.
- A dosage of about 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt/gal for 1-2 days. (And if that doesn't work, then go up to about 1 teaspoon Epsom salt/gal.)

In the case of internal parasites, it also depends on the fish's history/condition. If the fish is bloated, but we're not yet sure what's causing it, then I'll recommend Epsom salt.... But if we're sure that the problem is internal parasites, I'll recommend a medication that contains both metronidazole and praziquantel. (For example, API General Cure.) This is because these two medications treat the majority of aquatic freshwater parasites. Then, if the fish is also bloated, I may recommend using a low dose of Epsom salt to relieve this.

There was a study done recently that indicated that Epsom salt can expel parasites. It was a pretty high dosage of Epsom salt needed for this, though. So for people who prefer not to use medications, using Epsom salt for parasites is another option. So, in this case, the treatment you suggest is not only based on the fish's history and condition, but also the ability and/or willingness of the owner to get medications. Some people prefer a holistic approach, some people can't afford medications or can't get them at local stores, etc, etc etc.
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