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Old 09-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #1 
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Injury? SBD? Help please

What size is your tank?

5 Gallons, though currently it's only half full.

What temperature is your tank?


Does your tank have a filter?

It did, but I have removed it because he's having such a hard time swimming.

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?


Is your tank heated?


What tank mates does your betta fish live with?


What type of food do you feed your betta fish?

Omega One Pellets

How often do you feed your betta fish?

When he was well, he got 2-3 pellets in the morning and 2-3 in the evening, fasting one day per week.


How often do you perform a water change?

Weekly (more right now)

What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?

Normally about 50%, with the occasional 100%.

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Normally just the conditioner, but yesterday did 100% change with low amounts of epsom salt.

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

I don't remember all of the numbers but I've tested a couple of times and all were either undetectable or within parameters (ph). The readings are the same as they were when he was healthy.

Ammonia: None
Nitrite: None
Nitrate: None
pH: Good

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?

His color seems a little dark and his fins are ragged, especially his tail.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed?

One day he was his happy fishy self and the next he was lethargic. He lies on the bottom of the tank and it looks like he's had a stroke or his back is broken. He barely was eating and then didn't eat at all for more than a week. He's back to eating a pellet or two every once in a while.

It's like his tail doesn't work and he only swims with his front little fins. He only uses his tail to get air and food, and even then it's not much.

He hides all the time and is clearly miserable. He is so unresponsive we've thought he was dead several times. Sometimes he has little spurts of energy and swims all around super fast and crashes into things. It's so hard to watch :(

When did you start noticing the symptoms?

About a month ago.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?

Initially, I lowered his water level and did frequent changes and testing. That didn't help so I moved him into a smaller tank and eliminated everything so if there was a component from his normal tank that was causing an issue we could tell.

The little tank didn't help and was hard to keep warm, so I put him back in his big tank with low water and only a heater so I can keep an eye on him.

Yesterday I did a full water change and put a tsp of epsom salt per gallon in.

His whole life I've never seen him poop, but a few days ago while in the smaller tank I think he pooped out a dark ball.

Does your fish have any history of being ill?


How old is your fish (approximately)?

I got him almost a year ago and he was full grown.

Please help me help him. He is miserable and I can't seem to help him. I don't think he's got parasites. He's never been exposed to other critters with the exception of the occasional fly in his water.

It seems like his back is broken. He hasn't had trauma that I know of, but maybe he got stuck somewhere when we weren't home? His filter has always been baffled so I don't think anything could have happened there.

I've never had a fish so sick for so long. In the past, if they got sick they either got better with a little TLC or died pretty quickly. This has been more than a month and it really feels like we're torturing him.

If he has SBD, why isn't it correcting? I'm at my wit's end.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:57 PM   #2 
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Can you post a photo of him? (A picture is worth a thousand words...)

So you currently have 1 teaspoon Epsom salt dissolved in about 2.5 gallons of water? Is that correct?

I would increase the amount of Epsom salt to 1 teaspoon per gallon. To do this:
- Put a small amount of tank water into a cup.
- Add 1.5 teaspoons Epsom salt. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Over the course of about 30 minutes, slowly pour the solution back into the tank. (Taking longer than 30 minutes is OK.)

This process will bring you up to 1 teaspoon Epsom salt per gallon.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:23 PM   #3 
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I think I'm ok on the salt. I have a tsp per gallon, so a total of about 2 1/2 tsp.

I took a couple pictures last night to try and demonstrate how he sits with his back twisted :( and how his tail is messed up :(

Help is really appreciated. Thank you!

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Old 09-04-2013, 01:55 PM   #4 
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The S shape is a symptom of SBD. This is the new guy I brought home last week. Also I don't know how to continue writing underneath the picture, so I'm finishing this in another post :P
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:59 PM   #5 
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SBD has many causes, based on what I can see of him, his symptoms, and that its been going on for so long, I tend to think its bacterial in nature.

Check this out

Also I suggest lowering that water more, to like an inch above him if necessary, whatever it takes so he doesn't have to move much to breathe. All my problems with SBD they have been stuck at the top not the bottom so I just gave them betta hammocks.

If you could get a couple more pictures from other angles that would help even more and I can give you further treatment advice

Last edited by blufish425; 09-04-2013 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:32 PM   #6 
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I'll lower the water tonight when I get home. Any ideas on keeping the water the right temp when it's that low? I'm afraid the heater I have will cook him. It does have a thermostat but is designed for 5 gallon tanks. The little heater I have doesn't have a thermostat.

What other angles would you like and I'll try and get them tonight? If I can get him to move I'll try and get a video.

I checked out the link, but other than environmental things I didn't see any treatment options for bacterial issues.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:29 PM   #7 
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I would either turn it way down and watch it closely to make sure it doesn't overheat, or take it out. It's probably warm enough in your house that he will be ok (its not ideal, but its better than cooking him.)

I'd really like to see his sides and his belly a little better. Video would also be great.

That link doesn't give much for treatment options no, but I wanted you to get an idea of what the causes could be just in case something stuck out to you. My best guess is still that its a bacterial issue, and in that case you should be treating with Kanaplex. If you have a decent locally owned fish store they may have it (not petsmart/petco they don't sell it.) Otherwise you will need to order it online. Its not very expensive (like $6) but it will take a couple days to come in the mail, so I would order ASAP (or call your local store and go get it).

Kanaplex is the BEST medication you can get for bacterial issues. I tried a handful of others on my girl before I finally bought this and it worked. Save the $ and just go for this right away. It's a good medication to have on hand anyways because it also treats dropsy/popeye/ extreme fin rot, etc.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:53 PM   #8 
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Good idea on the heater!

I ordered the meds and should get them next week. God willing, he'll still be alive and I can treat him as soon as it gets here. Digging through my pictures, I did get this one as well that shows at least his side better. Getting his belly might be tough because he's always on the bottom but I will sure try.

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Old 09-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #9 
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Glad you ordered the meds right away. His side doesn't look as swollen in that picture as in some of the others.

The raggedy fins can also be a sign of a bacterial issue (basically its fin rot) and the Kanaplex will help with that also. You should see improvement in his behavior within 2-3 days after using the medication.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:22 PM   #10 
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He really doesn't look strange or swollen or anything for the most part, but when he lays all crooked he can really look distorted more than he actually is. He may be bloated or skinny though, he's my first betta and has always been hard to gauge because of his color.

I'll try for some video tonight and looking forward to starting some treatment on him next week. This is the first glimmer of hope we've had and we are feeling so horrible that a creature in our care is suffering.

Thank you so much for your help!
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