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Old 04-13-2010, 01:54 AM   #1 
Divisible by Waffle
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Lethargic, Abdominal Swelling w/out pineconing

Hey all. My betta is looking a little green around the gills these days. He's been showing signs of swim bladder disorder (floating near the top of the tank) as well as abdominal swelling for about a week and a half now. I've reduced the feedings to two Hikari pellets per day, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I just attempted to feed him, but he showed no interest in the food until I indicated it with my hand (I've trained him to follow my hand to where food is, but he doesn't usually need help to find it). He ate fine this morning. He's showing large bursts of activity followed by periods of lethargy. He was bashing the walls of his tank, as well as the gravel. The swelling on his abdomen is just below his pectoral fins, and there's another area of swelling about 3mm rostral from his caudal fin. He does not show the "pinecone" scaling associated with dropsy, these are just minor swellings without any raised scales. When he swims, he tends to float towards his left side (where the swelling on his side is).

I do not have a water testing kit. He is in a 2 gallon hex with a Tetra Whisper 3i filter. There are also four Blue Bell plants, which also help to keep the water clean. I just medicated his water with a "Betta Revive Health Aid" that consists of the following:

Water, neomycin sulfate (<10%), methylene blue (<0.5%), proprietary polymer mixture, buffers, EDTA, malachite green chloride (<0.01%), cyanocobalamin, and electrolytes.

It's supposed to prevent and control bacterial, protozoan, and fungal things, so it should help to treat any of those. I'm turning the filter off overnight so the medicine can circulate and take effect. What else should I be doing to help the little guy recover? Any idea what the swelling might be caused by?

While I was typing this out, he started becoming a bit more active, but he's still having difficulty swimming. He's started following my hand again since I treated the water, and he's doing little circles in his tank, which is completely normal behavior for him. He's gone behind the filter for now (that's where he usually sleeps at night) but I'm still worried about the little guy.
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:16 AM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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How much and how often on the water changes and when was the last one, any other additives used like dechlorinater or salt.
Also you need to either leave the filter on or off, by turning the filter off at night the NB can die and when you turn it back on you may flood the tank with ammonia.
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:36 AM   #3 
Divisible by Waffle
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I do weekly water changes, about 40% with the gravel vac. The last one was a few days ago. Should I pull 'er out and give the water another cleaning?

I treat my water with the prescribed amount of dechlorinator (I use TetraAqua BettaSafe) and I usually put a tiny splash of StressZyme in as well to help keep up the population of bacteria.

I'm not sure how turning the filter off can cause the bacteria to die. My fish is still excreting ammonia. Wouldn't diffusion allow for the ammonia to still reach the filter and nourish the bacteria enough until morning?

Last edited by Divisible by Waffle; 04-13-2010 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:47 AM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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The bacteria in the filter media need lots of oxygen to thrive and once the oxygen source is turned off the NB will start to die inside the filter.
Yes, I would increase your water changes to 50% daily for 5 days and only vacuum once and then twice weekly 50% with one vacuum a week thereafter to help keep the water healthy, I would also hold all food for the 5 days of daily water changes and then cut the amount you feed in half, you can also fed a shelled pea piece once a week too as a preventive.
How old is your Betta
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #5 
Divisible by Waffle
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All right, I'll have to learn how to sleep with the filter on. It's a noisy little thing. Also, should I keep medicating the water with my water changes?
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:24 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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In a 2g tank with one Betta...I would remove the filter and not even use it...but that is me.....I don't use filtration in most of my tanks anyway but I do have lots and lots of active growing plants that do the filtration for me, but even in my smaller 1-2g betta/shrimp/snail tanks I never used filters...... but I also did twice weekly 50% water changes....regardless of filtration the water changes are still needed especially in the smaller tanks.
At this point if the betta is having trouble swimming I would turn the filter off until the betta gets better and even lower the water level so it doesn't have to struggle to get to air.
When or if you turn the filter back on make sure to give it a good cleaning......
I would just do water changes daily and hold food as I posted earlier and not even use the medication, if no improvement is noted in 4-5 days of daily water changes you can do the epsom salt 1tsp/gal along with daily water changes, but I would just try the water changes first sometimes that is all that is needed IMO/E.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:44 PM   #7 
Divisible by Waffle
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I'm already noticing huge improvements, only six hours after the 50% water change. The swelling just below the pectoral fins has gone down as to be nonexistent, and though the side swelling is still present, it isn't as abnormal as it was before. His behavior has returned completely to normal. He's swimming all about, stretching his fins, and weaving through the plants.

He's still hanging out near the top of the tank most of the time, but he readily and easily follows my hand down to the bottom now. He even snuggled himself under a plant leaf by the bottom and had no problem staying there for a few minutes before needing a breath of air. At this point, I think he's just sticking around the top because that's where food comes from. Is it OK if I reduce the daily water changes to 20%, then reduce it to 20% every other day and keep it at that regimen? I like having a filter, just for peace of mind, and to give me some room for error in how much and how often I change the water out. I believe that chemical and mechanical filtration are important factors in keeping a tank clean and healthy, and are wonderful compliments to a booming population of beneficial bacteria.

Thank you very much for your support and advice. I should have thought of a 50% water change as the first thing to try, but I guess I wasn't reacting logically when I saw my fish bobbing at the top of the tank.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:03 PM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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IMO/E-regardless of filtration in that size tank 50% twice weekly water changes need to be made...you have to remove more than just waste from the tank...you have dissolved organic or DOC that have to be removed manually in a closed system. The filter will not take care of that...it is up to the hobbyist to be mother nature so-to-speak....lol.....
Freshwater fish need fresh water to thrive not just survive...to be a keeper of fish you must first be a keeper of water and it is easier to prevent issues than to treat...much less stressful on the fish and the keeper for that matter.......in my experience.........
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