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Old 10-11-2010, 08:01 PM   #1 
bettacanada
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Help diagnosing sick Betta

My Betta, a little guy I've had since March of this year, has seemed sick for the past month or so. He's normally been a pretty low-key fish, but lately he's been even more inactive than usual: lying on the bottom or top of the bowl, clamped fins, not eating (very unusual for him), or on the other hand, darting around suddenly.

His physical appearance seems normal (no popeye, cotton, ich, dropsy, velvet or anything else that I can see), with the exception of one slightly swollen light patch near his tail (visible in the attached photo) that has remained unchanged for about a month. Could this be a mild parasite or bacterial infection, and if so, how would best be treated? On the other hand, he's still making bubble nests (as you can see in the photo), so who knows!

He's kept alone in a large bowl (~3 L) with the water changed twice per week and treated with a dechlorinator and stress coat. Unfortunately no local fish store carries PH test kits, so I don't know what the water parameters are. As well, the water is not as warm as I'd like - I haven't yet found a heater to fit the bowl, but I suspect it's around 21 Celsius (room temperature). He's fed once daily with a mix of flakes and freeze-dried blood worms.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:46 PM   #2 
SilverCaracal
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I can't tell what's wrong. I would raise the temperature to 25 Celsius and do a 100% water change.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:12 PM   #3 
Adastra
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Filling out the answers to the questions in this form: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233 would help us make a more accurate diagnosis of the problem. Right off, he does seem to have a very angry looking swim bladder..
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:34 PM   #4 
bettacanada
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Of course, sorry - here are the details:

What size is your tank? Approx. 1.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? room temp - ~21 degrees C
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? flake food with freeze-dried blood worms
How often do you feed your betta fish? once daily

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? twice weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? De-chlorinator and stress coat

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No kit available

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? swollen swim bladder, slight discolouration
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? lethargic, resting on bottom/top of tank, not eating, occasional darting
When did you start noticing the symptoms? a month ago, but has worsened
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes - fed inside of cooked peas, fasted 3 days, only change was that he went from resting on the bottom of the tank to the top - and he appears to struggle to sink, with his tail end buoying him up
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Got him in March - 8 months ago. Unknown age when purchased.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:51 PM   #5 
Adastra
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I would bump up your water changing schedule to a 100% change every two days and definitely get a heater as soon as possible. 21C is roughly 70F, which is a completely unacceptable temperature to keep a betta in permanently. It is why he is lethargic, sickly, and clampy, and it is probably the root of his swim bladder problem as well.

Make sure you get a 25 watt heater with an adjustable temperature dial. Do not bother with the cheaper mini-heaters, heater pads, or preset heaters because they will not work in your situation. They will not get the water warm enough to reach the ideal temperature range for tropical fish like bettas, so make sure that the heater you get has an adjustable temperature dial like this one: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...8&pcatid=11368

He may benefit from more items added to the surface of the water so that he feels less vulnerable and can keep the top of his body fully submerged. For instance, I use the cut out center of a paper plate and float it on the surface of the water. It gives them something to hide under but still be close to the surface to make breathing easier.

Last edited by Adastra; 10-11-2010 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:26 PM   #6 
bettacanada
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Thanks. Went out today and got a 25 watt adjustable heater and thermometer which I will put in tonight.

He seems to be a bit better today, hiding out in his usual cave on the bottom rather than floating on top.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:57 AM   #7 
Adastra
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Remember to adjust the temperature up to 80 very slowly--only a degree every couple of hours.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:45 PM   #8 
bettacanada
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Did a 100% water change and him in, with the temp up to 26. At first he seemed more active and happier, and I left him for the day with a stable temperature. It had gotten up to 28 when I got home, and he seemed distressed - lying in his cave with gills gasping. He's still getting up to breathe from the surface periodically, but clearly something is off. I turned the heater down a bit to bring it back to 26 right away, but he's still hiding out.

I'm also concerned since it's now been 5 days since I've been able to get him to eat anything. Are there any tips to get an ill betta eating?
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