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Old 01-06-2011, 02:54 AM   #1 
soccerdog693
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I think Xander is constipated!!!

Xander (male crowntail) hasn't eaten any pellets since I got him last friday. He's had two feedings of brine shrimp because it's been the only thing I could get him to eat. (probably a bad idea in retrospect). Now I think he's constipated! His belly seems a bit swollen to me, and the bottom of his belly has turned a white/gold color. Not a fungas/velvet "fuzzy" look, it looks more like his scales are just paling. He also does nothing but hang out at the top of the aquarium and appears to have trouble swimming down. He's been fasting for two days and I tried to give him some pea but he would have nothing to do with it. I heard somewhere epsom salt might help? Has anyone had success?

Ack, what do I do? I'm a new betta owner and I really don't want him to die!

Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5 gall
What temperature is your tank? 76-80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes, but I just turned it off as he couldn't swim up to get air with it on
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? just brine shrimp, can't get him to eat pellets, have only had him a week
How often do you feed your betta fish? once last friday, and once sunday

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? almost every day, for some reason ammonia gets high fast
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 20%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? aquarium salt and conditioner

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

Ammonia: never above .5 ppm
Nitrite: ?
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.6 (I know it's high, but I have well water and can't get it down)
Hardness: ?
Alkalinity: ?

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? bloated belly and paling in color on his belly
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? yes, he is listless and hangs out at the top of the aquarium
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? tried giving him pea, but he wouldn't touch it
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I've only had him a week, so I have no idea
How old is your fish (approximately)? Young I think
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:33 AM   #2 
BettaCavy
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Sounds like bloating. I've also heard epsom salts work, but you ABSOLUTELY should not feed your Betta peas, it can kill them.

What kind of brine shrimp did you feed him? If they were freeze-dried and you did not rehydrate them first, it's possible that may be causing the bloat because they could have expanded in his stomach.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:36 AM   #3 
BettaCavy
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oh also, instead of doing a partial water change every day, it might help you and your fish to go ahead and do 100% every few days and see how that works with the ammonia--if you're changing 20% every day, when you change the water on Tuesday you'll be getting some of the dirty water, fair enough, but you're also taking out some of the cleaner water you added Monday.

Some people warn against using aquarium salts on a regular basis as well, although some think it's a fair preventative against parasites.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:33 AM   #4 
soccerdog693
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Thanks for the advice. Betta peas? Do you mean betta pellets?

The brine shrimp were frozen - not freeze dried.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:41 AM   #5 
BettaCavy
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No, in your post you mentioned that you tried to give him pea? That's very dangerous, it can lead to worse problems/death. :-\

Frozen brine shrimp are much better for him than freeze dried (and less dangerous) so good choice! How much did you give him? He could simply have eaten too much.

You mention that your tank is from 76-80 degrees--is that just the vague range you know, or does it actually vary that much? Betta need stable temperature.

Here is a link to an older post about how to use epsom salts to help your fish out.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:42 PM   #6 
soccerdog693
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the pea is bad? Every thing I saw on the internet said that after two days of fasting try a little pea...

The range actually varies that much - I can't figure out how to keep it stable! The heater I have is supposed to keep it at 78 degrees, but with the lamp on it goes up to just below 80 and at night (lamp off) it can get pretty close to 76.

He seems to have perked up a bit though and is able to swim better today. He still hangs around the top but doesn't have as much trouble getting to the bottom. He seems less bloated too.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:44 PM   #7 
BettaCavy
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Everything I've seen on this forum (check out the betta care board) has been very vehemently against peas. Do you have an adjustable heater? If so, I'd go ahead and adjust it so that the temp is 79 or 80 all the time. If not, I'd look into getting one.

Good to hear! Sometimes a little time can do the trick. :)
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:59 PM   #8 
soccerdog693
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Ok, good to know. Glad he didn't eat it!

Thanks for your help - I appreciate it a lot. It's nice being able to talk to people who know what they are doing.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:23 PM   #9 
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I've heard that daphnia is good for constipation, rather than resorting to peas. It can also just be a normal food. Peas work for other fish--that's probably why they're recommended sometimes--but bettas are carnivorous, and something about the plant matter isn't good for them.

If the filter's too strong, try putting a baffle on it. There's a thread on how to do that in the Habitat section (I think).

And 100% changes now and then (once a week-ish?) are good for small tanks like yours. At least, that's what I was told for my tiny tank.
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