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Old 01-22-2011, 07:02 PM   #1 
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Is it swim bladder, or something else?

I’m currently having a problem with one of my bettas who always seems to have something wrong with him. I’ve had him from about August, and since then he’s had one of his gills get stuck out after flaring, his tail melt right down (he's a crowntail) and various odd grey patches that disappear within hours of appearing.

However, right now, I’m thinking there’s some problem with his swim bladder. His spine is kinked and he sort of sinks tail first if he stops swimming. I tried feeding him a pea and some daphnia and then fasting him, but his stomach doesn’t remain distended (he’s obviously passing something) and I don’t think it is due to constipation. He’s currently sharing a 6 gallon tank with one of my other males, and I make sure to change out 90-100% of the water every two-three days.

The other male shows no sign of illness, and both of them have a healthy appetite. He still swims out, albeit rather uncomfortably, when he sees me, but it makes me feel a bit sick to watch. I have lowered the water level and he has several shallow areas where he can rest without needing to go up for air.

I read online that an Epsom salt bath can sometimes help in cases like these, and I was just wondering if a) this was true, and b) what kind of ratio of water to salt would I be looking at? I will more than likely be moving him into a smaller hospital tank if the addition of one more heater doesn't explode our fuse box.

I can also try and get pictures if it will help Oh and his tail has since grown back. It seems we have something in our water that melts them, even when I add blackwater extract, tannins from driftwood and keep the water meticulously clean.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:18 PM   #2 
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Isolate him now please,

I had a Betta splendens that had a similar problem and showed similar symptoms. Unfortunately for me I didn't know what it was, and then learned the hard way :(

Swim battler infections are bacterial infections that can (please correct me if I am wrong) can spread to other fish. Isolate the infected fish into a smaller container with plants that he can rest on so that he will be nearer the surface, and wont have to swim far to breath.

As for treatments, I might try feeding some anti-bacterial medicine/medicated food to the sick fish, but make sure that you do some more research here (or on the net) on swim bladder infections. The more you know about what you are dealing with, the better the chances your fishy friend will recover soon :)

As for the pre-bladder infection symptoms I am at a loss, and I don't know much about the salt. It might to wait for someone else to reply for those topics. It is always good to have a second opinion.

Good luck :)
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:33 PM   #3 
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Poor fella....the kinked spine make me think either nutrition/vitamin/mineral issue or fish TB (not human TB, however, one that humans can get from fish in the forum of sores on the hands/arm..very don't worry...just wash hand well unless you are immune compromised yourself)

QT the fish and float the fish and small QT container in the heated tank...attach the QT to the side of the heated tank so it doesn't sink or get knocked around by the filter

Google fish TB and see if it fits if so-I would euthanize...if not and you think it is related to swim bladder...Epsom salt will help....

Pre-mix the treatment water: use a 1gal jug and fill with dechlorinated water and add 1tsp/gal of Epsom salt and use this water for 100% daily water changes for 2 days....on day 3 increase the Epsom salt to 2tsp/gal along with the 100% daily water changes for 7 more day to total a 10 day treatment...
*pre-mixing the water help make the needed daily water changes and correct dosage easier....

I would also cover the top of the QT container with plastic veggie wrap to help keep the air above the water warm and humid for the labyrinth organ

You can also add tannins to the 1gal jug of Epsom salt treatment water.

If this is nutrition or mineral depletion related-you may need to get a vitamin/mineral supplement to add to his food or water....especially if you have soft water and/or use either distilled water, bottled water or R/O/D/I water.

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 01-22-2011 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:59 PM   #4 
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Thanks for the suggestions you guys. I will go and isolate him now. The kinked spine made me think fish TB, but none of the other symptoms really fit. Aside from the spine and inability to swim properly he looks otherwise fine. He even managed to catch some live larvae I put in there the other night.

The man at the LFS thought it might have been some kind of nutrient deficiency as well, but he gets fed frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia and live mosquito larvae plus any flying insects I catch out in the yard. Everyone else is on the same diet and they are all doing great.

I think for now, I'll try the epsom salt, and just watch for any signs of bloating. If it gets any worse or he looks like he's suffering I will euthanize him. I have done it before and I would rather that then let him linger in pain. Hopefully even if it doesn't get cured it will just be a slight inconvenience for him and not completely debilitating.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:26 PM   #5 
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Thankfully the power held with the addition of another heater. I have moved him out into a shallow 1 gallon quarantine tank with Gladwrap over the top of it to keep the humidity in. I added some blackwater extract to it, and have moved my collection of semi-dried oak leaves into the sun to see if I can speed up their drying process and use in his tank.

Here's some photos of him so that you can see what I mean by his kinked spine and swollen-looking swim bladder. He was a bit paler than normal because I had to chase him every which way around the tank trying to cup him.

Bacchus meanwhile is enjoying the 6 gallons he has to himself and when I went down before he had built a little bubble nest in the corner. He's now waiting for me to fill up the tank and put everything back in it.

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