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Old 04-10-2011, 01:32 AM   #1 
Ayarcee
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Help - SBD or something else??

Hello, I am a first-time betta owner, and have had my little guy since July. Thus far everything has been perfect, until I started noticing some changes in his behavior last week. See details below.

Housing

What size is your tank? 1/2 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 70 degrees
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, but kept near a window
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? he's the only fish in there

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta-Bio Gold pellets (4-5 pellets every other day) and Tetra freeze-dried bloodworms (1 on the non-pellet days)

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? once a week
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? API Tap Water Conditioner


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His belly (underneath front fins) is swollen
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? I noticed one night he seemed lethargic, his color was duller and he would not eat his food. I did a complete water change and also switched his plant out from a real one (that i thought might have some bad leaves) to a synthetic one and he seemed to be ok. I fed him the next day (Monday) and later noticed he was hanging out only at the top of his bowl and his belly seemed swollen. I stopped feeding him as I thought he had SBD. On Wednesday, I took out the synthetic plant and he immediately started swimming around more and having more energy. I also fed him part of a pea, which he ate. He is now dwelling more at the bottom of bowl, but is a lot more active earlier in the week. I saw that he went to the bathroom last night, but it was hanging out of him for a while, which I have never seen before. As he hasn't eaten since Wednesday, I tried to feed him a pea tonight and he spat it out. Belly is getting more swollen, even though he hasn't really eaten since Monday night.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 1 week ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Fed him a pea, changed plants, 2 water changes
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1 year

I don't really know if I am doing the right things for him. He seems to be in better spirits than he was earlier in the week, but he still won't eat and his belly looks more swollen. He tried eating the pea again and again, but kept spitting it out. I also tried with a pellet - same deal.

Any ideas if this sounds like it is still SBD or something else? He is swimming pretty well - actively around the bowl even when I'm not prompting him to move. But his stomach does not look normal - see attached pic.
Being that this is my first betta, not quite sure what I should or how fragile they are. But I am willing to do anything I can to keep my little dude happy/healthy!

Thanks in advance for your help
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:51 AM   #2 
Abby
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Aww poor bloke, hes got fin damage too. try a garlic soaked pellet Bettas can go without food for 12 days straight.

His bowl-tank is 1/2 gal (bettas are recommended *Around here* to have tank size of 2.5 gal minimum, you should be doing daily water changes of 25% - 50%
70 degrees is a tad cold, bettas prefer 76-82F (?)
hes prob a little lethargic due to the chilly water.

My 4 ray ct has a stomach a little like your guy and hes had it since jan when i got him no amount of fasting decreases it but hes never one to turn his nose up to dinner lol
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:13 AM   #3 
LolaQuigs
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Abby was correct about tank size and temperature, a bigger, warmer tank is really needed. But for now keep him in the half gallon, as it's a good quarantine container. If you can get him his larger tank asap, then you can get a heater and float his qt container in it. If you can't get a larger tank, at least find some kind of temporary container 2 gallons or larger (tanks smaller than two gallons are hard to heat); get a heater, put it in the new container, add water, plug in the heater, and float your fish's tank in it.

Peas aren't a natural thing for bettas to eat, if you can find daphnia (some pet stores and fish stores carry it) try feeding him that, it's a natural laxative.

I would do an epsom salt treatment for the bloating. Mix 1 tsp epsom salt per gallon of dechlorinated water for two days, then for eight days up it to two tsp per gallon, doing daily 100% water changes throughout treatment.

Once out of treatment, you should still be doing daily 100% water changes (minus the salt) in such a small container in order to maintain water quality. But this should only be a temporary situation, you need to get him AT LEAST one gallon, but like I said, 2 gallons and up are the size that can be reliably heated, so I really recommend that. There are some great 2.5 gallon kits out there.
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:53 AM   #4 
Ethan
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Is this a mixture of swimbladder disorder & finrot?
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:32 AM   #5 
Ayarcee
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Thanks all for your reply. I will go to the fish store and look for daphnia.
Re: espsom salts. Can that just be epsom salts I buy from CVS? And thanks for your direction Lola - should I do a full water change every day, or leave it for the first 2 days?

A note about his container. I had him in a larger container (i think it was 1.5 gal) for the first 2 weeks and he pretty much just hung out in one corner, and wanted nothing to do with rest of the tank. So I put him in a smaller bowl and he happily swam around the whole thing. But I will try it again.

The strange thing is that he is so much livelier now than he was last week when I first noticed the problem, even though his belly looks bigger to me. It might be because I took out his synthetic plant which he refused to go near, but he seems to be having no trouble swimming around now.

As far as finrot goes, i would feel awful if i gave him that! is there special medicine i can give him to keep his fins looking nice? i did look back at pictures i took when i first got him, and his tail was always jagged/uneven and had a discoloration on the second area of blue. It also always curled at the end, which I wasn't sure what that attributed from.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:22 AM   #6 
turtle10
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This definitely seems like a water quality issue, as well as diet. Once you start with the recommended water changes and cut back on the freeze dried foods, I am sure he will get better. Also, while you are at the fish store you should pick up some new pellets. Hikari isn't very good for bettas anymore. Look for a food that has at least 45% protein and that has sea food products as the first two ingredients.

And don't forget the heater and thermometer :)
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:36 AM   #7 
LolaQuigs
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He was probably lethargic in the 1.5 gallon because he was cold, cold water is the most common cause of lethargy in bettas. Do 100% water changes every day during treatment, yes epsom salts from the pharmacy are what you want, just make sure they don't have any additives like aloe or fragrance. Good water quality is all you need to keep his fins nice, so just make sure you keep up on water changes.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:12 AM   #8 
Ethan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle10 View Post
This definitely seems like a water quality issue, as well as diet. Once you start with the recommended water changes and cut back on the freeze dried foods, I am sure he will get better. Also, while you are at the fish store you should pick up some new pellets. Hikari isn't very good for bettas anymore. Look for a food that has at least 45% protein and that has sea food products as the first two ingredients.

And don't forget the heater and thermometer :)

Why not Hikari? I used to hear it was the best of he best or did they change the recipe?
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:19 AM   #9 
LolaQuigs
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Yeah, they changed their formula; now wheat is the first ingredient listed.
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