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Old 04-28-2011, 04:42 PM   #1 
fosschick
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Mystery Bloat/Malawi Bloat/Mycobacteria

Perhaps more prevalent in bettas than we're led to believe? After hours of searching and reading, I finally sat down and read this post (from another site) in its entirety: "Mystery Bloat" Demystified? - UltimateBettas

How many threads are started in here about a "swollen" or "bloated" betta and the asker told to fast their fish to no avail? What can I do to help identify the specific conditions for Myco in bettas, aside from offering my own pictures of my poor bloated fish? I fear it's too late to start GelTek's Ampicillin medicated food, as my fish seems so happy, despite the enormous marble-sized lump on his belly; I'd hate to destroy what's left of his kidneys. But if there's anything I can do help not just my bloated betta, but others as well, I'm willing to do it. When we get to that point, perhaps a necropsy will be beneficial.

Pictures, tank information, water levels, etc. for my specific fish can be found in this thread: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/b...en-sign-68050/

What's the point of this post? Here is a serious issue that has been going on for YEARS with essentially, no resolution. Fish are suffering for it, not just from being bloated and possibly infected by bacteria, but from the stress we're putting them through, though well-intentioned, to try and treat something we don't understand.

Any thoughts? Has this been discussed before? Are we still convinced that EVERYONE with a bloated betta is overfeeding it processed foods?
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:42 PM   #2 
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It's interesting. This is the problem with owning fish. We're not vets. Any of us. We don't KNOW. We can't know what's ultimately wrong. We can just go with what we've read or what we've experienced.

I wish there was a fish vet on every corner. Most of us are left with the difficult chore of diagnosing our own fish and trying to help other people diagnose theirs. Me? I'll try anything. I'm not shy about meds if the fish is looking like he's on death's doorstep anyway. But generally they have to be pretty far gone for that. Especially if I don't know what I'm trying to treat.

At least with this bloat, we have another option to think of. So thanks for posting this. I'll keep it in mind when I see pictures of bloat. And I think you have to make your own choice about trying meds. It might work, it might not. It's really a crap shoot with our fishy friends when it's not something obvious we can point at and say "Ich!". :(

I've lost over half of my 8 Endler's to something that I can't see. They look fine. They still clamp up and die. I can't medicate for something I can't see. A lot of us are left like that. I hope you find an answer.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:53 PM   #3 
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What Vaygirl said... and...

Education is key, and forums like this help educate Aquarists (many of whom are new to this hobby).

Bloat can be a sign of many illness (as you know)... it's important to triage each illness on a case by case basis, doing no harm in the process. That's what a vet or doctor would do.

So, the reason you see fasting regularly reccomended on the board so often is it is often part of the triage process. New aquarists, who try to help, often suggest this because they've heard it before. But the quality of information and who is giving it vary... this is the internet and literally ANYONE (from children through adults, educated or not) will be doling it out.

Once you've triaged and eliminated the obvious (from your other thread, I saw that you had), it's time to look at other causes: parasites, bacteria, and the rest. Even doctors have to go through this. They however have studied their subjects well and have the advantage of diagnostic tools that we do not.
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:45 AM   #4 
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Thank you both for reading my rant, and offering your input. Fish are so incredibly hard to diagnose when they're sick (especially a "bloated betta" which is so common and potentially caused by so many things). I'm glad that we have forums like these so I can gain wisdom from so many experienced pet owners. Of course fasting makes sense as a good triaging step. I'm sorry for implying that it wasn't. :( Guess I just needed to shout from the rooftops about my frustration, and this seemed better than starting yet another thread entitled, "HELP!!!!!!!". ;)

I also did want to discuss all of the possible causes for this common ailment, and then perhaps add a sticky to include them? Maybe something like, "Did you ever figure out what caused your betta to bloat?" Straight to the point. Maybe this information is on here somewhere, and I just need to search for it. I still think it would be a good idea to add it to a central location, given how common this is. Even if we get 50 different answers.

I have to admit that even though he's still bloated, he's still much better off today than he was when I got him, thanks to this forum. He has a much better diet which truly shows in his colors and fins, and an owner who now understands him better. :)
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:45 PM   #5 
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I'm glad he's feeling better! I really hope he sails through this. In that other post, I did see one story of a fish who got better. Maybe he'll be strong enough to pull through. Sometimes that's all we can hope for. I'm hoping for the best for him.

I do think it would be a good sticky. It's one of the most common things we see. I did see the difference in the pictures of the way your fish is bloated and the way a constipated fish looks. Maybe we should ask for pictures in the bloat cases? It might help.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:48 PM   #6 
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I agree. A bloat sticky would be great. Agreed, there are many causes of bloat... a process of triage/elimination (easy enough for someone new to fish/bettas to follow) would be very helpful.
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