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Old 05-14-2011, 09:13 PM   #1 
kingferdie
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Join Date: May 2011
Swim Bladder Disease - NOT going away.

My fish, King Ferdinand (or Ferdie as I affectionately call him) has swim bladder disease. I noticed it last week when I tapped the top of his almost 3 gallon bowl to let him know it was feeding time -- he was swimming on his side at the bottom of the tank frantically. He was having a hard time getting to the top for air, so I put him in a smaller container in about 4" of water so he wouldn't have to fight so hard to reach the surface. I did a water change, and set up things so the smaller container sits in the water of his bowl (that way the temperature is still regulated by the heater).

Right now the temperature of the water is at 77 degrees. I do not know of the ammonia, nitrate, etc. levels in the water, but I do treat the water with BettaSafe water conditioner according to the directions. I thought maybe constipation was the problem, so I tried the old pea trick. I got him to eat the pea bits, and he seemed to slightly improve for a couple of days (though he still was exhibiting signs of being a weak swimmer, and his spine is still kinked in the shape of an 'S'), but he's gotten worse again -- now completely on his side at the top of his tank, but still alive. He can still swim, but it seems like it's with great effort, and he always ends up back in the same position.

I read somewhere about adding a small amount of simple salt to the water in addition to water conditioner to help treat swim bladder disease in a pinch, but I was a little skeptical.

The final option is antibiotics, but if I have to go that route, I was hoping someone could suggest a good one that worked for them in a similar situation.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:57 PM   #2 
Canuck Fins
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To give us a better idea of your fish's conditions, can you fill out as much of this as possible...

Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?

Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:20 PM   #3 
kingferdie
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Join Date: May 2011
I feed him pellets. Occasionally freeze-dried bloodworms.

I try to do a full change of water once a week.

No tank mates.

I got him about 6 months ago.

Otherwise, I've answered all of those questions (that apply) in my original post.
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:13 PM   #4 
LolaQuigs
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Location: MO
How many pellets, and how often do you feed them? Swim bladder issues result from constipation/bloat, so you may want to cut back on how much you feed, and it also helps to fast him one day a week.

To treat his current SBD, add 1 tsp per gallon of epsom salt (not aquarium salt) for two days, then increase it to 2 tsp/g for eight days, doing daily 100% water changes throughout treatment. Keeping him in the small container will make all those water changes easier...just premix the salt solution in a clean gallon jug or bucket. And keep floating the qt container in his main tank so that he will stay warm.

Once he's out of treatment I recommend adding a 50% water change every week to the 100% one you already do. Ammonia builds fast in small tanks, and clean water is so important to a healthy fish.
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