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Old 05-21-2011, 07:13 AM   #1 
GreenTea's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Vancouver, WA
Unhappy Lots of photos, please help me! I'm scared for all my boys.

Hey fellow betta lovers! I have a very serious concern here with photo documentation. I'm going to give an in depth coverage of the issue...Fair warning, sorry! =]

I have 4 males - 2 in heated 2.5 gallon tanks, and 2 in a divided 20 gal long tank - 10 gallons each. This problem is affecting all four of my beautiful boys and I'm very disturbed! I'm also wondering if this could be what has been making my knees and ankles hurt like hell...If there's lead or something in the water. They are all eating normall 3 - 8 small pellets a day (I have one giant plakat and vary their food with bloodworms occasionally, so it depends.)

I do a 50% water change once a week on the big tank as it's mostly unfiltered (for the reason I'm going to describe) and then 100% every two weeks or so. I filter each divided section for a few hours once or twice a week. The small tanks are unfiltered and get 100% changes (includes a cup or two of the old water) every 3 days, and always have. I use water conditioner and that's all to treat the water (so far).

THE ISSUE - I have recently moved into a new house, only a few miles away from my old place, but this new place is very old, in an old part of town. A few days ago, I noticed Brutus' stomach was HUGELY BLOATED, seemingly out of nowhere. This had never happened before. There are no live plants in his tank and I hadn't fed him yet. I put him in a hospital tank with no substrate so I could see his poop color and monitor him closely. However, no poop at all. The next morning his bloating was gone, he was acting normal, so he went back into his part of the tank.

A more recent addition to the family, Stupid Fish, (can explain later) has always looked a bit big in the stomach to me, but I also thought he might just have a whiter tummy area than Brutus, so I didn't worry. In the past couple days, Poseidons stomach also seemed a bit larger, but it's hard to tell on him because he's all white, and I thought maybe I fed him a bit too much...

Today after changing both small tanks water 100% and filtering the water in the large tank, Brutus and my MG stomachs were huge - stretched white. Poseidons stomach was bigger, and Stupid Fish also looked especially bloated. So, now I know for sure, IT'S THE WATER. ...Right? Nothing else about my routines or their environments have changed except for the water at this new house. It's been a few hours since the worst of it, but you can still see their stomachs and how bad it is. I have also noticed a few minor changes in the coloration of their faces and gills. Brutus' eyes seem to have a bit of a film on them towards the top and Poseidons gills seem redder.

I am going to take a sample of water from each of my taps and each of my tanks to be tested by this wonderful betta-informed Petco employee tomorrow, as I don't have any testing equipment here.

Has anyone experienced this? Any advice? The filter only seemed to agitate Brutus and make his stomach swell, he was fine before that all day. Now he is sitting on the bottom, fins clamped, tummy giant. Why would cleaning the water cause that? I would think it would help. Again, it's happening in the unfiltered water as well. One of my 2.5 gals has a live plant in it. The plant is doing great and has been with me in both the new place and the old place with no issue. Would using Brita filtered water be a good place to start until I can find out exactly what's wrong with the water? Regular water changes make things worse! =[

General support is also always appreciated, and a thanks if you made it all the way through this post! My fish are really important to me, please help!

Brutus ^

Stupid Fish ^

Poseidon ^

And my MG who still needs a name. ^

And no, none of them have fin rot, the 3 just have dark fin edging. There was a lot of flaring when the 20 gal was divided up 3 ways and a few have raggedy fins from it! Everyone's ok and healing, and it's only split two ways now, with the short finned guys, Brutus and Stupid Fish. =]

Thanks in advance guys, I'm really worried! The bloating seems to go down after about 6 hours but it still scares me and I know it can't be good.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:49 AM   #2 
Arashi Takamine
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I didn't realize bloating could look like that. Akira's always had a little bit of a big tummy since buying him but he wigs out whenever I try to fast him. He will manage to move gravel in search of food and it breaks my heart...

Maybe add some epsom salt to help them with the bloating? I heard that helps. If I recall correctly Pewpewpew did it with her HMDT.
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:54 AM   #3 
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if you suspect there are heavy metals or lead in your water, you could try using Stress Coat as a water conditioner. It neutralizes the heavy metals.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:32 PM   #4 
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I don't know what would cause this. Can heavy metals do this? I don't want to add salt if they're already sick from whatevers in the water, I don't think normal bloat treatment would apply here. I'll get my water tested today and see what they have to say about it.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:56 PM   #5 
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You can try switching them to spring water and see if that alleviates the problem... Do you know what type of plumbing you have? What kind of metal are the pipes made of? If you leave the water out in a cup for a few hours does it turn yellow/orange? Have the petco person check the salinity too if you can...
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:30 PM   #6 
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By the pics...their tummy look like normal full stomach and since it resolves on its own after time and normal digestion...I wouldn't call it bloat but full tummy/stomach....

With bloat you will have other symptoms and by your post they do have other symptoms but I don't think the two go together per se....

It could be heavy metals in the water from old pipes-usually the symptoms from heavy metals....the fish wants out of the water...they glass surf, run the walls, jumping up the sides, flashing because the metals make them feel itchy or they will clamp the fins, become lethargic, hide, stay in corners, rest on the bottom....symptoms can vary from fish to fish and from the amount and type of metals in the water.

Make sure and let the water run for a few minutes to clear the pipes and don't use any water from the hot water side-warm it by boiling or nuking etc....

I would also find a dechlorinator that covers heavy metals and be sure to dose it based on the full volume of the tank not just the volume of water you replace as a general rule.

It would also be good to find out the hardness with a KH/GH test and pH test along with a 24h degas on the pH to see what the CO2 content is

I would draw a clean glass of water and let it sit over night and see if you can see anything physically in the water too.

If you are not running the filter 24/7-the bacteria in it will start to die in about 6 hours and this decay/decomp is high in ammonia and every time you turn the filter back on you can be flooding the tank with sure and empty the filter box and rinse the filter media really good before you turn it back on or leave it running all the time or just remove it all together......

On the 20gal tank without a filter and only 2 Bettas-50% weekly should maintain water quality with a 100% every couple of months or so....unless you have lots of live plants or higher bioload....
On the 2.5gal unfiltered-I would add a 50% water only along with your 100% weekly water changes to maintain water quality...unless you have lots of live plants then I wouldn't do any 100%...just twice weekly 50%...this also depends on the number and species of plants...they are not all the same when it comes to filtering the water to make it fish safe....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 05-21-2011 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:53 PM   #7 
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Thanks for your input all.

OFL - I hadn't fed them! I did this specifically to see if it was the water and fasted them for a day before. The only thing I've seen close to this was on Brutus when I was using a large, cheaper pellet and giving him 2 at a time, and it wasn't even close. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

Brutus does rest on the bottom when he's all swollen and has trouble breathing. My MG sometimes rubs himself on gravel or swims jerkily...I have to go to work now, so I guess I can't get the water tested today, but I will.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #8 
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Until a week ago I had always used distilled water because I never trusted tap. being on this forum changed my ways though (it's also cheaper using tap and easier since I don't have to carry the water up my stairs).

I would transfer the fish (carefully and slowly) to a bottled water until you know whats wrong with the tap. Since I had always used distilled I can't recommend any other types... except I guess the Betta water but it comes in small containers and is expensive.

Last edited by copperarabian; 05-21-2011 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:53 PM   #9 
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3-8 pellets a day seems like a bit much to me...I would try cutting down a bit to 3-4 a day and fasting once a week...I have had a similar problem with my one fish...Even if I only feed him 2 pellets...I have to feed him one pellet at a I feed him 3 times a day 1 pellet each time... have you tried to baffle the filter in the 20 gallon? Sometimes the filter current can stress bettas.I baffle my filters by rubberbanding an aquarium sponge infront of the outake.
Hope your fish feel better! They are beautiful! :)
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:32 AM   #10 
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Thanks LBF =] I adore them. I saw an awesome 100% light yellow betta with blue eyes at a Petco near my house and was only able to put him down after remembering I have these great 4 to take care of..

The pellets are very small. They're new life spectrum betta pellets and are about 1/4 the size most other pellets I've seen, and all of these guys were super happy, healthy and active before. The water seems to be the only changing factor. Sometimes I feed them a few pellets once a day, other times I split it into two. I try to vary their diet.

I haven't tried baffling my filter but I want to, do you know of any tutorials? The sponge idea sounds like a good one..Since the tank is divided I had been putting a fish in what's now my hospital tank, filtering that side for a few hours, then putting him back, and repeating with the other side so that they didn't have the current to deal with so much. I guess the current could be stressing out the fish on the other side of the divider, but they don't seem to have any issue with it. (No stripes or jumping or anything?)
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