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Old 05-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2011
Unhappy Betta became Ill with New Home

What size is your tank? 2.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 76 - 78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta Bio-Gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 Pellets every other day


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? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I took a water sample to Petco and they said all the levels were within normal ranges, I didn't ask for the stats unfortunately.


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Split tail fin, loss of color, his back right side is pouched out a little, like there is a lump under his skin. This does not look like dropsy, since its not his rib cage that's bulging slightly, and he doesn't have the pine cone appearance.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Just floating at the top, not really moving. Today he wasn't able to swallow his pellets like he used to be able to.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? The visual symptoms just started today, but the floating doing nothing started as soon as I got him his new home last Monday.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I've just added nitrifying bacteria to the tank to help just in case.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Just bought him, so I don't know.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Just purchased from Petco.

Hi there,

I purchased a Betta, and after reading about them I bought him a 2.5 gallon home with a heater. The day after I put him in his new home he took ill! I treated the water, so this shouldn't be an issue. I took a sample of the water to Petco for them to test, and they said that all the ranges were within normal. I bought some Microbe-Lift products to help start bacteria and then the one specific for nitrifying bacteria just in case.

But this morning I came in and his tail fin is split, and he can't seem to swallow any food like he used to be able to. His back right side is stuck out, like he has a lump under his skin, so I thought it might be swim bladder decease but the pictures of fish with it don't seem to match my fish. He doesn't have ich, and I don't see any other parasites on him.

Is there anything I can look for, what can I do to help him?

Thank you!
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:54 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
In a filtered 2.5g, you should be making two 50% water changes a week. Also, you can feed your betta 2-3 pellets a day, not every other day :P I've got no idea what his condition is, a picture would probably help people identify it. :)
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:02 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the forum and sorry you are having problems.....

How did you acclimate him to the new tank water from the pet shop water....
What is the source water...tap with dechlorinator, well water...etc.....
What kind and how much dechlorinator are you using...

Right now I would start by making 50% daily water changes for 3 days and dose the dechlorinator for the full volume of the tank not just the amount of replacement water......and see if this will perk him up and to get all the products out except for the dechlorinator.....

In a 2.5gal filtered tank I would make twice weekly 50% water changes...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include substrate cleaning to maintain water quality.....

Filter media needs a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month.....

A 2.5 gal filtered tank will establish a nitrogen cycle, however, due to the lack of surface area they can't colonize enough of the good bacteria for a stable nitrogen cycle and the cycle products are not needed since you need to make at least twice weekly water changes anyway for water quality...
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:38 PM   #4 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Philadelphia
Sorry i did post the same time as Oldfishlasy but she knows better so i just earased mine :) I am glad Oldfish lady helping.

Last edited by ANHEL123; 05-23-2011 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:49 PM   #5 
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Join Date: May 2011
Betta looking better

Hi there,

In response to your questions:

How did you acclimate him to the new tank water from the pet shop water:
I placed him in a bag and let him float for two hours in the tank, then put him in.

What is the source water:
Tap water

What kind and how much dechlorinator are you using:
I used NutraFin Betta Plus - using the correct mL per gallon that was on the package.

I have been doing the water changes as you instructed and today is the third day - and he has perked up. I added some aquarium salt, since I read it can help and I think it has. He is actually swimming around. The buldge on his side has lessened, but its still there. I tried giving him a pea, but as soon as it sank he lost interest.

The main issue that remains is he having trouble eating. He tries and he tries, but he can't swallow the pellets or flakes. He gets it in his mouth, gulps a few times, then lets the food go. Wait and see? What does this sound like?

Thank you!
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:08 PM   #6 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Good that he is starting to improve for you....I would continue with the frequent water changes and get the salt out of the display tank within 10 days.....long term salt is not needed for this species of fish...

On the dechlorinator make sure you are using the correct amount for both chlorine and chloramines if both are used in your local water supply...some dechlorinators suggest using double dose with chloramines...this should be on the label....

Feeding-since he is willing to eat but can't...I would look at getting a different brand of food...try frozen not freeze dried and live food like mosquito larva......

The bump-what is its exact location....if it is toward the base of the tail it could be the caudal peduncle and normal, if it is more mid body and on one side it could be a tumor, if it is under/around the upper body/head/vent area-that is the stomach and the location of most of the internal organs...a clear pic of the area would help.....

When you acclimate a new fish be sure and acclimate to both water temp and chemistry by adding small amount of tank water in the holding container over 20-30 sure to not add any of the pet shop water to the tank.

Keep us posted.....
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #7 
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Join Date: May 2011
Fish food

Thank you for helping me out .

The bump is towards the base of his body almost to the tail. I only have a cell phone pic, and with the lighting you really can't tell whats what. Take a look at this diagram:
The lump goes all the way back along the area marked "Swim Bladder" in that picture. Also, the raised area is raised from his tail and then blends in with his torso naturally. The only reason I say its a bump is that it didn't look like that when I got him - if I hadn't seen a change I wouldn't have noticed it at all now. But it has improved, so I am hoping it is just constipation.

Thanks for the tip on how to acclimate the water - I never thought about the chemical levels.

How long can a Betta go without eating? I will get him some live food, but he just can't seem to swallow anything. Not even tiny specks of flake food. They just get spit back out.

Thank you, Liz
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:38 PM   #8 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
The lump is most likely the caudal peduncle and you are seeing it better now due to weight/muscle loss....

Not being able to swallow even flakes.....he could have a blockage, swelling...lets hope not...lets hope he is just in the adjustment phase and this will improve with time........they can go awhile without food, however, its not recommended........hence your worry......

You got him on the you have had him for about a week or so....right......I would give him a good 10 day to 2 weeks unless he start to get lethargic or seems to be in a weakened state......

Then I would QT him in a small container that can be floated in the heated tank to maintain a water temp in the 76-77F range and cover it with plastic veggie wrap to retain the heat and humidity for the labyrinth organ and start Epsom salt 1tsp/gal along with 100% daily water changes for 2 days and on day 3 increase the Epsom salt 2tsp/gal along with the 100% daily water changes to complete a full 10 day treatment....this will help edema or swelling if that is the reason he can't swallow...but I would wait and give him at least 10 days and try live food first, however, I would go ahead and cover the top of the tank with something to keep the air above the water warm and could be a cold of sorts from too cool/dry air above the water......
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