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Old 06-16-2011, 03:55 AM   #1 
LittleBettaFish's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Severe Constipation

I've been having problems with my plakat male recently. He has bloated up around his stomach area, but doesn't show any symptoms of dropsy. I think he is just severely constipated, but have no clue as to how to get him to pass the blockage.

What size is your tank? 15 gallons (now in 1 gallon hospital tank)
What temperature is your tank? 77-79 Fahrenheit
Does your tank have a filter? No (15 gallon tank does)
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes, hospital and 20 gallon tank are both heated
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 20 gallon is divided with one female betta as a tank mate

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, live brine shrimp, live mosquito larvae, live insects, NLS pre-soaked pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once every day, sometimes skip a day here and there


How often do you perform a water change? Every day (hospital tank) Every three-four days (15 gallon)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% (hospital tank) 25-30% (15 gallon)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime water conditioner

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

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5-10ppm
pH: 6.5ish
Hardness: -
Alkalinity: -

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His stomach is hugely distended (looks like he swallowed a marble from above), and he hasnít passed anything for about a week or so now. Iíve also noticed he has either bitten his tail or has come down with fin rot.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? It hasnít. He swims around everywhere, greets me when I look in his tank, and was flaring at the male in the tank over this morning.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? About a week or so ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? So far heís been fasted, dewormed with levasimole, had Epsom salts added to his water, and been given a couple of pieces of frozen pea. Next step is some frozen daphnia when I can pick some up at my LFS.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? This has happened once before, it went away on its own after a couple of weeks.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I have owned him for six months, and he would have to be at least six months to a year old when I got him.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:00 AM   #2 
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There's a difference between bloating due to constipation and that due to dropsy.
If the bloating is clearly visible from the top, like in this case:

then, chances are that it is dropsy.
Most times, pineconing precedes bloating, but I have read cases where betta's bloat first and then their scales start sticking out later.

Keep him quarantined. Maintain optimum water quality.
Don't keep any gravel in the tank, so you can see if he poops and the bloating reduces.
I suggest fasting for a day or two.
Also, I suggest not adding salt to the water.
Keep temperature at 82-84.
Also, keep a mirror (a small one) in front of him and let him flare and swim around. If he is constipated, this will help him poop.
Watch for any other abnormal appearence/bheaviour.
Keep us posted.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:45 AM   #3 
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Yeah my first thought was dropsy (ironically one of my other bettas has come down with that so at the moment my bedroom looks like a fish hospital). However, there's no pineconing, and his behaviour hasn't changed from his usual active self. At the moment his tank is bare-bottomed and I've been flaring him for five or so minutes every day to try and get something to happen.

So far he's been fasted for a week, which is why I think he started tail-biting. He was watching me feed my dropsy betta some live brine shrimp (may as well go out on a full stomach) and was getting very indignant as to why he wasn't being fed too. At the moment, I just wish he would pass anything. He looks like a betta blimp.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:00 AM   #4 
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I can understand that you feel bad, but betta's can go without food for a week or two, so don't worry.
Just keep up the attempts, I'm sure he will poop soon.
And if he doesn't poop within another few days, I'm quite sure that it's not constipation then.
Understand this: the odds of a betta that is kept away from live food contracting dropsy is nearly nil.
Just my opinion.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:26 AM   #5 
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Well still no luck with getting my constipated male to pass anything. I don't think what you are saying about dropsy and live foods is true. All my bettas are fed the same diet, and some of my wild bettas only take live foods. So far the only deaths I've had have been one or two jumpers, a tumour, and a fast-spreading case of columnaris.

However with that said, my dropsy betta has done several stringy poos and there's a long worm of some kind on the bottom of his hospital tank. His stomach looks less bloated, and he was guarding a bubble-nest he'd built over in the corner when I got home from work.

So I'm going to try de-worming my constipated male once more just in case he has a bad infestation. After that, it's onto daphnia and more fasting. Hopefully he doesn't explode in the meantime
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