I need some help figuring out what the diagnosis is with my poor Betta Lazuli. I am certain it's SBD, but not sure of the cause.
What size is your tank? 2 gal, currently only half filled
What temperature is your tank? 74F
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari baby pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 4 times a day the first week, 1 pellet each time (cut in half) (pooped every morning). But for last week, had fasted, fed blanched pea (hated it), then back to pellets, 3-4 times a day but only half a pellet each time.
How often do you perform a water change? 2x a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra AquaSoft
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Since I bought him 2 weeks ago, remained on surface at all times, appeared to have bulges by the peduncle on both sides
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Not much change, floats on surface, but still eager to eat and poop the first week with 4 pellets a day.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? since I bought him, didn't think much of it, thought he only wanted attention and food.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? started on second week:
1) added Tetra Medica General Tonic (did not have other options) instruction to leave it for 5 days
2) fasted him first day
3) next day fed him pea, ate only twice, the size of the hikari pellet
4) pooped brown and pale color poo
5) attempted to swim toward bottom started 2nd day of treatment (never seen that before)
6) on 6th day, changed 100% water, added Aquasafe, and 2 tsp dissolved ES in it, water to be changed daily with ES.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Do not know, but really disgusting living condition in pet store.
How old is your fish (approximately)? not sure, young? small size with shortish fins compared to my other one bought at same place same time.
It bothers me to see him like this. I had come home before to find him wedged between the glass and a small mason jar to take naps for the past 2 days. Last night, after he slept, I observed him and felt real bad. He was just leaning on the thermometer to sleep, and after a while, he would list side way and then jerked awake and reposition himself again. So now I raised his silicon plant to the top so hopefully he can lay on it when he sleeps, now he enjoys wallowing in it. Other than this problem, he eats, poops, listens to commands (I think he does lol). This morning, he hadn't pooped, so every time I go by, I said, no poop no food! 2 hours later, nice poop!
Please let me know if there is anything I haven't done or can do to improve his condition. I understand that this is a common condition, but if not treated on time, they can lose the function of their SB altogether and become a chronic for the rest of their lives.
I have attached a few photos, sorry I do not know how to add caption to them.
He's very handsome, beautiful color with some nice iridescence. Is he a delta tail?
Does Lazuli ever try to swim down to the bottom? Some bettas are definite top layer fish, some aren't. If Lazuli tries to swim down but floats back up or can't even get more than his head down, I'd definitely say SBD. If not, I have to wonder if he simply likes being up at the top. Usually with SBD, they literally CAN'T go up or down. My HM had a sudden SBD issue where he could not swim down no matter how hard he tried. Since he liked being on the bottom, he started panicking and trying even harder, getting himself all worked up. Other bettas with SBD lay on the bottom and can barely manage to reach the surface to breathe, with their little pelvic fins fluttering away like mad.
One thing I would definitely recommend is a heater. 74 degrees is a little cold for a betta; in general, they like their temperatures around 78-80 degrees. He may be hanging out at the top because it's slightly warmer there (the surface water receiving some warmth from the air above). Also, the temperature may have affected his ability to control his swimbladder because, when a fish is too cold, he expends all his energy just to breathe and stay alive. Lazuli may not have energy to control his swimbladder as much. Just a theory, but one worth thinking about.
Since he seems to be pooping regularly, it doesn't seem like constipation and he's not bloated, which is good. Try raising his temp and see if that helps things. If not, continue with the epsom salts for another few days. I don't know anything about the Tetra meds but if you feel comfortable using them to treat him, by all means continue. I hope Lazuli gets better soon. It's not nice of him to worry you like this. :p
Thanks very much for your reply! I honestly have no idea what he is, I have search online for some identification but not one has his exact type of tail. The guys at the LFS didn't even know these are called Bettas! (possibly language barrier issue) So no help even identifying them. But I don't think he is any fancy type, he is just fancy to me :)
Yes, in the second week while he was soaking in the General Tonic bath, he did try to swim down. Since then, he has been trying to swim down, sometimes just making a lot of ripples by paddling like crazy but to no avail, and other times succeeded. You can see on the 4th picture, he was trying, his head is down, and his tail is bent. When he is down and is not moving fast, he would pop up like a cork. So he would try to swim and complete a big round before slowly coming up.
Yes, I had thought about the temp as well. I tried to look for one, unfortunately the LFS here don't sell small size water heaters. That is currently my living room temperature, and I can't make it any higher as we can't stand heat, it used to be only 70F, we had to compromise but obviously not enough (It's 120 out there!). I will continue my search though. Of course I have also heard of horror stories of heaters frying the fish, being a 1 to 2 gal tank, the margin for error is very small and critical.
My other "radioactive guy" who repaired his anal fins oddly (or lazily) has all the same parameters and is growing and settling for the past 2 weeks. I understand that not 2 fish are alike, but other than Lazuli's SBD, they have grown nicely and happily blowing their bubbles.
I will continue with the ES for now since it is not harmful to him and in the mean time look for a heater.
You're welcome. Since he definitely is having trouble swimming down, there are some SBD issues but so far they don't seem to be serious, not like hit the panic button kind of issues. I hope you can find a heater or maybe put him near but not directly under a lamp with a thermometer to monitor his temp. And 120. Ouch, that's HOT. Is he eating all right and acting normally otherwise?
I also forgot to mention that some bettas really do have chronic SBD problems that are genetic. If nothing else seems to work, Lazuli may be one of them. The problems seem to come and go but they never seem to get super serious. I think, but I'm not sure, that a genetic SBD betta has to have epsom salt for the rest of his life. But I'm not sure. It's also possible to just treat the SBD when only when it seems to get worse. These bettas generally live long and happy lives otherwise.
Yup, he is eating and acting as normal as I know him to be :)
Some guy at a much better setup LFS suggested metro treatment, but fightergirl suggested try ES first, so that's what I am doing now to see if it helps. I want to leave that for the last resort if at all, someone else may come along and tell me this is already a chronic case or genetics, then I won't even want to put him though that yucky toxic stuff.
Thanks very much for wishing me luck as well as the previous advice and suggestions on how to tackle this problem.
Hopefully more insights will come up, so far, you and Sakaru have been very nice to share your knowledge and experience :)
I am a scuba diver, and I hate it when I goofed and didn't carry enough weight when doing a shallow dive, so I am taking this a little too personal lol That aside, I am highly suspicious that his is chronic or genetics but at least I know I try.
Thanks again! :)