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Old 07-23-2011, 08:37 PM   #1 
Kiiarah
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Question Constipation?

Hi everyone. My new betta, Claude, seems to be getting a bit swollen around the belly area. I have been pre-soaking his pellets and only feeding him two per feeding, with two feedings per day, so a total of four pellets daily. He always eats what I give him and I try to keep feedings small, but lately his stomach is looking a bit larger than when I brought him home. The store he came from doesn't seem to feed the bettas often and I am wondering if the sudden increase in feedings has contributed. He is also getting a different food with higher protein than the one he had at the store. The pellets he has been getting are half and half Omega One betta buffet pellets and Nutrafin Max pellets.

I am posting a link to a video of him since I am not sure what is a healthy rounded shape and what is a sign of bloating. He came home three days ago so he hasn't had much time to adjust to the new diet yet. Part of the reason I am worried is that I haven't seen him poop since he came home, so that combined with the large belly seems to indicate a problem. The cup he was in when we bought him was also quite clean compared to the others, but there was a little bit of waste at the bottom. He is still very active and eating eagerly, I just don't want to shrug it off and risk it being a problem. Here is the video link, if you skip towards the end the camera shifts around to the front of the tank and he is much easier to see. Any thoughts on whether his shape looks normal or whether he is starting to bloat would be very helpful. Also is it normal for bettas to be very active when constipated or is the fact that he is swimming around so much a good sign than he is not having any trouble? Thanks so much! :)

http://s229.photobucket.com/albums/e...t=5a70251a.mp4

(his belly is a white color normally. I notice that in the video this makes it look like it is more stretched out than it is. His stomach doesn't look stretched, just round. I also called the store I bought him from, they didn't know how often the bettas were fed but advised one pellet a day, so it sounds like he is in fact used to getting hardly any food.)


Tank Info:

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gallon
What temperature is your tank? between 79 and 81, currently 80
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, though the heater has not yet had to turn on
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? A mix of Nutrafin Max betta pellets and Omega One betta buffet pellets. He gets freeze dried bloodworms as an occasional treat. I plan to offer pea soon to help with issues like this in the future.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day, two pellets in the morning and two before bed.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? He came home three days ago so I have no done one yet, but I plan to do 30-40% once a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? see above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Seachem prime water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Since the tank is three days old I have not yet tested the water, I do know the signs of parameter problems and I am watching the tank closely. It was cycled with a biological agent that I have had success with in the past.

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His belly is slightly rounded
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? His behavior seems fine, he is very active and has a good appetite.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have not started treatment. I plan to skip tonight and tomorrow morning's feeding and offer some pea pulp tomorrow evening if he is in fact constipated.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I am unaware of any history.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not sure.

Last edited by Kiiarah; 07-23-2011 at 08:55 PM. Reason: forgot to add link :P
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:18 PM   #2 
Kiiarah
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I forgot to add that all his food is pre-soaked for between 2 and 5 minutes depending on how distracted I am.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:43 PM   #3 
Sakura8
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Yes, he does look a bit bloated. Not seriously but if you haven't seen him poop then I'm guessing he's constipated so the treatment is epsom salt. You will most likely want to take him out of his big 10g tank so treatment is easier for you. You'll need a small QT container, anything from the cup be came in from the pet store to a 1 gallon tank or bowl. In a separate jug or bucket, you'll want to mix up 1 gallon of dechlorinated water with 1 tsp of epsom salt. Let the salt dissolve, then pour that in his container. If he's in something very small like his cup, you can try floating it in his big tank so he stays warm, just be sure it doesn't float into the filter and tip over. You'll need to change the water every day and redo the salt mixture for five days. If he hasn't pooped yet, up the dosage to 2 tsp per gallon and continue. If he hasn't done anything in 10 days, post back because by then I'd be worried there's something else going on.

Oh, and epsom salt can be purchased at any drug store or Wal-Mart. I hope this helps the little guy.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:52 PM   #4 
Kiiarah
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Would it be safe to wait and see how or if it progresses? I have not seen him pooping, but it is not clear that he isn't either. He has only been home for about three days and I have been out on consecutive trips to the pet store for supplies for half of that time lol. It is very possible that I just haven't caught him doing it yet. His belly is looking more evenly rounded now and less protruding. Also I realized that I started researching and worrying right after feeding him. I gave him his two pellets and was debating whether he was full or not when I started noticing his belly was larger than normal, but he had just eaten some. Are their stomachs small enough for food they just ate to show that soon? I am reluctant to take a step as drastic as five days in a salt bath when he is so new to the tank already and I am not even sure whether he is pooping, so I would like to observe for a day or so if the situation doesn't look critical. Everything else about his behavior seems great. What would be signs that it is worsening and that I need to intervene? I am also about to check for poop. I figure if I move the water around a bit near the gravel with a turkey baster I may be able to see it, but I have read that it can dissolve fast as well. Thanks so much for taking a look at the video and helping me out here, I really appreciate it! :)

Last edited by Kiiarah; 07-23-2011 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:35 AM   #5 
Pitluvs
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Could you put him in a smaller tank with nothing on the bottom? That way you can see when he poos. My boy came home with me with Swim Bladder Disease, I had to dot eh 1g/1tsp of epsom salts. With the bare tank, I saw tonight that he pooed! He's swimming great now.

A Bettas stomach is about the size of their eyeball by the way.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:42 AM   #6 
Kiiarah
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Thanks Pitluvs, that could be an option. Would you think that he would be having difficulty swimming if it were constipation though? Because he is swimming great. It breaks my heart to take him out of the big ten gallon, though I do have a spare empty 10 gallon but no spare filter. Everything I am reading sounds like most fish that are blocked up sit on the bottom or float, refuse food, etc. He is doing none of this. Could it be that I am just worrying too much? If it is just me being paranoid I don't want to disturb him over it, I want to be quite sure he needs me to intervene first. Is it a pretty safe bet that his behavior would alert me to there being a serious problem? Like if he were starting to worsen could I expect his appetite to decrease or his activity level to drop?
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:45 AM   #7 
Sakura8
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I second Pitluvs, a small barebottom tank is the best way to tell. And yes, their stomachs are small enough to show food if they just ate. One time my girls in my sorority decided to eat all my cory cats' food. They bloated up to the size of ping pong balls, I swear. I couldn't believe how fat they got in an hour (by the way, the cory cats are now in their own tank because my betta girls are PIGS!) I could even see the wafer in the belly of one of my natural colored girls.

It can dissolve fast but sometimes it doesn't. It really depends, especially on how active Claude is. If he swims a lot, he can stir up the water and cause the poo to dissolve.

Also, Kiiarah, is Claude a halfmoon?
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:48 AM   #8 
Pitluvs
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I honestly don't know :( I'm pretty new to bettas, got 2 boys a month ago and lost them. I got another boy 2 weeks ago, he started feeling off the other day (sitting at the bottom of his tank) so I treated him in a 1g. I got a new boy the other day that had the swim bladder problem and tonight he's swimming. He was floating at the top, actually when I got him at the petstore, he was belly up at the top of his cup. To tired to swim anymore :(

I personally would watch him, and make sure there are no signs of him sitting at the bottom of the tank for long times or floating and not being able to get to the middle/bottom. The freeze dried bloodworms the store fed is what did this to my few guy.

You guy looks a little thick but happy and healthy to me! Did you just feed him? My boys get big bellies just after eating.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:57 AM   #9 
Kiiarah
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I actually had just fed him not too long before that video was taken. He had two pre-soaked pellets and I threw away the third because it seemed like it would be too much for him. As for taking out the gravel temporarily, I love the idea but I have read that doing so, at least in an established tank, can crash the cycle. I am not sure if I could get away with it or not. : /
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:57 AM   #10 
Sakura8
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What causes a fish with constipation to act lethargic or to have swim bladder problems is severe bloating. With all that extra, er matter, in there, their intestine will get big and push into the swim bladder causing them to lose the ability to control it so they'll either be unable to swim up or unable to swim down. That's also what causes them to get so bloated. But that's super severe constipation. Mild constipation may make them a bit uncomfortable but they will still have control of their swim bladder.

If Claude is a halfmoon, he may just be prone to mild constipation for the rest of his life. My halfmoon Sherman is like that. He only poos maybe once a week, sometimes two. He's not bloated and he swims fine, it never seems to bother him. After months of worrying, I finally decided if it didn't bother him, I wouldn't fret my hair gray over it. Although I was a little late, I found gray hairs anyway, hahaha.

If you don't want to put Claude in epsom salts just yet, I would recommend fasting him for a day. Cut out any freeze-dried foods from his diet just in case, and watch him carefully. If you can find it, get some frozen daphnia at your pet store. It has lots of fiber so it encourages them to go. Another thing you can do is switch pellets to a brand that has less wheat germ/meal in it. Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets and New Life Spectrum Betta Formula pellets are very good brands. Petsmart's Top Fin Color-Enhancing Betta Bits also will work.
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