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Old 09-02-2011, 05:55 AM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2011
Betta can't swim

Please help!
Recently my betta cant swim up and stay upright anymore, its like laying on his side all the day although it will react when i come nearby. It started 2 weeks ago when i realize that my betta is having difficulties swimming up for air. I searched the forum and come to conclusion that its having constipation. I lower the water level to a few inches for it to breathe and fast it for 2 days. Then i feed it with Hikari Daphnia, it pooed but still unable to swim. So i continue feeding it with only Daphnia and it doest show any signs of recovery. PLEASEEE HELPPP!!!

What size is your tank? 5Gallon
What temperature is your tank? Room Temperature. Topical country(Singapore)
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes, Air stone
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 Betta Bio-Gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellet a day

How often do you perform a water change? 1 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? Aqua Genie Anti-Chlorine + Tetra Aqua BlackWater

Water Parameters: No
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Today i found some redness in its tail
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Unable to swim, but behaves normally
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No/Yes, I treated it with OceanFree General Aid special due to its minor fin rot, which I expose my fish to 5 days with it. But after i treated it with that medication, my fish started to fall sick(Unable to swim).
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1y +

Please help! Im not a pro at betta, so i will need all the help i can get to keep it alive.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:53 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Dubai
Hi Marshall,
Welcome to the forum.
The only suggestion I have is possibly increase your water change to one 50% and one 100% weekly if it's unfiltered. I know some people thinks 100% is fine. I guess it would depend if you have live plants, the water source, how you deal with the uneaten food and waste etc. What is the exact temperature? Singapore can get bloody hot too, so having a thermometer will tell you if the water temp is fluctuating between day time and when you turn on the AC.

I am not familiar with the conditioners you use. I personally only use Tetra Aquasafe because that's all they have here. Does your Anti-chlorine conditioner removes chloramines too? I did a quick research on the TetraAqua Black Water and it seems that any effects will depend on your GH and KH and pH in the tank, or your source water. You are from Singapore, so getting Ketapang leaves should be quite easy and free So if you are looking for tannins, try the natural and safest way.

Do you check your tank water or source water parameters? There may be something in the water that your betta doesn't like? I also have not used OceanFree General Aid but from my brief research again, it seems that the only thing it does is stain your water and the silicon.

This is what I would do to treat SBD:
1) Pre mix 1 tsp of Epsom salt (plain unfragrant) in 1 gal of water
2) Add a conditioner that removes chlorines and chloramines, Seachem Prime is highly recommended here
3) Get a few dried ketapang leaves and crushed them and put them in one of those disposable teabags and leave in tank to steep for 60 minutes then remove. *this 1 gal of tx water hopefully should be enough to cover him completely while enable him to breathe easily, if not, you may want to put him into a smaller QT*
4) Fast your betta if looks bloated or continue to feed frozen daphnia.
5) change water daily with the above formula, don't add anything else, just the above
6) observe for 5 days to see if any improvement, upping ES dosage may be considered at that time.

Also, if you could include a photo of the redness of the fin in question, that would help to figure out what that is.

Hope it's not confusing and your betta SBD recovers.


Last edited by earthworm88; 09-02-2011 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:13 PM   #3 
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I have a java fern and a seaweed(picture below).
I have fasted him, feed him daphnia, bathed him for 7 days in epsom salf(1ts per gallon), but still no signs of recovery...
i will make sure that all uneaten food is taken out and waste are once everyweek.
For the temperature, its 28-29 degree. I do not turn on AC since i had a fish.
The Anti-Chlorine states that it removie all chlorine instantly and will not harm fish even if overdose.
For the OceanFree General Aids, Im throwing out all the medication i brought!

btw, is it possible for a fish to be unable to swim even if its not constipated?
And i think its developing some new sickness(hole-in-head)? Maybe its becos im worry sicked about it. hhahaa. Thanks greatly for your advise!

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left gill abit off?

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red tip on tail

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most of the time, he will lie on the water bed.

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red spot on tail again.

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Old 09-10-2011, 01:48 PM   #4 
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Recently i up the epsom salt to 2ts per gallon.. Hope it helps it to swim normally again..
Can i know what is the maximum period for salt treatment?
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:20 PM   #5 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
With buoyancy problems and the Betta still able to poop without enlarged is most likely swim bladder or labyrinth organ related....this can happen for several reasons.....genetic, how it was reared at the Betta farm, too cool dry air over the water, inflamed duct, bacterial name the most common reasons.....

The treatment that earthworm gave is what I would recommend, however, I would use more Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt)

QT him in a small container-bare bottom, low water level, dim lit, quiet location, temp 76-77F for treatment-cover the top with plastic veggie wrap to retain the heat and humidity for the labyrinth organ.

Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add-Epsom salt 3tsp/gal and tannins-either IAL or dried Oak leaf...let this Tx water steep for 30min-1hr to release tannins and salt to dissolve...Shake well before use.....use this premixed Tx water for 50% water change every hour for 3 hours today-to total 3 water changes.....Tomorrow start 100% daily water changes for 10-14 days....He needs to stay in the small QT container and Tx water at all times...this is a treatment not a bath/dip....

Epsom salt-can be used long term and its plant safe too....with some Bettas that have chronic swim bladder problems may need to be kept in Epsom salt 1tsp/gal their whole life to help keep them upright....

Nutrition-if you have access to mosquito larva or other live foods-offer them in small amount 3-4 times a day once you start the 100% water changes....if you only have frozen or pellets-lace it with fresh crushed garlic juice and feed small frequent meals...

Check your blackwater product you are using and make sure it doesn't contain any Sodium chloride (aquarium salt)...if it does-don't use it....

Tannin source-IAL (Indian almond leaf) use 1-med-larg/gallon of Tx water...Oak leaf....look for naturally dried and fallen from the tree-brown/tan crunchy...use 12-18/gallon of Tx water....

Depending on the root cause of the buoyancy may take 4-6 days before you see any change in buoyancy...

He is a lovely fella...nice find......keep us posted....
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:19 PM   #6 
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Is it me, or are his eyes popping a bit? (last pic)
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:25 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by Myates View Post
Is it me, or are his eyes popping a bit? (last pic)
i was just thinking the same thing...?

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Old 09-11-2011, 02:36 AM   #8 
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yupyups. I always do water change weekly but his pop-eye doesn't seems to get better thou..
btw great thanks to everyone for the advise!
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:12 PM   #9 
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Location: Dubai
Hi Marshall,
Sorry for not keeping up with your thread as I am currently traveling. How's your betta doing? Thanks for posting the photos. Your fella looks like he has got pop-eye and there appears to be some sore spots on top of his head as well. I am not familiar with light colored betta, but detecting any changes to their bodies due to diseases can be challenging. Is it possible your betta has Columnaris? Hopefully OFL and others may be able to confirm this. But hope I am wrong and that your betta is happily swimming around in his nice home.

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Old 09-16-2011, 10:41 AM   #10 
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Columnaris? is it serious?
My fish still have problem swimming.. Worried sick about him...
Is there any other solutions i could try? or is there any fish doctors i could go to in singapore?
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illness, sick, swim, unable, upright

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