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Old 09-23-2011, 02:30 PM   #1 
trioadastra
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Fishie is bloated?

My daughter's fish is looking pretty sick...
Tank, 1.5 gal, no filter, room temp, no aerator, unheated, no tankmates.
Food, betta pellets, unsure of brand, 3-4 pellets a day
Water change 1x/week, about 3/4 change, I add water prep supposed to eliminate clorine, ammonia, etc. last water change i added 1 tsp aq salt also
Fishie, swimming near top, head up, lethergic, gut appears very swollen. 1st noticed yesterday and I added a few drops quick cure (some stuff I found at walmart)
We bought Fishie at walmart no more than 2 months ago, unsure of age. His chin area was starting to turn kinda graying in color and made me wonder if their scales gray when they get old? Please help! Also, we live in a very rural area and don't have access to a great pet store for help or meds. I read aq salt is good for prevention, and the pkg says 1tsp per gallon, but threads here say don't use for more than 10 days. How much should I use, and when?
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:04 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and sorry your Betta isn't well......

He really doesn't look all that bloated, however, along with the other symptoms you provided......I would recommend Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) treatment-along with tannins and daily water changes while in a small QT container for 10-14 days......

Have a few more questions-do you have a thermometer to give us a reading on the temp....this is really important-not just to monitor the tank water temp but to monitor the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.....you may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand.....your goal is to keep the water temp somewhat stable in the 76-80F range...
Also, any live plants or other livestock in the tank with him....what kind of additives are you using and water source-tap water, well water, R/O water...etc....if tap water-does it go through a water soften unit (not recommended)

QT-can be any small container-bare bottom-like the temporary cups most Bettas are sold in....these work great for a QT container
Cover the QT with plastic veggie wrap to retain the heat and humidity for the labyrinth organ...

Premixed treatment water: use a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 2tsp/gal and tannins-either IAL (Indian almond leaf) or Oak leaf-naturally dried and fallen from the tree- Oak leaf-use 12-18 crushed/gallon
Let this Tx water steep for 30min to allow some of the tannins to release and salt to dissolve
Use this Tx water for 50% water changes every hour for 3 hours today while in the QT container
Tomorrow start 100% water changes using the premixed Tx water
Keep the plastic wrap over the top-place in a dim lit quiet location-temp in the 76F range
Hold food for now
In 2 days offer live food-mosquito larva work great-if you don't have access to larva-Frozen is good or pellets that have been rolled in fresh crushed garlic juice-small frequent meals is best.....

Continue this Epson salt treatment for at least 10 days-you can use Epsom salt long term if needed

Once he is better and you have re-acclimated him back to his tank-increase his regular water change schedule to help prevent problems

In a 1.5gal unfiltered tank: water changes of twice weekly-1-50% and 1-100% to maintain water quality-provided that he is not overfed and uneaten food is removed within a reasonable time....

Keep us posted

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 09-23-2011 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:56 PM   #3 
trioadastra
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Wow, that is a lot of info to take in, but thanks very much.
I don't have a heater, and the air temp is anywhere from 60-70. I heard not to heat a tank so small for risk of cooking Fishie. Fishie also has 2 other betta friends in separate tanks, all in room temp water. I change their water 1x a week, with tap water that has a water softener. I add stuff called Prep, it is made by Crystal Blue deco pond. It says it removes Ammonia, chlorine and chloamine.
He has a plant bulb in there with him, it's floating next to him in the pic.
He is actually very swollen right behind his head on the bottom. I don't know if that's his tummy and he ate too much, but my daughter did wayyyy overfeed him yesterday. I actually caught her and the baby dumping a handful of food in and stirring him with a fork!
I hope petsmart has those tannins and live food and Fishie holds out till Monday, cause that is the soonest I can get there. Honestly, I paid 7 bucks for Fishie, and didn't expect a 3 year old's pet to be something I'd stress out about! I think the only thing I can do right now is the epsom salt. BTW, why is that different from aq salt?
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:34 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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One of your problems may be temp-every Betta can be different in their tolerance and this can change as they age or become compromised in some way.....

You can get heaters that will work well in 1gal tanks-I use the tetra brand from Wal mart in my 1gal-they are preset to 78F and will heat the tank 10 degrees dependent on the room temp

Proper water temp is really important to the long term health and longevity of this species of tropical fish....ideally they need 76-80F somewhat stable to thrive best long term

Your air temp in the 60-70F is too cool-the water temp usually will be a bit cooler than the air temp.

Water quality is really important to long term health as well...in 1-4gal containers-unfiltered without the right species and number of live plants need twice weekly water changes to maintain water quality.

Source water is also important for long term health-if you can bypass the water soften unit on the tap-and re-acclimate them to that water it will be much better for them-since the softening units generally work by ION exchange-the high sodium can be harmful to internal organs and you will see the Betta become bloated, full body edema, loss of appetite and color as their kidneys shut down and the Betta slowly dies....this is also one of the reason you don't want to use aquarium salt long term...the sodium chloride....

The difference between Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and aquarium salt (sodium chloride) is how it effect the system.....one reduces edema while the other doesn't-one is plant safe, can be used long term-Epsom salt while aquarium salt cannot.....

Tannins-I use naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf...if you have any Oak trees that are free of pesticide-use this as your tannin source-the tannins have antibacterial/fungal properties, help ease stress, toughen scale, slightly lowers pH among other things.

IAL or Indian almond leaf-usually you have to go online to get these if you are in the US....usually pet shops will not have them-some ma & pa type shop may have some-but I have never heard of petco, petsmart type shop every selling them......I like native oak leaf personally because they are free and 99.9% the same as IAL........

Unless you have well water-you need to use a good quality dechlorinator that covers both-chlorine and chloramines

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 09-23-2011 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:49 PM   #5 
trioadastra
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Thankyou so much! I rescued the thermometer from the fish pond and put it in Fishie's tank. 63 degrees! I'm freezing too, poor thing. He and his friends are in QT mason jars on a heating pad. I don't have any epsom salt, but will pick some up asap.
Geez, you see them in tiny bowls in walmart and think, wow, they look soooo easy!
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:17 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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They really are a pretty easy to care for species...it sounds harder than it really is.......all they need is the right water temp, good water quality and a good varied high quality diet.......

Space is a highly debated subject-in my opinion, experience and experiments-as long as proper water changes are made-they can be kept in 1gal or larger unfiltered container long term and thrive-since this is a man made fish-hybrid with generation of selective breeding to create abnormal long fins and color-not seen in the wild and could not survive due to fin length and color alone and should not be compared to their wild cousins in regards to space....these guys have special needs for that reason......long heavy fins and being a tropical fish....water temp is really important for long term general health......they ask for very little and give so much enjoyment...........sadly they can be a rather short lived species to start and more so when compromised by the wrong environment

The small cups they are sold in are intended to be temporary homes and used for display due to their aggressive nature...just like all the other species of fish on display at the pet shop that are overcrowded/poorly stock...its for re-sale and display only......
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:33 PM   #7 
trioadastra
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I am debating on how to handle the 3 we have now. The kids and I got sucked in by their beauty, and hubby didn't care because I had all these odd things already around the house for them and they were really cheap. But I'd like to have a nice setup with a large tank so I don't have to change the water all the time, filter, live plants, heater... the works. $$$
Just out of curiosity, someone said you were the expert on plants, what do you think of a water hyacinth floating on top? I have some in the pond I was hoping to overwinter inside.
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:51 PM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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If you have a big enough tank and the right lights-they would work fine.......
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:59 PM   #9 
trioadastra
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Thank you again. You've been a godsend! And Fishie is acting better already!
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:57 AM   #10 
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I am glad to hear that he's getting better! But, I believe pellets should only be used for a snack. Sorry if I'm wrong, I'm a new betta owner. I would try flake food. My betta Mr Jingles loves flakes. Good luck! :D
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