It's been a while since the last bout with swim bladder and that was caused by issues with the cycling of my tank. I think it was a couple of months ago and since PTG has been in quarantine, I've noticed he has a problem pooping. For a couple of weeks I fed him anti parasitic/antibacterial pellets and it helped get rid of the swim issues and brought his poops back to normal. I then started feeding him pre soaked NLS pellets (the tiny ones), and he never has a decent poop. I end up having to feed him a shelled pea, and then he has a massive poop and the cycle starts again.
In this latest instance, he hasn't pooped again for a few days and yesterday when I did a water change ( made sure water was same temp and conditioned), he was ok right after but thus morning I saw he was floating on his side again and his belly is huge, even bigger than last time! Oh wait, I just looked at his qt tank and he has a poop. It's not a huge one but poop nevertheless. Anyway, I have him in some epsom salt so maybe that helped but I don't see any improvement in his belly.
What course of action should I take from here? Should I fast him for a few days or should I give him a pea tomorrow? Also, do I do a 100% water change and add new epsom salt every day? I don't know why he doesn't poop when he eats regular pellets.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated and Sakura if you see this, you need to tell your buddy PTG to behave himself!!! This is not ok! Sigh...
Pea is supposed to be a treatment for bloating.. unsure why it leaped over to bettas since bettas can't digest it. Daphnia is the best way to go to make them poop, since it has the protein they need, and since bettas are insectivores, it is natural for them.
1tsp per gallon of the Epsom, with 100% daily water changes for 10 days should do the trick. If it is parasitic, then you will need those appropriate meds.
How often and what are you feeding him normally? How often are you changing his water? Gotta find the reason this keeps happening to prevent in the future.
Thanks for the response Myates. The first time around I'm pretty sure it was a combination of ammonia spike that made him sick and then the bloat came a few days after that and I discovered his poops were not the normal colour, consisitency. I treated with the medicated pellets and that seemed to help and he went back to normal within a week or so. That said, since he was in QT and I could monitor the output, I noticed that he was not pooping for days when I got him onto the normal pellet food again and every time I gave the pea, he would go. Still, he never went buoyant again until this last water change. I have a feeling it has something to do with that. I was really careful about the water temperature and I didn't forget conditioner and I actually switched him in and out really gently so I don't know why it affected him. In the past he has gotten away and I've had to chase him and then he's plopped into the water so he's had rougher water changes all without issue.
As for food, I have freeze dried daphnia and have been giving him that on and off but I have heard freeze dried food can cause bloat too. I guess I am supposed to be giving the frozen stuff? I have seen bloodworms but not daphnia at my LFS. Is it readily available? As for how often, because of his constipation issues, I am fasting him part of the time so I would say I have been feeding him every other day rather than every day. Maybe his schedule has become irregular and that is also throwing him off? I feed him the NLS mini pellets, presoaked in tank water so they won't bloat puff up inside his belly. All that aside, his belly is really big this time. I don't know if he has a parasite issue again because the poop he had yesterday was brown and not white or stringy.
I am also wondering why this happened again. I hope he has not developed a chronic problem now that he has had problems with his swim bladder. Oh, and I normally change his water every couple of days (100% since he's still in the QT from the last time) but this time several days went by because I got busy with my daughter going away to camp with her school etc. so I might have gone a couple of days longer. Do you suppose that could be it and the water was too clean after several days of not being changed? He was fine right after I changed it but the next morning I saw he was floating.
Just wanted to add that his belly is so swollen, it looks white and there is some white stuff sticking out underneath. Not sure if it is his poop sticking out or what. I hope he is not bursting his skin *shudders*! I tried to get a picture but he won't stay still. If I get a decent picture, I will post it.
So it's been a couple of days and the bloating has gone down a little and after the initial poop, there has been a lot of white fuzzy dust ball looking stuff in the water which is what he had last time too when he had this buoyancy issue. Today as I was about to change the epsom salt water again, I noticed a white stringy poop hanging from his butt so I am going to go ahead and start him on the medicated (anti-parasitic/anti-bacterial) pellets again and hope it will do the trick like last time. Maybe there is a recurrence of parasites or bacteria.
Just a question though, are the medicated pellets enough in the case of internal parasites or bacterial infection or should I be using a medication to treat the water too? I'm hesitant to do so because it seems that medications just add to the problem half the time but I also don't want recurrences of these buoyancy episodes every couple of months. I'm pretty sure something set it off though I can't put my finger on what. The poor guy has not been in his real tank for two months now! I feel so sorry for him in that small qt container clipped to his tank. Now I am also afraid if I get him well that putting him back in the tank and new environment will just cause another set back. Sigh... I guess one thing at a time.
I'm by no means an expert but I've had sick fish and no one else is answering.
The white fuzzy stuff sounds like a fungal infection but I'm not sure without a picture. Have you checked the first two stickies in this section? They have helped me loads. IF it is a fungal infection you want lower temp and salt, but make sure your not using the salt for more than 10days in a row. Any more is bad for your fish and long term use will do more harm than good.
I have a girl I've been having issues with floating, but I just bought her and she was doing it, and she reverted after I feed her some NLS (She had been fine for a day)
Hi Sarahlydear, thanks for taking the time. I am no expert by any means either but I try to help out where I can too so I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. :)
I'm not sure if the white stuff is fungal as it is not on him. It seems he is excreting it - almost like fishy diarrhea. This happened last time too. That's why I decided to start the medicated pellets again. At least it seemed to help in that he had some good poops in there this morning. Probably the combination of epsom salt and medicated food did it. That said, his bloating has not really gone down and he still floats on his side if he tries to swim so I think aside of constipation, there is some reason his swim bladder has bloated. He had gone several days without pooping before but never got this bloated or buoyant. I'm hoping another course of medicated pellets clears it up. I still think something with that water change set him off. Sigh...
Anyway, I had read the stickies when I first joined this forum and they are very helpful. Unfortunately, this fish of mine seems to defy all rules and do weird stuff all the time. Last time this happened, Sakura was helping me out and even she was scratching her head half the time at the stuff that was happening. lol
Yes, I know not to keep him in the epsom salts past 10 days and in fact I will wean him off sooner if his bloat goes down and he stops floating. I just can't understand why he won't poop when he eats regular foods. I figured the NLS mini pellets were really good and small too and I always pre soak them yet he never seems to poop when he eats those. I always end up feeding a pea, and I don't think that's a good thing in the long run.
Well, I appreciate your thoughts. I will update when there is any change here.
How is your girl doing? Is she still floating or is it under control now?
I only have freeze dried daphnia and that doesn't seem to do anything at all (probably makes it worse from what I've heard). I have only seen frozen brine shrimp and blood worms at my Petsmart here. I have heard frozen daphnia is good. I'll try to find some somewhere.
I haven't given anymore peas since this latest buoyancy issue started. Since my first message on this thread, I did put him in some premixed epsom salt and have been doing the daily 100% water changes. I have started him on the medicated pellets for parasites and bacteria and that seemed to work well the first few days. He had some good poops and bloat went down but now he is super huge again and having problems swimming again. I just don't get why it keeps happening.
Oh, and I also know his pooping habits very well because he has been in his small QT container for the last couple of months and it is bare bottomed. He recovered from the first bout of buoyancy/white fuzzy poop illness and then when I started him on the NLS mini pellets, he wouldn't poop anymore so I kept him in the qt container. I don't think this is any kind of birth defect issue though because he was fine for a couple of months when I got him and then my tank which was having cycling problems ended up having a crash and my ammonia spiked and a bunch of fish died or got sick including my betta and the bouyancy issus started soon after he had recovered from that ordeal.
Oh, PTG, what will we do with you? *shakes head* Up to his old tricks again. I'm a little alarmed at how big his belly got this time.
Actually, you can keep a betta in EPSOM salts long-term. It's AQ salt that can only be used for 10-14 days max. In this case, I would say keep PTG in at least 1 tsp per gallon on a pretty permanent basis.
Most importantly, if you can bring yourself to try, feed him only 1 frozen bloodworm per meal (so like 3 bloodworms a day) and see how his system handles that. I'm thinking for whatever reason, his system just doesn't handle dry foods well. Better yet, if you can find frozen brine shrimp, feed him that. Brine shrimp acts as a laxative so it will encourage his system to stabilize. Use tweezers to feed frozen foods, that way you don't have to touch anything nasty.
I'll check back in soon. Hang in there, SVC and PTG!