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Old 10-17-2011, 09:26 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: CA
SBD treatment not working

I've had this betta for about 2 years now when I bought him from a reputible seller that I'd checked out for almost 6 months before buying from. He's been ill a couple times in the past but nothing big; Popeye that cleared up in 3 days, very mild fin rot that cleared up in a week or so, the usual.

On Sep 19th I moved to CA from WA, bringing him with me. I've moved back with my parents, and my father started up a bookcase aquarium for him so by the time I'd get here, everything would be set. We checked the levels of nirates, nitrites, ammonia, and ph and everything was kosher, so we put him in, and for 1 week, no issue.

For the last 2 weeks or so, he's been showing signs of Swim Bladder Disease; hard time swimming; protruding belly; lack of feces and visible bowl movements. So, first thing I did was fasted him for three days, bought a better heater and raised the temperature of the water to about 78-80, and a small water change. after 3 days, I fed him 1 tiny blood worm and 1 tiny bit of green pea. fasted the next day, then the next I fed him 3 small pea bits, then the next day 1 tiny blood worm, and have been switching between blood worms and pea bits the rest of the time, fasting him this last sunday.

He's still struggling to swim after 3 weeks or so, but still shows a healthy appetite. More than anything, he just seems to miserable to me. Thinking the nitrates might be an issue, I just tested the water (last water change 5 days ago) and according to the test he has 0 ppm.

For the record, I've also lowered the water level and added a small floating log for him so he can hide in it and have more access to surface air.

Question; what else could it be? What else do I need to test for? can this be a perminent thing? What else can I do? What is the average life span? (I'd heard 2-4 years and 1-2 years, so I don't quite know anymore).

thank you for your time, sorry if this is a repeat of an earlier thread.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:39 AM   #2 
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Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
The pea method is not for bettas. It is for goldfish.

A betta cannot digest the pea properly since they are insectivores, meaning that their diet is mostly made up of bugs, not plants.

Put him on 2 tsp/gal epsom salt. to do this, take some of his tank water, measure out the epsom salt to match how much water he has, swish it around until there are no crystals left, and then add it in.

You'll want to change his water every day and redose the epsom salt to make sure you don't overdose on it.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:46 PM   #3 
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Thank you for the advice

Thank you for the tips. I'd been told by many, many betta owners that feeding small amounts of peas regularly was all right to keep "things moving", so to speak, but since it's not doing much I might just stop.

Will aquarium salt work just as well? Is there a certain amount I'm supposed to add to each gallon of water?

Also, how much of a water change should I do each day? And since the tank is still kind of new (it was cycled for about 2 weeks before here got here and he's been in it for 1 month so far), do I need to worry about removing the good bacteria?

I'll work on the waterchange today at 20% and I'll change it if you suggest.

Oh! I should have added, the tank is a 6.6 gallon, but I've removed about 1.5 gallons to make breathing from the surface a little easier for him.

Thank you again.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:48 PM   #4 
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Not aquarium salt, epsom salt. AQ salt is for things like injuries! The do different things.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:53 PM   #5 
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Pata's got you covered with the basics.

I just wanted to add that a varied diet can help a lot with constipation. You can pick up lots of different frozen foods in the freezer at the pet store. They have fiber and can help with moving things along. Mysis shrimp, Brine shrimp, and frozen bloodworms can help. It might be because he's older. Older beings sometimes need extra fiber. :P
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:31 PM   #6 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
Daphnia is a good food to use for constipation.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #7 
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I know brine shrimp help my boys and girls go
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:30 PM   #8 
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Welcome back to WA!

All good advice... I want to add 1 thing....
I had a betta who had regular bowel problems. He would be perfectly fine except for the bloating and problems swiming.
It might sound silly but I made him flare and he would have bowel movements.
I would put a fish next to him for holf to and hour a day to help him out.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:12 PM   #9 
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update, treatment still not working

So I started the salt treatment after doing a 30% water change, and started feeding him brine and blood worms, every other day (one day brine, the next day blood, repeat).

I have kept a closer eye on him and he's had several bowle movements over the last few days, but is still having issues swimming. Begining today, it seems that his scales are begining to pine-cone, though it's very gentle and I'm hoping it'll be one of those few cases where it's very temporary (12 hours or so) and then goes away.

Given the fact that he's still declining in health despite change in diet and treatment, it has to be something other than constipation.

If he begins to severly pinecone or shows any other obvious signs of distress, I'll have to "let him go" so to speak.

One of the things lurking in the back of my head is that it may be fish tuberculosis (is that the name?), the type that is not curable and will completely contaminate the tank and plants and everything. Is there any way to test the fish or tank for the disease?
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:34 AM   #10 
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Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
I don't think there's a way to test for fish tb, but if he's still having issues and his poop is regular, you might want to try a bacterial medication along with upping the epsom salt to 3 tsp/gal (Since he's starting to pine cone).
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bladder, floor, sbd, swim

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