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Old 11-30-2011, 09:38 PM   #1 
Kamea
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Chester FancyPants...slight bloat but nothing is working!

My poor Chester has been sick for a few weeks now. I am not sure what to do next...really hoping to get some help here!


Housing

What size is your tank? Originally I had him in a 1.5 gallon tall tank but I have since moved him into a shallow 2 gallon tank.
What temperature is your tank? 76-78
Does your tank have a filter? It did until I started medication..
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta Bites(pellets) and Betta Dial-A-Treat (dried creatures) I alternate so he gets a good mix.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Once every week to two weeks normally
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 75-100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? BettaSafe (Water Conditioner) and Atison's Betta SPA

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I took water in to a local fish specific pet store and had them test it. I'm not sure what the exact parameters were but he said they were fine.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He has a little bit of bloating on the right side of his belly. The person at the pet store also said the veins in his fins were inflamed which was a sign of some type of infection. However, my lil guy is mostly white and I wonder if his veins were always more pronounced because of that...

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He basically lays on the bottom of the tank and seems to be unable to swim easily. It seems like a huge struggle for him to get up to eat/breathe. He has also stopped making his lovely bubble nests. His appetite is still normal and he still loves to show off his fancy frills!

When did you start noticing the symptoms? 3 weeks ago

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? The pet store recommended Atison's Betta SPA so I have been adding that to his water. They also had me treat him with Bifuran for a week. (No change)

Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not since I got him.


How old is your fish (approximately)?Unknown..I've had him for about 6 months.

I'm not sure if it's SBD/bloat or something else...I have tried fasting him for a day without luck. His little heater doesn't have a thermostat so I am not sure how to raise the temp to 80 as some sites suggest.

And the whole "Pea" thing is confusing to me...some places say to do it and others say to never do it. Is it really that bad? At this point shouldn't I give it a shot?

I feel lost and it totally breaks my heart to see him like this.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:33 AM   #2 
earthworm88
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Sorry to hear your Chester isn't doing well. Thanks for the detail info.

Depending on the size and type of filter you have, for a 2 gal filtered tank, you probably need to do at least a 100% weekly (2 weeks is really pushing it) to avoid the build up of ammonia.

I am not familiar with the meds you are curently using. Avoid meds if at all possible. Usually super clean water with Epsom or Aquarium salt (depending on what you are treating) will take care of 90% of the problems bettas have.

So for bloating, use 1 tsp of Epsom salt (unscented and uncolored) for 1 gal of conditioned water. Daily water full water change for the next 10 days. The fact that you mentioned the swelling is one-sided, I would question if this is truly a bloat issue. Has his swimming been affected? Having a good appetite is always a good sign. Try to include some photos in your next post so we can see if it's bloating or something else. Also, get a thermometer, never rely on your heater.

Pea isn't the best laxative bettas need. Epsom salt can do the trick if they are a congested. If you have frozen daphnia or brine shrimp, this will help too. Try not to feed him for a couple of days to see if the swelling goes down. I know trying to resist those cute little dances and sad faces they put up is difficult.

Good luck! Keep us posted.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:49 PM   #3 
Kamea
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So this is my Chester...

You can kinda see the swelling on his side a little. Here is a better shot of the swelling....


He's terribly shy...I swear these shots took me about ten minutes to get. Hope it gives you an idea.

I have noticed that he has problems swimming. Almost as if it is uncomfortable for him to wiggle his little body around.

He no longer has a filter since I have put him in a short tank...I will definitely up the water changes.

How much Epsom salt should I use? 1 tsp/gallon?
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:30 PM   #4 
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Thanks for the photos. I can see on the second photo the swelling you mentioned. That is along the location of the swim bladder. So it's actually one side of the swim bladder swelling, and not quite the belly. I believe the belly is generally referred to the underside of the head by the ventral fins area. This swelling if caused by air stuck in there, you will see him swim a bit funny, but if the swelling is caused by a mass, then it may show some discomfort or lethargy. You said he only stays on bottom and has difficulty going up for air and food. Has he been pooping regularly?

Sometimes diet can cause this problem, or they are genetically prone to it or it could be something a bit more serious.

This is what I would do as if treating for SBD:
1) one 1 tsp of Epsom salt per gallon of water
2) only add conditioner to the above
3) lower the water to make it easy for him to get air
4) change his water daily
5) do not feed him for next two days

Observe to see if the swelling goes down. May have to up the epsom salt if no signs of change.

Keep us posted. Hope he gets better soon. What a good looking boy he is!
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:18 PM   #5 
Kamea
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I have started him on his two day fast today and have done a full water change with the epsom salt.

His mood/energy level has dropped in the past couple of days so I am hoping this will help.

As for his pooping, I swear in the 7 months I have had him, I have never seen him poop. I generally just find some when I clean out his tank. When I switched him to his shorty tank two days ago, I did see some on the bottom of his old tank.

Is frozen food better in general for betta fish?
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:43 PM   #6 
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In his QT tank, try to leave the bottom bare to make it easier for you to clean as well as to monitor his passing of wastes.

Most people think that frozen is better than freeze dried as freeze dried can cause bloating as well as questionable nutritional values. I guess it also depends on the type of fish you are giving it to. Either way, they should be used as a treat, and not for daily. The pellets provide the nutrients (some better quality than others) the fish need, but a vary diet is healthier and less boring for your fish.

If by tomorrow, still no improvement, up the ES to 2 tsp per gal of conditioned water and be sure to change his water daily by repeating the steps.

Good luck!
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:31 PM   #7 
Kamea
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Well, after a couple of days of ES in the water and a fast, there is no change. In fact his bloat seems a little worse to me. I'm at a loss.

I can only guess that his swim bladder is just permanently screwy now. He still puts on a show when I come up to the tank and has a nice appetite.

What is the maximum amount of time you would leave your fish in a tank with Epsom salt? I can't imagine that long term exposure is healthy for a fish that, under normal circumstances, would never really encounter this stuff.
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:11 PM   #8 
Kamea
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Trying to get a new picture of him. His swimming seems more labored than before.

Another note, he did have a little poop on the bottom of the tank one of the days of the fast. It was pretty tiny. Could he still be constipated?
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:18 PM   #9 
Kamea
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Best picture I could get of him. He kept falling onto his side which didn't really show his "bloatedness" that well. The swelling is also kinda forcing his spine to curve into a kinda "S" shape.

Feeling kind of lost here.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:30 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamea View Post
Well, after a couple of days of ES in the water and a fast, there is no change. In fact his bloat seems a little worse to me. I'm at a loss.

I can only guess that his swim bladder is just permanently screwy now. He still puts on a show when I come up to the tank and has a nice appetite.

What is the maximum amount of time you would leave your fish in a tank with Epsom salt? I can't imagine that long term exposure is healthy for a fish that, under normal circumstances, would never really encounter this stuff.
Not to worry, Epsom salt can actually be used in a prolonged basis. You should try to leave him in ES for about 10 days. Couple days may not be enough if it is truly an SBD issue. Epsom salt acts in flushing out the system as well as to speed osmotic function by moving fluid out of the body. So it is safe to leave him in there (daily wc) for up to 14 days.

Of course the concern we have is whether this is caused by internal infection or not. But you said that he is otherwise acting normal, flaring, dancing, and eating (when being excited) and he doesn't look emaciated, I would rule out parasitic infection. I usually shy away from meds unless all other methods have been exhausted or that your Chester did not encounter any particular problem that could have caused SBD. Bacterial infection is a possibility. Do you have any meds on hands ie API Erythromycin, Kanacyn, Tetracycline, Metronidazole (Fish Zole)? As I said, if you can, put him back in Epsom salt, and tannins if you have and do not feed him for 2 days. and daphnia or brine shrimp if you have them afterwards.
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