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Old 12-24-2011, 10:44 AM   #1 
chicagojo
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First he couldn't stay down, now he's struggling to get to the surface...

My son's betta Rock N Roll has been having some SBD issues as of late. He'd been doing fine for a couple of days when 2 days ago my son noticed that he was having a hard time swimming down into the bottom of the tank - he could get down, but then he'd pop right back up again, almost like he was too buoyant.

We've been fasting him for the past 2 days and this morning I was initially delighted to find him swimming around all over the tank, including near the bottom, without apparent difficulty.

Now, though, he seems to have developed an opposite problem - although he can swim fine very near the surface (like within mm) when he actually goes to the surface for air, his body becomes almost vertical, like his tail is weighted or something, and he can't stay at the surface for very long.

He otherwise seems fine but I'm worried he may not be getting enough air since he's only able to stay at the surface for a second or two at a time. I tried lowering the water level in his tank a bit, and he'll be getting a water change later today. I'm continuing to fast him until I have a better sense of what's going on.

Any thoughts/suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:07 AM   #2 
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Oh noes Rock n Roll!
Was it early November he had SBD issues before? And how long was he in treatment for it?

Go ahead and unfortunately, start him again on it- 1 tsp of Epsom Salt per gallon, daily 100% water changes for the next 10 days. Go ahead and do the full time of 10 days and see where we stand afterwards. If he starts to bobble again after a full treatment, I will have to double check- but he may have a chronic case of SBD and may end up on Epsom for longer period of time (we would figure out the water change routine if that is the case).
Since fasting, change of diet and how much he eats hasn't helped any and it looks like it may have returned.. he may just have problems with his swim bladder that may come and go.
Or the last round of treatment wasn't long enough for him- so more is needed.

Epsom is safe enough they can live in it indefinitely, but would rather him not have to if possible. I'll do some more research in case there may be another underlying issue with him other then his swim bladder, but at this time everything points to problems with it- so go ahead and lets see if it is SBD and see if we can clear it up- if not, then we can rule out SBD and focus on some other problem involving the swim bladder.

Poor little guy, and poor you and your son.. I hope this one round will be the last needed.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:13 PM   #3 
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Myates to the rescue again!

Before I saw your response I ended up doing a 100% water change. Even while cupped he seemed to be doing that vertical thing and having trouble staying all the way at the surface, but now in his fresh new water he seems like he is doing better and is able to stay at the top if he wants to.

Should I still start the epsom salt right away? Or should I hold off and see how he does in the next day or two?

A more complete history/timeline: His original SBD issues were in mid-October, I think that was one of the things that first brought me to this forum. He was fine for probably almost 2 months after he finished treatment for that (during that time he was moved from his original 1G unheated bowl to a 2.5G heated tank but he did fine with that transition) and it's really only been the past 1-2 weeks that he's suddenly been having problems again.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:40 PM   #4 
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Go ahead and see how he does with just clean water-
Did he exhibit these symptoms shortly after eating? Or was it random times during the day?
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:55 PM   #5 
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Never mind, my question was answered for me - his "recovery" turned out to be short-lived so he is now in the Epsom bath, which I will plan to continue for 10 days with 100% daily water changes. Should I also plan to fast him for the whole 10 days? Thanks!
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:01 PM   #6 
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No, no need to fast now unless he is bloated/constipated- hopefully the Epsom will help him out, hopefully it's something simple as SBD and nothing permanently wrong with his swim bladder :(

I'm off for a bit- will check back later. Good luck on everything.
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:30 PM   #7 
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Thanks....I hope so too...Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-25-2011, 09:20 PM   #8 
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Just a quick update - he seems to be doing quite a bit better now. I'm not sure if he was bloated or not - he gets this weird kink in his body that he had when he had SBD before and then developed again more recently. Just in case, I'm going to fast him for a couple of days more, then soak his pellets for a while. I will definitely continue the full 10 days of Epsom - it seems to be making a big difference for him. Hopefully he'll see another period of good health after this! Merry Christmas!!!
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:17 PM   #9 
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How is he doing?

Soaking the pellets won't do anything other then diminish the nutrients (they start to lose them as soon as they hit the water). I don't believe it's bloating as he doesn't eat a whole lot.. and you would be able to tell as he would have a big rounded belly that is extended more then normal after a meal.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:59 AM   #10 
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Thanks so much for checking in! He is doing much better. I would say back to his normal self except that he's a VERY hyper fish and the QT tank he's in right now is cramping his style a bit, I think. Otherwise, he seems to be doing very well. I am hoping this will be a full recovery.

That's good to know about not soaking the pellets. I will stop doing that (he has eaten 1 soaked pellet for each of the past 2 days). He hasn't pooped since I started the Epsom, but I think he was pretty well cleaned-out at that point since I'd been fasting him for a few days already and he had pooped twice since the fasting began.

Any idea what the kinking in his body could be - can that be a symptom of SBD? I tried to take a pic of him while it was going on but I don't have a camera right now except for my phone and I couldn't really get a good image. I almost seems like his top fin is too heavy for him and starts to pull the back half of his body over and to the side so he is bent and kind of twisted in the middle, if that makes any sense. Anyway, if it happens again I will borrow a better camera and try to post pics for advice. Meanwhile, fingers crossed, he is doing better...
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