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Old 01-06-2012, 02:34 PM   #1 
Pucky21811
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Laying on side and struggling swimming :(

Little Zamboni, my Red and White Dragon RT, isn't looking too good. I took him out of his bowl today, and it was a stressful retrieval of him for the both of us, but now so I'm thinking more him.

Housing

What size is your tank? 1 gal
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter? No
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? Flakes and pellets, bw for treats
How often do you feed your betta fish? once every 1-2 days

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API stress coat, water conditioner, then ES and AQ salts when needed

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? N/A

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? None
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? I went to scoop him out with the cup he came in today to clean his bowl, and he started to be difficult and it was not easy to get him in. Since I've had a busy schedule, I unfortunately resorted to the net, which I hate to do cause that seems to stress them out more. Well, that was not any better to get him in the net and into the cup. When I finally did, he sank to the bottom and lay on his side. He breaths and reacts fine. Sometimes he'll start swimming, but seems like he's having serious trouble, like his tail is an anvil or otherwise extremely heavy. When he stops, he sinks down again and falls to a side. No particular side is preferred, but he doesn't lay normal.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A half hour ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? He is in a .5 gal QT tank with low water to help him swim to the top for air. I put in water conditioner, 1/2 tsp of AQ salts and stress coat.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? None! My other boy, Puck, is always the one sick (he has never ending Fin Rot, or something, that I've at least been able to keep at bay)
How old is your fish (approximately)?I bought him 4 months ago

Note: I left his pink plant in there because he likes it in his usual bowl, and I have seen him laying on it, and its closer to the water surface.

I hope he is just super stressed, by my fault, and that he'll relax and regain enough energy again. If you guys think its something else or there is something else I should do or add please let me know!

I am kicking myself that I used the net just because I was in a hurry, and now look where its got me. I will not use that again for these guys.

Thank you! Picture attached, showing him on his side in the corner of his bowl.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:02 PM   #2 
Tobythefish
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I'm sorry about your misshap with the net. I'm not an expert so I can't help you make him better and I don't know if he's just stressed out or if he has more serious probles. However, in a 1 gallon tank you should be doing at least 2 100% water per week. As far as I know, that isn't the problem since he started acting unhappy when you netted him, but when you put him in the 1 gallon tank you should start the more frequent water changes. In a half gallon tank, you'll have to do even more frequent water changes, like twice as many as you should do in a 1 gallon tank. The experts can let you know whats going on with him, sorry that I can't. Good luck, he's a pretty fish. :)
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:54 PM   #3 
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Thank you! Yes, I used to do 1 100% and one 50% weekly, but I've gotten lazy. I'll keep up and probably go up to 2 100% weekly changes then. I hope somebody can help; I am concerned about him. Note: he is a bit of a tail biter, which is why you see the little bites in the picture. Thank you!
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:45 PM   #4 
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Okay, he still prefers to lay on the bottom of the tank on his side, coming up for air every once in a while. Since this QT bowl is plastic, I'm unable to heat it, and its getting kind of cold. Any suggestions for now?

Obviously this was an injury from the net. Stupid, rookie me. Is it a broken spine? When he does swim upright its only temporary. Then he seems to fight with himself as he slowly sinks to the bottom on his side. It still seems not one side is preferred. What did I do to my poor baby?
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:34 PM   #5 
Tikibirds
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I wonder if its a swim bladder injury?
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:00 PM   #6 
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I wasn't aware that was possible, but if that's what I did do what should I do then? Or should I get more opinion? I'm thinking spine damage, but its not twisted or dented or anything. However, whenever I stumble upon Swim Bladder disorder posts while frantically looking up for help, they sound a lot like what he's have trouble with: Laying on one side, listless, struggling to swim. He even hops within the water, in a way, to push himself to the already low top for some air... Thanks for your answers so far... I'm so concerned about him. I don't think it's fatal, but I could be wrong... I still worry to no end about him, and now that I think my other fish has septicema... I'm really stressed over them ... I really appreciate all answers and hope for more!
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:27 PM   #7 
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Thank you so much TikiBirds! I just did some research on Swim Bladder Injury and that sounds like exactly what I did to my poor Zambo. I moved him back into his normal bowl, with the water level very low for air access. I would have lessened the stress and kept him in his QT tank, but his normal bowl is heated and I can still put his floating betta log in it, so he can lay in it and be closer to the top. Thank you so much!

If anyone else has treatment suggestions, let me know. All I know is that it may or may not be permanent, of course depending on how severe it is. I swear I won't rush through netting any babies of mine again. I have learned my lesson, whether this be permanent damage or not.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:09 PM   #8 
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I am no expert either and relatively new here but I had a similar netting mishap with one of my bettas several months ago and here are some points of advice that I received:
- Keep the water level low (sounds like you're already doing)
- Keep him in a darkened, quiet room if possible. It not possible, cover the top of his tank with a towel to darken & muffle the sound (remember to leave room for air to get in!)
- Resist the urge to check on him too frequently or try to induce him to move around (this one was hard for me)

If it really is a swim bladder issue, he may need some type of treatment like Epsom Salts but I am really not knowledgeable enough to guide you on that.

If it's any encouragement, my little guy ended up recovering. I abandoned use of the net and started using a crystal-clear plastic cup to scoop up my fish. They swim right in, they don't even realize it's anything out of the ordinary and - bam! - I tilt the cup up and they're sucked right in. This process used to stress me out SOOOOO much but now I'm so confident I've even taught my 7 year old how to do it. So, hopefully your betta (and you) will follow a similar path. Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:41 AM   #9 
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An update on my Zambo

Thank you Chicagojo. I tried your suggestions for about two weeks with my guy to no avail.

Zamboni became used to his injury and is still happy as a clam. After my darling Puck 's passing I went on a shopping bindge. (Other than getting my first girl my Winnipeg I spoiler him too! I easily dropped $80 on a college kid budget on these guys in a week) I upgraded him to a 2 gal kritter keeper: more width and horizontal swimming. I always had the floating Betta log, which is great for any fish but especially his injury. I call him my "lounge fish " because he looks like he sitting, his front half facing upwards and his bottom half laying on the bottom. (This is describing the picture I posted. He still sits and sleeps and lays like that)
On my shopping trip I also bought him a clay pot and a leaf hammock. For the longest time he stayed in the Betta log. His injury and the new bigger tank was exhausting.

Here is the great news: he has been in this tank for close to a month and a half now and I see a change in him. He has built up the energy to swim all around the tank and even flare since I tort Winnipeg. He isn't afraid to still show off! He has taken right to the clay pot and while he does use the leaf hammock, that silly fishy prefers his log or the suction cup of his heater to lay on. The suction cup is so close to the surface he lays there and blows bubbles usually after seeing Winnipeg. He hasn't blown a bubble since his injury before now.

In the past week he has enough strength to open his fins for more than just a second. He still hobbles but certainly not to the extent that he used to. He is syill a little piggy and whenever he "attacks" his food it makes a little popping noise in the water because of his force. Whenever I wave at him he jumps up and swims in my general direction even if I am across the room. He has even ceased his fin biting, for the most part. It isn't weighing him down anymore. He is so strong and I like to think he has forgiven his mommy.

So this is my little miracle story : an upgrade, proper accomidations and (possibly) a girlfriend was all Zamboni needed to get better.
Thank you all for your help and advice. You guys are as amazing as these creatures. :)
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:44 AM   #10 
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Sorry for all of my spelling errors : trying to figure out my new Kindle still not quite used to it.
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