Cross Posting: SICK BETTA from "Betta Fish Disease and Treatment Part 1"
Hi all - newbie looking for help with a sick betta. Have had him for about 5 weeks. Currently in a ~1gal Marina Cubus tank with a heater (have removed gravel and silk plants) - kept at about 79-80deg. Was planning to move him into a 2.5 gal Fluval, but for past 2 weeks, he started with something that looked like swim bladder issues - sinking to bottom, difficulty staying horizontal when swimming (sometimes floated vertically). Initially his fins were fine but at same time as buoyancy issues, got some tears in his fins from plastic plants (have since switched to silk). Was feeding Aqueon betta pellets - 3-4 pellets, 1-2x per day (dry, not soaked; he always acted starved no matter what feeding frequency!). About a week ago began laying on floor of tank, really struggled to get to top, gulped air, sank again. Had been positioning himself on plant leaves near surface or at top of heater suction cup until yesterday. Since then has stayed on bottom darts to surface and sinks - very spastic swimming. Color was faded, especially mid-line and cheeks (normally a dark turquoise with very dark face). Fed him 1/2 shelled/boiled pea 5 days ago (he still had an appetite then), and he subsequently moved his bowels twice but has refused food (pellets) since then. I've submerged a pint-sized plastic container in the tank to give him a shallower space so he can get to surface easier. No interest in anything resembling food now - just at bottom of container, heavy gill breathing. Since the issue started I was doing 100% water changes 2x per week with Betta Water Renewal and Bettafix but recently only doing 50% on advice from pet store people. Have now added Pimafix (as of 2 days ago) and aquarium salt (as of today). He doesn't list to the side any more and his color seems better - but his fins look worse - I don't know if they are stuck together or clamped but they are completely stiff and look like match sticks now. His pectoral fins seem funtional enough to get himself to surface but otherwise he cannot swim normally. I don't see evidence of ick or white fungus or anything hemorrhagic. Water tests fine for ammonia, nitrites/nitrates, pH, hardness, etc. Conflicting advice to do 100% water changes but Bettafix/Pimafix says treat for 7 days with no water changes - but I did 100pct today with fresh treatments. He seems a little bit better now than a few days ago but even with treatment I'm afraid he'll just get weaker and starve to death if he won't eat. What now?? pics attached from today
I'm not really sure, but try shining a flash light on him. Does he look sorta goldish? Just to rule out velvet.
Generally 100% changes are reccomended, but in this case, I'll defer to someone with more experience, I'll also point Sakura over, she's super friendly and helpful.
This may sound really dumb, but are you using water conditioner?? Also, stop the bettafix and pimafix, they are harmful to bettas (why the market them specifically for them, no idea). They burn their labrynth organ (lungs). Since he's having swim bladder issues, AQ salt will only make it worse. You should instead switch to epsom salt, 1 teaspoon per gallon. You can purchase it at any drug store. Also, stop feeding peas. If he's moving his bowels then it's not a constipation problem.
I just noticed that you said he's not eating. Try soaking his pellets in garlic juice, bettas love the taste of garlic and garlic has its own properties that are beneficial to a sick betta. If that doesn't work, try live or frozen foods.
Hi Indyfish - yes, using water conditioner with every water change. Was told Bettafix and Pimafix totally safe b/c they are natural/organic - ??. Will try the switch to Epsom - just did the Aq salt today with a h2o change so could change water again tonight to switch over. How much Epsom/gallon? Re the pea, he was originally constipated - I tried it after he had 5 or 6 days of no bowel movements at same time sinking started - he passed 2 large sized ones after the pea but hasn't/won't eat since. I tried bobbing a soaked pellet up and down in front of him tonight (picked it up with turkey baster several times and let it go in front of him) - absolutely no reaction. But if I move his container, he'll perk up and swim to surface for a breath. what live food would you suggest?
Well it is natural, but tea tree oil is not good for them.
for food, try something live, or soak pellets in galric juice... just simple minced garlic, scoop out some juice, soak, feed those two are the top two winners for getting bettas to eat.
epsom salt is one teaspoon per gallon, pre-dissolved.
Good, i'm glad you've got water conditioner!!! Sometimes people forget, and it causes reactions like this. Bettafix and pimafix contain tea tree oil, which is indeed natural, but it's not something that bettas can tolerate. It is irritating to their labrynth organ, and when used for an extended period of time, it can cause the fish to have trouble breathing. Try the epsom salt and see what happens, use about 1 teaspoon per gallon. Another thing you can try is Stresscoat. It's a special water conditioner that contains aloe, which is soothing to a fish. Next time he gets constipated, try giving him epsom salt or having him flare at a mirror, that usually takes care of the problem. Peas are ok to use when nothing else works, but they can damage the intestines because bettas' digestive systems are not set up to handle plant matter. Like I said, try soaking his pellets in garlic juice (either fresh or minced from a jar). If that doesn't work, pick up frozen or live brine shrimp, or bloodworms/mosquito larvae. Change his water daily, adding new epsom salt each day, and see how he does. I'm so sorry your little guy is sick, it's especially frustrating when it's not clear as to what's wrong with them =(
THanks Sena Hansler and Indyfish - re the Epsom salt, I've read its dangerous to be used in a tank - ie. it should only be used for "baths" or soaks for short periods of time and then return the fish to the tank. Is that true? Will also stop the Bettafix/Pimafix -- but then should I be treating with something else medicinal? Or just the Epsom in his tank and trying garlic pellets or live food? It still looks like something weird is going on with his fins - unless he's just keeping them super clamped....but it doesn't look like he's doing it voluntarily.... (Sena did you really have a 7 yr old betta "Mister"?? if yes, wow!)
Yes, Mister was 7 before he died. he was from one of my FAVORITE pet stores, Ralph's Pet Store until that store closed when the nice old man retired Now my bettas barely make 2-4
you can use epsom in tanks. It is harmless, very gentle, and even fine with live plants. However, 10-14 days is the max you want to use it AND it is easier in a 1 gallon to treat them anyways
edit: to me he looks like he is just clamping his fins, which can be common with either cold water, or being sick. Being sick, there could be internal problems, or that he just has a weak immune system which can happen with store bought bettas.
Epsom salt is not dangerous to be used in the tank, he is perfectly fine to stay in it for several days =) I would say no longer than 10 days, same goes for AQ salt if you ever have to use it again. Just a tip, AQ salt is for external problems, while epsom is for internal problems. Until you know what's wrong with him, I'd say just stick with epsom. His belly looks a bit pale in your photos, is that normal for him?? That could indicate an internal infection.