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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello, this is my first post but ive visited the site very often to read advice, its been very helpful. Anyways my betta Frank has sever swelling on the left side of his abdomen, he sits at the bottom of the tank and leans on the glass. He only swims for air, and he is not eating at all. About a week ago I left a pellet in the tank and it looked like he might have ate it, but i couldn't tell, im not sure the last time hes ate probably a couple weeks (i take the food out when he doesn't eat it though). Now a few months ago we had him in a 1 gallon tank with no thermometer and were him feeding way too often, and he was really bad. fins clamped, very lethargic, laid at the bottom of the bowl, floated on his side as though he was dead, sometimes looked as though he wasn't breathing, and there was the swelling also. One of my family members was also treating him with pimafix during this time for a couple days but i stopped them cause i read it didn't work (although its a possibility it was helping him, but im not sure). So I did my research and cleaned his 1 gallon bowl, put the conditioner in, put epsom salt in, and tried to keep him as warm as possible. After a couple days the swelling went away completely and he seemed to be a bit less lethargic, but was still not eating. About a couple days later we got a 3 gallon tank with a thermometer, heater, air pump, and a small filter, and i added epsom salt but not as much as the last time (i put very little). He seemed to be even more active (but still a bit lethargic), and his fins weren't clamped, also the swelling was still gone, but he was still not eating. (I know they wont eat for like a week after a tank change but its been well over a week). So now after a couple weeks trying to feed him he still hasn't ate. I tried switching it up with blood worms,using kents garlic extreme but he seems to have no interest to eat. Also the swelling came back, and its pretty bad. I tried kanaplex after water changes but doesn't seem to do anything. I don't know if he has ammonia poisoning from when he was in his 1 gallon bowl, or if its dropsy, or swim bladder, its hard to tell. oh and his scales are not pine coning. He also does this thing every once in awhile where it looks like hes gulping. He looks up and opens his mouth real wide. I don't know if that's normal or not. i do a 25% water change twice a week, one just a water change and the other i use a gravel vacuum. ammonia is at 0, and all the water parameters are right. I think im doing everything right, but i just don't know what im missing. Please help.

Thanks
 

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Possibly he is constipated.
A good general cure for that with fish is to add Epsom salt to the water. it is a natural laxative and helps to heal internal injuries and reduce water retention so should help to reduce his swelling. You can get it at any grocery store or chemist (plain unscented of course)
Bettas yawn often, possibly he wants a little more air or he is just shifting about, does he have a plant close to the surface he can rest on? Bettas like high perches in their tank because they dont have far to swim for air runs.

Bettas can go some time without food, so your main focus should be getting him swimming again. Once he perks up he should eat.
However a good way to get him interested is to switch up the diet. my own boys love frozen bloodworms and many here recommend soaking their pellets in garlic juice.

I have heard both good and bad things for the pea method and so wont recommend it. The epsom should get him going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Ok thanks Taeanna. Ive tried garlic juice and blood worms but still nothing, but ill focus on getting him better. I dont have any plants but i do have a small cave he likes to go in. I will try and get some plants today. Any recommendations on what plants i should get? Ive read some actually get rid of ammonia. I also have an air pump with a small air stone, i read it helps with breathing and helps get rid of some of the bad stuff in the water, but it can stress your fish although frank doesnt seem to mind it, he actually swims up in the bubbles. the pea method i did once a few months ago and didnt change much so im staying away from that. I think the epsom salt got rid of the swelling the first time and the reason its coming back now is because i put too little in his new, bigger tank, but i dont want to put too much cause i read it could really harm your fish. How much do you think i should put in and when? Also will this swelling ever go away? because like i said it went away and then came back like a couple weeks later, although i dont think its dropsy because he had the swelling with no pine coning for about 4 months. thanks again
 

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Something broad leaved is best and definitely with soft edges (if you choose fake silk is best). Real plants will indeed cut down on chemical build ups in the water but make sure they have enough light to grow.

Look for a plant that has a lot of leaves sitting at the top of the water where he can hide and sleep.

Epsom can be added in larger amounts than say AQ salt. I tend to put in around 3 teaspoons per 8 litres (the size of my water change bucket) when they are really sick and less than that for simple tummy upsets.
 

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His belly reminds me of my rescue fish that had a swim bladder disorder.

Epsom salts will help relieve the pressure on his stomach, provide him with perches near the water surface so he doesnt have to expend a lot of effort to take breaths (which will stress him out) and look into a broad spectrum antibiotic if you dont see any improvements. Tetracycline is a common one found in many products.

What you are looking for in improvement is the ability to swim up and down without him struggling and a small return to appetite. The pressure in his belly is likely turning him off his food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I actually got him a leaf hammock and put it in yesterday but he usually spends most his time in his cave. He actually ate this morning too, which i guess is a good thing? I also did a 25% water change today with epsom salt and stress coat. i do have kanaplex but can try Tetracycline idk which would be better.
 

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If he is moving about and showing improvement hold off on the kanaplex for now (its a different antibiotic to tetracycline bit they are both gram negative broad spectrums so either works)

Bettas that dont feel well try to hide a lot, he should start using the leaf hammock as he gets better (all three of my boys have them and use them constantly).

Seems hes doing much better if hes eating and swimming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
He hasn't shown any improvement since this mornings water change, but ill wait longer just using epsom salt. I have a small filter which tends to make the water move a bit so he cant really lean on anything. Should i leave it off for now? And would the filter or air stone get rid of the epsom salt particles before he could absorb them? Also should i keep doing 25% water changes twice a week or should i do bigger changes? Alot of questions lol thanks.
 

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He doesnt need the filter really. Most betta owners on this site either dont use one or find a way to baffle it. All of the extra finnage on bettas make them adverse to currents because they get dragged along like the boat under a sail. However filters keep the water cleaner longer...its really a personal choice and with a good baffler they work really well.

Keep up his cleaning routine and give him some time to respond to the salts.
Broad spectrums can be dangerous when used= there are 2 kinds of bacteria, gram negative and gram positive and a broad spectrum kills all of one kind.
This isnt as good as it sounds because animals have good bacteria/internal flora which is bacteria thats meant to be there. it helps keep us healthy and digests our food for us. A broad spectrum kills this as well.

This means that after the infection is removed the immune system of the treated animal is weak. They get a lot of new infections because their good bacteria didn't fight it off.
(hence why doctors hate people demanding antibiotics for everything- the person gets sicker in the long term and it breeds resistant types)

If he reverts to the same behaviour as before or goes for 24-48 hours without any change might be time to try the stronger meds
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Heres some more pics. Ive been doing the Epsom salt treatment for a couple days,but it hasnt seemed to work. If anything he looks worse. I have pimafix and kanaplex dont know which to use. A few weeks ago i used pimafix for a couple days, then i did a 100% water change in his old 1gal bowl with epsom salt,and the bloating went away completl, but idk if it was the pimafix or epsom salt that cured it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Housing
What size is your tank? 3 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 79 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but recently has been off
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
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? Aqueon Betta pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1 pellet a day, but hasnt been eating

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? twice a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Betta conditioner, during treatment: epsom salt, and stresscoat

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:0
pH:7.0
Hardness:60
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Bloating/swelling mostly on left side of abdomen.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sits at bottom of tank, leans on glass, barley eats.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About 4 or 5 months ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, with epsom salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? about a year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also wanted to add his poop is thin/stringy and white. And if anyone thinks i should leave his air stone in while medicating, he doesnt seem to mind it, but i feel like it would mess with the epsom salt or medication
 

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Sounds like its internal if there is no improvement.
With such a fat little belly it can be either bacterial or a parasite.

Thin and stringy white waste is a sign of a parasitic infection. The residents in your boy's gut are making him ill. and so he is swelling up and lethargic.

However the severe swelling looks mostly bacterial from your situation. Best to move in with the antibiotic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok thanks i really appreciate your feedback Taeanna. I have pimafix and kanaplex, do you think i should use one of those or try something else? Because i do know the pimafix treats internal and external bacteria but says nothing of parasite treatment. And the kanaplex says it treats dropsy, popeye and finrot. I know you recommended tetracycline but should i go with something like Prazipro?
 

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kanaplex is just another chemical compound that does the same thing at tetra. I only use tetra because kanaplex isn't easy to get in Australia :)

Both of those are antibiotics and so wont go after parasites, however after re reading your illness form I can tell you it isnt likely. Parasites come from live food, introducing new fish and plants etc etc. Since he lives alone and has been with you a while it isnt as likely to be parasites as it is to be bacterial.

I admit I am more likely to recommend the kanaplex but then again I have never used pima. I leave this one to your judgement since both are a step in the right direction. Pima is likely a more gentle treatment long term but Kanaplex will hit the nail right away.
Its the difference between a hammer and a sledgehammer at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yea like i said a few weeks ago my dad started using the pimafix, but i didnt think it would work, so after only two days of him using it, i did a 100% water change and added epsom salt, and within less than two days the swelling was completely gone, so i wasn't sure if it was the epsom salt or pimafix (or both), but know it seems like it might have been that. I suppose ill try the pimafix first. I did a 50% water change today and added epsom salt would it be ok to start treating with pimafix tomorrow?
 
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