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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I've been wondering for weeks if my betta is constipated. He's looked borderline swollen but then he'll "go" so I'll relax... but then the same thing happens again.

The past couple of days, he's only eaten 1 pellet per day and yesterday he wouldn't eat at all. Today I noticed that his belly is markedly swollen. Both sides -- although the right side seems more swollen than the left. Photo here.

He did have a small bowel movement 2 days ago. Don't think he has today.

Is this constipation or something else? What should I do?

Any help is appreciated!

* * *
5 gallon heated, cycled tank. 79 degrees.
HOB filter, no air stone
No tank mates
Tank has a moss ball, 1 anubias plant and 1-2 small Indian Almond leaves

Food:
1-2 Omega One betta buffet pellets per day
Frozen brine shrimp 1x/week.

Maintenance :
Water changes 1-2x per week
Change 1-2 gallons at a time
Seachem Prime used to condition water

Water Parameters

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 7.6
Hardness/Alkalinity: ?

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Bloated belly.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Hides more under his leaf or in his plant. Eats less and sometimes doesn't seem to see his pellet if I don't drop it right in front of him.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? Noticed the size of his belly today. Started eating less 1-2 days ago.

Have you started treating your fish? Not yet.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? Has had spots on pectoral fins almost since we got him. Thought it was lymphocystis but it's never cleared up. Have not been able to diagnose what it is.

How old is your fish (approximately)? Got him from Petsmart 1.5 years ago.
 

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hmmm.

I would start with fasting him for at least 3-4 days, do not offer any food.

In addition, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salt per gallon of water (so for you 5 teaspoons). Epsom salt is not Aquarium Salt or table salt. Its magnesium sulfate. It can be found at grocery stores, pharmacies or hardware stores. Its very cheap too.

To add it to the water - remove a cup or so of water from the tank. Dissolve the salt in that. Then every 15 minutes or so add a bit of the salted water back into his tank. You can leave it in his tank for a while so I would leave it in until you see any progress. It does not evaporate out so when you do a water change just add enough salt so the dosage remains the same. So if you change 2 gallons of water, then add 2 teaspoons to the new water.

If you do not see improvement in a week then I would look into medicine. Seachem Kanaplex and API General Cure are good choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! Poops are similar to the color of his food, just a bit lighter.

I haven't noticed any change in size after he eliminates. It seems like this swollen belly happened suddenly -- I didn't notice anything earlier in the week, but I have been working more than usual and not home to observe much.

I've read different things about epsom salt and am confused. What is the advantage to a bath (adding salt to the tank) vs a dip (leaving the fish in for 10-15 mins).

How long can I leave the epsom salt in Fin's tank? I believe for aquarium salt you shouldn't leave the fish in for more than 10 days. Is there a limit for epsom salt?

If the epsom salt works and I no longer need it, should I do a 100% water change to remove it?

Sorry about all the questions - and thanks again for taking the time to read this thread!
 

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If his poop is the same color as his food then that is good.

Do not do a 15 minute bath, the fish isn't exposed long enough to the benefits of the salt when you do a bath so just add it to the water in his tank.

You can leave Epsom Salt in for a while. I have a betta fish with chronic SBD and she has had a low dosage of Epsom Salt in her tank for over 6 months. You can leave the 1 teaspoon per gallon in for a few weeks without any harm. Epsom Salt is more neutral and less harsh than AQ salt.

If you need to remove it then you just want to remove it slowly with partial water changes. Like when you do a normal water change (like a 50% or 25% or whatever) just stop adding the salt into the water. Eventually all the salt will be removed.
 

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do NOT feed him a pea.

this is a misconception. Bettas are insectivores and cannot digest plant protein. Plant protein can harm their digestive tract.

If you want to feed him a natural laxative, try frozen daphnia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got it, no on the frozen pea. I actually tried frozen daphnia a few weeks ago but Fin wouldn't eat it. But maybe he will after days of fasting.

I got some epsom salt today and am in the process of adding it to the tank. Fingers crossed that it works.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Uh oh. Fin's belly is getting bigger and he still hasn't gone #2 so I have a bad feeling this is something else. His scales are looking a bit raised on the side that's more swollen. This is his 3rd day of fasting.

Should I up the epsom salt or go straight to medication?

Have to go to work now so I can't do anything til later today :(

Thanks to all for your replies, esp VivianKJean!
 

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If it is getting worse then look into meds.

If you can get Seachem Kanaplex then use this. You won't be able to find it at a Petco or Petsmart. A local fish store might have it (if you have one near you). I would call them before you go if you do have one just to make sure they have it.

If you have to order Kanaplex online then I would move on to API's General Cure while you wait for the Kanaplex. You can find General Cure at Petsmart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi VivianKJean,

Thanks for following this thread. I couldn't find Kanaplex so I used API's General Cure today.

I will call a couple more local stores for Kanaplex. If I do locate it - can I add it to Fin's tank even though General Cure is in the water now?

I hope Fin makes it long enough for me to find Kanaplex. I'm wondering if he has dropsy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ps: Just thought of a few more questions:

Was just reading about Betta Revive being used to treat dropsy. Are you familiar with this at all?

Will any of these meds damage the bio-filter?
 

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When you get the Kanaplex, if the round of general cure isn't completely then do an 100% water change and start him on kanaplex. Its a stronger med.

What makes you think he has dropsy? Is he pineconing at all?

In the directions of General Cure it says to remove all filter media but to continue aeration. I just remove the media in my filter and run the filter without any media in it since I don't have an airstone. The meds will kill whatever beneficial bacteria is in the filter and if the filter has carbon then the carbon will absorb the meds instead of the meds treating the fish.

I have not used betta revive. I tend the stay away from "bettafix", any other meds ending in "fix" (the active ingredient is harmful to fish who are labyrinth breathers, like bettas) or any medicine that is described as "for Bettas" since they seem to be a money making thing more than half the time.

if he indeed has dropsy, Kanaplex is your best bet of beating it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Argh, I stupidly didn't see the part of the instructions that said to remove filter media. Is it a given that the biofilter is destroyed? Do I have to restart the cycling process again? The General Cure has been in for about 18 hours. I use a HOB Filter with some sponges and a bio-bag but no carbon.

I do see some pineconing around the swollen areas, that's why I'm guessing dropsy. But I am a beginner and don't really know much about anything!

Just found some Kanaplex locally and am going to get it now...

Should I stop fasting Fin?
 

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Usually dropsy effects the whole body so if it is only in parts then I do not think it is dropsy.

good, i'm glad you found kanaplex!

Most likely your BB have been killed so you might need to cycle your tank again but you can figure this out after you cure him.

How many days have you been fasting him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is day 4 of the fast. I'm thinking about trying to feed Fin some frozen brine shrimp. I'd try daphnia or bloodworms but he won't eat either of them.

The owner of the fish store I went to was really knowledgable (to me, anyway). He brought up the idea that perhaps bad water quality started this.

I'm having some minor construction in the bathroom attached to Fin's room and I've noticed a light covering of dust everywhere in that room, including the top of Fin's tank. I wonder if something got into Fin's water (even though his tank is covered). The swelling started right around the time construction began. Maybe that's far-fetched, I don't know.

I hope the medication works! Thanks Vivian for your help!
 
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