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Betta sick??

612 Views 12 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Overprotective Fish Lover
Hi, I woke up yesterday morning to find that my Betta's eye was swollen and that his body was slightly bloated. He's resting a lot on his hammock and plant a lot, and occasionally on the bottom. Every couple minutes he frantically gulps air swimming up rapidly from the bottom or takes a huge gulp if he's floating on decor. He made it through last night and he ate yesterday morning just fine (I haven't fed him today yet.) Can someone please help me? �� I'm really worried about him I hardly slept last night. I did a large water change Monday night and the next day I found him like this... His breathing is very heavy as well. Today I'm going to pick up some Epson salt to help his eye but I'm not sure what else to do? I'm pretty sure it's not dropsy because his scales aren't raised and his color hasn't dulled very much. Also he's swimming very stressfully and rigorously every few minutes, but he's not lopsided. Could this just be constipation? Help? �� Thank you so much!
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Could you please fill out this form so we can best help your fish? Also pictures would be awesome too. I'm sorry your fish is ill. :(
How many gallons is your tank? 2 gallons
Does it have a filter? No. (I heard they don't like the current).
Does it have a heater? Yes.
What temperature is your tank? 76-80, mainly 78.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No, but I've tried to put one in and he didn't like the current.
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No.

What food brand do you use? Wardley betta pellets and hikari bloodworms as treats
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No.
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 7-9 pellets a day

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Every other weak.
What percentage of water did you change? About 80%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Just dip out.
What additives do you use? Tetra betta safe conditioner, Seachem natural regulator, easy life fluid filter media, Api stress zyme +

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you.

Ammonia: .1 or 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.0
Hardness (GH): not known
Alkalinity (KH): not known

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Yesterday morning
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Slightly dulled color.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? More jumpy, but at the same time lethargic and breathing heavily. (See post above.)
Is your Betta still eating? He ate yesterday. Haven't tried to feed him today yet.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? No, but turned the temp up to 80.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? About a year. But he was old when I got him. No.
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Swollen eyes, mild bloating, and lethargy are often signs of early dropsy. It could be another infection - I'm certainly not an expert - but that's what I would guess. Water changes every 2 weeks in an unfiltered 2 gallon is too few...I'd probably recommend twice a week. My best guess would be that he acquired an infection because of high ammonia levels at some point. Did you ever test the parameters right before a water change?

Epsom salts are a good start for bloating and swelling of the eyes. You can add a dose to his tank, I think. But I'd recommend doing daily baths instead for 15-20 minutes at 1 tsp per gal. Make sure you predissolve first and acclimate carefully. While he's in the bath, you can do daily 100% water changes too.

Someone with more experience may be able to recommend an appropriate medication, but I'm not capable. I hope that he recovers. :(
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Thank you so much for your kind words and recommendations :) I just gave him an Epsom salt bath and it seems that his breathing has gotten a bit more even. I'm gonna try to give him another one tonight. Do you think that's a good idea? Also I'm gonna try not feeding him for the next two days and then give him a blanched pea in case it is constipation. I'll keep posting! Thank you again :)
I wouldn't probably give a pea, it doesn't sound like constipation and if it were, there are a lot of safer and more effective treatments. Sometimes peas DO work great for constipation, but I've also heard some scary stories about peas doing damage to fish's digestive tracts.

ES is safe and good for constipation too, so for now I wouldn't worry about other constipation treatments. If he seems like he's struggling to reach the surface for air, you might want to lower the water level to make it easier for him. I've also heard that sick fish find it less stressful if their tank is dark, so you can wrap a towel around the tank if you wanted (it won't help him recover but it might make him more comfortable).

I wish I could help more. I know that for bacterial Dropsy, people here often recommend Kanaplex or Maracyn I and II, but those are pretty heavy-duty and I can't judge if his symptoms are clear enough. Here's a good sticky on Betta disease treatment; you might want to look at dropsy and bacterial infections as those seem to fit the symptoms best.
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Quick update! I gave him 2 salt baths yesterday and the swelling in the eye has almost completely gone down, and the swelling in the body has gone down a little bit. His color is also better today, and he ate 3 or 4 of the soaked pellets I gave him this morning. :D His breathing is still an issue, but I think it's gotten a little less erratic in the past day. I think putting a towel over him and raising his temp to around 80 was the right idea. I'm starting to think maybe his gills are inflamed.... :( But, I'm gonna give him some more baths today and see how it goes. :) Thanks for all your help and advice I don't this I and Jumbo Jr. could've gotten through half of this without it! :)
No problem, I'm happy to help! It's great that he's showing signs of improvement. Keep me posted! :)
I just picked up some aquarium salt, ammonia neutralizer, and some betta fix. (My local pet store only carries betta fix, melafix, and pimafix :/ ). I'm waiting to go back to my house right now. Do you have any advice on what to do with these? He's still doing about the same, but I think I should start treating him for inflamed gills, as one of his gills looks swollen and red. (I'm not sure if the red is from his coloring or not, since he's purple, white, and dark dark red.) his body is still slightly swollen, and his eyes are a lot better than they were, but still slightly swollen. He ate 3 soaked pellets this morning, and he's been having short bursts of energy, then long periods of resting. I know he's getting old so I'm trying to make sure I don't stress him out. I'm just so worried about him :(. I've heard that if you use both Epsom and aquarium salt that can have negative health effects like more bloating? Thank you! :)
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Yep, I'm pretty sure you should wait a few days after finishing an ES treatment before beginning an AQ salt one. I think that's just to get it out of their system; the two are definitely not compatible (I wish though).

Bettafix is an extremely controversial product. Some people say that it's incredible, others say that their betta died from it. I heard someone here on the forum say it's great for finrot if you've got sufficient surface agitation, because if you don't, the tea tree oil builds up on the surface and gets into their labrynth organ when they go up to breathe. I'm not sure if Bettafix would be helpful for healing inflamed gills or not...I think melaleuca is good for external healing in fish so maybe.

Bettafix/melafix/primafix products are DEFINITELY dangerous when overdosed, so if it were me, I'd (a): make sure that the filter current agitates the ENTIRE SURFACE of the water, and (b): underdose, maybe even halving the suggested amount.

Since his bloating has gotten better so rapidly, I'm pretty sure that my guess of early dropsy was wrong. I'm thinking now that it's probably some form of ammonia poisoning, or maybe a bacterial infection. The best thing you can do right now is probably large daily water changes, to keep all of the parameters perfectly in check. The ammonia neutralizer might help too.

I hope this is useful. Keep in mind that most of the stuff I'm telling you is based off of research, not experience. I wish someone who has been keeping fish for longer would come on here and lend a hand, but until then, I guess it's just me. :p
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Great news and bad news...

Whoops! sorry I haven't seen your post sooner I didn't notice that the post went on to the second page and I didn't get a notification :/ Anyway, I tried to use the bettafix, (again it probably wasn't that smart I wish I saw this post sooner.) and I halfed the dose the fist day, and only did the treatment for a week in fear of the rumors I've been hearing about it. I also used an ammonia neutralizer while dosing him, along with half a week afterwards. I did a really thorough water change after the dose was done, along with giving him another epsom salt bath. Now, he looks great! He's swimming and eating healthily, (I've now been soaking the food so he won't get constipated.) and his color and eye look really good. He also doesn't have trouble reaching the top for air, and his breathing and gills look healthy. The only thing that concerns me now is he's still got a bulge on his left side only. It's not too big (about two milometers, and there's a smaller one next to it that's about 1 milometer.) and he's acting good otherwise, so I'm thing it's a cyst rather than a tumor? I'm so glad that he looks better. Unfortunately, my other betta, FredStanley passed away a few days ago from a swim bladder like illness that he caught one morning and took it's toll that evening. I'm completely distraught and depressed about it, and I miss him so much. :cry: He wasn't bloated at all, no other symptoms but heavy breathing and struggling to reach the top. Do you have any idea what that could've been? Just for closure, y'know? But, I need to now focus on Jumbo, and making him happy and healthy. Thank you so much. :)
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I'm so happy to hear that Jumbo's doing better! I'm sorry that your other fish passed though. :(

I honestly have no idea whatsoever about cysts and tumours. I've never even researched them (which is incredible; you don't know how much time I've spent cross-referencing websites for fish info). Sorry, but I can't help at all with that one.

Hard to tell with the other fish. Struggling to swim and panting is a late symptom of pretty much every fish disease known to man, so without pics, it's difficult to know. Unfortunately, bettas often don't show identifiable symptoms until it's much too late, or sometimes not at all. I'm sorry for your loss. I know what it's like to lose a fish you love.

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