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Bloated EVERYTIME he eats?

4331 Views 32 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  lilnaugrim
I'm running into issues with my Crowntail Fred. He seems to get bloated every time he eats. Feeding as little as two pellets results in bloated fish with swim bladder problems. Any tips as to what's going on with him? I'm assuming there's more going on that just him eating.

What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
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? Two ghost shrimp

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? NLS All Purpose Pellets, presoaked
How often do you feed your betta fish? Ideally it would be twice daily but he gets so bloated after his morning meal that I'm not comfortable feeding him his evening meal.

How often do you perform a water change? 2-3 times weekly.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Generally I do one 25% change, one 50% change and one little over 50% change
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I have a liquid test kit for ammonia only, I'm waiting for the master kit to be delivered.

Ammonia: 0

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Bloated everytime he eats.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He has swim bladder issues following bloating after meals. He's currently floating on his side as he's having trouble keeping himself upright.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? The entirety of the time I've had him.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No, I'm unsure of what to to.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? If you count the bloating after meals yes.
How old is your fish (approximately)? He came home from Petco 2ish weeks ago, I'm not sure how old he was when I got him.
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Can you get a video of this or pictures of his bloat?

When I'm actively at the tank he tries harder to stay upright, however if I'm watching from across the room and he isn't trying as hard he ends up on his side quite a bit more.
Okay, looks like he's a classic case of just swim bladder issues from birth most likely. Of course I can't say that for sure since I don't know his full history, but since you said it's been the entire time you've had him, that makes me think more that it's just a birth defect.

Have you tried frozen foods like Daphnia or brine shrimp? Live foods generally will help constipation/swim bladder cases since they are highly digestible compared to the pellets, even to NLS so it's worth a shot to try the frozen foods first to see if they help any.
Brine Shrimp has the same effect on him. I can't find the daphnia locally. When he hasn't eaten he has no issues evident. I feel bad for him

Also if you can see his belly there, that's after being fasted for a little over 24 hours and only receiving three pellets total the last day he was fed.
Okay, well he isn't going to starve I can tell you that. I had a DT boy who I could only feed 4 pellets a week and then he spent the rest of the week processing the food, you may do that with your boy as well. As long as it's nutritional food, and NLS is, he'll be fine to only eat once a week if it's needed. You can also lower the water level if you think he needs it so he can reach the surface easier and explore the tank some more.
That makes me feel better! I feel bad for him. :/ I'm going to leave the water level where it is for now as he seems to have trouble getting to the bottom so he has no trouble reaching air. He's pretty much always at the top and it's a struggle for him to go down.
Yeah, it does stink but at least you know. It's still worth to find some live foods, I would look into culturing white worms if they don't freak you out lol You can culture them soil-lessly or in some soil and they're super easy! Feed them a bit of high protein cat food a few times a week and they're all set :-D
my VT/RT is the same. i always put unscented epsom salt in his water and i usually feed him every 2 days. it seems to keep it in check for the most part.
Lilnaugrim, I'll have to look into culturing the worms.

Nel3, isn't constantly having salt in the water hard on their internal organs?
Epsom salt isn't like Aquarium salt, you can keep it in the tank at low dosages for those fish who suffer from chronic swim bladder issues like your boy and for those with tumors. You can use a .25 teaspoon per gallon of ES and keep that in the tank. Issue is you'll have to keep track of how many gallons you take out for water changes so that it stays mostly constant in the tank, if it fluctuates at little it's not a huge deal though.
would 1.5-2tsp per 1g longterm be too much? ive tried 1tsp per g and he didnt seem to lose the belly as fast.
It depends, start off with .25 and work up but 1 tsp/gal is usually the limit for long term use.
It depends, start off with .25 and work up but 1 tsp/gal is usually the limit for long term use.
ty, ive been using 2tsp/1g as it gave the best effect but i'll bting it down to 1tsp/1g and see if his metabolism adjusts to it. hopefully i can get it to .25/1g. my bettas's fins dont seem to react well to AQ salt as they start to erode with normal doses. half dosing the AQ salt seems to work, either way i dont want to see my VT's fins erode from the ES salt content.

lately mine loses the belly within 3 days.
AQ salt doesn't help any sort of fin rot issues, it merely sterilizes an open wound which fin rot is a closed wound, just as an example. What you are seeing most likely is excess slime coat being shed off as AQ salt also irritates the slime coat and cases it to shed the old stuff and create new stuff; so it's good for knocking parasites off but that's about it.
AQ salt doesn't help any sort of fin rot issues, it merely sterilizes an open wound which fin rot is a closed wound, just as an example. What you are seeing most likely is excess slime coat being shed off as AQ salt also irritates the slime coat and cases it to shed the old stuff and create new stuff; so it's good for knocking parasites off but that's about it.
thank you Lilnaugrim, thats something new i just learned. i havent had to use AQ salt too often but i wont be so alarmed by it in future cases.

I would try using 0.25 teaspoons Epsom salt for 4-5 days to see if it makes any difference.

Since you have a 5 gal tank: Put some of his tank water into a cup. Stir in 1.25 teaspoons Epsom salt. Once the salt is completely dissolved, pour it back into the tank.

For the next few days, every time you do a water change:
1) Stir 0.25 teaspoons Epsom salt into a gallon of water. Add conditioner.
2) Use this solution for his water changes.

This will allow you to maintain a consistent dosage of 0.25 tsp Epsom salt per gallon.

Epsom salt is not available at petstores. You can buy it at supermarkets and pharmacies (Walmart, Walgreen, Publix, Kroger, CVS, etc.) Get a brand that only contains magnesium sulfate (or magnesium sulfate heptahydrate). Avoid ones that have perfumes. A small box should cost about $1.

Epsom salt has a laxative and fluid reducing effect. It is safe to use for short-term periods, and at low dosages. (The 0.25 tsp/gal dosage is very low.) It can take a few days to work, which is why I suggest trying it for about 4-5 days.



I would try tapering the dosage slowly. The goal is to determine the minimum effective dosage, and use that amount.

Since you're at 2 tsp/gal right now, try 1.75 tsp/gal for a few days. If he's OK with that, try 1.5 tsp/gal. And so on.

As Lilnaugrim explained, Epsom salt and Aquarium salt are very different.

Aquarium salt's main ingredient is sodium chloride. Freshwater fish can't handle high amounts of sodium. Their kidneys therefore work hard to eliminate the sodium from the body. (This is called osmoregulation.) It can cause fluid retention, bloating, constipation and/or buoyancy issues. If used at too high a dosage, or for too long, it can lead to kidney failure.

Epsom salt is NOT aquarium salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate. (There is no sodium in it.) It has a laxative and fluid reducing effect (in people and fish). Since it does not contain sodium, it won't cause stress on the internal organs the way that Aquarium salt does.

However, since it does have a laxative/fluid reducing effect, using high dosages of Epsom salt can cause dehydration! (Think of a person who gets severe diarrhea. They're prone to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. The same can be true of fish.)

So the goal is to reduce the amount of Epsom salt to the dosage that treats the problem effectively - but also doesn't cause dehydration or other issues.
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Thanks LittleBlue for the fantastic explanation! :-D

Cara, how's he doing?
His belly has gone down some since his last feeding, but he managed to snag some of the shrimps food last night, so we're right back where we started. :roll: I did let him sit in a 1 tsp/gal epsom salt mixture for a few hours last night (I jarred him).

I wanted to ask, is the epsom salt safe to use with my plants? Or should I move him to the 3.5 gallon I have? This question is what's prevented me from as yet adding it directly to my tank.
Epsom salt is safe with plants, it's actually a natural fertilizer as well; some gardeners use it to mix in with the soil. I'm just not sure how it reacts with inverts, I should run a test on that unless someone else knows the answer! Maybe you LittleBlue? (lol that rhymed ^_^)
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