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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I just came back from business travel, it took a bit longer than expected. I left instructions for a friend on the lid of Red's tank, to feed him 2-3 Bug Bites every day or every other day. I had it split in a pill container even and told the friend if it ran out, where he could find some extra since my trip took longer than expected.

Well, I came back tonight to see the tank covered in flake food--I hid this away so I'm not sure where he found it and yes I should've threw in the trash when I switched foods 馃槥. The lid was covered, the betta hammock was too. Red was pale, extremely bloated, difficulty swimming, possible fin rot (dark spots on his top fin). It hurts to see him like this but I did a PWC, dosed Prime and Stability with just a drop of Stressguard. His colors perked up almost instantly but he still has the issues.

I ordered Kanaplex and frozen daphnia both next day delivery. I'm gonna fast him for a few days, then feed daphnia and dose Kanaplex for his fins. I'll do PWCs every other day till he shows signs of improvement.

Is there anything else I should do?

Thank you.
 

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Oof, sorry that happened; finding pet-sitters for fish is always such a gamble. No matter how many times you tell them "just a pinch of food" they always seem to want to feed until the fish pop.

I would get as much of the excess food out of the tank as you can, if you haven't already. It's only going to start fouling the water if left in there. Sounds like you're already doing what I would recommend- daily water changes & fasting him for a few days. The daphnia should help clear him out if he's backed up; if he's still bloated after that, you might want to consider adding some epsom salts to his tank.

I personally would probably hold off on the Kanaplex and see if just fresh water starts to heal his fins. If they get worse, or don't improve after a couple of days, then go ahead and start medicating.
 

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Awh, sorry to hear that happened. I agree with Rana. Sounds like you're doing the right thing to remedy the situation. I hope your Betta gets well soon.

Pet-sitters/ some people have the best intentions, but they tend not to follow instructions when it comes to feeding. IDK why.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rana said:
Oof, sorry that happened; finding pet-sitters for fish is always such a gamble. No matter how many times you tell them "just a pinch of food" they always seem to want to feed until the fish pop.

I would get as much of the excess food out of the tank as you can, if you haven't already. It's only going to start fouling the water if left in there. Sounds like you're already doing what I would recommend- daily water changes & fasting him for a few days. The daphnia should help clear him out if he's backed up; if he's still bloated after that, you might want to consider adding some epsom salts to his tank.

I personally would probably hold off on the Kanaplex and see if just fresh water starts to heal his fins. If they get worse, or don't improve after a couple of days, then go ahead and start medicating.
Thank you so much! I vacuumed out the gravel last night with his water change. I'll do another sweep today. I'll back off on the Kanaplex and just daphnia and PWCs for now.

Should I scoop him out in a separate containter for epsom? And how much for a dose? I have a 5.5 gal. I'm scared of dosing too much and then it stays in the tank. Never done it before.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OrchidxBetta said:
Awh, sorry to hear that happened. I agree with Rana. Sounds like you're doing the right thing to remedy the situation. I hope your Betta gets well soon.

Pet-sitters/ some people have the best intentions, but they tend not to follow instructions when it comes to feeding. IDK why.
Thank you so much! I mean I typed up the instructions, extremely clear and precise and taped it to the top lid. But I guess throw all caution to the wind. It's crazy.
 

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Thank you so much! I vacuumed out the gravel last night with his water change. I'll do another sweep today. I'll back off on the Kanaplex and just daphnia and PWCs for now.

Should I scoop him out in a separate containter for epsom? And how much for a dose? I have a 5.5 gal. I'm scared of dosing too much and then it stays in the tank. Never done it before.
I would add the epsom right into his tank- it will stay in the water, so you'll have to remove it with water changes after it's been a couple of days, but this way he's not being moved around. You can also do a "dip" where you put him into a salt solution for a short amount of time; personally I don't like them as much because to be effective the salt is more concentrated so it can be harsher on a weak fish, but it's also an option.

I would start with a quarter-teaspoon of salt per gallon, so for a 5g tank that's 1-1/4 a teaspoon. Dissolve it in a cup of tank water first- bettas sometimes want to nibble at the salt crystals, which isn't ideal for their health. You'll want to add it back in when you do water changes, so keep track of how many gallons you're changing at a time.

You can leave him in this bath for up to a week, but I would expect to see him looking less bloated and feeling better in a day or two. Once he's not bloated anymore, do a 100% change to get the salt out. If he's still bloated after a few days, you can increase the epsom to as much as a whole teaspoon per gallon for another two days, but I would be surprised if you needed to.

Oh, and make sure you're using plain epsom! Sometimes they have dyes and scents added which you don't want in your tank. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Rana said:
I would add the epsom right into his tank- it will stay in the water, so you'll have to remove it with water changes after it's been a couple of days, but this way he's not being moved around. You can also do a "dip" where you put him into a salt solution for a short amount of time; personally I don't like them as much because to be effective the salt is more concentrated so it can be harsher on a weak fish, but it's also an option.

I would start with a quarter-teaspoon of salt per gallon, so for a 5g tank that's 1-1/4 a teaspoon. Dissolve it in a cup of tank water first- bettas sometimes want to nibble at the salt crystals, which isn't ideal for their health. You'll want to add it back in when you do water changes, so keep track of how many gallons you're changing at a time.

You can leave him in this bath for up to a week, but I would expect to see him looking less bloated and feeling better in a day or two. Once he's not bloated anymore, do a 100% change to get the salt out. If he's still bloated after a few days, you can increase the epsom to as much as a whole teaspoon per gallon for another two days, but I would be surprised if you needed to.

Oh, and make sure you're using plain epsom! Sometimes they have dyes and scents added which you don't want in your tank. :)
Thank you! I just rechecked the tank parameters and the nitrites are 0.25 ppm! Ammonia was 0, and nitrates 5-10 ppm. I've never seen nitrite that high before even when I was cycling. Partial water change then?

I'm afraid of doing 100% water change for the epsom salt bath. Will it crash my cycle? I'll probably do just scoop him into a big glass measuring cup and do in there instead and put him back in the tank afterwards.
 

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Thank you! I just rechecked the tank parameters and the nitrites are 0.25 ppm! Ammonia was 0, and nitrates 5-10 ppm. I've never seen nitrite that high before even when I was cycling. Partial water change then?

I'm afraid of doing 100% water change for the epsom salt bath. Will it crash my cycle? I'll probably do just scoop him into a big glass measuring cup and do in there instead and put him back in the tank afterwards.
Eek, yeah, if you see nitrites I would do a partial water change and dose Prime if you have it. Probably all that food in the tank caused an ammonia spike, and the bacteria were just overwhelmed trying to process it. The BB that break down ammonia reproduce faster than the second type that turn nitrites into nitrates, which is why you're probably seeing a spike.

A 100% water change won't damage your cycle if you keep the filter damp, and don't scrub down the surfaces. The water itself has very little bacteria floating in it- they like to live on surfaces like the filter media and decorations, etc, so just replacing the water isn't enough to damage the cycle.

You can also use a hospital tank, if you have a container that holds about a gallon of water (I use plastic "shoebox" storage containers). Leave your betta's normal tank alone and put him in the temporary tank to treat (you'll want to put his heater in there but not the filter), and then swap him back when he's better. Absolutely no risk to the cycle that way, and still not too stressful.

If you want to do a shorter dip instead, I would increase the amount of epsom to an entire teaspoon per gallon, and leave him in there for about half an hour, plus time to acclimate into the dip's water and back into his tank water again. You don't have to use the entire gallon for this, but it's easier to mix it up as a batch. You'd want to dip him once a day, and again he should be less bloated in a day or two.

Of course, you might not need to use epsom at all! I like to be conservative, so in your position I would just fast him for a day, then give him some daphnia, and then after that see if you feel he's still bloated.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rana said:
Eek, yeah, if you see nitrites I would do a partial water change and dose Prime if you have it. Probably all that food in the tank caused an ammonia spike, and the bacteria were just overwhelmed trying to process it. The BB that break down ammonia reproduce faster than the second type that turn nitrites into nitrates, which is why you're probably seeing a spike.

A 100% water change won't damage your cycle if you keep the filter damp, and don't scrub down the surfaces. The water itself has very little bacteria floating in it- they like to live on surfaces like the filter media and decorations, etc, so just replacing the water isn't enough to damage the cycle.

You can also use a hospital tank, if you have a container that holds about a gallon of water (I use plastic "shoebox" storage containers). Leave your betta's normal tank alone and put him in the temporary tank to treat (you'll want to put his heater in there but not the filter), and then swap him back when he's better. Absolutely no risk to the cycle that way, and still not too stressful.

If you want to do a shorter dip instead, I would increase the amount of epsom to an entire teaspoon per gallon, and leave him in there for about half an hour, plus time to acclimate into the dip's water and back into his tank water again. You don't have to use the entire gallon for this, but it's easier to mix it up as a batch. You'd want to dip him once a day, and again he should be less bloated in a day or two.

Of course, you might not need to use epsom at all! I like to be conservative, so in your position I would just fast him for a day, then give him some daphnia, and then after that see if you feel he's still bloated.
Thank you so much!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Rana said:
Glad to help, and I hope your betta feels better soon!
Update: my parameters are back to normal today! 0, 0, 5 ppm. Thank goodness! Red is swimming a bit better, still taking rests here and there and still leaning to the side when he rests but it's progress. Daphnia will be here tomorrow and I'm sure he'll be happy to eat then.

I did a PWC and dosed with Prime just now. All is well.

Quick question: do cycled tanks ever show 0, 0, 0? Is that the perfect parameters?

Here's a pic of him sitting on his leaf.
 

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Did you treat with the ES? Unless bloating seems chronic or lasts more than day or three water changes and getting a Betta to flare or feeding Daphnia usually does the trick.

To treat bloat that last more than two or three days, dissolve one teaspoon of ES in a gallon of water. Keep Betta in it 24/7 for no more than 10 days. Do 100% daily water changes to prevent bacteria build-up. It is extremely important that water changes are daily. I recommend a Tom Dip 'N Pour hung on the inside of the aquarium as a hospital tank. Baths are less concentrated that dips.

For future:

Betta can go 2+ weeks without food. Think of it as "No Food In + No Food Out = Clean Aquarium." Do a good cleaning a day or two before leaving and for a week prior feed a bit more than a Betta usually gets. I up their meals by one extra per day. We were gone once for three weeks and no fish suffered from not eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
RussellTheShihTzu said:
Did you treat with the ES? Unless bloating seems chronic or lasts more than day or three water changes and getting a Betta to flare or feeding Daphnia usually does the trick.

To treat bloat that last more than two or three days, dissolve one teaspoon of ES in a gallon of water. Keep Betta in it 24/7 for no more than 10 days. Do 100% daily water changes to prevent bacteria build-up. It is extremely important that water changes are daily. I recommend a Tom Dip 'N Pour hung on the inside of the aquarium as a hospital tank. Baths are less concentrated that dips.

For future:

Betta can go 2+ weeks without food. Think of it as "No Food In + No Food Out = Clean Aquarium." Do a good cleaning a day or two before leaving and for a week prior feed a bit more than a Betta usually gets. I up their meals by one extra per day. We were gone once for three weeks and no fish suffered from not eating.
I haven't yet. I'm waiting to try the daphnia first before ES. I'm kind of wary about that. I'm afraid of doing 100% water changes. So put him in a one gallon hospital tank with 1 tsp of ES, and leave him in there for a few days? How would I do water changes then? Would I have to use a net to scoop him into another container while I dump the hospital tank and put new water in?

I've been doing 25-50% every day and my parameters looked good today, back to how it used to be.

Also, he doesn't look bloated anymore (he pooped when I turned on the light the night I came home) but still has trouble swimming upright like before. He rests more and leans to the side when he does rest. So I'm sure it's swim bladder from the bloating.

Thank you for your suggestions!
 

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You need to change the water every day to avoid a build up of bacteria. They are critical. It is better to not treat at all then to not do the water changes. Frankly, since he is no longer constipated, I wouldn't treat him with ES but keep him in his tank and continue what you are doing with the water changes is great and will certainly keep secondary problems from arising.

Keep in mind, SBD can have secondary causes such as parasites. And SBD is slow to heal. As long as he he otherwise active and not pale, if he were mine I would just watch him. If the bloating continues then you might consider a general med. @Rainbo is best on that front.
 

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With swim bladder disease you could try throwing a broad spectrum antibiotic at it, if nothing else is working, and your betta is exhibiting other signs of illness like clamped fins, lethargy, or lack of appetite, and hope that it helps. If you do try one make sure to follow the directions exactly and do not stop treatment halfway through if your boy seems better.

I just read an article that says that there's evidence that high nitrites can cause swim bladder disease, so your high nitrites, paired with his trying to eat himself into the grave, might be what's caused his trouble. Here's the article https://www.thesprucepets.com/swim-bladder-disorder-in-aquarium-fish-1381230

Have you tried switching him to frozen food for a few days and seeing if that helps? One of my betta's swim bladders will act up if he eats Omega One Pellets, I've no idea why since my other 4 betta are fine with it. Turns out he can eat frozen food, and bug bites just fine, but will have trouble with his swim bladder a few hours after I feed him Omega One.
 

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With swim bladder disease you could try throwing a broad spectrum antibiotic at it, if nothing else is working, and your betta is exhibiting other signs of illness like clamped fins, lethargy, or lack of appetite, and hope that it helps. If you do try one make sure to follow the directions exactly and do not stop treatment halfway through if your boy seems better.

I just read an article that says that there's evidence that high nitrites can cause swim bladder disease, so your high nitrites, paired with his trying to eat himself into the grave, might be what's caused his trouble. Here's the article https://www.thesprucepets.com/swim-bladder-disorder-in-aquarium-fish-1381230

Have you tried switching him to frozen food for a few days and seeing if that helps? One of my betta's swim bladders will act up if he eats Omega One Pellets, I've no idea why since my other 4 betta are fine with it. Turns out he can eat frozen food, and bug bites just fine, but will have trouble with his swim bladder a few hours after I feed him Omega One.
I learn something new almost every day. Thank you!
 
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