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Discussion Starter #1
Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? - 7 gal.
Does it have a filter? - No
Does it have a heater? - Yes
What temperature is your tank? - 78 F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? - Yes
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? - No

Food:
What food brand do you use? - Omeaga One
Do you feed flakes or pellets? - Pellets
Freeze-dried? - N/A
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Twice a day, generally. - Four pellets in the morning and four in then evening.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? - One 100% water change every weekend, usually Saturdays.
What percentage of water did you change? - 100%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? - Vacuum the water out. Remove all the glass gravel and plants and rinse them with warm water.
What additives do you use? Seachem Prime. 2 drops/gal.

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: - I don't have these values right now, but I can measure them later tonight. I just got home from work and I am on my way to buy Daphnia. But I have measured Ammonia before and at the end of the week, just prior to the water change, the Ammonia level is still in the yellow region. Approx. .025 or .25 ppm (whichever is the yellow marker).
Nitrite: - Don't have at this time, but I can measure later tonight.
Nitrate: - Don't have at this time, but I can measure later tonight.
pH: - I can' recall, but I know that the water is slightly basic; just over 7
Hardness (GH): - Never measured.
Alkalinity (KH): - Never measured.

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? This past Sunday, 08 November 2015.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? - Bloated (I think he's constipated).
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? - Hangs out at the bottom more. He will come to me, but he doesn't hang out and swim around. He goes back to the bottom.
Is your Betta still eating? - Yes. I fasted him Monday and Tuesday, but with no less bloating. I attempted to give him the inside of a pea (Tueday night), but they just fall to the bottom. The little piece that he went for, he immediately refused and spit it out. I began to worry about how long he could go without food, so I gave him two pellets on Tuesday night (today is Friday). His bloating has increased slightly, which makes sense. It was probably a dumb thing to do, but I was worried.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? - Fasting. Fasted him Monday and Tuesday. Fed him two pellets Tuesday night after a failed attempt at feeding him the inside of a pea. He has been fasting since then (today is Friday and will make 3 days of fasting).
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? - No
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? - I have had him for just over a year. I took over care for him because a family member wasn't really committed to him.

Most of the information is answered above. I just got home from work and I am on my way to go purchase Daphnia. I think my betta is constipated. This past Sunday, after the water change (100% every week), I placed him back in the aquarium and I noticed a little bump in his belly area. At that point I remembered not really seeing any poop in the old water as I was pouring it out. This occurred this past Sunday evening (08 November 2015).

So I thought he may be constipated and fasted him Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night, I took a frozen pea and place it in some water and microwaved it for about 10 seconds and peeled it. Bu the pea would just sink to the bottom and he never goes for food once it has passed below him. After several attempts, I managed to get him to take a piece, but he immediately refused it and spit it out. So I know it's counterintuitive, but I was worried about him not eating so I gave him two, presoaked pellets, which he ate. So I have fasted him since then. So he fasted Wednesday, Thursday and now today, Friday. Tonight will make 3 days of fasting.

I checked on him just a few minutes ago when I got home and now his breathing seems a bit labored.

If the daphnia doesn't work, I think the next course of action is epsom salt.

Can you all let me know what you think? If he requires salt, can you suggest a strategy? I have a smaller 3 gallon tank that I suppose I can use as a hospital tank. Or should I continue to use the 7 gallon?

How much salt do I add to the water? 1 teaspoon/gal, or 0.5 teaspoon/gal? Do I add the salt to the water that he is in now? Or does it require acclamation? How long do I leave him in the salt water? I read somewhere that the fish should spend no more than 2 hours in the water.

I appreciate your help if you've read this far. I'm on my way out, but will check again when I get back. Also, how much and how do I prepare the frozen Daphnia? Thank you again.
 

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I would place him a something a bit smaller than a 3 gallon, he needs a shallow wide area so he can easily swim up to get air. I'd say 1 teaspoon of salt per one US gallon of treated water, you should pre mix is into a gallon jug (what I do, make sure all the salt is dissolved) and once it's mixed you can pour it into a a bowl. Then acclimate him to that and slowly introduce him to it, I'd also try to keep him at about 80. Do daily water changes, keep this up for 2-3 day. Hopefully that'll be all you need!

Good luck!
 

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My betta had been constipated for a week and neither epsom salt nor fasting worked. However, I got her to flare at the mirror a couple of times, then half an hour later she finally passed a huge chunk of poop.

Feel free to try a combination of all these methods.
 

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So TahitiHawaii got some of it covered, but I'll add on, I've had a chronic SBD rescue, so I know some methods.

First off, he doesn't need less than a 3gal, as long as it's shallow he'll be fine. I'd lower it just over halfway so he can still roam about a bit. It could be an inch of water and 10 gallons, as long as its shallow. That is mostly for comfort reasons.
Second, do not use aquarium salt!!! Buy some unscented Epsom salt and use that. Regular salt will kill the fish and AQ will make the bloat worse.
Try not to feed peas if possible, but flare your betta, sometimes they will poop after flaring. Sometimes they wont de-bloat and all you can do is wait it out. He doesn't look all that bloated to me. I would also do weekly 50% instead of 100%. More water changes wont fix the problem, but it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update

Last night I transferred him into the 3 gallon hospital tank. I had him in a small container while I was washing it out and preparing it for him and while he was in there, I tried giving him some of the Daphnia. He absolutely refused. The small particles just bounced of his head.

So then earlier today I poured 1 gallon of water with dissolved epsom salt from the 3 gallon hospital tank and poured it into his usual 7 gallon tank. I went conservative and only dissolved 1/4 tsp. of espom salt and I left him in there for about 35-40 minutes. During that time I replaced the water in the 3 gallon tank. After the salt bath I placed him back into the 3 gallon. Still no poop. That was approximately 5 hours ago.

I will repeat this tomorrow and will either not place as much water in the 3 gallon tank, or will place him in a mesh breeder so he can be closer to the surface of the water, as TahitiHawaii and Aquastar have suggested.

TahitiHawaii:
...I'd say 1 teaspoon of salt per one US gallon of treated water, you should pre mix is into a gallon jug (what I do, make sure all the salt is dissolved) and once it's mixed you can pour it into a a bowl. Then acclimate him to that and slowly introduce him to it, I'd also try to keep him at about 80. Do daily water changes, keep this up for 2-3 day.
So then I'll bump up the amount of dissolved salt to 1/2 tsp. tomorrow, and will raise the temperature to 80 F.

oloorea:
My betta had been constipated for a week and neither epsom salt nor fasting worked. However, I got her to flare at the mirror a couple of times, then half an hour later she finally passed a huge chunk of poop.

Feel free to try a combination of all these methods.
I have had little success getting him to flare. I've used a mirror, but with no result. He usually will flare for a few moments when I walk up to the aquarium, but since this whole thing started, he hasn't been. I'll try again, though.

The other thing is this: today is the 4th day without food. I'm getting worried about him not eating. How much longer is safe to have him not eating? Did you not feed your betta for an entire week?

I was considering placing one pellet inside of some of the Daphnia to force him to eat the Dapnia. I think if I offer him a pellet of his Omega One pellets, he'll take it. What do you all think? Or should I give it another day and another salt bath to see what happens?

Your replies are appreciated. Thank you and please let me know what you think in response to the update.

I've attached some photos from earlier today.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update 2

Acclimating him to his second epsom salt bath; 1 gallon of water with 1 tsp of epsom salt at 80 F.

Tonight (Sunday night) will be 5 days without food. The last time he ate was Tuesday night after his initial 2 day fast. I'm worried the negative effects of having no food are going to ultimately become the new problem (starvation).

I was thinking of enclosing 1 pellet of his Omega One food inside of some Daphnia to force him to eat the Daphnia (which may help to induce a poop). I know this seems counter intuitive since he's already constipated, but what do you think of this idea?

He's becoming extremely lethargic once I place him back in the 3 gallon hospital tank. When I checked on him this morning he was lying on his side, very lifeless. He starts to move around with the activity of placing him in the salt bath and then placing him back into the hospital tank, but his lethargy is becoming worse.

I also purchased a mesh breeder which I will use to keep him closer to the surface of the water.

Still no success with flaring.

Let me know what you think. Thank you.
 

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It takes a while for a Betta to starve, I would definetly feed him 1 pellet to keep his strength up. Can we get a side view of the tank and him? Just leave him in the tank with Epsom salt 24/7 until he is better, half dose.
I forgot to post it, but I did want to say that enclosing a pellet is a genius idea, cutting it in half will make it easier to eat and harder to block his digestive system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Aquastar:
It takes a while for a Betta to starve, I would definetly feed him 1 pellet to keep his strength up. Can we get a side view of the tank and him? Just leave him in the tank with Epsom salt 24/7 until he is better, half dose.
I forgot to post it, but I did want to say that enclosing a pellet is a genius idea, cutting it in half will make it easier to eat and harder to block his digestive system.
I'm not sure if these photos are what you have in mind. I normally keep him on top of 4 drawer chest, but right now I'm keep him close so he can see me moving around (not sure if that's silly). The first photo is how I acclimate him into new water. With an eye dropper I place the new water into his container. After about an hour, I release him into the tank.

I thawed some Daphnia in some of his treated water and mushed a pellet into it. The Daphnia really doesn't stick to the pellet (it turns to particles), but when he ate the pellet, I think he did get some of the Daphnia. He really dislikes it, though.

Aquastar, the water in these pictures does not contain epsom salt. It was late for me to add it when I saw your reply. But I am planning on changing this water out again tonight and replacing with water that has epsom salt.

When you say half dose, in this case the 3 gallon tank would have 1.5 tsp., correct?

Also, while he was in the salt bath prior to placing him back into the 3 gallon, I propped a shower mirror against the aquarium and he did flare two or three times.

The breeder has shortened the distance to the surface by about half.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Aquastar,

Just leave him in the tank with Epsom salt 24/7 until he is better, half dose.
I'm not trying to step on your toes, but I'm getting conflicting information about what is considered a safe amount of time to leave a Betta in water that has Epsom salt in it. Have you left a Betta continuously in Epsom salt water without negative effects? I ask because I have to go to work tomorrow and will not be able to monitor him during the day and take action if he shows adverse symptoms to being in the Epsom salt water long term.

And again, at 3 gallons, that would be 1.5 tsp, correct?

Thank you again for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update

I'm at work so I have to be quick. I don't think he's improving. He is spending most of the time floating at the surface of the water, but vertically. I noticed also that he seems to be losing color along the lower half of his body. I was worried about placing him long term in water that is treated with Epsom salt, but I started about 15 hours ago. He's in his 3 gallon tank with temp set at 80F with 1.5 tsp of Epsom salt. I soaked and crushed a pellet for him last night. I only gave him about half, but he did it eat. When in his tank he seems lethargic, but when I get home and start changing his water, he starts moving around. I think he may have a small ammonia burn on his left gill, as well (first pic). You can see the yellowing in the lower half of his body (second pic). Feedback, please. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Could it be something else?

I believe his condition is worsening. I haven't seen any poop in the water so I do think he is constipated, but now I'm thinking the constipation may just be a symptom of some other problem. I took a picture of what I thought were his scales showing signs of pineconing (first pic). The beginning of Dropsy, maybe?

So I purchased some Kanaplex on the way home from work last night. But I also came across this post http://www.myaquariumclub.com/constipation-or-malawi-bloat-6365.html#linkback_comments that talks about something called Malawi bloat. I also found this post http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=69175, but the link about "Mystery Bloat-Demystified" points to a "server not found" page.

I don't know what else to do at this point. Fasting hasn't worked. He refused the pea. He hated, but ate some of the Daphnia I gave him. Tonight will be 4 days in water treated with Epsom salt.

At this point, I'm wondering if I should start considering humane euthanization with clove oil (http://pets.stackexchange.com/questions/1765/whats-the-least-painful-way-to-euthanize-a-fish).

How likely is a full recovery, in your opinion? Do you believe he is suffering? Should I continue treatment? Should I try the Kanaplex? Or should I let him go?

Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
He pooped (I think?), but is now refusing food.

Last night, as I had him in his temporary tupperware container while I changed his water, I noticed a very tiny speck which I think might be poop (first pic). But he is now refusing food. I soaked a pellet for him, sucked it into a dropper and held it right in front of him, but he did not want to eat.

I'd really appreciate some feedback as to how realistic it is to hope for a recovery at this point. His bloating is increasing and his belly is gray. He spends most of the time at the surface of the water. Sometimes he's almost completely vertical.

And I noticed twice where he had very erratic swim patterns. Other times when he moves, his fins seem to be working really hard, but he doesn't seem to be able to move much (except for the erratic, darting movement).

I want him to survive, but I also don't want him to suffer. I purchased some clove oil so that he wouldn't have to suffer, but I'm having a hard time determining if it's the right time.

I haven't received any replies lately and I don't know if it's the questions I'm asking or how I'm asking them, but I would really appreciate your thoughts.
 

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If your little man is ready to keep fighting then it is your call on what you do for him. I can offer some alternatives however if you feel you can stay with him a little longer.

This is going to sound strange, but bettas have a thing for garlic, you could try soaking his food in some garlic juice to entice him (its even pre-added to some foods).
Also if his fins work harder at times than other try to see when and where this happens, he might be feeling unbalanced which is a sign his swim bladder is starting to fill up and it is tilting him over.

If he is starting to have SBD then we are confirmed that antibiotics are the way to go. if it is still uncertain your choice to use it or not is your own to make, however I do believe it is becoming justified as time goes on with no improvement.

Luckily his fins are not suffering which is a great sign. if a betta male starts becoming really ill their fins will start to lose coloration and become weak as their body diverts nourishment to the important systems.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for getting back to me, Taeanna!

I actually got him to eat last night during his water change. I presoaked two pellets and held them up to his face with a dropper. It's quite a struggle, though, because he missed them several times and doesn't really want to put the effort into going after them. But he did eat about one and a half pellets.

I will also purchase some garlic juice as you've suggested to keep on hand.

And yes, there are times when he seems tilted. Right now he's at the surface of his hospital tank almost completely vertical. He seems to like to nestle against the netting of the breeder I have him in. And when he's in his tupperware container during water changes, he stays along the walls at the surface.

I seem to notice him tilted when he's in the tupperware. It's almost as if he goes to sleep or looses consciousness. He can straighten himself out once he "wakes" up, though, so it doesn't seem to be constant. But he does seem to have trouble swimming at times. Fins fluttering, minimal movement. And then other times he gets really erratic and starts darting around. I know this is very contradictory, but this is what he does at times. For the most part, though, he just hangs out at the surface.

Which antibiotic do you suggest for treatment? If you can, please let me know as soon as possible because today I will be working close to the only pet store in town that is likely to carry it (especially if it's from Seachem). Otherwise, it's a quite a drive through the mountain to go back.

Thank you again very much for your time.
 

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The two most commonly found in the US are tetracycline and kanamycine. their names tend to be puns or plays on words like aquari-cycline and kanaplex. look for the drugs under the active ingredients list.

Keep his water nice and warm to aid his digestive system and keep an eye on his swimming. bettas HATE being on their side so hes likely sleep deprived and exhausted. if he starts righting himself and sleeping in more normal places hes on the track to recovery.

(( I am sorry about my reply times- I am in australia so time zones are very different))
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hello again, Taeanna.

I have Seachem Kanaplex. Active ingredient is kanamycin sulfate (32%) and inactive ingredient is excipients (68%).

Do you know if I can use Prime along with Kanaplex? I'm going to guess you can, but I couldn't find the answer on their website.

The only issue is measuring proper dosage for his 3 gallon hospital tank with the measuring scoop they provide. It's really small. Directions say one level measure for every 20L (5 gallons).

So for a 3 gallon tank I calculated 0.6 of the measuring scoop. Just over half.

Any tips on measuring the dosage?
 

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What I tend to do with powder is that I scoop out the recommended dose and then start cutting it with a credit card or piece of cardboard into sections until you have the proper fraction that will look after your tank. if thats too tricky you can fill a large plastic bucket and measure out the dosage for that- then give a water change with the medicated water.

As to adding the prime- all fish medications assume you are using water primers so they are safe to go together- only contradict that if the packaging says otherwise.

Hopefully we see a result soon.
 

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I am afraid a picture doesnt really do justice to amounts. If it is approximately the right amount to your eyes then go ahead and use it.
Over the counter medications always have a very high therapeutic window so you never have to worry about slight changes in granule amounts.
 
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