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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Betta Lovers,

My Betta seems to have a unique sickness, at least, I can't find anything online for how to cure it. He has a large clear bubble, getting bigger by the day, growing underneath of him. At first, I treated him for constipation. Nothing. Next, I treated him for bacterial disease - nothing. I took him to a fish expert yesterday, and he said that it looks like the fish's breathing glands are blocked. He said this can happen due to putting too many chemicals in the water to treat tap water (which I may be guilty of) or he could have came this way. He also advised to switch his water out for plain, untreated tap water and that there's a 50/50 shot that it could help him. He also said some people pop the bubble with pins, and that's also a 50/50 shot. I am wary of doing either of these things, has anyone else ever had this problem? Or advice on how to fix it? I worry he may literally burst...

Another thing to mention is that aside from the large clear bubble growth, he's eating and swimming and acting normally. I just feel so bad for him. Hoping he's not in pain :(

Thank you so much for anything you can recommend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Housing
What size is your tank? 3 Gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78
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? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon Pellets or TetraBetta Tropical Medley
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once every 2 days, sometimes once a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Full change once every 4-6 weeks, 20% every week or so
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 20%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API Stress Coat, and recently API Stress Zyme

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Tested for ammonia only - normal.


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Huge bubble under his throat
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? No change
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 4-5 weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? treated for constipation with fasting and a pea, treated for bacterial infection by doing a tank change and putting Bettafix in the tank for 7 days.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him 4 months ago from PetSmart, unsure of how old he was there.
 

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I don't know enough to answer your question, but what if you bought betta water from a pet store? Or if you used bottled drinking water that's already been purified of all the chlorine and so on without chemicals--with reverse osmosis or something? Surely a hospital tank wouldn't need too much of either, and it would probably be better than tap water.
 

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did you ever use unscented Epsom salt for your betta? my VT can hold a bit of moisture in his body. he has SBD from day one but I let him go with inadequate Epsom salt:ratio by accident recently while trying to find the right amount. this is what happens when there isn't enough Epsom salt for betta that hold more liquids than most. I went right back to 2tsp ES salt per 1g of water. within 12 hours his belly was normal. Epsom salt is also a soft cure for swim bladder disease. you can find Epsom salt in pharmacies though don't put any scented Epsom salts in a fish tank. frozen Daphnia or baby brine shrimp also can be fed to deal with constipation.

can you please post a pic of your fish?

this link might be interesting though im not sure if it'll pertain to your fish. 3rd last post
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=400634
 

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sorry for the double post, 2o minute time limit passed during edit

to continue on
you could start with 1tsp Epsom salt to 1g of water and see if the belly goes down. if it does then that's how much you need. if not add some more Epsom salt. I wouldn't surpass 3tsp for emergencies but its best to find the minimum amount be it 1tsp for some ppl or somewhere around 2tsp for mine.

Epsom salt is not to be confused with table salt or aquarium salt. table salt has no place in aquariums, AQ salt is more for finrot. ES salt is for SBD or constiptation. think of the salt you add in the bath tub or to soak your feet in ie Magnesium Sulphate.

popping the bubble will only create an open wound and its not advisable imo.

a pic from my vt's other side, disregard the inflamed gills, I took too long between water changes at that time.
 

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I highly suggest you get some Epsom salt, you can go with 1tsp per 1g to see if that gets his belly back to normal. then you see if he can handle 1tsp later on after he gets back to normal. Epsom salt helps to get rid of some body fluids in the fish.

you can judge the minimal dosage by how long the belly goes back to normal. if it takes a few days 4 days??? and it doesn't go back to normal then I suggest you add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per 1g to his tank. ive yet to go and check the minimum mine needs but I don't think mine will handle anything less than 1.5tsp. even 1.75tsp sounds more realistic in my case. though my next 100wc i'll add only 1.75tsp/1g.

my fish probably should have a bit less Epsom salt than 2tsp, his body is rather big but thin tail muscles.

if his belly comes back to normal add a bit less salt for your next 100WC or 20%wc if you can accurately judge how much ES salt is present. in my case his belly was clear on the bttom third and more body colour opaque on the upper areas. I was just as baffled as you were though I don't like using any sort of ____fix medicine. I just knew that it was possible it was SBD as I got him knowing he may have continual SBD issues for his life.

barring different colour body for our bettas, the pic of your betta is extremely familiar/similar to mine.

a quote from user Littlebluefishlets in my SBD thread
I would try some metronidazole & praziquantel, such as API General Cure. This can help with parasites and anaerobic bacterial conditions. It's also a relatively mild treatment, so it doesn't put a lot of stress on the body.
in my case ive yet to try that as the Epsom salt seems to have done the trick.
 

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ouch, that is a big bubble. What is the air contained in?
I doubt it, probably excess water. ES salt did wonders to remove my VT's bubble.

@jessiesgill: wow and I thought my VT had a bad bubble. that betta in the link had one that's even worse.
 

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Ouch. Poor little guy. I would:

1) Do 50% weekly water changes.

A 3 gal tank with a filter, even if cycled, should still have at least 50% weekly water changes.

You said the ammonia is "normal." Do you know a more specific number or reading?

Even if there is no measurable ammonia, it's still important to do weekly water changes of about 50% to remove organic wastes, bacteria and other toxins. These won't show up in an ammonia test, but they're still present in the tank.

2) Switch his food to a quality high-protein pellet.

Aqueon and Tetra Tropical Medley contain a lot of filler/grains. These can cause bloating in some bettas. On this forum, two foods are often recommended:
-- New Life Spectrum, and
-- Omega One.
These two brands are well-tolerated by Bettas, and seem to cause fewer digestive issues than other brands.

3) I would add Epsom salt to the tank.

Epsom salt has a fluid reducing and laxative effect (in both people and fish). It's available at supermarkets and pharmacies (but not petstores). Get plain magnesium sulfate. There should be no dyes or perfumes in it. It's inexpensive. A small container should cost about $1 and will last a long time.

I would start with a dosage of 1 teaspoon Epsom salt per gallon. Here is one way to do this:
- Put some tank water in a cup.
- Stir in 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt per gallon of tank capacity. (Ie: 1.5 teaspoons for your 3 gal tank.)
- Once the salt is completely dissolved, pour the solution into the tank....
- Wait at least 30 minutes, then repeat the above process.
This will bring it to a dosage of 1 teaspoon Epsom salt per gallon.

Keep him in the Epsom salt treated water for now. It can take several days for it to begin working.

4) If the Epsom salt is not effective in several days, try metronidazole.

Metronidazole is effective against anaerobic bacterial infections, as well as many parasites. I would try a combination metronidazole/praziquantel combination, such as API General Cure. This is a relatively mild treatment.

5) Keep us updated.

Continue to provide updates, and post photos so that we can see how he's doing.
 

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@InStitches -

Fish are small. It's difficult to know where to pierce the area. All the internal organs are close together, which means that there's a risk of piercing something vital.

The cyst may be fluid-filled, or it could contain gases (not necessarily the same ones that make up air).

If his swimming isn't affected, it's likely filled with fluid. (That much gas would pull him towards the surface. On the other hand, a fluid would have a density closer to the tank water, which would allow him to maintain his buoyancy.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you guys so much for all of your recommendations! I just purchased Epsom salt and if this doesn't work will try the API General Cure. Do you advise against both at the same time? Should I just go straight to the general cure first since I don't know if it's fluid or air trapped inside?
 
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