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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Morning, all.

I have a question about a small female I got from a store where she was being kept in terrible conditions. She is a dragonscale, and I noticed when I saw her that she was missing scales on her gills :( I brought her home and am keeping her in a critter keeper with a small heater, and yesterday I put a sponge filter in for her. I was doing water changes every 2-3 days for the last week or so, along with a methylene blue dip every couple of days, and she was fine, swimming around and seeming to make a comeback until yesterday.

Yesterday while I was feeding her, I noticed (this was before the sponge filter was put in) that she was very enthusiastically trying to swim, but it's almost as if her rear end is very heavily weighed down. She swims up some and her rear end sinks from under her, she flutters around almost as if she is "standing" on her tail, and then she will give up and sink to the bottom, where she will scoot along the bottom. She did eat yesterday, very enthusiastically.

I tried to research the issue and didn't find much, except that maybe it's a swim bladder problem? As a result, I did not feed her today (much to her dismay). She is still trying very hard to swim, but her tail end is still sinking out from under her and she gives up after a while and just lays on the bottom. She will also stop to rest on things, as if she gets very tired very quickly.

I have also noticed that her belly is no longer white, like her scales, it almost seems flesh colored and sort of seethrough? I don't know what this could be an indication of. I did a 90% water change yesterday, and her current temp is 78F. Despite not feeding her, nothing has really changed in regards to her condition.

I tried to get pictures of her belly, but to no avail. I attached the best pics I could get. If anyone has any ideas, that would be awesome.
 

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first, do not feed her peas. They cause rip the lining of the digestive track.

You need to get Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate). You can find this at pharmacies, grocery stores, some hardware stores or your mother's bathroom (im being serious, mothers seem to always have this around somewhere). treat with 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Dissolve the salt in the a cup or so of tank water first and then over the course of an hour, slowly add it to the tank. Do not sure for more than 10 days. Keep your normal water changes schedule just make sure you add enough salt to the new water to keep the dosage the same - so if you change 2 gallon of water then add 2 teaspoons to the new water going in. Epsom Salt can take a few days to take effect so don't worry if you don't see improvement right away.

Also fast for 3-5 days. the longer the better. Bettas can go weeks without food so don't worry about her starving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
first, do not feed her peas. They cause rip the lining of the digestive track.

You need to get Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate). You can find this at pharmacies, grocery stores, some hardware stores or your mother's bathroom (im being serious, mothers seem to always have this around somewhere). treat with 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Dissolve the salt in the a cup or so of tank water first and then over the course of an hour, slowly add it to the tank. Do not sure for more than 10 days. Keep your normal water changes schedule just make sure you add enough salt to the new water to keep the dosage the same - so if you change 2 gallon of water then add 2 teaspoons to the new water going in. Epsom Salt can take a few days to take effect so don't worry if you don't see improvement right away.

Also fast for 3-5 days. the longer the better. Bettas can go weeks without food so don't worry about her starving.
Thank you! :) I have a ton of epsom salt laying around my own house, lol. What am I treating with the epsom salt (I am assuming constipation at this point)? Do I add the same amount every day, or just when I do water changes every 2-3 days? I have done AQ salt where I've had to do 100% changes every day, but I've never actually added epsom to a tank - just done baths with it.
 

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you are treating the SBD with Epsom Salt. SBD is usually cause from overfeeding but also from parasites or bacterial infection (in rare cases). Epsom Salt will help the food pass through the digestive track and pull out toxins from the fish.

You don't need to add the salt every day, just when you do water changes.

Epsom Salt needs time to work which is why I usually don't recommend baths. The fish is not exposed to the benefits long enough for them to help.
 

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What a pretty girl!

I know at times my long finned boy does this, but he has HUGE fins that weigh him down. So that is not her issue.

and I agree with VivianKJean 100%
 

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I'm new at this too, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

While I've had no real luck battling the SBD monster with my betta, I've read a lot about how daphnia can be a nice alternative to peas. Hikari makes a freeze-dried version. It's very light, and I kind of wish I had gotten a smaller package of it since I have way too much. Fasting's probably going to be a better solution here, though.

If your betta has trouble being at the surface, maybe another betta hammock or two will help. You can make them yourself using a suction cup that is indented at the end and some silk plant leaves with no wires in them. To be safe, soak the leaves in some water to make sure there's no dyes or other nasties. Stick the stems into the cap at the end and you're done! If you want the leaves to stay put, put a dab of cyanoacrylate-based super glue. Just make sure it's fully cured before you stick it in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm new at this too, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

While I've had no real luck battling the SBD monster with my betta, I've read a lot about how daphnia can be a nice alternative to peas. Hikari makes a freeze-dried version. It's very light, and I kind of wish I had gotten a smaller package of it since I have way too much. Fasting's probably going to be a better solution here, though.

If your betta has trouble being at the surface, maybe another betta hammock or two will help. You can make them yourself using a suction cup that is indented at the end and some silk plant leaves with no wires in them. To be safe, soak the leaves in some water to make sure there's no dyes or other nasties. Stick the stems into the cap at the end and you're done! If you want the leaves to stay put, put a dab of cyanoacrylate-based super glue. Just make sure it's fully cured before you stick it in the tank.
Thank you for the suggestions :) She does not seem to be having issues being at the top, she can get there and breathe when she wants (she's still somehow totally determined to swim, even if it tires her out), and I am actually in the process of adding the epsom salt slowly to her tank as we speak.

She has a betta hammock, and she has a nice flat silk leafed plant she can lounge on. She has taken a particular liking to the sponge filter, too, and seems to be enjoying resting there for whatever reason.

I did notice that she pooed, but her swimming has not changed. =\ She does have tiny fins, so I don't think the fins are an issue. She was literally fine until like Monday night or yesterday (I noticed yesterday but it could've happened Monday afternoon/evening).

She's so spunky, too, trying to act normal. I am so stumped by this. =\ I hope she gets better.

What is the difference between, say, daphnia and frozen brine shrimp? I have so much freaking frozen brine shrimp in my freezer it's unreal. xD
 

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you definitely do not want to feed freeze dried foods at all if you fish has SBD. Freeze dried foods lead to bloating and constipation.

Daphnia are water fleas and they can push the food that is causing the blockage out. Brine Shimp are well brine shrimp. Brine shrimp does not help with bloating or constipation. You can use mysis shrimp though. Their shells can help push food around as well.

If you cannot find frozen daphnia or mysis shrimp then its better to just not get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
you definitely do not want to feed freeze dried foods at all if you fish has SBD. Freeze dried foods lead to bloating and constipation.

Daphnia are water fleas and they can push the food that is causing the blockage out. Brine Shimp are well brine shrimp. Brine shrimp does not help with bloating or constipation. You can use mysis shrimp though. Their shells can help push food around as well.

If you cannot find frozen daphnia or mysis shrimp then its better to just not get it.
I was under the impression that frozen brine shrimp were good for constipation because of their high fiber content? Is this incorrect? <_<

Edit: I do not feed my bettas freeze dried food - I do have some freeze dried blood worms but it is a very very rare treat for them. Like maybe 2x a month maximum ever.
 

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the freeze dried comment was more directed at Tanyuu

no, Brineshrimp and bloodworms are not good for constipation because they are very rich.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
the freeze dried comment was more directed at Tanyuu

no, Brineshrimp and bloodworms are not good for constipation because they are very rich.
Gotcha. I don't know that she's constipated, tbh. She pooed, and it looks normal. She is not bloated. Just swimming vertically like her tail is weighed down and is pulling her to the bottom. It's really bizarre.

I have noticed she is laying on the bottom of the tank more, though, next to the sponge filter. :( I am worried about her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I have been doing as instructed, and Sheila is not getting worse -- but she is not getting better. o_O How long will it take for me to see any sort of improvement, do you by chance know?
 

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If she is not constipated, you don't need to do any special treatment. What you need to do is cut back her food intake, so that her belly is not too full. That will give the swim bladder a chance to heal.

Feed her no more than one small pellet, or one brine shrimp, or a similar tiny amount of food, morning and night. If you give her a pellet, soak it first. Keep this regimen up for 2 full weeks. She should, if the swim bladder is not permanently damaged, show improvement in that period of time.

Do not go right back to feeding her full meals if she starts swimming properly. Ease slowly over the course of another week or two into full-sized meals.

If she doesn't start swimming properly, she may have permanent damage. Give her plenty of resting places and floating plants to make it a bit easier on her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If she is not constipated, you don't need to do any special treatment. What you need to do is cut back her food intake, so that her belly is not too full. That will give the swim bladder a chance to heal.

Feed her no more than one small pellet, or one brine shrimp, or a similar tiny amount of food, morning and night. If you give her a pellet, soak it first. Keep this regimen up for 2 full weeks. She should, if the swim bladder is not permanently damaged, show improvement in that period of time.

Do not go right back to feeding her full meals if she starts swimming properly. Ease slowly over the course of another week or two into full-sized meals.

If she doesn't start swimming properly, she may have permanent damage. Give her plenty of resting places and floating plants to make it a bit easier on her.
Thank you. I have not fed her since I posted this thread (I actually didn't feed her the day I posted this thread)..so it has been 4 days since I have fed her. I was only feeding her 2-3 pellets per day as it is (Hikari Betta Bio-Gold or whatever they are). Can she still get a swim bladder issue from 2-3 pellets? =\

How does the swim bladder become damaged? How can I prevent it on my other fish (they are much larger than she is, she is a runt. They get 3-4 pellets per day, usually 2 at a time 2x/day)?

Can she still have a good quality of life with that issue? What are some good plants I can give her that float? I have a betta hammock and a little cave for her and a silk anubias plant. There is also a sponge filter in there, and she rests on all of those. :( Poor thing I feel terrible.
 

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Thank you. I have not fed her since I posted this thread (I actually didn't feed her the day I posted this thread)..so it has been 4 days since I have fed her. I was only feeding her 2-3 pellets per day as it is (Hikari Betta Bio-Gold or whatever they are). Can she still get a swim bladder issue from 2-3 pellets? =\

How does the swim bladder become damaged? How can I prevent it on my other fish (they are much larger than she is, she is a runt. They get 3-4 pellets per day, usually 2 at a time 2x/day)?

Can she still have a good quality of life with that issue? What are some good plants I can give her that float? I have a betta hammock and a little cave for her and a silk anubias plant. There is also a sponge filter in there, and she rests on all of those. :( Poor thing I feel terrible.
SBD, according to my research, is not contagious in itself.

I can attest from experience: even 2-3 pellets can make a betta constipated if they're susceptible to it. Some bettas just are due to genetics, type, body shape, stress, the alignments of the planets, etc. What VivianKJean said to me was right: freeze-dried food can do it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
SBD, according to my research, is not contagious in itself.

I can attest from experience: even 2-3 pellets can make a betta constipated if they're susceptible to it. Some bettas just are due to genetics, type, body shape, stress, the alignments of the planets, etc. What VivianKJean said to me was right: freeze-dried food can do it too.
She is not constipated, though, she is pooping like normal (and big poops too, lol!), and she has never had freeze dried foods - at least not since I have had her. She is missing some scales by her gills and looks like she had a scratch or cut on her toward her dorsal fin, I'm not sure of her history, though, before I got her.

I had seen her at the store, and she looked rough...And then when I went back for something else, she was practically dead :( I felt horrible for her so I took her. She is very spunky, and her coloring is really starting to come out (she is getting super blue!), she just....swims weird. But she was totally swimming fine until last Sunday or Monday (I like to sit and observe my fish and watch them swim and stuff, my cats always join me, lol). I don't get it. =\
 

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Swim bladder issues can be caused by a number of things - overfeeding / bloating can cause damage to the swim bladder (that is the most common), a bacterial infection can attack the swim bladder, and it can even be caused by stress.

If you have a fish who is prone to swim bladder problems, if possible switch to frozen (NOT freeze-dried) food, or soak the pellets before feeding. Frozen and live food such as brine shrimp, daphnia, mysis shrimp, mosquito larvae, ect., are easier for the fish to digest, leading to less gut problems in susceptible fish. I personally like Hikari brand, since they take great care to avoid parasites and contaminants, and gut load their food before processing for extra nutrition.

Floating plants: Spiny leafed anacharis (less likely to melt than the more common type - tolerates higher temperatures), un-anchored java ferns & anubias, guppy grass...for best advice on what plants to get, ask the kind folks over in the planted tank section. Give them your tank specs and what you'd like to do, and they will give you advice to fit your situation.

She is perfectly capable of living a nice, high quality life even if she does not recover from the swim bladder. All she needs are comfortable places to rest so that she can breathe easily. Until you get those resting places (and finish your course of 1/4th to 1/2 rations), just lower the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Swim bladder issues can be caused by a number of things - overfeeding / bloating can cause damage to the swim bladder (that is the most common), a bacterial infection can attack the swim bladder, and it can even be caused by stress.

If you have a fish who is prone to swim bladder problems, if possible switch to frozen (NOT freeze-dried) food, or soak the pellets before feeding. Frozen and live food such as brine shrimp, daphnia, mysis shrimp, mosquito larvae, ect., are easier for the fish to digest, leading to less gut problems in susceptible fish. I personally like Hikari brand, since they take great care to avoid parasites and contaminants, and gut load their food before processing for extra nutrition.

Floating plants: Spiny leafed anacharis (less likely to melt than the more common type - tolerates higher temperatures), un-anchored java ferns & anubias, guppy grass...for best advice on what plants to get, ask the kind folks over in the planted tank section. Give them your tank specs and what you'd like to do, and they will give you advice to fit your situation.

She is perfectly capable of living a nice, high quality life even if she does not recover from the swim bladder. All she needs are comfortable places to rest so that she can breathe easily. Until you get those resting places (and finish your course of 1/4th to 1/2 rations), just lower the water.
Thank you :) I currently have Omega One frozen brine shrimp, would that be okay for her until I get other things (daphnia and such, as suggested)? I have several java ferns in my other tanks that are constantly making baby ferns, so I can always move some of those into her tank.

Thank you for the suggestions :)
 

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Yes, one frozen brine shrimp is just about perfect.

Don't worry too much for the next couple of weeks. An adult betta can go for several weeks without food - no exaggeration. While you don't want to starve her for that long, the short rations won't cause her harm as long as she gets eased back into a normal diet after you've tried this method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just wanted to give a quick update on Sheila, she seems to *crosses fingers* be getting better. She is not swimming completely normally, but she is not acting as much like her tail is weighed down either. She very enthusiastically ate a pellet today (I only gave her one). And her color is starting to come in more, she is starting to marble out with some pretty blue. :) She is still active and happy, and my cat still has a crush on her, lol. He likes to make sure she is okay and everything is going good during water changes and such. He's so weird.

On a different note, I can't find frozen daphnia around here - is there somewhere people order it? It's summer so I don't know if I could successfully order it and have it stay frozen, though. =\
 

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