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500 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  LittleBlueFishlets
My betta has been scarily bloated for 3 days that I am aware of now. He is acting relatively normal, swimming normally, his fins look fine & he has appetite &doesn't seem to have discolorations or look paler yet anyway. He was spending a few days just hanging out in the corner of the tank an inch or 2 below the surface and was not coming over to say hi as usual 2days before this started. He had had a big bubble nest that was dissipating at that point so I thought he might just be a bit down plus I have been extra busy w an ongoing family emergency that has kept me from paying him very little attention. But truthfully I never did much but feed and change his water until I started learning about them. I have had him for 6 months & he was always building bubble nests so I went & got him a female the same day I noticed his belly. W my business The last 2 months have been very hard & I only changed his 3 gal tank water once a month the last 2 months. There is no heater cause I read you shouldn't put one on a tank that small so I just keep the heat in my apt up above 75. The heat was not wking for 2 different days & it got to 65 for a day each time most recently about 2 days before I saw his protruding belly. I have ruled out dropsy I think and swim bladder cause he's swimming normal. I thought it was constipation & fasted him for 2 days then gave him a quarter pea yesterday. I saw him poo a round opaque greenish tinted ball about the size of a pellet today & think it may have been the pea but not sure which leads me to think he's not constipated cause he's still swollen. There are no spots or wounds on him & I fed him 2 soaked pellets which is his only food cause I didn't know to vary food til this incident. Usually I give them to him dry & he got like 10 of them twice a day before!! Ugh I didn't know better cause he is a big betta & he eats up to 16 pellets in the 2 mins the directions say. Oh another reason I though I may have over fed him was cause I was so tired 5 or 6 days ago that I think I fed him twice for dinner. He is flattering at the new female in the separate tank next to his which I read is a good sign. I'm nervous to do the Epsom salt bath & cause him more stress. Also I did a 50% water change the day I noticed swelling and I did probably a 30% change today. There was a lot of poo on the bottom but no wasted food cause he's such a hungry hippo lol he raised out of the water to bite the pea off the spoon I was lowering the pea down w cause he was so hungry!!! I also tested the water at its worst and ammonia was right below bad and nitrate & nitrites were not optimal(can give exact amounts if important). One last variable I can think of is from day 1 when he used to live in a 1 gal tank I would give him 100% water change so maybe good bacteria never got to accumulate in his tank, could he have a bacterial infection?? His stomach is so stretched underneath which is visible from the side &not so visible from the top. Ok if an EXPERIENCED betta breeder preferably can offer advice please help I love him so and am just learning how to show him as I am new at this, so please no guilt trips from anyone cause I am doing the best I can under enormous pressure from unusual life circumstances. Him making me have more worries than my family emergency is enough of a lesson to learn to keep up w his maintenance better. Thank you :))
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I'm sorry your little guy isn't doing too well. Could you post a pic of him so we can see the bloating?
Oops I wanted to lyk that I meant my betta was flaring not flattering at my new female. Thank you for answering, I will try to take a pic but lighting a d my iPhone camera may not do a good job. Also I am not sure how to post a pic as I've never done it before.
Hi I got an ok pic but can not figure out how to post the pic to a URL so I can upload it to here. If you can direct me I will try again tomorrow as I must get some sleep now. Ty again & hope I'm lucky enough to get your advice still tomorrow:)
Welcome to the forum!

1) Temperature control

Bettas are tropical fish, and require temperatures in the 76-84F range. If the temperature falls below the mid-70s, they become cold. Their metabolism slows down (including their ability to digest food, which can result in bloating), and they become susceptible to illness.

You can definitely put a heater into a 3 gallon tank. (I have four 3 gal tanks, myself.)

Ideally, get an adjustable heater (25watts is a good size). If you can't afford one though, pick up a preset heater, such as this Marina Betta heater from Petsmart.

Also, pick up a floating glass thermometer like this one. ($3 at Petsmart, but less than $2 at Walmart.) This will allow you to monitor the temperature easily.

2) Clean water

Ideally, a 3 gal tank should have two water changes per week: one large (90-100%), and one partial (about 50%). Water changes are the only way to remove toxins, wastes, etc from the water.

Since you have a water testing kit, you can use it to help you determine when to do water changes. As soon as the ammonia, nitrate or nitrite readings begin to climb, it's time for at least a partial water change. Or, if you prefer, just do water changes on a regular schedule.

But you do need to do these. Otherwise, it's only a matter of time until the fish becomes ill. (Remember that the tank is both their home *and* their toilet bowl!)

3) Food

Feeding him 16 pellets is DEFINITELY overfeeding him!

A betta's stomach is about the size of its eyeball. For most Bettas, getting about 6 pellets per day is plenty. (Some people here feed a little less or more. My bettas tend to do well at 6 pellets per day, though.)

Also, look at the ingredients listed on the label. Foods with a lot of grains/fillers can cause constipation and bloating in bettas. Look for words like: meal, soybean, wheat, gluten, potato, rice, etc. If you see these, consider switching brands.

On this forum, the two most often recommended foods are:
--- New Life Spectrum Betta pellets, and
--- Omega One Betta Buffet
These brands are well tolerated by bettas.

4) What to do for your bloated guy

1) Fast him for a few days. (If you've been feeding him 10-16 pellets per day, a few days of fasting is NOT going to hurt him.)

2) Do some partial water changes.

3) Heat his tank, so it's within the 75-84F range.

4) If the above suggestions don't work, let us know. The next step would be to add a small amount of Epsom salt to the tank.... But there's a good chance that just clean, warm water and 2 days of fasting will help.

Keep us updated!
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