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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, new here but have been lurking the last few days trying to learn about Betta care and solving my current issue. The wealth of information here has been crucial to saving our betta and putting him on the road to recovery!

Anyway, full disclosure: prior to finding this site, my wife and I were the stereotypical ignorant betta owners following the stereotypical terrible keeping habits of tiny bowls, no heaters, and infrequent water changes. Somehow our betta has managed to survive these conditions for nearly two years, with the only ailment being fin rot at least until recently.

We went on vacation for a week meaning no feeding and turning off the heat in the house until we got back. Since we had no idea what we were doing, there was no heater in the tank, and the inside of the house was in the 50s when we got back. We had done a water change the day before leaving, but the last one was at least a few weeks prior to that.
We returned four days ago, and unsurprisingly, the betta wasn't doing so well. His water temperature was probably not much over 50 degrees, he had severe SBD, and appeared to be bloated even though he hadn't eaten in a week. He refused to eat and was extremely lethargic (probably due to the cold). I personally didn't think he was going to make it.

We immediately did a water change with warmer water and I found this site and began to read up on what I could do to improve his conditions. The next morning I went out and bought a heater, some Prime, Omega One Pellets, some frozen shirmp and bloodworms, and a 2.5 gallon tank for when he recovers. I was unable to find frozen daphnia anywhere nearby.

I began treatment by turning his current filtered 1-gallon into a heated quarantine tank and adding epsom salt (1tsp/gal). By the time I began treatment his SBD was gone and his bloating was down a bit. He also began eating again. I have been performing epsom salt treatment with daily 100% water changes for the last three days, and his behavior and appetite have completely returned to normal, but he still won't poop. He chases the laser pointer and gets excited for food, and his bloating appears to be down, but I have yet to see a stool on the bottom of the tank (removed gravel so I could see). He doesn't have raised scales, but does have some kind of white object protruding slightly from where his anal opening should be, which I think might be causing constipation. I remember seeing this up to a month before we went on vacation, but it was not very noticeable and I didn't think much of it since he was acting normally. The white object is more noticeable now and is probably about the size of a 0.5mm pellet. I thought it could be a parasite but was not sure so I have just been continuing the epsom salt treatment. He is acting completely normal except for the fact that he won't poop, even after three days of epsom salt treatment. I have API General Cure, but haven't started treatment since I'm not sure what the issue is and haven't seen a stool to determine if it could be parasites. He also has pretty bad tail rot, but I can't treat that until I finish the epsom salt treatment for constipation.

Based on the attached pictures, does anyone have any idea what the white object could be? It is difficult to see but is just behind his ventral fins where his anal opening is located.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 1 gallon (Have a planted 2.5 waiting for after recovery)
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? previously not heated, now 80F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Aqueon Pellets, just switched to Omega One and frozen bloodworms/brine/mysis shrimp
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Was feeding 4-5 pellets once a day prior to issues

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? every few weeks prior to treatment began
What percentage of water did you change? 100%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use? Tetra Betta Safe, switched to Prime 3 days ago

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: N/A
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness (GH): N/A
Alkalinity (KH): N/A

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? White object on anus - approx one month, SBD - 4 days ago upon returning from vacation (cured). Have not seen feces since treatment started.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? No besides fin rot which was a problem before.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Had severe SBD upon returning from vacation, appeared to be near death. Behavior has returned to normal since treatment began.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, appetite is normal.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Purchased a heater, began Epsom salt treatment at 1 tsp/gal. 100% water changes daily for the last three days. Fed frozen brine shrimp and mysis shrimp to attempt to alleviate constipation (unable to find frozen daphnia in stores, heard mysis shrimp has similar effect). Have Aquarium salt and Stress Coat to treat fin rot, but do not want to do that until after Epsom Salt treatment.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No, except for fin rot.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? 1.5 years, not a rescue.

PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR PHOTOS

Please go to the following Imgur album for photos as they are very big and will screw up the page if I embed them.

http://imgur.com/a/cMKxj

Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They are in the link at the bottom of my OP. If I embed them it messes with the formatting of the page due to their size.
 

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I am passing your post on to some others for a second opinion. I have some ideas but I am interested to see what others think. In the meantime, I will say It looks like you are still dealing with fin rot is there an clear regrowth on the fins that the photos don't show?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I haven't seen any clear regrowth, but also haven't seen any additional deterioration. His front fins appear full and healthy, and his ventral fins seem pretty good. I have been waiting on the AQ salt since he is currently in epsom salt, but did add some stress coat during the last water change. Once I can get this constipation problem solved I was planning on focusing on the fin rot.
 

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I was wondering how long your betta has had the white spot on it's belly. Males normally have the longer fins but females have rounder bellys and a white spot that looks like this

https://bettafishzidan.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/5.jpg

Your fish could have other problems but I wanted to put that out there even it seems silly. I once had a veiltail that was labeled an male that had super long fins but it definitely turned out to be female.
 

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You can treat the fin rot with methelyene blue baths and still treat constipation especially since your betta is eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I will see if I can find methylene blue nearby. Do you recommend I keep feeding him even though he isn't pooping? I have been feeding him a mix of frozen shrimp and omega one pellets. He hasn't seemed to be getting bloated but I don't know where the food is going since it obviously isn't coming back out.
 

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Are you actually feeding mysis shrimp or is it brine? Traditionally you would not feed during constipation but your fish has been fasted for your entire vacation. If it were my fish I'd find some dapnhia. I've seen it cure constipation in 24 hours. You might have to find it at small private aquarium shop. Petsmart used to sell it in their freezer but may not carry it now. I would not feed the Omega one because it has wheat flour which would be constipating at the moment.
I have not tried this but I have seen some references to soaking food in Epsom salt solution and feeding it. Since you have E.S. in the aquarium you could let the food defrost in the aquarium water. I have seen a reference to using this to eject parasites as well. I will send you the link via PM since it is in fish forum. You should bear their 3% solution is for big fish. Probably a tank water soak would much a much more diluted form. When yourbetta eats from the water there isn't much time for it to soak in any espsom salt. A soak long enough to defrost the shrimp should help pick up a little.

What is your tank temperature?

So you think the white spot looks nothing like the females white spot (ovipositor) in the photo right?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I bought the freshwater multipack from petsmart and had been switching between the brine shrimp and emerald entree (main ingredient mysis shrimp but also some seaweed and stuff). I'm thinking the emerald entree may have been the wrong call since it isn't pure shrimp. The brine shrimp is pretty much just shrimp though. Both specialty fish stores are currently out of daphnia, and none of the petcos/petsmart carry it. I could buy pure mysis shrimp or wait a week until daphnia is available again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Disregard above, the last store managed to find some daphnia hidden behind the other food. I'll try that and the methylene blue and see what happens.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Alright, soaked the daphnia in tankwater before feeding it to him. He was a bit reluctant at first and was spitting some of it back out, but seems to be eating most of it.

Looking at the photo of the female, it does look very similar both in size and color to the ovipositor on the female. This was actually my first thought, but it seemed odd given his colors, fin length, and the fact that it only emerged a month or so ago. The fact that he isn't pooping makes it stranger. I was thinking possible internal parasite, but the white spot doesn't seem to change at all besides becoming slightly more pronounced recently. He also isn't lethargic or behaving any differently so it's just odd.

Regarding the methylene blue bath, what was the proper procedure for this? (Sorry I asked the same question in the PM.)

Thanks
 

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I pm'd you. I am not a sexing expert but this can happen. You might post a picture of your fish in the breeders section or betta care and explain the situation and see what they think. The constipation could simply be a coinciding coincidence. I was reading males can display and ovippositor. It came from a forum which I'd credit but rules don't permit that.

How To Tell The Gender Of Your Betta

Some people encounter the problem when they get a betta of is my betta a boy or a girl? Sometimes male plakats are mistaken for females and sold as such in petstores. I cant tell you how many posts ive seen on forums that ask the question “What gender is my betta” So I’m writing up this article to help people with that question come to a correct definitive answer.

Obvious Differences Between Males And Females
The biggest difference that will help you decide male or female is the way your betta flares. When a male flares he will have a large extra membrane appear forming a beard like presence around his whole chin. Females DO NOT have this membrane. Just because your female flares at other fish or even her own reflection it does not mean that she is actually a he. Some females are just naturally very aggressive.

Male Flare




Female Flare



Male vs. Female Body Type
Looking at the rest of the body there will be one other large difference between males and females, even in plakats. The males almost always (90% of the time) have much longer and fuller ventral fins then the females do.

Here is a male plakat, notice the long think ventrals, and you can even see his large gill membrane tucked in even when hes not flaring.


Here is a plakat female, notice the short thin ventrals, the lack of any kind of large gill membrane.


Flaring
Both male and female bettas flare, both at their own sex and at the opposite sex when they can see them through their container. The fact that your betta flares is therefore no guarantee that it is male.

There are some subtle differences in the manner of flaring between male and female bettas though. Male bettas often (but not always) turn sideways onto an opponent and cross their ventral fins. Female bettas often, after a while, flare at male bettas in a submissive, head-down posture. They are unlikely to do this straight away, so patience is called for if you intend to use this as a component of sexing your betta.

Ovipositor
It is a common misconception that the presence of an ovipositor (the white speck between a fishes ventral fins) is evidence that it is a female. Unfortunately, life is not that simple. Numerous males display the ovipositor, so much so that in IBC shows it is a disqualifying characteristic in a male.
So, if your betta has an ovipositor, it might be a female. But if it also has long fins it is probably a male. Even if it has short fins and an ovipositor it may be a plakat male.

Bubblenesting
Another common misconception is that only males build a bubble nest. This is not true. Females build bubble nests too. In fact many have been witnessed to create a bubble nest, drop a load of eggs, place the eggs in the nest and tend to them, before they are eventually eaten!
 

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It's kind of interesting I've never given much thought to the flaring part. My females rarely flare but they do have that tiny cute flare that isn't like a males.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well I've been having some trouble getting him(her?) to flare, though he did used to do it early on when we first got him. I don't ever remember seeing the "beard" under his gills, and when he did flare the gills looked more like the female where he just flared them out a bit. It has been a while since I last saw him flare though so I may have mistaken the membrane for his gills. His anal and ventral fins have the characteristic male length.

I saw in some other threads that I should be combining methylene blue with Furan-2 and Kanaplex and doing 30 min baths in a 1QT container. I don't have the other two ingredients. Will it be useless to just use the methylene blue by itself?
 

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I don't think at this unless your fishes fins are dissolving aggressively that you have to add other meds. I have added just a the tiniest bit of kanaplex to my baths it seems helpful.
 

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Unless the fin rot is aggressively dissolving fins then the methylene blue should be fine. If you don't see improvement after a week let me know I have kanplex that will expire in few months that I would consider mailing to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Alright, thanks for your help. I did the first methylene blue bath during the water change today. I'm feeding him daphnia 2x a day, and still waiting on him to poop.
 
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