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My betta fish Forsythe is blind, so caring for him properly has taken some dedication. It's been tricky getting him to eat enough, but finally I figured out that a pair of silicone-tipped tweezers work to feed him flakes and freeze dried blood worms. I'd much prefer to feed him pellets, but that simply hasn't worked despite my best efforts.

So! Here's the lowdown: I noticed him hanging out stationary for hours upon hours by the filter intake. I started to get worried and did an API water test....ammonia was 0 ppm but nitrite was between 2 and 5 ppm (hard to tell between the two)! I panicked and immediately did a 25% water change and dosed with prime. I checked the water again two hours later and levels were all normal...I did another test this evening and ammonia/nitrite are at 0 ppm still. Nitrate tested a little high, so I did a 10% water change plus prime of course.

I've been concerned for a while that he isn't getting enough nutrition since flakes are less dependable and he's a bit difficult to feed. And yet...I worry that he might have a bit of an extended swim bladder. I'm really confused! I do weekly water changes (usually between 20 and 30 percent) and the levels have remained stable for months. I've also noticed a bit of a film on the surface of the tank.

Here is a picture of when I first got him compared to what he looks like today:
Liquid Water Hood Automotive lighting Fluid

Water Flower Plant Purple Liquid


So many questions....how long after a nitrite spike could I see an improvement in symptoms? Should I fast him for a few days despite him not having eaten much rather consistently? Ack!
 

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Hi,

What a beautiful boy you have, and how wonderful it is that you are taking such great care of a special needs betta!!!

I find that flakes can tend to cause some digestive issues, but I understand your predicament!

I would fast him for two days, and then feed him again. Have you tried soaking his food in garlic juice? It is used for picky eaters, he will be able to smell it, and it will give him a good immune boost as well. You can find jars of cut garlic in most grocery stores. It is the liquid that you would use to soak his food. Seachem also sells a product called Garlic Guard, but I find using the garlic juice just as good.

Also, have you thought about feeding frozen foods? He would get some really good nutrition that way, and it might be easier to feed when using the tweezers. Frozen daphnia is really good for digestive issues, too. It acts as a natural laxative.

The film on the surface could be biofilm. It is very common, especially in tanks with low flow filters and live plants. The betta may also be adding to it as he either attempts to make bubble nests, or when he goes to the surface to breathe. It is harmless, and you can either soak it up with a paper towell, or use a small air stone to add some agitation to the water. I use an air stone that is attached to a pump that is powered by a usb power pack. I will put the stone in the tank, let it run for a little while and break up the film, and then remove it. It will also add oxygen to the water through the added aggitation of the water, and it is better than having a filter with a stong flow because you can remove it as needed.

I hope this helps!!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi,

What a beautiful boy you have, and how wonderful it is that you are taking such great care of a special needs betta!!!

I find that flakes can tend to cause some digestive issues, but I understand your predicament!

I would fast him for two days, and then feed him again. Have you tried soaking his food in garlic juice? It is used for picky eaters, he will be able to smell it, and it will give him a good immune boost as well. You can find jars of cut garlic in most grocery stores. It is the liquid that you would use to soak his food. Seachem also sells a product called Garlic Guard, but I find using the garlic juice just as good.

Also, have you thought about feeding frozen foods? He would get some really good nutrition that way, and it might be easier to feed when using the tweezers. Frozen daphnia is really good for digestive issues, too. It acts as a natural laxative.

The film on the surface could be biofilm. It is very common, especially in tanks with low flow filters and live plants. The betta may also be adding to it as he either attempts to make bubble nests, or when he goes to the surface to breathe. It is harmless, and you can either soak it up with a paper towell, or use a small air stone to add some agitation to the water. I use an air stone that is attached to a pump that is powered by a usb power pack. I will put the stone in the tank, let it run for a little while and break up the film, and then remove it. It will also add oxygen to the water through the added aggitation of the water, and it is better than having a filter with a stong flow because you can remove it as needed.

I hope this helps!!! :)
Thank you so much!! Lately I've felt like a terrible fish parent....especially after the nitrite spike. I will definitely try feeding him pellets soaked in garlic after fasting him, I hope the bloated swim bladder will go down...

I'll see if I can't snag him some frozen food. I don't recall my local petco having any, but I haven't searched thoroughly either...I miss living near an actually decent aquarium store!!
 

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His tummy doesn't look that bloated...you really are doing a great job with him!

And I know what you mean about decent aquarium stores. I have to drive over 50 miles one way from my home just to get to a PetSmart! And shipping costs are just outrageous right now, not to mention the cost of gas!

I hope he goes for the garlic juice soaked food!! :giggle:
 

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I assume that the tank is a Fluval looking at the honeycomb on the glass and layout of the AIO filter inlet weir. Have you plugged the hole towards the bottom of the tank? This usually makes the filtration work better and the inlet at the top to start surface skimming. However don't do this without a weir guard for floating plants and the betta fish. The hole in teh AIO is there to prevent a pump burn out incase the water drops too low.

Regarding the food, i actually find that reptile stores both in person and online sell frozen fish food for much cheaper than those dedicated to just aquatics. At least that is the case here in the UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I assume that the tank is a Fluval looking at the honeycomb on the glass and layout of the AIO filter inlet weir. Have you plugged the hole towards the bottom of the tank? This usually makes the filtration work better and the inlet at the top to start surface skimming. However don't do this without a weir guard for floating plants and the betta fish. The hole in teh AIO is there to prevent a pump burn out incase the water drops too low.

Regarding the food, i actually find that reptile stores both in person and online sell frozen fish food for much cheaper than those dedicated to just aquatics. At least that is the case here in the UK
Indeed! The tank is a 5 gallon fluval spec V. I'll admit I didn't even know there was a hole towards the bottom of the tank...I have some investigating to do.

I'll see if I can't find a reptile store nearby. It's too bad...there is actually a quality pet store in my town, but it only really caters to dogs & cats. Thank you for your advice, I'm gonna go give his tank an inspection. I've learned a lot over the years but I still consider myself quite the novice, lol
 

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I am not expert but I just feel to let you know she looks so wonderful and so fortunately to have such a caring owner like you !! Please help let us know how is progress, and me too also need to know how to save/cure a bloated betta
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am not expert but I just feel to let you know she looks so wonderful and so fortunately to have such a caring owner like you !! Please help let us know how is progress, and me too also need to know how to save/cure a bloated betta
I am happy to report that Forsythe is doing better! I appreciate the kind words so, so much. I hope your darling fishy is okay ❤
 
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