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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a veiltail betta for 3-4 years who died unexpectedly about a month ago, and I missed having a betta so I got a new half-moon male betta about 2 weeks ago from Petsmart. I'm not sure how old he is but I assume he's still young, I'm also not sure how much more he will grow. We named him Haku and he's really awesome. From the moment I dropped him in the tank, he as super active, and not afraid at all. Any time I look at him, he's swimming back and forth around the tank or looking at us. He's always interested and curious. I've seen him playing with the bubbles and he doesn't seem to mind the filter current. My old betta wasn't this active that I can remember, but I assume its because he's young. He's kind of like a puppy lol.
He swims a little funny but I think its because he's young- he usually swims in short spurts and then puts all his fins out like he's steadying himself.

Suddenly last night something happened. When I went to check on Haku, he was up on the betta leaf I use to buffer the filter output, which is half in the water. So he was laying up on it half out of the water, with the filter water running around him. He moved a bit, and I really wasn't sure if he did it on purpose or was stuck. I poked the end of the leaf so he slid off into the tank, and he swam around like nothing was wrong. (I did go lower the leaf into the water more in case he decides to do that again.) But after I noticed his fins looked all messed up- they were small and stuck together, and possibly missing parts.
The other thing that occurred was there was a cold snap. Normally I don't have a heater since in FL the tank naturally stays at about 75-80F. I did order one online since colder weather was coming, but its not here yet. The tank got down to about 70F but its back to 75F now.
I also removed the bridge that's in there as a hidey spot in case he tore his fins on it (though my previous betta didn't seem to have a problem with it, and they both liked to hide under it.) Everything else is live plants or smooth rock unless he tore them on the betta hammock leaves.
This is mostly unrelated, but Haku had a brownish patch on the top of his head which seemed to be growing, until I figured out he was harassing the mystery snail and would get bonked on the head by the shell when he got too nosy. I took the mystery snail out and it stopped spreading, though it hasn't changed back. He can't do much of anything with the nerite snails.

I did about a 50% water change with gravel vacuum today since I was going to do it anyway. I did some reading on the fin clumping and I'm going to assume it was because of the temperature drop. It just seems like its not new arrival stress since he's already been settled in the tank for over a week. I basically want to figure out if there's anything else I can do for him or if a better temperature should take care of his stress, and how long before he should start looking normal if he is ok. I don't see any other physical signs of sickness other than the clumping and stripes, so I assume its just stress. He's still eating as usual and very active, though perhaps a bit less so for him. He seems to have a little more trouble swimming with his fins clumped. I've just never dealt with this before since my previous veiltail betta never had clumping.
I thought about putting in some aquarium salt, but I ended up not doing it. I'm not sure how much it helps or not since I've read stuff saying it helps a lot and stuff saying it does nothing. I do have BettaFix and PimaFix on hand but I didn't want to medicate without being sure about it.
My only other possible thought was trying the pea thing in case he's digestively unhappy. His belly seems a bit big but not enormous. He has such an appetite, I'm sure he'd eat more than what I feed him.


Housing
What size is your tank? 3gal
What temperature is your tank? 75F
Does your tank have a filter? Azoo Mignon 60 (I got this to replace the one the tank came with, it got great reviews. I keep it on a low setting and have a betta leaf that deflects the output some)
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? small airstone
Is your tank heated? not yet, hearter is coming in the mail
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 4x small snails (zebra nerite, tiger nerite, olive nerite, malaysian trumpet)

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One betta pellets (sometimes substituted with a pinch of dried bloodworms)
How often do you feed your betta fish? morning and evening, 2x pellets

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? weekly (I use a gravel vacuum)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25-50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra AquaSafe Plus (yellow bottle) and usually a bit of API Quick Start

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I get it tested occasionally at Petsmart, its rare for me to have anything other than a neutral ammonia level. Last time they said my Ph was a bit high. I have a bit of cuttlefish bone in there for the snails. I have some test strips coming in the mail with the heater.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Clumped fins, a little more pale, stress stripes
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Not much really
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Last night
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Water change
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I havn't had him long enough to know
How old is your fish (approximately)? Unknown, but young

Additional Info
Cycled: yes
Tank setup: I switched the tank to live plants about a month ago. I have some Anacharis, some kind of sword plant, and some small clumps of red wendtii. The wendtii went through crypt rot, but I cleaned out the dead leaves regularly and its recovering now. I also have a couple betta hammock leaves because the plants aren't really big/tall enough to rest on well. I had a bridge to hide under, but I took it out.
I do also have a 1 gal tank I use for quarentines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He's still exactly the same today. I'm going to fast him from food today and try giving him a bit of pea tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Today if anything his fins are worse. The top fin wasn't really clamped, but now it is. He still has the stress lines.
I fasted him yesterday and today I gave him a bit of pea. It was rather mushy, so I put little bits on my fingertips and touched the water to release it in the tank. At first he wasn't really interested, but then as it'd drift down he'd eat it. He spit a little out, but ate most of it.

His belly still looks rather rounded so I'm going to assume its constipation and hope the pea helps.
He's still really active and hungry at least. The temp seems to be staying at 75F.
 

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Most people agree that peas don't work as well for bettas. Epsom salts are generally accepted as the best remedy for constipation. 1-2 tsp a gallon is the dosage I believe but I hope someone will be here to confirm/correct me.

Salt will not evaporate or be removed by the filter so you will have to do a 100% change to get all the salt out of your tank. You have live plants so I would definitely do this in your QT tank if possible.

Keep fasting for now until you see a change. Bettas can go a few weeks without eating so you don't need to worry about him starving. Is your QT tank bare bottom? That will make it significantly easier for you to tell if he poops or not. Be sure to examine it if he does. It should be the color of his food (or the pea since you fed him one) if it's white or stringy we will have another issue to deal with. But let's not worry about that until you see him poop.

Best of luck, keep updating. I know how frustrating it is when no one posts right away when you need help but there are a lot of keepers that need help :) I am glad to see you filled out the details, most people don't bother to fill the care sheet out or include pictures.

He's a very pretty boy, by the way. Love his colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice and complement! I picked him because I like how his fins shine between blue and red :)
I was wondering, what's the difference between epsom salt and aquarium salt?

I think he's starting to get better. I didn't really want to put him in the small tank if I could help it because I don't have a heater for that tank, and it tends to be a bit cooler than the main one. I was feeding him little bits of pea and nothing else, and finally yesterday I noticed his belly didn't seem big anymore. I finally got a 10 watt heater from the pet store since I got tired of waiting for the one I ordered to arrive. Its not great since you can't adjust it, but I only turn it on while I'm around. Its been getting the tank up to 80-82F, but I can't leave it on while I'm at work so it tends to settle back to 75F. I'm going to get an appliance timer so I don't have to worry about how long its on so I should be able to keep the average temperature a little higher, and be prepared for if it gets colder again.

So I guess between the warmer water and the pea he seems to be doing better. This whole time he's been pretty active, but I would say he's hyperactive again. His fins are still clumped at the tips but they seem to be loosening up again? They were like dead weight before, but now they're more flexible. His color also seems better and I can't really make out stress lines.
I didn't actually see him poop unfortunately, but it seems like I never see my bettas poop.

I've gone back to feeding him a wee bit- 1 pellet in morning and evening, and I try to break it in half with my nail though they're rather tiny to start with. I'm wondering if his problem was he tends to swallow the pellets in one quick gulp. Even my old betta seemed to have a little issue with them, and would kind of chew or spit and re-eat them a bit. Or maybe I need to be soaking them a little first.
Any advice on preventing constipation from coming back?
 

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It should stay at the same temp. Turning it off and back on making the temp fluctuate is really bad for him. Keep the temp stable. If you need to test the heater out in another tank do that. My heater went up to like 86 then dropped to 80 and had stayed there for days before I put my fish in. A consistent temperature is essential for fish. Epsom salts are generally for bloating, swelling and constipation. Aquarium salt seems to be more for infections... I think.

Be mindful of how much you feed him and how often. Be sure to skip a day a week, won't harm him one bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think he's continuing to get better, just maybe its slow. His fins are all in a spade shape now- the part towards the body is wide, but the end is a fine tip. He also definitely has a tear in the middle of his bottom fin, so that one forms 2 tips. Yesterday I added a little bit of Bettafix to help with healing, and because I saw stress lines again although they went away later. I'm so uncertain about that stuff. I try to research before doing things, but it seems like some people say they're great to do and some people say they're harmful and you should never do ever :( The Bettafix seems to have the same split (apparently its just tea tree oil). I was checking to make sure it was ok with snails and general consensus is yes. I also tend to err on the side of a smaller dosage than recommended since I know many things if you go over it can cause problems. Better to start small and add more later.
I also added a bit of dried catappa leaf which a really decent person at Petsmart had recommended a while back when my previous betta sliced up his fin. It supposedly helps with healing and the snails like to eat it once it gets soft too. It did really seem to help- it healed up within about a week.

Today I plan on doing a usual water change so I'll add some aquarium salt too. The snails in there are nerites which can also be in brackish or salt water so I doubt it'll bother them. May as well cover my bases and make sure nothing else is bothering him.

The heater is now on a 2 hour on/off cycle, so it seems like the temp stays pretty closely between 78-82F- most often when I look its at 80F. I've been trying to watch it as much as possible- I couldn't while I was at work, but since I have a day off I'll check it more often to see how much fluctuation is actually happening. I was debating even making it a 1 hour on/off but I didn't know if that would be as effective. It does definitely seem like the heater is slow to warm the water. I ran it once without turning it off and it got up to about 82. I wasn't sure if it'd just level out at that temp or keep climbing so I got the timer.

I also had Petsmart test my water yesterday to be sure things were good, and they said it looked great and to keep doing whatever I was doing.

So he SHOULD be happy now- I don't see his stomach staying bloated anymore, and his average tank temp is higher. I don't see any other outward signs of anything being wrong. He's still active like usual.

I took some more pictures but I need to get them off the camera.
 
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