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Discussion Starter #1
How many gallons is your tank? He is currently in a 2.2 gallon hospital tank. This is not his long term home.
Does it have a filter? Yes, I have a cycled sponge filter inside, the flow is very low.
Does it have a heater? Yes.
What temperature is your tank? 78 F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Sponge filter.
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No.

What food brand do you use? The only thing I have fed this fish so far is a cooked pea.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Typically pellets, Hikari gold brand.
Freeze-dried? Yes, I feel blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, etc.
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? This is a new fish, so I have only fed him one time. But with my others, I usually feed them ~10-15 (small) pellets a day, with at least 1 fasting day a week.

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? I bought this betta ill at the pet store. Lately, I have been doing 100% water changes every day, to keep his water absolutely pristine (and because I have been using Epsom salt). I drip acclimate him every time I do this.
What percentage of water did you change? Lately, 100%. See above question.
What is the source of your water? Tap water.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum.
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? API stress coat +, API stress zyme, API quick start (since this was a new hospital tank), and I have tried to use both aquarium salt and Epsom salt (not both at once) at the recommended doses (for Epsom, I’ve been doing 1 tsp per gallon).

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. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: ~7.4-7.8
Hardness (GH): I don’t currently have a kit that can test this
Alkalinity (KH): I don’t currently have a kit that can test this

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? I bought him this way.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? I’m not sure, I bought him like this.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? See above.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, I have only tried to feed him peas, and I’ve only fed him one time since buying him. But that one time, he was obviously super interested and ate everything I gave him.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes. When I first put him in his hospital tank upon first buying him, I added all of the above conditioners, plus aquarium salt. I kept him like that for 2 days, fasting him. I then fed him a cooked pea on the 2nd day. I waited, and he didn’t seem to improve. So I did a 100% water change, adding conditioners again, but this time adding 1 tsp of Epsom salt per 1 gallon of water. I drip acclimated him before adding him back to the tank. The next day, I did another 100% water change, adding the epsom salt again, and drip acclimating him again. The forum I read suggested treating with Epsom salt for 2-3 days, but he doesn’t seem to have drastically improved. Not sure if I should continue with the Epsom salt or move on to medicating. I have also dripped some stress coat directly onto his back, since it has been exposed to the air a lot. Note, he is able to swim down, but obviously has a hard time staying down. He will start to involuntarily float back up, though this happens a little slower now than the day I first got him. But it’s not a huge improvement - for the most part, he still sits at the top of the tank.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? I don’t know.
How long have you owned your Betta? I bought him about 5 days ago.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Yes. He had obvious signs of swim bladder, which is why I purchased him. I have plenty of medicine and means to help him.


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This is my first time actually making a forum post here, and I’m just looking for some advice on what I should do next.

I bought this betta from a store. When I bought him, he had obvious signs of swim bladder disorder, which is why I bought him in the first place. I didn’t want to leave him there to suffer, and I knew I had more room / plenty of medicine at home to treat him. That was about 5 days ago.

On day 1, I treated him with aquarium salt as kind of a general cure-all. On this day, he was not able to swim down at all, and would immediately shoot back up to the top of the tank when he tried.

The next day, he already seemed to be doing a little better, with just some clean water and a little salt. He was able to swim down, though it was obviously a struggle. He would use the decorations at the bottom of the tank to help him stay down for awhile, and then he would allow himself to float back up. On this day (Day 2), I fed him about half of 1 cooked pea. He was super interested in the food and ate everything very easily. I have not fed him again since this - I have been fasting him in case this was an over feeding issue.

On day 3, I did a 100% water change, then added 1tsp of Epsom salt per gallon of tank water. I drip acclimated him slowly before adding him back to the tank.

On day 4 (yesterday), I again did a 100% water change and added Epsom salt.

We are now on day 5. The forum that suggested using Epsom salt said to try this for 2-3 days. He has been treated with Epsom salt in pristine water for 2 days now, and there is no obvious signs of him getting much better. He still sits at the top of the tank for the majority of the time, though he can swim down if he really tries.

My question is, should I continue with the Epsom salt / cooked peas (or daphnia) / fasting combo, or is it time to bring out the medicine?

NOTE: he does not show any obvious signs of illness besides swim bladder disease, which is why I didn’t medicate sooner. He is generally lethargic, but I think that is mostly because he isn’t able to move around easily. Once he does get a desire, he can and does swim down to the bottom of the tank and uses decor to hold himself down. His fins don’t look torn or damaged. On day 1, he seemed to be gasping a bit, but as the days have gone on he has stopped. His fins don’t typically look clamped, he usually has his tail fanned out completely. And I’ve noticed no cottony spots / white dots / gold speckles on him. No obvious external signs.

I was concerned that maybe the red splotches all over him were septicemia, but I think that is just his coloration... if it were that bad, I’d think he’d be looking and acting a lot worse than he does.

I have tons of medicine at the ready for bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections. I think I just need a second opinion on what I should do now. Treat for bacterial infection? Parasites? Fungus? Continue with the constipation / epsom salt treatment and see where things go?

Thank you all in advance for your help!! I’m a long time reader of these forums but never actually tried to post until today. Hopefully we can figure this out together! :)




Super Moderator
2,632 Posts
Continue with the Epsom salt for up a total of 10 days. If you can get frozen daphnia, see if you can get him to eat some, otherwise, give him a couple of small meals. See if you can get your hand on some NorthFin Betta Bites, New Life Spectrum or Omega One Betta pellets. Hikkari has declined in quality and now comprises of many fillers in their food. No freeze dried for him either.
If his problem is genetic, there may be nothing you can do, let's see if getting him on a normal regime will help before we start looking at meds.
You can also add some Indian Almond Leaves or a Rooibos teabag to his tank. While this may not specifically help with this problem, it will make him more comfortable.

He's a beautiful little guy.
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