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Discussion Starter #1
hi there. I bought my betta, long ha, a few weeks back on a whim. I have owned a betta in the past and contemplated getting a new one for a while.
When he came home, almost instantly, I noticed swelling in his abdomen, he slants to his left and hovers towards the top of the tank.

I fasted him for three days, hoping it was constipation. While he did poop, there was no other changes. I fed him a little bit of a cooked pea and he suddenly got better and swam freely, but regressed again the next morning. I did this for about three days to no avail. Yesterday, I figured to turn off the filter (my previous betta never had one, so I'm comfortable with more cleaning/water changes). As soon as I did, he swam freely again! So then I thought, dangit, maybe it was the current! But alas, the next day, he has regressed again.

Can anyone help me out? I've copied and pasted common questions that may help you understand better.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank?
2.5gal (this is temp until he is better)
Does it have a filter?
Did, but removed, it came with the tank. The current was too strong (imo)
Does it have a heater?
Yes. Tetra df30? 25w? Which is doing a crappy job, I might add.
What temperature is your tank?
Looks to be about 76F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
No, I don't know what this means.
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?
No and none currently

Food:
What food brand do you use?
Hikari
Do you feed flakes or pellets?
Pellets
Freeze-dried?
Nope
How often do you feed your Betta?
Twice
How much?
3 pellets in total

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
weekly
What percentage of water did you change?
25%
What is the source of your water?
Tap with conditioner (which is stupid to measure btw. Help?)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?
Vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner?
Nutrition Aquaplus+

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:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
Next day after purchase
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
Slightly bloated. His tail also appears to be crooked.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
I feel like he's playing "sike!" When he appears to be better
Is your Betta still eating?
Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
Please see above
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
Wouldn't know, I just got him.
How long have you owned your Betta?
About three weeks
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased?
I bought him from an aquarium. He was pretty chill in the cup. No signs of illness that I could see.
20200908_234726.jpg 20200908_234712.jpg
 

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Hi!
His water temp should be about 78 degrees F and it's really important to know what it is. Get an intank thermometer, a clean kitchen thermometer or both and test constantly.

He needs a higher quality food such as New Life Spectrum pellets (for the difference, compare the ingredient lists) and follow the feeding directions. My boys get as much as they can eat in 60-90 seconds twice a day, with a freeze dried bloodworm every other day.

Instead of the pea which isn't a great method, try getting him to flare, that can often bring about a poop.

He needs the filter, --it isn't hard to baffle the outflow.

A pet store will test the water for you but since this is also something that needs to be done by you regularly, you should pick up a water parameter test kit.

For his on again off again behavior, I'm wondering if you should obtain spring water and see if he doesn't improve. It may be that he can't handle the conditioner in your tap. water
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I bought a water testing kit to review. I also bought a sponge filter, which I've read has better reviews than that one my tank came with.
I came home to a massive poop today, which is promising, however he's still a bit bloated. I tried to take some better pics of his size.

I was concerned with the conditioning as well. The measurements are never very clear. Maybe I'm not adding enough? The heater I have should be a good. Perhaps I got a faulty one? The red light is hardly ever on, and when it is, the temp doesn't go much higher than it already is.

1021487

1021488
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update, water testing results

Ammonia:
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 6.8
Hardness (GH): 150
Alkalinity (KH): 0
 

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Yay, poop!

If you can test for ammonia too, that would give you an idea whether the quantity of conditioner plus your cleaning method/frequency is working for him

So, I'm using seachem prime, and I finally got it figured out with a dash measuring spoon. You can find these three, smidgen, dash and pinch and see if maybe one of them will work for you?

Oh, the aeration has to do with adding oxygen to the water. I don't know that it's super important since bettas breath air, plus your sponge filter will add bubble action if I remember right.

I saw your tank in the Meet the Owners post, you could possibly add more plants so he has more shade and places to hide :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I saw your tank in the Meet the Owners post, you could possibly add more plants so he has more shade and places to hide :)
Oh! Thanks for taking the time to check it out. Yes, I will definitely add more plants once I get him into the bigger tank. I'm looking for increasing it to a 10gal with lots of plants and some friends :)

I think i need to buy a separate testing thing for that, as mine doesn't appear to test for ammonia. :/
Generally though, how did the water test out?
Thanks for your feedback, I have a clean eye dropper for the conditioner right now. Haha. I just need to figure out the measurements when I do a 25% water change. Perhaps I should do a more thorough, 75% one and add clean warm water.
 

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Is your boy more swollen on one side than the other? If so, it could be something other than swim bladder or bloat. Can you get a photo from the top? I know he is eating but I don't know what "sike" is? Does that mean he's active or lethargic?

Betta are obligate breathers and only use labyrinth for emergencies. In other words, their gills are their primary breathing organ. For this reason, aeration is very important; not only so Betta can breathe but also because current keeps the aquarium itself healthy. My Betta very seldom to to the surface. And aeration is even more important if there are tank mates. We don't want to sacrifice their quality of live for the Betta. A filter is too strong only if any fish is being blown around the tank and/or doesn't have a place to rest or eat.

If you go with an adjustable filter (which you should) start it on low and gradually increase as your boy gains strength. Over time, you will find Betta even use the output for exercise. If you go with a 10 go up a side or check into this one. I'm pretty sure it's available in Canada.

You can dose water conditioner by drops. One ML = 20 drops. With Prime, it's two drops per gallon.

Do not depend on your thermometer for accurate temperature readings. Most people automatically think it's the heater when the temperature is not the same as set. I read one review which tested thermometers and found the average was +/- 2 degrees. Food thermometers are more accurate. That's why I went to this one and ditched all the rest. I do have four tanks so it is worth it to me.

Your parameters are okay but Nitrate should ideally be kept below 10 but under 20 is okay. Several small water changes and vacuums should bring Nitrates down as they are primarily the product of detritus. Ammonia and Nitrites should always be 0 ppm. I don't know what you have available, but an API Master Test Kit (Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH) is around the same cost as 5-in-1 + Ammonia strips. The API kit has 800 tests (200 for each of the four parameters) while the strips have under 40. You might find this cycling tutorial helpful:

Sorry for the dissertation. :(
 

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I was hoping @RussellTheShihTzu would come in and give you feedback, you can trust his advice for sure :)
@Mbpoppy : I keep forgetting to second your kitchen thermometer suggestion. While aquarium thermometers aren't required to be accurate, kitchen/food ones must. I calculated that by the time I paid for six "good" aquarium thermometers I would spend more than half the above...and have better accuracy, to boot. Plus, one less thing to clutter the look of the tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is your boy more swollen on one side than the other? If so, it could be something other than swim bladder or bloat. Can you get a photo from the top? I know he is eating but I don't know what "sike" is? Does that mean he's active or lethargic?

Betta are obligate breathers and only use labyrinth for emergencies. In other words, their gills are their primary breathing organ. For this reason, aeration is very important; not only so Betta can breathe but also because current keeps the aquarium itself healthy. My Betta very seldom to to the surface. And aeration is even more important if there are tank mates. We don't want to sacrifice their quality of live for the Betta. A filter is too strong only if any fish is being blown around the tank and/or doesn't have a place to rest or eat.

If you go with an adjustable filter (which you should) start it on low and gradually increase as your boy gains strength. Over time, you will find Betta even use the output for exercise. If you go with a 10 go up a side or check into this one. I'm pretty sure it's available in Canada.

You can dose water conditioner by drops. One ML = 20 drops. With Prime, it's two drops per gallon.

Do not depend on your thermometer for accurate temperature readings. Most people automatically think it's the heater when the temperature is not the same as set. I read one review which tested thermometers and found the average was +/- 2 degrees. Food thermometers are more accurate. That's why I went to this one and ditched all the rest. I do have four tanks so it is worth it to me.

Your parameters are okay but Nitrate should ideally be kept below 10 but under 20 is okay. Several small water changes and vacuums should bring Nitrates down as they are primarily the product of detritus. Ammonia and Nitrites should always be 0 ppm. I don't know what you have available, but an API Master Test Kit (Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH) is around the same cost as 5-in-1 + Ammonia strips. The API kit has 800 tests (200 for each of the four parameters) while the strips have under 40. You might find this cycling tutorial helpful:

Sorry for the dissertation. :(
Not at all! You guys have helped me and Tarzan out in the past, so I appreciate the feedback. Following is an aerial photo of LongHa to view his bloating but better.

Im just at the petstore now and debating on purchasing a new heater. Perhaps I'll stick to the digital thermometer and see where it goes.
I'm also buying a separate ammonia testing kit as my current kit does not include it.
My pet store only offers TOPFIN filter products. I bought a filter that they market specifically for Bettas. Fingers crossed.

Mbpoppy, I bought some dry freeze blood worms. I forgot to get some daphnine (sp?) for him to poop. How do I get him to flare?
 

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Hi! Since he won't flare at you, try holding a small mirror in front of him/his tank. He'll think his reflection is an adversary and should flare at that :)

Good for you on the bloodworms! Just to mention, those are just for treats (as opposed to a replacement of your other food that's for his actual meals), --I give my boys one worm every other day or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Changing the water and adding the new filter appears to have made a difference so far. I know its less than 24 hours, he may regress again as he does.
When I say "sike" I meant that he appears normal and healthy, but then he will then float back to the top. But again, he doesnt appear to do that now. I'm gonna remain hopeful.
With the new thermometer, I'll be able to see if my heater is working well or not.
Thank you two! For your quick replies and great advice :)
 

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Please up his food intake as he seems skinny. Ideally, there is no definition between head and body. Start out with two pellets 3 x per day; then up to three after a week.

You do not want compromised fish to eat all they can; especially those with suspected bloat. This is because they can overeat and do more harm than good.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
LongHa's health has not improved. While he is swimming a bit more now, he doesn't sink to the bottom at all. This morning I also woke up to discover a white spot on his head. Upon further inspection, I see black stripes across his body. :cry:

New water perameters as of sept 11th, because everything else is the same from my last post.
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
GH: 150
Chlorine: 0
KH: 0
pH: 6.8 View attachment 1021562
 

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Discussion Starter #18
LongHa's health has not improved. While he is swimming a bit more now, he doesn't sink to the bottom at all. This morning I also woke up to discover a white spot on his head. Upon further inspection, I see black stripes across his body. :cry:

New water perameters as of sept 11th, because everything else is the same from my last post.
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
GH: 150
Chlorine: 0
KH: 0
pH: 6.8 View attachment 1021562
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Please up his food intake as he seems skinny. Ideally, there is no definition between head and body. Start out with two pellets 3 x per day; then up to three after a week.
Lately I've been giving him 3 pellets in the morning and 3 in the evening due to my work hours.

He didn't take to the bloodworm I offered him. I'll try again on Monday.

Hes swimming a lot more around the surface, but won't dip to the bottom of the tank. He will swim... then float. Swim... then float. Then he will hide behind the heater.

I woke up this morning to some more symptoms. I feel really disheartened. No matter what I try, I don't see an improvement.

I made a new post with his new symptoms so it may help others.
 
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