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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I recently brought home a betta that was in pretty rough shape. I knew he might not make it, but figured I could give him a chance.

He never really swam in his cup, but rather did a fairly vertical float. After slow introduction into the tank at home, I found he was a fairly poor swimmer and almost immediately ended up on the bottom of the tank. By the next morning he was on his side but still alive. It's been seven days and he's still alive. His color has improved, but he still does not swim and is on his side. Sometimes upright if leaning on something. He is not super interested in eating. On his 3rd day here he ate frozen brine shrimp I offered to him with tweezers, but nothing before or since (though I do offer that and new life spectrum granules). I have not tried any medication because I'm not quite sure what I'm dealing with, and also don't know if his body could handle it.

He is currently in a cycled, filtered, and heated (80°F) 10 gallon tank. I do however have him inside of a breeder box within the tank as he does not swim. He is the only one in the tank. I do have an old 3.5 gal tank on hand I could set up if need be, but again he does not really swim.

To add - the 2nd and 3rd photos he is in a cup because I could not get a good photo of him in the tank. Otherwise I leave him be and the tank lights have been off since I've had him.

Any idea what I'm dealing with? Ammonia damage from previous water conditions, wasting disease, parasite? Any advice/input/help is appreciated!

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 10 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 80°F
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? New Life Spectrum and frozen brine shrimp
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? I offer twice daily but he will not eat.

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? He was ill when I got him, but I typically do weekly changes.
What percentage of water did you change? I typically change around 25% weekly.
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use other than conditioner? Seachem stability
What brand of conditioner? Seachem prime

Water Parameters:

I am waiting on my next master kit to arrive, but via strips and liquid ammonia test I got -

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Looks like 0
pH: 6.5
Hardness (GH): 60ppm
Alkalinity (KH): It looks like 40ppm on the strip

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? The first day
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? His color seems to have improved
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? No
Is your Betta still eating? No
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Just TLC but no medication as of yet
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Unknown
How long have you owned your Betta? 7 days
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Yes
 

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Neptune (HMDT), Indigo (VT), Bunker (K9)
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Welcome! Thank you for taking on one of the sick ones!! I do the same thing! I rescued on e in January with the same symptoms. He would swim as best he could but as soon as he stopped, he would tip over on his side. I set up a 1 gallon with a heater and I gave him epsom salt baths. I used 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of treated water. I left him in it for 5 minutes while watching for stress. I then moved him to a second container with 1/4 of the epsom salt mixture to 3/4 aquarium water. I tried to match the temperature as well as I could. I also used the controversial blanched pea. I am not sure which helped his swim bladder disorder but gradually within a few days he was swimming normally. This guy was weak, washed out and skinny but he made a complete recovery. Good luck with your new guy! I hope this helps or someone else has more ideas!
 

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The purpose of ES is to reduce swelling; a sort of diuretic. Because he is not bloated I would not treat him with Epsom Salts. That, IMO, would be too stressful.

Can't see him from above, but from how his head is shaped he appears to be thin. From above he should look like a bullet or torpedo with no distinction between head and body. The second photo compares a well-fed Betta's profile with one that is not. Your boy is not in as bad shape as the one on the right.
Head Eye Fin Underwater Koi
Head Eye Mouth Organism Iris

Frozen (not freeze dried) Bloodworms are not recommended as a meal substitute for healthy Betta. However, for the compromised they are a good source of fat and a way to add weight. I wish I could find it again, but when researching, one study noted that fish that are malnourished do not have a strong reaction to food. So that may be one reason he's not excited about the shrimp or pellets. If you can find Mini Bloodworms they are very small and easier to feed. Regular frozen Bloodworms may need to be cut into small pieces not much bigger than 2-3 mm in length.

If he does accept the Bloodworms and starts improving, you can soak some of the pellets in with the Bloodworms so he gets more nutrition.

Floating an Indian Almond Leaf or plain Rooibos teabag in a compromised Betta's tank is always a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you very much for the advice. You're right, he is quite thin. I was not able to get a top-down photo as he is usually on his side. I will pick up some frozen blood worms today.

I do have mopani wood in the tank that seems to have released plenty of tannins. Should I also add the Indian almond leaf and/or rooibos teabag?

Thanks again!
 

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Mopani should work. When the tannins dissipate you can add the other. I'm not sure about Mopani but IAL and Rooibos have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Please keep us posted on his progress. Fingers crossed he'll eat the Bloodworms or start eating the Shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you again for your insight. I tried the blood worms today but he did not eat. Hopefully he will come around soon. I'll pick up some Indian Almond Leaves for good measure.

Hopefully I will soon have some positive updates to share.
 
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