Betta Bloated And Sitting On Tank Bottom - Help

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avaladon

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Hello,
So I have a boy betta who I got in July last year, so I'm guessing he is probably almost 2 years old now since he wasn't a baby when I got him.

I am a college student and I moved into college on the 4th of September. During this time my mom has been caring for him while I was setting everything up for him at school. Now she knows the basics but she is no expert so she did the best she could (pretty much feeding him correctly, turning his light on and off, cleaning up uneaten food, and adding more water when it gets low.)

She sent me pictures during the past week and he didn't look so well so I decided to come home for the night to see him and he does not look well at all.
He is laying on the floor on his side, he looks bloated and when he tries to swim its really awkward and it looks like hes struggling and then just lays back on the ground.

I do not know my levels but ill do the water test soon. When I got home his water was low so I immediately refilled it and I'm just going to water a short amount of time before testing and doing a water change.

There is also an outbreak of snails (Bladder I think) that got much worse while I was gone.

I have an empty 2.5 gallon tank that I could use that might be easier for him since its smaller and wouldnt have any snails.

He is currently in a 5 gallon with a heater (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and a hang on the back filter.
I also have aquarium salt on hand in case anyone recommends it. I use prime water conditioner

please give me any advice, anything I can do to help him. I can't take him back to school just yet so if I do move him into the 2.5 gallon it may be easier for my mom to maintain.

Sorry if there's any spelling errors I just want to get this out as fast as possible

(Also I know the tank looks messy, as I said I haven't done the water change yet)

his scales are also sticking up a bit so I don't know if its dropsy or not. Hes my first fish and while I have done a ton of research and feel I know a lot, I still don't have any actual experience with a situation like this

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Sophari

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Sorry to hear about your fish

One thing you certainly shouldn’t do is move him to the smaller tank, as this would make it harder to maintain (due to the same waste being produced but less water to dilute it)

I expect that the problem is with ammonia build up seeing as your mom didn’t perform any water changes, but instead just topped up the tank. Topping up the tank doesn’t remove any of the harmful nitrates and ammonia, so while it can temporarily prolong the build up, it isn’t sustainable. I’d recommend doing daily water changes of 30% (others will need to help me out with this figure) and just hope that he can recover, although I must say given his state it’s rather unlikely.

If possible try to warm the new water to the same temperature as he is currently in before you add it to the tank, as this will cause less stress for him and help his condition.

Is he breathing heavily? And how long has he been in this state, as this will affect his chance of recovery.
 
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avaladon

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Sophari said:
Sorry to hear about your fish

One thing you certainly shouldn’t do is move him to the smaller tank, as this would make it harder to maintain (due to the same waste being produced but less water to dilute it)

I expect that the problem is with ammonia build up seeing as your mom didn’t perform any water changes, but instead just topped up the tank. Topping up the tank doesn’t remove any of the harmful nitrates and ammonia, so while it can temporarily prolong the build up, it isn’t sustainable. I’d recommend doing daily water changes of 30% (others will need to help me out with this figure) and just hope that he can recover, although I must say given his state it’s rather unlikely.

If possible try to warm the new water to the same temperature as he is currently in before you add it to the tank, as this will cause less stress for him and help his condition.

Is he breathing heavily? And how long has he been in this state, as this will affect his chance of recovery.
Okay that's what I assumed about the smaller tank, but the only time he does swim is to get oxygen at the surface so I was thinking maybe the smaller tank would be easier on him. I have to go back to school tomorrow is the other issue, I could possibly come back on Wednesday though. I am able to heat the water before doing water changes so I just did a small change (I didnt want to do too much while I waited for responses). I can definitely see his gills moving though its not very rapid, but he definitely looks uncomfortable. I'm not sure how long he has been like this, maybe a week. Before I left for college he was slowing down a little bit and seemed a tiny bit bloated but I didnt think it would be an issue and just told my mom to watch how much she fed him, though I don't think food was causing the bloat now.


edit: my mom told me hes been like this for probably about 2 days, but he was a bit slow before
 

Sophari

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avaladon said:
Okay that's what I assumed about the smaller tank, but the only time he does swim is to get oxygen at the surface so I was thinking maybe the smaller tank would be easier on him. I have to go back to school tomorrow is the other issue, I could possibly come back on Wednesday though. I am able to heat the water before doing water changes so I just did a small change (I didnt want to do too much while I waited for responses). I can definitely see his gills moving though its not very rapid, but he definitely looks uncomfortable. I'm not sure how long he has been like this, maybe a week. Before I left for college he was slowing down a little bit and seemed a tiny bit bloated but I didnt think it would be an issue and just told my mom to watch how much she fed him, though I don't think food was causing the bloat now.


edit: my mom told me hes been like this for probably about 2 days, but he was a bit slow before
Is your mom able to perform water changes for you while you’re away, if you give her step-by-step instructions maybe?

Also, if he’s still eating normally, I’d suggest offering him a pea, as this can help if he is in fact bloated. Just remember to take the skin off of the pea before feeding.
 
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avaladon

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Sophari said:
Sorry to hear about your fish

One thing you certainly shouldn’t do is move him to the smaller tank, as this would make it harder to maintain (due to the same waste being produced but less water to dilute it)

I expect that the problem is with ammonia build up seeing as your mom didn’t perform any water changes, but instead just topped up the tank. Topping up the tank doesn’t remove any of the harmful nitrates and ammonia, so while it can temporarily prolong the build up, it isn’t sustainable. I’d recommend doing daily water changes of 30% (others will need to help me out with this figure) and just hope that he can recover, although I must say given his state it’s rather unlikely.

If possible try to warm the new water to the same temperature as he is currently in before you add it to the tank, as this will cause less stress for him and help his condition.

Is he breathing heavily? And how long has he been in this state, as this will affect his chance of recovery.
Sophari said:
Is your mom able to perform water changes for you while you’re away, if you give her step-by-step instructions maybe?

Also, if he’s still eating normally, I’d suggest offering him a pea, as this can help if he is in fact bloated. Just remember to take the skin off of the pea before feeding.
shes going to try and do some water changes while I'm gone! and he hasnt seemed interested in food but ill see if I can get him to eat a pea, ive been using some long tweezers that I have for my plants to try and bring food to him but he doesn't seem interested, I'm going to try again later tonight though
 

BettaNovice101

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I don't know much, but a couple of thoughts came to mind from your question. You mentioned salt, and I would caution you against salt. If he is having kidney issues, you don't want to use salt. However, I've heard of people doing Epsom dips or baths to help with this issue. Also, I would not feed him for a couple of days, then if you do use the pea, make sure it isn't a hard chunk. I've used pea for my bettas in the past and it gets stuck if it's hard. It should be mushy soft, and extremely tiny. Also, I have had bettas who couldn't make it up to the surface, and I ended up either lowering the level of the water, or recently, placing them in a hang-on breeder tank inside the home tank so that they can be in large body of water, but not struggle to surface breathe. I think surface breathing is extremely important. If a betta can't reach the surface, they can suffocate, even though they also breathe oxygen from the water column.
 

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avaladon said:
shes going to try and do some water changes while I'm gone! and he hasnt seemed interested in food but ill see if I can get him to eat a pea, ive been using some long tweezers that I have for my plants to try and bring food to him but he doesn't seem interested, I'm going to try again later tonight though
Good luck with it, fingers crossed he’ll eat please keep us updated!
 
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avaladon

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BettaNovice101 said:
I don't know much, but a couple of thoughts came to mind from your question. You mentioned salt, and I would caution you against salt. If he is having kidney issues, you don't want to use salt. However, I've heard of people doing Epsom dips or baths to help with this issue. Also, I would not feed him for a couple of days, then if you do use the pea, make sure it isn't a hard chunk. I've used pea for my bettas in the past and it gets stuck if it's hard. It should be mushy soft, and extremely tiny. Also, I have had bettas who couldn't make it up to the surface, and I ended up either lowering the level of the water, or recently, placing them in a hang-on breeder tank inside the home tank so that they can be in large body of water, but not struggle to surface breathe. I think surface breathing is extremely important. If a betta can't reach the surface, they can suffocate, even though they also breathe oxygen from the water column.
hI'm breathing has been my number 1 concern, I lowered the tank water a bit. The only time he swims is to quickly get some oxygen at the surface. I have a betta hammock and lots of leafy plants but I'm not sure he is able to swim long enough to get on one comfurtable. Do you have any advice as to how I may move him onto his hammock? I don't want to hurt him. I might also have some sort of breeder box that I got in a fish keeping subscription box, ill see if I can find it!
 

BettaNovice101

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my suggestion is to place the hammocks under him. He will "swim" (which he can't really "do" right now), away when you approach him, but perhaps he will return to that spot and use it. Make it easy (low enough) so he can lay on the hammock and reach up to breathe. I had a fish who was like that, and I lowered the water level, and fed him with tweezers. He would take the food from the tweezers. But as I said, I wouldn't feed him for a couple of days, in case he ate too much. Keep in mind that he is quite old. Another thing you could think about is getting a plastic soap (new) dish with suction cups (the kind that you put in the shower or kitchen sink, and has slots or holes for drainage, and sticking it at the water edge, then cupping him and placing him in the dish. Make the dish lower enough so he will be under water, but high enough so he can lift his head and drink in oxygen from the surface. I use plastic soap dishes in my tank to buffer the water flow. My betta lays on them like he does his hammock.
 
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avaladon

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BettaNovice101 said:
my suggestion is to place the hammocks under him. He will "swim" (which he can't really "do" right now), away when you approach him, but perhaps he will return to that spot and use it. Make it easy (low enough) so he can lay on the hammock and reach up to breathe. I had a fish who was like that, and I lowered the water level, and fed him with tweezers. He would take the food from the tweezers. But as I said, I wouldn't feed him for a couple of days, in case he ate too much. Keep in mind that he is quite old. Another thing you could think about is getting a plastic soap (new), and sticking it at the water edge, then cupping him and placing him in the dish. Make the dish lower enough so he will be under water, but high enough so he can lift his head and drink in oxygen from the surface. I use plastic soap dishes in my tank to buffer the water flow. My betta lays on them like he does his hammock.
so this is the breeder box I have do you think I should try putting him in this? or try getting him on the hammock?
 

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I would use the breeder box so he can move around. Also, you can stick the hammock to the inside wall of the breeder box. Make sure his fins don't fall through the slits in the breeder box. If you think they will, maybe put something soft inside first, or marbles or something that will let the water flow through, but not injure his fins.

You might want to look around the forum for pineconing, and also for Epsom dips or baths. Ask for some of the more experienced people to respond.
 
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avaladon

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BettaNovice101 said:
You might want to look around the forum for pineconing, and also for Epsom dips or baths. Ask for some of the more experienced people to respond.
alright! also I got him inside his breeder box, and I put a small indian almond leaf in it because he likes those
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Sophari said:
Good luck with it, fingers crossed he’ll eat please keep us updated!
thank you!
 

BettaNovice101

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Can you bring the water level down so he only has to lift his head up to gulp oxygen? The rest looks great. Good idea about the almond leaf. I can see that your breeder tank is not plastic. In the picture I saw first it looked like one of those guppy breeders use -- plastic sides with slits on the bottom. That's why I suggested sticking the hammock to the sides, and watching for his fins to flow through the slits. Does he seem more comfortable?
 
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avaladon

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BettaNovice101 said:
Can you bring the water level down so he only has to lift his head up to gulp oxygen? The rest looks great. Good idea about the almond leaf. I can see that your breeder tank is not plastic. In the picture I saw first it looked like one of those guppy breeders use -- plastic sides with slits on the bottom. That's why I suggested sticking the hammock to the sides, and watching for his fins to flow through the slits. Does he seem more comfortable?
ill try to bring it down, but it can't go down much further or itll mess up the filter, but ill see what I can do! he seems more comfortable, its probably a lot softer on his fins than the gravel
 

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Can you extend the straps that are holding it to the top of the frame of the tank?

Did you look up Epsom Salt baths?
 
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avaladon

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BettaNovice101 said:
Can you extend the straps that are holding it to the top of the frame of the tank?

Did you look up Epsom Salt baths?
they are only strips of metal that I can bend to adjust so they can't really be changed too much. ive done a little research on salt baths but I have to go back to college pretty soon so I'm going to save anything like that till Wednesday night when I come back!
 

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Yeah I recommend doing epsom salt baths. It’s pretty easy, all you need is some plain epsom salt that’s not scented or anything and an extra container for him. You should use around 1 tsp per gallon of water the container has. There’s probably other steps but that’s how I saved my Betta. You should leave him in there for about 10-15 minutes, maybe longer depending on how sick he is.
 

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Not salt bath, you want Epsom salt baths.
 

BettaNovice101

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I'm concerned that if you wait, you might be too late. You put them in the bath, watch for him as he swims to make sure he can tolerate the Epsom salt, then hold him in there until he floats to his side, then remove him and put him either in a fresh dechlorinated water or back into his tank. Not sure about the details. I would suggest that you don't wait. He could be in kidney failure.
 

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BettaNovice101 said:
I'm concerned that if you wait, you might be too late.
Hey that rhymes
 
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