Betta Bloated And Sitting On Tank Bottom - Help

avaladon

Member
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

Member
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.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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

Member
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.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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

Member
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.
 

Sophari

Member
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!
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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

Member
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.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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?
 

BettaNovice101

Member
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.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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

Member
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?
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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
 

BettaNovice101

Member
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?
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
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!
 

Cearle

Member
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.
 

BettaNovice101

Member
Not salt bath, you want Epsom salt baths.
 

BettaNovice101

Member
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.
 

Cearle

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

BettaNovice101

Member
Cearle said:
Hey that rhymes
Poet, don't know it, my feet are "Longfellows" -- lol
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
BettaNovice101 said:
I'm concerned that if you wait, you might be too late.
I know but I'm not sure if ill be able to do it correctly if I feel like I have to rush. I might be able to come home tuesday night to do it. I don't want to hurt him with salt by mistake and if I were to mess something up I'm not sure if I would have enough time to fix any problems
 

BettaNovice101

Member
Will you mom help?
 

Nelly

Member
Anyone who sees this please go to the thread called something like: HELP!! Infected tetra or injury?? Please HELP!!! I really need help. If you know anything about aggressive bettas or columnaris please come and respond. I’m panicking. Also good luck with the Betta.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
BettaNovice101 said:
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.
the other problem is I don't have epsom salt, only this I would have to go and buy some, is something like this good ?
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
BettaNovice101 said:
Will you mom help?
my mom will be able to do basic care on him, she can do small water changed and keep a close eye on him but I'm not sure she would feel comfortable doing an epsom salt bath
 

BettaNovice101

Member
No. That's why I warned you about "salt". That will make him hold water in his kidneys, the very thing you do Not Want! Epsom Salt draws fluid out. Ask your Mom if she will help.
 

Cearle

Member
avaladon said:
the other problem is I don't have epsom salt, only this I would have to go and buy some, is something like this good ?
You can get some at your local cvs, that’s where I got it.
 

BettaNovice101

Member
She might if she only has to cup him, put him in a prepared very small container, and then cup him back out. (NOt with a net, using a cup -- it's easier, and also more gentle.) If you find the exact measurements and everything, you can help her do it by reading it to her and help her by staying on the phone with her. (you have a driver or you are driving yourself? Don't talk to her on the phone if you are the driver! :) --
 

BettaNovice101

Member
Are you in the US? or another country?
 

BettaNovice101

Member
You can just cup out a bit of his aquarium water into a small container, prepare the Epsom salt, and use another small container like a sandwich box or coffee cup or drinking glass and scoop him up and put him in the Epsom salt bath. Watch the clock and him, when he starts to drift to his side again, take him out and put him back in to his aquarium breeder bed.
 

BettaNovice101

Member
yes, what you showed me. Make sure the Epsom Salt doesn't have any perfumes in it. Just cheap plain, drug-store (CVS like Cearle said) Epsom Salt. Comes in a bag like you saw.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
BettaNovice101 said:
yes, what you showed me. Make sure the Epsom Salt doesn't have any perfumes in it. Just cheap plain, drug-store (CVS like Cearle said) Epsom Salt. Comes in a bag like you saw.
yes I'm in the US, we just got some epsom salt! ill give it a try tonight before I go back
 

BettaNovice101

Member
do it soon. Let us know how he does.
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
BettaNovice101 said:
do it soon. Let us know how he does.
Alright so I did it, I only did it for 5 minutes since ive never done it before and I didnt want to over do it. I think it went alright, ill try again on Wednesday for a slightly longer time, I have to go back to school now but my mom is going to pay close attention to him
 

BettaNovice101

Member
That's good. The rest is up to him and God. Safe return to school! Let us know how he does.
 

gabby98

Member
First of all, how is he doing now?

I would recommend getting your water tested, just to rule out any issues with the water itself. If your mom is pouring tap water straight into his tank, that could be a big problem. Do you use any water conditioners?

Also, how much is your mom feeding him? If Bettas are overfed, it can cause constipation and other problems that could affect his swimming. You may want to consider that he might have swim bladder:
(this could also be related to overfeeding)

Bettas stomach's are about the size of their eyeball... so keep that in mind with feeding. I feed mine 2-3 pellets a day.
If you do think it could be constipation, hold off on food for a day and monitor him.

And finally, one of my favorite products is API "stress coat."
It's a couple dollars at petsmart or a local pet store. This helps replace their slime coat, reduce stress & promote healing. When my Neon Tetras (and Betta) don't seem as active as normal or are swimming abnormally, I add 1/2 of a capful to my 10gal tank. They usually respond pretty immediately and start swimming more normally.

These are just my suggestions as I've cared for my Betta and 5 neons.
I hope he feels better. Let us know how he is doing!
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
gabby98 said:
First of all, how is he doing now?

I would recommend getting your water tested, just to rule out any issues with the water itself. If your mom is pouring tap water straight into his tank, that could be a big problem. Do you use any water conditioners?

Also, how much is your mom feeding him? If Bettas are overfed, it can cause constipation and other problems that could affect his swimming. You may want to consider that he might have swim bladder:
(this could also be related to overfeeding)

Bettas stomach's are about the size of their eyeball... so keep that in mind with feeding. I feed mine 2-3 pellets a day.
If you do think it could be constipation, hold off on food for a day and monitor him.

And finally, one of my favorite products is API "stress coat."
It's a couple dollars at petsmart or a local pet store. This helps replace their slime coat, reduce stress & promote healing. When my Neon Tetras (and Betta) don't seem as active as normal or are swimming abnormally, I add 1/2 of a capful to my 10gal tank. They usually respond pretty immediately and start swimming more normally.

These are just my suggestions as I've cared for my Betta and 5 neons.
I hope he feels better. Let us know how he is doing!
I did a water test, ammonia was between 0-.25, nitrite was 0 and nitrate was about 10ppm, and I made sure my mom doesn't feed to much! I usually feed about the same, or ill do 1-2 frozen blood worms. I usually use prime, but my mom has been using some of that "betta water" because its a bit easier for her, I added a few drops of prime to it before I left though. He hasnt been very interested in food the past day though
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
BettaNovice101 said:
That's good. The rest is up to him and God. Safe return to school! Let us know how he does.
Thank you so much for all the help!!
 
  • Thread Starter

avaladon

Member
I am back home now! Hes still looking about the same, I'm going to do a good water change, any tips on how to do it with him in the breeder box?
 
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