Betta Fish Laying At Bottom Of Tank On His Side; Please Help!!!

Maddie10124

EMERGENCY: Betta fish community please please please help! I got my Crowntail halfmoon betta fish at PetSmart over 2 years ago. Up until recently he has lived through it all, fin rot, ick, etc and recovered to his active happy self. Sad to say I am not sure what to do this time. At first I thought he may have swim bladder but now I’m extremely worried he has dropsy and it could already be too late for him. I also noticed he seems to have bulging eyes compared to other bettas. I am no where near a professional betta fish owner and I know I have done things wrong with his tank set up in the past but I have learned from all of this and it made me love my betta even more and appreciate them. This is why I am so heartbroken that he has fallen ill and doesn’t seem to be improving. I would really appreciate it if anyone could take the time to quickly look at the pictures of him I know they are not the best. I have a really good video of him but it will not let me attach it. Id anyone knows how to link a video to this post let me know. If anyone can provide any knowledge on his condition so I can help him before it’s too late it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 3.5 gallon tank
How long has the tank been running? He has lived in this tank almost his whole life
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78°F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
He lives alone as a male betta with various live plants to nap on.
Maintenance
How often do you change the water? About every 3-4 weeks
How much of the water do you change? About 50%
What do you use to treat your water? Water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
I clean both the gravel on the floor of his tank as well take out the 50% dirty water
*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Im a little confused, like I said I am not that experienced with bettas... are you supposed to cycle his tank every time? Is that the same thing as running the filter before you add him back in because yes I do.
What do you use to test the water?
Seachem pH Alert + Ammonia Alert Combo What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: <0.02
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: 7.1

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? My sister is also a betta fish owner, a while ago her betta fell sick with swim bladder, it rapidly progressed and turned into dropsy. At that point it was too late and he was suffering. She was heartbroken and I am so fearful now of my betta getting sick too. I thought he might have swim bladder due to his irregular swimming and laying on the bottom of the tank so I have been fasting him and then giving him high protein food that I soak before.
How much do you feed your fish? I feed him a very small amount that is presoaked so he doesn’t eat air from the surface. He seems uninterested in his food sometimes or acts like has no appetite and only eats a few flakes I am really worried about him.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes and Top Fin freeze dried blood worms.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
Recently I have tried giving him freeze dried blood worms because I read a high protein diet will help with swim bladder but he doesn’t seem interested in the bloodworms
Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 2 and 1/2 years
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? He started getting noticeably sick and lethargic about 2 weeks ago and has made no progress in getting better but he also hasn’t gotten much worse. Just stays the same and chills near the bottom of his tank. I added aquarium salt as well to try and help his immune system but I didn’t notice any changes.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? He seems to have trouble with swimming to the top. He rarely comes to the surface like he used to. Every morning I would turn on his light on he used to dart to the surface and dance for food now I can’t even find him when I turn his light on in the morning because he is somewhere hidden laying on the bottom. He never seems interested in eating until I drop pre-soaked flakes into his tank and they float to the bottom he will smell them and start to eat them as they fall.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? I haven’t started an official treatment for him as I am unsure of what his illness is. I do not want to treat him for the wrong thing as he seems very weak and that will probably kill him. I tried to give him betta fix a while ago because he had problems with fin rot in the past and his fins were looking ragged again I thought it may have come back. I gave him two treatments of bettafix and no improvement. I feared it may even make him sicker if that is not what he needs so I stopped. My sister told me I should give him aquarium salt because it is good for them when they are sickly so I did that too for 3 days treatment with no improvement and stopped again in fear of making him sicker. I have ordered him dropsy medication (kanaplex) but I am waiting for it to get delivered and a confirmation that he has dropsy so I know that is it safe to give him. For the time being I have just given him Stress Coat+ to try something and look for any improvement while I wait.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No he seemed perfectly healthy when I purchased him 2 years ago.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
Over the 2 and 1/2 years his fins have become ragged and curled. Partially my fault as a beginner betta owner I had fake plants in his tank. I didn’t realize they were shredding and destroying his delicate fins. They had become permanently damaged from that and I felt terrible so I replaced them all with live plants and a moss ball to play with. He hasn’t ever fallen greatly ill until now that is why I am so worried. When I first got him I was not the best fish owner and I wouldn’t clean his tank as often as I should but he would never get sick or anything. Now that I have had him for a while and learned a lot, I do everything I can to make sure his take is perfect for him and now he falls sick! It’s heartbreaking. His color has definitely dulled over time but he is not suddenly pale or colorless he hasn’t had any drastic symptoms besides laying on the bottom of his tank sideways. Any help or information is greatly appreciated! Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you so much
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grac3

looks like he's suffering from fin rot too.. try salt baths and change 20-40% of the water every other day
 
Upvote 0

Bettamay

A couple things - swim bladder has many causes. I think you need to fast but your sisters sbd was not caused my over feeding.

I suggest you read up on the nitrogen cycle, if your parameters have changed or your cycle has crashed it could be a cause of swim bladder.

Along with that don’t overdose bettafix, it is dangerous and can damage a bettas labyrinth organ.

Might be a good idea to prepare some epsom salt baths, don’t do them, just get the salt.


Your betta has loved quite a longer life - on the older side, as bettas usually live 3-5 years, which is probably a cause of the color changing.
 
Upvote 0

Maddie10124

Yes he has had fin rot in the past, seems to have permanently damaged his fins. I am the most concerned about his symptoms of dropsy and want to help him anyway I can before it’s too late. Will salt baths stress him out more? Or will it help with his fin rot as well as other illness? I have tried adding aquarium salt treatment to his tank with no improvements. Thank you for your reply!
A couple things - swim bladder has many causes. I think you need to fast but your sisters sbd was not caused my over feeding.

I suggest you read up on the nitrogen cycle, if your parameters have changed or your cycle has crashed it could be a cause of swim bladder.

Along with that don’t overdose bettafix, it is dangerous and can damage a bettas labyrinth organ.

Might be a good idea to prepare some epsom salt baths, don’t do them, just get the salt.


Your betta has loved quite a longer life - on the older side, as bettas usually live 3-5 years, which is probably a cause of the color changing.

Thank you for your reply.

How long do you think I should fast him for?
Thank you for the information I will read up on the nitrogen cycle. Agreed, I have seen more people saying BettaFix killed their bettas than helped them.
Should I only go ahead with the epsom salt baths if his condition worsens? He is getting quite old but up until recently he has always been a very active and happy fish!
 
Upvote 0

Sofiafish17

Hi, I have a few things to say here. First of all, I do not think that is dropsy, fish with dropsy have their fins all pushed out and they look like a pine cone, he does not. That is good, I think he is just very bloated. I also noticed that in your post you mentioned not exactly knowing what cycling is. Please please please read some articles here and on other websites. I think this will turn into a link when I post- aquarium nitrogen cycle - basically a cycle is the process of fish waste and uneaten food decomposing and turning into ammonia which is no good at all, you should always try to keep you ammonia levels at 0.00 and ppm, but yours do not look to bad so I don’t think that is the main problem. After the food turns into ammonia, bacteria comes along and process it turning it into nitrItes. Cycling is basically a period of time before you put fish in the tank to let the bacteria grow while you manually add waste for the bacteria to eat. NitrItes are no good either, so then there is more bacteria that comes along and turns it into nitrAtes. Those are okay in small amounts, and they show you the cycle is working by, but you still don’t want too much of them, or it will make fish sick. No bacteria will take care of nitrAtes so that is why you need to do water changes. I would suggest doing water changes once a week from now on, and then you don’t need to change 50% at a time, just around 25%. Also, the bacteria live inside of your filter and in your gravel, so you aren’t really removing any by doing water changes, you are just removing bad stuff. I definitely do think you have a bloated and constipated fish. I would recommend you take one cooked pea, take the shell off of it, and then feed some of the mush inside to your betta. This will give him more fiber, hopefully enough to help his blockage. You also mentioned that he is about 2 years old, and that is around the average lifespan of a betta fish. It is not unusual for a betta his age to be declining in health. That said, I do hope that my suggestions will help. About the aquarium salt, that will help fish with fin rot, but not really with bloating. I would say to take a break from the salt for now, and focus on treating his bloating and constipation. Then once he gets better you could start up the fin rot treatment again. If you want something to help to calm him down and lower his stress, I would strongly recommend Indian almond leaves. They have aquarium Indian almond leaves on Amazon. I would definitely only use one and put it in the filter, but do still read the instructions on the package just to be safe. It will tint the water, this is okay and will not hurt him, so don’t worry about that. I think that you have a great start pre-soaking his food. That is good so that it doesn’t absorb water and expand in his stomach. Okay I know that was a lot of information, so I will recap my main points. Please read up on the nitrogen cycle, I would argue it is the most important piece to understand about fish tanks. You should try feeding him a cooked shelled mushed pea, it has a lot of fiber to help with the blockage. You can stop on the aquarium salt treatments for now, but you should resume them once he gets healthier. You can use Indian almond leaves for his tank, they will tint the water, that is okay and they will help calm him down. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask, I am sure someone will help you, and I will try to keep tabs here as well. Good luck!
 
Upvote 0

Maddie10124

Hi, I have a few things to say here. First of all, I do not think that is dropsy, fish with dropsy have their fins all pushed out and they look like a pine cone, he does not. That is good, I think he is just very bloated. I also noticed that in your post you mentioned not exactly knowing what cycling is. Please please please read some articles here and on other websites. I think this will turn into a link when I post- aquarium nitrogen cycle - basically a cycle is the process of fish waste and uneaten food decomposing and turning into ammonia which is no good at all, you should always try to keep you ammonia levels at 0.00 and ppm, but yours do not look to bad so I don’t think that is the main problem. After the food turns into ammonia, bacteria comes along and process it turning it into nitrItes. Cycling is basically a period of time before you put fish in the tank to let the bacteria grow while you manually add waste for the bacteria to eat. NitrItes are no good either, so then there is more bacteria that comes along and turns it into nitrAtes. Those are okay in small amounts, and they show you the cycle is working by, but you still don’t want too much of them, or it will make fish sick. No bacteria will take care of nitrAtes so that is why you need to do water changes. I would suggest doing water changes once a week from now on, and then you don’t need to change 50% at a time, just around 25%. Also, the bacteria live inside of your filter and in your gravel, so you aren’t really removing any by doing water changes, you are just removing bad stuff. I definitely do think you have a bloated and constipated fish. I would recommend you take one cooked pea, take the shell off of it, and then feed some of the mush inside to your betta. This will give him more fiber, hopefully enough to help his blockage. You also mentioned that he is about 2 years old, and that is around the average lifespan of a betta fish. It is not unusual for a betta his age to be declining in health. That said, I do hope that my suggestions will help. About the aquarium salt, that will help fish with fin rot, but not really with bloating. I would say to take a break from the salt for now, and focus on treating his bloating and constipation. Then once he gets better you could start up the fin rot treatment again. If you want something to help to calm him down and lower his stress, I would strongly recommend Indian almond leaves. They have aquarium Indian almond leaves on Amazon. I would definitely only use one and put it in the filter, but do still read the instructions on the package just to be safe. It will tint the water, this is okay and will not hurt him, so don’t worry about that. I think that you have a great start pre-soaking his food. That is good so that it doesn’t absorb water and expand in his stomach. Okay I know that was a lot of information, so I will recap my main points. Please read up on the nitrogen cycle, I would argue it is the most important piece to understand about fish tanks. You should try feeding him a cooked shelled mushed pea, it has a lot of fiber to help with the blockage. You can stop on the aquarium salt treatments for now, but you should resume them once he gets healthier. You can use Indian almond leaves for his tank, they will tint the water, that is okay and they will help calm him down. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask, I am sure someone will help you, and I will try to keep tabs here as well. Good luck!
 
Upvote 0

Sofiafish17

Oh yes. Great point Bettamay. You should definitely fast him, other than the peas. I would say to fast him for about 2-3 days and see how he’s doing.
 
Upvote 0

betta06

try to not feed him for a few days it will help with the bloating I would also give him a boiled shelled pea I have heard daphnia is better so if you have any that would be great but boiled pea has always worked for me . he also looked like he has fin rot I would put in some aquarium salt and do 25% water changes daily.

try to get another pic above if you can. if he has dropsy try epson salt bath for 5 to 10 minutes
(my betta has had big eyes since I got him. so if he has always had them I wouldn't worry)

I hope he will be feeling better soon. my betta died of dropsy earlier this year
 
Upvote 0

Maddie10124

Hi, I have a few things to say here. First of all, I do not think that is dropsy, fish with dropsy have their fins all pushed out and they look like a pine cone, he does not. That is good, I think he is just very bloated. I also noticed that in your post you mentioned not exactly knowing what cycling is. Please please please read some articles here and on other websites. I think this will turn into a link when I post- aquarium nitrogen cycle - basically a cycle is the process of fish waste and uneaten food decomposing and turning into ammonia which is no good at all, you should always try to keep you ammonia levels at 0.00 and ppm, but yours do not look to bad so I don’t think that is the main problem. After the food turns into ammonia, bacteria comes along and process it turning it into nitrItes. Cycling is basically a period of time before you put fish in the tank to let the bacteria grow while you manually add waste for the bacteria to eat. NitrItes are no good either, so then there is more bacteria that comes along and turns it into nitrAtes. Those are okay in small amounts, and they show you the cycle is working by, but you still don’t want too much of them, or it will make fish sick. No bacteria will take care of nitrAtes so that is why you need to do water changes. I would suggest doing water changes once a week from now on, and then you don’t need to change 50% at a time, just around 25%. Also, the bacteria live inside of your filter and in your gravel, so you aren’t really removing any by doing water changes, you are just removing bad stuff. I definitely do think you have a bloated and constipated fish. I would recommend you take one cooked pea, take the shell off of it, and then feed some of the mush inside to your betta. This will give him more fiber, hopefully enough to help his blockage. You also mentioned that he is about 2 years old, and that is around the average lifespan of a betta fish. It is not unusual for a betta his age to be declining in health. That said, I do hope that my suggestions will help. About the aquarium salt, that will help fish with fin rot, but not really with bloating. I would say to take a break from the salt for now, and focus on treating his bloating and constipation. Then once he gets better you could start up the fin rot treatment again. If you want something to help to calm him down and lower his stress, I would strongly recommend Indian almond leaves. They have aquarium Indian almond leaves on Amazon. I would definitely only use one and put it in the filter, but do still read the instructions on the package just to be safe. It will tint the water, this is okay and will not hurt him, so don’t worry about that. I think that you have a great start pre-soaking his food. That is good so that it doesn’t absorb water and expand in his stomach. Okay I know that was a lot of information, so I will recap my main points. Please read up on the nitrogen cycle, I would argue it is the most important piece to understand about fish tanks. You should try feeding him a cooked shelled mushed pea, it has a lot of fiber to help with the blockage. You can stop on the aquarium salt treatments for now, but you should resume them once he gets healthier. You can use Indian almond leaves for his tank, they will tint the water, that is okay and they will help calm him down. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask, I am sure someone will help you, and I will try to keep tabs here as well. Good luck!


Thank you so much for your reply!
I am so relieved to hear that you do not think he is suffering from dropsy! Thank you for letting me know that the swelling is most likely from constipation or the sbd, my sister keeps telling me he looks like he has dropsy because that is what killed her betta fish. Yes I have never even heard of the nitrogen cycle until I joined this? Thank you for much for helping to explain it to me! I have been reading about the nitrogen cycle after others told me to that first. Your explanation really helped me understand it better! And thank you for your suggestion on for the water changes, I will do that! I have heard of giving a cooked pea to a constipated betta before in a betta group I'm in on FaceBook but I was unsure if that would do more harm than good. I am glad to hear that you think giving him a pea is safe that makes me feel better. I will definitely try that to get some fiber into his diet since he doesn't seem interested in the blood worms. I will put off his salt treatments for now and focus on relieving his swelling and constipation instead. I really really appreciate all your information and kind words!!! It means a lot to me!! I feel a lot better now I have been worried sick about him thinking it was too late for him but you gave me faith! Thank you! I'll keep you updated
 
Upvote 0

Sofiafish17

I’m glad to help a fellow fish lover! I hope all goes well and he gets better soon.
 
Upvote 0

Fisch

Agree with Sofiafish17, just would like to add if he could have a perch or Betta hammock close to the surface he may rest on that one. It would make it easier for him to get air as he does not have yo work as hard to get to the surface.
I hope he will get better, but he also had a good life span for a Betta.
 
Upvote 0

Maddie10124

try to not feed him for a few days it will help with the bloating I would also give him a boiled shelled pea I have heard daphnia is better so if you have any that would be great but boiled pea has always worked for me . he also looked like he has fin rot I would put in some aquarium salt and do 25% water changes daily.

try to get another pic above if you can. if he has dropsy try epson salt bath for 5 to 10 minutes
(my betta has had big eyes since I got him. so if he has always had them I wouldn't worry)

I hope he will be feeling better soon. my betta died of dropsy earlier this year


Hello! Thank you for your reply. I will fast him and look for daphnia and if I can’t find it I’ll give him the pea. Yes he has had fin rot in the past and it permanently damaged his fins I have been giving him the aquarium salt treatment with no improvement so at the moment I am more worried about the bloating and lethargy. Thank you for all your help! I will do the salt bath if he gets worse but I really hope he doesn’t get dropsy!
Agree with Sofiafish17, just would like to add if he could have a perch or Betta hammock close to the surface he may rest on that one. It would make it easier for him to get air as he does not have yo work as hard to get to the surface.
I hope he will get better, but he also had a good life span for a Betta.

Yes! He has a Betta hammock leaf near the surface that he used to sleep on all the time but he doesn't go up towards the surface anymore sadly. He just lays in different spots on the bottom of his tank Thank you so much!! He is getting old! I just wish I could help him live even longer it's sad to see pets go
 
Upvote 0

Sofiafish17

Hi, how is your betta? Is he doing any better now?
 
Upvote 0

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