Betta severe buoyancy issues

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
Hello all,

I have a ~6 month old Betta that is having some severe buoyancy issues and is giving us some cause for concern. Symptoms began about 2 days ago when I found her lying at the bottom of the tank at a slight tilt. When I got close to the tank she did respond and swim around but quickly settled at the bottom of the tank again. Beginning yesterday I started her on Tetrafish all-in-one regiment (tried to get General Cure but the store was all out) and have restricted feeding aside from one attempt at a cooked pea which she did nibble at but was unable to pursue. I have put additional details below. Thanks in advance, any help including recommendations for additional medications is very welcome.

Symptoms: Lethargy, buoyancy issues (sinking), slight swelling on the posterior part of the body where the swim bladder is located, maybe some slight pine-coning at the posterior but it is mild. May have general bloating but hard to tell.

Appetite: She did eat when I first found her in her sinking state but haven't tested since except for cooked peas, which she did not eat completely but I think that was more a consequence of the swimming issues.

Behavior: Is very lethargic, moves only every half hour or so and it is a quick swim bout followed by rest. Settles either at the bottom of the tank or on a plant leaf near the top of the tank (this allows her to easily get surface oxygen, I believe). When settled she is often at a slight tilt and may have some curvature in her posture. She is able to swim with enough efficiency and accuracy to get onto the leaves.

Conditions: Water at 80-82 degs F. Nitrate levels and pH are good (although this was checked after the 50% water change). 12h light schedule.

Treatment: No food for three days (two days in). One day in of treatment with Tetra all-in-one (1-Chloro-2,2,5,5- tetramethyl-4 - imidazolidinone). Will attempt more cooked pea feeds in a day or two.

Is there any way to tell if this is just constipation or something more serious that requires medications? Should I try and get my hand on General Cure or something stronger or just wait it out? Thanks in advance!
 

jkkgron2

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
1,865
Experience
3 years
I’m so sorry this is happening to your betta! I’ve been lucky enough to not have many sick fish so I can’t help too much but I can tell you that general cure is for parasites and will only cause more stress to your betta. Although I did have a betta that had the same issue as yours, just more severe. When this first happened to him he looked like he wasn’t going to make it through the night. He was barely breathing, wasn’t moving, and refused to eat or respond to me. I couldn’t bring myself to euthanize him so I decided to let nature take its course and leave him to rest.

Well... I woke up the next day and he was still alive and gave a slight response (tilted his head) to me when I walked near him. I was amazed he had the strength to even lift his head! At that time I wasn’t able to get meds so I just kept the water clean and tried to feed him once every 2-3 days

I don’t know what I did or how he didn’t starve but over the next 3 weeks he made a slow recovery with me just continuing what I was doing. After about a week he was able to swim in short bursts and ate a few times.

Those short bursts became more and more frequent to the point where he was able to swim up and return to begging for food like he used to :).

He’s still alive to this day but he does still have slight after affects where it can make it slightly More difficult For him to swim but overall he made a great recovery :). Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, I just wanted to share my experience with Betta buoyancy issues.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
Thanks so much jkkgron2 ! That makes me hopeful that she might just pull through. Also, very good to know that sometimes the best intervention is no intervention at all, I think too much effort can end up just stressing her out. I'll do 10% water changes every other day and attempt some light feedings every 3 and hope for the best!
 

Merlin420

New Member
Member
Messages
21
Reaction score
9
dont ever give him a salt bath more than 5 sec, there is some bad information on this site in regards to that
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
Thanks Merlin! That is good to know, I might try and pick up some epsom and try that out.

Also, an update: I went to check on her and she was floating at the top with a bit of a tilt between the glass and a plant leaf. To be honest I thought she had passed because she wasn't moving or responding to my finger passing over the glass. Upon opening the lid to check on her though she swam around and ended up settling in the upper back corner draped over a plant. Maybe a sign of improvement?
 

julifhy

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,240
Reaction score
1,525
Location
Bay Area
Experience
Just started
Feed her daphnia instead of peas. Bettas can't properly digest peas and daphnia is sort of a natural laxative for bettas. What do you normally feed her and how much? Also, do you have a picture of her?

Merlin420 said:
dont ever give him a salt bath more than 5 sec, there is some bad information on this site in regards to that
I don't think a 5 second salt bath would help in any way. I think you mean 5 minutes?
 

NBettas83

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
1,712
Location
Colorado, US
Experience
1 year
Merlin420 said:
dont ever give him a salt bath more than 5 sec, there is some bad information on this site in regards to that
Yeah, I agree with julifhy, 5 seconds won't do anything. My Betta has been in salt baths for 30 minutes and has been fine. What leads you to believe this?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
Here are some images, since she is floating I can now get a better look at her and can now see i) a white stringy object coming from what I think is her anus and ii) some scale loss on the posterior part of her body.
 

Attachments

julifhy

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,240
Reaction score
1,525
Location
Bay Area
Experience
Just started
pfish1234 said:
Here are some images, since she is floating I can now get a better look at her and can now see i) a white stringy object coming from what I think is her anus and ii) some scale loss on the posterior part of her body.
What do you normally feed her and how much?
The white spot could be an egg spot. She also seems to have clamped fins in the first picture.
It would help if you filled this out: Fish Emergency Template | 376562 | Freshwater Fish Disease and Fish Health
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
NBettas83 said:
I think they mean the spot in IMG_6342.JPG.
The scale loss is an egg patch?

I'll fill out the emergency card now
 

NBettas83

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
1,712
Location
Colorado, US
Experience
1 year
pfish1234 said:
The scale loss is an egg patch?

I'll fill out the emergency card now
No, julifhy meant the spot between the ventral fins. The other spot looks like a tumor, sore or lesion. I've never seen one in real life though. So I'm gonna leave this to the more experienced Betta keepers.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 3gal
How long has the tank been running? 6 months
Does it have a filter? yes (no charcoal)
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? range 80-82F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? 1 female Betta

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 50% change every 3 weeks (now 10% every two days)
How much of the water do you change? see above
What do you use to treat your water? dechlorinator and temp match
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? try to vacuum but not sure how much I get

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? API 5in1 test strips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: NA
Nitrite: 0.5
Nitrate: 10
pH: 7.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? every other day
How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 flakes
What brand of food do you feed your fish? OMEGA 1 betta buffet, occasionally Omega 1 dried bloodworms
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 5 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? May 26
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Buoyancy issues, bloating, lethargy
Have you started any treatment for the illness? yes daily regiment of Tetra all-in-one
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Lethargic but ok
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?

Explain your emergency situation in detail. See original post
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
NBettas83 said:
No, julifhy meant the spot between the ventral fins. The other spot looks like a tumor, sore or lesion. I've never seen one in real life though. So I'm gonna leave this to the more experienced Betta keepers.
Ahh ok that makes more sense, yeah it doesn't look good
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2

julifhy

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,240
Reaction score
1,525
Location
Bay Area
Experience
Just started
pfish1234 said:
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 3gal
How long has the tank been running? 6 months
Does it have a filter? yes (no charcoal)
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? range 80-82F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? 1 female Betta

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 50% change every 3 weeks (now 10% every two days)
How much of the water do you change? see above
What do you use to treat your water? dechlorinator and temp match
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? try to vacuum but not sure how much I get

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? API 5in1 test strips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: NA
Nitrite: 0.5
Nitrate: 10
pH: 7.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? every other day
How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 flakes
What brand of food do you feed your fish? OMEGA 1 betta buffet, occasionally Omega 1 dried bloodworms
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 5 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? May 26
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Buoyancy issues, bloating, lethargy
Have you started any treatment for the illness? yes daily regiment of Tetra all-in-one
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Lethargic but ok
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?

Explain your emergency situation in detail. See original post
>> Your nitrites should should be 0 ppm! I would also get an ammonia test asap (don'y get the test strip one though). Also get seachem prime. I've never delt with a nitrite spike, but I think you should do 50% water changes until it drops. <<
I would also suggest feeding pellets instead of flakes and make sure to soak the pellets in tank water before feeding it to her.
Why did you use tetra all in one? Is there anything else you were treating for?
In the second picture it does look like she has a tumor. You can't really do much about it though. Sometime the tumor can come off easily and heal (I'll attach a video of the example, but I wouldn't suggest removing it). You should just leave the tumor. If it isn't bothering her in any way or causing her any discomfort, she should be completely fine. If does start getting to a point where it is affecting her, I would go to a professional like a veterinarian to get it possibly removed (sometimes removing a tumor would be too stressful and have a low chance of recovery and euthanasia would be a better option, but hopefully you won't have to do that though).
I would also suggest feeding daphnia, like I've mentioned and if you can a bigger tank (10 gallon) would really benefit her!
 

Deku-Cory

Well Known
Member
Messages
853
Reaction score
1,054
Location
Northeast Ohio
Experience
More than 10 years
Merlin420 said:
dont ever give him a salt bath more than 5 sec, there is some bad information on this site in regards to that
Care to elaborate? That's quite the statement to make without saying anything to back it up.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
OP
P

pfish1234

New Member
Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
julifhy said:
>> Your nitrites should should be 0 ppm! I would also get an ammonia test asap (don'y get the test strip one though). Also get seachem prime. I've never delt with a nitrite spike, but I think you should do 50% water changes until it drops. <<
I would also suggest feeding pellets instead of flakes and make sure to soak the pellets in tank water before feeding it to her.
Why did you use tetra all in one? Is there anything else you were treating for?
In the second picture it does look like she has a tumor. You can't really do much about it though. Sometime the tumor can come off easily and heal (I'll attach a video of the example, but I wouldn't suggest removing it). You should just leave the tumor. If it isn't bothering her in any way or causing her any discomfort, she should be completely fine. If does start getting to a point where it is affecting her, I would go to a professional like a veterinarian to get it possibly removed (sometimes removing a tumor would be too stressful and have a low chance of recovery and euthanasia would be a better option, but hopefully you won't have to do that though).
I would also suggest feeding daphnia, like I've mentioned and if you can a bigger tank (10 gallon) would really benefit her!
I picked up some SeaChem prime yesterday and will put some in today to deal with the nitrates levels. I will also pick up an Ammonia test kit ASAP!

I'll pick up pellets as well

I used all-in-one as a last ditch after the recommendation of a **** Petsmart employee (only store available to me). Do you think I should stop it? The cancerous looking patch on her posterior only started showing up after treatment. Although it could be from an abrasion as she has been more mobile.

I think I'll wait for any tumor intervention, although if it is a tumor I do believe that is what is causing the buoyancy issues as they appeared at the same time

Thanks for the detailed response. I'll update as things come in!
 

New Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
88
Guests online
2,098
Total visitors
2,186

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom