First Time Betta Owner Trying To Heal My Betta

Teb

Member
HI I just joined this forum after reading a few posts to try and help my betta. I have a 5 gallon tank with a filter and water heater. My betta is a very active swimmer and all of a sudden we found her at the bottom of the tank looking a little bloated. When she swam she was nose down tail up and about 25 degrees and her body in a slight s shape. To try and fix this we first ran tests strips of the water. The only abnormality was the ammonia level is at .5. I have changed 40 percent of the water 4 times and each time applied the appropriate amount of stress coat to the tank. Today I went out and got Epsom salt and gave Lilly a salt bath for 8 minutes not sure if it should be longer. Wondering how to lower the ammonia level as it has stayed at .5 even after water changes and also if I should try something different with the Epsom salt bath.
 

endlercollector

Member
You can try feeding her a defrosted frozen peas chopped up. That can help with swim bladder issues if it has to do with constipation.
 
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Teb

Member
I am assuming room temperature and chopped in quarters? I forgot to mention I did buy peas. Does it matter that they are labeled as sweet peas?
 

SFGiantsGuy

Member
I always have kinda smushed 'em up with a bit of garlic concentrate as well. Prime works best for water conditioning as well as a liquid test kit sir. I strongly, veyr highly recommend those products as your go-to imperative fundamental tools at your disposal, as paper test kits are vaguely accurate and can be very inconsistent compared to liquid test kits. And is your tank cycled at all?
 
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Teb

Member
I have changed 20 percent of the water the past two days and I am about to change 20 percent more of the water now. Is this what you mean by cycling?
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
I have changed 20 percent of the water the past two days and I am about to change 20 percent more of the water now. Is this what you mean by cycling?
Nitrogen Cycle is what they are talking about, it is the process of having good levels of bacteria grown so the ammonia, nitritelevels are zero. Nitrate needs to be kept below 40, ammonia and nitrite can kill fish, the bacteria grows for ammonia first (so it's level will drop), then the bacteria for nitrite will grow (nitrite levels will drop, nitrate should rise), you levels should read 0 ammo, 0 nitri, and some nitrates for a cycled tank.
Keep doing daily water changes, I would pick up a product called Prime and use it in place of stress coat as it helps protect your fish from ammo/nitrite for 24hrs.
 

Algonquin

Member
Also be sure to test your tap water for ammonia. It's always a good idea to know what your source water contains.
 
  • Thread Starter

Teb

Member
Thank you for all the help! I did buy a bottle of stress and each time I do a 20-30% water change, I put 2.5ml of the stress coat in. My biggest question now is if doing an 8 minute Epsom salt bath everyday is okay until Lilly is healthy? I use 1 gallon of water and 1tbsp of Epsom salt mixed together. I tried feeding her peas but she doesn't even go near them. She's being fasted as well. Good news is after just the one Epsom bath she is swimming a little more normally and is going from the top of the tank to the bottom of the tank more frequently. She also started using her resting leaf more that's near the top of the tank.
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
Thank you for all the help! I did buy a bottle of stress and each time I do a 20-30% water change, I put 2.5ml of the stress coat in. My biggest question now is if doing an 8 minute Epsom salt bath everyday is okay until Lilly is healthy? I use 1 gallon of water and 1tbsp of Epsom salt mixed together. I tried feeding her peas but she doesn't even go near them. She's being fasted as well. Good news is after just the one Epsom bath she is swimming a little more normally and is going from the top of the tank to the bottom of the tank more frequently. She also started using her resting leaf more that's near the top of the tank.
It sounds like swim bladder issues, meaning you will have to control her food very much, the Epsom baths will not hurt but I would not continue them beyond 3 days in a row since she does not have more serious issues that require the salt (baths can go up to 30 minutes, normally 15 is the lower end for time unless the fish is stressing). I would fast for the same amount and see how she looks in a couple days, if she has her balance back then feed sparingly to prevent it from occurring again. 3-4 times a week once a day is likely the best route to go, I have a dt make that has severe issues with swim bladder so he gets fed 2-3 times a week once a day because it is so bad (more and he floats on his side for a couple days until the fasting works).
 
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Teb

Member
Thank you so much! My girlfriend bought her and we fell in love with her because of how active she is and how she swims up to meet us after work and every morning. I guess we overfed her with flakes. Is there another food option or options we should try to avoid this? We currently feed her a flake medley because she refused to eat pellets. We read that blood worms should be a treat only and not an everyday food.
 

Mcasella

Member
Flakes are fine just restrict how much you give her. Mine eat flake food just fine with the occasional treat of frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, or other small snack.
 
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Teb

Member
One more question I promise haha. Would it be okay to get a snail or two that roam the bottom of the gravel and feed on the bottom? Or do they require their own food as well?
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
One more question I promise haha. Would it be okay to get a snail or two that roam the bottom of the gravel and feed on the bottom? Or do they require their own food as well?
Pest snails would be okay for this but others need more food than that (a nerite generally only eats algae, a mystery will eat everything, so veggies and shrimp pellets are helpful to keep their shell in good shape, however most mystery snails poop as much as they eat so they aren't any cleaner than you just suctioning the old food out).
 

BobNJerry

Member
I don't know if this has been mentioned but keep in mind that a bettas stomach is about the size of it's eye - so it needs very little food and they don't need to eat every day.

I have one betta that doesn't bother with his snail.. I have another betta and it bit both antenas off his snail- so its a gamble .. have a back up plan in case your betta doesn't like it's snail.
 
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Teb

Member
Noted. Because I was close to buying snails but I don't think I will now. What's the best way to suction out the old food on the bottom with all the gravel that's down there? How often should the gravel be changed?
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
Noted. Because I was close to buying snails but I don't think I will now. What's the best way to suction out the old food on the bottom with all the gravel that's down there? How often should the gravel be changed?
A small air line or a turkey baster, I wouldn't change the gravel but I would gravel vacuum it if you can (every other weekly water change stir up the gravel and suck the gunk out).
 
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Teb

Member
Got it! Thanks to everyone for the solid advice. I feel better about Lilly getting better and being healthy going forward
 

BobNJerry

Member
Teb said:
One more question I promise haha. Would it be okay to get a snail or two that roam the bottom of the gravel and feed on the bottom? Or do they require their own food as well?
ask away - this is your thread! LOL
 
  • Thread Starter

Teb

Member
Could use some more help. My fish is still slightly bloated and not swimming as actively as before. Is there any type of medicine that would help my betta heal as well? I'm going to give her a second salt bath because after the first one she was swimming better. Also, she will NOT go near the crushed up peas and stays near the top or bottom and does not move at all. I've fasted her except for one pea two days ago and one pea last night.
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
Could use some more help. My fish is still slightly bloated and not swimming as actively as before. Is there any type of medicine that would help my betta heal as well? I'm going to give her a second salt bath because after the first one she was swimming better. Also, she will NOT go near the crushed up peas and stays near the top or bottom and does not move at all. I've fasted her except for one pea two days ago and one pea last night.
Can you get a picture of her? Some fish will not eat peas, it is okay.
 
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Teb

Member
When I get home from work I cal definitely do that. I can sometimes be impatient and expect fast results for some things. While her bloating has gone down, it still isn't gone and it affects her spine shape when swimming. Resting, her spine is straight, but when she swims her spine curves.
 
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Teb

Member
 

Mcasella

Member
I believe there is an underlying spinal issue, one that likely won't be fixable. However she is still bloated (I would continue to fast her until this goes down).
 
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Teb

Member
I can say that the spinal issue only started after the bloating and is only noticeable when she swims. It then eases away after her resting. Would any meds or antibiotics work for her?
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
I can say that the spinal issue only started after the bloating and is only noticeable when she swims. It then eases away after her resting. Would any meds or antibiotics work for her?
Without knowing what underling cause is causing the issue (a bloated fish should not have any spinal issues from the bloat) it is unsafe and unwise to just throw meds at her (considering it seems linked to her bloat and something physical with her rather than a disease). At this point it is best to see if you can fast her down to a normal size then focus on keeping her diet super controlled to prevent her from becoming bloated again.
 
  • Thread Starter

Teb

Member
I've been fasting since the beginning of this thread. How long is too long to fast without any food? Also I didn't have time today but tomorrow I will be giving her a second salt bath. It seemed to lift her energy levels after her first one and seemed more personable
 

Mcasella

Member
Teb said:
I've been fasting since the beginning of this thread. How long is too long to fast without any food? Also I didn't have time today but tomorrow I will be giving her a second salt bath. It seemed to lift her energy levels after her first one and seemed more personable
Since she is bloated it is not safe to feed her because it can worsen the symptoms, fish can go for quite a while without eating and survive off their own weight for at least a week, I have fasted a betta for almost a week before without harm coming to him, he was just pouty because he wasn't being fed like normal.
 

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