I don't understand what disease this is

laduejen2012

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I have a Siamese Fighting Beta and lately is has been acting sick, but I can't figure out exactly what disease it has.    I'm thinking swim bladder disorder, but I'm not sure. The symptoms:
 
          - It's been lurking in corners, not swimming around
          - It's lying on it's side on the aquarium bed, doesn't move much
          - It constantly holds its mouth open   ???
 
          - It does not seem to have anything wrong with it's fins, scales, etc. There
            are no visible discolorations, fungus, or anything else. The only thing that
            MIGHT be wrong with the fins is they're not completely spread out/open.
 
           I take good care of my aquarium, or at least I think I do. It's about 10 gallons, and houses 7 fish: the betta, a guppy, 4 white clouds, and small glass catfish. The tank has a filter (carbon and salt), airator, heater (72ºF), and a fluorescent light. It's filled with distilled water. We clean the tank about once every 2-3 weeks. I feed them once a day every day, about 2-3 grinded pinches of tropical flakes. 
 
           Any help would be appreciated as to what disease my betta has and what I might be doing wrong to cause it! Ask questions if you need to. Thanks!   ;D
 

nmwierman1977

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There are a few reason's why he could be acting this way.

       1. The water temp is WAY too cold. Betta's are warm water fish and need to be in 78-82 degree water. Preferrably 80 degrees.

       2. There should not be any salt in this water. Unless you have a saltwater fish you should never put salt in the aquarium unless they have a severe fungus and even then it should be done in a hospital tank. Salt is not good for Betta because they are fresh water fish. It could do more harm then help.

       3 As far as distilled water goes I don't know if that is such a great idea to use either. You should either be using tap water or if you have to use bottled it should be spring water, not distilled.

        4. The kind of food you are feeding is fine for the other fish, but certainly not for the Betta. Betta's are carnivores. Even though they can eat the flakes as long as they are finely grinded so they can fit it into their tiny mouth's, they also need protein too to stay healthy. You should feed him foods like freeze-dried bloodworms or baby brine shrimp.


        5. Do you test your water parameters weekly? If so have you tested themsince you've discovered him like this?  How long have you had him for? In case you don't know what I mean by water parameters it's ammonia, nitrates and nitrites that you need to test for. Whenever you discover that your fish are sickly you need to test those very first thing to rule that out.

  He very well could have swim bladder or be consitpated by the symptoms that you have given. Both of these conditions are serious and need to be tended too. They are both cold water related, so you need to increase you water temp by a degree an hour to 82 degrees to slowly acclimate him to it. Do you have the kind of heater that you can control and set it to a specific temp or do you just have the up and down switch? Do you have a hosp. tank? If so it might be a good idea to transfer him in there so he he can recover and not have to worry about the other fish bothering him. Try feeding him a green pea.If he doesn't eat then you might want to fast for a day or 2 and then try feeding him one again.

The instructions for feeding him green pea can be found here under constipation.



   Another thing that might be usefull to know is that Guppy's and Betta's are not a good mix together. Guppy's are considered fin nippers at times, but not only that but they have long pretty fins and the Betta may confuse it as another Betta and may try to kill it. Just FYI.

Well I hope that this has helped. Please do the things that I have listed to do as they are the most important do first and if non of that works then we will go from there. The increase in temp is very important though as that could be main cause for him to be acting this way. Natalie 
 

Isabella

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I'd definitely increase the temperature to at least 76F. I don't know much about Bettas but I think Nmwierman is right: have it at 78F or so. He is also right about the salt. You don't add salt to a freshwater tank (unless you have sick fish, and even so, not all freshwater fish will tolerate salt treatment). As for your water changes, every 2 - 3 weeks seems not enough. I'd recommend weekly water changes of at least 10%, but 25% or 30% would be better (i.e. 3 gallons a week in your case).
 
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laduejen2012

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Wow...thank you so much!

- I'm really glad someone told me about the temparature...I'll raise it to 82!

- In fact, we don't add salt usually, but we did when we saw the Betta was sick...guess that wasn't such a good idea!

- This is the first time we've used distilled water...we usually use spring...maybe that's what caused the sickness.

- Yes, we used to feed our Betta tiny dried worms (ew!) but once we got more fish we thought flakes would be more universal. We'll feed them both now, though.

- We test the water parameters every so often...we have the kit and everything. I'll go test them right away.

- We've had the guppy for about a year and they seemed to get along fine. Sadly, it died between this and my last post. It was really very puzzling, it as fine the whole day, then in the course of about a half-hour after we released the fish again into the tank we had just cleaned it swam rapidly and upside down. I immediately thought of swim bladder disorder, and from my readings it is not a particullary fatal disease, the fish usually recovers with proper care.........but 10 minutes later it was dead.

Truly, thanks for the suggestions! I'll let you know how they work out!

Just did the tests; the results:

pH: a solid 7.0! ;D
Ammonia: around 0.25
Nitrates: 0-3 ppm

I guess this is good news, but we cleaned the tank after our little Betta got sick, so I'll never know the paramaters that made him sick. sorry.

We're going to try the frozen pea thing.

Oh and one more factor, though I doubt it's very important: We've had him for about 3 years (in our third), though I don't know how old he was when we got him. He WAS fully grown.

Sorry I did the photos over and lost the message so hope the photos show up.

Rose
 

Terry

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I don't know a lot about bettas, but I did a quick search and found a site that said that their life span is about 2 years. If it's not a problem with disease or water quality, it might be that the betta is suffering from old age? Someone else may know from experience what can really be expected as a lifespan for these fish.
 

nmwierman1977

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If taken very well cared of they could actually live up 5 yrs or more. It all depends on how well they are cared for. He looks to me like he is bloated, so he probably is constipated. Try feeding him the pea. Ifr he refuses to eat, which he probably will if he has never had a pea treat before, you need to fast him for a day or 2 and then he will eat it because he will be hungry. After that he will love them and you can give them to give 2 or 3 times a week as treats only. Not as a meal. They are only meant to be a meal when they are constipated and it's pretty much the first time you are giving it to them usually. Natalie
 
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laduejen2012

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Oh. I remember reading that with good care, a Betta can live up to 10 years!
 
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laduejen2012

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I just tried feeding him the pea, but the better part of it was eaten by his tankmates. In fact, I don't think he got any. I'm thinking the only way to feed him is to isolate him in a separate tank, but I'm not sure, going through that trouble just to give him a pea. I'll try dropping the tiny chunks in his corner, so the other fish don't see it.
 

lolagurl

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I can see the reflection on the glass of him and his body turning sidewyas on the first picture. this might sound ubsrd but he looks really skinny, lol. My brothers betta might just be fat but if I look at his body head on it doesn't look so thin. I think it might be what the previous poster said hes not eating the flakes, and there's no other choice so he eats nothing. :-\
 

Eskielvr

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The longest I've kept a Betta was 5 to 6 years, I don't know how old he was when I got him. He died after a water change. And yes, he was kept in a 1 gallon bowl. *gasp!* All the other Bettas I had I kept in my 20 gallon and none of them ever lived that long.
 
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laduejen2012

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After I gave him the pea he seemed much better for a while, but now he's practicaly back to the way he was. We're going to start feeding him bloodworms today again??? Should I try giving him the bvloodworms and the pea?

I just noticed a behavior that might be significant. When we turn on the light or feed or w/e like any commotion, he tries to swim up but before he reaches the surface he sinks down. He does that a couple time before giving up. I think his body is pulling him down? Or more specifically, maybe his stomach? Then I should fast him? help!
 

nmwierman1977

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OK. I really think you need to isolate him from the other fish. Did you say you have another tank for a hosp. tank? If you do please put him in there and if it's not at the temp already gradually increase it to 82 degrees. Does he look like he is losing any color at all? I wouldn't feed any bloodworms. Try Feeding him another pea and see if he eats it. Natalie
 

lolagurl

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my fish acted like that about three years ago because there was high nitrates...
 
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laduejen2012

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I haven't changed the water since I last tested it, and yes we do have a hospital tank. WE'll isolate him, then. Good thing I didn't feed him any more bloodworms till I got your response. We dropped him another pea, I think he ate it, or at least some of it.
 

nmwierman1977

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Have you looked at the disease chart yet? That may help you determine what is wrong? What kind of Tests do you use when you test the water? Is it the strips or the liquid? If it's the strips, they are useless. You should get the liquid kind. They are much more accurate. I was just looking at the disease chart. I'm beginning to wonder if he has Dropsy. It's pretty much the same signs that he is showing. How long has he been acting this way? I can't remember if you ever mentioned that. Take A look at the disease chart. Here is the link.




Most of the diseases are in this chart. Swimbladder, constipation, and dropsy are the 3 ones he could possibly have. Do you have any Maracyn 2 on hand? If he does have Dropsy you will ned to get that for treatment. Which may not be a bad idea anyway. Natalie
 

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