one bulging eye!!!!

miawyatt

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I just got home to find that one of my previously vigorous and healthy betta females has one swollen eye. It was shocking to see...a lot of the white is showing. The other eye appears normal...and, she is behaving normally...eating, swimming around, etc. I read about pop-eye, but doesn't that usually affect both eyes? I don't think the water is dirty, but I removed her from her tank and placed her in a small hospital tank with clean water just in case. Is epsom salts the proper treatment for a swollen eye, or should I just wait and see if the swelling goes down on its own. My gut feeling is that she injured it somehow. She lives alone in her 2.5 gallon tank, next door to another female. She is usually very active, so I suppose she could've scraped her eye against the gravel or a small shell at the bottom of her tank. Please help me figure out what to do for her. I don't want her to be in any pain....and I don't want to give her antibiotics unless it's truly necessary. The last time I used a "remedy", my fish died. Thanks, Mia
 

chickadee

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Yes, it can happen in only one eye and I will give you the information I found. Please do not consider this a condemnation or accusation but simply facts that I found. You can assess your situation and see which is the most likely problem for you. It is always a good thing to provide a water change or a new clean environment. Not that the old one was dirty but new clean water is always appropriate when there is a problem for your fish. Pop-eye or Exophthalmia or Exophthalmus is actually usually a symptom rather than an actual disease. Causes include the following: Reactions to Poor Water Quality - this does not necessarily mean dirty water but could be water where the Nitrates especially are high or some of the other parameters are not to the best interest of the fish, Eye Parasites, Bacterial Infections such as Fish TB or Dropsy - in the case of these diseases there would be other symptoms like emaciation, distended body, ulcers and generally very poor condition. Systemic Fungus Infection (Ich), and Nutritional deficiencies, and Metabolic disturbances (anything that disturbs the biochemical process of life of your fish). My sources have stressed that of all these causes the water quality is by far the most common cause of the problem.

They stress keeping the water extremely clean and keeping the water parameters within the best limits will sometimes allow the eye to heal on its own, but it is a slow process taking from several days to even a week or longer to show any improvement. If the water could be the problem you need to test your water as it comes out of the tap without any additives in it and see if perhaps you are one of the poor unfortunate folks that happen to have HIGH nitrates in their water, If the water is fine still do the water changes very frequently and test at least one time a day for Nitrates and Ammonia and Nitrites. If everything is okay and you can find no sign of any of the symptoms of disease (wasting away, loss of apetite, swelling, bloat, scales standing out when looked at from above, ulcers, swimming problems, resting on the bottom of the tank instead of being active and happy) then you need to look into the possibiltiy of the fish's diet not being adequate for her needs. (Vitamin Deficiency) Now I would think this is highly unlikely if you are feeding commercial fish food unless it is flake food or some other kind she is having trouble eating. She needs to be eating a diet rich in protein and fiber. There are supplements she can have but the easiest way to go about fixing a dietary problem is simply to get a food that contains the required vitamins in the first place. Most of the major manufacturers make the food pretty much balanced for them unless you use the fresh or frozen foods then you are on your own as I do not believe they have additives like vitamins.

As far as Medication goes, if you can see an improvement with water changes, it shouldn't be necessary, but if you truly believe that it was caused by an injury, then you need to at least use Melafix to prevent an infection. When you stop to think about what all is in the water, if there is a scratch on her eye, she needs some mild medicine to keep her from developing an infection in the eye and so she doesn't lose the eye due to that infection. I am not saying you have to, just that it would be wise to.

Use your judgement on what part of the above information you feel applies to your situation and use what is appropriate. I do hope she gets along well and the eye heals completely. I hope some of this has been helpful and if there are more problems, please feel free to let us know.

Rose
 
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miawyatt

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Thanks Rose. You have been very thorough as usual. I came to the conclusion that the only difference in her tank conditions and my other female who lives in a separate, adjacent tank might be due to some uneaten food on the bottom. Some sort of condition on the surface caused some of the betta bits to fall when she tried to eat them. I've tried to steer away from that type of food and will only give them food that floats well from now on. If there is uneaten food down in her gravel, can I clean it with one of the suction devices? She seems ok in her hospital for now, but that water will need to be changed soon, right? Will Bettafix work as well as Melafix? I have that on hand. The reason I don't think it's the water from the tap, is that my other female is fine. Would it help to add more StressZyme to her water so the good bacteria could take care of the extra nitrates etc? I have so many questions and I have to go to work...wish I could talk to you directly! Would that be possible? Desperate again, Mia
 

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Mia,

I also have BettaFix from petco and when Inari got fin rot that is what i used to help him out I think BettaFix is just a watered down version of Melafix although it has helped my baby out alot. And reference question, With Melafix or Bettafix should i remove my carbon filter as well? I sure hope not 'cause well then i don't have a filter....thanx

brent
 

chickadee

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The problem with medication and carbon is that carbon is what we use to REMOVE the medication from the water, so yes if you are using any kind of medication and want to keep it in the water long enough to do anything then you must remove the carbon or it is a waste to put the medications in there to start with.

Bettafix was originally created for the "Betta Bowls" as most of the other medications were too strong for that tiny of a container. If your tank is any size at all then it is not feasible unless you use a LOT of it to make up for its lack of strength. Like Inari says it is a watered down version of something akin to Melafix. Read the instructions carefully and add the amount appropriate to the size tank you have but I believe it will cost you a fortune to keep using it as the more concentrated medications while costing more to start with go so much further. And with a medication like Melafix, you really want to keep it on hand for such as fin rot and small ulcers or irritations anyway.

Inari, what is the type and name and brand of your filter. All the filters I know of have a means of removing the carbon from the filter media without losing the whole filter and perhaps you and we can come up with a way for you if you will tell us about your filter.

Rose
 

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I have a whisper powerfilter for a 10 gallon i have it sheilded so Inari can have free reign of the tank and chace the shrimp around are much as he likes its kind of a pass time if the shrimp stops moving for any reason its like Inari loses interest anyway i think it is a tetra brand just because that is the brand of the tank and heater and i got a 10 gallon start up kit idk if a model number will help but here it is 25771 it has a removable filter cartrage i guess u can call it but can i find an instert that doesn't use activated carbon for this filter??? thanx alot

Inari
 

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Does it also have a small piece of foam in the filter? Usually Whisper Filters have a small piece of foam or thin looking sponge (sometimes it is black) and that is the actual home of the bacteria. The rest of the cartridge should be a seperate piece that looks kind of like a bag of material with carbon inside and that is what you change when you do a filter media change. The sponge you leave alone unless the water will not go through it any more and then you just swish it very lightly through USED tank water during a water change. (otherwise you lose your cycle). You should not have to do that but 3 or maybe 4 times a year. If you have the sack with the carbon in it, the sack comes open and you can remove the carbon and replace the sack minus the carbon and just go right on using it or take a new one and remove the carbon and just put it in and discard the old one. Myself since I do not use premade filter cartridges to save money and mine do not contain carbon unless I put a small bag of carbon in the area with the other media. Here is what I use and just cut it the same size as the filter cartridge from the filter I am using and that way the cut-to-fit can be used with any filter and is MUCH cheaper. I use them all the time. A big pad gives me about 25 filter pads for about $6. I can change them as often as I need to then without feeling like I am dumping money down the drain.



I get the 312 square inch size not the smaller one.

Let me know if the filter information is helpful of if I have my wires crossed.

We will get this figured out.

Rose
 

inari

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what ur betta has bulging eyes too o_O i'm jm alot of the advise rose is giving me can help u as well especially if it is an bacteria problem and not just a scratch on the eye either way u'll probly want Melafix i believe it is for anything bigger than a bowl..sorry we didn't forget about u dont' worry
 
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miawyatt

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well, i've got her in a small "hospital" container, so it shouldn't take that much bettafix to treat her in there, but i see your point
 

chickadee

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No I did not forget your little Betta with the eye problem, but since we were on the topic of medications and how not to have them taken out of the tank before they do their job, I thought I would take care of the answer right then. Thank you for quite properly keeping me on the subject. It will be okay to use the Bettafix, it will just take a lot more of it. When you run out of it, you will probably be money ahead not to buy more Bettafix but Melafix instead.

Please let me know how your little one is doing and if the eye looks better. Are you changing the water daily or at least doing water tests on her water every day? I am not trying to accuse you of not doing these things just asking if you are. The eye is one of the most tender of places and has no slime coat or scales to protect it from infection so I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping the water as clean and Nitrate free as possible.

Thanks

Rose
 
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miawyatt

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Well, the eye seems to be a little bit better tonite...I can't see any white around it like I did yesterday. I changed the water in her hospital tank tonite, and she still seems active and hungry. I haven't tested the water in her regular tank. I did change about 1/3 of the water right after I took her out. I was waiting to see what you advised as far as preparing the tank for her return...with regards to cleaning the gravel....adding StressZyme bacteria...or a complete water change. I am continuing to run the filter in her absence. I will confess that the idea of a complete water change scares me, since I've had terrible results after them in the past. Also, I'm not sure what I would achieve by testing for nitrates. Wouldn't the partial water change and addition of beneficial bacteria take care of it if that was the problem? I'm going to keep her where she is until the swelling goes down or I get more advice. Thanks for continuing to follow her case.
 

chickadee

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No a full water change can cause problems not cure them, and the StressZyme is not a product that is much use to you either. It does not contain anything that is going to help you especially now that your aquarium is cycled. Just do a 30% water change or so (never more than 50% unless there is a harmful agent in your water) and leave her in the hospital tank until the water comes up to temperature. If you can I would dose her on the medication for a week as the eye problems have been known to last that long. If you would rather leave her in the hospital tank until she is finished with the medication it will take less medication as the volume of the water is less. The only thing is that you will need to put a small amount of fish food in the tank (her regular one) every day to keep the cycle fed. (unless there are other fish in the tank)

I hope I am not confusing you. If you have questions, please feel free to ask. I will check again in the morning.

Rose
 
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miawyatt

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Hi Rose. Well, the patient appears to be doing much better...it's hard to see well because of the lighting and her coloring, but it looks like her eye size has gone back to normal. I was going to put her back in her regular tank tonight, but if you think I should wait a few more days, I will. I haven't been putting food in her tank, but I can start to do so today. Is the purpose of that to feed the bacteria that are controlling the nitrate levels? I was thinking that excess food on the bottom might've been the problem if the diagnosis really did turn out to be popeye, so I am a little confused. I am pretty sure that she must've sustained an injury to the eye. How much food should I sprinkle into the 2.5 gallon tank? Thanks for all your help. Mia
 

chickadee

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If she is just in a 2.5 gallon tank then I would check the water for Nitrates just to be sure they are in low levels (under 10.0) and then if they are okay she can return. If the Nitrates are over 10.0 then I would do a 30% water change again and when the temperature gets up to the level that she is used to then return her to the tank. Just be sure to watch the Nitrate levels really close since she has been out of there for a few days and you may have a mini-cycle and we do not want a relapse. If the Nitrate levels do go up a bit, do try just controlling them with water changes, I would not add any StressZyme or anything since her little eye may still be sensitive.

Please let me know if she or you need anything. I am so pleased that she seems to be doing better. Also, could we have her name? I do so like to know the names of the little ones I am speaking of.

Rose
 
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miawyatt

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Her name is Morpho (for the big blue butterfly) of Costa Rica. I don't have anything to test the water with...I decided early on to just make an effort to keep the water clean. I guess the whole nitrogen cycle confuses me. That's why I wanted to talk to you directly. Is the danger of putting her back in the tank too soon from too much nitrates or not enough bacteria or too much harmful bacteria???? I'm overwhelmed.
 

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The thing with cycling with your tank is that you want nitrafying bacteria to 'eat' ur Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates so to answer you question yes it can be very harmful to but your baby back into water with high nitrates....however there are products on the market, Bio-Spira, that will cycle your tank for you and get rid of all those nasty compounds and ions that I mentioned. If you can't get your hands on them then you'll just have to get a small testing kit (I have a large one 700 tests 21.99 usd i'm sure there are smaller, cheaper ones too!) to test for all of these things hope that helps

brent
 
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miawyatt

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I just wanted you all to know that Morpho is back in her tank and doing well....no sign of damage to the previously swollen eye....she has no problem seeing her food! Thanks for all your help. Mia
 
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