Please Help My Sick Betta

  1. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member


    I'm new to owning fish and just recently bought my first betta fish. His name is Stonebridge. He was doing very great for the first week or so that I owned him then suddenly, he's not doing well.
    Before purchasing him, I cycled by 9 gallon planted tank for about 2 months (long time I know).
    My water parameters are all good and my temp is about 80 degrees.
    He used to be very active and spread his fins, but now he's sitting near the bottom of the tank and has clamped fins.
    I'm worried he may be constipated, since I've never noticed him pooping. My tank substrate is dark though.
    The area where his swim bladder would be located looks a little bit swollen, but his stomach does not to me.
    I've been feeding him once per day, mostly a small amount of frozen food (i.e. bloodworms or brine shrimp) once per day or pellets (about 4 per feed) but the pellets were rare since he didn't seem to like them. One day I tried feeding the pellets and he ate them right up. I'm worried that perhaps the pellets caused the problem. I didn't expect him to eat them right away I didn't soak them.(normally he lets them sink and eats them later)
    The next day after this, I noticed some swelling and lethargy.
    I haven't fed him anything since I noticed the symptoms about 3 days ago.
    I did some research and bought some epsom salt and frozen peas, but I'd like some opinions before I go ahead and start to treat him.
    I'd really appreciate any help that anyone can offer. I'm very worried about him, and I just wanted to give him the best life I could. I really hope I can do something to help him feel better.

    Stonebridge when he seemed healthy (and my snail trying to escape)

    How he looks currently. :(

  2. david1978 Fishlore VIP Member

    Are you sure about your water conditions? That seems like a lot of fin deterioration for such a short time. Could also be why the snail doesn't like the water.
  3. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    I tested the water yesterday and everything was good, ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm and nitrate was 0ppm as well. I have the API freshwater master test kit.

    I just quickly retested the water to be 100% sure everything is okay. These are my results. IMG_6431.JPG
  4. fishferfun Member Member

    Hmmmm, looks to me like possibly your tank didn’t cycle. What did you use as your ammonia source when you cycled?
  5. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    I'm not sure what you mean as far as ammonia source. When I first started the tank I used the SafeStart plus bacteria from Tetra. Is that what you mean?
  6. fishferfun Member Member

    My gut wants to say your ammonia reading might be just starting to turn green, which could be because you added the beta, which his poop would start the cycling process if it wasn’t cycled yet.

    As far as his immediate care, I’d start with a water change and get a product called Prime if you don’t have any yet. It will keep him safe from ammonia and nitrite toxicity since it appears you might have to do a fish in cycle.

    Have you heard about feeding them a pea? Should help with constipation:) Just shell a simple frozen pea and zap it in some water in the microwave and give him a bit of it. I’d also fast him for a couple days before.
  7. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    I changed the water just 2 days ago and I used added Prime to the new water before adding it. Should I change it again? If so, how much would to recommend? (percentage wise)
    Yes I did hear about the pea, I'm willing to try it if it can help him!
    Thank you so much!
  8. fishferfun Member Member

    Ok, yeah, you have to feed that bacteria something to break down and carry your nitrogen cycle. If you have fish, that would be their poo;). If you are cycling without people use fish food, shrimp or ammonia to get the job done.

    So, if I were you, I’d start with a water change. Then, I would follow through with cycling your tank with your Tetra Safe Start, but I’ve perosnally never used that (I’ve used Seachem Stability). I know @Goldiemom has used it before.

    Oh, whoops, just saw your reply. You’re probably good to go on a water change;)
  9. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    Do you recommend I try to add bacteria to the tank again? the last time I added it was months ago... I thought the tank had cycled properly, but I guess not! I'm just a beginner :( My poor fishy
  10. fishferfun Member Member

    On second thought, i wouldn’t try to put him through a cycle if he’s sick. I’d do daily water changes and add aquarium salt to his tank. I’ve had great luck with API Stress Coat plus with my bettas. It’s just a water conditioner with aloe and it helps with fin rot if he has any. You would basically just use it in place of prime until he’s healed.

    I have also had great outcomes with aquarium salt added to the tank. 1 teaspoon per gallon. Make sure you dissolve it in conditioned water first. And when you do a water change, replace the amount of salt you took out because salt doesn’t evaporate in the tank.

    You’re doing a great job, we’ve all been there :)

    Others might chime in and think differently but this is what I, myself would do.
  11. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    Thanks so much, I'll head to the pet store right away and pick up the Stress Coat, Salt and some bacteria to try to start the cycle once he's feeling better! Thank you so much!
  12. Goldiemom Member Member

    I have actually used both. Last time I used the Safe Start (entire bottle) and then dosed with Stability every day. They are both good products.
  13. fishferfun Member Member

    Very welcome! Good luck!... If you have the Tetra Safe Start you won’t need any bacteria.

    As far as percentage of daily water changes, I say around 25%.

    Don’t forget your frozen pea(s) :)
  14. david1978 Fishlore VIP Member

    i really discourage the use of salt with freshwater fish. Its simply an irritant that forces them to make more slime coat. The stress coat does the same thing and is less stressful on the fish.
  15. fishferfun Member Member

    You can add the Stress Coat directly to the tank when you get home, without a water change for today.

    Interesting. I’ve used it for 4 years. Never had any ill effects. Although I can’t really feel what fish feel :happy:
  16. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    I have them already thankfully!
  17. david1978 Fishlore VIP Member

    You can feel what the fish do. Have you ever got salt into a cut? Salt was popular 20 years ago because we didn't really have anything else like we do today. And in all reality you have to turn your tank almost brackish to have any effect, thats why salt dips are stil used at that concentration it does help kill bacteria but much less has no effect.
  18. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    That makes sense. I did purchase both products, however, since there is a difference in opinion, Ill make sure to do more research before adding the salt. I did add the Stress Coat though, so hopefully that'll help my little guy feel better.

    @fishferfun @Goldiemom @david1978 Thanks so much for you help and advice. I will continue to monitor my fish and do daily water changes to ensure my tank water is healthy for him. I'm sure Stonebridge is thankful for your help as well! IMG_6434.JPG
  19. fishferfun Member Member

    Good luck and keep us posted!!!
  20. Stonebridge1212 Initiate Member

    will do!