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Really Worried About My Betta Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by bo1333, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. bo1333New MemberMember

    My betta, Bowie had been acting really strange for a few days. He won't eat (he's never had a huge appetite) and he's floating near the top a lot. He seems to be getting worse every day - he's moving less and less and is in weird positions.


    What is the water volume of the tank? somewhere between 2-2.5 gallons
    How long has the tank been running? 3 weeks
    Does it have a filter? yes
    Does it have a heater? no
    What is the water temperature? 79
    What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) one betta

    How often do you change the water? depends on the parameters but typically every few days, sometimes two days in a row if needed (I've been changing it nearly every day since this started)
    How much of the water do you change? about 25% unless ammonia seems high, then closer to 50
    What do you use to treat your water? I was using the topfin conditioner but got prime a few days ago
    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum small sections that look dirtier but try not to vacuum all at once

    *Parameters - Very Important
    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? no - I used nutrafin cycle but I don't think it has finished cycling
    What do you use to test the water? API test kit
    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia: less than 0.25 (I have a really hard time reading this one but it matches my tap and bottled water) - I did a 25% water change after testing today
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    pH: 6.8

    How often do you feed your fish? I try to feed him twice a day if he'll eat it
    How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 pellets if he will eat (usually would eat 2-3 small pellets)
    What brand of food do you feed your fish? I was using aqueon but recently tried omega
    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

    Illness & Symptoms
    How long have you had this fish? 3 weeks
    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? they've been most noticeable for 3 or 4 days
    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? no appetite, stiff, floating at surface, barely swims
    Have you started any treatment for the illness? no - I did feed him a pea two days ago
    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
    How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? he won't swim around at all

    Explain your emergency situation in detail. I got Bowie from a lab at my school three weeks ago. He didn't eat much the first few days, but I assumed he was just stressed from the change. When he started eating, he would spit out his pellets over and over but would usually eventually eat them. I would feed him them individually to make sure he finished one before getting a new one. This week, he's been ignoring his food more and more and for a few days, he hasn't been interested in it at all. Three days ago he started being lethargic and I checked his water parameters. Usually I can't tell if ammonia is high but this time it looked a little dark (definitely no more than 0.5 - probably less), which I was surprised by because I had finally gotten low nitrates in my tank a few days prior. I did about a 50% water change and he perked up a bit. I got him a new live plant to replace a silk one a few hours later. He was really active that night exploring the plant but for two days he's barely moved. I did a small water change, which didn't help. I thought he might be constipated so I tried to feed him a pea which was a bit big for him (I did cut it) but he eventually ate a piece. He really wanted the pea and wouldn't let me take it out to cut it more, but he still ignored his food. When he stopped eating earlier this week, he was still pooping so I wasn't as worried. But now he has white poop, which I know may be a sign of parasites but I feel like it also might be because he's not eating. He keeps floating at the top of the tank in weird positions but if I go over he will sometimes move around and swim to the bottom. At first he could swim around more but last night and today he'll just stretch his fins or swim a bit and then go back to a weird position. I've noticed more and more that he seems to be curling into a C shape and his fins are really stiff. He'll stretch and then go back to that shape. He wasn't gasping before, but he seems to be today, even though I just did a water change. He didn't look super bloated before, but now he seems to be a bit, but it's not as bad as other pictures of bloat that I've seen.

    I'm really not sure what is wrong or what I can do so I would really appreciate any advice!

    Also, I know his tank is small, but I'm getting him a new one (probably 10 gallons) as soon as I can. I was going to wait until I could afford it a bit more, but I've been looking at getting one sooner now it's just hard to find them where I live!
  2. PheonixKingZWell Known MemberMember

    Does he have a heater? Picture please. :)

  3. bo1333New MemberMember

    He doesn't have a heater because I was told that in a tank this size it would "cook him" but I'm not sure if that's true. He's in my room which is kept at 22-23 celsius and his water temp is usually 79-80 ish (Fahrenheit).

    Here are some pictures but they're kind of dark. One is from yesterday where you can see his poop. When I went over to take pictures he wasn't curled up like he's been for nearly a day so I don't have a picture of that. Also ignore the floating food I'll take that out I must have missed it.

    Thanks so much for your reply!!

    Attached Files:

  4. bo1333New MemberMember

    He did it again so here's the best picture I can get of it! He is swimming a tiny bit more now and is a little bit more responsive to me when I go over (he was almost completely unresponsive before), but he's still barely moving at all and will not leave the surface.

    Attached Files:

  5. BettaFishKeeper4302Well Known MemberMember

    He’s bloated, try feeding a deshelled pea.
  6. bo1333New MemberMember

    I tried two days ago and I think he ate some. Should I try again or just wait more? Also would that cause him to be gasping?

  7. bo1333New MemberMember

    I tried to feed him some of a pea but he won't eat it. He's mostly just floating looking really stiff and occasionally he'll stretch or swim but it's usually kind of jerky and he'll only swim for a few seconds.
  8. BettaFishKeeper4302Well Known MemberMember

    You could try epsom salt baths but you need at least a gallon container or bucket.
  9. FeohwWell Known MemberMember

    It looks like his scales are pineconing in that last picture. If that's the case, unfortunately I'd say dropsy. Can you confirm if this is the case?
  10. bo1333New MemberMember

    I was afraid of that today as well. They're definitely not sticking out straight, but the scales on his belly where he's bloated seem to be raised a bit. It's only really noticeable from above when he's curved to one side (on the stretched side) - I can't see it if his spine is straight so I'm not sure.

    He was swimming a little bit and I turned off his light and he immediately sunk to the bottom (he's been at the top for probably a day now). I turned the light back on just to see him and he eventually swam back up. He didn't seem to have trouble swimming then but he's gone back to floating at the top now.
  11. FeohwWell Known MemberMember

    Other symptoms of dropsy are lethargy, lack of interest in food, bloating, clamped fins and staying near the surface. I've had three female bettas with dropsy and unfortunately none of them made it. Towards the end they sank to the bottom, dashed to the surface, sank again and the passed away.

    I was recommended to use epsom salt baths. They worked for a while but these females were pretty bad. If yours is just beginning to pinecone this may help him out. There are other people that just add dissolved epsom salt to the tank itself. Look up how to do an epsom salt bath on bettas and try it out. Even if it does end up just being bloat this can help him out. Good luck...
  12. FeohwWell Known MemberMember

    Also dropsy comes about as a result of something else, usually bad water quality from what I know. Serious damage has to be done to result in dropsy. You said that the tank isn't finished cycling and there's ammonia. I'd do a water change too if I were you just to make sure the water is clean.
  13. bo1333New MemberMember

    Okay, thank you for your help! That does seem to be what's happening with him. The water seems to be okay, and I've already changed some of it today. The ammonia was a bit high a few days ago so maybe that's causing issues now even though it's back down. I'll look into the epsom salts a bit more, thank you both for recommending that!

    I must have missed this earlier, but thank you!