Rescue Betta With Swim Bladder Disease Question

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by surajk, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    I rescued Ares yesterday from an lfs. He was in less than 300ml of water with an almond leaf in it. There was poop on the bottom of his box. He was lying on his side, curled into a crescent. He swam up a little when I tapped on the glass, so I decided to give him a chance to either live, or die in decent circumstances.

    I have him now in a 2.5g cycled - essentially a fry tank. I have the water level down to half, so he can get to the surface easier. I'm changing 30% of the water everyday and adding black water extract. I have a cycled box filter in the tank with an airpump providing just a little surface agitation. Water parameters are fine, zero ammo and Nitrites, nitrates around 10ppm. Ph around 8, possibly lower after I added the bw extract. I'm in an equatorial climate, so ambient temp is 30c. Water temp should be 26-28c. So he's in the right habitat. I have a lot of Valli nana in his tank so hopefully he feels like he's in a rice paddy. I'm keeping the tank light off for the time being.

    His colour is better, he's trying to move around and explore, but he's having difficulty swimming. He makes an effort to get around, but then sinks to the bottom and falls over on his side. I see no signs of infection, no spots or bumps. His gills are very very black though.

    He ate a fish pellet, and he is chasing a guppy fry that I have not been able to get out of the tank, so I think he has some life in him. I am planning to starve him for 3 days and then feed him a pea to see if it helps. Not medicating at this stage.

    Does anyone have any advice on what more I can do? I hate how these fish are treated, and he is really a gorgeous fish. If he makes it I'll get a 5g for him and he can be my 3yr old daughters pet.

    Here's a video..



    7ae3a9a93cb86dd906c2ca727cdda7fe.f242a8f2015e73791435249e0f165116.017bf7176982b472beddf4a1199940bc.23775354a0e87506b552fbc7486bfd02.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  2. I see fire.

    I see fire.Valued MemberMember

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    I did something similar last week for my birthday where I bought the possible SBD Giant betta from Petco, instead of the healthy one (I started feeling guilty for even thinking about leaving him behind).

    In my case, he was malnourished and was suffering from ammonia poisoning. He's not swimming properly at the moment, but he is 10x better than he was last week when I first got him. I spent days thinking he might have been constipated and it honestly looks like yours is the same way but actually constipated.

    I would fast him for a little while and see what happens, since he looks really bloated in the pictures and video. I've heard people use peas but I've also heard that they are not good for them as well, and that frozen Daphnia is a much better source of a laxative. I would also suggest the mirror trick to get him to flare for a few seconds, if he will. When a betta flares, they are using the muscles that cause them to defecate. However, if he is super stressed out, I would hold off on that. Based on what his behavior is, I wouldn't worry about treatment right now, since it just sounds like he had too much to eat.
     
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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    Thanks I see fire. I couldn't tell if he was bloated. I have never owned Bettas before so have no basis for comparison. He seems a greedy fellow from how he was chasing that little guppy fry around (finally managed to extract the little guy. He's hiding in my community tank with his siblings).

    He is flaring a little when I tap the glass. He's more active now, seeming less stressed. Breathing at a slower place now, seems less laboured. I'll starve him for a few days and see how that works. Frozen fish foods are hard to come by here. I can get live and freeze dried but they each have issues. He hasn't been interested in peas but after three days he might eat some. I'll try the mirror trick at the end of the week.


    I am a little concerned by the black gills. Would you (or anyone else )know if that's normal for a Betta? I wish I had thought to test the water he was in for ammonia. Because he couldn't swim to the surface for air in his box, he might have ammonia damage to his gills.

    Good luck with your Betta. Glad he's progressing well.
     
  4. I see fire.

    I see fire.Valued MemberMember

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    I'm not sure about ammonia damage, as my experience with ammonia damage either resulted in bright red gills or white patches near the gills. Honestly, it could just be his "beard", which is normal for a male betta. My Crowntail Aced has a black beard too, I'll try posting an image of him. .

    By flare, do you mean via his fins or gills? There is a 'flare' and then a 'full on flare'. This is where they push out that beard and look a little like a frilled lizard. You can see it in the red betta below (not my fish btw). I tried it with Aced and it made him start to poop, but he wasn't constipated and I was more being experimental. xDD Only do it for a little while though, as it can be a stressful task for most bettas.
     

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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    Oh wow! No, he hasn't flared anywhere close to that red Betta pic. I doubt he has the energy yet. Thanks for the pic of the Betta beard though, Ares kinda looks like that too, so maybe it isn't an issue.

    At this point I'm gonna let him be. He's swimming a lot more today than yesterday when I got him.
     
  6. I see fire.

    I see fire.Valued MemberMember

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    Sometimes letting them be is all you can do. I learned that with my Giant. xD

    Yeah, figured I'd prepare you for the flare bit. The first time Aced did it was the first time I'd ever seen it in person and I freaked out because I thought there was something seriously wrong with him. xD Turned out he was just being "super macho". If he doesn't flare at all and swims away after a moment, just leave him be. My Giant doesn't flare, nor my Elephant Ear, but he did show a very small bit of aggression and then he swam away after a few seconds of seeing his reflection. The other three bettas I have though do, including my female Koi.
     
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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    So here's an update :

    The good :
    Ares is looking much healthier, got a lot of colour back, is swimming a lot more and is hungry all the time.

    The bad:
    His sbd has not yet resolved. He still falls over on his side when he's static, and he's taken to propping himself up on leaves and decorations.

    He is not interested in peas, I fed him a pellet soaked in Epsom salt solution, but it hasn't really worked.. I have not yet seen him poop.

    He does not seem too bloated to me, but I really can't tell for sure. Could there be another reason for sbd I'm missing?

    I'll be starving him for 4 days at the end of this week while I'm out. Hopefully that will help
     
  8. I see fire.

    I see fire.Valued MemberMember

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    Another cause of SBD can be damage to the swim bladder or a birth defect. For instance, I'm starting to believe that my Giant has a birth defect mostly because he has become better, but still acts the same way (he tilts slightly when he stops moving, drags his tail when swimming and doesn't keep his whole body up). But there are also little things too like how it looks like he's got a scar in the direction of his gill, and one of his analfins looks a lot shorter and doesn't completely match up with the other side.

    Post a picture first, but if he doesn't appear bloated, start him up on food again and see what happens. I never really see my bettas poop, so maybe he is and you just haven't seen it yet? I've seen one of my females (Invi) and Aced poop before but not a whole lot, but with my newer bettas (Superbia, Ava, and Luxu) I've never seen it, and I've had them for nearly two weeks now. With Aced, the first time I saw him poop was roughly four months after I got him. It's funny too because we are always watching them, but we never see them doing it a majority of the time.

    How does he fall over on his side? Is it completely or just a little? Is it not as bad as before or still the same thing?
     
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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    Thanks @I see fire. i have been feeding him, he's been pitifully hungry and I haven't had the heart. I'm going out of town tomorrow for 3 days so he won't get fed anyway. I've fed him 2 soaked pellets once a day the last two days. He gobbled them up.

    He's swimming a lot more and shows excitement when he thinks he's going to get fed. He's still falling over and spends his time splayed over on top of my filter.i see a little protrusion on one side so I'm wondering if he has a tumour pressing on his swim bladder. It's further back from where his stomach and intestines are.

    Here are some pics and a video. Appreciate your opinion






    930a28e2e99fa42e5b14f726ddc9d75e.01efb63f4aba9ff4932d6b273ee9f09a.a46a5f5e9430e2f2e78db65f462152af.71909029bba6b3dff305c9017888bb51.
     
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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    Well, Ares' sbd is not getting better. Have tried starving and peas. He is not showing signs of infection, no shaking, clamped fins or spots. All I seem to be doing is adding stress to his life trying to make him better. Poor boy wants to eat!

    I'm now going to take care of him the way he is, rather than fix him. If he seems to be suffering and near the end, I'll euthanize him. He really does not seem to be there yet.

    Any tips on how to make him more comfortable with his sbd? I am a little worried about him rubbing himself raw on stones and decorations. At the same time, I'm not keen on keeping him in a bare tank - seems too spartan, but I will if that's better for him. Right now he seems to prop himself up on decorations and plants and enjoys sitting on top of the filter.
     
  11. I see fire.

    I see fire.Valued MemberMember

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    I could have sworn that I posted in this thread but maybe something went wrong and the post went away. In short:

    I'm sorry that I haven't responded. I've had a rough few weeks, working a lot more, and trying to cure Velvet in 3 of my bettas.

    You can always tale out the decor and just add in plants. Or some sort of really soft decor. If you ever go to the pet store and find the "betta decor section", definitely look into getting this piece of decor if you really need something, but otherwise just add in a ton of plants. My betta Superbia is a giant who has SBD damage too and sometimes he will lay on the plants. For a five gallon tank, your water level can be a normal level so long as you know that he isn't struggling to reach the top. I would suggest plants that have large leaves, like Assorted Anubias. For substrate, you can change out the gravel for Stratum Substrate, which is a little more softer than gravel (basically balls of mud). Superbia is constantly dragging himself and hasn't rubbed himself raw with this substrate so hopefully that could work for you. Another option is sand, but I find it more tedious than other substrates.

    How has he been?
     
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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    Thanks for the advice. I did exactly that last week, pulled out the castle and put in some broad water wisteria. He sits on them a lot now. I have some amazon swords in my main tank but they're too big.i don't have any other broad leaf plants.

    After improving slightly, He's now in slow decline. Even with the water level at half, he sometimes gives up in middle of the lunge to get to the surface and sinks back. He spends most of the time sitting on the filter box or the plants where he can just stretch to reach the surface.
    He seems sad and miserable just sitting there.

    I think what he really needs is a very large, shallow tray of water or a stream setup to be really comfortable, but i don't have the space to set something like that up. I did put in a heater though given that I live in Singapore and the ambient is 30c, the heater isn't doing much. He does hang out near it sometimes though.


    I'm frustrated and sad, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's better to put him outa his misery. He's still eating though and seems to recognize me, so I'll wait some more and hope.
     
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    surajk

    surajkValued MemberMember

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    Sorry abt your Bettas and the hectic lifestyle. I travel a lot for work and know how hard it is to juggle. Hope your Bettas get better soon.
     








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