Sitting on bottom - salt?

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by DaveC426913, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. DaveC426913Valued MemberMember

    OK, maybe I have to concede that salt does make Bettae unhappy. :(

    My guy was getting a ragged tail, which I thought might have been fin rot. I figure it couldn't hurt to add a little salt prophylactically.

    I added one teaspoon to his 2 gal tank. Added it slowly over a day.

    He was very active before, now he spends all his time lying on the bottom slumped over. He perks up when feeding time comes, but it does look like he's struggling a little to get to the surface. It's as if his swim bladder is causing him pain. (I've seen this before in other sick fish.)

    After just a couple of days I started doing frequent water changes (20% per day, temp and pH balanced) to slowly purge the little amount of salt that's in there but I don't know if he'll recover.

    1] Do fish injure their swim bladders? Is that what's happening when they can't seem to maintain bouyancy?
    2] Have I injured him with the salt?
    3] Can I return him to health?

    Tank: 2 gals.
    Temp: 78-80
    pH: 6.6-7.2
    Denizens: Betta only
    Filter, light, heater
  2. LyndaB

    LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Did you dissolve the salt in tank water first? That's a lot of salt for a 2 gallon tank, especially if this fish has never been exposed to it before. If I were you, I'd do a 75% water change immediately.

    What are your readings?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  3. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the forum

    I don't understand the obsession with adding salt to freshwater tanks. It's a remnant of the dark ages of fish keeping - before we knew better. There are many better treatments available now, that actually address the problems .

  4. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I agree.

    Salt was added because of the beliefs (misconstrued though) that it regulates osmotic pressure. Indeed in some cases this does happen but 90% of the time a good old fashioned water change can alleviate such nonsence. There are better "salts" to use nowadays (well they were also available in the dark ages ;D) such as epsom salts and bicarb of soda. Even these i caution the use of unless a full understanding of what it does to the water is available.

    Many people do things unquestioningly to their tank without knowing the basic extent of what they are doing to their tanks. I suggest researching anything you put into the tank before you actually do, especially if it is something remedial.

  5. OP

    DaveC426913Valued MemberMember

    Already past that point.
    Don't have a specific gravity meter. I'm sure it's low by now. Have done about 5 20% changes by now.

    It's intended as a general prophylactic (preventive as well as remedial) against bacteria. (Just like gargling with salt will aid a throat infection.)

    Never heard of that. See above.
    I have researched and that was the advice I've heard from many resources. OK, so you guys disagree.

    I've been doing 20% water changes weekly without fail so simple water changes weren't going to fix the problem.

    Anyway, I'd like to get back to my 3 (now 2) questions. (Obviously, your conclusion to #2 is yes.) What exactly is wrong with him now (assuming it is the salt that's injured him)?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  6. LyndaB

    LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    I'll address #3.

    Maybe. We can't say for sure, as we're not positive what's ailling him. If he's stressed out from the fin rot, then just lots of fresh water should help cure him. If he's got fin rot as a symptom of something else, like columnaris, then it's anybody's guess as to whether his health can be restored.

    Do you have any option for upgrading his tank size? Personally, I wouldn't put a betta in anything smaller than a 5 gallon.
  7. OP

    DaveC426913Valued MemberMember

    In retrospect, I don't think it was fin rot. I think maybe he's been tearing his caudal on some spiky plants, which I will remove. I figured the salt would not hurt. It's always helped before.

    As for changing tanks, I would not make any stressful changes at his point that don't directly help him get better. Got to balance treatment with just letting him heal on his own.
  8. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I understand that - salt was used to "treat" all kinds of things. It wasn't too long ago that we really didn't know much about how things worked in the tank. I'm just saying that nowadays, there are better treatments available.
  9. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    With such a small tank, I do not believe 20% weekly water changes are enough. When you think a fish is sick, the best thing to do is an immediate water change - clean water does wonders for sick fish. As was suggested earlier, I think a larger water change is in order.
  10. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I agree and recommended 75% daily water changes for a week or two. Plus add garlic to his food.
  11. OP

    DaveC426913Valued MemberMember

    OK. 75% water change done.

    Dropped a sliver of garlic in the tank. Will he nibble or do I need to chop it up finer?
  12. LyndaB

    LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    It's mostly the garlic juice, not the garlic itself, that will help build his immune system up against whatever he's fighting. You can try cutting it up and he may/may not eat some.

    Many of us use Garlic Guard, but you can also crush fresh garlic and toss it in, it's very juicy. You're better off smashing the garlic piece into pulp than cutting it up.
  13. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I've never used garlic personally, but when I had a sick fish, I did quite a bit of reading on it. Generally, I don't think the fish actually eats the garlic. I read that you should buy a jar of garlic in water, NOT oil, and read the ingredients list and make sure there isn't anything in there but garlic and water (no preservatives, vinegar, etc). Soak food in the garlic water, then drop it in the tank. You can't just pour some water in there, they have to actually consume it for it to take effect. However, there is debate as to if the garlic has any actual curative properties; some people think that it is merely an appetite stimulant (because it is very aromatic) for fish who will not eat. (As an aside, when I used to work at an animal hospital, if a pet wasn't eating, we would often feed really smelly (in a good way...for them I guess) food; often sick pets can't smell well and therefore don't have much of an appetite. However, I'm not an expert on fish senses of smell, so I'm not sure if the reasoning is the same.)

    At any rate, I don't think fish generally eat whole garlic.
  14. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I use my garlic press or mince a clove very fine. You can feed directly or soak with some of his usual foods.
  15. OP

    DaveC426913Valued MemberMember

    Hrmph. I actually thought catsma was joking around - playing on my naivete at adding salt. I was playing along. No I did not add garlic!

    But you guys are apparently serious.

    All that talk about dark age treatments and listening to the wrong people - it seems you guys have just substituted one home remedy for another and, like salt, no one seems to know why - or whether - it works.

    Afraid I'm going to go with your original advice, which is 'don't take anyone's home remedy advice'. :scratches chin:
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  16. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Some home remedies are proven effective, while others are proven otherwise. For example, feeding skinless pea is always suggested as a remedy for constipation. However, it is not in the least bit dangerous, and if your fish eats it - or doesn't - either it will help, or do nothing. Salt, however, is debated as to whether it helps or HARMS fish, which is the main difference.

    I had read the epsom salt can help with constipation when my pleco was stopped up, however I didn't want to risk messing with the water. However, as with any not-FDA-regulated remedy, there are people who stand by it, and people who swear it's baloney. (Or bologna.)
  17. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    epsom salt is believed to do the same thing as salt was originally thought to do so. I believe in a tight spot in could be used. But like Jaysee said there are such better remedies on the market now that are safer for your fish that it seems kindof void.

    I agree with Kinezumi that there are some things that can harm and others that cant. It is our personal choice as to whether we do it or not. Different experiences define that choice.
  18. Meeps83

    Meeps83Well Known MemberMember

    Benefits of garlic for fish:
    Boosts immune system, natural antibiotic, natural antifungal


    Using a medium size bulb-

    peel cloves apart and snip off ends

    microwave cloves for 5 to 10 seconds to pop hulls

    remove hulls, cut the length of the cloves in thin slices and place in cup of hot (from tap) water

    cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hrs

    mash the cloves and strain for immediate use, refrigerate until needed

    good for two to three weeks. The longer the cloves soak, the stronger the solution
  19. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Yes, I am serious. No I am not pulling your chain.

    Garlic has proven to be an immune system builder as well as having mild antibiotic and antifungal properties. There is much documentation on its benefits for humans. The same is true of fish.

    I do not heat or cook the garlic cloves as much of their health benefits are lost to heat and oxydation.
  20. Meeps83

    Meeps83Well Known MemberMember

    The instructions don't say to cook it, they say to place it in hot water.

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