This Is Long-swim Bladder Issues


My betta, Captain America was adopted from a previous owner who kept him in a dirty bowl and fed him some low quality flakes. The day I got him, his container was filled with flakes that they threw in sigh. I now have him in a 5 gallon, heated and very gently filtered tank and no other fish, shrimps or snails. I like to keep things simple for now.

I have since discovered that he has swimming bladder issues. I do feed my bettas high quality foods namely frozen bloodworm, frozen brine shrimp, small pieces of cooked shrimp, Nutrafin pellets, Fluval Bug Bites and all of my 3 bettas loves watermelon so they get some as a treat.I did soak his Nutrafin pellet before giving it to him.

I did use established media from my basement tub pond to cycle the tank and I think it has been about 3 weeks since I set the tank up. I do have 4 marimo moss balls in there, giant duckweed as well as a pothos and spider plant with leaves out of the water and only roots are submerged.

Water tested was pH 7.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 0. I am not worried about his water quality and I have had fish tanks for a long time and I will continue testing his water and yes I did shake the Nitrate #2 bottle like crazy and hitting it on the carpeted flooring and such for a long time before testing and it still came out 0. I use Seachem Prime. Again, I am not worried about his water quality but I am not very experienced with SwI'm Bladder issues as I don't remember the bettas I had in the past had this issue but I had plakats mostly when I was younger.

The last time I fed him was on Sunday and I may have given just a tiny more of cooked shrimp to him but not too too much because I have had a few bettas before so I know how much to feed but he then started to float sideways on the surface of the water mostly and at times sink to the bottom and position himself in between 2 marimo balls to stay upright. At night, he sleeps floating on above the pothos and spider plant roots. So I fasted him 3 days because I am thinking it might be constipation and hadn't seen any poop as of yet. I do have white PFS so his poop does stand out lol.

Yesterday I gave him tiny bit of watermelon for fiber once in the morning and once in the evening and the water content to help with his constipation and was hoping the sugar in it would give him some energy. This morning he swims a little better but still not 100% better but better. He still has some buoyancy issue but he is able to swim around a little better but still no poop yet. I am now at work so I couldn't monitor him but I shall be back soon and I will see if he is truly doing better.

Now please help me where to go from here. Do I continue feeding him watermelon for fiber because that is what he will eat and hopefully see a poop soon and then go back to proper feedings or do start feeding him soaked Bug Bites or Nutrafin pellets? And of course his feeding will be very light but 2-3 times a day to spread it out going forward. I hate to see him float again for days because I feed him incorrectly but I am also worried that it might be bacterial infection or genetics but genetics is probably out of my control.

At what point do I worry it is bacterial and start treating him? He is also not pineconing at the moment but has a slight curve to his spine to accommodate his swimming issues but when he swims better this morning, that curve is gone.

Because I am in Canada, I have a hard time getting meds due to the ban. The only meds I have on hand for bacterial is Maracyn II. My guts is saying to give him a few more days but I don't know. Please also do not guess. I need someone who has experience with a betta with SwI'm Bladder issues to give me some solid advice. I have also ordered IAL but they are not here yet.

Thank you for reading my long post and helping me!


I would first try epsom salt @ 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, pre-dissolved in a cup of tank water before adding. It's a good laxative and should help with bloat. Can be left in until removed with water changes, and will not affect the filter. Good luck!


With the Epsom salt, make sure it is the unscented kind! Just pure MgSO4

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