Treated betta for swim bladder but still floating sideways?

Mike3739
  • #1
HI there, I need some advice on how to help my Betta. I’ve had this fish for about 5 months, he’s always been happy and active. We have him in a 3 gal tank with a filter and a heater. A week or two ago he was floating on his side at the top of the tank. I figured he had swim bladder, so I fasted him for three days and fed him a tiny piece of a pea (along with some water changes/aquarium salt).

Long story short, it didn’t work. He’s still floating sideways, but now he shows signs of fin rot, lethargy, and possibly Pop eye. I can’t tell if he’s pineconing, is it usually pretty obvious?

Assuming he doesn’t start pineconing (which I would assume calls for euthanization) what is the best treatment to help cure all of these symptoms?
 
Fanatic
  • #2
Hi, sorry that your fish is sick!
I will do my best to help you.

Your tank is three gallons, that's great! I also see that you have a filter and heater.
Did you cycle the tank before adding the fish?

 
___
  • #3
You can do a water change, with salt, then remove any carbon and try a combo of API pimafix and melafix. All natural products with no harmful chemicals. One treats bacterial infections and the other fungal. Use as directed for a week, thus the water change first, and just hope it’s not too late. Good luck and keep us posted on the outcome.
 
Fanatic
  • #4
You can do a water change, with salt, then remove any carbon and try a combo of API pimafix and melafix. All natural products with no harmful chemicals. One treats bacterial infections and the other fungal. Use as directed for a week, thus the water change first, and just hope it’s not too late. Good luck and keep us posted on the outcome.

Those medications aren't actually medications at all, they are just useless additives with a bit of a nice smelling scent, which do practically nothing to benefit the fish.
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Hi, sorry that your fish is sick!
I will do my best to help you.

Your tank is three gallons, that's great! I also see that you have a filter and heater.
Did you cycle the tank before adding the fish?
Thanks for the reply! I didn’t I was under the impression that you only needed to cycle the tank if it’s 5 gals or above.
 
___
  • #6
Those medications aren't actually medications at all, they are just useless additives with a bit of a nice smelling scent, which do practically nothing to benefit the fish.
I’m not trying to be rude but tell that to my three year old angel who has fully recovered from a fungal infection.
 
A. Rozhin
  • #7
Nothing works as well as keeping the water quality up. That's for treatment, and for prevention. Fifty percent water changes daily will help (that's a pain, but you have a little tank, so it's not too bad, you could maybe do 70%). This will help if your problems or fungal OR bacterial. Turn the heat down a little, also (maybe to 76 degrees) -- this also helps with both fungal and bacterial, as fungus and bacteria grow better in warmer water.

I work with vets (bigger aquatic animals but same principles; many are also aquarists, personally). Their feeling, when I had a betta problem, was that much of the stuff you buy in the pet store is junk. However, I know people who have had good results. I've gotten antibiotics from my vet friends to give my betta a daily bath, and this helped. I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have access to this kind of care, but honestly, the real help was their advice: water quality will make or break you. I believe my fish would have healed on his own once I upped my game with the water (it was my first tank).

So change the water every day until the fish is better. If your tank is cycled, this won't hurt the cycle, as the bacteria doesn't live in the water. Giant water changes daily can stress the fish, but yours sounds stressed already. (To answer your other question, you should always try to cycle, but small is hard. My mom has a 2 gallon betta tank, and keeping it cycled is difficult, so she changes water very frequently to keep the ammonia and nitrites low. She's also got plants, which help).
 
Platylover
  • #8
Whats the temp? Parameters? Do you have a liquid test kit? Water dechlorinate and how often do you do water changes?
He may have an infection if the fasting and feeding peas don't help with the SB, which wouldn't be to to surprising since he has Popeye and fin-rot as well. I'd start with daily water changes(25%) and keep fasting/feeding peas for 2 more rounds. If that doesn't help with SB or the other things begin to get worse then you may need to start an antibacterial. I wouldn't suggest melafix or pima fix for a betta as the tea tree oils coat the labyrinth organ and can result in suffocation. If you end up having to medicate I'd suggest kenaplex.

The tank is likely cycled by now(any fish tank housing a fish should be cycled regardless of size), but knowing the parameters will help make certain as well as help with figuring out what is causing the issue.
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Hi, sorry that your fish is sick!
I will do my best to help you.

Your tank is three gallons, that's great! I also see that you have a filter and heater.
Did you cycle the tank before adding the fish?
I didn’t, I was under the impression that you only need to cycle the tank when it’s 5 gals or above.

You can do a water change, with salt, then remove any carbon and try a combo of API pimafix and melafix. All natural products with no harmful chemicals. One treats bacterial infections and the other fungal. Use as directed for a week, thus the water change first, and just hope it’s not too late. Good luck and keep us posted on the outcome.

Thanks, I’ll try it.
 
A. Rozhin
  • #10
Assuming he doesn’t start pineconing (which I would assume calls for euthanization) what is the best treatment to help cure all of these symptoms?

Bettas breath at the surface as well as under the water, so your rules for pineconing don't really apply to him.
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Nothing works as well as keeping the water quality up. That's for treatment, and for prevention. Fifty percent water changes daily will help (that's a pain, but you have a little tank, so it's not too bad, you could maybe do 70%). This will help if your problems or fungal OR bacterial. Turn the heat down a little, also (maybe to 76 degrees) -- this also helps with both fungal and bacterial, as fungus and bacteria grow better in warmer water.

I work with vets (bigger aquatic animals but same principles; many are also aquarists, personally). Their feeling, when I had a betta problem, was that much of the stuff you buy in the pet store is junk. However, I know people who have had good results. I've gotten antibiotics from my vet friends to give my betta a daily bath, and this helped. I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have access to this kind of care, but honestly, the real help was their advice: water quality will make or break you. I believe my fish would have healed on his own once I upped my game with the water (it was my first tank).

So change the water every day until the fish is better. If your tank is cycled, this won't hurt the cycle, as the bacteria doesn't live in the water. Giant water changes daily can stress the fish, but yours sounds stressed already. (To answer your other question, you should always try to cycle, but small is hard. My mom has a 2 gallon betta tank, and keeping it cycled is difficult, so she changes water very frequently to keep the ammonia and nitrites low. She's also got plants, which help).
Thanks!
 
A. Rozhin
  • #12
Please do report back, I have two Bettas, and hearing how others do with theirs is always helpful! I will be keeping good thoughts for him.
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Bettas breath at the surface as well as under the water, so your rules for pineconing don't really apply to him.
Nothing works as well as keeping the water quality up. That's for treatment, and for prevention. Fifty percent water changes daily will help (that's a pain, but you have a little tank, so it's not too bad, you could maybe do 70%). This will help if your problems or fungal OR bacterial. Turn the heat down a little, also (maybe to 76 degrees) -- this also helps with both fungal and bacterial, as fungus and bacteria grow better in warmer water.

I work with vets (bigger aquatic animals but same principles; many are also aquarists, personally). Their feeling, when I had a betta problem, was that much of the stuff you buy in the pet store is junk. However, I know people who have had good results. I've gotten antibiotics from my vet friends to give my betta a daily bath, and this helped. I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have access to this kind of care, but honestly, the real help was their advice: water quality will make or break you. I believe my fish would have healed on his own once I upped my game with the water (it was my first tank).

So change the water every day until the fish is better. If your tank is cycled, this won't hurt the cycle, as the bacteria doesn't live in the water. Giant water changes daily can stress the fish, but yours sounds stressed already. (To answer your other question, you should always try to cycle, but small is hard. My mom has a 2 gallon betta tank, and keeping it cycled is difficult, so she changes water very frequently to keep the ammonia and nitrites low. She's also got plants, which help).

Will do, thanks. The water temp is already at 76

Bettas breath at the surface as well as under the water, so your rules for pineconing don't really apply to him.

What do you mean? I can see his scales sticking out just a tiny bit, but I can’t tell if it’s the normal texture of the scales, or if he’s starting to pinecone.
 
Platylover
  • #14
I’d up the temp to 78F, preferable 80F, as having them in their optimal temp is more important that the possibility of the bacteria growing quicker(I don’t remember this ever being a problem when treating my bettas for anything). What are the parameters? Can you post a pic of him from above? If it is dropsy then it’s up to you whether you want to try and treat it or euthanise. There’s more probability that ge’ll Pass then live, but there’s still a chance. Just make sure if you euthanise you do it humanely and not by freezing or anything similar.
 
A. Rozhin
  • #15
Pinconing is when fish go to the top to try to get air because there is not enough oxygen in the water. Scales sticking out would be dropsy, most likely.
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Pinconing is when fish go to the top to try to get air because there is not enough oxygen in the water. Scales sticking out would be dropsy, most likely.
Oh I see.

I’d up the temp to 78F, preferable 80F, as having them in their optimal temp is more important that the possibility of the bacteria growing quicker(I don’t remember this ever being a problem when treating my bettas for anything). What are the parameters? Can you post a pic of him from above? If it is dropsy then it’s up to you whether you want to try and treat it or euthanise. There’s more probability that ge’ll Pass then live, but there’s still a chance. Just make sure if you euthanise you do it humanely and not by freezing or anything similar.
I’d up the temp to 78F, preferable 80F, as having them in their optimal temp is more important that the possibility of the bacteria growing quicker(I don’t remember this ever being a problem when treating my bettas for anything). What are the parameters? Can you post a pic of him from above? If it is dropsy then it’s up to you whether you want to try and treat it or euthanise. There’s more probability that ge’ll Pass then live, but there’s still a chance. Just make sure if you euthanise you do it humanely and not by freezing or anything similar.

For sure, would never freeze him.
 
Algonquin
  • #17
Pineconing is a term used to describe the physical appearance of a fish whose scales are sticking up from it's body, due to some kind of swelling or bloating - usually water retention. So pretty much the same thing as Dropsy - that's a more 'clinical' term that is used. Dropsy itself is not a disease, but a symptom of something being wrong with your fish. If you google Betta with Dropsy, you'll see what it looks like - let us know if that's how your fish looks? I've never needed to perform one, but Epsom Salt baths are the usual treatment if your fish is showing signs of Dropsy (lots of info on this forum about that.)
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Pineconing is a term used to describe the physical appearance of a fish whose scales are sticking up from it's body, due to some kind of swelling or bloating - usually water retention. So pretty much the same thing as Dropsy - that's a more 'clinical' term that is used. Dropsy itself is not a disease, but a symptom of something being wrong with your fish. If you google Betta with Dropsy, you'll see what it looks like - let us know if that's how your fish looks? I've never needed to perform one, but Epsom Salt baths are the usual treatment if your fish is showing signs of Dropsy (lots of info on this forum about that.)

Thanks. Does this look like dropsy to you? I can't tell if it's just scale texture or not.
 
Platylover
  • #19
Unfortunately looks like he’s in the beginning stages to me... this is how I suggest treating it personally-
Dropsy treatment
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Unfortunately looks like he’s in the beginning stages to me... this is how I suggest treating it personally-
Dropsy treatment

Dang. Thanks for the info. Is it worth treating, or will it most likely only prolong his suffering?
 
Platylover
  • #21
It’s reallt soemthing for you to decide. For some fish I’d say no for others I’d say yes. If he still seems to want to live I’d give him the chance, if he seems ready then it may be time to let him go. Personally, since it seems to be very beginning of the symptom I’d give him a chance. I’ve had one get pratically cured, but she had a relapse. Although I believe that it’s likely because I didn’t know at the time I should be treating with an antibacterial. It can be done, just isn’t very common.
 
Mike3739
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Update on my betta: I’ve been treating him but his pineconing keeps getting worse. I’ve heard that you should wait to euthanize the fish until the fish stops trying to swim away when you scoop it up, and he’s not quite to that point yet (but seems to be getting closer). The poor guy just floats at the top of the tank all day and looks totally miserable.

I know there is a very slight chance he might survive, but I’m mostly worried about prolonging his suffering. I’m leaning towards euthanizing him now so he doesn’t have to live in misery for too much longer. Is that wrong?
 
Bettafishies126
  • #23
Dang. Thanks for the info. Is it worth treating, or will it most likely only prolong his suffering?
Some people successfully treat the symptoms of what looked like dropsy, I say if he seems like he wants to live and is going to fight, then don't give up on him and do treatment.
 

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