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betta is lying on the bottom of the tank


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#1 Elise22

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 08:12 PM

hey everyone. my betta is suddenly not looking too good. he is lying rather lifelessly on the bottom of the tank on his side with his head up. he seems to be breathing decently hard.

he will go up to eat and get air once in a while but oncce he reaches the top he just drops like a rock to the bottom and stays there lifelessly for a while.

i did a water change 2 days ago, no improvement.
all water parameters in check.
temp of tank = 83F
2 gal tank. w/ filter
tank currently has stress coat, a little melafix, and aquarium salt.

I am keeping a towel aroudn the tank so he is dark and more calm.

Does anyone have any advice on what I can do so he gets through this? I am quite worried. He shows no signs of visible disease, mold, finrot, dropsy, etc.

Please help! thank you everyone!



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#2 Eudie

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:18 PM

First of all, I'd do a water change to get the Melafix out of the water. There are a number of posts on here about Melafix, but in brief, melafix should never be used full strength on bettas it is much too strong. There is a betta equivalent called bettafix, but it is pretty useless as well, melafix is tea tree oil and not any sort of medication. The oil builds up on the bettas gills and causes problems with breathing. I don't and won't EVER use it and I never recommend it.

The dropping like a rock to the bottom sounds more like swim bladder issues to me. Have you tried fasting him for three days? Have you seen him pooping? If so, what does it look like? Poop that is stringy or lumpy looking could denote internal parasites. But for now, do that water change and fast him for a few days if you haven't already.

Edited by Eudie, 25 February 2008 - 12:19 PM.


#3 Elise22

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:26 PM

QUOTE (Eudie @ Feb 25 2008, 11:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
First of all, I'd do a water change to get the Melafix out of the water. There are a number of posts on here about Melafix, but in brief, melafix should never be used full strength on bettas it is much too strong. There is a betta equivalent called bettafix, but it is pretty useless as well, melafix is tea tree oil and not any sort of medication. The oil builds up on the bettas gills and causes problems with breathing. I don't and won't EVER use it and I never recommend it.

The dropping like a rock to the bottom sounds more like swim bladder issues to me. Have you tried fasting him for three days? Have you seen him pooping? If so, what does it look like? Poop that is stringy or lumpy looking could denote internal parasites. But for now, do that water change and fast him for a few days if you haven't already.


I was using the melatix at the bettafix strength, but will perform a water change to clear it out of the water. thank you for the tip on not using it. I have not seen him poop, but I am also not around very often and he is currently on the bottom of the tank. I will proceed with fasting him, and will see if i can find some peas at my cafeteria to keep for him.

does this sound like SBD? I've never had a fish experience it.

thanks!

#4 Eudie

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 06:53 PM

Yes, it does. There are two kinds of swimbladder disorder. One where the fish stays at the top and can't get down and the other where they struggle to get to the top for a breath of air and then drop to the bottom. First of all, I would either lower the water level to make it as easy as possible for him to get up for air, or put a plant in near the top that he can rest on, or put him in a small container with just a few inches of water to cover him. If he continues to have to struggle for his breath of air, it will wear him down quicker.

Then go for the three days with no food at all. At the end of the three days feed him the insides of the blanched pea to help get things moving. Sometimes it helps to move them to a smaller container with a bare bottom so you can tell when and if he does poop easier. If it is, indeed swimbladder, he should be feeling much better by then.

Sometimes swimbladder can be caused by bacterial infection or parasites and requires medication, but most of the time it is constipation. I don't know what his feeding plan is like, but just a few suggestions, try to vary his diet to include pellets and frozen foods, fast him one day a week, feed him a pea one day a week and avoid freeze-dried foods, especially with a fish that has a history of swim bladder. Some fish are more prone to it than others and you have to keep a closer watch on their diets.

Good luck with him and I hope he's feeling better soon. smile1.gif

#5 Elise22

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 10:43 PM

Alright, I will lower the level of the water so he can have an easier time getting air.

Thank you very much for the advice.

He seems to be in good spirits other than the fact that he is rather attached to the ground. I will hope for the best.

Thanks again. I'll post updates.

#6 Eudie

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:57 AM

That is also typical of SBD. The fish really isn't in any pain or discomfort other than just not being able to swim normally. Hope he's back to himself very soon. smile1.gif

#7 cmster

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:45 PM

I've heard that epsom salt is good to use as it helps relieve the constipation. I've never tried it since I haven't had SBD in a long long time. Can anyone confirm this?

#8 Eudie

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:14 AM

Epsom salt can be used to help constipation, but can also be very stressful to the betta. I don't use it except as a very last resort when dealing with dropsy and I don't use it with swimbladder because you can't be sure that constipation is what has caused the swimbladder. It can also be caused by parasites, bacterial infection, injury or birth defect. And it isn't really that the body is retaining fluid as much as the swimbladder itself is damaged.

To put it pretty basic, the swimbladder is an organ which inflates and deflates with air to allow the fish to raise and lower in the water and helps with his balance. When a betta is constipated, the blockage presses on the swimbladder and keeps it from being able to inflate and deflate properly, so epsom salt might help with the constipation, but not really any more than fasting and feeding peas or frozen daphina.

#9 fluffy

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 12:57 PM

QUOTE (Eudie @ Feb 25 2008, 07:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, it does. There are two kinds of swimbladder. One where the fish stays at the top and can't get down and the other where they struggle to get to the top for a breath of air and then drop to the bottom. First of all, I would either lower the water level to make it as easy as possible for him to get up for air, or put a plant in near the top that he can rest on, or put him in a small container with just a few inches of water to cover him. If he continues to have to struggle for his breath of air, it will wear him down quicker.

Then go for the three days with no food at all. At the end of the three days feed him the insides of the blanched pea to help get things moving. Sometimes it helps to move them to a smaller container with a bare bottom so you can tell when and if he does poop easier. If it is, indeed swimbladder, he should be feeling much better by then.

Sometimes swimbladder can be caused by bacterial infection or parasites and requires medication, but most of the time it is constipation. I don't know what his feeding plan is like, but just a few suggestions, try to vary his diet to include pellets and frozen foods, fast him one day a week, feed him a pea one day a week and avoid freeze-dried foods, especially with a fish that has a history of swim bladder. Some fish are more prone to it than others and you have to keep a closer watch on their diets.

Good luck with him and I hope he's feeling better soon. smile1.gif


Hi Eudie - my name is Nancy and I've been looking at your posts with Elise22 here and have a friend that has a betta with the same issues. I have three, and a short time ago my littlest developed SBD - I followed everyone's advice on this site and he is just wonderful now.
You seem to have a lot of knowledge! Regarding Marlie (the friend's fish) - all of his symptoms are the same as Elsie's - we are treating him accordingly, as you've advised, and as we learned from mine! smile1.gif

But I have a question - a REALLY REALLY CRAZY QUESTION - and you're probably going to think I'm nuts - but.......
last night, when I was upstairs at my friend's apartment, I fed Marlie a small piece of pea, and yet he didn't go for it. I did not want to leave the pea in there, as she wasn't planning a water change until today, so I fished it (haha!) out with all she had quick and handy - a regular dinner fork. I then put the fork down on the counter. At some point, we basically forgot about that, and we were having drinks, and I mistakenly used THE FORK TO STIR MY DRINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am terrified now! I am nervous because although I know I can't develop SBD, another haha, what if the SBD is NOT from constipation, what if it is from parasites, etc.? Can I possibly be in any danger from having done this?? What I'm especially nervous about is what if it is NOT SBD that he has maybe too - what if it's Tuberculosis or something???!?!!!!! I understand that TB can be transferred to humans through contact..............!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would sincerely and anxiously love your opinion - don't know what to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!
unsure12.gifsader1.gif sader1.gif

Edited by fluffy, 29 February 2008 - 12:59 PM.


#10 Eudie

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:12 PM

I really don't think you have anything to worry about. TB is very rare and few fishkeepers run across it. It is usually a slow acting disease and in the weeks/months before death, the fish usually develops a curved spine, becomes extremely thin and lethargic and sores can develop on the body. The symptoms are pretty easy to tell from swimbladder. If the swimbladder should be caused from parasites, 1) the parasites would be internal, not floating around in the water and 2) they would die after being out of the water for more than a few minutes. The chance of you getting sick are really very minscule.

Now, I do remember that one time BettaMomma was getting ready to medicate one of her fish and had the meds dissolving in a cup. She wasn't paying attention and drank a cup full of fish meds. If you want to try that to be on the safe side . . . . . .

lol2.gif


Just kidding. You're fine. Don't let it freak you out. We are a lot bigger than the fish and it would take a heck of a lot more to bother us than bothers them.

Glad your fish is doing well, and hope your friend's fish gets back to full strength very soon. If we can be of assistance, all you have to do is post. smile1.gif

Edit: Just did some refreshing of my memory on a few articles concerning fish tb. It's also quite common for one or both eyes to fall out of the fish.

#11 fluffy

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:31 PM

QUOTE (Eudie @ Feb 29 2008, 02:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really don't think you have anything to worry about. TB is very rare and few fishkeepers run across it. It is usually a slow acting disease and in the weeks/months before death, the fish usually develops a curved spine, becomes extremely thin and lethargic and sores can develop on the body. The symptoms are pretty easy to tell from swimbladder. If the swimbladder should be caused from parasites, 1) the parasites would be internal, not floating around in the water and 2) they would die after being out of the water for more than a few minutes. The chance of you getting sick are really very minscule.

Now, I do remember that one time BettaMomma was getting ready to medicate one of her fish and had the meds dissolving in a cup. She wasn't paying attention and drank a cup full of fish meds. If you want to try that to be on the safe side . . . . . .

lol2.gif


Just kidding. You're fine. Don't let it freak you out. We are a lot bigger than the fish and it would take a heck of a lot more to bother us than bothers them.

Glad your fish is doing well, and hope your friend's fish gets back to full strength very soon. If we can be of assistance, all you have to do is post. smile1.gif


lol2.gif lol2.gif lol2.gif lol2.gif lol2.gif
You are too funny! That laugh (from the fish meds story) I think was the medicine I needed! smile1.gif
Thank you so much for the response - everything you say seems very logical. I'll stop worrying! I have enough to worry about in a normal day, right?!
One thing I did just notice on Marlie just now - (I also walk her dogs some days!, and just checked in on Marlie) is that there is a spot on his side - it's hard to tell what it is, I didn't have my magnifying glass with me, but it's noticeable because he is a brilliant dark blue, and with just a little look with these bad eyes - it almost struck me like it looked like an eye - it's a yellowish color - I'm going up later to take a better look, especially when she does the water change -
what do you think? it's behind his gills on the body, sort of right below them and behind them.

#12 Eudie

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:37 PM

Any chance of a picture?




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