New betta - dropsy, swim bladder disease or constipation?

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sparklepuff

AC Members
Feb 6, 2021
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Hello all,

I recently acquired my second betta, Nero, after losing my first, Razzle to a suspected infection after he developed popeye and become extremely weak. He was a Petsmart purchase, and sadly did not respond to the antibiotics/water changes I gave him. I think my having been using the wrong products to treat him (Melafix) before consulting this forum may have put his body under too much stress as well.

I want to be sure I respond to Nero's illness correctly and promptly. I purchased him from a local shop about two weeks ago, where all the bettas looked healthy, per recommendation from this forum. When I first brought him home, I made sure my tank was cycled. However, within about three days, he became lethargic and was laying on the bottom of the tank. I performed an ~50% water change (I didn't want to stress him out too much by doing 100%), as well as removed two decorations that I had purchased on Amazon (I noticed the water had become cloudy very quickly, and wanted to rule out the decorations being the cause, though I had boiled them...I replaced them with a new silk plant). I used pre-conditioned water, as well as Seachem stability. After this, he perked up within 24 hours. The water completely cleared within about 2 days.

About two days ago, I noticed his stomach had become bloated, and that some poop was hanging. It didn't detach for over 24 hours. Previously, I had been feeding him what I thought was a recommended amount. His food is the Aqueon Pro Betta formula, which he seems to like/gobble down, and I hadn't been feeding him very much at all (only about 4 pellets once per day since that seemed to be how much he could eat within a few minutes).

Since then, I have been fasting him and monitoring him closely. Currently, there is a long, thinner, mostly transparent string of poop (?) still attached to him, I'm not sure if its the same one as before. I was think of trying to feed him a pea today since I read elsewhere that the fiber might be beneficial for constipation, but did also notice him hovering vertically close to the surface, which leads me to believe it might be more of. a swim bladder issue. Dropsy has also occurred to me, but thankfully his scales do not look like they are protruding. However, I have noticed he appears more gold on his stomach, and his face is discolored. (I attached a photo of him from when I first got him, as you can see he was completely black with a bit of silverish blue).

It was hard to get pictures of him, but would love some input on what he looks like, if possible. As you can see, he can swim to the top of the tank. Today, he has been inside of his hideout a lot, but did come out when I turned on my room lights. Apologies for the resolution, it is hard to get a proper photo due to his color. Also, if there are any higher -fiber foods you would recommend, I would love to hear them.

Thank you so much!

IMG_2259.jpeg

IMG_2294.jpeg

IMG_2298.jpeg
 

Sprinkle

AC Members
Mar 21, 2020
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ouch! poor boi! from my experience with livebearers, which usually come infected with a burden of different parasites, i would say its parasites. Internal parasites, internal worms. I would recommend you doing a course of Levaminsole and afterwards Flubendanzole.

As for his diet, I am slightly concerned. Usually such cheap commercial fish food have no nutritional value for fish, and bettas are piscivores which means they eat mainly bugs in nature. I would give him 2-3 pellets once per week only, I would fast him once per week, I would give him frozen bloodworms once per week then on other days I would give him other frozen foods such as daphnia, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp and white mosquito larvae. Just try not to overfeed him.

And couple routine questions. How big is the tank? Is there a filter? Is it cycled? What filter is that (if there is one)? What are test results for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Exact numbers needed and not just 'its ok'.
 

sparklepuff

AC Members
Feb 6, 2021
13
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24
ouch! poor boi! from my experience with livebearers, which usually come infected with a burden of different parasites, i would say its parasites. Internal parasites, internal worms. I would recommend you doing a course of Levaminsole and afterwards Flubendanzole.

As for his diet, I am slightly concerned. Usually such cheap commercial fish food have no nutritional value for fish, and bettas are piscivores which means they eat mainly bugs in nature. I would give him 2-3 pellets once per week only, I would fast him once per week, I would give him frozen bloodworms once per week then on other days I would give him other frozen foods such as daphnia, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp and white mosquito larvae. Just try not to overfeed him.

And couple routine questions. How big is the tank? Is there a filter? Is it cycled? What filter is that (if there is one)? What are test results for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Exact numbers needed and not just 'its ok'.
Thank you so much for your message. The tank is 3.5 gallons (it is from a brand called Koller), with an internal power filter that came with. It is cycled. I ordered him a 5 gallon tank (it took me a little while to find one that I liked) and sponge filter that arrived a few days ago (he doesn't seem to like the flow with the current too much, even though it is pretty gentle) but I haven't moved him into it yet since he's not feeling well. I sensed the food was not the best choice and will definitely order some better options.

The test results are:
0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia.
 

Sprinkle

AC Members
Mar 21, 2020
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Is he usually in the corner like that? he shouldnt be, internal filters to strong for fish that do not like fast water flow. you should get him a sponge filter, these are gentle. Is there something you use to remove nitrates? you should be getting some if the tank is cycled, it apparently is not due to no nitrates showing.
 
Apr 7, 2021
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Hello all,

I recently acquired my second betta, Nero, after losing my first, Razzle to a suspected infection after he developed popeye and become extremely weak. He was a Petsmart purchase, and sadly did not respond to the antibiotics/water changes I gave him. I think my having been using the wrong products to treat him (Melafix) before consulting this forum may have put his body under too much stress as well.

I want to be sure I respond to Nero's illness correctly and promptly. I purchased him from a local shop about two weeks ago, where all the bettas looked healthy, per recommendation from this forum. When I first brought him home, I made sure my tank was cycled. However, within about three days, he became lethargic and was laying on the bottom of the tank. I performed an ~50% water change (I didn't want to stress him out too much by doing 100%), as well as removed two decorations that I had purchased on Amazon (I noticed the water had become cloudy very quickly, and wanted to rule out the decorations being the cause, though I had boiled them...I replaced them with a new silk plant). I used pre-conditioned water, as well as Seachem stability. After this, he perked up within 24 hours. The water completely cleared within about 2 days.

About two days ago, I noticed his stomach had become bloated, and that some poop was hanging. It didn't detach for over 24 hours. Previously, I had been feeding him what I thought was a recommended amount. His food is the Aqueon Pro Betta formula, which he seems to like/gobble down, and I hadn't been feeding him very much at all (only about 4 pellets once per day since that seemed to be how much he could eat within a few minutes).

Since then, I have been fasting him and monitoring him closely. Currently, there is a long, thinner, mostly transparent string of poop (?) still attached to him, I'm not sure if its the same one as before. I was think of trying to feed him a pea today since I read elsewhere that the fiber might be beneficial for constipation, but did also notice him hovering vertically close to the surface, which leads me to believe it might be more of. a swim bladder issue. Dropsy has also occurred to me, but thankfully his scales do not look like they are protruding. However, I have noticed he appears more gold on his stomach, and his face is discolored. (I attached a photo of him from when I first got him, as you can see he was completely black with a bit of silverish blue).

It was hard to get pictures of him, but would love some input on what he looks like, if possible. As you can see, he can swim to the top of the tank. Today, he has been inside of his hideout a lot, but did come out when I turned on my room lights. Apologies for the resolution, it is hard to get a proper photo due to his color. Also, if there are any higher -fiber foods you would recommend, I would love to hear them.

Thank you so much!

View attachment 229711

View attachment 229712

View attachment 229713
If the betta is not able to swim down its swim bladder
 

NoahLikesFish

AC Members
Dec 1, 2020
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Indiana
Real Name
Noah
Hello all,

I recently acquired my second betta, Nero, after losing my first, Razzle to a suspected infection after he developed popeye and become extremely weak. He was a Petsmart purchase, and sadly did not respond to the antibiotics/water changes I gave him. I think my having been using the wrong products to treat him (Melafix) before consulting this forum may have put his body under too much stress as well.

I want to be sure I respond to Nero's illness correctly and promptly. I purchased him from a local shop about two weeks ago, where all the bettas looked healthy, per recommendation from this forum. When I first brought him home, I made sure my tank was cycled. However, within about three days, he became lethargic and was laying on the bottom of the tank. I performed an ~50% water change (I didn't want to stress him out too much by doing 100%), as well as removed two decorations that I had purchased on Amazon (I noticed the water had become cloudy very quickly, and wanted to rule out the decorations being the cause, though I had boiled them...I replaced them with a new silk plant). I used pre-conditioned water, as well as Seachem stability. After this, he perked up within 24 hours. The water completely cleared within about 2 days.

About two days ago, I noticed his stomach had become bloated, and that some poop was hanging. It didn't detach for over 24 hours. Previously, I had been feeding him what I thought was a recommended amount. His food is the Aqueon Pro Betta formula, which he seems to like/gobble down, and I hadn't been feeding him very much at all (only about 4 pellets once per day since that seemed to be how much he could eat within a few minutes).

Since then, I have been fasting him and monitoring him closely. Currently, there is a long, thinner, mostly transparent string of poop (?) still attached to him, I'm not sure if its the same one as before. I was think of trying to feed him a pea today since I read elsewhere that the fiber might be beneficial for constipation, but did also notice him hovering vertically close to the surface, which leads me to believe it might be more of. a swim bladder issue. Dropsy has also occurred to me, but thankfully his scales do not look like they are protruding. However, I have noticed he appears more gold on his stomach, and his face is discolored. (I attached a photo of him from when I first got him, as you can see he was completely black with a bit of silverish blue).

It was hard to get pictures of him, but would love some input on what he looks like, if possible. As you can see, he can swim to the top of the tank. Today, he has been inside of his hideout a lot, but did come out when I turned on my room lights. Apologies for the resolution, it is hard to get a proper photo due to his color. Also, if there are any higher -fiber foods you would recommend, I would love to hear them.

Thank you so much!

View attachment 229711

View attachment 229712

View attachment 229713
Melafix isnt for diseases it’s only good to treat cuts and stuff on larger fish and if you dose too much it can kill labryinthfish
 

Wyomingite

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Oct 16, 2008
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If the betta is not able to swim down its swim bladder
That's incorrect. Swim bladder disorders can include problems that cause a fish to lose buoyancy and sink as well as those that make it float, and other problems may cause a fish to stay at the top as well. Also, it may well be able to swim down and is choosing not to.

As for treatment, well, I hate trying to diagnose diseases. It could be a parasite or an infection. You can treat for one or the other, and if it doesn't seem better in a few days start treating for the other.

WYite
 
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Sprinkle

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Mar 21, 2020
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As for treatment, well, I hate trying to diagnose diseases. It could be a parasite or an infection. You can treat for one or the other, and if it doesn't seem better in a few days start treating for the other.
I hate that too, but sometimes we have to help fish :) See the fighters poop, stringy, its worms. So a course of Levaminsole first then with Flubendanzole. 100%, I still have to treat my livebearers for wormies :)
 

NoahLikesFish

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Dec 1, 2020
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Noah
[
That's incorrect. Swim bladder disorders can include problems that cause a fish to lose buoyancy and sink as well as those that make it float, and other problems may cause a fish to stay at the top as well. Also, it may well be able to swim down and is choosing not to.

As for treatment, well, I hate trying to diagnose diseases. It could be a parasite or an infection. You can treat for one or the other, and if it doesn't seem better in a few days start treating for the other.

WYite
[/QUOTE +1 fish like hawkfish don’t have a working swim bladder and they sink and fish Can float too
 
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