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Old 09-13-2015, 02:02 PM   #1
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Betta fish not swimming properly

I don't know my tank specs.

Its a 5 gallon with fluval filter.

I've had this Betta for about a year now. Originally saved him from Wallmart... and he is an awesome fish but I feel like he is nearing the end of his life way too soon... He cant swim properly, he floats to the surface and has to really try hard to swim down and when he does he hides under something so he wont float up. He wasn't always like this. His body is starting to look a tad bit crooked. And he is bloated... I've stopped the feeding for several days off and on, I only feed one or two pellets a day max, or one blood worm, and I've tried feeding him the inside of peas... None of that is working. Let me know if I need to post pictures.

I'm at a loss here. Any thoughts? Is there some medicine I should give him? Aquarium salt? Anything? Or is it just a matter of time?

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Old 09-13-2015, 02:05 PM   #2
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Betta fish not swimming properly

Could you please include more information about the tank?
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:20 PM   #3
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I don't have any information. I don't know the water quality, I don't have a test kit with me at school. But it's a cycled tank, fluval spec 5 gallon to be specific, Temperature is about 78, sand bottom, I would test the water but like I said my master test kit is at home... I could go to petco and ask them to test it but we all know how reliable that it.
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
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Sounds like a problem with his swim bladder. That can be caused by multiple things including severe constipation or a bacterial infection.
Another possibility is a bacterial infection that has caused dropsy. If it is that, you see a slight pinecone appearance on the scales where they stick out. Though, the buoyancy issues sound more like swim bladder problems to me. The 2 issues can be similar though and both can be caused by bacterial infection.
Does he still have an appetite? Did he eat the pea at all?
How often do you do water changes? I assume you do not have a test kit since you did not know the parameters of the tank. That is ok, but I do suggest doing a water change, and making sure to keep extra on top of the water quality while the betta is feeling under the weather.
Not knowing how long the betta has been like this or how bad it is, I will just tell you that if you do end up trying antibiotics I suggest a combo of maracyn and maracyn II. I am not sure how critical the issue is, but since it seems to have been going on a bit, and the change in body shape definitely suggests a more serious issue at this point than just a bit of constipation.


EDIT: Sorry, started typing before you said your kit is at home.
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:49 PM   #5
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If you fear constipation induced swim bladder but are not ready for the full antibiotic treatment, you could try an Epsom salt bath. You mix 1 tbsp. per gallon of water (you can remove water from your tank to do this during a water change) and then let the betta swim around in it for 15 minutes to half an hour. That can help relieve the constipation, though it will not do anything to help any underlying infections.
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:55 PM   #6
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He doesn't have dropsy. I know that. You're probably right about constipation induced swim bladder. I should have brought my test kit. Its not like my mom is going to use it while I'm gone. But I didn't think about it.

I do water changes every 1-2 weeks. 50%. Just did one a couple of hours ago actually. He does still have an appetite and yes he ate the pea... Ive fed him peas several times. A tiny bit of the inside the size of his eye. But it never seems to help. I think I will try the salt baths and see if that helps him. Thank you for the help!
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:58 PM   #7
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UPDATE: He is swimming semi-normally. I think I'll do salt before trying any aggressive medications. Again, thanks for the help!
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:04 PM   #8
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Sounds good! The salt bath is still stressful of a fish, but less so than the antibiotic set. It can sometimes knock loose some poo that the pea fails to get moving. The fact that he has an appetite still and is swimming a bit more normal are great signs for his recovery.
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:18 PM   #9
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Oh, and it sounds like you are doing decent water changes, so I have doubts that your parameters are too out of whack. You can always check around you for a different store and ask them about doing a test for you, just to see. I agree that it could be less than accurate, but it still will give you a good idea. I would be surprised if you have a water quality issue though since you are doing regular water changes and only have 1 fish in the tank.
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