Constipated Betta with Swollen Belly

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An t-iasg

Aquarium Advice Addict
Aug 9, 2003
Criders Corners, PA
Hi everyone,
My one betta is rather prone to constipation. I try to vary their diet, and I'm going to get some freeze-dried bloodworms soon.

This betta will have some poop hanging off him, but it will fall off in a few hours, or the next day. But last night, he had a big string hanging from him. This morning, the string has turned fuzzy white, and there looks like a very big chunk next to his belly. His belly is also very swollen. He has never looked like this before. I gave him a mashed pea around noon. It still didn't make him "go" yet. I thought it would, since his digestive system is, what? 3 centimeters long? LOL!

Should I QT him and give him some fungus med, or an antibiotic, since the poop string is fuzzy? I have Jungle fungus eliminator and Kanacyn antibiotic, and Maracyn II on hand. Should I give him another pea later? He ate the first pea. He's a little listless, but not too bad. Any other suggestions?

This is tank cleaning day. The ammonia and nitrites are 0, and the nitrates are 20 ppm. I guess I could wait, if a tank cleaning will be too stressful now. It's a 5 1/2 gallon tank, and it cycled, but since it's so small and my only filtration is a sponge filter, I put in a new gallon of water every week. Thanks!
I'm giving them Betta Bits mostly. I also give them Bio-Blend Betta once in a while because it sounds like it's good for them. They spit it out, though, but eat it eventually. The bloodworms in a gel I think they like, but you can't really save the gel pack, so lot of it goes to waste. My lfs doesn't have the Hikari bloodworms, so I'll order them the next time I need to make an on-line order, probably in the next week or two. I also read that spirulina flakes are an okay flake food for bettas once in a while too. I don't know -- the little jar says "food for all algae grazers." Both my bettas get the same diet, and one is ok. The other one gets constipated more often. I think I'll give him another pea later and see if he wants to eat it.
I don't suppose squeezing them would help? Pop it like a pimple!

[ for the love of god don't squeeze your fish, this is a joke ;) ]
HaHaHa! :lol:
Boy, if only that would help! He doesn't seem to be doing any worse. But I don't think I'll give him another pea or anything else to eat right now.

I think I'm going to put him in the critter keeper with some Jungle Fungus Eliminator. As I net him, if (IF!) I can pull that fuzzy poop string thing off him, I will. I hope this helps!
I put the betta in the critter keeper last night with some Jungle Fungus Eliminator. It also said on the jar that it helps body bloat. He is unchanged since last night. I guess that's somewhat good...I was afraid to come downstairs this morning!

His scales are sticking out a little, very little. He doesn't look like the dropsy pics I've seen. I hope it's just because he' s very bloated/swollen. The other betta, still in the tank, is fine.

What else can I do or is this pretty much it...just wait? I didn't give him any food this morning. Should I try another pea? I don't know if he wants to eat or not. He's just so bloated I didn't want to put anything else in him.
If he doesn't get better, you can try giving him castor oil (or cod liver oil)...kinda tricky to force feed a fish though (one technique is to soak a piece of food in the oil).

You might want to read up on Dropsy, too, if you've been feeding him a varied diet, and he still gets swollen, he might have whats referred to as "chronic dropsy" (FYI dropsy isn't an ailment in of itself, rather a symptom of other problems...usually refers to a swollen "dropped" belly!).

good luck!
*nods and agrees with sweets*

If the peas and stuff haven't helped, its time to consider bloat *sigh* As sweets said, its not a disease in and of itself, but a sign of other disease; basically the kidneys are shutting down, the fish is unable to process enough water and winds up retaining most of it. It does not require that raised scale/pinecone look, although thats the easiest way to diagnose. Theres some pics and some recommendations here:

Best thing to do is make sure water parameters are PERFECT, and try a broad spectrum antibiotic as they suggest.
I've also read that EPSOM (only epsom!) salt can be used to help draw out some of the fluid...1/8th tsp per 5 gallons.

the dropsy isn't always an acute infection (esp if this bloat seems to be chronic). Goldfish are particularly prone to dropsy, so I've done a bit of reading on it. Sometimes it's caused by worms, or cancers, or even food allergies (sounds weird, but it can happen!). But definitely go ahead and get the antibiotic, hopefully it'll clear it up.

good luck!
Thank you so much, guys! I did look at that website and it said try Kanacyn, which I have here. I just gave him the fungus eliminator last night. Should I dump it out and give the Kanacyn, or is that just too much stress? He is still unchanged, by the way.

This is puzzling since I've had him for a little over a year. I really don't think it was some error on my part, but, if it is, I pray he recovers from my stupidity! How would he just get some kind of infection now? (Like you said, Sweets, this betta has had mild constipation often; it could just be chronic in him). They seemed to enjoy the new tank very much. The other betta in the tank looks fine. Should I medicate him?? Tear down the tank? Well, I guess I won't jump to conclusions yet.

I could try the codliver oil and epsom salt--it might help and it couldn't hurt!
I'd go for the Kanacyn ASAP. If it is bacterial, the sooner he's on the meds, the better.

A healthy fish (just like any creature!) can get an infection. Sometimes it just happens. If they were healthy to begin with, then they have a much better chance of fighting it off.

I wouldn't medicate the other fish until he shows signs of illness. Antibiotics aren't really good for anybody, fish included, unless there's actually a harmful infection.
Thanks again, Allivymar and Sweetsuvvyb,
I mixed up the Kanacyn in the other critter keeper and put him in there. His condition is still unchanged. I did manage to get that string off was a little red, but his belly isn't red. The Kanacyn said it helps with hemorrhaging, so maybe if he's bleeding, it will help. I hope he gets better! I read that dropsy is very contagious. I think that maybe the infection started with constipation. In that case, is my other fish at risk, do you think? He is still in the tank and looks fine. He's not prone to constipation like the other one is.
It isn't so much that an infection starts with an infection can potentially cause this kind of blockage. And again...dropsy can't be contagious...since it's not an illness! If you go back to that link Alli gave you, it says the infection that can cause dropsy isn't too contagious...I'd still keep an eye on your other betta.

If the antibiotics don't seem to be having an immediate effect, you can go ahead an try the epsom salts...
Sorry...In my haste, (and sadness over my betta's illness!) I did not read the new link carefully. I do remember another site that said dropsy is most likely thought of as contagious. That's the site where it said spirulina flakes are ok for bettas once in a while...hmmm...

Well, there is no real change...he's hanging in there! I will look at that as positive, although the previously mentioned site said it may take a few weeks to kill them.

So, I'm not scheduled to give him some more Kanacyn until tomorrow. Can you combine epsom salt with Kanacyn? I also got some caster oil. Both epsom salts and caster oil say they are laxatives. I thought I would put one betta bite in the oil and see if he eats it. Then after he recovers, do that once a week maybe to keep things moving. Could I use the salts and the castor oil at roughly the same time, or would that be too much?
I would say use the epsom salt over the caster oil. Caster oil can be harmful, at least to humans. I know from personal experience and an evil practical joke :twisted: that epson salt works well in people. (especially mixed in gatoraid)

Given that the fish is so small don't combine the two. I wouldn't do it in a person.
Hi eveyone, and thanks for your help, but I'm sorry to report that my betta died last night. He laid at the bottom of the bowl all day and didn't move, but he was still alive, up to about 9 pm. My husband broke the news to me. The betta lost all his color except for his fins. When my hubby removed him from the critter keeper, we saw that he had a huge red bump on his left side. We couldn't see that from how he was lying in there. I don't think there was anything more I could have done.

Looking back, he was always kind of constipated. He had a very bad illness last May. His belly was a little swollen, but he recovered. I gave him Clout, and then Jungle Fungus Eliminator, and he didn't move for 6 days, but then, he made a face at me (flared) and started to build a bubble nest. So he recovered then, but this infection was just too bad. I had him for a year and a month, and he had a happy life!

His name was Little Stephie, pronounced "steffy", and he was named after my husband, Steve! So here's an angel for my Little Stephie :angel:
You gave him a good home, and tried your hardest to save him. Sometimes despite your best efforts, there just isn't anything that can save our little guys :(

He might've even had a cancer in his belly, or something that's been affecting him for a long time.

Obviously he was happy in your home, and that's all we ever hope for with our pets!
Awww. I'm sorry An :(

I do have to say, you did an amazing job keeping that lil guy alive as long as you did. He had a few extra months he would not have gotten many other places (cept in fish tanks owned by the people here LOL).
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