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LilWillow91

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Hi there everyone! New to the community but not quite new to fish keeping. I am setting up a hospital tank for my betta who is having swim bladder issues from poor water quality and possibly the unsoaked pellets I was feeding. Potentially oversharing here but I have been very sick for nearly a year and sadly my tank upkeep was lacking for quite a while as a result.

Anyways, He is swimming and resting lopsidedly and has trouble staying stationary. I do not see any pineconing and despite his difficulties he shows desire to engage with me and has a normal appetite. The recent large water change and switch to an alternating diet of flakes, bug bites, and frozen brine shrimp seems to have perked him up even more.

Today I purchased a 5.5g tank and set it up with multiple floating things for him to support himself on. I used half newly treated water and half from his current 30g community tank. I’ve also added freshwater aquarium salt as a gentle first line treatment. I’ve filled the small tank about 6-7” full and am waiting for it to warm up to the temp of the community tank (78F). The thermometer pictured is a backup bc I immediately shattered the nicer new one I just bought 🤦🏼‍♀️. I did not add substrate so I can watch for bowel movements and Ive placed a towel over the back of the tank to add some darkness and shield from the mirror behind the tank. Note, there is no heater (though I purchased a 50w adjustable just in case) bc the room the tank is in is nearly 80 during the day and only dips to around 75 at night.

I am not using a filter in the hospital tank bc I believe it will be too much water agitation for the little guy and have installed a small air stone instead.

My question is this; Does a betta hospital tank need air circulation from either a filter or bubbler or will this just further stress him? I have seen conflicting information online such as them being accustomed to stagnant low-oxygen water but a lack of oxygenated water causing or worsening health problems. I’m worried the lack of circulation/ oxygen will make it even harder for him to heal.

If you all have any other suggestions for my quarantine set up or how to transition him with as little stress as possible I’d love to hear them. Also if anyone has figured out how to make an air stone rest at the bottom of the tank without substrate I’d kill to know haha.
Thanks so much!
 

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An air operated sponge filter is suitable for a Betta tank and you can reduce the air so there isn't too much.

Airstones can be held down with suction cups that usually fail after 6months, or an old fishing sinker. Use sinkers that are dark grey (not shiny silver) and tie them around the airline where it joins the airstone.

Hospital tanks should always have some aeration and water movement to help keep the oxygen levels up and to circulate medication if any is added. Bettas can breathe in water and also have a labyrinth organ that lets them take in air from the atmosphere and use the oxygen in it. This allows them to live in stagnant water. However, if a fish is sick, it can have problems getting to the surface to breath air and having aeration in the tank will keep the oxygen levels in the water high so the fish doesn't have to surface for air.

Don't use salt in his tank unless he has an issue that can respond to salt treatment.

Post a video of the fish on YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.

Feeding a variety of dry, frozen and maybe live foods, as well as doing big regular water changes, can help most fish heal up without the need for medications.
 
Thank you so much for all of your advice! I will get a video of him tomorrow and do a water change to remove some of the salt. I do think some time away from the others to rest, high quality food, and frequent water changes will have him right as rain in no time. 🤞
Just ordered this filter:
 

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I like his attachment to his flower bed - adorable! Do you have to keep an eye on evaporation levels to make sure the water is deep enough in the flower?

How about making the little tank his permanent home once he is well?
You could add substrate, heater and live plants. A lid is important so that he is breathing warm moist air at the surface.
Betta can be stressed in a community tank, as can other fish kept with them.

Remember to do water changes every day or two to keep ammonia levels as low as possible.
 
I like his attachment to his flower bed - adorable! Do you have to keep an eye on evaporation levels to make sure the water is deep enough in the flower?

How about making the little tank his permanent home once he is well?
You could add substrate, heater and live plants. A lid is important so that he is breathing warm moist air at the surface.
Betta can be stressed in a community tank, as can other fish kept with them.

Remember to do water changes every day or two to keep ammonia levels as low as possible.
He is very attached to the one in the community tank, moreso than any betta I’ve kept before. I always provide them with one though just in case and it worked out great with this guy. Yes! I have to be very aware of water levels. I was doing a water change in the main tank the other day, made sure he wasn’t on it as I began the siphon, looked back and he was back on the flower half out of the water like Ehh🫠! I scrambled so fast to pour him back in the water. Goofy stubborn boy.

I’ve added the heater today. I didn’t like that the temperature went down 4 degrees over night. He needs stability. The tank has a glass versa top to hold in humidity. I’ll consider setting him up permanently in this tank but I worry it’s too small. I like to give my males 10g but I don’t currently have the space since I’ve had to move back in with my parents.

He seems to get along just fine with the other fish, they all ignore eachother, though the rasboras are very fast with food so I have to add more than I’d like to ensure he gets his share. A personal tank might be better for him for that reason.
 
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The fish looks bloated on one side and the scales appear to be sticking out a bit when he turns. That shouldn't happen.

If he is eating well and his poop looks normal coloured, then he might have a growth (tumour or cyst) inside his body. There's no cure for this and fish are normally euthanised when they can't swim properly or stop eating.
 
The fish looks bloated on one side and the scales appear to be sticking out a bit when he turns. That shouldn't happen.

If he is eating well and his poop looks normal coloured, then he might have a growth (tumour or cyst) inside his body. There's no cure for this and fish are normally euthanised when they can't swim properly or stop eating.
His scales don’t have any pineconing when resting but because of that bloating and then further stretching when turning I can see why they may stick out while making that movement. Do you think I should try giving him an epsom salt soak? He has had normal colored bowel movements in his hospital tank and has eaten. I’m keeping a close eye on him and doing 25% water changes every other day. I guess only time will tell. I’m holding out hope.
 
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He’s swimming around the tank more today also! He still sinks rather quickly though. I managed to get a couple better pictures of the bloated side. The poor baby looks so haggard. Im ashamed of myself for letting this happen to him. The white string on the tank in one picture is a dog hair, I had to investigate myself after seeing the photo.
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You can try an Epsom salt bath but if he seems to be improving, maybe hold off and see how he goes. The less he is handled and the less stress he is under, the better he will be.
 

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