Meet Albus - we're working on curing his fin rot and swim bladder disease (advice and encouragement welcome😊)


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Sep 14, 2021
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Portland, OR
Hello everyone,

Some of you might have seen my post a couple of weeks ago about Sam, my first almost-dead-cup-Betta. Unfortunately, Sam didn't make it and it was devastating. After staring at his empty tank for a few days I went back to my local big box store. I talked to the same manager as before who had let me have Sam for free and he told me he had another guy in the back who he didn’t think would survive much longer. I agreed to take him and the manager brought a white opal male from the back. Apart from the fin rot he was floating at the top of the cup on his side.

Since he’s white and I’m a) a millennial and b) not very creative, I named him Albus. As soon as I got home I moved him into his 10g tank and read up all I could about swim bladder disease. The most common cause seems to be feeding issues/bloating but he didn’t look bloated to me. If anything he looked very thin. I figured I’d just let him be for a day, let him enjoy some clean, cycled water, and see what happens. After 24 hours he was still floating on top of the tank at all times but no longer on his side. At least he was now the right side up. I started feeding him very small portions of frozen daphnia a few times a day. That was a learning experience all by itself as the stupid daphnia kept sinking and then of course he couldn’t reach it :fun: . But we figured it out eventually. After 48 hours he perked up a little more but the floating on top hadn’t got any better. I decided to follow aquarium coop’s guide on aquarium salt treatments (link here). I’ve treated fish with it before and I figured if nothing else it’ll help his fins heal and if he did have some kind of bacterial infection it would help with that as well. We did the level 1 treatment and we’re now 2 days into it.

Then this morning I freaked out a little - I could not find him. I scanned the entire surface. The lid was on so he could not have jumped. Suddenly he showed up - and that’s when I learned that he is now able to swim down into the tank. He is not able to stay there by himself, but will immediately float up again. But he has figured out that the leaves of the plants will hold him down! So he’ll use all his might to get down below a plant leaf and let that keep him there. I am so impressed! What a smart little guy! We’ve now also added frozen blood worms and freshly hatched baby brine shrimp to his diet and he seems to really love both of those.

I have no clue whether the salt did anything or not, but I’m just thrilled he’s doing better. Please send all your positive energy to my boy Albus so that maybe soon he’ll be swimming all over the tank!

Albus floating in his stupid little cup

After 24 hours, no longer on his side

The S shape his body made, that I read was a clear sign of swim bladder disease

Albus using a leaf to hold him under water :)
He looks better than i I expected. I wonder if he was shredding his own fins, frustrated being in the cup. His eyes look good.
The poor little creatures . Every time I see them I wish I could take them all home with me . Just getting out of those cups and into warmer water makes the biggest difference. The lights never go out in those stores either and that messes with them . The constant motion of people going by and picking them up and shaking them around stresses them too . They have a tough life until someone takes them home . I think Bettas have a unique personality among aquarium fish and recognize their owner more than other fish and also seem to have a feel for your attitude. I keep my Bettas warm. They respond to that little kindness well . 80 to 82 is good . No rough or turbulent filtration and a good tight cover to keep their surface air moist . I keep mine in softer water too. That’s easy with a Betta and his small home . Cut your tap water with a little distilled water and he will love you for it .
A little Albus update: he's now been with me for almost a week and he seems to be getting better. I'm still wary about getting my hopes up, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Here are two videos of him - please excuse the video quality. The tank is across the room from a window and I haven't turned the tank lights on yet (since he was stuck at the top of the tank I figured he couldn't get away from them) so there's a lot of glare.

The first video is from his first day when he was just floating on top. He had trouble just staying upright and propelling himself forward. Could not dive down from the top at all.

The second video is from day 6, four days into the salt treatment. You can see he is swimming much better and can even dive down a little although he is pulled back up pretty quickly

Albus update: He's doing great! :wub: He is swimming all over the tank, no more issues with his swim bladder. His fins have healed beautifully as well. There is now absolutely no doubt in my mind anymore that this boy is a fail - a foster fail. He has found his forever home and will move into his new 10g planted tank at some point next week. This will also leave the "rescue tank" ready for a new inhabitant - although the fact that Albus is now staying is setting a bad precedent and I'm not sure I'm cut out for rescue and adopt out missions :angel:


Wowsers what a difference! What a stunner! Well done you 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
We needed a good success story! Thank you, you and Albus. He is beautiful and I love his little violet highlight. That purple plant is perfect for lots of rest spots for him. That’s one happy fish!

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