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Overfed betta - next steps


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The problem: Two weeks ago I got live black worms for Chuck (my ~5-6mo old betta) and thought they'd hide quickly. They didn't and he ate 5-10 before I put him in a time-out breeder box that I set up in the same tank. He has been in time out since then, with three 10-30 minute supervised excursions out of the box during this time period. During at least one of these he ate another worm (I've vacuumed the tank twice now to remove as many worms as possible -- population significantly decreased but not eliminated). I fed him 1/4 shelled boiled pea 1.5 weeks ago and 2 days ago; otherwise have not fed him. I've seen some feces but maybe not as much as I'd expect and his abdomen still looks distended. He is very active and normal outside of the breeder box, and was normal inside the breeder box as well until a few days ago, when he started to look more depressed and I noticed pale horizontal stripes. I've let him out of the breeder box tonight and he's acting normal -- I think being in the breeder box is bumming him out.


  1.  Persistent abdominal distension -- should I be concerned based on its presence alone, vs only if seems otherwise sick, vs not concerned and this is expected to take a long time to resolve after such a huge meal?
  2. Do I need to continue fasting him? If so, complete fast vs feed less than normal?

Tank stuff:

  • 14gal planted tank with Chuck, kuhlis, neon tetras, a hillstream loach, amanos, snails
  • pH=7.0
  • Nitrate=0
  • GH=30
  • Nitrite=0
  • Ammonia=0
  • KH=40
  • Water temp=80F

Thank you for your help!



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I don't think there's a need to fast him after that long. Don't feed any more shelled peas. Bettas are more carnivorous than not and peas will not actually help with the bloating; I'd recommend trying baby brine shrimp or daphnia (live or frozen would both work) as they will have the laxative effect you're looking for... if your betta eats them, lol. My betta doesn't acknowledge daphnia as food! 

@Colu also advised me once to try 10 minute epsom salt baths (1 tablespoon pure epsom salt to 2 gallons of water for 10 minutes) to help relieve bloating, and that helped my gourami in the past. If he's acting normal though I'd just continue onward, feed modestly, and see if the bloating changes. Colu might have some more advice for you if he needs any medical treatment.

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Thank you very much. I've done as you've said (incl offering daphnia) and he continues to be active and be interested in food. I've left him out in the tank, took away the breeder box. Is there a time point after which I should intervene if the bloat and/or pale stripes haven't resolved?

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If you start to see no improvement in the bloating after 5 days I would do Epsom salt baths 1 table spoon for 2 gallons for no more than 15 minutes 2-3 times a day for a couple of days as Epsom salt acts as a muscle relaxant  and the stripes on your Betta are caused by stress once he settles down  they should go away 

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