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Betta Swim Bladder Disorder (help)


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I’ve been fighting this for a while now.  This is a long post but I’m getting worried and would really appreciate help. TL;DR I’ve fasted him and given him cooked frozen pea three times now and wondering what to do next.

5 gallon, running since 2020. Temp 77-78F Ammonia 0, PH 7.4-7.6, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5-10 (today).  Started fertilizing tank with Easy Green a month ago.  Been testing water every few days and the parameters have stayed good except for nitrate around 20 a week ago, which I water changed down to 10 ish. I do have a Cyanobacteria bloom right now, probably because I raised the temp and the higher nitrates.

I’ve had him about six weeks. Mostly feeding 3 or 4 pellets of Hikari Bio-Gold, and he grabs some of the flake I put in for the 2 endlers in the tank.  Couple of weeks ago, I noticed he was positively buoyant and having trouble swimming down. Fasted him for 3 days, then fed him a smidge of a cooked frozen pea. He was swimming perfect the next day, so I gave him one pellet and half a frozen mysis shrimp and he immediately was too buoyant again. Raised the temp to 78, fasted 4 days, pea again, this time he was just a smidge negatively buoyant and his tail would sink if he he wasn’t actively swimming. The next day he got a single mysis shrimp. Immediately stuck at the surface again.  Fasted another 3 days, yesterday he got pea again, and now he’s negatively buoyant and his tail sinks when he’s not moving forward again. His color and fins look good, no loss of appetite, but he is tired and spends most of his time resting on plants. The only poop I’ve seen was mostly white with a brown tip.

LFS says to try feeding pea for a couple more days, but I’m worried because the only protein he’s had in the last two weeks is a pellet and 1 1/2 mysis shrimp. 

I don’t want to salt the tank because I’ve worked really hard on those plants and the buce is really special to me. Hospital tank is occupied with quarantining neons. I might be able to move them, but sanitizing that tank will kill the nitrifying bacteria. Don’t want to medicate the betta’s tank with maracyn because I’m afraid it’ll kill my nitrifying bacteria and I’m pretty convinced it’s a digestive tract issue since he gets worse immediately after feeding.  

I’m thinking maybe Epsom salt bath next but I’m a little scared it might stress him and make him worse. Any advice appreciated!


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