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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Betta, Fred, is a real piggy and he likes to eat a LOT. Well, I've gone and made him quite fat. He's been getting live blackworms and betta food and also a little bit of guppy food that he steals. I've been thinking it over and the best solution I can come up with to allow the rest of the gang to eat regularly but Fred to maintain his diet, is to buy one of those little floating fry tanks that you can stick in the tank and it floats around and let's the inhabitant still see everything in the tank but without giving access to and from the tank. I'm thinking I can put him in there 2 days a week for fasting. Would this be stressful to him? I'm kind of thinking it would be more stressful to seperate him completely. He's the only Betta in the tank but gets along well with the rest of the inhabitants.
I read that Bettas can become constipated. What does it look like if they are? His scales are fine and not sticking out like pine cones. Is there any way to identify Betta poop specifically so I can see if he's going as he should? (No, I'm not being silly, I mean it).

Ishy
 

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He needs to be put on a diet not fasted. That means to feed him properly every day and not just fast him a couple days a week and let him pig it out the rest of the week. Overfeeding is the main cause of betta deaths once they are given good homes. It is basically killing them with kindness. Bettas have no self discipline when it comes to food in a tank and as long as the food is there it is going to be eaten. My thoughts are to do the following:

Feed the betta on one end of the tank and give him one piece of food at a time rather than dumping food in at a large amount. The idea that they should eat all they can eat in a couple of minutes is ludicrous. They will overstuff themselves to the max this way. They should have a few pieces of food total and remember that the stomach of that fish is the size of its eye so it does not take a pinch or two to fill it. It only needs one meal in a day and many do quite well being fed every other day actually but since they get used to eating every day the notion of feeding them that way is fine but SMALL amounts are absolutely necessary. Swelling behind the pectoral fins and/or ventrals is usually a sign of constipation or overfeeding or possible beginnings of swim bladder disorder which if allowed to progress will be the end of your betta eventually. Bettas start to lose color and pale out and then become unable to swim or want to lay on the bottom of the tank and become less and less active and soon will be unactive totally. I am not joking either this is a very serious condition.

When the betta is having a problem the answer is not to restrict his movement so much as to restrict his eating. Probably if you are determined to keep him in this tank the answer is a tank divider not a box to limit his movement and cause a severe swimming restriction. That would compound the problem as he needs to swim to maintain his digestion process. He also needs proper tank temperature so what temperature do you maintain in the tank? It needs to be in the neighborhood of 80 degrees to help him clear his system of food that has built up in that fat little body.

If you need to restrict his movement just do it while you feed the other fish and do not be too over generous with them either. Obesity among all tropical fish is becoming rampant in tanks. Bettas are not the only ones suffering from it. Most tropicals do quite well with small meals one time a day and better than if overfed. There are problems that they have when overfed and most owners get to equating their own hunger with what they think the fish must need. NOT so. Don't be a permissive parent to your fish and do the thing that is best for them and cut back on the food to give them a better health. If you cannot restrict your betta any other way I would recommend seperating him from the others. They may be getting along but it is killing him to be with them if you allow him to have his way with the food.

The other option is to cut out all the different types of food and simply put in one type of food and let them all have at it and they will all (including the betta) get enough to keep them going. Put a small amount in and everyone will get some. They do not need to have a large meal but when you are feeding several types of foods it is like a four course meal everyone overeats. It will be fine this way too and also cut back on everyone's eating as they will have to share what is there. The betta can get by this way as he is demonstrating that he can and will eat the other fish's food so let him if he wants to but don't give him other foods too.

Rose
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You're right, it's about self-restraint on my side and realizing that he isn't happier if I feed him a bunch. I do have to take him out of the tank when I feed the frogs so I will feed the guppies at that time also and give him his food seperately. I've actually been doing good on giving him correct doses of his Betta food but I realize that doesn't matter when I let him pig out on blackworms on top of it. Thank you for your help, you are right in everything you said. Fred can't eat what isn't there and if he eats too much, it's my fault, not his.
It's really hot here but I've been able to keep the tank running about 80 degrees. We actually got air conditioning in the bedroom for the fish LOL.
 

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You have half the race run already. You would not know how many owners fight the idea that they are overfeeding. Since you are willing to concede that point and realize that you are not doing Fred any favors you are half way home already. He will be a healthier and happier little betta boy with the right amount of food actually. Just think of it this way, if you had a diabetic child, or some other malady and to feed them too much of the wrong things would make them very ill or die, you would have no problem saying no to candy or pop or things that would make them sick, you are just extending this to a fish that you love.

It is for his very own good and he will be a happier and more active and fun betta with the correct food and amounts of food after he gets used to the food and amounts and has a chance ot get the huge amount of food that he has in his system worked through him.

Good for you and congratulations for putting Fred's welfare ahead of your desire to feel like you are doing the feeding thing which is more for you than for him in the long run.

Rose
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, you are completely right. I actually have a condition where there's a lot of things I can't eat. Not that I don't want to eat them as much and as often as Fred wants to eat everything in sight. I'll keep that in mind when I feel like giving in. An improper diet is as potentially dangerous to Fred as it is to me. I feel silly for not having made the connection before LOL. Thank you for the nudge. It was exactly what I needed.
 

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How is your betta doing now? Any changes in the swelling?

Rose
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
His stomach looks about the same, maybe a teeny bit better. I've fed him nothing but minced, cooked peas for a couple of days and have witnessed him going potty twice, so things are going through his system. I had hoped he'd be noticably thinner by now, but no such luck. I have fed him seperately out of the tank and fed the others regular food while he was out. He's had nothing but the peas.
 

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He was really stuffed with food and he can go like this with no danger for a week or more so keep the peas coming until he is noticably smaller and then he needs to be fed very sparingly for quite some time to help him to maintain his digestion and have peas at least 2 or 3 times a week as he will always be prone to difficulties now that he has had them.

Unfortunately once they have this problem it is not uncommon for it to return but he will be fine if you are patient with him.

Good luck and thanks for being so kind to Fred. He is a lucky little fellow.

Rose
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much for your help. Now that I know what to do, I hope he will be much better soon. I will stick with peas and Betta food in the future and skip the blackworms. The frogs will be all the happier to have them all to themselves :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh, by the way, Fred is a Crowntail Betta, just so you know. I have trouble getting good pictures of him because he gets so excited when he sees me and moves around trying to get my attention so I will feed him. He was mostly white with a little blue, red and gold on him when I got him, but now he is almost solid, dark blue with an almost black head and some red sprinkles in his fins. He's a very handsome, big guy!
 

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Fred sounds lovely and we look forward to seeing him someday. He is not unlike a lot of bettas. I once had a "green" betta that I paid a lot for that I named Alexander the Green and he was green as grass when I got him at the age of 3 months. When he grew up he was as lovely a shade of deep royal blue as I had ever seen. A gorgeous rosetail betta but could no longer qualify for the Green part of his name so he simply had to be Alexander. It is amazing what a good home and good food and lots of love will do to enhance these lovely fish. So do remember when you shop that the dullest looking betta may hold a big surprise when you treat them well and feed them good quality food and show them care in a cycled and heated tank. They may become quite beautiful.

Rose
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't know what to do about Fred. I've fed him seperately and only minced, cooked peas. He looked better but now he's gotten more bloated than ever. I'm very worried about him. Please advise.
 

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Are you giving him canned peas or frozen ones? The canned peas contain salt and will make him swell up and his kidneys overload and possibly cause a condition called dropsy. Unfortunately that is why I only recommend Frozen and Defrosted peas they do not contain any salt and are generally more accepted by the fish.

I need you to look at him from the top down and see if his scales are sticking out like pinecones. If they are then he is already exhibiting some of the signs of dropsy and will need to be treated for it. (and the peas and everything else stopped) He can go back to having his regular betta foods slowly now as I think the peas are not going to help much more at this rate.

Be sure to control his eating though and the temperature that he is in to maintain it at 78 to 81 degrees in that setting his digestion is optimum.

If the problem is the peas being canned he will probably get over it when you go off the peas and fast him for a day or so, but if he has been getting frozen peas and he is still swelling more then he is a sick little betta and more than likely is going into kidney problems. There is a medication called Maracyn-Two that treats it in the early stages which this would be and he does have a chance at recovery. It comes in packets of powder and you sprinkle one in the tank for every 10 gallons of water in the tank. If you want to save on medications put him in a smaller container and transfer the filter in the tank you have now to it and remove the carbon filter before starting the medication and then it saves on the amount of meds you need to put in the tank. 5 gallons = 1/2 packet per day. etc. He still needs to have filtration wherever you put him though and heat unless your home is at 78 to 80 degrees all the time.

Please do keep us informed of Fred's progress. We do care very much.

Rose
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
He's only been given frozen peas. The scales are not sticking out at all.
I was able to get a couple of pictures if that helps any.



 

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woah that does not look good at all
 

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Has he been like that all along or is it MUCH worse? I think he ate something he cannot pass and may not be able to or this is the way it looks. I had a betta one time who ate sand and this is about how she looked before she died. I am sorry but I think there is something inside of him that he cannot pass and it may not be something you or I can do much to help him with. Either that or he has a horrible swim bladder problem, can he swim at all or is he clumsy and not able to swim well?

Rose
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's not MUCH worse but it's the worst it has been. Maybe about 30% worse than it was Friday or Saturday. I have seen him pass peas (poopies about like a grain of rice but green), so I figure he can't be completely blocked. He's resting quite a bit at different depths of the tank (he used to "patrol" all the time before this started) but for his size, I think he gets around pretty well except for sharp turns or if he gets too close to the current on the left side of the tank. He still wants to eat and I have to take him out of the tank to feed the others or he will pig out as much as possible. He's still curious though and swims around more than you'd expect. Half the time I worry that he's suffering and half the time I think he really doesn't know.
I really appreciate the support and advise very much.
 

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It has to be your decision of course but if you get to the point of thinking that he is suffering you may want to consider euthanasia but this is entirely up to you. I do not know what to tell you at this point to try to relieve him of his problem. This is beyond my abilities I am afraid. I am trying to get ahold of my friend who is a vet but I am afraid he would recommend that he could not do much either at the distance he is from you.

It does look like a tumor or the only other thing I can think of that could possibly be causing this is internal parasites. I would recommend perhaps trying to treat him for them but it may kill him as the meds for that are sometimes quite harsh.

Rose
 
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