What is Swim bladder disease in bettas?

In this article we will discuss swim bladder disease in bettas.We will also discuss reasons,symptoms,treatments and other things to cure swim bladder disease in bettas. 

Overview

In this blog

  • What is Swim bladder disease in betta?
  • Swim bladder organ
  • Symptoms of swim bladder disease
  • Reasons for swim bladder disease
  • Is swim bladder disease (SBD) curable or fatal?
  • Interventions for swim bladder disease in bettas
  • How to avoid swim bladder disease in bettas?
  • What can be fed to a betta fish with swim bladder disease?
  • Is swim bladder disease a contagious condition?  
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions

What is Swim bladder disease in bettas?

Swim bladder disease will cause your betta fish to lose control of buoyancy and suffer severe stress due to an unbalanced body.This can even kill your betta fish,if not treated on time.

  • Buoyancy problem
  • Swimming difficulties,bettas will swim in abnormal ways.
  • Body balance problems

Swim bladder organ

Swim bladder organs also known as air bladder,glass bladder,or fish maw is an internal organ filled with gas,and helps bony fish to maintain buoyancy.

In simple terms,a swim bladder is a balloon within a body.It helps betta to navigate its way up and down the water column and also stay balanced.

Swim bladder organs are outpocketing of a digestive tube.It is present in the dorsal region of the fish and is flexible in nature,it contracts and expands according to ambient pressures.

Symptoms of swim bladder disease

There are various symptoms and signs like behavioral signs and virtual signs which indicate swim bladder disease in betta fish:

  • Bettas will sink to the bottom of the tanks.
  • Bettas will float on the top or the surface of the tanks.
  • Bettas will be seen floating upside down in the tank.
  • Bettas will be seen floating on their sides in the tank.
  • Bettas will be seen swimming in circles
  • Tails are constantly tilted upwards.
  • They can’t stand in upright positions.
  • They will suffer from constipation problems
  • They will lose their appetite and stop eating.
  • They will have bloating problems.
  • They become lethargic or sluggish .
  • Bettas struggles to maintain their balance or positions in the tank.
  • Bettas will be seen with sudden S-shaped curvature in their spines.
  • Pine cones on betta fish.

Reasons for swim bladder disease

There are several reason which can cause swim bladder disease in betta fish:

  • Swim bladder compression.
  • Distended stomach
  • Overeating or overfeeding 
  • Rapid eating
  • Constipation
  • Gulping air on the water surface
  • Not giving bettas high quality food
  • Not giving bettas a varied diet.

Is swim bladder disease (SBD) curable or fatal?

Well it totally depends on the situation,if swim bladder disease is caused due to overfeeding or constipation then definitely it’s curable and the condition can be reversed to normal.

But if it is due to some internal parasitic infection or bacterial infection then it could be fatal,if it is not treated on time.If dropsy is the main reason for swim bladder disease in bettas then it is fatal.

Interventions for swim bladder disease in bettas

The very important thing when it comes to cure swim bladder disease is preparing a seperate hospital tank for your bettas.This will stop the spread of disease to other species in the main tank.

  • Swim bladder disease could be permanent or temperory.As such any particular treatments are not available.
  • A temporary swim bladder disease can go away with some lifestyle modifications.
  • Whereas the permanent swim bladder disease is not so easy to treat.
  • If it gets severe then your bettas will either need to be euthanized or they will only die off due to such severe conditions.
  • Aquarium lights should be turned off for sometime to help them recover from swim bladder problem
  • If they are stressed about any particular source in their aquarium,then that should be removed.
  • Let the bettas rest quietly in their own space without disturbing them.

Hospital tank or quarantine tank for bettas

  • Maintain a separate hospital or quarantine tank for bettas to stop the spread of disease to other aquarium tank mates.
  • Water depth (3-4 inches max) is one of the most important factors,keeping the hospital tank shallow.
  • Make sure the water temperature is suitable for bettas to keep them stress free.Keep the tanks heated by installing aquarium heaters to the quarantine tank.
  • Water conditions should be perfect for bettas.
  • Sponge filter should be installed.
  • Water changes should be done.
  • Add floating plants
  • Bare bottom substrate should be best in a hospital tank.

Epsom salt treatment for swim bladder disease in bettas

  • Epsom salts also known as magnesium sulfate. 
  • Epsom salts are added to freshwater tanks to change the chemistry of water.
  • It is used to treat swim bladder disease,constipation and dropsy in bettas.
  • Epsom salts are totally different from aquarium salts.
  • It is used as a laxative too for your bettas.
  • The water treated with epsom salts helps bettas to eliminate waste from their bodies.It reduces bloating and swelling too.
  • Water reduction will allow bettas to return to their normal state.
  • Epsom salt bath should be given twice to a severely ill betta fish.
  • Epsom salt bath should be given once to a mildly severe betta fish.
  • One-two cups of epsom salts should be mixed with a tablespoon of olive oil in a standard tub.
  • This mix is then added to a running warm water to enhance the dissolving process.Let it soak for some 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Or else mix one tablespoon of epsom salt with half gallon conditioned water.Then you can replace the aquarium water with the epsom salt conditioned water.
  • Then put the bettas inside the tank for 15 minutes to clear constipation.
  • Keep monitoring them and if they recover well and swim properly, they can be removed from epsom salt treatment.
  • If they don’t move and remain in the same place then don’t remove them from the treated tank.

Interpet swim bladder disease in bettas

  • Highly effective treatment to cure swim bladder disease
  • Also known as water treatment to cure bacterial swim bladder disease.
  • Swim bladder treatment plus is available online and in pet stores to cure this disease.
  • This treatment plus will destroy the bacteria which is responsible for this disease.
  • It will reverse the betta fish condition to normal from swim bladder disease.
  • You can check the product properly and read the product manual to know about the dosage requirements. 

Temperature treatment to cure swim bladder disease in bettas

  • If the swim bladder disease is caused due to an enlarged intestine/enlarged stomach then monitor them for three consecutive days.
  • Then increase the aquarium water temperature between 78-80F and wait for the enlarged intestine or stomach to get back in shape on their own.
  • This will take its own time,the only thing which needs to be done is monitoring them.

How to avoid swim bladder disease in bettas?

Bettas fish are very sensitive to poor water conditions and specially ammonia spikes and nitrites levels in their tanks.

It is very important to keep their levels in check,if their level increases beyond a certain value then they will become sick and can get a variety of infections,swim bladder disease could be one of those.

  • Bettas tanks should be kept clean at any cost.As bettas cannot survive in dirty water conditions.
  • Regular water changes will prevent swim bladder disease.
  • Maintaining and monitoring water temperatures in bettas tanks.
  • Feed your betta fish high quality betta food.You can feed Aqueon betta pellets to maintain their health.
  • Always soak bettas food granules before feeding them,if they eat daily on the surface of the tank by swallowing air along with the food then it will trigger swim bladder disease in them.
  • Bettas have smaller stomachs,so avoid overfeeding them at any cost,overfeeding is the main reason for bloating,constipations and other digestive disorders in betta fish.
  • Feed them small amounts 2-3 times a day.Juveniles should be fed 3-4 times but adult bettas should not be fed too much.It can seriously upset their stomachs.
  • Water quality should be maintained and monitored everyday
  • Ammonia and nitrite levels- 0ppm
  • Nitrate levels- <20 ppm
  • Water temperature- 75F-80F
  • Water pH-6.8-7.5
  • Degree of water hardness-3 to 4 dGH and 3 to 5 dKH

What can be fed to a betta fish with swim bladder disease?

Bettas with swim bladder disease can be fed frozen peas.The frozen peas should be defrosted or thawed in a microwave or boiled for some seconds by maintaining their consistency and properly peeled before feeding them.Peas can cure digestive issues like constipation in bettas.

Is swim bladder disease a contagious condition?

There is a lot of discrepancy about this,according to some people it is contagious and according to some it’s not contagious.

But it really depends on the cause,if the reason for swim bladder disease is long term stress or shock then it can’t be contagious.

But if it’s due to some internal parasite or bacterial infections then definitely contagious and can spread to other tank mates easily.

Summary

  • Swim bladder disease can be due to overfeeding, constipation, different bacterial infections and some injuries.
  • It can be temporary and permanent too.
  • If it is temporary it can go on its own and if it’s permanent then either surgery and certain lifestyle changes can treat them.
  • Overfeeding should be avoided at any cost as it could be detrimental to them.
  • If swim bladder disease is due to bacterial infection then it can be treated using antibiotics and if it is due to parasitic infection then you can treat using antiparasitic medication.
  • Proper tank practice is required to maintain pristine water conditions, as bettas are very sensitive to poor water conditions.
  • They need proper water changes to avoid ammonia pollution in their tanks. 

Frequently asked questions

What kind of fish get swim bladder disease (SBD)?

Any fish that has a swim bladder organ and gulps air on the surface of the water can get swim bladder disease.

How do fish surgeons adjust buoyancy in betta fish?

Fish surgeons adjust the buoyancy problem in betta fish by placing a stone in bettas swim bladder or partial removal of it.

How to treat constipation in betta fish?

Constipation can be treated temporarily by feeding your betta fish green peas in their diet.

Can betta fish live longer with swim bladder disease?

Bettas already have a short life span of 3 to 4 years and if they get swim bladder disease then either treat them as and when you notice as it could be temporary.

If it gets permanent then you need to consulat a fish surgeon to take the next step,either a surgery or a lifestyle modification.

Reference

https://japanesefightingfish.org/betta-swim-bladder/

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