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What is Swim Bladder Disorder (SBD) in Bettas? If your betta fish is swimming awkwardly and you suspect swim bladder illness, you’ve come to the perfect place for information on how to treat it. Swim bladder illness is rather prevalent in bettas, although it’s extremely rare for it to be deadly. In reality, you should be able to cure your betta in just a few days of therapy. If you’re interested in learning more, stay reading!

Symptoms

One day your betta is fine swimming around happily and blowing bubbles. The next day, he is swimming lopsided, not as active, and maybe a tad bit dull in color or bloated. The “swim bladder” is located on the spine of the fish between his belly and tail. If the bladder becomes enlarged/swollen or tight, it can cause your fish to have difficulty swimming. Usually, with a swim bladder, the fish will either float on one side or lay at the bottom because he has difficulty getting to the top. It may appear as though the betta has lost their buoyancy.

Causes

What are the causes of Swim Bladder Disorder? Swim Bladder Disorder is often caused by overfeeding or lack of variety in the diet. SBD is not contagious and there is no need to destroy a fish with this condition as he/she is not suffering. SBD may be a side effect of a constipated betta.

Prevention

Some betta owners fast (do not feed) their betta for one day per week to cleanse the betta’s system. This is a useful method to prevent Swim Bladder Disorder and/or Constipation. Another feeding option thought to prevent SBD is splitting a betta’s feeding up into two small meals per day, rather than one larger meal. This reduces the amount of food intake at one time and allows the betta’s system to process it easier. Always remember a betta’s stomach is about the size of his eyeball, so a little food goes a long way. Variety in a betta’s diet is important both to prevent illness and ensure they are receiving the necessary nutrients to stay healthy.

Treatment

Try to keep your betta’s diet balanced and not too overfilling. The swim bladder will soon correct itself and your betta will begin to swim normally again.

Similar to constipation, you can also try to fast your betta for 24-48 hours. Next, take a cooked pea and peel it. Feed a small portion of it to your betta on the end of a flat toothpick. Watch to make sure your betta is going to the bathroom, as this will mean the SBD and/or constipation is subsiding.

Additional Procedures

Clean water is always important for a betta, but is especially beneficial for any betta facing an illness.

Always keeping your betta warm, between 76-82 degrees F, will also help them to feel more comfortable and raise their immune system.

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