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Fish/Very constipated bet fish


Hi Ron, Thanks in advance for answering my question.  I have a very constipated betta fish.  He was accidentally over fed A LOT of betta fish flakes a couple of days before Christmas.  He has not really pooped since then.  I have tried fasting for several days, then fed him a tiny bit of frozen daphnia.  After I feed the frozen daphnia, a little bit of white stringy poop comes out, but the bloating has not been reduced.  Does the white stringy poop count as a poop?  Today, I tried to get him to flare by putting his tank next to another betta   bowl.  He flared and then he did some make some stringy poop.  Other than the not pooping, he seems to be behaving normally, swimming upright and making a bubble nest.  He seems hungry but I'm afraid to feed him ( the last time I gave him some frozen daphnia was late Friday afternoon and it is now Monday afternoon.  He is in a two gallon fishbowl with a betta fish heater.  I don't know what to do next.  Should I try an Epsom salt. Bath?  Should I fast him longer? Any advice that you could give me would be helpful.  Thanks again, Cathy

Hi Cathy,
  The white stringy poop indicates that he has an intestinal infection. You might try the epsom salt bath to try to "clear him out". Don't worry if he doesn't eat for a while; fish can go a long time (weeks) without eating if they have to.  But, if he wants to eat, give him a little food. If you can, try feeding him thawed, frozen peas.

-- Ron C.
  Cichlid Research Home Page <>


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Ron Coleman


I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.


I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

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