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Old 10-28-2012, 07:20 AM   #1 
Hikari
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What's wrong with my betta?

I can't determine what is wrong with my fish. It started about a week in a half ago when I noticed he was breathing harder than usual. I wouldn't call it gasping, butI could clearly see his gills moving with what looked like deep breaths. He doesn't always breathe that way, sometimes it's a lot less noticeable. Another thing he does is swim to the top, then sink to the bottom. He'll do this several times before he can stay hovering at the top. He spends about an equal amount of time on the top and bottom of his tank. His energy level and appetite are normal, it's just those 2 things that I'm worried about. The only thing I was able to find with his symptoms is swim bladder disease, but he's not bloated at all, and I only feed him 3 pellets a day, replacing two pellets with bloodworms twice a week, plus I can see poop at the bottom of his tank so it's unlikely he's constipated. But I'm fasting him anyway right now to see it it'll help. I just can't figure out what's wrong with him, and I don't want to treat him with any medications until I know for sure.

Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets & freeze dried bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? 3 times a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% once a week, with two 25% partial changes during the week
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime water conditioner

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? None
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Heavy breathing. Swimming to the top than sinking to the bottom of the tank
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A week and a half ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Fasting
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Just mild fin rot
How old is your fish (approximately)? Probably around 3 years
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:14 AM   #2 
Aus
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I wish I could tell you what this is, definitely. At around 3, your fish might be getting a bit old, and struggling somewhat to get around. You could try lowering his water to make it easier for him to get up to the top for breaths, in any case.

Usually, I would suggest looking into parasite treatments. But if he's your only fish (ie, no new fish around, no shared equipment, etc) and he's 3yo, I don't see how he could have picked up a parasite like gill flukes, which can cause those symptoms. If you do have new fish and shared equipment, definitely consider it.

If not, then perhaps he's just getting old, though 3 is not that old for a betta. It sounds like you take great care of him, too..

I wish I knew for sure what was wrong, so I could help more precisely.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:38 AM   #3 
Hikari
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I have considered old age, but I know these fish can live up to over 5 years. I'm guessing he's around 3 since I got him at the pet store, and they're usually 6 months to 1 year old there, (I've had him for 2.5 years.) But then again, I know some betta age faster than others depending on their genes. So far with the research I've done I've only come up with 2 possible problems, velvet and swim bladder. I've already looked for velvet and see no parasites on his body, gills, or fins. His outward appearance is normal. There are no other fish in the house other than him, and the equipment has only been used with him. I still think it may be swim bladder so I will continue to fast him, but I don't want to do that for too long because I don't want him getting any weaker. I'm so worried about him, but I don't know what to do. I have a wide range of antibiotics in my fish first aid kit, like Maracyn and jungle fungus tablets, but I don't want to treat him for something that he doesn't have. It's so much harder to diagnose when there are no outward symptoms.

Last edited by Hikari; 10-28-2012 at 09:41 AM.
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