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Old 11-12-2010, 06:43 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2010
How long can a betta go w/o air?

I have a thread about my betta somewhere..I'm just about done with his 10 day epsom salt treatment and he's still alive and kicking BUT he doesn't come up for air AT ALL. It's been weeks since he's been in this inactive state at the bottom of his tank and the only time he's getting air is basically once a day (sometimes every other day) when I change his water and even then, in his smaller bowl, he's not trying to get air himself. I just don't get it. It was my understanding that if betta's didn't go up for air they would drown. Like I said, it's been a few weeks since he's actually tried to go up for air.

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Last edited by IshFish; 11-12-2010 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:29 PM   #2 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
Poor guy--is there any way you can lower the water level so that he only has a couple inches to go for a breath? This should help him immensely. Adding things for him to sit on close to the surface, such as an inverted coffee mug or a plastic disposable cup with some gravel on the top to weight it down will give him something to perch on near the surface.

If you have an air pump and airstone, it would be a good idea to aerate the water gently. Tie knots in the airline tubing until only a few bubbles come out at once. The current caused by a steady stream of bubbles would likely stress him out more.

Given the fact that the poor guy is not eating, in my mind there is only one real treatment option, and that is a dewormer. When fish have intestinal worms, they often lose their appetite very quickly and slowly deteriorate. If this were an internal bacterial infection, he would likely already be dead at this point, but if it is a bacterial infection, he is likely past the point of saving--it is quite rare for a fish to survive two weeks of infection without any real treatment. I think that all you can really do is use a dewormer with the ingredients praziquantel and metronidazole, such as Jungle's Parasite Clear dissolving tablets, and hope for the best. If it is internal parasites that he is afflicted with, he should start passing the worms within about 4-5 days, and once that has occurred, typically they start eating and rapidly recovering.
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