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Old 06-22-2011, 06:55 PM   #1 
gemsbok
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Swollen gill?

I've been lurking in these forums for a while now, since deciding to get a betta fish. I've had my boy (his name is Mir) for about three weeks now, and he's doing well except for one thing. It appears that his left gill is swollen so that he can't completely shut it. He's otherwise active and happy. He swims around, flares, and builds bubble nests, so I don't think he's feeling listless or anything. Environment info and pictures are below. I've read about gill disease and gill flukes, but I'm not sure whether it could be either of these, and how to treat it. Any ideas?

Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? Usually 27-30 degrees Celsius
Does your tank have a filter? Yup.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? Yup.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None. I want to get some ghost shrimp eventually though. xD

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day, usually one or two 1cm long flakes.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Once a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% or 50%, depending on how dirty the water is.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No, don't have a testing kit.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Swollen gill.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Hasn't.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A week ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He's new, so I wouldn't know.
How old is your fish (approximately)? No idea.

Pics:






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Old 06-22-2011, 07:18 PM   #2 
Sakura8
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Hi gemsbok, welcome to the forum. Mir is a handsome fellow, I like his coloring. And yes, that gill is definitely protruding. It looks like there's quite a bit of scar tissue in that gill, possibly from old ammonia burns. I can't say for sure about gill flukes because they are impossible to see without a microscope. How long has he had the protruding gill, since you got him?

Signs of a mild infestation of gill flukes include the occasional flashing or scratching, where he'll move along the wall, plants or decor in an effort to dislodge the flukes. A more severe infestation would be gasping and respiratory distress, as well as loss of appetite and clamped fins. Since he's not exhibiting any of these symptoms, I doubt it's gill flukes.

This protruding of the gills is called gill hyperplasia. It is sometimes brought on by a parasite infestation, usually ich or gill flukes, which we've already ruled out (thank goodness because I don't think the prognosis is always good!). Judging from the pics, your guy definitely doesn't have ich. That leaves scar tissue from an old ammonia burn. In this case, it's unlikely his gill will ever close normally but he can live a happy full life regardless. Just be sure you keep his water super clean. Always be sure you change a minimum of 50% of his water a week, regardless of how the water looks; even if it doesn't LOOK dirty, it's still full of invisible ammonia. If he ever seems to have trouble breathing with his gills because of his problem, you can lower the water level so he can reach the surface easier and add a bit of aquarium salt to his water for a few days. The dosage is 1 tsp per gallon and if you have live plants, you'll want to dose him in a hospital tank because aquarium salt can kill plants. Oh, and make sure to keep his tank covered, both to keep him from taking a flying leap but also to keep the air above the water as humid as possible. Cold air can damage the labyrinth organ, that which allows him to breathe air, and since he has his gill problem he'll probably be relying on his labyrinth organ more than usual to breathe.

I hope he continues to do well and show no signs of problems. If he does, post immediately.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:27 PM   #3 
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I would also suggest you may want to look into getting pellets for your fish. It's easier to consistently feed the same amount with pellets (2-3 pellets twice a day and fast one day a week). They also don't foul the water like flakes. A good pellet will have fish as the first ingredient or first couple.

Ghost or cherry shrimp would be good tankmates. :)
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:44 PM   #4 
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Thanks for the input guys. :) I'm glad that the general consensus is that he'll be fine. I was a little worried, despite his activity and apparent happiness. And I'm looking into getting pellets instead of flakes. I've noticed that the water gets cloudy really fast, and I've put down the flakes as the culprit. Also, I was wondering how old you think he is? I'm pretty sure he's an adult, but that's all I know. Here's a better picture of him:



Edit: forgot to mention that the pic is of him in his store cup when I was changing his water today. Just in case anyone was wondering why all the pictures show him in a cup. xD Also, his tank is always covered with a lid, and it gets a lot of condensation on the inside from the humid air, so I'll assume that that part is fine. Again, thanks for the help. :D

Last edited by gemsbok; 06-22-2011 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:11 PM   #5 
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Condensation on the inside of the tank under the lid is good. Your fish goes to the surface to breath and that moist air is good for his labyrinth (breathing apparatus). And a lid is smart because these guys can jump!

He's got great colours. I'm not sure but I'd heard that pet store fish are often around 6 months old but I'm not positive on that.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:32 PM   #6 
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@ Canuck Fins: Yes, that's what Sakura said too. Hence me replying that his tank always has a lid with humid air in it. xD So he's around 6 months old I'll assume then?

This is getting kinda off topic, but will he be ok without a water change for two weeks? I'm going on vacation soon, and I don't have anyone available who would be able to correctly change his water. I'll be getting somone to feed him, obviously, but the water change part is a little dubious.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:24 PM   #7 
Sakura8
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If you'll be gone for two weeks with no water change, I'd actually suggest you fast him that entire time instead of having someone feed him. It'll be safer that way because all that food just adds extra ammonia in there. He'll be fine. Feed him well the first few days before you go so he's pretty full.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:29 PM   #8 
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Ok, thanks for everything. :)
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