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Old 03-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #1 
Blue Fish
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Breathing hard...this has been going around in my tanks...can't figure out what it is

Sorry, hate to post this because it's not immediately life-threatening...but I'm trying to figure out what's going on...because it's made the rounds in my tanks, and I'd at least like to know what might be causing it. :(

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gal
What temperature is your tank? 76 (I've tried warmer, and it just breeds opportunistic bacteria and other issues...this is the temp that works best for me. No change in their behavior between 75 and 82.)
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? the filter provides some aeration, though it is significantly baffled
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? nothing, he has a betta "friend" next door, but he's alone in the tank
Oh, there may be a couple of pond snails that have escaped in with him. My assassin snail rotates through the tanks.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? NLS pellets, tried flakes, he doesn't care for them, same with freeze dried and frozen bloodworms.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x/day, 3-4 pellets, so far he has not been overly round, so I've kept him on that amount with no fasting.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? tank is cycled, so 25-30% once weekly...though sometimes I do miss a few days and it's more like a week and a half. I change water even if params read out at all good levels, due to possible other chemical water buildup and DOC's.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25-30%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Previously Jungle Safe Start (because of the aloe in it), now using the Safe Start (for the aloe) and Prime to really make sure that all chlorine and derivatives are truly neutralized.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
yes, with liquid test kit, so accuracy is assured.
Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrite: 0.0
Nitrate: 10-20
I have not tested these. I have a master test kit, but haven't had any problems with fin curling and have never had an issue with any of these params before with any other fish. If so desired, I can definitely test for them though.
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? (see below)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
He's been lethargic, either laying on the bottom hiding in his trees or his log, hiding at the surface in his cup, or his new thing is hiding behind the filter sponge at the surface.
He refuses food.
He is breathing hard, though there is no gill inflammation and nothing visible like gill flukes.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? about three days ago, did a water change, no difference.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
I've had this happen with a few of my other fish, all with similar symptoms, all in cycled/heated tanks with good water params. With those guys, I treated with Jungle Fungus Cure (same ingredients as maracyn), but it two two or even three treatments to get them completely well again. Also tried AQ salt before the meds, again, no better, so started the meds.
With one fish who got it I was advised that it could be gill flukes, and he was treated with an anti-parasitic, praziquantel. He did not respond to treatment, and was treated with the Jungle med thereafter.
So, with Roslyn, due to fears of bacterial resistance, I purchased some kanaplex and have done one dose so far, treatment on package describes up to 3.
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
He's from walmart...though he was fresh off the shipment pallet, so that helps...a little. So, I know he's not going to have the best health due to what is most likely inferior breeding and probably poor fry/young fish care.
But, other than a likely history of Fish Mill upbringing, he's been healthy and happy up until now.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I purchased him from Walmart about three months ago. He was full-sized at that time.

The weird part about this is that while they're on the meds, they seem happy, completely better, eat normally, build bubblenests, swim normally...then they come off the meds, they're better for about 24 hours, then they're breathing heavy, refusing food, clamping, and lying on the bottom of the tanks again.

Any help or suggestions is welcome!
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:52 PM   #2 
alwaysaBettaLover
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I actually think I know what is going on here. My betta's used to do that, so I, at one point shared your concern. It is from lack of air, so the betta's gasping -wouldn't you?-(don't worry, as you already know, it isn't life threatening unless they have no air). I read on your form thingy that your air is significantly baffled. I HIGHLY RECCOMEND GETTING A BUBBLER. Depending on the size of your tank, a baffled amount of air isn't quite enough. The bubbler will help with the air. Good luck!
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:41 PM   #3 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Some questions:

1) How are your other fish now? Are they recovered? If they are OK now, how many treatments of Jungle Fungus Cure were required?

2) Are your tanks, and the water in them, completely isolated? Is there any way that cross contamination could have occurred between tanks? For example, do you use any equipment in more than one tank?

3) I'm wondering if there's something going on with the water in your tanks, or some type of cross contamination, going on.

Do you have a small unfiltered quarantine/hospital tank? If so, you could try an 'experiment.' It would at least tell you if there's something in your current tank water, or filters.....

Fill the QT tank with fresh water, straight from the tap. Add the appropriate amount of Prime. Do not use the Safe Start. We just want to neutralize/remove chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals. If you don't have a heater for a small tank, you can probably float the tank in your larger one to keep the water water. Acclimate him slowly. (You've got 9 bettas, so I'll assume you've got this under control. See if there is any change in his behavior. If he perks up, maybe there is a contaminant or issue with your tank filter or water.

Not sure how effective this will be at diagnosing the issue, but I figure it's simple enough to try. And if there is no difference in his behavior, at least you'll have ruled out it being a tank-related issue.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:48 PM   #4 
Blue Fish
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Some questions:

1) How are your other fish now? Are they recovered? If they are OK now, how many treatments of Jungle Fungus Cure were required?

The others are now fine. The first one to come down with symptoms took three or four rounds with the meds, which was horrible. :( But, at that point I figured it was either he dies from the disease, or he dies from the meds...at least with the meds I could say I tried. :( He did eventually get better. Prior to this, my tanks were uncycled. It was during his ridiculously long course of treatment that I cycled his tank (divided with another betta) and when he went back into it he was much better off. I don't know if it was something with the water quality (but even then, I did proper water changes and the ammonia never got above 0.25) or just the decrease in stress from having 0 ammonia all the time allowing him to fend it off on his own. *shrug*

The next two got it after their heater malfunctioned and almost boiled them. (It was a rough fall for the boys...) I'm sure the stress of being overheated was the trigger that set it off for them. They only required one treatment, and have been fine since.

The third was one that came from Petco. He started off all right, but then started the breathing heavily within a week or two, and was treated...twice maybe? I do believe he has some ammonia scars on one of his gills though, as one always hangs lower than the other, though it doesn't seem to bother him. So, again, there's the opportunistic aspect of it, he was weakened already before it hit him.


2) Are your tanks, and the water in them, completely isolated? Is there any way that cross contamination could have occurred between tanks? For example, do you use any equipment in more than one tank?

As for cross contamination, I do keep most of the tanks in the bathroom (it's a large bathroom, the type with two sinks in a hall, then a doorway into the room with the toilet and shower) just because there is lots of good light for plants, it stays warm in there, and it's so easy for water changes. When one is sick I usually put the quarantine tank in the floor on a stepstool, so he's away from everyone else, but still in the same room.

I'm sure I'm probably passing it between them. Three of the tanks are in the bathroom (as described above) and three others are in the room next door. Each tank is shared by two fish, separated with craft mesh, and "lidded" with saran wrap. (I'm getting some acrylic cut tomorrow...took forever to find some, then another eternity to find a way to have it cut...)

The only equipment that goes from tank to tank are my hands. When I feed them, I move their plastic wrap, and when no-one is sick or is new, I don't wash between feeding each tank. When one is sick or in new-fish-quarantine, I feed them last, and wash before and after. I'm sure this is not fail-proof though, as I'm not doing a surgical scrubbing and I'm only using regular hand-soap.

3) I'm wondering if there's something going on with the water in your tanks, or some type of cross contamination, going on.

Do you have a small unfiltered quarantine/hospital tank? If so, you could try an 'experiment.' It would at least tell you if there's something in your current tank water, or filters.....

Fill the QT tank with fresh water, straight from the tap. Add the appropriate amount of Prime. Do not use the Safe Start. We just want to neutralize/remove chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals. If you don't have a heater for a small tank, you can probably float the tank in your larger one to keep the water water. Acclimate him slowly. (You've got 9 bettas, so I'll assume you've got this under control. See if there is any change in his behavior. If he perks up, maybe there is a contaminant or issue with your tank filter or water.

Thanks for the information, but unfortunately I've had the same thought the first time around. When the first one got sick, I thought it was a water issue or a heater issue or some ornament had corroded....something. So, first off, before any meds or salt or anything, I took out *everything* from his tank, and put him into my small 3 gallon (because it's just easier to measure meds in a slightly larger container) plastic quarantine Rubbermaid with completely new water. (At that point, it was only treated with the SafeStart, I had not yet switched to Prime.) He seemed slightly better (but still not completely normal) for about a day, but then was right back into looking sickly and miserable again. His other tank had some ammonia (it's been several months now, but I believe he was due for a water change), so the new water was at 0, which I'd assume was the reason for his improvement, then decline, as the ammonia once again started up, even for that 24 hours. After that I tried salt briefly, no improvement, and went for the meds thereafter.
Oh, and I am able to heat the quarantine tank with a small extra heater. :) Thanks for the advice though! :)

I'll be happy to try the new quarantine again though with this current fish, I can't hurt, and it's definitely worth a shot. I'll put Roslyn into the quarantine tank and see what he does for the next few hours. If he improves maybe it'll tell me something...if not, then nothing lost. I treated him this time with the kanaplex in his own tank (filter carbon removed) since he's the only one in there, so I can easily move him into completely fresh water, etc.

Not sure how effective this will be at diagnosing the issue, but I figure it's simple enough to try. And if there is no difference in his behavior, at least you'll have ruled out it being a tank-related issue.

Thanks for the suggestion, and I'll definitely give it a go. :)
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:51 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwaysaBettaLover View Post
I actually think I know what is going on here. My betta's used to do that, so I, at one point shared your concern. It is from lack of air, so the betta's gasping -wouldn't you?-(don't worry, as you already know, it isn't life threatening unless they have no air). I read on your form thingy that your air is significantly baffled. I HIGHLY RECCOMEND GETTING A BUBBLER. Depending on the size of your tank, a baffled amount of air isn't quite enough. The bubbler will help with the air. Good luck!
I can put in a bubbler (I found tons of the things from previous fish-keeping a few weeks ago, I had no idea I had so many of them.), but the fish are fine in their tanks as-is after treatment is successful. Which makes me think that the filter is probably giving them enough dissolved oxygen, but thanks so much for the suggestion, it was worth a shot! :)
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