Hades has been acting strange for a few days now. He was housed in a 20 gal long tank with three pictus catfish and a small plecostomus, and he was getting along "swimmingly" with them... until just recently. One day, I noticed he was sitting at the top of the tank, kind of tilted to where his mouth was out of the water and he would just float there. Whenever a catfish would swim past and interrupt this activity, Hades would flare and chase them around the tank for a minute before returning to the surface. This lasted two days. He recently has been hiding himself in one of the shells in my tank (one I had no idea he could even fit in) and comes out only during feeding time. He would sit at the bottom of the tank, almost on his side, his gills working hard. This was last night and I was starting to get concerned. I did a 50% water change and treated the water for ammonia, but he's been getting worse. I noticed, too, that he's been losing his color. He went from this gorgeous deep red and his face has almost become white. I quarantined him in the 1 gal I had originally gotten him in. He's just laying on the bottom of the tank, his gills working hard and I'm very concerned for his well being. I'm not sure what's wrong with him. I added some aquarium salt to the one gallon and will keep him in there until he perks up. I will post a picture tomorrow (I don't have my camera tonight) to see if you guys see anything alarming. (OH! I forgot to mention, he seems to have a very bloated stomach. I believe this is due to over-eating. He becomes territorial during feeding time and will eat as much food as he can. I try to put the flakes for the catfish by the filter so the filter pushes it to the bottom. The catfish love to pick the food from the rocks. I cut back on the amount of flakes I put in there and haven't been feeding them as much so Hades doesn't get too much food, but I can't not feed my catfish!)
Do his scales look raised at all? Also, please fill this out so we can have some more info:
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
What size is your tank? 20 gal long
What temperature is your tank? 82F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No, but the filter creates bubbles and I was told this would be enough
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 3 Pictus catfish (who died last night) and a plecostomus
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Tetra Betta pellet food (his tank mates get TetraMin tropical flakes/occasional algae wafer)
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets twice a day.
How often do you perform a water change? 1 a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%-50% depending on the looks of the water (I should mention that this tank has only been officially set up for one week, so I've only performed one water change of 50%)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I add a water de-chlorinator and occasionally some aquarium salt (occasionally meaning I added it when I started the tank and I never add more than a table spoon) When I started the tank, I added some "start zyme" benefical bacteria.
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I tested for ammonia before and after the water change and treated for the ammonia since it was in the "stress" zone.
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His color has faded and his belly seems to be bloated.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He used to be a very active fish and no spends most of the day hiding or laying at the bottom of the tank.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About three days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes and no. I quarantined him in a one gallon for now so I can focus on treating HIM alone. I cut back on his feeding for now to one pellet twice a day and I am going to leave the light off so he can rest.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes. About a week after I got him, he and his previous tank mates were struck with ick. His previous tank mates were five neon tetras.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I'm not sure. I got him on August 22nd, and I'm not sure how old Betta fish usually are when they are sold at a store...
I should mention that he has developed white splotches on his gills. He's been kind of turning white under his belly, too. He looks like a dog who is grey in the muzzle. He is more active today than he was yesterday, but he has stress stripes (I assume the black vertical stripes down his body are stress stripes?) now. He still spends most of his time at the bottom of the tank, though. I'm considering moving him to the five gallon and moving Zeus into the 20 gallon after I figure out what caused my catfish to all die overnight.
Hades is doing a lot better in his quarantine tank. He's more active and is eating when I feed him instead of letting the food sit at the top like he used to. I'm wondering if he was simply over-eating? He's much more active. I haven't seen him in good lighting yet, so I don't know whether his color is back or not, but his activity level is reassuring. I'll probably put Zeus into the 20 gallon and move Hades to the five gallon, since it seems Hades would benefit from a smaller tank.
Hades has full color back and is much, MUCH more lively. Zeus built a bubble nest for the first time since I got him, so I think he's finally feeling better, too. I'm going to keep both fish at one pellet twice a day from now on, because since I reduced both of their feeding, they both have become much healthier in appearance. In a few days, after the tank settles a bit from whatever killed those catfish, I'm going to put Hades back into the 20 gallon. If he starts acting up again, I'll have to keep him in the one gallon until I can afford or find a three or five gallon.
bubble nest just natural betta's instinct and does not mean that he don't have any healthy problem. I seen some sick bettas in the stores with a bubble nest,which is sad:(
If he is bloated i would keep him in the hospital tank and observe closely to find out what is the cause of it. The tetra pellets not the best for bettas especially if he got bloated. Flakes also can be cause of the bloating. The best food that recommended on the forum and especially that he got bloated is
Bloating can be due to overfeeding which there is possibility you saying that he is eating with all your other fish. But the bloating also can be due to swim bladder problem , internal parasites. All of that are serious problem and need to be treated. So if he is still bloated i would not put him back.
Swim bladder problem he would float, swim on one side, would not able to stay up right .
Internal parasites symptoms : bloating, white,clear , broken white stringy,wormy shape poop, colored stomach.
Do not add aquarium salt if betta is bloated because it can make it worse. Aquarium salt retain fluid in the body. Also do not add aquarium salt on regular basis . It will not prevent any diesase or parisites , and can cause resistant pathogens/parisites issues and kidney damage...and kibg tern non- theraputic dosage can limit it ability to work for treatment when needed. So do not use it on regular basis.Usually with problem like your betta has oyu will need to add Epsom salt. Unscented without any additive Epsom salt taht you can find at any pharmacy department, not at the pet store.
Also i think you mentioned that he had heavy breathing which is also not a good sign.