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Old 12-24-2012, 04:15 PM   #1 
Shiverdam's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Calgary, AB
Regurgitation and sporadic breathing...

I've had my lovely black-lace butterfly betta, Atlas, for a few months now. My other two fish, Galileo and Aristotle, have been in my possession just a few months longer.
But Atlas is the only one that ever acts this way.
Every time we go for a water change, his behavior changes as if he's going to die and he acts like a total drama queen.

When I cup him he sinks like a rock to the bottom, spreads out his fins (but not a flare) and starts breathing in a way that I can only describe as spastic hiccuping. He rarely ever goes to the surface during this time, but when he does, he takes several breaths at once, swimming quickly and keeping his mouth above the water.
When he doesn't go to the surface and stays at the bottom the whole time, he starts to lean to the side as if he's dead.

When it's time to go back home, his initial cupping behavior repeats, except sometimes he'll regurgitate. When he gets back into his home, he sinks to the bottom the same way he did when he was cupped, but he recovers after some time.

What's happening to him? I've currently got him in a quarantine tank with some salt and bettafix in the water, because his recent behavior has been the worse case so far. This is the second time he's been quarantined within 6 months. He's the only one of my fish that does this. I'm worried that one day he'll get traumatized to death.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:01 PM   #2 
Blue Fish
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: East Tennessee
Is your tank cycled? If you cycled it, you wouldn't have to take him out during water changes, he could just stay in there while you do a 50% change every week. And if you planted the tank, I believe the changes are even less frequent...but you'll need more information on that one from someone else. :) (OFL has an awesome sticky on that, you've probably seen it, but just just in case.)

Since I've cycled my tanks, I just use my gravel vacuumn to clean the gravel every week (because I have fish who drop food...and I'm probably guilty of overfeeding as well), and I just suck out half the water with that vacuumn at the same time, then just pour in replacement and all done. :)

Do you think he'd be less stressed if he wasn't cupped?

Poor dude...I hope someone else is able to possibly give you some more ideas, surely between everyone on this forum we can all get a plan together for your your little guy. :)

Good luck to you!!
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
I don't recommend medicating bettas with anything if you cannot diagnose what is wrong with him. And I hear bettafix isn't very good for bettas because they contain tree oil which harms their laberinth organ.

Trust me, clean water and sometimes indian almond leaves/oak leaves is the way to go before panicking and medicating just in case. As this can cause problems in the future making bacteria and such resistant to the medications later

So what it seems to me is that your betta gets stressed. Do you have to chase him around to cup him? That is a major stress factor.

If not then I would try to do quick water changes. Time is key with 100% water changes, even 50, because there is something going around them that they don't understand and they get scared.

Now what do I recommend?

Well when performing water changes make sure you have everything ready that you may need before performing it, that way you save time.

Make sure that the water has been with conditioner for over an hour at least, of course the longer the better, for it to get rid of all the chemicals as they do not take effect instantly regardless of what they say on the bottle. If you want optimal results I recommend leaving water sit with conditioner a day before the water change.

Once the tank is clean and you have done the water change, let the heater heat up the water to the tank's usual temperature, and float the cup in the tank to adjust to the temperature as well.

Then gently put in your fish once the tank has reached the desired temperature.

Then when in the tank, let him settle down, each fish reacts differently to water changes, some are very cool about it. some aren't so much, as long as he recovers from it I wouldn't be too worried, but make sure to keep an eye, any weird changes make sure to update us and we will try to help you sort it out.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Well when he's getting cupped he's just not liking it. Bettas take some time to get used to it. he's fine there. I've also found opaque cups are better as if I put them in clear cups and they can see around they spazz a lot more. You are just scooping him into the cup with the cup right? Not your hand or a net.. if you do that then he's just stressed. There are far worse methods of water change and he'll just get used to it.

As far as putting him back in.. you may be shocking him and you need to acclimate. First off the water that you're changing out and putting into the tank new needs to be the same temp as the tank. You can do this by holding a thermometer under the running tap and adjust it until you get it right. Even then you should float his cup in the tank and add a few tablespoons of the fresh water into his cup every 10 minutes for at least an hour, then release him.

Little more info would be helpful to make sure we don't miss something:
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