Okay, so Fabio is being unhealthy again. At the same time, he's fine. :/
His tail is the most beautiful I have ever seen it, all fanned out and glorious like a crowntail should be, and he swims happily in the water and even acts playful. However, he has had a sudden change that scares me. He is breathing heavily but only from one side of his gill. I can see those gill flaps and one side looks normal while the other is puffed out and the gills (the black part under the flap, I presume?) are very visible and pumping heavily. The only change in behavior I have seen so far has been that he hasn't been playful in the past two days but he does swim around the tank and remains fanned out.
I last changed his water on Friday and it is only Tuesday. I did my first 50% water change and now he is breathing even harder. :/ How can I make him last at least 1 week without the need of a 100% water change twice a week? When I come back from college for Thanksgiving Break I will be leaving him home because I return in 2 1/2 weeks and would like him to not need a change in water before I come back because nobody else will do it correctly. I just want him watched and fed, but at this rate that seems impossible.
He is very active and not at all lethargic even when going to the bottom of the tank. However, his breathing is worrying me and I really want to get him used to needing the tank changed no more than a week so I can leave him at home with good conscience.
1. You could get a small filter
2. What kind of water conditioner are you using?
3. Throwing in some un-iodized salt always helps my fish when they are going through something. 1 Teaspoon.
4.Do you have a heater?
1. The tank is too small, but I do have an air pump. At home he will temporarily be living in a fish bowl until I return again.
2. Prime. OldFishLady told me to use it and it has been saving his life.
3. I have already done so, but he is still breathing very hard.
4. No, but the water is at 80 degrees. The building is warm and when the water beings to get chilly I take my lamp and shine it above his tank along with his tank light on. It heats him up to a comfy temperature, usually going no lower than 78 degrees.
You could use a small disposable filter or a sponge filter to help with the water. It cant hurt. When he flares does it look normal or does on side still look different? And does he have any small white spots on his gills?
I am beginning to suspect that Fabio was never healthy to begin with. Although he feels like my first fishy, he is not. I have had other betta fish of my own or ones that I watched in the past (Yen--a blue betta that was my sister's, SnowBerry--a purple-cranberry betta that was my own and live nearly, if not, a full three years, and my brother had Henry who unfortunately died from suffocation as an accident) and they never had their gills like this.
When I purchased Fabio, he was breathing heavy and he did not fan his tail out but that--I thought--was due to stress/being a in a cup. I swapped him into a glass betta bowl. It is more of a decoration than a living environment, of course, and am only keeping him here temporarily until I can find out what makes him sick in the water.
I do not think it is because of stress because his light goes off every night between 10 and 11pm, if not sooner. Sometimes I like to keep it off all the time because there is so much natural light coming in the room from the window that it seems silly to have the fake one on. He has a basic night and day schedule. He also has aquarium salt added to keep his stress down.
I have learned the following:
-Fabio will eat his pellets now, but feeding him 3-4 pellets twice a day as instructed on the container will make him bloated. At most, he can have 2 pellets in the morning and MAYBE 3 at night. He can have a single bloodworm once a week in between meals as a treat.
-I have to ignore the pH of the water and simply fill the tank up with tap and use Prime conditioner, some anti-ick drops (although not needed, but recommended to me), and a teaspoon to two teaspoons of aquarium salt.
-For some reason, even when healthy and active Fabio's gills look swollen, but not drastically so. I can see them out of the gill flaps on each side of his face and underneath the black part looks almost balloony at times.
-One side of the gills (his left and my right when viewing him) works harder than the other. Even when breathing his heaviest, Fabio's wonky side is doing most of the work. When normally breathing, more of the black gill shows than the other side.
-The gill problem is undetermined in regards to time origin. Because of the fiasco with the tank conditions and the water poisoning him, due to PetSmart employees not telling me about the toxins in local College Land waters we don't have at home, he had always been breathing heavy. However, I noticed after saving his life that the gills acted strange. I am guessing that there was permanent damage from the condition of the water that has affected his gills.
-His water has to be changed 100% twice a week. This is a problem and I need him to get to the point where he can survive at least a week without a water change.
How big is his tank? If you're leaving him in a fish bowl I don't think he'll make the 2 1/2 weeks between your thanksgiving break without a water change.. I don't believe any fish can make it that long. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but with the size of your tank frequent water changes (maybe even slightly more than what you have now) may be necessary.
Lion Mom: It isn't to cure ick but a disease preventative. Then again, PetSmart did say to use them and so far they haven't been really useful. They literally told me that Fabio is SUPPOSED to be at the bottom of his tank breathing heavy and not eating his food, during his poisoning fiasco, because "that's what bettas do." Gee, thanks fish care specialist. I am not going to use the anti-ick drops anymore to see if that makes a difference.
Capricorn: The tank he is living in now is about 2.5 gallons. The bowl at home is about 1.5-2 gallons of water. The main difference is that the bowl does NOT have an air pump. We have other tanks, but none are as big as the bowl and I would feel worse putting him in the GloFish/neon tetra tank just because it does have an under gravel air pump. I would rather change his water often than have him be cramped for the 2 months I will be home.
Today Fabio is doing well. He is in that glass betta bowl because it is the only container I have aside his normal home. Although he is my only fish, I am keeping him isolated from the large tank because I cannot change the water yet with all my classes and want to keep a close eye on his behavior and gills. He is breathing normally again, but that one side of his gill looks swollen/funny shaped in comparison. I am beginning to suspect he has gill disease. However, i do not want to diagnose him just yet and am going to see how long it is until is heavy breathing starts up again. Today is day 2 of being in the glass bowl. Usually it takes 3-4 days.