I bought a new betta a little over a week ago. I was told he was about five months old.
I noticed that he slept sort of funny, on his side, but he sprang back up well and was eager and hungry and adorable.
I thought I noticed funny swimming patterns, mostly with his body tilted right or left and some other 'unbalanced' ways I can't put my finger on
This morning he is much worse, he can hardly get up for very long. He did manage to eat his two morning pellets (he small and they are large) and will swim up for a gulp of hair. After that he appears to be quickly swimming but gently falls down to the bottom of the tank. He is appearing to get better but still has abnormal swimming patterns.
Is he dying? I'm very sad. I have a lot of stuff going on and now it looks like my little fish has a horrible neurological problem, or something. I've had him less than two weeks so I am going to contact the pet store I bought him from and ask what is up.
Well I did a water change and then decided to pour half the water out so the tank is shallower. He seems out of breathe with a lot of gill movement and frequently moves to just obtain air from the surface. I thought that with a shallower tank it would be easier on him.
I may possibly be Swim Bladder disorder, however usually the fish floats on his side rather then laying on the bottom. I have seen the occasional case where they lay on the bottom instead though....but its rather uncommon IME.
However, I have also dealt with fish who simply lay on the bottom and are unable to swim normally with no other apparent problems. I have a female whos been like that for almost a year now...she eats, is colorful, comes up to greet me as well as she can, and appears rather healthy...but it really is almost as if she has some sort of neurological problem.
Good call lowering the water level in the tank, that will most certainly help him.
Before we go assuming the worst though, it can't hurt to give the SBD treatment a shot and see if that helps him any.
Fast him for a few days, then head down to your local fish store and pick up some frozen Daphnia, thaw a little bit in some take water, and offer it to him. See if he gets better after a few days on the strict Daphnia diet, and if so then you can go back to his regular pellets, though I would suggest soaking them in some tank water a little first to help prevent further issues.
If he doesn't get better....well, you may need to just keep the water level low so he can get to the surface easier and make him as comfortable as possible. He may need just a tad more maintenance, but so long as your up for it, I think he'll be alright ;)
I'm not terribly experienced with fish illnesses, but just wanted to pop in and make sure his tank is heated to around 78 degrees and ask what size your tank was/how often you do water changes. The rapid gill movement/lethargy just reminds me of the low water temp/ammonia poisoning incident I had when I first got my fish. If you do need a heater, make sure to bring the temperature up slowly, no need to overstress an already stressed fish.
I called the mom 'n pop type pet store I bought my fish from. The man I spoke to recommended I pick up some aquarium salt and bettafix, use salt for four days, and use bettafix for a week, then do a water change.
On Thursday after the initial treatment/dosing, he perked up. Friday he was ever perkier! Still had some occasional narcoleptic/neuro moments. He started resting on a smooth decoration more (they all seem to love to perch on it!) and swimming normally.
This morning when I woke up he was coasting around his tank rather than looking sorry at the bottom of it.
I read here that bettafix isn't a loved product, but even if its doing nothing and the salt is doing all the work, it certainly isn't making him worse!
Glad to hear he's getting better!
Did you test your water parameters? My first fish displayed similar symptoms including hard breathing and gill puffing, laying on the bottom of the tank and swimming tilted. I thought it was swim bladder but when I tested the water parameters I found very high ammonia levels and found that I had inadvertently given my fishy ammonia poisoning. The aquarium salt will probably help ammonia levels, but just check to make sure. You will also want to test your other parameters while using aquarium salt so your pH and alkalinity don't go too far off.
He is now 100% over what he had last week. But now he is floating on his side a lot and does appear to be bloated. Back to a three day fast and will pick up some better betta food along with water testing kit.
He is a small fish, which I guess makes them more prone to bloat/bloat swim bladder disorder?
I'm really glad your treatment is working and that he is better! Would you share what the dosage of each was, how often you changed the water, etc?
This is just conjecture, as I've only owned two bettas, but I do think that smaller fish bloat faster, which causes them to swim/float funny, or it can displace their swim bladders.
Both my bettas are/were very tiny fish. I started out feeding my current fish 2-3 pellets once a day, any more than that in a day and he would bloat. I am currently switching him into 2 pellets twice a day, which he seems fine with now.