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My betta, Cassio, doesn't seem to be doing well. He's in a 10 gal tank by myself with a couple of plants and a heater that keeps the tank at about 74F.

Since I got back from break, he seems off. There's a tear in his fin that I'm working on and I took out the plant that I believed caused it. Today, though, I was feeding him and he seems to behaving more trouble getting to his food than he used to. He dives at a few times but keeps missing. For the most part, I think he might just be eager.

What worries me is the fact that he has trouble getting the food down. It's not that he isn't eager to eat, but that he swims around holding it in his mouth before a bubble dislodges it and he has to try again. They're larger than the bubbles I've usually seen him make for bubble nests, and he isn't building one right now anyway. It just seems like the bubbles are making it hard for him to eat, like they're coming out when he can't control it. I've never seen something like this before.
 

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How old do you think your Cassio is? I am really not sure what the answer is, so I can only speak from my own personal experience. My youngest did this a little in the beginning, he has a small mouth (for being quite young?) for some reason, when he gulps the pellet, he also gulps the air with it, so he needs to dislodge the air bubble from inside before he can "chew". Whereas for my older or bigger ones, they just suck the pellet into the mouth, literally inhale the darn pellet in a split second lol

I suggest breaking the pellet into smaller pieces and see if he does the same thing? You can also try with frozen bloodworm and see if he has the same problem? Mine just sucks the bloodworm in without having to blow bubble out and now I make sure he either gets granules or smaller fragments of the pellet.

Good luck, hope it is not a disorder and that he will outgrow this stage soon.
 

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The bubbles are coming out of his mouth? Usually, when I hear about bettas abnormally exhaling bubbles, it's through the gills. Hmm. Try crushing the pellets into smaller pieces and see if that helps any. Does he exhale bubbles at any other time or only when he is eating? Like, does he just swim along and suddenly a bubble breaks loose? It almost seems as if he has something in his throat causing these bubbles to emerge.
 

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I think he just swims along and exhales them, since the surface is littered with bubbles.
 

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He seems to have about the same temperament that he usually has. Nothing seems outstandingly different about him. Which is part of the reason I don't know what to do. If I thought he was suffering, I would just euthanize him to put him out of his misery or keep him from starving. But he does manage to get the food down eventually and he seems mostly alright.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How old do you think your Cassio is? I am really not sure what the answer is, so I can only speak from my own personal experience. My youngest did this a little in the beginning, he has a small mouth (for being quite young?) for some reason, when he gulps the pellet, he also gulps the air with it, so he needs to dislodge the air bubble from inside before he can "chew". Whereas for my older or bigger ones, they just suck the pellet into the mouth, literally inhale the darn pellet in a split second lol

I suggest breaking the pellet into smaller pieces and see if he does the same thing? You can also try with frozen bloodworm and see if he has the same problem? Mine just sucks the bloodworm in without having to blow bubble out and now I make sure he either gets granules or smaller fragments of the pellet.

Good luck, hope it is not a disorder and that he will outgrow this stage soon.
I'm honestly not sure how old he is. x__X But I'll keep those all in mind and maybe try grinding down the pellet for him to see if that helps. I gave him some freeze-dried bloodworms, but I couldn't stick around to see how he handled them.
 

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Gotta say this is one of the stranger things I've heard. I don't know what to make of it but as long as the rest of his behavior is normal, I would take a watch and wait approach. Try crushing his pellets or any of Earthworm's advice to see if it makes a difference and hopefully he grows out of it, like she said. I'm sorry I can't help you further but good luck with Cassio.
 

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Thanks very much. I'll see how the crushed pellets work. : )
 

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After I wrote my post, it was time to feed my Sinatra. This time I decided to feed him the normal size pellet without breaking it up to see how he handles it. (It's been 3 weeks I have been babying him since the air bubble vs. pellet fights) He handled it really well, ate the whole thing without any bubble issue.

So hopefully yours is like mine, took some time to learn the proper way (if there is one) to take the food into the mouth or to "dislodge" extra air through the gills. When you have a pellet, just cut it in half with your thumb nail (the lazy and fast way) on the other palm or just use a small knife to cut in half or thirds.

Let us know how Cassio is doing once you have a chance to experiment with the smaller fragment of the food.

Good luck!
 
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