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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My betta stopped eating 2 days ago. He looks a little pale and is staying mostly on the bottom. His gills are visible and he looks like he is gasping. There are no visible wounds or abnormalities as far as I can tell. Not sure what is wrong or how to treat.
When I got him over 2 years ago, he was in poor condition and I had to keep him on antibiotics for some time until he came around. He's been very healthy since until now.
We recently got a new kitten who is very interested in him. I'm wondering if it has stressed him to be getting so much attention. The kitten cannot get to the water in the tank but he does bat at the aquarium as he watches the betta.
So far, I've changed water and added coppersafe and erythromycin. I removed the filter to keep these in the water the past 24 hours. He doesn't seem to be improving so far.
Any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks!

Housing
What size is your tank? 6 gal.
What temperature is your tank? 80
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari pellets, occasional Omega One flakes
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1-2 times per day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? 1-2 weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 30%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Stress Coat Conditioner, Aqua Salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? slightly pale
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? staying mostly on the bottom
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? Yes
If so, how? Water change, Coppersafe, Erythromycin
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not recently
How old is your fish (approximately)? 3 years
 

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If this is an old, established tank, there's a possibility your cycle crashed, you'll want to have your water tested. If it's a new tank, you'll still want to to test that water - odds are your fish is having issues with ammonia. Gasping is usually associated with ammonia or nitrite exposure.

There's also the simple fact that this fish is old. That shouldn't be making him gasp or stress out, but it means he's slowing down and he's more vulnerable to environmental changes. Something that didn't bother him before - say, high nitrates in a cycled tank - could be causing him problems now. I'd try increasing the water changes, but do the water exchange as gently as possible to avoid stressing him more.

The kitten might be bothering him - if it is, you should see him trying to hide, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you

Thank you for replying. I have a test kit, I just haven't tested in some time since I was consistently getting good results. So I just tested
Ammonia is 0
Nitrites are 0
Nitrates show a trace
pH is 6.5
GH is ~30

So I don't think it is the water. Maybe it is a combo of stress and old age. I sure hoped he would live much longer. I'll try to keep the kitten away and keep changing water. Hopefully he can turn around.
 

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With water quality that good, I wouldn't stress about it. Keep to the old schedule, it looks like that's fine. There's no need to change his routine.

If it's stress, you can try covering his tank with an old towel or blanket to black it out for a while - most bettas calm down in the dark. If you do that, keep an eye on the water temperature, because it can raise due to the increased insulation. Or you can add an Indian Almond Leaf to his water, if you can get it. I swear by that as a stress reliever and mild cure-all. It will make the water a "tea" color, can calm, and appears (this has not been proven) to have slight antibacterial properties.

This will not fix the root cause of his problem, however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your help. I'll try covering him tonight, and will call around tomorrow to see if I can find a source for the Indian Almond Leaf.
I won't give up until he is gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My little guy died during the night. I knew he was not looking good before I went to bed. His "breathing" had slowed down.
What is the best practice to get the tank ready for another fish? Since I'm not sure what caused him to die, should I try to disinfect the tank? I hate to start over cycling the tank, but I don't want to risk passing a disease to a new fish.
Thank you!
 

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I wouldn't disinfect the tank, most likely he died from old age with his symptoms and even if it were a bacterial infection, if the new fish is healthy, he should be just fine. Nothing struck me for your fish having a really bad disease so again, I wouldn't waste your good cycle on a chance is all.

Sorry about your loss, I know it's not fun to lose an old friend.
 
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