Betta red gills

The June FOTM Contest Poll is open!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to vote! 🏆

Lcc86

Fish Addict
Joined
Jun 7, 2023
Messages
782
Reaction score
495
Location
England
Hi all

I've woken up this morning to find my betta Zazu with red inflamed gills and am looking for some advice as to potential causes.

I tested the water and found elevated nitrite (see pics) so I'm not sure if there's been an ammonia spike for some reason? Tank and filter have been established since November, Zazu is the only inhabitant. I've done an 80% water change immediately. Last water change prior to that was 70% on 17/02.

The only thing I've added in the last few days was some new egeria densa as I noticed the existing plant wasn't in the best shape. When I did the water change the existing plant was very brown and disintegrating as I was trying to remove it, so I'm wondering if that could've been a cause of an ammonia spike.

My partner was messing around behind the tank two days ago and I noticed when I did the water change that the filter has become dislodged and I'm not sure if it was working properly.

I do have aquarium salt I can add and also some gill fluke meds but for now I have left things as they are as I don't know what I'm treating. He is still behaving normally, last fed last night and was asking for food this morning but it's a scheduled no-feed day.

Couple of things to add, unsure if relevant, but a couple of days ago I posted the thread below as he had something hanging off him but it seemed to dislodge quickly, no idea if the two things are linked. You can see from the pics in that thread that his gills weren't red.


The other thing to add is that I've had some sort of parasite in my other tank that I've been treating successfully with gill fluke meds for the last four weeks. I don't share equipment between tanks and given that the treatment is finished in the other tank and has been successful, I'm guessing that it would be very unlikely to have somehow transferred between tanks but thought I should mention it just in case.

Ps the full tank shot was taken right after the water change hence the water not being 100% clear.
 

Attachments

  • 20240224_080404.jpg
    20240224_080404.jpg
    222.6 KB · Views: 22
  • 20240224_080402.jpg
    20240224_080402.jpg
    229.2 KB · Views: 16
  • 20240224_082728.jpg
    20240224_082728.jpg
    259.9 KB · Views: 15
  • 20240224_083000.jpg
    20240224_083000.jpg
    414.4 KB · Views: 17
Could you let us know what tests you did? I see the tubes, but it isn't clear which test each of them is. I'm assuming the left hand one is ammonia and the right hand one is nitrates? But what is the middle one? Just based on color, it could either be the upper end of the high-range pH test, or the upper end of the nitrite test. If it's just the pH test and you haven't tested for nitrites, I would do that.
 
Poor water quality or chemicals are the most common cause of gill problems. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, medications, plant fertiliser, chemicals getting into the water from outside the aquarium like perfume, deodorant, hand sanitiser, etc, all cause problems.

Treatment usually involves doing a big (75-80%) water change and gravel cleaning the substrate.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Make sure any buckets used for the fish are only used for fish and nothing else. Plenty of fish have died because someone used a fish only bucket to clean the floor or window or something else.
 
Could you let us know what tests you did? I see the tubes, but it isn't clear which test each of them is. I'm assuming the left hand one is ammonia and the right hand one is nitrates? But what is the middle one? Just based on color, it could either be the upper end of the high-range pH test, or the upper end of the nitrite test. If it's just the pH test and you haven't tested for nitrites, I would do that.
Yes apologies I meant to include that in my post, left to right - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. Nitrite levels are usually always 0.
 
Poor water quality or chemicals are the most common cause of gill problems. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, medications, plant fertiliser, chemicals getting into the water from outside the aquarium like perfume, deodorant, hand sanitiser, etc, all cause problems.

Treatment usually involves doing a big (75-80%) water change and gravel cleaning the substrate.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Make sure any buckets used for the fish are only used for fish and nothing else. Plenty of fish have died because someone used a fish only bucket to clean the floor or window or something else.
Hi @Colin_T

Water change done, the only thing added was the usual dose of prime to the tap water. I use rubber gloves that are reserved just for the tank and the bucket is also only used for water changes so I don't think chemical contamination is the cause. Shall I just keep up with large daily water changes until he improves?

I don't use any perfumes etc in that room as it's also where my house rabbits live so I'm super careful about anything that goes in there, no deodorant, candles etc.
 
Yes, I would do a big daily water change for a few days at least and if you can, do it every day for a week. If there's still an issue after a week of water changes, then you either have toxic tap water or something else is going on.
 
Yes, I would do a big daily water change for a few days at least and if you can, do it every day for a week. If there's still an issue after a week of water changes, then you either have toxic tap water or something else is going on.
Thanks will update if there's no improvement after a week of daily changes.
 
Yes apologies I meant to include that in my post, left to right - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. Nitrite levels are usually always 0.
Alright, so yes, that nitrite reading is really high. Water changes should definitely help, so keep doing those. Have you noticed your betta hanging out at the surface and breathing heavily, or him gulping air more frequently? High nitrites inhibit the ability for their blood to take oxygen from the water. No matter how oxygenated the water is, they'll suffocate with high nitrites. To stop this effect, you can add salt to the water at the normal dose, but it seems you've already been doing some large water changes, so you might not have to.

Something has happened to stall your cycle. You might have had an ammonia spike that you didn't catch and now it's all been converted to nitrites. Maybe you just caught it before they were converted to nitrates, or maybe your bacteria are stuck at the nitrite phase. Either way, water changes will help, but you should also consider adding some more cycled media from another tank if you have it, or getting some bottled bacteria from a trusted brand like Fritz or Dr. Tim's. Continue testing with your water changes over the course of the week. Things may settle out on their own.
 
Alright, so yes, that nitrite reading is really high. Water changes should definitely help, so keep doing those. Have you noticed your betta hanging out at the surface and breathing heavily, or him gulping air more frequently? High nitrites inhibit the ability for their blood to take oxygen from the water. No matter how oxygenated the water is, they'll suffocate with high nitrites. To stop this effect, you can add salt to the water at the normal dose, but it seems you've already been doing some large water changes, so you might not have to.

Something has happened to stall your cycle. You might have had an ammonia spike that you didn't catch and now it's all been converted to nitrites. Maybe you just caught it before they were converted to nitrates, or maybe your bacteria are stuck at the nitrite phase. Either way, water changes will help, but you should also consider adding some more cycled media from another tank if you have it, or getting some bottled bacteria from a trusted brand like Fritz or Dr. Tim's. Continue testing with your water changes over the course of the week. Things may settle out on their own.
I haven't noticed anything unusual, he's eating like normal, he made a bubble nest on Thursday and was pretty "normal" on Friday but I was at work most of the day so can't say for certain whether he was hanging out near the surface.

I tested again following the water change and nitrites are now 0. I do have a little bottled bacteria left from when I set up his tank so I can add a little in just to be on the safe side.
 
Well another water change done this morning and Zazu's gills are looking a little better. He wasn't being the best model for me for the camera though!
 

Attachments

  • 20240225_082443.jpg
    20240225_082443.jpg
    221.3 KB · Views: 11
  • 20240225_082447.jpg
    20240225_082447.jpg
    194.1 KB · Views: 11
So it's been a week of daily water changes and Zazu's gills were pretty much back to normal, but this morning I've noticed his gills seem red again.

Tested my parameters, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all 0. PH is a little higher than normal at about 8. I also tested gH and kH. KH has crashed I think, I only used 2 drops. And gH seems high, 16 drops.

I have been transitioning to RO water because there are long term works going on by my house with water main supplies (I mentioned this in another thread) and I was worried about any chemicals in the water. I'm using seachem products - equilibrium, and acid/alkaline buffer as needed to try and match my tap water as closely as possible. My tap water is usually about 7.2 pH and 6 drops kH, 14 gH. I'm testing the RO water before I use it so not sure why the kH has dropped so dramatically.

I will continue with water changes, is there anything else I should consider? He was definitely improving just with the water changes which makes me think it's not gill flukes.
 

Attachments

  • 20240302_080017.jpg
    20240302_080017.jpg
    249 KB · Views: 10
  • 20240302_080022.jpg
    20240302_080022.jpg
    257.8 KB · Views: 9
If your GH is really 320ppm, While it is within "range" I would consider it too high, between 100 and 200 is great for bettas.

Sudden PH swing will irritate gills. If you are using RO water that you are re-mineralizing, do it in 2 steps, First adjust KH then test the GH then adjust the GH.

I never was really successful trying to balance my water with commercial products. With time (and a lots of testing) I found out that it's easier (for me and my water source) to use.

Calcium Carbonate USP
Calcium Chloride USP
Magnesium Sulphate USP

Potassium is not a major concern and I rely on whatever level there is in my tap water.

This way I'm able to insure that my resulting water, Calcium / Magnesium ratio is always near 3:1 and at the desired concentration.
 
If your GH is really 320ppm, While it is within "range" I would consider it too high, between 100 and 200 is great for bettas.

Sudden PH swing will irritate gills. If you are using RO water that you are re-mineralizing, do it in 2 steps, First adjust KH then test the GH then adjust the GH.

I never was really successful trying to balance my water with commercial products. With time (and a lots of testing) I found out that it's easier (for me and my water source) to use.

Calcium Carbonate USP
Calcium Chloride USP
Magnesium Sulphate USP

Potassium is not a major concern and I rely on whatever level there is in my tap water.

This way I'm able to insure that my resulting water, Calcium / Magnesium ratio is always near 3:1 and at the desired concentration.
Yes I think I messed up my calculations when remineralising and made it too hard - it's never been that hard before and I wouldn't have done it intentionally. I don't have any other explanation for it.

The seachem equilibrium adjusts gH and kH together so I can't adjust them individually.

I definitely do not intend to stay with RO long term, it's just while the local utility company does these works over the next few months, I don't enjoy it and I don't have lots of storage so having to do lots of small water changes on my two tanks throughout the week - it's very tedious!

I did a big water change this morning and checked the RO water beforehand to make sure the parameters were better. Positively Zazu is behaving normally so I'm hoping it's a one off.
 
GH has less importance for bettas than KH and a stable PH.

But if you are using 100% RO at the moment, Your resulting water should be very close to optimal after dosing.

Let the water sit after, stir it from time to time and test it before doing your water changes. The product you are adding will interact with each other initially and with the water you have, then stabilize,

It's the stabilized result you want.

From your pictures, he's not doing so bad.

Since I don't know your experience in aquaria, I will still take the chance of looking stupid.
But I hope you are not confounding the blue and red coloration on his gill plate (operculum) for inflamed gills.

This picture shows no sign of any gills problems (operculum closed) . If He has no labored breathing, swelling of the gills or looking stressed in anyway. If you have real difficulty to be able to see his "gills".

There is extremely good chances that they are going well. Parasites and poisoning will make them swell to the point they cant close and provoke other obvious symptoms.

full
 
GH has less importance for bettas than KH and a stable PH.

But if you are using 100% RO at the moment, Your resulting water should be very close to optimal after dosing.

Let the water sit after, stir it from time to time and test it before doing your water changes. The product you are adding will interact with each other initially and with the water you have, then stabilize,

It's the stabilized result you want.

From your pictures, he's not doing so bad.

Since I don't know your experience in aquaria, I will still take the chance of looking stupid.
But I hope you are not confounding the blue and red coloration on his gill plate (operculum) for inflamed gills.

This picture shows no sign of any gills problems (operculum closed) . If He has no labored breathing, swelling of the gills or looking stressed in anyway. If you have real difficulty to be able to see his "gills".

There is extremely good chances that they are going well. Parasites and poisoning will make them swell to the point they cant close and provoke other obvious symptoms.

full
Thanks, I'm using a 50/50 mixture of RO/tap water, I've been slowly increasing the RO over the last few weeks, aiming to be at 100% within another few weeks. I try and mix it up the night before a water change or at least a few hours in advance.

Perhaps I am mistaking it, he just never used to have such redness near his gills and I've had him for about 3 months now,it didn't seem normal for him. But other than that he does seem in good condition.
 

Most reactions

Back
Top