What's new

Betta seems to be breathing heavily

Fabulance

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Morning guys,

I recently purchased a new Betta - 3 or 4 days ago - to live in a 34l aquarium (by himself). It's been cycled for about a month and a half now, and the water parameters are as follows:

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5
pH 6.8-7
Temperature 25.5-26

As far as I know, these are fine conditions for a Betta, he was temperature acclimated for 20 minutes prior to being added to the tank and I slowly added tank water to his bag every couple of minutes for 10 or so minutes. I don't see him eat but I drop a blood worm in occasionally which disappears the next time I look.
I am stumped as to what may be causing him to be breathing heavily, he's a cool dude and would be a shame to lose him :c
I feel like stress would have subsided by now, especially considering the tank is planted densely enough to offer plenty of hiding spots and the water flow is low enough that he doesn't struggle to swim about.

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,565
Reaction score
900
Location
USA
Try doing 75% water change and see if he improves. If so, do this daily for 2 weeks.
 

Carmen

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Belgium
Morning guys,

I recently purchased a new Betta - 3 or 4 days ago - to live in a 34l aquarium (by himself). It's been cycled for about a month and a half now, and the water parameters are as follows:

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5
pH 6.8-7
Temperature 25.5-26

As far as I know, these are fine conditions for a Betta, he was temperature acclimated for 20 minutes prior to being added to the tank and I slowly added tank water to his bag every couple of minutes for 10 or so minutes. I don't see him eat but I drop a blood worm in occasionally which disappears the next time I look.
I am stumped as to what may be causing him to be breathing heavily, he's a cool dude and would be a shame to lose him :c
I feel like stress would have subsided by now, especially considering the tank is planted densely enough to offer plenty of hiding spots and the water flow is low enough that he doesn't struggle to swim about.

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
Hi Fabulance,

Could it be your pH is fluctuating..? Do you know your KH..?
How do you do water changes?
What's the parameters of the new water you add to the tank..?
 
OP
F

Fabulance

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the replies, I should probably clarify that the pH reading is either one or the other, I just couldn't tell which from the colour, it was a sort of in-between.
In regards to the parameters of the tap water they're:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate [Not sure]
pH the same as the tank water - closer to 7 if I recall
And in terms of hardness, all I know is its soft water.
My water changes are done using a Syphon, usually about 25% once a week, more often if I spot negative changes when I test the water.

Will doing 75% changes daily disrupt anything/stress the fish or is it fine?
I got him to eat the other day, tried some crushed up flakes that I usually give to the tetras in the 100l in the other room. Scoffed them down!
 
Last edited:

Carmen

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Belgium
Hmm personally I would not do such larger amount of water change as 75%. Because it stresses the fish, and in this case where the toxins levels are perfect, I see no need to it. Normally a water change I do of Maximum 50% per time. If i have a peak of toxins, then I do a tank flush, this is several or as many water changes as needed to bring the toxins back to zero. But never going more than 50% each time.

It worries me that you have soft water. And if I'm not mistaken, you need a minimal level of KH to keep your pH stable. Keeping your pH stable is important for your fish. A fluctuating pH can endanger your fish and bring him into shock if the fluctuations are large. A fish breathing heavily is experiencing most likely a change in the water parameters.

Can you please test for KH?
 

Colin_T

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
16,708
Reaction score
1,146
Location
Perth, WA
Any chance of a short 30 second video of the fish?
If the video is too big for this website, post it on YouTube and copy & paste the link here. We can view it at YouTube. If you are using a mobile phone to take the video, have the phone horizontal so the video takes up the entire screen. If you have the phone vertical, you get video in the middle and black on either side.

----------------------
Doing big water changes is fine as long as the new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine and has a similar chemistry (pH and GH) and temperature to the tank.
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,565
Reaction score
900
Location
USA
I agree with Colin. I always do 75% water changes. Your water is full of bacteria which is much more stressful on the fish than the water change. To answer the OP’s question, the water change daily of 75% won’t hurt the fish. I have often done daily water changes for such things as fin rot. Good luck!
 
OP
F

Fabulance

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
It's pretty difficult to capture him on camera, he's pretty shy of it and the lighting is kinda eh but you can kind of see - at points - where his gills look like they extend out past his gill plates.


In terms of the water hardness, I haven't got a kit to test it as of yet but the company supplying my water says it's "slightly soft" meaning it's just below hard water on the scale. I also haven't experienced the same with any of my other fish in my main tank. I don't know if that changes anything.
Whilst videoing and, thinking about it now, a couple of times previously I noticed his left gill plate seemed to be damaged in some way. I'm almost positive it's not from anything in the tank, his breathing was off the day I got him but I assumed it was stress, but I'm new to Bettas so am likely wrong. Annoyingly I didn't get a proper look at his breathing or general health in the LFS as their fish care is usually top notch and I was distracted by his awesome finnage.
 
OP
F

Fabulance

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Looking at it now, that video is pretty tricky to see anything in. Will try getting a better one in a moment!
 

Colin_T

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
16,708
Reaction score
1,146
Location
Perth, WA
How much water movement is in the tank?
He seemed to be struggling to swim and was almost moving in short bursts. If there is too much water movement he could just be exhausted from struggling to swim into the current all the time.

Besides his trouble swimming and ragged fins, his eye looked a little cloudy but that could be the video. But he didn't seem to be gasping or opening and closing his gills rapidly.
 
OP
F

Fabulance

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
There's very little water movement, the output has a sponge over the top to slow it down even more. Yeah I think the cloudy looking eye is just the video, doesn't seem that way in person.


There's a better video of his breathing, he's pretty active most of the time. Will often see him swimming and exploring the tank but managed to catch him for three or so seconds before he moved off again.
 

Colin_T

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
16,708
Reaction score
1,146
Location
Perth, WA
He doesn't seem right but I have no idea what is wrong. All I can think of is poisoning or he has a genetic defect or some other health issue (perhaps a bad heart).

Are you adding anything to the water besides a dechlorinator (eg: plant fertiliser, mineral salts, etc)?

Do you have anything on your skin when you work in the tank (perfumes, moisturising cream, oil, grease, etc)?

Do you use a disinfectant soap when you wash your hands?
These can leave a residue on your skin that can poison fish.

Is there any sort of air freshener, smoke, or any other vapors in the room?
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,565
Reaction score
900
Location
USA
His swimming actually looks normal for a betta. They tend to wiggle a little and glide then wiggle a little and glide. I do agree that he appears to be breathing a little heavy though. Have you tried a big water change to see if it helped? I’d still do a 75% one. If it improves after water change then continue doing them for a couple of weeks. He could have got some bruising in the gill area during moving plus stress. The water changes will give it time to heal and lower stress. Look him over well and make sure there are no external parasites showing also. Examine his gills too for gill flukes. Good luck!
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,565
Reaction score
900
Location
USA
You said you aren’t sure of your nitrates. Why is that as that could be a contributing factor.
 
OP
F

Fabulance

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Besides the dechlorinator I've not added anything, except some seachem paraguard today and yesterday as I was concerned about him, though his breathing was like it long before the seachem.
I usually avoid disinfectant soaps to begin with and typically only use bars of soap, though I'm sure even they have residual chemicals that may be unbeneficial to my fish so I'll make sure I thoroughly wash my hands of anything before carrying out maintenance.
I'll try the 75% tomorrow, was unable to yesterday (if I recall I wrote it late in the evening/night my time) and today as I've been mega busy. Should I stop dosing the paraguard and stick with just the water changes or use it as a preventative just incase?
 
Top