Help! Betta is lethargic and is breathing heavy

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youbettadont

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I recently transferred my betta back into his 5 gallon at my college. However, since it was winter break, I had to bring him home. The tank he is in right now has been running empty for a month. Before it was cycled, but since it has been empty, there are no signs of any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. My betta was doing fine the first two days that I moved him back in. Now he stays in his cave all day and breathes heavily; He has been like this for the past three days. He still came up to eat, but I have been fasting him for a day just in case. His tank is at a good 80 degrees with a heater and filter so I have no idea why he is suddenly so lethargic. I have never seen him like this before. Occasionally, he will come out if I stare at him long enough, but he just darts around the tank(somewhat erratically) for like 5 seconds and goes right back into his cave. Even thought there are no signs of ammonia ,I've still been doing 25% water changes daily just in case, but nothing has changed.
 
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Colin_T

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

FIRST AID FOR FISH
Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week or until the problem is identified. The water changes and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use them. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Post pictures and maybe a 1 minute video of the fish.
Upload videos to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.
 

Finn1231

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Try checking your nitrates and nitrates. Maybe get a sponge filter or bubbler to add more air to the water.
 
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youbettadont

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

FIRST AID FOR FISH
Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week or until the problem is identified. The water changes and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use them. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Post pictures and maybe a 1 minute video of the fish.
Upload videos to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.
I just siphoned the grave and did a little more than 75% water change. I also rinsed the filter media in tank water and rinsed all tank decorations in water that was treated with seachem prime. I dosed seachem prime and stability in the tank. He is acting somewhat more normal, and I will update you in the morning if anything happens. I also ordered seachem stressguard which should be arriving tomorrow. Thank you so much!
 
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youbettadont

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Try checking your nitrates and nitrates. Maybe get a sponge filter or bubbler to add more air to the water.
My tank was left running empty for a month, so my cycled crashed with no signs of nitrites or nitrates. I'll definitely see if I can get a bubbler. For now, I just removed my homemade filter buffer and hoped that a slightly stronger current would add some oxygen. Thank you!
 
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youbettadont

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My betta swam around for like 5 minutes, but now he's back in the cave :/. As I said, I'll update in the morning and post pictures and videos if needed then.
 

vanalisa

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My betta swam around for like 5 minutes, but now he's back in the cave :/. As I said, I'll update in the morning and post pictures and videos if needed then.
Oh I'm sorry I just jumped in there a little bit too quick. ...
I'm sending hugs and prayers to your little one !
 

Colin_T

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The tank might have been contaminated by something while it was free of fish.

The fish might be stressed out over the move from uni to home, or there is a change in water chemistry between the uni and home.

Water changes and monitor and see how things go.
 
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youbettadont

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The tank might have been contaminated by something while it was free of fish.

The fish might be stressed out over the move from uni to home, or there is a change in water chemistry between the uni and home.

Water changes and monitor and see how things go.
There is definitely a huge change in water quality. Back home, I was able to give my betta RO water that was remineralized with seachem equilibrium and alkaline buffer, which he probably enjoyed. I tried to keep the ph the same as my college when using RO water since the tap water at my college is really high in ph(8.3). However, since I am a broke college student, I do not know if I can afford to buy him RO water here. He was doing fine in my college tap water before break, so maybe he just got used to the RO water???
 
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youbettadont

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He is doing a lot better now and swimming around! I'm assuming that the tank might have been contaminated like Collin said or there was just a large growth of unhealthy bacteria/microorganisms that formed and had to be removed. I'll keep everyone updated just in case something goes wrong again.
 

connorlindeman

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He is doing a lot better now and swimming around! I'm assuming that the tank might have been contaminated like Collin said or there was just a large growth of unhealthy bacteria/microorganisms that formed and had to be removed. I'll keep everyone updated just in case something goes wrong again.
Good to hear!
 

vanalisa

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Betta can be tough little fellas!

I know this is going to sound weird but he sounds like he's exhibiting cat-like behavior and telling you just exactly what he feels about you moving him around changing his water messing with his lifestyle lalalalala
 

Colin_T

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Betta can be tough little fellas!

I know this is going to sound weird but he sounds like he's exhibiting cat-like behavior and telling you just exactly what he feels about you moving him around changing his water messing with his lifestyle lalalalala
stop talking about cats on a fish forum, your making me hungry :werewolf:
 

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