Betta gasping for air at the surface

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Stowers74

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So I came home from work today to discover that my blue VT was gasping for air at the top or his tank. I tested my water, everything was normal, but I did a 30% WC anyways. He's still gasping. He stays at the surface with his mouth sticking out of the water. When he gasps it's making a squeaking noise? The temp outside last night got to about -17°, and my tank went from 80 to about 71 or 72°. I added another heater and brou h t it back up to 80. What could be wrong with him??

 

Claire Bear

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Eight degrees is a significant swing in temperature.
However, I would be more concerned with water perimeters. Is this the three gallon or the ten? If it is the three it could be that there was something off in the tank. With those small tanks, things can change quickly.
Hope the little guy gets better!
 
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Stowers74

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It's a 10 gallon. The betta from the 3 is now in a 5.5. I re tested the water a few minutes after the water change and nitrites were sky high. It's either a faulty test kit (api master test kid), or I did something wrong. Either way, I did another water change, taking about 50% out this time and nitrites are back down significantly. His symptoms also go along the lines of nitrite poisoning, but I'm not sure how that much nitrite could have built up so quickly. I just did my weekly WC on Tuesday. He's still gasping but not as hard.

 
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Stowers74

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So, it's been a few days, and he's still hanging in there. He seemed to be doing slightly better yesterday. He was still resting on plants and acting lethargic, but not gasping. I did a small water change yesterday as well. Today, he is resting on my plants, basically vertically, and gasping, but only the right gill is gasping?? What's wrong with him?? I've also noticed that he has a small tumor on his dorsal. It's been there for at least a month, but hasn't gotten any bigger. Could this have anything to do with him acting different??

 

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Wendigoblue

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The swing in temperature and the nitrites being high could of shocked him and he's now recovering. I would use a plastic sheet and cover 75% of the top of the tank with it. It will make sure it's holding some warmth in and the air won't be so cold when he's breathing. Keep checking your parameters and he should be okay. If he's still like this in a few days let us know! Keep us updated so we know whats going on and if additional measures need to be taken (meds or remedies for an upcoming illness).
 
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Stowers74

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I've got a glass canopy that covers most of the top, and you can see condensation on it.. would this be Enough? I've noticed he's resting on the heater, and my tank is now staying about 79°. I've left the light off for three days now to try to ease the stress a bit as well.

 

Wendigoblue

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He could also be resting, because the lights off. The glass canopy should do! I would try to kick back up to around 80oF with 82oF being the best temperature for now. Any signs of parasites? No white spots or stringy poop?
 
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Stowers74

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These seem to be the symptoms exactly. I did add SeaChem Flourish Excel to the tank ~2 days before I noticed the symptoms. To my knowledge, I didn't overdose, but this was the first time I had ever used a fertilizer with him. Would flourish Excell cause co2 to be higher?

I noticed that most of the other diagnosis had either a pale or darkened body as a symptom, but he seems to be the same color as always

 

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I noticed that paleness was a symptom for temperature drop too. He doesn't meet that criteria, but he meets all of the others. Could it have been a combination of the two? I also noticed that he seems "buoyant". That would explain how he was basically vertical while resting the other night. But he doesn't meet the bubbling on the body.

 

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junebug

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No signs of parasites or stringy poop. He looks completely normal besides the flaring. I've never really seen a fish flare just one gill though?
Sometimes their operculum gets stuck or "broken" and only one side flares out. It's probably not an issue.

Honestly it mostly sounds like was stressed by the temp drop and high nitrites. Keep up the water changes and keep the temp stable and I suspect he will begin to recover.
 
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