Betta Having Trouble Breathing

Nightshadethebetta
  • #1
For the past 3 days, my little fish has been gasping for air at the surface. He will hang in one spot for hours and I see he is breathing rapidly. He has a heater and I just put in a filter yesterday. I know they get oxygen from the surface, but it seems he is having trouble breathing Yes, I know he has popeye and I’m the process of trying to treat it. I’ve included some photos of the way he floats. Why could he possibly be breathing this way? His issues kind of all came at once out of nowhere. I’m really worried that I’ll lose him and I’ve been trying to get as much advice as possible on here (hence why I post often, so if I get annoying..I’m sorry, I’m a newbie).
 

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Fanatic
  • #2
What is the temperature currently reading?

I am unsure of the cause of the breathing, but what are your water parameters?
There could be a lack of oxygen in the water if it's too warm, but it could also be caused by the illness.
Personally, if he's having trouble swimming then I would lower the water level for easier access to the surface.
 
Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
What is the temperature currently reading?

I am unsure of the cause of the breathing, but what are your water parameters?
There could be a lack of oxygen in the water if it's too warm, but it could also be caused by the illness.
Personally, if he's having trouble swimming then I would lower the water level for easier access to the surface.
I tested my water today and got the following results:

Ammonia: .5
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0

The temperature is currently at 80. Due to crazy weather, I had to unplug his heater today because it got too warm. I just started using prime to help with the ammonia as my tank properly cycles. He also won’t even eat, even if it’s right in front of him. He has no trouble swimming. But he’s always floating at the surface, occasionally will come out of hiding but not often. It’s the breathing that really worries me.
 
Fanatic
  • #4
I tested my water today and got the following results:

Ammonia: .5
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0

The temperature is currently at 80. Due to crazy weather, I had to unplug his heater today because it got too warm. I just started using prime to help with the ammonia as my tank properly cycles. He also won’t even eat, even if it’s right in front of him. He has no trouble swimming. But he’s always floating at the surface, occasionally will come out of hiding but not often. It’s the breathing that really worries me.

I would try to get the ammonia at zero, are you cycled?
 
Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I would try to get the ammonia at zero, are you cycled?
Being the newbie I am, I didn’t know enough about the cycle until now. I’ve had the tank and my betta for 2 months now, and I just installed a filter to help get a cycle going. So I’m the process of it now.
 
BettaNation
  • #6
For the past 3 days, my little fish has been gasping for air at the surface. He will hang in one spot for hours and I see he is breathing rapidly. He has a heater and I just put in a filter yesterday. I know they get oxygen from the surface, but it seems he is having trouble breathing Yes, I know he has popeye and I’m the process of trying to treat it. I’ve included some photos of the way he floats. Why could he possibly be breathing this way? His issues kind of all came at once out of nowhere. I’m really worried that I’ll lose him and I’ve been trying to get as much advice as possible on here (hence why I post often, so if I get annoying..I’m sorry, I’m a newbie).
Correct me if I am wrong but, dropsy has either two ways the betta can act, they'll either float at the top, not being able to go down from the top, or they'll sink and not be able to get up to the surface for air easily. If your betta struggles to swim downward, I fear that's what your betta has. Dropsy is not curable, only treatable and it always comes back even if you fix it one time, it will seemingly just keep coming back. If that's not what happening, then I'd just check water parameters and make sure the water is heated and not dirty.
 
Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Correct me if I am wrong but, dropsy has either two ways the betta can act, they'll either float at the top, not being able to go down from the top, or they'll sink and not be able to get up to the surface for air easily. If your betta struggles to swim downward, I fear that's what your betta has. Dropsy is not curable, only treatable and it always comes back even if you fix it one time, it will seemingly just keep coming back. If that's not what happening, then I'd just check water parameters and make sure the water is heated and not dirty.
He goes to the bottom to hide in his cave sometimes, but he seems to prefer the top for easy air access, I guess. His scales aren’t pineconing, but he is losing color, I’m assuming from stress? He also hasn’t eaten in a couple days now, so no bloating.
 
BettaNation
  • #8
He goes to the bottom to hide in his cave sometimes, but he seems to prefer the top for easy air access, I guess. His scales aren’t pineconing, but he is losing color, I’m assuming from stress?
It's possible and most likely he is but I'd just make sure his tank is ok and fast him with a pea for a day or two. Unless it's an internal parasite so I'd be on the lookout for that too. But id seriously check the water.
 
Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
It's possible and most likely he is but I'd just make sure his tank is ok and fast him with a pea for a day or two. Unless it's an internal parasite so I'd be on the lookout for that too. But id seriously check the water.
So I just checked on him again (photo attached) Is it me, or does it look like his scales are starting to look pine coned? I also listed my parameters (above). Is this Dropsy, then? I’ll eventually make a new post to see if that’s what’s wrong. Never thought Dropsy would be a problem.
 

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Aquafina
  • #10
So I just checked on him again (photo attached) Is it me, or does it look like his scales are starting to look pine coned? I also listed my parameters (above). Is this Dropsy, then? I’ll eventually make a new post to see if that’s what’s wrong. Never thought Dropsy would be a problem.
I think it might be your stress seeing pinecones, but it's hard to compare with the slightly unclear first photo. I remember when my betta had fin issues when I first got him and from paranoia and articles I was convinced that he had fin rot, dropsy, popeye and everything else all at once lol. I hope to see your fishy recover from this strange problem soon.

Also if you don't have a suction cup leaf hammock yet, I recommend getting one for him to sit and relax on since he's at the surface so much. It might take some stress away from him.
 
Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I think it might be your stress seeing pinecones, but it's hard to compare with the slightly unclear first photo. I remember when my betta had fin issues when I first got him and from paranoia and articles I was convinced that he had fin rot, dropsy, popeye and everything else all at once lol. I hope to see your fishy recover from this strange problem soon.

Also if you don't have a suction cup leaf hammock yet, I recommend getting one for him to sit and relax on since he's at the surface so much. It might take some stress away from him.
I hope he can recover. Here’s another photo of him. If you zoom in a little, you can see it. And he’s turning from a bright beautiful blue, to pale-ish on the sides. It’s so hard to get a good picture, because he hides literally the entire day and will dart away at anything.
 

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Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #12

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I hope he can recover. Here’s another photo of him. If you zoom in a little, you can see it. And he’s turning from a bright beautiful blue, to pale-ish on the sides. It’s so hard to get a good picture, because he hides literally the entire day and will dart away at anything.
Here’s this pic again, too. Tried to make it clearer.
 
Fanatic
  • #13
He’s in the early stage of pineconing.
 
Nightshadethebetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
He’s in the early stage of pineconing.
Is it still early enough to be able to fully treat it and heal my fish?
 
Fanatic
  • #15
Is it still early enough to be able to fully treat it and heal my fish?

Certainly!
 
Aquafina
  • #16
View attachment 437998 View attachment 437998
Here’s this pic again, too. Tried to make it clearer.
Darn, yea you can see it in the last picture clearly. The poor baby. Place him in a smaller/shallower tank so he can reach the surface with less effort, use little amounts of aquarium salt and KanaPlex. You caught it early so there is hope. I wish you the best!
 
Swiftyfishy2008
  • #17
I recently got a betta and I’m noticing it’s kind of lethargic and is heavily breathing, It’s staying in some places like on leaves, and just sitting there a long period of time while heavily breathing. Is this normal or is it something that maybe I should be worried about.

Tank size 10 gallon

Heater=Yes

Filter=Yes, with a sponge and polyfil in it.

stress coat plus in yes

aqurium salt= yes
 
RUADJAI
  • #18
What are your water parameters?
 
Swiftyfishy2008
  • #19
What are your water parameters?
I don’t actually have any test strips right now, but I did just do a 100% water change on Sunday
 
RUADJAI
  • #20
I don’t actually have any test strips right now, but I did just do a 100% water change on Sunday
Why did you do 100% water change? That can be stressful for your fish. Also, you need to be able to text your water. Is your tank cycled? Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?
I would start by doing daily water changes of 30%-50% until you can get a test kit.
 
Swiftyfishy2008
  • #21
Why did you do 100% water change? That can be stressful for your fish. Also, you need to be able to text your water. Is your tank cycled? Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?
I would start by doing daily water changes of 30%-50% until you can get a test kit.
I did a 100% water change cause this used to be a old tank with a other betta, but that one recently died from ick and I wanted to make sure no ick was left, so I cleaned to tank out including the plants, new gravel and the filter. And you said is my tank cycled,I’m honestly not sure, I did put stress coat in and let it run for like a day and let it run.
 
RUADJAI
  • #22
I did a 100% water change cause this used to be a old tank with a other betta, but that one recently died from ick and I wanted to make sure no ick was left, so I cleaned to tank out including the plants, new gravel and the filter. And you said is my tank cycled,I’m honestly not sure, I did put stress coat in and let it run for like a day and let it run.
Ok so... first off, you need to be able to test your water for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Get a test kit or test strips as soon as you can.

Since you don't know if your tank is cycled, Im going to assume it is not. You need to add some form of beneficial bacteria to your tank to turn your Ammonia and Nitrites (toxic to fish) to Nitrates (non toxic in small quantities).

API Quick Start and Seachem Stability are two of the most popular.

If you can get Seachem Prime... I would use that for now to condition your water. It does everything stress coat does but it will also detoxify Ammonia and Nitrites for 24 hours while your tank is cycling.

Google "Nitrogen Cycle" so you can learn how it works. It's going to take a bit of time and daily water changes so your fish doesn't get poisoned. If you had another tank running, ideally you would rehome him while your tank cycles. If that's not an option then you can cycle your tank with him in there but as I said before you are going to need to test your water daily, keep your ammonia and nitrites as close to 0 as possible, until you finally see some nitrates showing up.

The easiest way to do all of this would be to get some filter media from an already established tank. So if you know someone who has a fish tank and they can give you part of their filter sponge or something like that, it could possibly instantly cycle your tank and save your fish alot of stress and you alot of time changing your water for the next few weeks.

Let me know if you have any questions.
 
Swiftyfishy2008
  • #23
Ok so... first off, you need to be able to test your water for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. Get a test kit or test strips as soon as you can.

Since you don't know if your tank is cycled, Im going to assume it is not. You need to add some form of beneficial bacteria to your tank to turn your Ammonia and Nitrites (toxic to fish) to Nitrates (non toxic in small quantities).

API Quick Start and Seachem Stability are two of the most popular.

If you can get Seachem Prime... I would use that for now to condition your water. It does everything stress coat does but it will also detoxify Ammonia and Nitrites for 24 hours while your tank is cycling.

Google "Nitrogen Cycle" so you can learn how it works. It's going to take a bit of time and daily water changes so your fish doesn't get poisoned. If you had another tank running, ideally you would rehome him while your tank cycles. If that's not an option then you can cycle your tank with him in there but as I said before you are going to need to test your water daily, keep your ammonia and nitrites as close to 0 as possible, until you finally see some nitrates showing up.

The easiest way to do all of this would be to get some filter media from an already established tank. So if you know someone who has a fish tank and they can give you part of their filter sponge or something like that, it could possibly instantly cycle your tank and save your fish alot of stress and you alot of time changing your water for the next few weeks.

Let me know if you have any questions.
I have a piece of sponge I’ve been using for like a month and puting it in my filter, I think it might be in the wrong spot of the filter though so I’m gonna put it right where the water flows out. I’ll make sure to do the water changes until I get the test strips.
 
RUADJAI
  • #24
I have a piece of sponge I’ve been using for like a month and puting it in my filter, I think it might be in the wrong spot of the filter though so I’m gonna put it right where the water flows out. I’ll make sure to do the water changes until I get the test strips.
A sponge is great, but a sponge from a CYCLED tank will have bacteria that you need. If you don’t have access to a cycled tank then you should add the bacteria yourself from a bottle like I mentioned above.
 
MercyGrace
  • #25
I have a piece of sponge I’ve been using for like a month and puting it in my filter, I think it might be in the wrong spot of the filter though so I’m gonna put it right where the water flows out. I’ll make sure to do the water changes until I get the test strips.
I know that Petsmart will test your water for free. You can do that til you get a test kit. I recommend that you get a testing kit instead of strips. It is cheaper in the long run, and will give you more accurate results. If you get any of the test strips accidentally wet, it will give you inaccurate test results.
 
Swiftyfishy2008
  • #26
Well first off, I just wanna say thank y’all for trying to help me save my new betta, I gave him a water change and a salt bath for 20 seconds and about 2 hours later I was noticing he wasn’t breathing anymore and was barley moving, about a minute later he passed away. But I want to just thank everyone who tried to help me out and give me some tips, I’ll definitely will make sure to get some test strips or kits.

Rest In Piece, to my new crown tail betta..
 
MercyGrace
  • #27
Well first off, I just wanna say thank y’all for trying to help me save my new betta, I gave him a water change and a salt bath for 20 seconds and about 2 hours later I was noticing he wasn’t breathing anymore and was barley moving, about a minute later he passed away. But I want to just thank everyone who tried to help me out and give me some tips, I’ll definitely will make sure to get some test strips or kits.

Rest In Piece, to my new crown tail betta..
I am so sorry!!!! I hope that wont scare you away from fish keeping!!!
 

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