EMERGENCY- betta heavy breathing, diving into rocks

amandacherry

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Hello,
I have a brand new 3 gallon tank. He has just been transferred here as he was previously kept in a small bowl with no filtration. The new tank has a filter as well as a heater set for around 80 degrees. I just set the tank up today and he’s been transferred to that tank about three hours ago. The current temperature in the tank is around 83 degrees. In the tank there is just one male betta. I change the water about once a week, this was always a full change as he was in a small bowl. As previously mentioned, he just switched tanks today. I use preconditioned water bought at PetSmart right out of the bottle. I did treat the water today with some Ammo Lock and Leaf Zone, from the company ZAPI. I added the fish in the tank very quickly, and probably did not cycle enough. I used separate testing strips for Ammonia and the other for a general overview(Nitrate, pH, Hardness, Chlorine, Nitrite, and Alkalinity).
The parameters as of right now are as follows;
Ammonia: 0 (was 1 before treating)
Chlorine:0
Alkalinity:0???
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:0
pH:7.2
I usually feed him once a day at night, usually about 5 pellets. I feed him TopCare Betta bits.I have had him for a couple of months, I noticed the symptoms about 2 weeks ago.
His symptoms are as follows..
Heavy breathing, lethargic, laying at the bottom of the tank, not excitable, swimming head first into rocks, sleeping upside down, has no appetite, and occasionally is found straight up and down (head first) in rocks.
I have not started any treatment, I suspected he was either depressed or had a high level of ammonia in the tank. I changed it last night and noticed no change. Following a new tank- still no change, if anything worse. Heavily breathing. He was in normal condition at time of purchase.
He was usually a very loving fish who was always excited when someone walked into the room. He now is unpaused, lethargic, and has no appetite. His appearance looks the same.

He usually had minor episodes of this behavior- not eating occasionally, sleeping lots. In the past two weeks my entire family has thought he was dead. He is not moving, breathing heavy, and not excitable even with a new tank and some variation. Thank you for the help and please let me know if you need any further information.
 

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Wrench

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You took him from an unheated bowl into 83° water? He has never been in a filtered or cycled tank it seems to me he has been unhappy since you brought him home :( , 3 gallons is too small for a betta as well, some say min. 5 gallons,some say 10, does he have any live plants with him to help him reduce ammonia levels?
If you have no nitrates you are not cycled,you should have some at least 1ppm to 5ppm.
Best advise I can give is to add prime to the water and constantly monitor water conditions.
 
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amandacherry

amandacherry

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Wrench said:
You took him from an unheated bowl into 83° water? He has never been in a filtered or cycled tank it seems to me he has been unhappy since you brought him home :( , 3 gallons is too small for a betta as well, some say min. 5 gallons,some say 10, does he have any live plants with him to help him reduce ammonia levels?
If you have no nitrates you are not cycled,you should have some at least 1ppm to 5ppm.
Best advise I can give is to add prime to the water and constantly monitor water conditions.
Hi! Thank you so much for the advice. He was very happy at first, excitable and constant bubble nests. However in the past 2 weeks he has flared up. The tank was already at 75ish when he was first introduced. I turned on the heater as he was in there, so I’m hoping he gradually was getting adjusted. He was showing these symptoms prior to the tank change.
thanks :)
 

Wrench

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amandacherry said:
Hi! Thank you so much for the advice. He was very happy at first, excitable and constant bubble nests. However in the past 2 weeks he has flared up. The tank was already at 75ish when he was first introduced. I turned on the heater as he was in there, so I’m hoping he gradually was getting adjusted. He was showing these symptoms prior to the tank change.
thanks :)
I'd try and shoot for 76°~77° above that and oxygen is consumed over the temperature.
Like I said before get seachem prime for the water conditioner and keep doing water changes, hes probably been stressed since you had him
Keep everyone posted :)
 

Blueberrybetta

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Bettas prefer warmer temps in the 80s, so your temperature is fine where it is. He is most likely stressed from being added to a new uncycled tank.
Its concerning you didnt cycle his tank too, that will cause problems as well because it will allow the toxic waste your betta produce to build up and cause ammonia/nitrite poisoning. You will have to do a fish in cycle at this point and it is very crucial you cycle his tank so you have beneficial bacteria to eat away the waste. You will need to buy Prime, it is the only water conditioner that neutralizes high levels of ammonia/nitrite/nitrates and keeps the water safe for your fish while you do a Fish-In cycle.

Do you have a water conditioner? When you do weekly water changes, you will need a water conditioner to help with the Chlorine, Chloramines and other highly toxic chemicals in tap water that will kill any fish/inverts instantly..
API Leaf Zone is for live plants only and has no purpose to help with water quality or fish. Ammo-lock only helps with Ammonia, but you shouldnt always rely on constantly adding products to help control your levels. When doing WCs, its not reccomend to do 100% WCs because it puts unnecessary stress on the fish from having tonbe removed (which is not necessary) and having to constantly acclimate to new water temp/parameters. I recommend doing 25% WCs once a week when your tank is fully established and cycled. For fish in cycles , you'll have to do small frequent water changes to help keep the toxic levels down. Feel free to make a new thread on "Fish in cycling".

I also want to comment on feeding him 5 pellets daily. 5 can be too much everyday, especially if youre not fasting him 2 days of the week. Bettas stomachs are very small and they are highly prone to constipation and swim bladder disease. Make sure you're presoaking his pellets as well or they will all expand in his stomach, making it harder to fully digest and causing constipation. I would cut back to 3 presoaked pellets a day and fast him 2 days of the week to help prevent constipation/SBD.

To help your betta, I suggest buying Prime asap for WCs and to help when you cycle your tank. I also suggest ordering Indian Almond Leaves for the release of Tannin. Tannin leeches antibacterial properties that helps with bettas fins and growth. It will also tint the water a little bit but it helps bettas feel calm as they would in nature. The leaves also provide as hiding places.
 

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