Fish In Distress

nicoless

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I have a female betta in a 5.5 gallon tank. Yesterday morning she was fine, healthy, active. It was her day to have a pea, so I fed her half of one, and she devoured it. I also used the algae scrubber on the walls, which I do periodically.

Yesterday evening I found her stiff, breathing heavily, and floating near the top. I checked the water parameters and the nitrates were really high, possibly over 40ppm, so I did a 25% wc and the nitrate level dropped by half. Ammonia and nitrite are both 0.

This morning she's swimming around a little bit, especially if I come over to the tank, but mostly she's lying on the algae scrubber (it's near the top) and not moving. She is not interested in food, a first for her. She just seems exhausted. She does look better than last night, though.

She went from perfectly fine to serious distress in a day, and I don't know why. I can think of many possibilities, but since I'm not sure it's hard to know what to do. I don't want to stress her out more.

I was thinking about lowering the water level so it's easier for her to rest and get to the top.

Any thoughts or advice would be wonderful. Thank you :-/
 
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nicoless

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OneLittleBubble said:
I would start off by doing a water change and maybe picking up some almond leaves to calm down the betta. Do you have a heater and a filter? When was the last time you did a water change?
Thank you so much for the reply-- I do a water change once a week, sometimes twice since I've had an algae problem lately. My last water change was Thursday, then last night and this morning. Nitrate is now between 5 and 10ppm.

I do keep some almond leaves in the tank but took them out last night since I had no idea what was causing the nitrate spike. I put a few back in just now (they're mini).

I have a heater and a sponge filter. I turned the filter off last night thinking it might help her rest. The temp is 80F. I've also got the light off to help her rest.

She seems better after the water change, but she's still spending a lot of time lying on the algae scrubber breathing.
 
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