Flashing gills against plants - need to treat for flukes?

Franklyfrankie

I feel like I'm making a new post every day at the moment... My betta recently started tail biting, a few weeks ago I saw him flashing a few times one day but then he stopped again. Today, he's flashing again, more than he had before.

He is jumpy these days, tail biting like I said, and doing a fair bit of glass surfing, though not frantically. He doesn't seem at all lethargic and is eating normally. Should I jump the gun and order fluke medication, or wait it out and see if the behaviour stops again? I have Indian almond leaves hopefully arriving tomorrow, and some bits and pieces to add to his tank to hopefully reduce stress.

Basically I'm wondering a) could the flashing be due to stress rather than a parasite, even if it's very frequent, and b) how quickly do I need to take action with medication.

Thanks!
 

Motherlovebetta

I may have missed it in a previous post, but what size tank is he? Can you add a pic of it and/or fill out the template?
 
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Franklyfrankie

I may have missed it in a previous post, but what size tank is he? Can you add a pic of it and/or fill out the template?

Oops sorry will do

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 15gals
How long has the tank been running? 4 months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 26C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 Betta, 3 Amano shrimp

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Usually once or twice per week, have been doing every day this week due to tail biting
How much of the water do you change? Usually 25%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? a little vacuuming but tank is very heavily planted

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: <5ppm
pH: 7

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? 6-12 of the very tiny micro Fluval bug bites
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Do you feed frozen? sometimes (brine shrimp)
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? sometimes (bloodworms)

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 2 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? today, but also once a few weeks ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? see above
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? see above

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
 
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Rose of Sharon

So sorry that your betta is having issues!

Stress could very well be the cause of his glass surfing. So many things can cause this, and it is sometimes hard to figure out what triggers these behaviors. The lights could be too bright. He might need more places to hide. He could be seeing his reflection in the glass of the tank. Sometimes the filter outflow is too strong. All kinds of things could be setting him off.

If you don't see any other signs of parasites, I would not recommend dosing him with meds. It is always good to have something on hand to treat things as they come up, but if he did have some type of parasite, you would see other signs besides just the glass surfing. He would be rubbing against things in the tank, maybe gasping for air, and you would see sores, lesions, or mucus build up on his body, spots of some kind, that sort of thing.

I think that I would wait on the IAL to see if that helps to reduce his stress. In the meantime, see if lowering the light level helps at all.

If there is nothing medically wrong with the betta, it would make matters worse to medicate him. It could cause more problems and increase his level of stress which could actually make him sick.

I hope this helps!
 
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Motherlovebetta

I agree I wouldn’t medicate if you don’t see anything other than the tail biting. What kind of filter do you have? Strong current?
 
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Franklyfrankie

Thanks to you both - what I'm mostly worrying about with regards to parasites is the rubbish/flashing against plants and decor. He seems to only be doing this towards the back of the tank, though, which is an area he sometimes flares at his own reflection.

The filter is a very mild current, I had to replace the one that came with the kit because his fins got a bit ripped when I first got him because of the current being too strong. But it's very light now, with very slow surface movement.

So basically, I'm seeing definite signs of stress, and then the classic flashing against plants but I think only when he's in the back portion of the tank. My inclination too was not to medicate unless I saw other symptoms like spots, sores, lethargy, fin clamping, lack of eating, etc. But I just panicked a bit with the change in behaviour!

ETA: Ok I've just seen him flare in the spot where he was flashing against plants before, and sort of flash at the same time. I think it might be aggressive behaviour due to seeing his reflection. He's just been a bit erratic lately!
 
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Rose of Sharon

Yeah, the thing about bettas is that they can turn in an instant. One minute fine and health, and the next, not so much! I totally understand your concern.

I have used IAL to help my little guy with flaring issues. If you have some heavy backgroud plants, that will help with his flashing and glass surfing at the back of the tank. Having a dark backdrop in the back of the tank can sometimes help, too. I actually taped black card stock paper to the back of a tank once, and that seemed to help. It's a trial and error thing until you find what works for your fish.

I wish you luck!!!
 
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Franklyfrankie

Yeah, the thing about bettas is that they can turn in an instant. One minute fine and health, and the next, not so much! I totally understand your concern.

I have used IAL to help my little guy with flaring issues. If you have some heavy backgroud plants, that will help with his flashing and glass surfing at the back of the tank. Having a dark backdrop in the back of the tank can sometimes help, too. I actually taped black card stock paper to the back of a tank once, and that seemed to help. It's a trial and error thing until you find what works for your fish.

I wish you luck!!!

Thanks so much!! Yeah I've been trying to grow my background plants up enough to block the area but to no avail, he stopped for several weeks but he goes through phases with it. Unfortunately there's already a black plastic backdrop inside the tank that I can't do anything with... I'm not sure if it's making things worse! But hopefully I'll figure it out eventually. The plants are growing, slowly!
 
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Motherlovebetta

Can you do anything to the light or anything that would reduce the reflection? Floating plants?
 
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Rose of Sharon

Thanks so much!! Yeah I've been trying to grow my background plants up enough to block the area but to no avail, he stopped for several weeks but he goes through phases with it. Unfortunately there's already a black plastic backdrop inside the tank that I can't do anything with... I'm not sure if it's making things worse! But hopefully I'll figure it out eventually. The plants are growing, slowly!
I've had some of the same problems. Sometimes it's a matter of age and maturity. Hopefully, things will start to work out and he will settle down. There's something about them reaching a certain age where they are just heck bent on fighting. I guess you can't fight what they are gentically built to do, and that is fight.
 
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Franklyfrankie

Can you do anything to the light or anything that would reduce the reflection? Floating plants?

Yeah I'm actually waiting on a light upgrade, it'll be dimmable so hopefully I'll be able to strike a good balance between what he and my plants need! And I've been trimming bits off my Ceratopteris and floating them, going to add to that gradually too as he does seem to like them.

I've had some of the same problems. Sometimes it's a matter of age and maturity. Hopefully, things will start to work out and he will settle down. There's something about them reaching a certain age where they are just heck bent on fighting. I guess you can't fight what they are gentically built to do, and that is fight.

Very true! Yeah he seemed so mild mannered when I first got him but he was very small and has done so much growing in the two months I've owned him. Coming into maturity has probably changed his personality!

He seems a LOT better today, though. One thing I tried was trimming down the carpeting plant to half its length because he was in the habit of twisting around in that and that was how he was biting at his tail. I think maybe it's broken the habit for him, at least temporarily! He's also not glass surfing or flashing today as far as I've seen. Hopefully he was just in a jumpy mood for some reason!!
 
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