Something is wrong with my betta

Isobelle

HI everyone!

I have a betta and have for the last year. He’s in a 5 gallon with a Marina SlI'm S10 with sponges, and a heater that keeps it around 80, sometimes 82. His last water change was less than a week ago and was around 40%, I use prime. Tank has a few terracotta pots (one filled with gravel) a piece of driftwood, a floating log, a few moss balls, and a little piece of a plant floating around whose roots broke off and I just didn’t replant. Substrate is sand. Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0, pH 7.4 ish.

The last 3-4 days he’s just been hanging out at the bottom. He’s got a massive tail so he’s never been very active but he seems extra down now. Always flat on the sand and sometimes even laying on his side fully flat. Often looks like he’s panting or gasping. He does come up to eat once every day or two with some coaxing (takes a few minutes of me trying to entice him though) but he’s clearly struggling with the energy to do so. When he does come up he sits in the log after and just kind of lays there. When I see him later he’s always flat on the bottom again.

Since it’s been a few days of this and he’s still eating should I just leave him be? He’s got no other visible issues like bloating or pineconing. This is him now after being coaxed up for some pellets, and he’s gasping still but ate fine.

Edit: since writing the post he went back down and is now just flopped again. I’ll try to include a video of his breathing in the comments if I can.
 

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Isobelle

No luck on the video but definitely gasping. Not doing well but I don’t see any noticeable reason for why. Again, still eating and parameters are fine as listed, even just tested again. He’s literally just laying on the bottom constantly. He doesn’t like surface resting spots so just has the log and usually likes it in there and doesn’t even go there now, unless it’s to collapse after eating, then just flops back to the bottom.
 

PascalKrypt

Doesn't seem like a good sign, but I don't see any specific cause for what is off either. Since you've had him a year and they are usually at least 5-6 months old if not older if you bought him as an adult, it could just be old age.
You could try some live foods to see if that sparks some energy. I would also do a couple extra water changes (do daily changes for a week) just in case something has been building up in the tank. You can also try adding a dried leaf for some tannins.
What do you feed him normally?

(Edit: 82 is a bit hot btw. I know people tend to recommend rather high temp for bettas but keeping them at highly tropical temperatures year round can shorten their life span.)
 

Isobelle

Doesn't seem like a good sign, but I don't see any specific cause for what is off either. Since you've had him a year and they are usually at least 5-6 months old if not older if you bought him as an adult, it could just be old age.
You could try some live foods to see if that sparks some energy. I would also do a couple extra water changes (do daily changes for a week) just in case something has been building up in the tank. You can also try adding a dried leaf for some tannins.
What do you feed him normally?

(Edit: 82 is a bit hot btw. I know people tend to recommend rather high temp for bettas but keeping them at highly tropical temperatures year round can shorten their life span.)

He gets pellets, bug bites, and sometimes frozen bloodworms. I know 82 is a bit up there- my heater seems to just stick there, where it’s set there or anywhere from 76+ any thermometer just seems to read 80-82 so I think the heater might just be odd. It’s been like that since I got it but it was a replacement for another malfunctioning one so I couldn’t return it.

I was thinking too that he may just be old since it was so sudden. And I’ll see if I have any extra leaves laying around! I tried moving him up to a little plastic tub to float a bit (higher to the surface) and he lost his marbles at me so clearly still has some energy and is just going through something... I guess I’ll just have to let him be and hope for the best, maybe try moving him up again later once he’s calmed down a bit.
 

Sien

HI everyone!

I have a betta and have for the last year. He’s in a 5 gallon with a Marina SlI'm S10 with sponges, and a heater that keeps it around 80, sometimes 82. His last water change was less than a week ago and was around 40%, I use prime. Tank has a few terracotta pots (one filled with gravel) a piece of driftwood, a floating log, a few moss balls, and a little piece of a plant floating around whose roots broke off and I just didn’t replant. Substrate is sand. Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0, pH 7.4 ish.

The last 3-4 days he’s just been hanging out at the bottom. He’s got a massive tail so he’s never been very active but he seems extra down now. Always flat on the sand and sometimes even laying on his side fully flat. Often looks like he’s panting or gasping. He does come up to eat once every day or two with some coaxing (takes a few minutes of me trying to entice him though) but he’s clearly struggling with the energy to do so. When he does come up he sits in the log after and just kind of lays there. When I see him later he’s always flat on the bottom again.

Since it’s been a few days of this and he’s still eating should I just leave him be? He’s got no other visible issues like bloating or pineconing. This is him now after being coaxed up for some pellets, and he’s gasping still but ate fine.

Edit: since writing the post he went back down and is now just flopped again. I’ll try to include a video of his breathing in the comments if I can.
Sorry to hear you betta is not well :/! I think 82 is okay for a betta, 78-80 is better tho. If you have only had your fish for a year and got him from a pet store, he is likely under 2 years old. So not old yet and should not be suffering from 'elderly' betta issues yet. Can you retest your water? Not everything should be at 0, that means your tank is not cycled. Which is not possible there are all 0s because a fish is in there. Also do you have an airstone you could add? The gasping for air is concerning and likely means your fish is not getting enough oxygen. 15-25% water changes daily can also help this issue rather than buying an airstone. Your husbandry is good. Nice tank size, its filtered, and heated.
 

Isobelle

Sorry to hear you betta is not well :/! I think 82 is okay for a betta, 78-80 is better tho. If you have only had your fish for a year and got him from a pet store, he is likely under 2 years old. So not old yet and should not be suffering from 'elderly' betta issues yet. Can you retest your water? Not everything should be at 0, that means your tank is not cycled. Which is not possible there are all 0s because a fish is in there. Also do you have an airstone you could add? The gasping for air is concerning and likely means your fish is not getting enough oxygen. 15-25% water changes daily can also help this issue rather than buying an airstone. Your husbandry is good. Nice tank size, its filtered, and heated.
Thank you. I tested last week and then again just before posting this. I also thought it wasn’t cycled a while back and was told that it’s fine and is cycled but since there’s just the one fish and low bio load, the nitrates would always stay low. I’ve only been able to get it to 5 or so even when it had more plants and more snails (there are a few tiny pest ones from said plants)
 

Sien

Thank you. I tested last week and then again just before posting this. I also thought it wasn’t cycled a while back and was told that it’s fine and is cycled but since there’s just the one fish and low bio load, the nitrates would always stay low. I’ve only been able to get it to 5 or so even when it had more plants and more snails (there are a few tiny pest ones from said plants)
Hmm okay, you nitrates must just be super low (like less than 5). How often do you feed and do you have live plants? If you don't overfeed or feed a little every other day, the waste produced will be much less. Live plants can also lower nitrates quite a bit.
 

Isobelle

Hmm okay, you nitrates must just be super low (like less than 5). How often do you feed and do you have live plants? If you don't overfeed or feed a little every other day, the waste produced will be much less. Live plants can also lower nitrates quite a bit.
Yes I usually say 0-5 for nitrates, not sure why I didn’t this time haha. I feed every other day or every third day and just miss balls right now as the live plants he had kept uprooting. Nitrates were the same low amount even when he had like 4 plants though! I just feed one pellet at a time also and don’t give another till he’s eaten the first unless it sinks, then I usually take it out with a turkey baster in that case if I’m able to see where it fell.
 

Sien

Yes I usually say 0-5 for nitrates, not sure why I didn’t this time haha. I feed every other day or every third day and just miss balls right now as the live plants he had kept uprooting. Nitrates were the same low amount even when he had like 4 plants though! I just feed one pellet at a time also and don’t give another till he’s eaten the first unless it sinks, then I usually take it out with a turkey baster in that case if I’m able to see where it fell.
Ah so your nitrates must be so low because he is not eating a ton of food...therefor not producing a lot of waste! Good way to keep the tank clean!
 

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