Strange Betta Behavior

maxismatched

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
2
Points
28
My Parameters;
What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? years
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? betta fish

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 2-4x a month
How much of the water do you change? 20-50%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime, api stresscoat, api quickstart
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? ammonia: test tubes, other: tetra strips
What are your parameters?

Ammonia: 0 (but I recently used prime)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10-20
pH: 6.3

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1x a day (but more recently 3x a week to try to get him encouraged to eat)
How much do you feed your fish? 5 pellets or worms
What brand of food do you feed your fish? betta bits North Fin, unsure bloodworms
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? both

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1 year
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? swimming: 1 week ago feeding: 2 months
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? strange behaviour, swims to the surface the frantically gasps for air, then floats down
Have you started any treatment for the illness? More water changed
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behaviour and appearance changed, if at all? only behaviour, while feeding he will often miss the pellet or worm, and the other issue where he will swim to the surface and frantically get air then go back down visibly stressed.

Hello, I've had this beautiful betta fish for some time and I've noticed he's developed a concerning behaviour. My betta will swim up to the surface of the water, frantically swim around while gasping at the surface for air, then swims or falls back down to the gravel, often falling to his side and breathing heavily. Then after some time, he will right himself and stay sitting on the gravel. I'm so worried every time it happens.He never did this before. Otherwise, he is also much more lethargic than normal and often just sits on the gravel, will not even bother sitting on his leaves. He will still greet me at the glass and beg for food but is much less lively recently. Won't flare at his mirror like before and no bubble nests in too long.

Before this, about 2 months ago, he also developed the inability to properly get his pellets in his mouth. At first, I thought I was overfeeding him and he was playing with the leftover, but no, he often doesn't actually get any pellets and becomes visibly frustrated. I have been attempting to feed him frozen and freeze dried blood worms instead, which sort of help, but he still struggles.

For a betta with feeding problems, his belly seems quite large. So I was trying to get a picture of him when he started to do the frantic swimming again and I got it on video. Usually, he just goes up then down, he was all over the place in the video. Here it is;

His fins look like that because he likes to bite them.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

Momgoose56

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,799
Reaction score
3,654
Points
458
Experience
More than 10 years
maxismatched said:
Parameters
Heated, Filtered 10gal

Ammonia: 0 (but I recently used prime)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10-20
pH: 6.3

Hello, I've had this beautiful betta fish for some time and I've noticed he's developed a concerning behaviour. My betta will swim up to the surface of the water, frantically swim around while gasping at the surface for air, then swims or falls back down to the gravel, often falling to his side and breathing heavily. Then after some time, he will right himself and stay sitting on the gravel. I'm so worried every time it happens.He never did this before. Otherwise, he is also much more lethargic than normal and often just sits on the gravel, will not even bother sitting on his leaves.
About 2 months ago, he also developed the inability to properly get pellets in his mouth. At first, I thought I was overfeeding him and he was playing with the leftover, but no, he often doesn't actually get any pellets and becomes visibly frustrated. I have been attempting to feed him frozen and freeze dried blood worms instead, which sort of help, but he still struggles.

For a betta with feeding problems, his belly seems quite large. So I was trying to get a picture of him when he started to do the frantic swimming again and I got it on video. Usually, he just does up then down, he was all over the place in the video. Here it is;

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Please fill this out. The information will help us advise you better:
Fish Emergency Template - Freshwater Fish Disease 376562
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

maxismatched

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
2
Points
28
Okay, thank you.
Here it is;

What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? years
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? 1 male betta fish, 5 marimo moss balls

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 2-4x a month (but 3x a week after noticing these symptoms)
How much of the water do you change? 20-50%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime, api stresscoat, api quickstart
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? ammonia: tetra test tubes, other: tetra strips
What are your parameters?

Ammonia: 0 (but I recently used prime)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10-20
pH: 6.3

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1x a day (but more recently 3x a week to try to get him encouraged to eat)
How much do you feed your fish? 5 pellets or worms
What brand of food do you feed your fish? betta bits North Fin, unsure bloodworms
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? both

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1 year
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? swimming: 1 week ago feeding: 2 months
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? strange behaviour, swims to the surface then frantically gasps for air, then floats down
Have you started any treatment for the illness? More water changes
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behaviour and appearance changed, if at all? only behaviour, while feeding he will often miss the pellet or worm, and the other issue where he will swim to the surface and frantically get air then go back down visibly stressed.


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)

Hello, I've had this beautiful betta fish for some time and I've noticed he's developed a concerning behaviour. My betta will swim up to the surface of the water, frantically swim around while gasping at the surface for air, then swims or falls back down to the gravel, often falling to his side and breathing heavily. Then after some time, he will right himself and stay sitting on the gravel. I'm so worried every time it happens.He never did this before. Otherwise, he is also much more lethargic than normal and often just sits on the gravel, will not even bother sitting on his leaves. He will still sweetly greet me at the glass and beg for food but is much less lively recently. Won't flare at his mirror like before and no bubble nests in too long.

Before this, about 2 months ago, he also developed the inability to properly get his pellets in his mouth. At first, I thought I was overfeeding him and he was playing with the leftover, but no, he often doesn't actually get any pellets and becomes visibly frustrated. I have been attempting to feed him frozen and freeze dried blood worms instead, which sort of help, but he still struggles.

For a betta with feeding problems, his belly seems quite large. So I was trying to get a picture of him when he started to do the frantic swimming again and I got it on video. Usually, he just goes up then down, he was all over the place in the video. Here it is;

(double click or see above)
 

Momgoose56

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,799
Reaction score
3,654
Points
458
Experience
More than 10 years
maxismatched said:
Okay, thank you.
Here it is;

What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? years
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? 1 male betta fish, 5 marimo moss balls

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 2-4x a month
How much of the water do you change? 20-50%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime, api stresscoat, api quickstart
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes
What do you use to test the water? ammonia: tetra test tubes, other: tetra strips
What are your parameters?

Ammonia: 0 (but I recently used prime)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10-20
pH: 6.3

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1x a day (but more recently 3x a week to try to get him encouraged to eat)
How much do you feed your fish? 5 pellets or worms
What brand of food do you feed your fish? betta bits North Fin, unsure bloodworms
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? both

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1 year
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? swimming: 1 week ago feeding: 2 months
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? strange behaviour, swims to the surface the frantically gasps for air, then floats down
Have you started any treatment for the illness? More water changed
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behaviour and appearance changed, if at all? only behaviour, while feeding he will often miss the pellet or worm, and the other issue where he will swim to the surface and frantically get air then go back down visibly stressed.


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)

2 months ago he develops a problem where he struggled to get pellets into his mouth. Mainly I feed him worms freeze-dried or frozen and he has trouble but this seems to help.

1 week ago I noticed that occasionally he will swim to the surface and frantically gasp for air then float or swim back to the gravel and often breathe heavily.

I have a video of him showing similar behaviour although usually, he will just go up then down.
(double click or see above)
Is that the tank you keep him in? First impression: A swim bladder problem. It is hard to say what might have caused it but my first approach would be to get his guts to completely empty out. Swim bladder is frequently caused by gulped air or constipation. A stomach distended by air or a gut full of poop can put pressure on the swim bladder causing buoyancy problems. I suggest fasting him for 3 full days, increase tank temp to 80°F (to increase metabolism and air/stool movement through the gut) and epsom salt baths in a container of temperature matched water (Epsom salts act like a laxative). On the fourth day feed him only daphnia if you can find it OR a cooked, skinned pea if you can't find daphnia.
If no improvement after that, consider treatment for internal parasites. If no improvement after that, consider treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5

maxismatched

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
2
Points
28
Momgoose56 said:
Is that the tank you keep him in? First impression: A swim bladder problem. It is hard to say what might have caused it but my first approach would be to get his guts to completely empty out. Swim bladder is frequently caused by gulped air or constipation. A stomach distended by air or a gut full of poop can put pressure on the swim bladder causing buoyancy problems. I suggest fasting him for 3 full days, increase tank temp to 80°F (to increase metabolism and air/stool movement through the gut) and epsom salt baths in a container of temperature matched water (Epsom salts act like a laxative). On the fourth day feed him only daphnia if you can find it OR a cooked, skinned pea if you can't find daphnia.
If no improvement after that, consider treatment for internal parasites. If no improvement after that, consider treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Oh no, that is definitely not the tank he is kept in. :( As I stated in the template you asked for, he is in a 10 gallon heated and filtered.

Thank you, I will try your suggestions and hope for improvement.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #6

maxismatched

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
2
Points
28
He is now just laying or sitting on the gravel breathing deeply. He seems very weak only randomly finding energy to swim up to the surface and gulp air, and then he bumps into the glass at times.

Anything I can try to help him?
 

PascalKrypt

Well Known Member
Messages
2,047
Reaction score
1,790
Points
173
Lower the water level so that it is easier for him to breathe.

As someone who is usually very conservative with medication this sounds to me like a dying betta with an quickly escalating condition and I would toss in the biggest gun I had and hope for the best. (don't combine meds though, that is seldom a good idea).

Does he have *any* kind of changes in his colouration? Overall paleness? Stains?

Edit: If it has been *exactly* like this for a week already, then disregard what I said and follow the earlier advice. If it has definitely gotten dramatically worse in the last 1-2 days, I don't think I would wait for results of fasting.
 

Mariah234

New Member
Messages
39
Reaction score
13
Points
8
If you dont want to lower the water level you can buy hammocks that suctions to the side of the tank, allowing them to choose to lay there if they are having trouble breathing, but if they are feeling better they can swim as they please! I have one for my betta that has a tumor on his chin, because it forces one of his gills to stay more open, not allowing as much air in as a normal betta causing him to run out of breath easily!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9

maxismatched

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
2
Points
28
PascalKrypt said:
Lower the water level so that it is easier for him to breathe.

As someone who is usually very conservative with medication this sounds to me like a dying betta with an quickly escalating condition and I would toss in the biggest gun I had and hope for the best. (don't combine meds though, that is seldom a good idea).

Does he have *any* kind of changes in his colouration? Overall paleness? Stains?

Edit: If it has been *exactly* like this for a week already, then disregard what I said and follow the earlier advice. If it has definitely gotten dramatically worse in the last 1-2 days, I don't think I would wait for results of fasting.
Thank you, I’m trying Em Erythromycin. Do you have a different meds suggestion?

The only change in appearance I just noticed today and his upper mouth above the top lip appears to be sunken in, this is not a deformity this is new. Otherwise no stains or coloration changes.

B904A0CA-8BEE-4E37-BD88-8396644C0EF5.jpeg

I realize this is probably why he was having problems with feeding. But what even is happening? :(
 

PascalKrypt

Well Known Member
Messages
2,047
Reaction score
1,790
Points
173
maxismatched said:
Thank you, I’m trying Em Erythromycin. Do you have a different meds suggestion?

The only change in appearance I just noticed today and his upper mouth above the top lip appears to be sunken in, this is not a deformity this is new. Otherwise no stains or coloration changes.

View attachment 636115
I realize this is probably why he was having problems with feeding. But what even is happening? :(
Something is eating away at your fish' flesh. It somewhat looks like a non-messy version of columnaris mouth rot. I've seen a similar case on this thread recently (though that fish was kept in very poor conditions). Unfortunately the person stopped posting after we made some suggestions so I can't tell you what happened there (but again, I fear the prognosis may be grim).
How sure are you that this appeared yesterday? Is it possible that you missed it before?
You could try a short dip with methylene blue to clean the wound, outside of continuing as you've been doing with the antibiotic.

I'm sorry to say, but this is a really bad sign. If you've got any other antibiotics, like kanaplex, you can try combining them. I fear it may already be too far progressed though. If the fish mouth rots off like that, even if you do manage to clear the bacteria from its system, it will have a hard time recovering from that.
(Remember to finish your antibiotics course even if the fish doesn't make it and/or 'nuke' the water in the tank with bleach or something similar before tossing it away so you don't contribute to creating resistant bacteria)
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom