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betta gasping for air


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#1 Red_Rose

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:55 AM

I've always wondered what a betta does if s/he is gasping for air from an illness. What exactly would you look for since bettas breathe air from the surface?

For example: there are times when my betta can go up for air and a couple of hours later, go back up for another breath but then there are times when he's up at the surface often getting air. He would just get a breath in then swim around for a bit when he's taking another breath. He'll continue to do this a few times. Would that be considered as gasping? confused1.gif

The reason I ask is because when my little quail started tail bobbing(difficulty breathing) from a vitamin deficiency, I'm always worried about Jake going through that too(not the tail bobbing part, of course!).

#2 Eudie

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 11:29 AM

As long as your betta isn't showing any other signs of illness or distress, he should be fine. Sometimes the water conditions change which affects the amount of oxygen in the water, for example if the water is warm it contains less oxygen than cooler water, or if there have been meds in the water then they deplete the oxygen content. Since bettas also use their gills for breathing, they will take some oxygen out of the water, but the less oxygen in the water the more they have to go to the surface for air. That is why it is recommended that a bubbler be used in unfiltered tanks when meds are being administered.

Unless your fish is obviously stressed such as loosing color, having trouble swimming or showing other symptoms, I wouldn't worry about it. And most of my bettas surface for air much more often than every hour. Usually, if they are active they surface every few minutes so yours sounds perfectly normal.

You can also check the gills if in doubt. If your betta is having breathing difficulty his gills will be working overtime trying to pull oxygen out of the water. They are usually pretty inactive if they are having breathing problems because activity requires more air.

Hope this helps. smile1.gif

#3 Red_Rose

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 12:42 PM

It definitely helps. smile1.gif Thank you.

My betta has always moved his gills(the membrane, actually) in a faint, steady, slow pace so I was just wondering if that was normal since they don't use their gills as much as a goldfish would. As for his color, it's far from faded. Sometimes it looks like he's getting darker.

The only thing I have in his tank is the BWE along with some distilled water. Is it possible to put a bubbler in a 2.5 gallon tank? How would you set one up if a betta doesn't like much water movement? My betta doesn't like movement in the water. The only time he's fine with it is when I scoop him up to clean out his tank.

When he does surface for air often it's normally around food time or when he's really active. bettafish.gif

#4 Eudie

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 12:58 PM

The gills sound normal to me. A slow methodical rhythm is typical.

Yes, you can use a bubbler in a small tank. I use a gang valve on mine. It's a little gizmo you can get at pet stores or most retail stores that carry fish. With a gang valve, you run your airline tubing from the air pump to the gang valve and attach it to the bottom side of the valve. Then you attach another piece of airline tubing to the top of the valve and run it to the airstone inside the tank. The gang valve has a little lever on it that allows you to control how much air passes through the valve and into the tank so you can adjust it for a lower volume of air.

#5 Red_Rose

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 03:04 PM

That would be a good thing to have. I'll have to look into it.

Thank you. smile1.gif

#6 nhatters

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 02:47 AM

I had a problem with gasping tonight...

During feeding, I noticed he was gasping for air. Right before I went to bed, it seemed to have slowed down tremendously, so I figured he'd be fine. I woke up three hours later and he was gone. sader1.gif

There doesn't seem to be any other problems. His color and body both looked fine, and he was perfectly healthy as far as I knew before tonight. None of the other ones seemed to be having trouble from the water. I just don't know what it could have been.

Edited by nhatters, 15 March 2007 - 03:22 AM.


#7 Eudie

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 07:22 AM

If it was at feeding time and you hadn't noticed a problem before is it possible that he choked on the food? They are such piggies that it does happen sometimes. Sorry for your loss. confused1.gif




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