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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18675
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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I have a beta fish, 2 year old, I changed the water (all

Customer Question

Hi I have a beta fish, 2 year old, I changed the water (all water was replaced and cleaned his tank) of his 2.5 gal. tank last Monday and on Wednesday he was breathing heavily he was on the bottom and was back and forth to the surface to catch air and going back to the bottom, so I took more than 1/2 water out of the tank so we rests on the bottom and doesn't have to go up and down all the time, he doesn't breath heavily as before he doesnt it and he is down on the bottom all the time and doesn't move, I also put a little bit of Aquarium salt and a recovery drop made out of maleleuca tea tree oil, any idea what is wrong with my fish and what can I do? will a bigger tank with pump and filter help, change the water more often, thank you very much in advance for your help.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.
Hello,My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years and a fish keeper for over 40 years.Can you tell me if you treated the water for ammonia and chlorine?Do you have filtration?Is there gravel in the bottom of the tank?Joan
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Joan, I added 4 drops of conditioner, 1/4 tsp Beta Fix and 1/2 tsp of Aquarium Salt, no doesn't have filtration, yes it has colored gravel

Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.
anytime we fully empty a fish tank you run the risk of new tank syndrome which is happening: has happened is you interrupted the nitrogen cycle in the tank cause the ammonia and nitrites to rise making the fish sick. I suggest getting some Start right which has some Nitrying bacteria. You also need a test kit like API master test kit to check levels.1st use spring water and do a 50% water change. today and each day test the water and if the Ammonia is over 0ppm, nitrites over 0ppm and the nitrates over 20ppm, then you will do another 25% change. do not add any more of the melauca as it only makes it harder to regulate the tank. you can add 1 teaspoon full of aquarium salt per gallon one time. once that is done it can be replaced. If you take 50% of water out you can put 1 teaspoon back, no more than that. You will need to cycle the tank and it can take 6-8 weeks for it to regulate. Please let me know it you have any questions on these instructions.Joan
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok and for how long do I need to keep checking water levels? Also I noticed some white spots pop up on his sides. What do you think that could be? He's never had them before.

Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.
the white spots may be ich, or a fungus, could also be iff ammonia is high. As far as the water changes one the tank starts to stabilize and cycle again you will be able to back off. The Salt treatment should help if it is ich or a fungus as well as the melaluca you used in the water. As I said cycling can take up to 6 weeks to complete.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Do you recommend a bigger tank, filter and air pump or the simple one that he has is fine, now how often do I need to change water, right he has a quarter of a tank filled with water, should I keep it at the same level? or should I fill it to the top? How long does a beta fish live? Should I feed him? I fed him yesterday but he didn't eat

Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.
Right now you will need to change the water more, but only partial changes. We NEVER do a full change. The most we do is 50%. The tank you have is fine. Betas are not crazy about filtration because of the current. They are still water fish. he should have a full tank of water. When you fill the tank I suggest use Spring water that is bottled, but never use distilled water.I would not feed for a day or two allow him to respond to the water cycling. By putting food in you are creating more debris and increasing the ammonia and nitrites. Please get the API master test kit to check the water as it will save a lot of headaches and some nitrifying bacteria to help start the tank cycling. The average life span is 3 years, but some may live longer.Joan