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Betta Inflamed Gills: Causes & Treatments

Betta Inflamed Gills

Gills are for sure the most important part of a fish’s anatomy. Gills act like lungs for fish and enable them to breathe underwater. It goes without saying that any damage caused to these gills can prove to be fatal for the fish. Sometimes you might notice betta fish inflamed gills sinking straight which is a common yet concerning phenomenon.

There might be a host of reasons behind the betta inflamed gills. Some of the more common ones include gill flukes, gill hyperplasia, parasitic infections, physical damage, or ammonia poisoning. Symptoms for the listed ailments are fortunately quite visible and you should start the necessary treatments as soon as you spot them. As the gills are considerably exposed to the surroundings, any small injury may lead to fatal repercussions.

Betta Inflamed Gills: Causes

Determining the cause behind any ailment is very crucial as the mode of treatment for the illness depends on the nature of the cause. Thus, you should be on the lookout for symptoms and act on them as soon as possible.

There may be many reasons behind the betta inflamed gills. Gills are one of the more delicate and sophisticated parts of a betta fish. By inflamed we mean the gills may appear reddish, swollen, or bruised. Here are some of the probable causes for betta inflamed gills.

Gill Flukes

Gill Flukes betta fish

Dactylogyrus are parasitic beings that latch themselves to the delicate tissues of the gills and cause what are termed gill flukes. These parasites are introduced into the tank either via tank decors like plants, objects, etc., or due to improper water conditions.

Symptoms include ulcers near the gill region, breathing difficulties, mucus cover over the gills, and scratching of betta fish against tank objects. The ulcers developed as a result of gill flukes can further cause parasitic infections because of the open wound.

Gill flukes directly affect the gills of the betta fish. As a result, it makes it difficult for the betta fish to breathe properly. The betta fish may also develop excess mucus to cover the wounds as a precautionary measure. You may also notice your betta fish scraping against the tank objects.

The parasites responsible for gill flukes enter the aquarium water as a result of low water quality. Inadequate levels of various water parameters give rise to such parasites. Moreover, these microorganisms may also be introduced into your aquarium through the various tank decors.

Gill Hyperplasia

Betta Gill Hyperplasia

Gill hyperplasia refers to the overgrowth of cells in a particular area, in this case, the gills. Gills are sensitive tissues that make hyperplasia in the gill region quite common. For instance, if the gill tissues get damaged for some reason, you may notice an overgrowth of cells around the injured region.

As a result of such an overgrowth of cells, the region near the gills may appear reddish and may result in betta inflamed gills. The excess cover over the gills may also lead to breathing difficulties in your betta fish. Other symptoms of gill hyperplasia resulting in betta inflamed gills include loss of appetite and lethargy.

Thus, you need to make sure that your tank is free of any sharp objects or decors that may possibly injure your betta’s gills that can in turn cause betta inflamed gills. You are also advised to regularly check the level of various water parameters in the tank to control the rate of the illness.

Ammonia Poisoning

ammonia poisoning in betta

Perhaps the most common illness that may develop and affect your betta fish is ammonia poisoning. As the name suggests, ammonia poisoning refers to the harmful impact of high levels of ammonia on your betta fish. In an enclosed environment like that of a tank, there may be various sources of ammonia.

For example, let us suppose after feeding your betta fish, some food leftovers are present at the bottom of the tank. Betta food is a rich source of ammonia after the leftovers have been broken down. A sudden rise in ammonia can prove to be harmful to your betta fish.

Common symptoms of ammonia poisoning include betta inflamed gills, breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, lethargy, and red pigmentation on the body. As ammonia poisoning directly affects the gills, you may sometimes notice your betta fish swimming near the water surface to gasp for air.

Besides food leftovers, there are other sources of ammonia as well. For instance, fish waste is also a good source of ammonia. Under ideal tank conditions, the ammonia level in the tank water must be close to zero to prevent any chances of betta inflamed gills. Thus, you should regularly check the ammonia level in your tank.

Physical Injury

Gills are perhaps the most delicate part of your betta fish. Thus, they are more susceptible to physical and exterior injury than a parasitic and bacterial infection. However, any physical injury may in turn result in other forms of fungal or bacterial infections.

Such kinds of injuries can be caused due to sharp objects and hard surfaces of tank decors. Betta fish are vigorous and active swimmers. Therefore, they may tend to hit or scrub themselves against such hard surfaces resulting in injury.

In some cases, these injuries may be afflicted near the gill region. As these injuries are more of open wounds, they are highly susceptible to being further affected by various kinds of bacteria and parasites present in the tank. The number of bacteria corresponds directly to the quality of the tank water.

Betta Inflamed Gills: Treatments

The mode of treatment for betta inflamed gills depends on the nature of its cause. Depending on the above-listed causes, here are some of the preferred ways of treating betta inflamed gills.

  • Conduct periodical and sufficient water changes
  • Properly condition your water
  • Check water parameters on a regular basis
  • Try quarantining your betta fish
  • Do not overcrowd your tank
  • Remove all the sharp tank decors
  • Epsom salt bath and aquarium salt to increase immunity

FAQs On Betta Inflamed Gills

Why are my betta gills red?

Some reasons may include physical damage, gill hyperplasia, gill flukes, and ammonia poisoning.

How do you treat swollen gills on a betta?

Regularly check the water parameters in the tank, remove all the sharp-edged tank decors, properly condition your tank water, and conduct water changes periodically.

How long does it take for red gills to heal?

The time period of recovery depends on the cause. For instance, in the case of ammonia poisoning, the gills may start to appear normal after 3 to 5 days of regular treatment.

Final Thoughts

Betta inflamed gills are quite a common occurrence but they should not be ignored. It may be a sign of some other parasitic or bacterial infection that may prove to be fatal. You should start the required treatments as soon as you spot any symptoms.