fish dying? euthanization?

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Aquarium Advice Regular
Mar 19, 2023

If you look at some of my other posts you'll see Benny. a 1.8-year-old betta who got a tumor around 8 months ago.

For the past 2 days, he is barely able to swim.

Up until 3 days ago he seemed to be doing well and an active swimmer. I did a water change on the 12th and of course, I forgot to turn the filter back on (only for a 1/2 of a day though, and I dosed with beneficial bacteria after I realized).

I would love to think he's just stressed from the water change but I honestly think it is because of his tumor. He still eats, but he only swims to eat and I can only feed him 2 pellets before he needs to take a break on the driftwood or a leaf. It's like he's out of breath.

He used to come and swim up to me when I enter the room, but now he'll just move his head to look at me from the bottom of the tank :(

I was just giving it a few days to see if it was stress or not before I seriously consider euthanizing him, but It's a hard choice to make. My mother is also super upset and doesn't understand that you can't really cure him. However, if there is any possible way to make him better and more comfortable to swim I would be up for trying it. Maybe one of those like breeding boxes I can put him in just so he's closer to the top? I feel like that would just be more stressful though.

I would feel really bad to keep him alive if he's just going to suffer, but I wanted to see if there was anything I could do first.
2 years is in the range of lifespan for a betta. You might not really know how old he was when you got him, that could easily add a year to his actual age.

Only you can decide on the threshold of when to consider euthanasia, but for me, if a fish cant eat or cant swim and isnt responding to treatment then its time. And apart from surgery there isnt a treatment for tumours.
Unfortunately, when it comes to tumors, the fish could be fine yesterday but the tumor's growth finally reaches either a nerve or muscle or some other vital organ and the fish is now showing more drastic effects. There's nothing you can do for tumors other than surgery and considering the fish's age, not even mentioning the expense, the fish would probably not survive it. Sadly, there are some color varieties of Bettas that are tumor prone. It has nothing to do with your husbandry, it's in the fish. :(
As for whether it's "time", as Aiken said " It's up to you." If the fish is still eating, that's a sign that it's not suffering. If it's unable to swim to get the food, you would need to get the food in front of his face. If he's in with other fish, placing him in a Breeder net would help prevent the other fish from picking on him or getting to his food. If he's alone, that's best at this point.
With that all said, you have to decide if the quality of his life is worth the quantity of his life. He will not get any better. :(
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