Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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ERICVANCOUVER 05-12-2013 01:34 PM

Normal breathing rate for fish

What is the normal breathing rate for a fish?
Do all species have the same rate?
Just trying to know if my fish have heavy breathing

Thank you


fish monger 05-12-2013 04:38 PM

It's hard to say. Does it look more labored than before ? What is the temperature of your tank ? Any new changes ?

ERICVANCOUVER 05-12-2013 06:58 PM

They all look fine
It's just a question because when you check for disease symptom, you got heavy breathing so just wanted to know the difference between normal and heavy breathing


thekoimaiden 05-12-2013 07:04 PM

The key to things like this is knowing your fish's behavior. By observing them on a daily basis you will better be able to tell just what is heavy breathing and what is normal respiration.

When I have seen it in my fish, they move their gill flaps a lot more than normal. I can often see them pumping water through their mouths. However, this isn't always a sign of distress. My loaches will run circles around the tank when the air pressure changes. They will pause every so often and I will see them breathing heavily because they've been running around the tank like mad. The same goes for after I've seen mating displays or chasing involved in breeding.

This is precisely why you need to know your fish.

Byron 05-12-2013 07:30 PM

Very true. It is one of those things you just learn with experience. To do this, observe the fish at different times of the day, and on several different days. Respiration is always going to be faster when eating or after eating; after more activity (swimming, spawning). The smaller the fish, the more it respirates; larger fish are slower, all else being equal.

The gill operculum is a good guide too; normally it is close to the fish, but as respiration increases due to problems especially, it will extend out, so you can see behind into the gill chamber a bit.

Sometimes the sudden change in the fish's position with respect to the filter return flow can signal problems. A fish that normally remains elsewhere but now spends all its time standing directly in the flow may be having trouble. But this can't be confused with occasionally, nor with feeding--hungry fish may do this because their instinct tells them that food is more likely to be found in the current.


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