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Old 08-29-2012, 09:54 PM   #1 
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Scared Betta Fish Newbie :(

Hello! I'm Caitlin, and I'm very new to caring for fish.
Last Friday I got a very plain looking Betta fish. His name is Mad Max, and he's on the shorter end of 3" long--he's dark blue on his face that melts into an electric blue.
He's in a half gallon fish bowl, while I'm searching (and saving) for a bigger and better tank to put him in. He seems to have been very happy all this week, as he starting blowing bubbles for bubble nests. He's a picky eater--I haven't seen him eat much, and I have a variety of fish pellets and flakes for him to try (he favors one of them...I think). I give him 2-3 pellets twice a day. I'm on well water and also purchased special well water conditioner that I use with his water. I'm trying desperately to keep the water clear, as I don't have a filter and it gets fairly cloudy easily.
This evening I was getting ready for a partial water change, and he was posing quite beautifully next to where I was working. In retrospect this is incredibly stupid, but I grabbed my phone and took two pictures with the flash on, not thinking it would bother him--every day I have examined him for disease with a flashlight, and he has never cared at all.
After a few moments, he darted frantically about the bowl and dropped to the bottom, upside-down, pretty much as if he was dead. Like, if it was a dying fish scene in a movie, this would have been it. I've grown very close to Max, so I immediately gasped, panicked, and became frantic. He bobbled around and for the most part just laid there--upside down--floating on the bottom. I feel he wouldn't have righted himself if I hadn't scooped him up to change the water.
Now that the water's changed he's been very lethargic and slow, hanging by the top of the bowl. I feel incredibly foolish for doing such a thing, but I honestly didn't think it would bother him. I'm really scared that I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning to a dead fish.
Also, I think I'm overreacting at this point, but he has some clearness/whiteness on his belly where his lower fins meet with his body and he has two longer fins under him that look alittle fuzzy. I know he has a slimy coating, but I'm just curious what normal is.
Basically, was his upside down falling reaction "normal?" I mean, he really dropped. I was convinced I had just killed my fish. And is it obvious when something is wrong? Like his eating--it's not very consistent. Please help me--I'm quite upset about Max :(
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:07 PM   #2 
homegrown terror
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Location: Tennessee
the white fuzzy stuff could be a fungal his water salted? i think he might be stressed at being in so small a container, and the flash just startled him into a mini-frenzy. get him in a proper tank as soon as you can, treat him with some anti-fungal medication (there are many different brands, your pet store should have several and get him proper filtration to keep the fungi from coming back once it's cleared up.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:58 PM   #3 
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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
It sounds like the sudden, bright flash of light just stunned him, and stunned fish will float upside down like they're dead until they come to. It's like fainting. That alone wouldn't leave any lingering ill effects though so if he is still acting weird tomorrow you may be looking at a completely unrelated problem.

Could you take a picture of him without flash tomorrow to show us the white fuzzy stuff?
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:59 PM   #4 
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Location: Zamboanga City, Philippines
Poor fish you stressed him out, the white thing is an injury try to put drops of stress coat to provide him relief and comfort.

I'd suggest to place the tank in a dark place, betta's love dark places or shaded places.

change the water and place him in a different/ warmer spot I assume you don't have a heater like me.

Make sure its dark and warm and try to check on it frequently.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:33 AM   #5 
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I've found that if you need to take a clear photo of your fish and you don't have one of those expensive DSLR cameras, it's good to cover the flash with a piece of folded paper.

Just a piece of printer paper, fold it in half, and hold it over the flash about half an inch away from the flash, then click. It would still let enough light in to take a clear photo, but it will diffuse the light so it won't scare your fish. There won't be much glare on the glass either.

At least it worked for my fish. The first time I took a photo of mine with the flash on, my Betta swam like it was being chased by sharks. Then I tried the paper thing, and he's much calmer now.

I hope your Betta gets better!
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betta veil-tale, help me, newbie

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