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Old 04-10-2013, 12:37 AM   #1 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Alberta, Canada
Unhappy My betta was attacked in my divided tank

I feel just sick about this. Starkbuck, a gentle double tail, was in a 5-way divided 20gal long. his next door neighbors were Endymion, an equally gentle cellophane double tail, and Lord Grantham, a dragon scale PK, who was not so gentle. I had actually been planning to move Lord Grantham to his own tank because I had decided he was too aggressive for a divided tank. I was going to do that this weekend. Anyway, in the 20gal divided, I had the dividers covered with craft mesh on the top, so there could be no jumping over the dividers. In addition, I had a glass lid over everything. I made absolutely sure no one could jump into another fish's space.
Then today at feeding time, I noticed LG was in Starbuck's section. And poor Starbuck was lying on the bottom of the tank, fins and tail all in shreds, but still alive. I don't know if he'll make it. He looks worse than any of the worst cases I've seen in pet stores. He's currently in a small container with the water level low, partially submerged in the 20gal so his water stays warm. He has an IAL and I have him in salt water (1 teaspoon/gal solution aquarium salt). I have his little hospital room set up so he can't see any other fish, and if he makes it he will get his own tank.
Is there anything else I can do for him? I feel absolutely sick about this, because it's all my fault. And I'm so angry at Lord Grantham, even though I know he just did what is natural for him to do. He doesn't have a scratch on him. At least I don't have two injured fish but it wasn't even a fair fight. Why didn't I move LG sooner? He's in his own tank now.
I did figure out how he got through the divider. He didn't jump. He dug under the gravel and squeezed under the divider. I could see the tunnel he dug so I'm sure this is how he did it.
I'm posting a pix of Starbuck so you can see how bad off he is. Any suggestions to help him are greatly appreciated. (I just had the light on him for a second to take the pix, he's in darkness now and I'll shade him during the day so he doesn't feel too exposed).

Starbuck in happier days.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:43 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Goleta, California
Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry to hear that this happened! The poor boy! Personally, I think that you're doing a very good job with helping him recover. All I can add is that maybe you can add another IAL and to keep his water spiffy clean. I hope he gets better soon, keep us posted!
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:18 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Boston, MA
Red face

Hi there. So sorry about your bettas! I had a friend who's betta was attacked pretty badly and her regime for recovery was putting him in a small (.5 gallon) hospital tank, doing 100% water changes EVERY DAY, and adding the AQ salt with each change. Make sure the salt is completely dissolved when its added. Also, she kept the water temp between 76-80 degrees. Keeping him isolated is a good idea, it'll keep him from getting stressed. I hope Starkbuck recovers fully and quickly
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:43 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Hong Kong
I'm really sorry to hear about this. I know exactly how you feel cos I had 2 HM plakat EE's in a divided tank and one managed to squeeze past the divider and attacked each other. Both ended up beaten and fins torn pretty badly... (they were quite new too). Anyway I thought they wouldn't recover but after isolating them in heated water, AQ salt and IAL they healed around 60-70% in 2-3 weeks.

Sanji is right, keep the water warm and do 80-90% water changes everyday.

I hope Starbuck gets well soon. So sad to see him like this...
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:54 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Poor little guy!! You're taking good care of him, I hope you see some improvement soon. Good luck!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #6 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Midwest
I sorry this happened. I wish him the best in getting better. I would not think a fish could dig under divider. I am getting ready to do a divided tank. I am going to have to think about how I could possibly prevent this. Maybe if I sew (with fishing line) a craft divider horizontally to the bottom of it (it would be flush to the bottom of the tank) and then bury it in gravel. Maybe that will help.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:28 AM   #7 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Add stress coat + may help with fin regrowth, sorry about Starbucks, glad you rescued him in time. Have to say they are smart fish but not necessarily for the good all the time.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:55 AM   #8 
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Hampton, Virginia
If LG dug under the divider there was nothing you could do, so stop blaming yourself! I can't offer any advice personally, but there are many people that do betta rescues on here & might be able to help. MoonShadow is right now rehabilitating a HM picked up at the pet store with almost no tail.

Here's a link to MoonShadows thread that shows pics of her new rescues. Maybe you can find some answers there. MoonShadow is very helpful too.

I hope Starbucks recovers fully for you, Don't be to made at LG, he thought he had to protect his turf for such a gorgeous boy.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:46 PM   #9 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Alberta, Canada
Thanks guys for the help and support. @justmel, yes, I've been following that thread, thanks.
Ii just feel so incredibly guilty. I did the DIY craft mesh thing for the dividers. Top and sides were very secure. But the bottom had a gap (the mesh wasn't quiet tall enough and I wanted it to go all the way to the top so I could cover it tightly with the glass cover.) the gap was all filled I with gravel and banked up on the sides where the diver was. I couldn't imagine a betta digging thru the gravel but he did. I should've taken a pix. LG had pushed all the gravel away. He's a pretty big, strong betta. He had been in that tank about a week and I could see it wasn't going to work out, but i never imagined hed do that. If only I had moved him sooner :(
Starbuck is doing as well as can be expected. I'm glad I just got a big shipment of IAL! His water is at 80F. I'm going to float another small container in the tank, so I can just quickly move him from one small holding tank to the other each day, so I can minimize stress and so he gets a full water change daily. Please hang in there Starbuck!
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #10 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
Everyone here had great suggestions, and if you give Starbuck some serious TLC, keep his tank dim so he can sleep as much as he needs, treat him for healing busted fins like some others have mentioned, and have a lot of faith in him, he can pull through this. Some attacks like this kill bettas out of shock and trauma, and oyur little guy hung in there like a champ. Treat him, be there for him, and don't give up, and this strong little bugger should be able to heal up. <3
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