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Old 04-09-2013, 10:54 PM   #1 
heref1shyf1shy
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Betta gets "stressed" when I get close to tank?!

Hello awesome betta people--

have been reading this site non-stop for 2 weeks and as a result of all of you I have gone from buying two "baby bettas" for my boys on a whim (and a woefully inadequate 1/2 gallon tank) to having a 10 gal and a 5 gal in my house! :) thanks for all your advice!!

my question is about behavior & stress lines...

background:

the female (or what i'm thinking is maybe a female) is in the 10 gal. it's filtered, heated (78), and being cycled with tetra quick start stuff. (i know most prefer the fishless cycle, but she was in that tiny little thing with no heater and temp fluctuations of +8 degrees a day...so i took a chance and moved her). she's got driftwood, plants, rocks, white sand substrate. she's eating. she's exploring the tank. i put her in there because i was hoping she'd do better with the other eventual tank makes that I hope to get her...

question:

when i look at her out of the corner of my eye, she's fine, swimming, etc., with no stress stripes. whenever i get close to the tank to look at her, however, she swims frantically and gets dark stress lines. she never did that before in her little tank. we (my boys and i) got up in her face all the time, and she never "stressed..."

should i be worried about this? it's so weird! any thoughts? if this goes on forever, should i just ignore it and try not to look at her too much ? ;)

thanks so much!
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:17 PM   #2 
AkaRyu
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How old are your children? I have two guesses as to why this is happening. 1) s/he is still getting used to the tank and is rather shy. 2) One or both of your kids has gone up to the tank and tapped on it, making her frightened.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:26 AM   #3 
heref1shyf1shy
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my kids are 3 and 2 and they have done that to her. in her small tank, for sure, but in the big tank, less so because it's elevated and they haven't fully realized that she lives in there because it's mostly water as far as they can tell...

do these fish get stress lines from water quality?

as i mentioned, i am doing that fish-in cycle with the safestart....don't have a test kit (yet) but just did a test strip (6 in 1) and nitrates are between 20 and 40, nitrites are between 1 and 2, the rest safe levels...which is what i was told to expect 4 days after putting the safe start in...

poor thing.

thanks for your reply!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #4 
Xeek
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My bettas love light tapping; although I have them trained to follow the tapping because they associate it with food. A new betta not used to this would respond differently.

When you get close to the tank erratic movement and excitement is very normal, they know you mean food and food gets them excited and some very excited. I wouldn't be surprised if the stress lines are just a response to this excitement. I've learned to not take stress lines seriously - after some experience I am even wondering if they should be called stress lines.

To determine stress you need to guage other things in combination with the lines. Does the betta come to the top and front of the tank and do this dance with the lines? Then no you don't have a shy betta, you have a hungry betta with an abnormal high excitement for food.

Dogs pee uncontrollably when highly stressed, a more common trait with small dogs. They will also do the same thing when excited, not because of stress, but because they're so happy their body produces the same hormones as when they are stressed. Your body does the same thing. You're stressed out and frustrated your body produces a form of steroids and adrenaline in many cases. When you are excited your body produces those same hormones.

So if your betta is coming to you I really doubt it's stressed in a bad way - just excited. If your betta tries to run away, to the back of the tank for example, then I would assume it's afraid of people, which is rare but can happen. I had a betta this way, he eventually learned humans were food dispensers and all is well.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:41 AM   #5 
Xeek
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Wait you said these were babys? If they form stress lines at a very young age they will likely not lose these lines until they get older. It's a form of camouflage for them. My baby did the same thing but she was happy, eating, curious, and acting very normal. She had these lines from day one up until a few weeks after when she got closer to her young adult size. She would swim erratically only after several days when she realized I come with food.
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:49 PM   #6 
heref1shyf1shy
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thanks so much--yes that sounds reasonable. she seems otherwise happy so i hope you're right that they're more like "agitation" lines than "stress" in this case!

she is a "baby" betta (at least the cup from petco said so) but i have learned from these forums that it's hard to tell exactly how old a fish is just by looking at it.

i guess i will just keep an eye out for other signs of distress and ignore the lines for now.

so helpful--thx!
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:57 PM   #7 
Xeek
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The babys have obvious babyish looks. Their eyes will be unproportioned to their body, as they are with babys of any specials of animal. A "baby" betta will also be very light in color if it has developed any at all yet. If none of that is the case then your "baby" betta has been in the cup at the pet store for way too long without anyone willing to adopt the poor guy, but you, good you!
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:37 PM   #8 
heref1shyf1shy
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:) well wouldn't you know it, as soon as you replied last, i went up to the tank and saw her usual vertical striping. no more "agitation lines!"

it might be that she was signaling need for a water change (did a 25% change after taking a reading to monitor the cycling situation)

or maybe it just took her that long to get used to the 10g

or maybe she felt your bettafish.com love coming through the water to her

i took a look at some other "baby betta" pics on the web, and she's definitely a little more developed than what i saw. those ones seemed pale and more streamlined. she's got a reddish tint to her and a little darker edging on her fins. she also has the vert striping that i mentioned and a fuller (though proportional) belly.

now i just have to figure out whether she's going to do well with adding some tetras to her tank in a couple of weeks...! i'm sure i'll post again then!

thanks for the help!

Last edited by heref1shyf1shy; 04-10-2013 at 08:39 PM. Reason: typo
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