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Old 09-12-2013, 10:47 PM   #1 
Dwarden3
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Betta Experiment

Well this time, I was "forced" to get a betta. I don't really mind, but for my college Animal Behavior class, we all received bettas. My job is to produce an experiment about the bettas. I can use other people in the class' bettas as well, so all the testing wouldn't be on my betta. I am not doing anything that would harm the betta, and all the fish are being well cared for. We also have females so I can test how the males respond to them. Any suggestions are welcome.

Once I am done, I get to keep him, so I will need a new tank so if anyone has a suggestion on a betta set up that is ~$30 or less and 2.5 gallons +, that would also be helpful. Also, I think I would want his tank to have a sand/ rocky bottom, I've never done that, so advice would be helpful too.

Thanks,
D
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:21 PM   #2 
Weaver
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Very cool! Hmm, I wonder what your experiment will be? Well, I don't know if you like the Critter Keepers or not but one of the Large sized ones should be fine. It's much more lightweight too. I have black sand and plants in mine.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:36 PM   #3 
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Oh, I am taking suggestions for the experiment as well! :)
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:34 AM   #4 
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Hmm. You could test something behavioral (maybe conditioning the fish to respond to something? Or de-sensitize it to a stimulus?) or ecological (as in effects that Bettas have to their environments or sumsuch). Hmm. Is there anything you think of at the moment? Any testable questions?

Since you don't want to stress the animals too much, that rules out temperature tests and toxin tests. Um, hmm. OH! Oh! Measure poop! Something with that! Measure the weight of poop and test that poop for various chemicals/toxins in the fish. Your hypothesis could be something along the lines of:

"Can Betta splendens be an indicator for poor or good water-quality based upon their excrement?" or if you're going behavioral, "Can Betta splendens be conditioned to do [some task] as an idicator of problem-solving?" or even, "Does Betta splendens have memory-capacity?" (That would be fun to see how many 'things'/behaviors the fish can be taught to memorize)

Last edited by Weaver; 09-13-2013 at 12:38 AM. Reason: THINGS
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:13 AM   #5 
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I think a test on betta learning would be really interesting! For example, for something more simple you could teach them to trigger a button for food, or teach them to do something, then once they have it down, see how long they can go and still remember the trick after a set time period. These might be a little more complicated- teach a trick using different techniques to see which techniques they respond better to, or teach some of them a trick (for a food reward would probably work best) have the non-trick bettas observe the trick learners doing the trick and receiving a reward, and see if they replicate the same behavior in anticipation of the same reward, based solely on their own observations of the trick learners doing the behavior for food.
I also think tests on bettas color vision and color perception would be interesting, you could design tests to demonstrate if they only see shades of one color (like gray) or if they see multiple colors, in shades or not. It would be cool to see what colors if any, they are able to detect, and how well they can tell the difference between closely "related" colors like blue/purple or yellow/orange.
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:46 AM   #6 
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for a tank, usually a glass 2.5 would cost about $11-12, craft mesh and some seran wrap would make a cheap lid. If you lived closer, I'd give you some of our excess sand..
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:04 AM   #7 
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Would be interesting to do an experiment on what type of males females prefer.
Could get a few eggy, mature females and some some red pk and vt males and some blue pk and vt males and see which types they spend more time at.
Or see if females prefer males that looked like their father or different.
Or do females prefer extremely aggressive acting males or more passive ones
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:57 AM   #8 
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I'm not sure if the same will apply to you, but right now my local petsmart has a 10 gallon Aquarium/Hood/Light/Filter combo on sale for like $32! It's a couple dollars cheaper at my store, but the normal sale price is supposed to be $35 and the list price is higher than that, but I don't recall what... I would check there, though I'm not sure how long the sale will last or if it's nationwide, but it might be worth a try!
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:17 PM   #9 
Dwarden3
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So I think this will be my hypothesis:
Hypothesis: Female Betta splendens choose more aggressive males because breeding with aggressive males causes the male progeny to better secure mates and territory.
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #10 
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That sounds like a fun one to do.
How are you going to define aggressiveness? Flaring for over 10 mins=aggressive, less than 10 mins=passive?
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