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Old 01-30-2010, 12:20 AM   #1 
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Exclamation New Owner - Need Advice

Hopefully, I have read enough of the intro stickies so as not to repeat anything you wonderful hobbyists have read too many times in the forums. Unfortunately, I will probably still be writing a very long(perhaps epic) rendition of my current situation. I will start by giving you a history of my fish (Minakshi - 'Hindu fish-eyed Goddess; Mini for short).

Purchased Saturday, January 23rd from Petland. My almost-husband and I were looking to purchase our first pet together, and were looking for a fish that did not require a large tank or massive amounts of equipment and chemicals. The lady working the fish section told us to get a Betta. I can vaguely remember having a Betta in high school, but sadly, I was not a very qualified owner. We really did not know anything about Betta's when we purchased Mini.

From Saturday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon Mini lived in a VERY small fish bowl. Like maybe 16 - 24oz. of water? We did condition the tap water with the correct chemical before putting Mini in the bowl. There were purple aquarium rocks and one small green silk plant. We were told in Petland that the Betta prefers to be in this small space(this just makes me mad now). On Monday morning, I noticed that Mini was not doing anything. He sat behind his plant non-stop. He would not eat anything. We were told to purchase a Betta specific pellet for Mini because they said he would prefer to eat the same thing that they fed him at the store. They even went so far as to tell us that Betta's tend to die if you change their food from what they're used to.

As a new and very loving fish-Mom, I spent all of Monday at work thinking about my beautiful white and pinkish striped Betta. I worried a lot. After work, I researched Bettas online. That is when I found this forum. I read a few things about Ich, and swim bladders, etc. And then I read about the water temperature. We found a meat thermometer and discovered the water temp. to be 65 F. Eek. So, we wrapped Mini's bowl in a towel and placed her in a bathroom near a floor heater and kept the heat on 24/7. That was our quick fix, while I tried to work out getting her a larger tank and a heater. I also lowered the water level in the bowl, so Mini didn't have to work too hard to get to the surface for air.

On Wednesday, I managed to find a temporary 1 gallon tank from a family member. And I purchased a heater from Wal-mart. I conditioned the water and placed the heater in. Shortly after, we added Mini because I did not want to transfer him from cold water directly into heated water. I thought the gradual rise in temp. from the heater would likely be better. I also managed to snag some frozen blood worms from a family member. Mini ate those no problem!

Thursday night around midnight, we had to move back into our house. We had been house sitting. So Mini was transferred for 15 minutes from one house to another by car. He was kept in his 1 gallon tank for his transfer. For almost 24 hours now, he has been kept in his permanent location.

Alright. Now I will answer the questions requested from one of the Stickies.

#1. Current Tank Size = 1Gallon -->It has a plastic cover, and a black hood with light.
#2. H20 Parameters = I am stilling learning about what this means.
#3. Tap water treated with conditioner.
#4. Current tank has been up for 48 hours.
#5. Mini has been around for 6 days. I'm assuming he's a splendens. And he's 1-1/2 inches long.
#6. I can't answer the quarantine question?
#7. Currently, 76F.
#8. No live plants.
#9. In this tank there is an air pump thing. It has an air stone on the bottom. It doesn't create a disturbing current. But I don't really know what a filter is versus an air pump 'thing'.
#10. There is just the air thing and the heater in the tank. Decorations include an inch of purple aquarium rocks on the bottom, one small green silk plant, and a Spongebob pineapple house(which doesn't appear too rough).
#11. In the room the tank is set up in there is a consistent amount of daylight. But because of the time of year, it can be quite dark in the morning and early in the evening on. The tank has a light that I have not been using because I have been reading about the right artificial light, and I'm not sure what it is that I have.
#12. I haven't changed the water in this tank since I put it in Wednesday night.
#13. Mini refuses to eat the dry pellets. I tried to rehydrate them, but that didn't help. So far, he has always eaten blood worms given to him. I only give about 1/8tsp. in the morning.
#14. I haven't had the fish long enough to know what usual is, but I will describe the things that I am most worried about and would like advice on.

a) The tank seems to be very reflective, and I believe that Mini can see his reflection. He paces back and forth along the glass. When I got home from work he was rapidly swimming up and down along the glass. I think his fins are even torn from this behaviour. His pectoral fins seem to working awfully hard. And he wouldn't stop. I have now wrapped the tank in a dark towel, which stopped the behaviour. He seems to be clenching his anal and ventral fins up to his body.
b) Testing water...and water parameters. I want to buy the correct test kit. And know what to do to properly maintain the water in my tank. I have already read an entire Betta handbook from the library with addition of many threads on this forum. I just seem to be more muddled now, than when I started.
c) I want to get a new tank. This will take some time to acquire. I really wouldn't have room for more than a 2 Gallon. I want to avoid reflectiveness...possibly add a filter if recommended. And hopefully, get the water temp. up a bit more. Plus...I need more consistent light scheduling, so I need to entertain the possibility of a tank light.
d) I want to add more plants and things. I had some fake grass in, but I removed because it looked like his fins got caught on it when he swam downward. I don't know what is best. Would really like to keep the pineapple house....He did go in it for awhile.
e) Is the air pump thing it different from a filter?
f) I keep reading that the fish have small stomachs...only feed them what they can eat in a couple of minutes. This just seems way too qualitative for me. I would really appreciate a more quantitative list of amount and types of food. I have read that pellets are better than flakes, and vice versa. I have read about frozen and freeze dried. And worms and shrimp and on and on. I need feeding advice.
g) Mini seems to have an area protuding or swollen. It is about |____| that long. And sort of clearish, yellowish.... Is that the swim bladder? I'm worried about it. I have not tried to treat the tank or the fish for anything because I've just been hoping this is all a matter of fish-stress and will resolve.

MANY MANY MANY apologies for this incredibly long overview of the 6-day journey of Megan and her Betta. I am truly in love with this fish, and I want nothing but the best for him. Please help me in my Betta journey.

I willingly welcome any and all advice, suggestions...stories..anecdotes.

Thank you so much for giving Mini a better chance by replying.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:50 AM   #2 
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WOW.. thats a lot of info.. I'll try to address it all.

#6 because he's your only fish you don't need to worry about quarantine.. this is mainly for fish that go into community tanks.

a) it will probably take him 1-2 weeks to settle down and get used to his environment. If is fins are torn treat with aquarium salt.. I'll talk more on this later.
b) the best test kit is API Liquid Master .. there is a cheaper version at walmart however. DONT get the test strips.. they don't work.. you really don't need to test his water unless you cycle your tank.. will talk more later.
c) there are great small tanks with filters . I personally recommend an Eclipse 3 although they're a little price.. great lighting and filtration though. Its 3 gallons but easily fits on my tiny desk (13" L, 6.5"W,11" tall). You can also get a minibow 2.5 gallon.. although its light and filtration are not as good.
d)you can keep the pineapple house as long as you run pantyhose over it.. if the hose snag sand it down until smooth. Silk plants are your best bet and eventually you may want to even go to live plants (best).
e)not sure about the air pump but its not the same thing as a filter. And if it makes bubbles I would take it out.. bettas don't like bubbles.
f)Get a good pellet (Top Fin, Wardleys, Aqueon, and Hikari Bio Gold are the best).. eventually he'll start eating them. Feed 2-3 pellets twice daily. Supplement with freezedried or frozed blood worms or brine shrimp as a treat once or twice a week. you can also do live food.
g)don't know what your talking about.. can you post pics?

ok.. aquarium salt... you want to have this on hand. To treat him for stress and torn fins give him the recommended dose (I think its 1/2tsp per gallon) and try to raise your temps to 82-86*F (although if you can't don't worry about it). Keep the salt in for 10 days then do a 100% water change. This salt does not evaporate so when you do water changes make sure you put in the same amt as you take out (i.e. if you do a 50% water change you would only put 1/4tsp of salt back in).

cycling your tank/ testing... once you get your bigger tank you may want to cycle it.. this builds bacteria that are beneficial and lower the number of water changes you have to do. You need a filter to cycle and its impossible to cycle anything less than 2 gallons. Until you do or don't cycle you don't need to test your water but do daily water changes. On a one gallon tank you need to do 100% changes every other day and clean the rocks/gravel. The days in between its ok to just change out 50% of the water.

I hope all this helps and is not too confusing.. if it is let me know and I'll explain further.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:01 AM   #3 
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Okay, going off what I remember by memory, a filter is different than an air pump because the filter, filters the water and creates a cycle for the tank. Where as an air pump just causes air bubbles. It is a good thing, but you definitely need a filter.

Also, the temp. should be at around 78-82 degrees for the betta to thrive. 2.5+ are reccommended. When giving pellets, try pre-soaking them and mashing it up for Mini. Freeze dried blood worms are good for treats once in a while, but should not be a complete diet as they do not contain the needed vitamins & nutrients. I use betta flakes called, Tetra's BettaMin Tropical Medley; The Vibrant Blend. My bettas seem to love it, as they were beginning to reject pellets. This blend is high in protein that helps to develop the fins & color. It has flakes and even small pieces of freeze dried brine shrimp. So, this has a little bit of a treat in the nutricious food. You could always try that? It's cheaper than pellets also.

As far the bump you are seeing, can you get a picture? It could be a fungal problem, as well as several other problems. So a picture could help us figure it out.

Most tanks will cause fish to see their reflection and most of the time the fish will flare up, and eventually stop. There aren't many tanks that once filled, don't cause a reflection.

If he is biting his fins, I would put some aquarium salt in his tank for a while, and up the temperature asap. This will help with his fins, and as for the spot, don't use any medication until someone on here can identify the problem for you as the medicine can harm him more than help.

Hope I've helped with something. Good luck!
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:01 AM   #4 
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well so far it looks like your doing great especially compaired to many cases the pineapple house is something commonly used for bettas and als gives him a nice place to hide as far as i know a bubbler isn't completely necessary but some bettas like to play in them,,ive been told that a fish's stomach is no bigger than their eye so dont give them too mutch or they may get a swimbladder disorder (the lil sack that controls how the fish swims) bloodworms should be a once a week treat and if you just keep giving him pelets he will eventially give in and eat them also dont worry that he'll starve bettas can last quite some time without food you may fast him if he seems to have overeaten and become bloated to avoid swimblatter complications,,,as for the possible tailnipping ive heard adding decorations to the areas he tries to fight can help though,,,a picture will also help diagnose his swollen area and finn problem aquarium salt will also help heal his fins
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:05 AM   #5 
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Hello Auburn,

You're well on your way to great betta care. Keep an eye on Craigslist for sweet deals on aquariums. Most people sell the tank equip. too.

The one thing I would recommend is to test your pineapple house by scraping your fingernail along it to make sure nothing flakes off. I've had some ornaments that peeled and I suspect it was the demise of one of my boys. If it were me, I'd scrap it altogether and get something unpainted for your betta to hide in.

Good luck and keep us updated. Post a picture of Mini when you can.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:04 AM   #6 
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Hello Auburn and welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:07 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by bettamama View Post
Okay, going off what I remember by memory, a filter is different than an air pump because the filter, filters the water and creates a cycle for the tank. Where as an air pump just causes air bubbles. It is a good thing, but you definitely need a filter.
She doesn't NEED a filter. Especially since her tank is only 1 gallon.. getting a filter would be a waste of money. Even if she upgrades to a 2 or 3 gallon tank a filter is still optional. Also the filter doesn't create a cycle for the tank.. most of the bacteria from a cycle reside on the tank walls and in the gravel. Ammonia from fish waste creates the cycle.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:42 PM   #8 
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Here are some pictures of Mini. I tried to get a variety...I'm not sure what you'll need to see to make sure he's alright, but hopefully I got the right angles.

Thank you all so much for your replies.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:10 PM   #9 
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What a gorgeous Orange Dal VT! He looks healthy to me.. I think what you were referring to is his swim bladder. I don't see anything unusual with him. He does have some separation in his tail but that will heal up quickly. Adding a little aquarium salt couldn't hurt but you probably don't even need it.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:21 PM   #10 
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He looks just like my Cupid! :) He looks healthy to me too. Just keep an eye on him.
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