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Old 10-19-2010, 01:38 PM   #1 
dragonfair
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Neurotic behavior?

Hi y'all. Sorry this is long but I feel I need to give info. I have some questions and I can't seem to find the answers anywhere else. I know the experienced fish parents here can help me.

After several years absence, I wanted to take it up bettas again, this time with proper equipment, and all the fixings.

I already had a well-established 10 gal but wanted something smaller. I was going to sell the 10 gal & get smaller tanks, but I couldn't find a 2.5 or 5 gal set up I could afford. I don't want to do large water changes often so I decided to get another filtered 10 gal, divide both & get 4 fish. So far I have 1 by itself in a 10 gal & 2 in a divided 10 gal. My 2 main concerns are 1) whether I'm feeding them the right amount; and 2) the behavior of the 2 in the divided tank.


Here is the info for my 3 fish. Explanations below:
Housing
What size is your tank? 1 in a 10 gal, 2 in a divided 10 gal
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes, I made baffles but it still seems to swirl the surface a lot in the undivided tank. The divided tank seems to have water movement on one side and not the other
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes both
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 1, none; 2 in divided tank

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellets, can't remember what brand; occasionally bloodworms as a treat
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2-3 pellets twice a day, total of 4-6 (seems like too much, considering the size of their stomachs)

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 20%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? yes, I have it tested. I don't have numbers for you but everything was normal.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? one has what seems to be a blown or bitten caudal fin, others are normal
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? In the divided tank, racing back and forth across the front of the tank when I'm in the room, begging all the time, seemingly extremely hungry at feeding time, pacing, one builds a bubble nest the other doesn't, flaring at everything and everyone
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 4 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? not sure if there is anything wrong or what to do. going to try to disguise the divider 2nite so they can't see each other.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? not sure, I'd guess about a year

************************************************** ********


1) Feeding. They're always begging & I can't tell if it's real hunger or just attention begging. I was told once to feed them what they'd eat in 2 minutes but since they'll wolf down 2-3 pellets in 2-3 seconds if I let them, I know I would be overfeeding them. They haven't gotten bloated OR thin so I can't tell except for their behavior - which means I can't tell at all.

2) The behavior of the 2 in the divided tank has changed. One is getting a ragged tail & I can't tell if it's blown tail or biting. There isn't anything sharp in the tank to snag on. I wonder if it's boredom, stress from the other betta, do I have too much in the tank (each has 2 plants & a cave)... Someone told me to try putting plants in front of the divider or sew some on so they can't see each other, so I'm going to try that tonight. Plus another concern is whether the other half is getting enough filtration. Also, I have been leaving florescent light on in the tanks to mimic daylight since they don't get much natural light - I turned it off today to see if they would be more calm, but really, it's too dark.

What I really wish I could do is put them in their own separate tanks, but I can't because I spent all my money on these tanks so if I got a critter keeper for example, I wouldn't be able to to heat it. My house gets too cold to not heat the tanks. Sigh... am I making this too hard?? Does anyone have any suggestions? THANKS!!
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:56 PM   #2 
Adastra
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As for feeding, I recommend 2 pellets twice a day if you have the time, or three pellets once a day. If the fish are bigger or more active, such as large "king" plakats from petco, you could get away with a couple more pellets here and there. Bettas have a fairly low activity level, so generally they don't need a lot of food to keep them going. They are like horses--they will eat themselves to death if given the chance, and will not stop when they are "full"--so definitely control the amount that you give them.

It is also a good idea to vary their diets since no single pellet can provide your fish with complete nutrition. I alternate between OmegaOne Betta Buffet Pellets and New Life Spectrum as my staple food pellets, and supplement their diets with frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

As for the behavioral issues, try to block their view of each other as much as possible, especially near the top of the tank. If you're afraid that one section is getting less filtration than the other, you can use a bubbler with an air pump on the unfiltered section. It will help increase the water circulation. However, keep in mind that on full blast, a bubbler can be a little much for a longfinned betta to handle, so you should either tie knots in the tubing to decrease the airflow or get a small valve.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:27 PM   #3 
Capricorn
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Yeah, for the first couple weeks I had two males in a divided tank, all they would do was flare at each other and chase each other back and forth across the divider when they saw the outline.. I had silk plants zip-tied to the divider. Each had several plants and places to hide out of sight from the other male, and now they barely even regard each other. Neither one blew out their tail, though Nettle did bite his at one point.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:37 PM   #4 
dragonfair
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Okay, I'm going to give them 2 pellets twice a day and vary their diet. Thanks, Adastra. Helps so much!

I jury rigged a way to block their view of each other. I moved the first divider over a few inches and put a new one in about 3 inches from the first one and zip tied the tops for stability. Then I stuffed several plants in the space between. They still pace back and forth so I'm not sure I was successful or if its just their habit (they're not flaring)... I'm watching and waiting to see. I moved their plants and caves around a bit too. I'm going to get a few tall plants with floating tips to put along the divider to help block them. They are exploring more and pacing less.

They had me laughing even though it was stressful. I left them in the tank while I was working and they both kept trying to twine themselves through my fingers. Totally unafraid and curious. I hope thats a good sign.

Capricorn, how did you get Nettle to stop biting?
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:31 PM   #5 
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Changed the water. xD

I tested it after I saw him biting and the nitrites had spiked a little. Couple small water changes to bring it back down and he was fine. (:
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