Just registered today after scratching my head on this matter. Ok, well, I've had my betta (crowntail) for almost a month now and he's happy and chirpy in his new home. I feed him as directed and change his water every week (every 7 to 10 days abouts).
I keep him in a small 1 gallon fish tank (because he's by himself, really) and I also bought a plant that he can call his own.
The problem is, that as much as it registers to him that I am approaching his tank, sometimes when I come to feed him, he flares his gills out and readies a fighting posture whenever I approach the tank. I've read somewhere that it can be stressful for them if they go onto this posture too much.
I've moved the tank to another part of the house, should a change in scenery somewhat help, but what can I do to try to calm him down?
To be honest, I've heard so many mixed opinions on the flaring issue. Some people keep healthy, active bettas in partitioned tanks that allow them to see each other 24/27, others say they should only flare for about 5 mins a day... I unfortunately don't know the correct answer and perhaps it really just comes down to the individual fish. I've always been under the impression that you should keep your betta in an active area of the house, not hide them away, even if they flare at company. When you visit him does he flare the entire time you're there or just for the first few seconds and then calms down? Perhaps badfish made a good point, if he has more plants, more places to hide, he might feel more comfortable. My bettas associate me with their food, so they've never seemed concerned with my presence. Maybe some more time for him to adjust to your routine will calm him down a bit. All in all, I don't think his flaring at you is a bad thing, and some bettas just seem to do that more than others. I also would recommend doing more frequent water changes, that is simply not enough for that size tank. :/
Last edited by denaliwind; 03-12-2011 at 04:41 PM.
If you have a light over your tank you could try shutting it off at night/during the day - he might be able to see his reflection. Flaring isn't terribly stressful, as long as he doesn't do it 24/7. Little sessions like what you're describing are beneficial for their fins, but they could also get "blown", meaning that they flare so much that the tail literally shreds to ribbons. It could just be his personality too.
Well first of all, you need to change his water way more.
In a tank that small you need to be doing water changes at least every other day, every day would be better.
With the amount of water changes you are doing he could get really sick or even die from ammonia poisoning.
As for the flaring I wouldn't worry about it to much since he would need to be doing it all the time to cause any damage and even then it's debatable.
I would recommend you get him a bigger tank, at least 2.5 gallons.
That way you can get him some more plants and hiding places so he feels more secure.
My bet is he is flaring because he is stressed out from poor water quality and feeling exposed.
thanks for the help guys, made me feel a bit more secure about looking after him haha. Good news is that the little guy only flares for a moment and then slowly settles back down. Probably his way to say hi :P
The limitations in his home is because I am a student and my budget isn't exactly limitless xD but I've decided to buy some more plants and gravel in the near future. Thanks also for the advice for the more frequent water changes, I am still a newb at keeping bettas, but I can see that he gets excited about new water. I've implemented a schedule on when his water changes will be (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)
Eventually I will think about getting a bigger tank, see how my budget fares up to it haha.
Thanks again guys, I'll try and post pics of him sometime.
He could also be coming over to greet you, then catches sight of his own reflection in the glass once he comes near the front of the tank, and flares at the reflection.
If you come toward the tank at a different angle/in direction that catches the light in a different way, does he still flare? I think he's probably not flaring at *you* because you're the nice person who deposits him in clean water and feeds him every day :). He's probably seeing what looks to him like another betta.
Also, I was just fasting mine b/c he's been ill and today he was acting all cranky and decided to flare at me a couple times. I think he was just pissed off and hungry, lol. Maybe your guy is just PO'ed lately for some reason and wants to let you know? :P
Anyway, I third (fourth?) the more hiding places idea. Mine always freaks if there aren't at least a couple places for him to run off to when he's stressed. Or he could just be throwing his weight around, which sounds healthy to me (fwiw) :).