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Old 12-18-2011, 09:13 PM   #1 
Nolefin
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Exclamation Help! Rescued/adopted some bettas

Hi everyone! I'm in a little bit of an emergency I guess you could say. I'm a college student, one of my best friends is an RA at one of the dorms on campus. Yesterday she was finishing cleaning up the dorm and getting ready to leave after all of the residents had left for winter break when she noticed someone had left two bettas in a very small (1/2 gallon-ish) bowl next to the trash disposal. One of the bettas had already started eating the others' fins/tail to the point where it was almost completely gone. She had to find someone to adopt them the same day otherwise she would have had to flush them or throw them out or something. I've always wanted fish so I rescued them. I just don't know what to do now... here's what I've done so far:

1.) Got them separate bowls. They each have a one gallon plastic unfiltered/unheated bowl. I know they should have bigger tanks but I am in college and broke so that's not possible right at this moment (I'll probably have enough money within 4-6 months realistically).

2.) They each have two little "beta bulb" plants in their bowl, and I'm getting a small rock or cave for each bowl so they will have something to rest on or hide behind.

3.) Because the tanks are unheated, every few hours I've been filling a plastic baggy of warm water and clipping it to the inside of the tank to kind of warm up the rest of the water -- is this a bad idea?

4.) I feed them two tiny pellets twice daily.

5.) I'll need to do a 50% water change every other day and a full water change about every 10 days from what I've read so far because their bowls are small and unfiltered. Is this correct?

6.) I cover the tops of their bowls at night so they don't jump out.

What else should I be doing? Is there anything I can do to help the betta whose tail was eaten off by the other betta heal? Are the things I'm doing now okay for the fish?

Any help would be awesome! Also, I know everyone cringed when they read that each betta was in a 1 gallon plastic bowl -- I know they need bigger tanks and I'm working on that, but I figured a 1 gallon plastic bowl was better than nothing for now until I can afford something better.

Thank you!
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:47 PM   #2 
Luimeril
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the tails should grow back by themselves with clean water. in a gallon, ya need to do at least one 50% water change and one 100% water change every week. i dunno about the baggies of warm water. i've never heard of anyone doing that before, so i can't comment on that part.

and, i dunno 'bout everyone else, but i didn't cringe. i have two bettas in gallon tanks right now, and one in a 1.5 gallon. the rest are in 2 gallons, with one in a 3. :V as long as you change the water often, and try to keep them warm, that'll do until you can afford larger. personally, i adore these things:
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752730
that's what most of mine are in. :3 it's like... $10 or so for the 2 gallon one, and you can buy a small heater to heat the water safely. :3
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:25 PM   #3 
thekoimaiden
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Welcome to the forum! You are a wonderful person for taking in those unwanted fish. Let me see if I can help answer some of your questions:

1) Separate bowls! That's great! You don't have to upgrade them right away, but it is wonderful that you plan to. Most people seem to like 2.5 gal per betta. I prefer larger tanks because they are easier to heat and clean. I keep my guys in 10 gal divided tanks. But you might be limited by your dorm's regulations.

2) I haven't heard great things about the betta bulbs. You can leave them in there for now, but if you see them start to rot, then they should be removed. Other hiding places are a great idea, too. After that ordeal they had been through it will help them feel more secure. If you want some cheap caves I have heard of people using brand new coffee mugs and new terracotta pots.

3) It is a great idea that you are trying to keep them warm, but the only thing that worries me is this may be causing temperature fluctuations which is very stressful for them. If you use a thermometer to monitor the water temp and can keep it constant, then it's a great idea. If it doesn't keep the temp constant, then your best bet would be to keep them in the warmest area of your house.

4) 2 pellets a day is fine for right now. Once they are both fully healed, they will be eating like little pigs.

5) Your plan sounds good. The only thing I would change is giving the one with the very damaged tail a 100% daily water change. He is going to need the most TLC to get better. You are also going to watch for signs of fin rot with him. If his fins get any kind of white fluffy stuff or black edging to the fins, then you should take your specific symptoms over to the betta emergency forum. I'm no expert on disease and treatment.

6) Also sounds like a great idea. Betta are jumpers. Mine like to clear 2 inches out of the water when I come in to feed them. The covering I used when I had to quarantine one of my guys was the mesh that turkeys and sacks of potatoes come in and secured it with a rubber band. Makes a great betta jumper stopper and cat fishing stopper.

I had a betta with a tail injury when he came to me. I used API stress coat to condition the water and remove chlorine and I made sure he got a diet high in protein. He got freeze dried bloodworms every single day. What will help him heal best is clean, warm water. I hope he heals up wonderfully for you!
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:38 PM   #4 
Nolefin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luimeril View Post
the tails should grow back by themselves with clean water. in a gallon, ya need to do at least one 50% water change and one 100% water change every week. i dunno about the baggies of warm water. i've never heard of anyone doing that before, so i can't comment on that part.

and, i dunno 'bout everyone else, but i didn't cringe. i have two bettas in gallon tanks right now, and one in a 1.5 gallon. the rest are in 2 gallons, with one in a 3. :V as long as you change the water often, and try to keep them warm, that'll do until you can afford larger. personally, i adore these things:
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752730
that's what most of mine are in. :3 it's like... $10 or so for the 2 gallon one, and you can buy a small heater to heat the water safely. :3
Okay! Thanks! I really like those rectangle tanks. Right now the ones I have are round "traditional" looking fish bowls (just the plastic bubbles) but something I didn't think about when I purchased them is that they have really small openings at the top which make it hard to clean/change the water. I'll have to look into getting the medium or large sized rectangle tanks for my new bettas! The reason why I said I hope everyone isn't cringing is because from what I've been reading, it seems like most people agree that anything less than 2-3 gallons for one betta fish is way too small.

I think what I'll do now is go get two of those medium/large sized tanks shown in your link and then just save some $ to get two little heaters. Do you have any recommendations that aren't too pricey?

Also, does anyone have any advice about the beta blub plants that came in the fish bowl when I adopted them, is there any special care that should be taken with them?

Thanks again!
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:41 PM   #5 
Badjer
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I would also like to point out that just covering the bowls at night isn't going to dovit...they may very well jump during the day as well! It's sort of amazing how high the little buggers can get if they want to! So you should probably cover them somehow during the day as well. Just be sure they can get air!

It's awesome for you to take them in...I think you'll find that they are amazing little fish when they're taken care of and happy. (:
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:42 PM   #6 
Nolefin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekoimaiden View Post
Welcome to the forum! You are a wonderful person for taking in those unwanted fish. Let me see if I can help answer some of your questions:

1) Separate bowls! That's great! You don't have to upgrade them right away, but it is wonderful that you plan to. Most people seem to like 2.5 gal per betta. I prefer larger tanks because they are easier to heat and clean. I keep my guys in 10 gal divided tanks. But you might be limited by your dorm's regulations.

2) I haven't heard great things about the betta bulbs. You can leave them in there for now, but if you see them start to rot, then they should be removed. Other hiding places are a great idea, too. After that ordeal they had been through it will help them feel more secure. If you want some cheap caves I have heard of people using brand new coffee mugs and new terracotta pots.

3) It is a great idea that you are trying to keep them warm, but the only thing that worries me is this may be causing temperature fluctuations which is very stressful for them. If you use a thermometer to monitor the water temp and can keep it constant, then it's a great idea. If it doesn't keep the temp constant, then your best bet would be to keep them in the warmest area of your house.

4) 2 pellets a day is fine for right now. Once they are both fully healed, they will be eating like little pigs.

5) Your plan sounds good. The only thing I would change is giving the one with the very damaged tail a 100% daily water change. He is going to need the most TLC to get better. You are also going to watch for signs of fin rot with him. If his fins get any kind of white fluffy stuff or black edging to the fins, then you should take your specific symptoms over to the betta emergency forum. I'm no expert on disease and treatment.

6) Also sounds like a great idea. Betta are jumpers. Mine like to clear 2 inches out of the water when I come in to feed them. The covering I used when I had to quarantine one of my guys was the mesh that turkeys and sacks of potatoes come in and secured it with a rubber band. Makes a great betta jumper stopper and cat fishing stopper.

I had a betta with a tail injury when he came to me. I used API stress coat to condition the water and remove chlorine and I made sure he got a diet high in protein. He got freeze dried bloodworms every single day. What will help him heal best is clean, warm water. I hope he heals up wonderfully for you!

Thank you!

I'll stop doing the warm water thing - I didn't realize it could cause stress! Would sitting their bowls next to a desk lamp for a little while help to keep the water warmer until I can get a heater?

Also, I live in an apartment so I don't have any super strict regulations, luckily!

Last edited by Nolefin; 12-18-2011 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:40 AM   #7 
Myrtaceae
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Hey there, I'm new to the forum too, but I have kept bettas for a while before. I think it's really cool that you stepped up to save those fish, especially since you don't have a lot of cash. So I don't think anyone is going to judge you for keeping them in a 1gal for now. :)

For money: Don't underestimate the dollar store (glass pebbles, mugs, toothbrush holders also make good caves). Just rinse everything very well. Craigslist has an amazing amount of aquarium stuff posted. Constantly. People move or just don't realize fish require work, and sell their set-ups for a fraction of what they paid.

Thekoimaiden was right on about temperature fluctuations being stressful. If your apartment's temperature doesn't change very much, they are probably better off just being kept in a draft-free place until you can safely raise the heat slowly. Also, make sure you let water for water changes sit until it's room temp. In small tanks, you can dramatically raise/lower the temp with relatively small amount of water.

Betta bulbs can be all kinds of things (usually a lily of some kind though) and they don't always sprout. Unless you really want a live plant or feel some type of attachment to it, I wouldn't bother. You've got enough on your plate adopting two hurt fish-- don't stress yourself out too much about the bulbs.

It sounds like you are doing a really great job so far and reading up. It's going to be really fun when they are healthy enough to show off their personalities!
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:58 AM   #8 
Luimeril
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some people do use desk lamps. you'd just have to make sure they have a place to hide from the light when they don't wanna be in it, and get thermometers to keep an eye on the temp.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:01 AM   #9 
Bambi
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Out of the situations you've presented I only have two things to say since it seems you're doing fine for a last minute rescue.
1. Lots of temp fluctuation is bad for their immune system. If you have room a ten gallon is only $10-$13 and a heater for it is around $10 aswell. You can divide it and both fish will have warm water. Or, you can buy those under-tank pads. 2 of those would cost about the same as the new tank and heater,maybe a little more?
2. If you can get your hands on some seachem PRIME it's a really good water conditioner that also removed ammonia and detoxifies nitrite &nitrates. It's only like 2 drops per gallon every water change so it last a while(the small bottle i have is good for 500gallons). You should be doing a couple water changes a week with tanks that small.


I look forward to pictures if you can get them up at some point. ^^
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:07 AM   #10 
thekoimaiden
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Originally Posted by Nolefin View Post
Thank you!

I'll stop doing the warm water thing - I didn't realize it could cause stress! Would sitting their bowls next to a desk lamp for a little while help to keep the water warmer until I can get a heater?

Also, I live in an apartment so I don't have any super strict regulations, luckily!
I had fish in an apartment. I also had them in the dorms. I liked apartments better. More flexibility. Heck I could have even had a 55 gal where I was. Too much trouble to move it, tho.

Well the desk lamp thing is kinda the same thing. You would need to turn it off at night to prevent algae growth which would cause the temp to drop. If you have an area of your apartment that stays warmer, I think you would be better off putting them there. Like a table or something that is very close to a heat vent. Kitchen is often a good place.

When I buy for my fish tanks I like to buy for the end game. What size tank are you planning to end up with? What is the average temp of your apartment? These things will help us figure out which heater would be best for you.
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