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Old 06-05-2012, 11:22 AM   #1 
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first betta fish. change in mood and starting to get VERY aggressive

ok, so my boyfriend bought me blue steel( i think ) betta fish for my birthday. he bought a small fish bowl (like the ones you see in movies that are a typical fish bowl) and its plastic with gravel and decorations. like a fake plant and rocks. the fish was like a black when i first got him and they food they gave my boyfriend was supposed to brighten his colors, which they have. he has a metallic bright blue. the food given to me is Aqueon Betta Food and it says it has natural colors and vitamin c. so im assuming its good. their little brown pellets. anyways, another thing that was given to me with him is this water cleanser thing...i have no idea what it does or how much im supposed to put in the water. as for the food..i dont know how often i should feed him and how many pellets. i think ive been feeding him wayyy to much recently.. and im really worrying. so after a while of having him in the bowl adn the same water that was given to me, it started to get very clouding and almost green like and had like a layer of stringy goo at the top of his water. me..figuring this is not the healthiest thing for him (duh) i changed his water. and this is where i need help because i think i did soemthing that may have really stressed him out. this is what me and my boyfriend did during the water change..
we got a plastic bag and scooped Gary (the fish) out of the bowl along with the dirty water..and then we put him in a cup. then we rinsed out everything in the bowl and all the decor and gravel and everything..but then i realized putting Gary back in the bowl would be hard because we dont have a net or anything. so my boyfriend poured out a lot of the water that was in the cup holding Gary( i was so scared because he had like no room to move anymore and he barely had enough water so i was worried he was stressed) but my boyfriend did that because he didnt want to put the dirty water back in the bowl. so, i let him handle all this part. he decided that we couldnt put the dirty water back in the bowl so he scooped Gary up with his hand really quick and put him in the water. and keep in mind, when we were first trying to take gary out of the bowl to clean it my boyfriend was pulling the baggie up out of the water so the water was falling out of the baggie and gary almost fell out of the baggie into the bowl again but i put my hand there so he wouldnt fall so i had him in my hand at that time too and he was out of the water..i feel like this was majorly stressful for him. but anyway, we filled up his bowl and put all the decor back in and then we put gary back in. and i forgot to put the water cleanser thing in. so we filled up a cup of water and put like 6 drops in and then poured that water in the bowl. (i hope thats enough and that its ok since gary was in there at the same time). but after i put him back in the water and he seemed fine because he swam around curiously..and then so the next day i heard about the mirror thing. so i put him up to the mirror and he freaked. it was kinda cool i never knew he flared like that. and later that day i showed my boyfriend. so i did it twice but it was for a minute or less. anyway, so ever since then i would feed him and then id put my finger in his bowl like i usually do, and sometimes he used to nibble but in a curious way. now he flares at me, and hes aggressively snapping at my finger. like its reallyyyy aggressive. it worries me because i dont want him to continue like this and im worried hes sick or something. PLEASE HELP!

Last edited by lzolnowski2; 06-05-2012 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:28 AM   #2 
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by the way, there is no house doesnt usually use AC. but it hasnt been too hot recently. i constantly have my fan going on high all day so my room is cool and in fact, im worried his water is too cold for him...what is everything i need to take of him the right way? i know i need a net, probably some of that salt stuff, but what else? and i dont have room for a big tank. and the bowl might be too small of a filter, and besides, im worried they are too expensive...i dont know what to do!
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:49 AM   #3 
Twilight Storm
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First off: Welcome to the forum!!! :) There is a lot of great information here to help you get started, and this forum has a great community of friendly people.

First, flaring is normal, he's trying to show you he's big and tough so there is nothing to worry about there. :)

If the goo was bubbles on the top of the bowl that is normal too. It's a bubblenest. Males build them, then they generally hang out underneath them and guard them. When they settle into their new homes and feel comfortable they generally start to make them.

Having him flare for a short time each day is healthy too, it keeps them exercised. If you do it for a very long period of time this could stress them out and lead to him damaging his fins in some cases, but 5 min a day or so is fine.

His water change did sound a bit stressful but if he's acting normal there is probably no harm done. With a small bowl you will have to keep on top of water changes because ammonia builds up pretty quickly in smaller containers. As you do this more you will get the hang of it. Just be EXTRA SURE he doesn't go down the drain in the sink if he jumps out. Hitting the floor is not healthy for them either.

There are probably some people who can explain the process of cupping the fish during water changes way better then I can.

There is also a lot of good general care sticky posts here. Very good information in them if you're brand new to fish keeping! Almost all of us started with one betta, and found they are super fish with great personalities and own lots more now! ;)

As you do water changes make sure you follow the directions on your tap water dechlorinator/ conditioner. Chlorine, chlorimine and heavy metals can kill any fish and the conditioner makes the water safe nearly instantly for your new guy. :) I am guessing that since you did do a water change you figured out how to use your conditioner? If you let us know what the brand is we could probably help if it is a sample with no instructions.

Best wishes! And pictures of your little guy are always loved here. :)
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #4 
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How much water does your betta's current bowl hold?

1 gallon is the minimum recommended amount of water they should live in. 2.5 to 5 gallons is ideal. There are some small heaters available for small aquariums I like the small marina heaters. The zoo med pad almost killed my fish but others have had good experiences with the zoo med...

here is a link to a decent non adjustable heater: (adjustable is the very best, and when you treat your fish for an illness it is necessary.)

If you want a bigger home for him and don't have a lot of money Sterilite storage boxes work in a pinch. The brand is important though because Sterilite containers are food safe. This would let you get a better heater.

I will have to let others help you for a bit I have to run for a few hours for a dr appointment but i'm sure a lot of people will jump in and get you off on the right foot :)

Best wishes again
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:44 AM   #5 
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There should be instructions on the side of the bottle of water conditioner.. it'll say how many drops per liter or gallon to use.

You just need to figure out how many liters/gallons your bowl is. That way you can add an accurate amount of drops for the amount of water.

Bowls aren't great for fish.. for a few reasons. If space is an issue you can get some really nice square based tanks (cubes) from 1.5 gallon - 5 gallon that take up very little room, the same as a bowl or just over. Mine's 3.5, and I also have the 1.5 cube as a spare/emergency tank (or a shrimp tank..I've just been lazy about that). The Dymax cubes fit filter material (the filter flow is adjustable to really low, too, which is great) and a small 25W heater (sold separately with the smaller tank, I think?).

You should have a heater, even if its warm right now, as sometimes the temps can drop at night even in warm weather, and it's the sudden changes that upset them as well as being cold (though he might not be in the day right now). Bowls are hard to fit a heater in...

Water changes are important, and if you have a regular sized bowl you should probably be changing half his water once a week, and also then changing the whole water plus rinsing everything once a week. So like, part change on Wednesday, then a full change on Saturday or whatever days suit.

Catch your fish in a small cup - you might find feeding him a pellet helps in this process.. feed, then scoop him up quick while he's eating it. I use yogurt containers rinsed REALLY well after washing thoroughly in hot water.. soap residue is very bad for fish! never use soap/detergent on fish stuff.

Then put something on top as a lid (bettas can jump! another reason bowls aren't great..). Carry your bowl/tank to the sink and wash it (no soap!).. Fill it up, add conditioner.

Then float your fish's little cup in the new water for 10-15 mins. I use a clip to keep it on the side of the tank, but containers can float..

Add a little bit of the 'new' water to his cup every five minutes, and then let him go. This will reduce stress a LOT during water changes, and avoid shock from differences in the new and old water as well. Some fish do fine without this process (called 'acclimation') but a lot don't.

Then give him a pellet, this seems to cheer my fish up quickly - two of mine haaaate being cupped, and get really stressy about it, but they recover fast too.

Hope this was a help. He sounds like a pretty fish. I'd like to see some pictures!

ETA: Oh, I forgot about the aggression.. this is totally natural. They aren't called 'Siamese Fighting Fish' for nothing! They were bred for fighting, and are naturally aggressive. His aggression is a good sign, it means he's feeling good enough to act naturally.

Plus, they're always hungry (which is why you shouldn't give in to their 'begging' as they will eat until they literally explode if you let them, stick to twice a day pellets!) and he may just be thinking you're something tasty. :D

Last edited by Aus; 06-06-2012 at 08:58 AM.
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