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Old 08-18-2012, 04:48 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Exclamation New Betta Fish owner, please help!

I really wanted a pet and I decided to get a fish, so I went to a local petsmart and unfortunately I listened to their advice before researching. My fish (named Zach) is now living in a smallish bowl with gravel and a plant, and he seems really unhappy . I fed him after I first moved him in today and I tried playing with him by waging my finger but he just hurriedly swam away. If I buy him a better tank with lighting, heating, and better scenery will he become more accustomed to it and eventually "forgive" me. I know it sounds funny but it actually feels like he doesn't like me. If anyone has advise, i could really use it. I want to eventually become a responsible fish owner.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: milford
It would help to get him a bigger tank and some silk plants,the plasic can cut up his fin's also a heater.When he knows you and knows your the one that feeds him he will come around also try to put a little pellet on your finger and be patient and see if he takes it off,I worked with mine for a while and 7 out of my 8 will do it
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:06 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Canada
First off, welcome to the forum! I'm glad you are looking for advice and researching, that's the first step to becoming a better fishkeeper.

Sometimes it takes a fish a while to get used to its surroundings; my first betta took overnight to get accustomed to his tank whereas my second betta was happy and exploring within the hour of me placing him in! (Only when he thought I wasn't looking; it took him a few hours to stop swimming away from me whenever I appeared, which sounds like what your betta is doing)

If you're worried about size, then it depends. If your betta has long fins, then at minimum a one gallon. PKs (PK stands for Plakat, just another word for a short finned betta fish) tend to require more room; their fins don't hamper movement as much. How big is your tank, and what fin length is your betta? Can you show pictures?

Your fish might be sick, but I canít tell without pictures. Many fish from pet stores come sick, most of the time tail biting or fish rot. (my fish never came home sick, but I saw many sick fish in my sisterís local petsmart when I visited, so it seems normal with other stores) If your fishís tail is clear around the edges, that might mean his tail biting and/or fin rot would be healing. Do you see any of those signs?
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:18 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: MD
Well, he should be more happy. Try to upgrade once you can. I'll tell you my basic knowledge on their care, and there's still more you can do.

Tank Size- IMO, Bettas shouldn't be in bowls and tanks under 1 gallon. In the wild, they live in rice paddies and sometimes puddles in droughts. BUT, those paddies and puddles can reach 100 MILES across! That's around 1000 gallons! What's 1000 gallons compared to a 1 gallon bowl? Prison and suffer. The bigger the better, if you get a fish, get the BIGGEST tank you can. They'll love you for it. In return, you might even be able to add more tankmates and such. Tank size matters SO MUCH in the aquarium, and effects the fish.

Nutrition- Bettas are insectivores. Which means, they eat insects and meat. However, this is in the wild. In the household, you may not even get CLOSE to live food. So this is why you feed them high in protein pellets. I recommend New Life Spectrum Betta Formula. It's high in protein, and has good quality ingredients. Search foods with fish related ingredients, such as Whole Antarctic Krill Meal. Variety is key in feeding so you may give them flakes every other day an blood worms 2-3x per week. Fasting is also a good idea. Fasting is when you don't feed them for a period of time. I suggest fasting 1 day per week.

Temperature- Bettas are TROPICAL fish. They THRIVE in warmth. The recommended temperature for them is 78F-80F. A heater is key in the temperature so get an adjustable, working, heater. I suggest the Hydor THEO heater. Me and Lebron are happy customers because of it. :)

Water Maintenance- Now, this is vital to their health. Listen carefully, and write this down, lol. In tanks BELOW 5 gallons, you need to do 1 100% and 1 50% per week. Now, this is for UNFILTERED tanks. If the tank is filtered, you don't do 100% changes and it's a different schedule. In tanks ABOVE 5 gallons, you have to do 1 100% change the 1st and 3rd week. And for the 2nd and 4th week, you do 2 50%'s. You do water changes so the ammonia won't build up and kill your fish. Remember to add water conditioner so the chlorine, chloramines, hard metals, etc. will go out of the water.

These are JUST the basics so research, research, and research!! >:D Welcome to the forum BTW. :P
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:31 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: California
To add to all the advice:

For tanks WITH filters (which I highly recommend);
1-4gals: 2 50% water changes per week
5 gals & up: 1 50% water change per week
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #6 
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Thanks for all of the advice!

The lighting isn't great but here are two pictures of Zach:

and here is his unfortunately small bowl I'll look into getting a better one first thing tomorrow
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:28 PM   #7 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Puerto Rico
If the tank is filtered you dont need to do 100% water changes. If the tank is 2.5 g, unfiltered or filtered and planted, do two 50% water changes a week: one just water and the other with substrate vacuuming. Low light plants such as java moss help with water quality but are not a substitute for twice weekly water changes.
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aquarium help, help me, new owner, unhappy fish

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