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Old 08-27-2012, 01:39 AM   #1 
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Schwielala's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Newbie, Unusual Circumstances, Advice Please

Three nights ago I acquired 4 Betta fish from a wedding reception; they were in large vases with lights as centerpieces. They were free to be taken home afterwards, and since 8 were left, my friend and I each took home 4 because we didn't want them to be thrown out/flushed/etc. I'm probably crazy, but I figured giving them a chance is better than nothing.

So now I've been researching as much as possible for the past 3 days and I'm getting pretty overwhelmed and frustrated, so I would like some advice on where my priorities should lie.

Here's what's going on at the moment...


- I have 2 10 gallon tanks each with a divider. I know it would be better to have long and wide rather than tall, but it seemed this was the most space I could give them without spending way over my budget. I also realize that they could keep puffing up/flaring at each other through the mesh, but so far aggression seems to be at a minimum.

- I do not yet have heaters or filters. I would definitely like to get heaters, but I don't know when I will have the opportunity. Are there decent heaters available at commercial stores? I'm worried that I could order recommended heaters online and have them arrive too late after I've had a catastrophe anyway. I'm also still torn between filter or no filter.

- Each tank has gravel and 4 plants which for the moment are plastic. I tried to avoid spiky and sharp at least. I went with cheap for now just for the sake of giving them something. One tank has well water from our tap plus water conditioner, while the second has the CaribSea Ready Water, which is probably worthless, but I wasn't sure if our well water was fish-friendly or not, and I didn't know how much longer they could survive their cups either way.

Fish Behavior/Health:

- I acclimated them slowly over 3-4 hours yesterday by floating and adding tank water. when released, all 4 fish seemed active throughout the night.

- Today, the larger purple/red fish started to have longer bouts of sitting scrunched up in the bottom corner of the tank without swimming while his tank partner continued to swim around. The temperature of this tank is lower than it should be without a heater, which could be the lethargy cause, but his blue neighbor has been active, so I don't know if an illness outside of water conditions is the issue for red. He'll also suddenly spurt into action and swim around quickly before settling again, so I don't know if it's parasite-related and he's trying to rub out itches, it doesn't seem like hes pressing against anything to scratch. I can't identify anything wrong from looking at him. Pics:

- In the second tank the smaller red fish seems to have a swim bladder issue that was not obvious until today. He keeps floating to the surface and seems to struggle to tip down. I also noticed gold streaks in his fins. I'm not sure if it is just his color/reflection of his scales, or if it is the velvet I have read about. It doesn't look like a dusting. Pic:
his tank neighbor again seems to be doing well. The tank temperature in this room reached 81 degrees.

I'm also worried about New Tank Syndrome as I've been finding conflicting info on how often and how much water to change since I don't have a filter and I didn't get to cycle before adding fish.

I'm just not sure where to begin since both tanks have one seemingly healthy active fish...heater, medicine, water change...? I also think they have some fin rot, but I'm not sure in my lack of experience.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:18 AM   #2 
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Lets begin with the heater vs filter..Where are you from? Is it cold now or do you have time? I would go for filter if you are in a warm climate now..I'm putting getting one off myself since here cold will probably come in November. 5 gallons is good for each..I would just keep an eye on them..Keep up on water changes since no filtration I would do about 30% every 3 days to keep it clean maybe more, I'm sure someone that has filterless tank experience will comment on that. For now just make sure their water is nice and clean. Give them time to settle in and keep an eye on them. remember they were used for decoration so I doubt they were treated properly. let them adjust and just make sure they are comfortable.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:35 AM   #3 
Join Date: Jul 2010
I can't help you much with medication and such but maybe you could add some StressCoat to their water? Hopefully someone else can tell you whether or not this is a good idea.

I also hope you know the bride/groom well enough to give them hell for having these living beings as wedding deco. That's sick!

I also think you are a saint ......four at once!
Your friend, too,
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:37 AM   #4 
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Location: Kingston, Ontario
Hey there and welcome to the forum!
Very kind of you to take in so many betta at once!

I'll be the first to say, your betta will be fine without heaters or filters for a few weeks (unless you like a freezing cold house!). Don't feel rushed to buy heaters or filters, save up for something nicer and better quality. I always read online reviews of products before getting them.

Keep an eye on that "lazy" betta. Could be as simple as cold water, yes. Some betta are just lazy though. Does he come up for food/air easily? He might appreciate a taller plant with broad leaves that would be good to sit on.

For your second guy, I'd avoid feeding him for a few days and see if that helps. If it does, feed him less from now on. I have a couple of fish that are prone to bloating up like balloons if fed "normal" amounts. The gold in the photo looks like normal colouration.

For water changes, I'd do at least two 25% changes a week for them. New Tank Syndrome can be prevented by lots of water changes, and 2 bettas in a 10 gallon don't do too much damage.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:50 AM   #5 
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Location: Georgia
First off, you are wonderful for taking them home and giving them a chance! While the idea of pretty fish in vases sounds cool (and to be fair probably did look nice) not having a plan for them afterwards constitutes poor planning if not outright cruelty.

Anyway, stepping off the soapbox..your setup sounds great as far as size goes. Caribsea, if I recall right, is more for saltwater fish. Treated tap water is best for a betta. They can tolerate a bit of brackishness (salt of various kinds is actually a good treatment for many ailments) but it's not ideal.

I would look into heaters. I haven't personally ordered online, but I imagine you'd be fine if you stuck with major retailers. My heaters came from Petsmart and Petco. If you do get them, try to get the ones that allow you to set the temperature. They are a bit more, but it's worth it IMO.

Depending on how long they were stuck in the vases, some color change might be expected - they will tend to lose color/luster if they are under stress. But once in a stable setting, they should perk up.

Lack of activity could just mean the water is a little cold. Another easy purchase - the suction cup thermometers - usually $3 or less - for each tank so you know what the temp is.

As for anything else that seems to be happening - warm clean water is usually the best treatment to start. Good luck - I hope they recover from their time as decorations.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:18 AM   #6 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Hi welcome to the forum and your a hero for saving those littl guys. So i think that a ten gallon with a divider is fine [ my little guy who is a spoiled brat lives in a ten gallon] alot of bettas live happily in a 2-3 gallon tank and don't like a bigger tank anyways but maybe make the divider less see through to stop the flaring you can do this by weaving aquarium grass through the mesh:) As for the heater part i recommend one if you live in a place where it is cooler i live in Canada and in the winter it can get pretty chilly so i use one if you doo decide to get a heater i recommend one that you can adjust also get a themometer strip for each tank to monitor the water temp :) I do not have a filter so i make up for it by doing a 25% water change every 3-4 days this is easy if you have a 5 gallon pail and a syphon hose to do the trick :) as for the plastic plants i have one in my tank and its fine however watch for torn fins and take out the plant if they are ripping their fins on it. Now i'm no expert on fish diseases but maybe one of your fish is deppresed they tend to do stuff like that when they are upset try keeping his water temp at a warm temp and sit by him for for a little each day my fish loves it when i spend time with him although he might have some thing else as for the other fish sounds like swim bladder disorder but like i said i'm no expert on fish diseases :) by the way what kind of food are you feeding? I reccomend pellets over flake food because they are often packed with more protein and vitemens for your fish :) It sounds like you have a pretty good start alot of people don't do their research first and head to the petstore pick up a .5 gal for each fish some cheap food and then do the research and end up heading back to the petstore and in the end have spent twice the money they needed too. Happy fish keeping and i hope this helps :)
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:57 AM   #7 
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Wow! I was hoping for at least one response today, but there are so many! Thanks so much!

Let's see, I live in New Jersey, USA, so the temperature has been in the 80s. I do have air conditioning inside though, but we never have it freezing.

I do know the bride and groom pretty well, they were my roommates this past year, and I got to nag at them last semester when they did a trial run with goldfish (which lived for a day maybe two, which I'm guessing is why they swapped for Betta so they would live through the wedding). But I was like " what are you going to do with them after?" and they kinda shrugged it off, so I put in my two cents and said how that would be cruel, but there wasn't much else I could do about it.

The lethargic betta is still moping today, although he has moved to the top corner instead of the bottom. Last night he was still swimming up for air okay. He doesn't want to eat today and I just found a pellet in the gravel from yesterday. Not sure if he didn't eat at all or spit it out. My mom fed them yesterday. I think she gave two each so he may have had one pellet yesterday because I don't see it anywhere. He also spit out or didn't eat the first pellet I gave when they were still in cups on Saturday.

The two active blue guys ate two pellets today, although one of them spit one out, a good while after eating it too. I didn't feed swim bladder red, who is still floaty today. The pellets are Top Fin Color Enhancing Betta Bits.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:02 PM   #8 
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I have those pellets..You can try cutting them, may be too big or what I also did..mash garlic and soak in water and dip the food in it..They love it and it's good for them.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:09 PM   #9 
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Location: Haverhill, MA
Hello and Welcome, I have saved a fish from a vase about a month ago, and depending on how long they were in there, they haven't had any room to swim, to put them in a big tank, sometimes it's the big space and the fact that they have weak swim muscles, and are not ready for it, but that could be the case with the one who is being (lazy) as for the pellets, if they are not eating them, as some will not, at first, just keep trying, it is common to have bettas that are picky, but also because they are getting used to thier new does take some adjusting..sounds like they will be fine..I am so glad you took them in..It is hard 4 at once..

I just rescued another 3 myself, and as far as heaters go, they will be ok, for about another week, my rescue girls are still in Hospital tanks, and they have been for about 3-4 wks, no heater, consistent water changes, and good food will keep your bettas energetic, and they will want to flex those muscels, and keep an eye out for the lazy one, he may need Hospital tank to adjust better, then upgrade to bigger tank, later on..Hope all goes well.. good luck:)
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:40 PM   #10 
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For heaters. you want 50 watts for ten galllons - search ebay or amazon. Heaters are good but since it is summer - you can put it off for a little bit - of course the sooner you get them, the happier the fish will be. I got most of mine by searching ebay.

for unfiltered tanks - 2 changes a week. One 50% and one 100% and clean the gravel. You can get a gravel sipon for like $10 - well worth it and makes changes on large tanks much easier.

The moapy betta may be because he is too cold. They get lethargic when the water isn't in the upper 70's...or he may be sick. keep an eye on him for signs of fuzziness, white spots, missing fins, ect.
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