my husband gifted me a betta fish ( named him Bertie!) today for Valentine's day.....:)
I have been reading online forums about them, and they seem to be really intelligent.
I've never had a pet fish before, so I don't really know too much about caring for them....however it seems like the mantra is to Change their water every 5 days and feed them a varied diet.
I had a few questions though:
Are these fish really intelligent? I have no experience with them and do not know usual fish mannerisms....
Would they start recognizing me after a bit? I have fallen in love with Bertie Already( he does not like my singing to him too much I think! :P )
DO they interact with people? I read somewhere that they sulk if not happy!
How can I make sure that Bertie's always happy? He looks bored to me!
I also have an interesting situation - I am a vegetarian and so am not too comfortable feeding Bertie live food....would that be OK for his diet? I could always make alternate arrangements.
Your betta can live and thrive on just betta pellets if need be. To keep him the happiest and healthiest you'll want to keep him warm (78 - 82 Farenheit) and temp stable, and his water clean.
How big of a tank is he in? Lots of decorations will give him plenty of hiding places and will help to avoid stress, and with enough things in his tank to do, he won't get bored, either.
Yes, bettas will learn to recognize you and they can be very interactive if you take the time to spend with him. You can also put a mirror next to his tank for an hour a few times/wk to help him with boredom, but don't overdo the mirror. Too much of the mirror or for too long at a time can cause a lot of stress.
Hey! I'm a vegetarian too and I don't feed mine live food. I would say get some different kind of pellets for him and also skin and chop up some green peas.
As for getting bored... How big is the tank he is in? If it's filtered you won't need to change the water as often. There are a few kind of fish that you can keep with a Betta if the tank is big enough. (I would recommend at least a 5 gallon).
Bettas are definately very smart. They can learn to jump out of water to catch their food. My betta already recognizes me, and I have only had him for about 1 month. Whenever he sees me, he begs for food. He lives off of pellets, loves them and always wants more. I give him the occasional flake/bloodworm, but he prefers his pellets which surpises me. He is kept at 76 degress fareinheit, but 78-82 is best (as stated).
Could you tell us the tank size just for some reference?
P.S. I was just clicking through the old posts and someone talked about taking the hooks off of fishing lures and letting their betta play with them. I don't know if it works but he seems bored, I would give it a shot.
Well, th tank size is 1 gallon - I realized its small, only after reading this forum...:(
anyways, will go out this weekend and get a bigger tank...should a 2 gallon tank be large enuff?
I gave Bertie ( the fish ) a food pellet today, and it doesn't seem like he touched it...do Bettas wait for the pellet to get soft before feeding?
Since my husband came to know that I am getting real attached to Bertie, he has gone ahead and hooked up a webcam connected to a network, so now I can watch live feeds of Bertie swimmin' around from work...I thought this was really neat, coz I am a worrywart and my workplace is a no-pet zone.I can now keep tabs on Bertie during the day and make sure he doesn't throw some crazy party!! :P
BTW thanks guys on all the advice.Really appreciate it.
The requirements for your tank size should be something large enough to contain a heater so the temp stays stable. 2.5 - 5 gallons seems to be the perfect size for a betta... and I still wouldn't consider mixing him with other fish. The best betta companion I have found is the dwarf frog, but they need live food. (the frogs don't see well so if their food doesn't move they don't usually find it... they eat live black worms which the betta would love too)
If you get yourself into a 5 - 7 gallon, a pygmy cory cat can also work well with a betta, but I would avoid a standard size cory unless the tank is at least 10 gallons. A cory catfish can live on betta pellets and flake foods if need be.
It is possible you fish isn't sure what the pellet foods are, therefore is unsure of eating it. Keep trying, 1 pellet at a time until he takes some. Most bettas can be taught to take pellet food if you're persistant and don't substitute for anything else until he eats them. Just like children, hunger can convince them they like something if you don't allow them anything else first. If the fish still hasnt eaten after 4 days, then it would be wise to get some live food just so it doesn't starve. Feed it once and then wait a day and try the pellet routine again. It's ok that you are a vegetarian, so long as you understand your fish can't be. A betta's diet needs to be protein based, and most are used to having all or mostly live foods. Most breeders will use live foods when spawning and raising them because its the healthiest for them. Betta pellets are a combination of high protein based foods, and is why they are specifically designed for bettas and no other prepared food will do. Please undersand that your betta won't understand the conflicts of vegetarianism, and please be prepared to break down and buy him live food if he continues to refuse the pellets.
Many bettas will also eat ram's horn snails, so maybe adding a few small ones to his tank will help. A few should be all you'll need as one will then be likely to lay eggs before he eats them all, providing a continuous diet when he needs it and helping to clean the tank when he doesn't.
I had one female betta who would only eat feeder guppys and snails, nothing else.
Another thing that would help encourage the betta to eat whatever you offer is to float some kind of decoration at the surface of the water. Small plastic plants can work, but be careful the fish doesn't tear his fins on them. Live plants such as hornwort don't need any special care and can thrive in a betta tank. It's great for helping to consume nutrient levels in the water, too.
Oh, and water changes... anything under 10 gallons with 1 betta will need a water change at least once/wk. (even with a filter running) In 2.5 - 7 gallons I would suggest once/wk, about 25% of the water.
Your betta does not need live food. A betta will do just fine on pellets. One of the better pellet foods that i promote and a lot of other people swear by is Hikari Betta Bio-Gold. The packaging is a bit clumsy, but the food floats and has a good combination of nutrients. I have yet to feed any of my bettas "live" food (although i intend to eventually). You can buy freeze dried blood worms and brine shrimp from the store which provide a nice treat once a week.
A 1 gal tank is OK.... but ideally you want something 2.5 gallons or greater. I recommend the Topfin Aquascene 5 kits as i have had personal experience with them and 5 gallons is plenty of room for a betta. The filter that comes with these tanks provides the benefits of having no current (important with bettas) except for directly in front of the filter. I even catch both of my guys playing in the current quite often. Take note that you may want to cycle the tank b4 introducing your betta to avoid any complications. (let me know if you need help on how to cycle a tank)
Beyond that, i'm glad you are so inclined as to find more information about your little guy to provide him a good home. :D Sounds like your husband had a great idea with the webcam. I'm glad i dont have a live web-cam to my tanks cuz i would never get anything done.
Best of luck
edit: With any tank you buy, the filter current is a big deal because the bettas fins catch the current and stress them out. This is not natural to their natural habitat. There are certain filters that work, and also ways to modify high flowing filters. PM me if you have any questions regarding this.