Traveling with your fish (I want to make sure I am going to do it right...)
Okay, so fall break is coming up (Starts this Tuesday) and that means I have to take little Bellerophon home. Obviously, this petrifies me...mostly because I JUST got rid of his bulging belly a few days ago and I am scared to stress him out further. So, yeah... I want to make sure I am doing everything right. The drive is only about an hour and a half, maybe a little less depending on traffic, and he will be staying at my house until after winter break (so over a month). But, this is what I was planning on doing, step by step, so please correct me if I am doing something wrong or got incorrect information!
1. I am going to buy him a little cup to ride in with a lid that has a hole in it so the air stays fresh. I am going to let him ride in the cup holder and maybe put some paper towels in said cup holder to add some cushion since my car tends to shake when it is idle.
2. I am going to unplug his heater and slowly let the water cool to room temperature (don't worry, that is still pretty warm) then fill the cup with his tank water and put him in. I am going to quickly empty his tank and pack it up (I will already have everything else out in my car) then take the tank out to the car. I am going to be bold and leave my car running with the heat on so it'll be warm as well for the little guy. And don't worry, I won't be playing any music on the drive back.
3. I am going to come back to my dorm, make sure all is in order, then take the little guy with me to the car. I am not going to make any stops on the way home (since I am assuming it will be best to just get him home quickly).
4. My parents and I are both worried about the water change from my college to my house, since my house water has a good bit of chlorine in it. So my mom talked to someone at the pet store today. She suggested I buy a gallon of water, dump that water out, and fill it up with water from my school. Then, when I get back home, I need to put that water into his tank along with another gallon of distilled water. This is what I have a BIG question about. First of all is distilled water safe for betta's? Also, do I still need to put betta safe in the distilled water?
5. When I finally get home this is what I am a bit worried about. My room is a bit cold and my parents said we could keep him somewhere other than my room...however, I can't think of anywhere else where Mr. Kitty won't get him. So I want to know how I can keep him warm while his tank is getting to proper temperature. Should I just put the cup in the tank and let the water slowly adjust together, or what?
Thank you so much for reading, and please, offer any suggestions you can! I'm just worried about stressing him out to much after he had that bad stomach issue (it took forever to finally get rid of it!) and I can't leave him at school since we have to unplug everything and turn off our heat... so...transporting him is my only option.
Hi There! Sounds like you know a lot, and most everything seems like a good plan. I wouldn't worry a ton about temperature in the car, his water temperature won't change too much just within an hour car ride, and I've never heard of music being a problem? I took 5 bettas on a cross country trip over 4 days of driving 11 hrs/day, plus a week on each side in non-permanent conditions (1/2 gals). So they are much hardier than we like to think they are. Hope this may help ease your mind a bit. You mentioned unplugging the heater and waiting for it to get to room temp, I think that may not be needed, as his water temp is going to change more when you get him to the car anyway, I would just pack everything else up then cup him, drain the tank, and head out. I would think he would get stressed more with water cooling down 'twice' if that makes sense. Also as the pet store person suggested, keeping some of your water would be good, but do not used distilled water, use spring water! Distilled has had everything removed from it, spring water is more natural. As for adjusting to go back in his tank, pretty much floating him is his cup is the best option. Again, within a couple hours a temperature change shouldn't stress him out too much. If you're in very cold weather what I do is set his cup inside the empty aquarium which I set on the floor of the passenger seat, then turn on warm air on the 'feet' setting. Hope your trip will go well, I'm sure it will! I've been trekking my bettas around for years and never lost one! :)
1. That is how I got my first Betta home from the pet store 3 hours away and she did just fine.
2. That is a good idea for adjusting him to the colder air, or you could put him in his cup right away, stick a small thermometer inside his cup or one of those sticky ones on the outside and put a hand warmer around his cup to keep him warm. Don't worry about the music, as long as it isn't blaringly loud, it shouldn't bother him, in fact, he may enjoy it. My babies enjoy music.
3. That is fine, but if you have a hand warmer around his cup, a quick stop for the restroom/snacks whatever, he will be ok.
4. If you are not using distilled water now, don't use it when you get home. A good quality water conditioner will neutralize the chlorine in the water in your house and it will be fine. If you are worried, have your mom fill up some jugs now, and let them age until you get there, then add your conditioner when you get there before you put it in your tank. You can also bring several jugs of your water from your college to fill your tank if you want to. Bettas can be very sensitive to changes in water parameters, especially from tap to bottled water, so you could send him into shock if you don't acclimate him slowly over several days to distilled water. Plus distilled water lacks the essential nutrients your fish needs to stay healthy.
5. Keep him in his cup with the hand warmer if you go that route until your tank has warmed up, then float him in his cup for a while to let the temperatures stabilize. If you are using your mom's water, you can acclimate him to that water by exchanging a spoonful of water from the tank to his cup every so often over several hours. If you bring water from your dorm, you can skip the water exchange part and just worry about the temperature acclimating. If you don't use a hand warm, just float him in his cup with both his tank and cup at room temperature, and wait until the tank is at the desired temperature.
Good Luck, he will probably be fine, just make sure you acclimate him properly and keep him warm - given his recent illness, it might be better to go with the hand warmer option around his cup so he doesn't get cold and compromise his immune system. Another option is to put him in a small cooler with a hand warmer so the heat stays in and place him on the floor of the passenger seat or secure it in the passenger seat. And most importantly, relax.
I hope this helps - if you have any questions, please ask.
Haha, thanks. I've been trying to get more well informed. XD I was not sure if music was a problem, I just assumed the vibrations might mess with him even more since my car already rattles so badly. Haha, thanks, that does comfort me a bit. I guess I have just always been a bit of a worry wart over my pets. And I was going to let him cool down with the heater only because for the type of heater I have it has to be unplugged for 15 minutes before you can take it out of water, so I thought at least that way he would have a little more time in his large tank. But I could take him out before and hope maybe the water stays warmer that way. And the floor idea is a good one, however, I am worried about him sliding around since I...kinda tend to stop and go suddenly. I'm a bit of a reckless driver, though not on purpose. So any suggestions on how to make sure he won't get jerked around?
I like the idea of a hand warmer, however, I am worried about it making his cup to warm since I won't be able to check it and the cup is pretty small. I got him a new one today, a little tumbler...that I am hoping will be big enough. My cup holders are really small, so yeah. I need one that is larger at the top and narrows at the bottom, and this one seems to be somewhat...however...I am still worried it might be a bit too small with him, but I wanted to go with a shorter one so maybe the shaking would not be so bad. So would that be an issue with the size of the cup? And with the tap water would BettaSafe by Tetra be a good enough conditioner, or would I need something stronger? I would go with all water from here, but his tank is three gallons, so I don't think I could manage that and he would have to have different water at some point. And again, I would like to use the hand warmer or something, but I am worried about him being secured since I tend to stop suddenly.
Thank you both so much for this help! I have a lot to think about before Tuesday. XD Well whatever water I decide to use (spring or from my house) could you guys give me a ratio of how much old water to new water I should use initially? Also should I stick with a smaller cup, or maybe find one that is wider (at least at the top) and taller?
Everyone has given you good advice so far. so i dont have much to add but for your last post, I dont reccommend anything tetra, but depending on your levels at your parents it might be sufficient. I like to use aqueaon conditioner its not much more expensive and it's always worked well for me.
and I think if you got 3 1gallon milk jugs you might be okay with transporting water. but i honestly think he would be fine with tap from your parents. if you decide to use distilled or spring water (spring preferrably) you shouldnt need any conditioner.
i think 1 old to 2 new gallons would be a good enough ratio if you go that route. but you really shouldnt need that if you acclimate him right by doing the spoonful method one of the other posters explained.
im unsure of the size cup you currently have, but i would aim for as wide as you can possibly fit in your cup holder, it doesnt need to be too tall as long as you have a lid.
And if you decided to stick him inside of the tank on your floor board you could add paper towels or keep the gravel in it to avoid him sliding. I generally either put them in the cups they came in at the store and into my cupholder or i put them on the floor boards and put a couple books around them to hold still. but ive also tried the tank of a floor method while the tank was completely empty except for 4 cups and didnt have much of a problem with sliding, when i turned a corner too sharp they might slide to the other side, but atleast it kept them from tipping over.
Anyways goodluck in whatever you decide to do!
And let us know how the move goes and how you went about it. There are a lot of college kids on here that I'm sure could use this info for future reference!
I took my bettas from Alaska to New York in wintertime which was 2 weeks of almost straight driving time.
If you are only going an hour and a half, you should have no problems with the transporting part. Depending on where you live, the biggest obsticle is going to be keeping him warm in the car. For me this was a major issue since it was about -40F for over 1,000 miles of my trip. if you are in the north - I would cup him using his heated tank water and keep him in an insulated cup or a coffee cup. The water should stay pretty warm for most of the journey. When it does cool, it will cool down gradually.
When you get to your destination, I would just use the tap water with conditioner and add him slowly to the new water, like normal. I had filled up milk jugs with water to do water changes with but they all froze in the back seat. I ended up using local water in 3 different locations in canada to do the changes. Unless the water is unfit for humans, any water conditioner should be OK. Even if the water chemistry is different then he is used to, he should be able to adapt to it. If it worries you, then acclimate him to the new water even more slowly.
Distilled isn't good since it lacks stuff in tap water the fish needs.
How long will you be gone? If its not that long - you can fill up one or two of those 5 gallon water jugs with your tap and take the water with you.
As long as the Bettasafe says that it will neutralize chlorine and chloramine and other contaminants, then it should be fine. If it doesn't, get something else that does.
The Tikibirds has a really good suggestion with using some sort of insulated cup, just make sure you have a lid, you wouldn't want to risk him jumping out or splashing out (My girl is a jumper so if she ever travels again, a lid is an absolute must). I wouldn't worry about the size of the cup too much since you are only traveling an hour and a half unless your betta is very large.
Thank you all so much for your help!
Well, tomorrow is the big day, and here is my final plan:
1. I am sticking with the cup I got yesterday because I went back to wallmart and could not find a good one that was insulated. And the ones that were one could not see through, and I would feel more comfortable if I could see him while he going through all this. And this cute little cup has a lid, so no worries. It is still not as wide as I would like...however, I could not find a better one, and if he looks to terribly cramped then I will think of a plan B (probably use the cup he came in and risk putting him on the flood boards).
2. I think I am going to stick with him being in the cup holder. That way if we hit a nasty bump I can make sure he doesn't fall over. I am going to put the heat to where it hits both the floor boards and the upper vents, and my car gets rather toasty so I think that should keep him warm enough. I am also going to pull my car up to my dorm so he will not be out in the cold to long (and thankfully the cold is not to cold, only about 60s).
3. I got two gallons of water today and I am going to pour them out and fill them up with water from college. I am going to try and adjust him to the water at home, since he will be living there over the summer and needs to get used to it anyways. I was thinking of doing half and half of each, just to be extra sure it is not to much of a change, and slowly get him ready with the spoonful method that someone suggested (however how many spoonfuls should I put in before I can deem him adjusted?). I am also hoping that when I do his 25% and 50% changes throughout the week I will slowly be able to build him up to the water, so when I have to go back and my parents have to do a 100% change he will be fine with the new water. I also got him the aqueon water conditioner today, so hopefully that will work well.
4. Write a nice little list for my parents who have to take care of the poor dear for two weeks till I am home for winter break. <3
And that is all. Any more last suggestions?
Again, thank you all so much for your wonderful advice! It has been very comforting to hear so many stories of successfully transported fish. ^^