hi, everyone. well, i usually have a personal rule against impulse-buying any kind of animal, but yesterday i broke it. i've been in and out of petco all this week getting supplies for my hedgehog and christmas presents for the cats, ad every time i found myself stopping at the betta display. there was a small white-pastel sort of betta there that i kept coming back to, labeled as an elephant ear male, and every time i came back he was still there. last night, i checked in again, and not only was he still there, looking a little more sluggish than before, there were three or four dead bettas in the small display, pushed to the back. so i decided what the hey, and brought him home. he is in a large vase right now (little more than a gal) until i can get him something nice, as i haven't owned a fish in years and when i went to fill my old tank with water it leaked all over the place. he's not so fancy as all the beautiful bettas around here, but i love his colors, and now that he's out of the cup and rested he seems very sweet and active! i do have some concerns, though, so when i was googling for information and found this forum, i thought maybe one of you might be able to help me judge?
i have owned betta fish in the past, but only very typical veil tails, never one with these kind of fins. i've been looking at pictures of other bettas and looked at the picture on the petco container, and i'm not sure what to make of his top fin there. his pectoral fins are clearly torn, which i have now read is a common problem for "elephant ears", but i can't determine whether that top fin is also torn, if it's clumped together, or if that's simply how his fin is shaped. i took several pictures as he swam around, it never really flares out more than this.
any ideas, or advice on how to proceed?
Last edited by mushumouse; 12-29-2012 at 04:35 PM.
Reason: pictures too huge! oops.
He's beautiful. First congrats & welcome. I sure in your research you've read Bettas are tropical so he needs a heater with water temp 76-80F. When you set up his new bigger tank make sure you've read up on cycling a tank, you can do this fish IN but it'll require some diligence on your part because you will need to test the water & do extra water changes to keep him healthy. In the 1st pic it looks like his fin is curled over. This could be due to the unhealthy conditions he was kept in. I wouldn't worry so long as he's active & eating. Get him a heater as soon as you can even if its going to be a little while before you can upgrade his home.
thank you shellieca, i have ordered a hydor (sp?) mini heater for under 5 gal tanks. it is shipping from a local store, meanwhile i have been keeping him in a warm room under a desk lamp. it is very cold here right now! he seems alright but i will put the heater in ASAP. relieved the fin is not a serious problem, what should i be testing the water for- ph, ammonia, bacteria?
If he's going to stay in the container he's in now for a little while I wouldn't worry about testing but do regular water changes. Maybe a 50% & a 100% per week. The main thing in an unfiltered tank is ammonia build up. One suggestion, you should add some more plants & a cave. Be very careful with plastic, if you can get silk plants they're safer for their fins. They like to rest on broad leaves close to the surface.
hmm, the one plant i have right now has cloth leaves, but plastic settings. i have read through two of the threads on tank cycling and one on planted tanks, and my head is spinning a bit, but i'll hopefully be able to get something started this week. thanks again for the advice, i'm worried to get something wrong when he's already not in the best shape. i'll try to at least find him a short-term container at the thrift store tomorrow with a little more floor space so that there's room for something he can hide in. he does seem a little jumpy out in the open, surrounded by giants!
i do! he's getting pretty elderly for a hedgehog these days, has cataracts and snores loudly, but he's still my grumpy baby. :) i currently have a ball python, two cats and the hedgehog, but this is my only fish.
an update, and more questions: the fish (right now i'm calling him space ghost) has continued to perk up, and has been increasingly active in the last two days. it almost makes me dizzy to look at him zooming around in the middle of the night, lol. tonight i finally procured a thermometer, and temperature seems to be holding steady at 74 degrees. not ideal, but since the heater is still in the mail and he seems ok, i'm thinking i should stick with this same desk lamp until it comes (he also spends a lot of time swimming at the top near the lamp- i suspect the water is warmer up there than where it's being measured). the red part of the thermometer seems to fascinate him, he keeps going back to stare suspiciously at it, and he is exploring every bit of the tank again with great curiosity. he's still mostly white, though he looks pinkish when the light shines through him, but the grey spots on his fins and head are getting darker and beginning to look a little more blueish, though it's difficult to photograph at night under the desk lamp.
also found a 2.5 gal critter keeper at a friend's, but as i have no way to heat a larger container i haven't moved the fish. i have been feeding him two pellets and two-ish dried bloodworms every day so far, planning to skip tomorrow now that he has filled out a little. i haven't found a hide that looked big enough to me for him that wasn't also very rough-feeling, but i got him a big marimo ball- heard they can help filter water a bit in tiny tanks- and some aquarium sand to replace the marbles. he likes the ball and i have seen him hide behind it or just rest on it like a couch.
so, TL;DR. QUESTIONS:
(EDITED TO ADD because i forgot:) -when i do get the heater, how do i acclimate him to it? i have a dimmer i use for my hedgehog's heat pad, should i just put it in at lowest setting and gradually turn it up?
-consulted my young cousin who keeps a 300 gallon aquarium. he said that the glass pebbles i used could catch the fish's fins between them sometimes and tear them. when i was changing the water i noticed that some had also cracked and one was broken, so i changed to sand. he seems to like it, but i have seen him seem to deliberately rub his belly on the sand... is this normal? is he itchy?
-the day before i went back to petco for supplies, i checked out a LFS. unfortunately i am a big pushover in retail situations, and after the hard sell ended up walking out with a plastic plant he sold for bettas from zooMed (x). it feels soft for plastic and he said it was fine, but in retrospect i'm not sure i trust his opinion as he was trying to sell the other lady in there a betta with the "in the wild they live in a cow's hoofprint" line. i thought someone here might know about this specific product since it is marketed just for bettas. looks like good cover, but yea or nay?
-he was having trouble eating pellets, so i've been crushing them into smaller pieces & supplementing with the bloodworms. at first i thought they might just be too large for his size, but i have noticed that his lip looks a little strange, almost like it's slightly deformed and there's a little round gap between them even when his mouth is closed. is this a genetic thing, normal shape, or injury? picture:
i know i'm being a bit of a nervous nelly about all this, lol. it really has been ages since i owned a fish, they seem so much less sturdy than a ball python. :p i promise i won't have any more questions before i at least get the new tank all settled in a few weeks. happy new year everyone!
Last edited by mushumouse; 01-01-2013 at 01:30 AM.
The beginning is always a little nerve racking but you are asking questions & willing to listen so you're ahead of a lot of people. As for the heater, here's what I typically do. The new water I add is warm so the heater doesn't have to work as hard to get the water up to temp. If you remove him for the water change, just float the cup he's in in the tank, take a tablespoon & add some water to the cup, do this for at least 30 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water every 10-15 minutes. I don't typically acclimate longer when I'm just doing a water a change on an existing Betta because they're not going from someone else's water to mine so they're already accustomed to my water. As for his mouth it might be a little off but so long as he's eating I wouldn't worry too much. I have a Crown Tail mail that can't eat pellets no matter what size or what I do so he gets flakes. As for the new plant, take some pantyhose & drag it across it, if it snags then it can snag his fins. I always just buy silk plants if not real ones. What else? Oh the rubbing his belly, If he's just kind of lazily rubbing his belly & not vigorously doing it he probably doesn't have an external parasite but just likes swimming low to the ground. You can take a flashlight & shine it on him at different angles to see if you see any specks like grains of salt or anything else. Oh, you're not leaving the light on all of the time are you? Make sure he has a day/night cycle.