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Old 01-14-2013, 11:37 AM   #1 
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Seemingly "Harmless" Decor

I recently had to take out most of my decor, as even though it passed the panty-hose test, I found it to still be tearing the fins of my poor betta.

Question time!
1. Is there a commonly accepted home remedy to adapt my already purchased decor to be more fish friendly?

2. Since all the items I removed passed the usual panty-hose test, is there a better testing method to be using when I go shopping for new items?
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:42 AM   #2 
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You can still use hose, but you need to swipe it against the object from every conceivable angle. Some things won't snag in one direction but will in another.

Really, there's no fool-proof way to make 100% certain that a betta won't rip or tear a fin on a decoration. Fin tears are not unusual and heal quickly in the right water conditions. As long as they aren't being split constantly or are creating large tears, I usually just let time and healing sort it out.

Now, if you've got one item or so in there that's causing a problem and you can narrow it down to that piece of decor, I'd remove it. Sometimes it's a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to things that will or won't work - and sometimes what will snag one fish won't snag another.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:14 PM   #3 
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Virto, Thanks for the help. :) Right now the poor guy is in an empty tank because I still haven't been able to narrow down which decoration was the offender and didn't want him to keep injuring himself out of my ignorance. I suppose I could put each item in one at a time and see if any new tears occur, but that seemed a little cruel to me.

Are there materials used for decorations that are considered "safer" than others? I've heard silk in the past but in my experience the silk ones at places like Petco have seemed sharp on the edges and I'm hesitant to buy anything off the internet because I can't test it first.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #4 
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If you have a petsmart near you, maybe get one of these sword leaf silk plastic plants.
The fabric covers up most of the plastic except the bottom pieces of plastic, but they are quite soft. My boy doesn't seem to be tearing his fins and it's been a few weeks. I purchased some more silk ones online, namely the Hagen Marina brand ones because I heard they are pretty good (a bit pricy though, hahaha). I'll tell you how they are when I get them.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:26 PM   #5 
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Perhaps provide a picture of all the decor you removed?

Some safe alternatives you could consider are craft mesh tied into a tube or a clean soap-free coffee mug laying on its side.
And definitely silk plants.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #6 
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Do you prefer artificial plants for a specific reason?

I've bought several swords from Petsmart/Petco in tubes and had great success with them without dirt or additional ferts. They just need a decent light source and they'll grow wild.

If you're having trouble finding a cave or house type structure, an unglazed flower pot partially buried in the substrate works very well.

Pinch them off at the base to trim when they get to big and you're good to go. Live plants will also help gobble up some of the ammonia and nitrates that make water changes so necessary.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:19 AM   #7 
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If you use a flower pot that has a hole in the bottom you need to knock it out big enough so the betta can easily fit through, or block it off so there is no hole at all. Bettas have gotten stuck/killed in those.

Silk plants are good, but even some of those have plastic parts which are problematic.. I would test still.

I like anything by this company:

Live plants depending on your source water may or may not grow fine without substrate or ferts.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:15 AM   #8 
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Wow thanks for all the help guys!

Just to be safe I threw out all of the old ones and picked up one of the ones majesticstorm suggested, though when I went to the store the only ones available were this unnatural teal color. However, I'm not sure he likes it. He seems to never swim anywhere near it, though because he hasn't flared or tried to attack it and it hasn't harmed him I left it in there. Is this a bad call? Should I take it out? His behavior seems otherwise normal.

To answer your question Virto about live plants I prefer not to use them because every time I've had them in the past my fish have eaten them, some of them even dying from overfeeding. I'm just hesitant to take the risk again.

Also Callistra, I love these caves! I've had them for my breeding Cichlids for years. I hadn't thought to use them for my betta, thank you!
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:21 AM   #9 
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It might just take a while for him to get used to. I would leave it in there for now.

Bettas are pretty unlikely to eat live plants IME, so they would be fine to use in your tank, but I completely understand why you have concerns.
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