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Old 02-12-2013, 08:32 PM   #61 
Azurelove
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I'm really sorry about your fish. Do you cover up the back opening, as well?
I don't need to since the filter I have fits into this opening. I would in your case since you don't have one. It's ok, I cried when it happened but I'm over it now, I felt terrible.

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I think I'm visualizing this correctly, but I'm not sure. Would it be too much to ask to upload a photo? And what do you mean by saving the tank quickly before the bacteria died?
Unfortunately, I don't have a camera or I would. Basically, the lid is covering the opening, weighed down by my container in the event that the fish's jump has enough force to knock the lid off, but I've made it so I still have a little gap I can drop food into by shifting it a bit to the side. EDIT: I meant saving the tank since without a source of ammonia (fish waste), the bacteria that consume it and turn it into nitrite would die and I would have to recycle it from scratch should I decide to get another fish.

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Also, if I switch his food to the pellets (right now I'm using the Omega flakes) those pellets that he misses are probably going to be inaccessible to him once they sink to the glass gravel.
It's very rare that a betta will eat off the bottom, regardless. I've only ever heard of two that did. That's why it's important to remove uneaten food quickly, since it'll just sink and sit at the bottom and generate ammonia. If my bettas don't eat the food within five minutes, I take it out, though I haven't had an issue with a betta not eating for a long time until my little guy started having problems recently.

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What kind of gravel do you use?
Normal TopFin gravel I get in a bag from the pet store. I run it through a strainer under some hot water to remove the dust and chemicals that might've settled on it during shipping.

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I was thinking that I may reduce the water level by 1/3 - 2/3 when I introduce him to the new tank and have to do this regardless, because I don't want to make him have to struggle an even further distance to the top while he's still healing.

Which brings up another question as to when I should introduce him to the new tank, when he's fully recovered, or once I see the new heater is maintaining temperature properly in the new tank?

Thank you for that tip, by the way.
You're welcome. As for the introduction... it's difficult. With him in that cup, it'll be difficult to continue treating him, I think. Your tank should cycle before putting him in there, else he'll be subject to ammonia and nitrite spikes before the cycling is complete unless you are superbly on top of your water changes.

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Thank you very much. I feel like I owe it to this little guy. This is probably going to sound silly, but my heart breaks when I look at him and I see how uncomfortable he is. And I worry he won't make it.

Right now, he's totally just staying at the bottom of the cup. Just earlier today, if I moved it a little he would come up for air and go back down. But now he's just hanging out at the bottom and when he does swim, it's along the bottom to another side of the cup.
Mine was like that for the last few days in his little breeder tank, and I'm sad to say he passed this afternoon. I'm pretty sure it was fish tuberculosis with the rapid death, he just got sick on Saturday (or at least, that's when I saw his spine contort, he was fine before then). I'm still waiting to see what Callistra says in response to it.

I wish I had more to offer you right now, but I'm a bit upset about my guy. I wanted to answer the questions you'd asked me before, though.

Last edited by Azurelove; 02-12-2013 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:58 PM   #62 
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You're welcome. As for the introduction... it's difficult. With him in that cup, it'll be difficult to continue treating him, I think. Your tank should cycle before putting him in there, else he'll be subject to ammonia and nitrite spikes before the cycling is complete unless you are superbly on top of your water changes.
I've had to really choreograph the way I treat him: take his cup out of the 1 gallon tank, fill a new cup with treated water from his float tank, pour him into the new cup, put that cup back into the 1 gallon tank, and then add treated water from another 1 gallon tank to make up for the water difference. And then watch...

My hands are so dry right now because I've been washing them so much...I don't want to risk contaminating his water, but it's not perfect.

As far as the 5 gallon tank goes, all I've done is added the water, added the Prime, and have been testing the heater. But now I may dump that water out because while I was rinsing out the new tank outside, I can't remember if I pet my dog with my hand, which eventually made contact with the treated water in the tank when I was adjusting the heater : /

Would you mind explaining a little more on cycling?


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Mine was like that for the last few days in his little breeder tank, and I'm sad to say he passed this afternoon. I'm pretty sure it was fish tuberculosis with the rapid death, he just got sick on Saturday (or at least, that's when I saw his spine contort, he was fine before then). I'm still waiting to see what Callistra says in response to it.

I wish I had more to offer you right now, but I'm a bit upset about my guy. I wanted to answer the questions you'd asked me before, though.
I was reading through your other thread about your fish when you replied. I'm wondering now if that may be the issue with mine. I just noticed his spine curve yesterday. Right now he's butted up against the cup in such a way that his spine is now curved the OTHER way, but it's taking the shape of the cup.

I'm really sorry about your fish. I'm really worried about mine and I think I know how you're feeling. If you don't feel up to answering my questions, I understand.

Oh, and thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions from last night even though you're feeling down.

Last edited by dougan; 02-12-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:07 PM   #63 
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I've had to really choreograph the way I treat him: take his cup out of the 1 gallon tank, fill a new cup with treated water from his float tank, pour him into the new cup, put that cup back into the 1 gallon tank, and then add treated water from another 1 gallon tank to make up for the water difference. And then watch...
What are you treating him for? If you are still acclimating him to the new water, I don't see how are you acclimating him rather than just moving him from one cup to another with the same water (one would just have less ammonia). Personally I think that pouring him from one cup to another stresses him out even more. That's why I suggest the turkey baster. You would just suck out most of the water and then use the turkey baster to squirt fresh water into the same cup. This is probably the least stressful way of acclimating your fish to new water/ replacing old water with fresh water in a small container.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:23 PM   #64 
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My hands are so dry right now because I've been washing them so much...I don't want to risk contaminating his water, but it's not perfect.
Perchance, have you been sticking your freshly-washed hands in his tank?

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Would you mind explaining a little more on cycling?
Cycling means the tank developing what's known in nature as the nitrogen cycle. With ammonia present in an aquatic environment (from food and waste), bacteria called Nitrosomonas grow and consume the ammonia as food, nitrifying it and turning it into also-toxic nitrite.

With nitrite present, another bacteria called Nitrobacter take this toxic nitrite and consume it, turning it into less-harmful nitrate. In nature, live plants take this nitrate in as food, producing oxygen as a byproduct of their natural processes.

This nitrate does not harm your fish in small quantities (ie: under 30ppm as measured with a testing kit), and your regular water changes remove it from the tank since you don't have plants.

Plants are difficult to maintain perfectly within a tank. They need the right amount of light and food to stay healthy without becoming harmful to your fish (ie: too much light will stress your betta, adding fertilizers can be harmful to fish unless handled carefully, and if the plant dies from lack of food supply, bettas aren't the dirtiest of fish, it will compost into large amounts of ammonia unless removed immediately).

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I was reading through your other thread about your fish when you replied. I'm wondering now if that may be the issue with mine. I just noticed his spine curve yesterday. Right now he's butted up against the cup in such a way that his spine is now curved the OTHER way, but it's taking the shape of the cup.

I'm really sorry about your fish. I'm really worried about mine and I think I know how you're feeling. If you don't feel up to answering my questions, I understand.
I don't know if I see any similarities between your fish's condition and mine other than lethargy and the spinal problem. Also, your fish got the spinal problem probably more from stress from its current illness than tuberculosis, whereas the spine was the first symptom of my fish's ailment.

I highly doubt it's the case, I'm sure your fish can be saved if we keep on it. I was hoping it was anything other than TB, but my increase in temp to try to hold off what Callistra and I thought was ich probably sped along the tuberculosis to the lethal stage, since it reacts well to heat.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:26 PM   #65 
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What are you treating him for? If you are still acclimating him to the new water, I don't see how are you acclimating him rather than just moving him from one cup to another with the same water (one would just have less ammonia).

I'm treating him for ammonia poisoning.


Originally the cup was used to acclimate. I'm keeping him in the cup because I noticed earlier today that when I reduced the water level in the cup, he came up for air. He wasn't last night when the water level was at about halfway up the cup. I do feel bad, though, that he's in such a small area and can't see out of the cup (it's red).

I'm not sure if the 5 gallon tank is ready. Above I mention that I'm worried that its water may need to be replaced. And I don't know if it has cycled. I need to read how that works.

In addition to that, he'll have a long way to travel to the top, unless I pour out most of it so the water level is low. Same situation with the 1 gallon tank.

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Personally I think that pouring him from one cup to another stresses him out even more. That's why I suggest the turkey baster. You would just suck out most of the water and then use the turkey baster to squirt fresh water into the same cup. This is probably the least stressful way of acclimating your fish to new water/ replacing old water with fresh water in a small container.
That's right...okay, I'll use the turkey baster for his next water change. Thank you.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:47 PM   #66 
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Perchance, have you been sticking your freshly-washed hands in his tank?
I'm not submerging them at all. But my fingertips or a knuckle or something like that has made contact with the water when I'm putting the cup into the tank to fill it with water, which I will no longer do (turkey baster).

I did, however, submerge my hands into the 5 gallon yesterday when I was adjusting the heater and inserted the thermometer. And I can't remember if I washed them after I pet my dog while I was rinsing out the new tank after I took it out of the box : /

But, for my information, why do you ask?


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Originally Posted by Azurelove View Post
Cycling means the tank developing what's known in nature as the nitrogen cycle. With ammonia present in an aquatic environment (from food and waste), bacteria called Nitrosomonas grow and consume the ammonia as food, nitrifying it and turning it into also-toxic nitrite.

With nitrite present, another bacteria called Nitrobacter take this toxic nitrite and consume it, turning it into less-harmful nitrate. In nature, live plants take this nitrate in as food, producing oxygen as a byproduct of their natural processes.

This nitrate does not harm your fish in small quantities (ie: under 30ppm as measured with a testing kit), and your regular water changes remove it from the tank since you don't have plants.

Plants are difficult to maintain perfectly within a tank. They need the right amount of light and food to stay healthy without becoming harmful to your fish (ie: too much light will stress your betta, adding fertilizers can be harmful to fish unless handled carefully, and if the plant dies from lack of food supply, bettas aren't the dirtiest of fish, it will compost into large amounts of ammonia unless removed immediately).
So then my 5 gallon won't really cycle if it's just sitting with water and Prime, correct? I tested my tap water last night for ammonia and it seemed to register closer to the yellow (0 ppm). Although I don't know about the stability of my tap, which you and Callistra were talking about in your other thread.


Some additional info:

He hasn't eaten since Sunday. I tried giving him some of the Omega One flakes, and he did go for them. But after a moment, he would spit them out.

So I thought maybe he just doesn't like the food. I then put in a bit of the Tetramin flakes that I had been feeding him. Same thing. I left the food in there for 10 minutes, but then changed the water.

He also hasn't pooped since Sunday (I think it was poop), and it was black.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:05 PM   #67 
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I'm not submerging them at all. But my fingertips or a knuckle or something like that has made contact with the water when I'm putting the cup into the tank to fill it with water, which I will no longer do (turkey baster).

I did, however, submerge my hands into the 5 gallon yesterday when I was adjusting the heater and inserted the thermometer. And I can't remember if I washed them after I pet my dog while I was rinsing out the new tank after I took it out of the box : /

But, for my information, why do you ask?
Well, soap is extremely toxic to fish, which is why it's recommended never to wash a tank with soap or detergent. If you don't rinse your hands well enough, especially having a soap that has moisturizers or somesuch in it, the residue could get into the water when you touch it and hurt your fish.

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So then my 5 gallon won't really cycle if it's just sitting with water and Prime, correct? I tested my tap water last night for ammonia and it seemed to register closer to the yellow (0 ppm). Although I don't know about the stability of my tap, which you and Callistra were talking about in your other thread.

Some additional info:

He hasn't eaten since Sunday. I tried giving him some of the Omega One flakes, and he did go for them. But after a moment, he would spit them out.

So I thought maybe he just doesn't like the food. I then put in a bit of the Tetramin flakes that I had been feeding him. Same thing. I left the food in there for 10 minutes, but then changed the water.

He also hasn't pooped since Sunday (I think it was poop), and it was black.
You are correct in saying that. Most people cycle "fishless" using fish flakes as a source of ammonia. It takes a very long time, as I didn't necessarily mention before, silly me. The process can take up to 2 months to fully complete, with or without fish, which is why I recommended the Tetra Safestart, as it contains these strands of bacteria. As long as they have ammonia to feed on, they will grow quickly and shorten cycling time considerably.

What people do is set up a tank, filter and heater, and run it, dropping flakes in the water and monitoring water parameters with a water testing kit. Ammonia will spike first, then as it lowers, nitrite will go up. When the ammonia and nitrite are zero and nitrate is on the rise, that means the tank has cycled.

Flakes aren't necessarily the best diet, Callistra has recommended some good pellets to use when feeding.

I'm honestly stumped about the lack of pooping. Is he bloating up? He doesn't appear to be in the pictures. I can only think of constipation, but his black poop worries me.

EDIT: Water stability is also measured with a testing kit. gH and kH are both parts of it, one being water "hardness", one being "alkalinity." If they are present in ideal amounts, the pH will remain the same. In my water's case, the stability is very low out of the tap. Even though the water starts at 7 when I put it in the tank after treating it, after a couple of days I'd see it plummet to 5 or less (my kit wouldn't test that low).

Last edited by Azurelove; 02-12-2013 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:05 PM   #68 
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Well, soap is extremely toxic to fish, which is why it's recommended never to wash a tank with soap or detergent. If you don't rinse your hands well enough, especially having a soap that has moisturizers or somesuch in it, the residue could get into the water when you touch it and hurt your fish.
I try to wash and rinse my hands really well, but I guess there's no way of conveniently knowing what's left on my hands. I'll try and be even more careful to not allow the water to touch my hands at all, which means I'll be redoing the water in the 5 gallon tank just to be sure.

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You are correct in saying that. Most people cycle "fishless" using fish flakes as a source of ammonia. It takes a very long time, as I didn't necessarily mention before, silly me. The process can take up to 2 months to fully complete, with or without fish, which is why I recommended the Tetra Safestart, as it contains these strands of bacteria. As long as they have ammonia to feed on, they will grow quickly and shorten cycling time considerably.

What people do is set up a tank, filter and heater, and run it, dropping flakes in the water and monitoring water parameters with a water testing kit. Ammonia will spike first, then as it lowers, nitrite will go up. When the ammonia and nitrite are zero and nitrate is on the rise, that means the tank has cycled.
So this is why you say I'd have to really be on top of the water changes if I were to not use the flakes to induce the cycle. The bacteria wouldn't be present to handle the ammonia. But the ammonia from my tap is so low, it seems the bacteria wouldn't have anything to feed on.

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Flakes aren't necessarily the best diet, Callistra has recommended some good pellets to use when feeding.
I'll go get the pellets tomorrow.

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I'm honestly stumped about the lack of pooping. Is he bloating up? He doesn't appear to be in the pictures. I can only think of constipation, but his black poop worries me.
No bloating. Someone in another thread mentioned blood in the poop, which is why the light went on for me on that.


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EDIT: Water stability is also measured with a testing kit. gH and kH are both parts of it, one being water "hardness", one being "alkalinity." If they are present in ideal amounts, the pH will remain the same. In my water's case, the stability is very low out of the tap. Even though the water starts at 7 when I put it in the tank after treating it, after a couple of days I'd see it plummet to 5 or less (my kit wouldn't test that low).
And straight out of the faucet, my water is apparently way above 7.6 or something like that. Does the slow acclimation of 1 tablespoon every 10-15 minutes help at all with this, or should I start looking into something for gH and kH?
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:41 PM   #69 
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I try to wash and rinse my hands really well, but I guess there's no way of conveniently knowing what's left on my hands. I'll try and be even more careful to not allow the water to touch my hands at all, which means I'll be redoing the water in the 5 gallon tank just to be sure.
What a lot of caretakers do is use gloves. Takes the risk of soap out of the picture. You can buy a set of rubber gloves to use only for your fish, keep them in a clean place. You might want to get a couple pairs since you'll have to get rid of them after treating illness.

I just honestly run my hands under really hot water and scrub them well before handling my fish, and wash them with soap when I'm done with fish care for a while. Though I've lost one, my other two are perfectly healthy.

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So this is why you say I'd have to really be on top of the water changes if I were to not use the flakes to induce the cycle. The bacteria wouldn't be present to handle the ammonia. But the ammonia from my tap is so low, it seems the bacteria wouldn't have anything to feed on.
Mhmm, so it can't cycle without an ammonia source, be it your fish's food and waste or just food by itself.

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No bloating. Someone in another thread mentioned blood in the poop, which is why the light went on for me on that.
Blood in the poop could mean internal parasites or infection. I suppose he doesn't have to bloat if he's constipated. My first thought for constipation would be to stop feeding and let him try to expel what he's eaten so far, but we wanna keep his strength up, too :\ Has he been eating the flakes still since you've been trying to feed him or is he refusing them? It could just be he has nothing left to poop out.

Hopefully, if you get the pellets Callistra recommended you'll see him resume pooping (if it's true that he just hasn't been eating). Don't worry, apparently my pellets were bad, too. I've used Hikari Betta Bio-gold for years, but Callistra has a point saying that since the first ingredient is fish meal that they're not ideal for my fish's diets. I got some New Life Spectrum Betta food when I went to get the Vitachem on Sunday for Axel, so my other two guys are now eating better than before.

I'm thinking the stress from all this is keeping his body from processing the flakes like he used to when he was healthy. He might be feeling sick from eating the flakes since they're not what his system is geared towards and he's ill at the moment, which would be why he's refusing them.

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And straight out of the faucet, my water is apparently way above 7.6 or something like that. Does the slow acclimation of 1 tablespoon every 10-15 minutes help at all with this, or should I start looking into something for gH and kH?
What pH is the water when it's in the tank? Generally, in most cases, messing with the gH or kH is not recommended. I had no choice, really, since mine was dropping to an unsafe zone.

If yours isn't going below 6, I'd simply age all the water for changes (let it sit in a bucket for a few days) so that it's already at 6 when you add it and he never has to deal with a different pH. Callistra said it should help with stability, too. 6 is the lowest I'd have it go. As I stated in a prior post, Bettas don't mind a slightly acidic pH.

I have a clean bucket that I've filled with water to just let sit for a week, which is the time period between my changes. I'll then take an extra heater and heat it to the same temp as my tanks (78F) before adding it so I don't shock them.

Last edited by Azurelove; 02-13-2013 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #70 
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Blood in the poop could mean internal parasites or infection. I suppose he doesn't have to bloat if he's constipated. My first thought for constipation would be to stop feeding and let him try to expel what he's eaten so far, but we wanna keep his strength up, too :\ Has he been eating the flakes still since you've been trying to feed him or is he refusing them? It could just be he has nothing left to poop out.
He pooped this morning. And it was normal color, too.

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Hopefully, if you get the pellets Callistra recommended you'll see him resume pooping (if it's true that he just hasn't been eating). Don't worry, apparently my pellets were bad, too. I've used Hikari Betta Bio-gold for years, but Callistra has a point saying that since the first ingredient is fish meal that they're not ideal for my fish's diets. I got some New Life Spectrum Betta food when I went to get the Vitachem on Sunday for Axel, so my other two guys are now eating better than before.

I'm thinking the stress from all this is keeping his body from processing the flakes like he used to when he was healthy. He might be feeling sick from eating the flakes since they're not what his system is geared towards and he's ill at the moment, which would be why he's refusing them.
I got the Omega One Pellets (they don't have New Life Spectrum) this morning. I came back and put just one in his cup, and he refused it. But he also refused his usual food yesterday (would spit it back out), so I'm sure you're right about him not wanting to eat since he's feeling sick, or the new flakes did upset his stomach. But tomorrow will be four days since he's eaten.

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What pH is the water when it's in the tank? Generally, in most cases, messing with the gH or kH is not recommended. I had no choice, really, since mine was dropping to an unsafe zone.

If yours isn't going below 6, I'd simply age all the water for changes (let it sit in a bucket for a few days) so that it's already at 6 when you add it and he never has to deal with a different pH. Callistra said it should help with stability, too. 6 is the lowest I'd have it go. As I stated in a prior post, Bettas don't mind a slightly acidic pH.

I have a clean bucket that I've filled with water to just let sit for a week, which is the time period between my changes. I'll then take an extra heater and heat it to the same temp as my tanks (78F) before adding it so I don't shock them.
I just checked the pH of the tank water and his cup water and they are both registering at 7.6, which according to the instructions, means that the pH is probably much higher. My Petsmart doesn't have the high range pH test kit either, so I'll check Amazon.

Also, I felt bad having him in the red Hefty cup (I've been calling it a Solo), because he can't see anything but a white wall all the time. So I bought I small measuring cup and have him in there now.

I was watching him really closely and his eyes were moving everywhere. He seems to be coming up for air more frequently since the change.

For a few moments he was also swimming really aggressively at the perimeter of the measuring cup, like he was trying to break through. I thought that since the cup is clear, he probably thought that he could swim farther than he could. But he's still hanging out at the bottom, so I'm reluctant to put him in the tank since he'll have so far up to go when he wants air.

I've attached some photos.
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