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Old 03-15-2013, 09:50 PM   #1 
samwise0311
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Exclamation Worried about my female Betta Fish

Hi There! I'm brand new to this thread, though I've spend the past several days reading through other peoples' posts about their Betta fish. I recently acquired two female Betta fish. They are the first fish I've had since my childhood, so I really came into it clueless. I went and got them on a whim b/c my daughter asked me for her own fish that she could name "Tuna." When I got to PetSmart, they told me that the female bettas could live together peacefully, so I decided to go with getting two female bettas. I was also told, that I could put them both into a 1 gallon tank...but I'm definitely realizing now that I need to acquire a large tank for them soon. The moment I have the money to do that, I will be doing that. So, anyway, as I said, even though I am a veterinary technician and an animal rescuer, I was clueless about fish. After having them in an unfiltered, unheated one gallon tank with 2 fake plants and one real one, I realized that i needed to get a filter and a heater for their tank to keep them healthy and happy. I bought the filter a few days ago, and I am getting the heater for the tank this weekend. I've done one 100% water change on the tank, the day before I bought the whisper filter, and today I did a 50% change on the tank after a few fish-knowledgeable friends of mine let me know that I am not supposed to 100% water changes often at all. Anyway, what I am concerned about is my daughter's Betta, "Tuna." She was fine the first day or so that we had her, but after that, I noticed that she would not eat. She still hasn't eaten, not even once, since the day we got her, over a week and a half ago. Then, about two days ago, I started to notice that she had some red coloring showing up. After doing tons of research online about it, I concluded to wait and see for a little, b/c I wasn't sure if she was just developing some new coloring now that she was in a better environment, or if she was in fact sick or had maybe injured herself. Now I am sure that there is definitely something wrong with her. Though she still swims around happily at times, there are other times when she just sits and hides underneath a plant for hours at a time, looking listless. Also, one of her fins now looks as if it is shredded, and her large back fin looks like it's developing little holes in it. During her water change today, I placed her in the small container I purchased her in, and I was able to see these markings much more clearly. I am going to attempt to get a picture of her that will show this to you guys more clearly. Also, I'd appreciate any possible advice on what I can do to make her living situation a healthy and happy one for both fish, and also, what I can to do to help Tuna as of right now with this issue. Like I said, I did a 50% water change today, and plan to continue doing that very regularly. I was told by my friend who has been a fish enthusiast for years, may actually be a better solution to this problem then medicating Tuna right away. But, she also told me some things that I found to be very contradictory to things I've read from Betta experts online. Oh, also, I should add that I always treat their water (tap water) with water conditioner before putting them in the tank, and that I feed them a couple of pellets twice a day every day, and blood worms once or twice a week as a treat. I got a pH testing kit today from a friend, and the pH of the tank was about 7.4. I don't have testing kits for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates yet, but plan to get them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Also, I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I only had my cell phone camera available, so I had to try to hold her up to some light in the container she's sitting in b/c I changed out their water. Oh, and I should also add, that our other female Betta, "Lisa," is in perfect health. She has none of these issues at all. Her fins look perfect and she is eating like a little piggy.

This picture is a close-up of the fin that basically looks shredded:

I'm actually glad that this picture picked up the redness of her fins.

This next picture is just the best pic I could get of her swimming around. Hopefully what I'm talking about is visible to some of you. Thanks in advance! ~Alexis

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Old 03-15-2013, 10:46 PM   #2 
veggiegirl
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Hey there,

Well pet shop staff are usually pretty good at giving out all the wrong information about bettas as I am sure you have just found out. Yes female bettas can be kept together BUT only in groups of five or more and in a 10 gallon tank or larger. You see although usually slightly less aggressive that their male counterparts female bettas are still very aggressive as far as fish go and yes occasionally you will get a female that is just as aggressive as a male and must be kept alone.

Two female bettas in a 1 gallon tank is a tragedy waiting to happen and this is by no means me having a go at you, I made exactly the same mistake because of misinformation given out by petshop staff and it frustrates me so much, if they are selling animals they should at least be able to give their potential new owners basic information on care.

If the two females are left in together the more dominant one will kill the other female by continually nipping at her fins are bullying her. A one gallon tank is not big enough for a single betta so when a pet shop worker tells someone to put two in such a tiny tank it really gets me frustrated and angry.

Okay first of all we need to get the two girls into separate tanks. If you cannot afford another tank right now just go to the regular shops and buy a cheap glass cookie jar (as large as possible) to keep the poor battered girl in, also I have heard that I think Petsmart has really cheap larger tanks for around $12. So if you could afford one of them you may be able to buy a 5 gallon tank and divide it down the center and put a girl in each side.

A filter in a tank this small unfortunately would create a current that is too strong for your bettas so it would be best to remove it. If you only just bought it clean it right up and see if you can return it and then buy a heater because it is critical to your bettas survival that they are heated as they are tropical fish.

Your friend in right in a way about 100% water changes not being the best thing for fish as it removes most of the good bacteria from the tank however in a one gallon tank 100% water changes are critical because the water volume is so small the water quickly goes toxic from a build up of ammonia and bad bacteria. So if you had a 5 gallon tank you may one have to do 2 50% water changes a week which will allow the good bacteria to multiply however in a 1 gallon 100% water changes are a must to avoid catastrophe. With two female bettas in a 1 gallon the tank would require a 100% water change every day. This could be another cause of your girls tattered fins, if the water has not been changed regularly enough then fin rot is a strong possibility.

So...... buy a large cookie jar or 5 gallon aquarium and divide it and get either 1 heater for the divided 5 gallon or two heaters one each for the one gallon and cookie jar. Probably cheaper to buy the 5 gallon in the long run because it would mean that you would only need to purchase the one heater...........

Once the girls are separated and their water is changed more regularly Tunas fins may recover by themselves as long as you keep her warm with a heater and keep her water nice and clean. If she continues to get worse however you may need to treat her with a fin rot medication such as Mardels Maracyn two.

Good Luck, I hope your girls are feeling much better soon, keep us updated on how they are going and if you need any more help or advice just let us know
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:58 PM   #3 
samwise0311
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Wow, thank you so much for your input, Veggiegirl. I am really, really, really upset that the PetSmart staff all told me I could put my two female bettas together in a 1 gallon tank, or even at all. The little tank I got does have a divider that came with it. Maybe I will just separate them right now, so I can be sure that at least I can keep Tuna safe until i can buy a new tank, possibly Sunday morning. I work a long shift Saturday night, and should have enough extra money to buy at a least a cheap larger tank and divider. You know what's weird? At first, I would notice that Tuna would flare at Lisa all the time, but then she stopped and they seemed to actually be getting along just fine. Then I think I witnessed what might have been a fight between the two of them last night, for the very first time. Plus, I am not always around to watch them constantly, so I don't know how many times that has happened. The came up next to each other after they were both flaring at each other, and start just batting one another with their tails. When I noticed it, I immediately took my little fish grabbing net and pushed them apart from each other. So yes, I believe you are right. This may actually be from Lisa just beating Tuna up when I am not looking, which I am really surprised about, considering it seemed that Tuna was the dominant fish. But, my other question, could this also be the reason why Tuna never eats? Also, with the divider in place, can I still keep the filter running? Or, should Ijust take the filter out all together right now, and save it for when I have the bigger tank in a couple of days? I know 1/2 gallon for each fish really isn't great, but at least it will be better for Tuna not to have her fins bitten at, if that's what's going on. Also, I will go back to my 100% water changes. I am so glad I joined this forum. I was getting so much conflicting info from all different sources, that I didn't even know what to believe anymore. I'll also get a heater when I get the new tank. I'm kind of broke right now, but I'd rather not have my fish die. I love those little buggers :) Also, I plan on getting testing kits for all the different components of the water, more than just the pH tests that i have right now.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:00 PM   #4 
samwise0311
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Oh and I should add, so basically, my main steps right now should be to doing 100% water changes every day while I just have them separated by the divider, then when I can, I should buy an at least 5 gallon tank, or another 1 gallon or something, to separate the two fish. I should also remove the filter right now, and not use it again until I have a bigger tank, and I should go acquire a tank heater along with the bigger tank w/ divider? And if those things don't improve Tuna's condition, I should treat her with a medication such as Maracyn? Just want to be clear.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:15 PM   #5 
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Okay so the first thing to do would be separate the girls and remove the filter. The is best done by getting a cheap glass Jar for Tuna.

I would not buy a second 1 gallon tank because as I mentioned a tank this small is not even suitable to keep one betta in long term.

When you can afford it buy a 5 gallon tank and you would need to divide it yourself but I think petsmart sells this mesh especially to make a divider so you could get that when you get the 5 gallon.

Heaters are critical so I would buy one as soon as possible. When you get the girls into the five gallon one heater will heat both sides of the tank as long as the divider has holes in it to allow the water to flow from one side of the tank to the other.

Until you can afford the 5 gallon though here is what I would do.

1. Leave the healthy female in the 1 gallon tank
2. Buy a cheap glass cookie jar and put Tuna in it
3. Buy a plastic storage crate ( if you do not already have a clean one) that both the 1 gallon and Tunas jar, plus a heater can fit into
4. Buy a heater

Sit Tunas Jar and the other females one gallon inside the storage crate. Slowly fill the crate with water until the water level is an inch or so below the water level of the 1 gallon and Tunas jar. Place the heater into the plastic storage crate just as you would put it into a fish tank and turn it on. The heater will heat the water surrounding the 1 gallon and Tunas jar and in doing so keep them warm. This is a good temporary solution until you can afford to buy and divide a 5 gallon.

If once Tuna is separate from the other female and has a heated tank/jar her fins continue to get worse then yes treat with Maracyn two. Also until you get to town to buy Tuna a jar keep the girls separate with a divider and do daily 100% water changes.

Hope that clears things up, good luck

Last edited by veggiegirl; 03-15-2013 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:20 PM   #6 
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First, you are doing exactly the right thing by putting the divider in right away. Second, I wish I could have a talk with those pet store employees. You could have had a dead fish & a very upset little girl on your hands. Third, get a small heater for now & cheap thermometer, even if it's the stick on the outside ones, for now. I use the Marina betta heater for my 1 gallon hospital & baby tanks. It's only $12 at petsmart. The water changes, divider, & heater will keep the girls healthy for now & it will relieve some of the stress on you because you will have time to shop around, check out sales, & do research to find out exactly what you want. The small 1g tank & heater will also serve as a hospital tank if your fish ever get sick when you upgrade so it won't go to waste.

I still can not believe they told you 2 girls are fine in a 1g.

Last edited by Fishy Mom; 03-15-2013 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:22 PM   #7 
samwise0311
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Yes! That clears everything up. Thank you so much!! I really appreciate the advice. Going to put the divider in now and take out the filter. Then, tomorrow morning I'll go find a jar for Tuna to live in temporarily. I may even have one already. Then, as soon as I can afford the 5 gallon tank and divider and heater, hopefully Sunday morning, I'll take care of all of that. Really, thank you so much. Tuna says thank you too, in fishie language :D

Edit: I'm sorry to have made you type everything out again like that, I am honestly clueless in all of this. I am working very hard to make myself not clueless, as I'd like to get more fish in the future. I really do appreciate your help.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:25 PM   #8 
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Sorry missed your other post. Yes Tuna may not be eating because the other girl is bullying her and stressing her out, in fact this is almost certainly why she is not eating, the other girl may also not be letting her eat.

Definatly remove the filter and put the division into the tank to keep Tuna and the other girl separate.

Yes bettas make such lovely pets, both the girls and the boys. I love them so much, I find it really sad that pet shops will lie and give misinformation about their care and needs. Not to worry, if you follow the steps that I advised I am sure that both your girls will be happy again in no time
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:38 PM   #9 
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Oh no problems, I didn't mind retyping it, I had the mower going in one ear and mum talking in the other so theres every chance that first post didn't make a lot of sense! lol. I really hope that Tuna is doing much better soon that way she will be happy and you and your daughter will be able to just sit back and enjoy them instead of worry about them! I am just glad we caught them in time before poor Tuna had copped a real hiding.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:02 AM   #10 
samwise0311
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Alright, Tuna and Lisa are officially separated. I'm hoping to see improvement in Tuna's demeanor soon enough :) Tomorrow, I'll get her into her own bowl of some sort.
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