Update on male veiltail in new 5 gal. tank -?s about salt in water and stress marks
Hello, everyone! I'd like to say thank you again for the helpful responses I got last week when I posted about my veiltail, Murray, who I've had about five months now and had just upgraded to a 5 gallon tank. For those who didn't see that thread, I had asked some questions about a few different things, one of which was regarding the two African Dwarf frogs I had gotten to be his tank mates.
I regret to say - that just didn't work out - I watched the interactions for a week, and it seemed to me that Murray was stressed (or at least not behaving in ways that were normal for him) so on Friday I had made the decision that they would need to come out. I did find a home for them, and they're fine, but I do wish it had worked out better. However, Murray is the priority - the frogs were *for* his benefit so keeping them in there when they were clearly causing him stress was not going to happen.
My questions today are:
1) I know about stress marks/bars in parrots - and depending upon the severity of them it can either be a lack of pigmentation or an actual "hole" in the feathering - most commonly seen in juveniles who didn't receive adequate nutrition when they were growing their first feathers. I imagine it's somewhat the same in Bettas and the reason I'm asking is because I feel like I am seeing some sort of marks on Murray's tail fin but it's hard to tell for sure because it's not like I can exactly pick him up and check it out. Is there a place I can look at photos of Bettas with stress marks to try and compare them to Murray?
2) I had read about putting a teaspoon or so per gallon of aquarium salt in the tank during water changes, but I have also read about people using salt to treat things like fin rot, etc. I did get some aquarium salt and when I did Murray's water change on Friday I put about 2 teaspoons total (for 5 gallons) and let it dissolve fully before floating Murray back in (I also used API Stress Coat as per usual). My question is - is adding the aquarium salt something you only do in times when you suspect illness or is it a good prophylactic "treatment" to employ occasionally even if you have no reason to suspect illness/disease?
3) If it turns out that Murray's tail does have stress bars, could the stress of having the frogs in his tank have been what caused it, what can I do to treat them, and how long will it take for them to go away?
4) One last question.... generally speaking, how old are Bettas that are sold in pet stores (Petco, etc.) I am talking, specifically, about ones such as Murray, who were old enough for their gender to be determined. And while I have read that Bettas *can* live for five to six years, I am gathering that this is not typical. With good care (a varied diet, a large enough tank, filtered, heated, etc.) and barring anything unforseen, how long am I likely to be enjoying Murray's company?
This species has a somewhat short longevity-normally 2-3 year-rarely 4-6 years and in laboratory conditions over 9 years. Remembering that this species is born, matures and reproduces all in the span of 3-6mo. Usually the long fin male at pet shop are roughly 4-7mo old more or less.
Stripes and color changes don't always mean stress-these are normally used as a form of communication and camouflage in the fish world. If the stripe is on his tail fins-then it is most likely normal pigment. When they have stress stripes they are on the body itself.
You don't want or need to use aquarium salt long term-It not recommend due to resistant issue and kidney damage in this species.
It is a great product to use short term for the right reason, duration and dosage.
1) You won't see stress bars on a betta's tail. They are horizontal stripes that run the length of the body. They will normally pale out colorwise when unhappy or in stressful situations.
2) Salt is normally only used for treatment of external issues like fin rot and some kinds of parasites. It is not recommended as a standard water additive!
3) Bettas, males especially, are fairly solitary fish. Sometimes they get along with a tankmate and sometimes not. If the frogs were harassing him, or he was harassing the frogs (or hiding from them for that matter) then he probably wasn't enjoying sharing the tank. Put him or them in a new habitat and see if he colors up.
4) I've read 4-6 months old is when they will be shipped to the store, but I really don't know. I suspect that if there is some kind of existing problem, it would surface pretty quickly. If he makes it past a month, then he's probably fairly healthy. With good care, I imagine you can expect at least a few years of finny friendship. My re-entry into fishkeeping bettas just passed their 1 year mark with me and all seem to be doing pretty well!
By this estimation, then, Murray is probably about a year old, if I have had him five months and he was possibly seven months or thereabouts when I acquired him. It makes me sad to think that I can only expect to have him with me another year or two.
As to the stress stripes, I don't notice any on his body, and I am not 100% sure what I am seeing on his tail, if anything. Honestly, it could very well be the case that I am completely overreacting/seeing things that aren't there because I was nervous that he was stressed out with the ADFs in the tank. As far as his body, it is the same color (blue) as it has been since I acquired him, and with a black head, which again is the way it has looked since he came to me, and which I understand to be normal?
As to the salt, in a 5 gallon tank I used about two teaspoons. Is it ok to leave the water as is until his next scheduled change, or should I do an "emergency" water change minus the salt?
Hey you already got the answer on your questions i just want to add something.
Just want to write symptoms that you have to worry about if you see that you betta has any of those: If he will get lethargic(stay on the bottom of the tank or just hanging on the top of the tank), refusing to eat,bloated,has white fuzzy, cottony like patches on body or head, white dots on the body, betta looks like he sprinkled with salt, betta has pale color,bloody tips ,tail getting shorter and shorter , falling apart, large part of the tail just drop off, ragged , black edges...
Murray is a vibrant royal blue - if anything he's gotten more vibrantly colored over the past few months, rather than less so.
As I mentioned, I watched the situation for a week and it didn't seem like things were terrible, but I also didn't think that Murray seemed to be as happy as he usually seems, or to be following the same behavioral patterns that I'd grown accustomed to thinking of as "normal" for him. Also, I did witness one incident where one of the frogs seemed to be going after Murray's tail. Everyone was "coexisting" fairly peaceably, save that one incident, which happened so quickly that I almost wasn't sure I'd really seen it ... but still ... the frogs entered the picture to enhance Murray's life, not stress him out, and ultimately I think that is what was happening, so they had to be removed.
Murray is not/has not exhibiting any of the symptoms that you mention ... even for the seven days that the frogs were in the tank with him, he continued to eat normally, etc. He just didn't seem "relaxed" if that makes sense.
I removed the frogs on Friday evening, and came in to the office specifically to check on him on Saturday, and was all tail waggy and happy to see me and to receive a treat of frozen brine shrimp.
I will watch him for any of these signs - but I think overall he's pretty healthy. (I hope!)
OFL wrote: "I would remove the salt along with your regular planned water change, however, it won't hurt to make a 50% water only anytime you need-even if you just made one."
Thank you so much, OFL. So basically my options are either do a 50% change today, (with water conditioner of course) or wait until Friday (next scheduled water change) and do either a 75% or 100% water change at that time. Any opinions on what is the preferred course of action?
In a 5gal with an adult Betta...if the tank is filtered or you have live active growing plants-I wouldn't make any 100%-not needed and even if it doesn't have a filter or live plants-I wouldn't make 100% anymore than monthly.
Water changes of 50% with vacuum or stir and dip weekly is all I would do based on your stocking-provided that you don't overfeed.
Since you have salt that you are needing to remove-you can do a couple of back to back 50% or one now and again on your regular water change day-what ever works best for you- Your goal is to try and remove the bigger part of the salt within 10-14 days-but since it was a really low dose IMO its not an emergency.