I know this has probably already been posted but until today (lol) I was afraid to put my hands in my tanks from fear of being nipped (had never been nipped before!!)
I posted a thread asking how to get over my fear because I needed to get used to my sorority girls swimming around my hands so I could rearrange plants and decor. I finally got the nerve to just put my hand in there and let them go at it... And their little nips tickled! For about 15 minutes they were swimming around my hand, rubbing against it, swimming through a hoop I made with my fingers and one even swam into my palm! :) needless to say, my fear is gone.
Who else let's their bettas swim through their fingers, nip them and swim in their palm (or any other variation)?
And a side note: I washed my hands with soap and rinsed for like 5 minutes and then dried them and rinsed another 5 minutes before doing this to dry out my hands of oils and anything else that could've been on them. Should I severely limit the amount of time I leave my hands in the tank? I don't want anything on my hands to harm them but I do want to keep myself used to it for purposes of rearranging, or ever scooping a fish out of the tank if there's ever a big emergency.
I plead the fifth. I think you'll be fine :P It cant really be avoided a lot of the time. Some people will tell you to wear gloves, but unless you find a glove that goes all the way up to your armpit gloves are a waste of time. I like to get the fish to trust me in the water with them haha.
I don't like washing my hands with soap, since my frogs (and betta) are sensitive to it, instead i Just thoroughly rinse with scalding hot water.
Whenever I put my hand near or in the tank my betta goes crazy and just swims to it, trying to touch me. When I submerse my hand, he rests in my palm and just sits there. I never try to touch him and when he is resting in my palm, I am sure to try to leave a layer of water between my hand and him, since I do not want to get rid of his protective slime coat.
But it is super adorable and I love him. Out of all the rescues I have, he's the only one I'm keeping because of his sweet personality and beautifulness :)
Is it just your girls, or do your males do it too?
Well one of my males is blind and will bite any strange moving object in his tank :p if I move around the water he follows and tries to bite me. If I don't move he doesn't even know I'm there :p
My other male swims circles around my hand but doesn't really get too close, lol. He even keeps his distance with my finger by the side of the tank. He'll follow it but back up as I move it closer to the side of the tank.
I'm guilty as heck of this. Not only do I let especially my sorority swim through my fingers but my preferred method of moving fish is to scoop them out with my hands, not net or cup them. It's just faster for me.
People, don't follow my example though. I really can't recommend it because as Mar said, it can damage their protective slime coat. If you do touch your fish on a prolonged basis (such as scooping them up in your hand to carry them somewhere), try to add API Stress Coat to the tank afterward to help them replace any slime coat that may have gotten damaged in the handling.
This all said, I haven't had any problems with fish getting sick from missing slime coat. o.O
I am guilty of moving my bettas with my hands as well. Whoops. I find that it stresses them out less then a net. People say that moving them with your hands destroys their slime coat but I have never had problems and my hand is smoother then a net. Sometimes I will rub a drop of aqua plus (kinda like stress coat) on my hands before I touch them. I don't just use my hands, I also use a net or a ladle!
Okay, I just grew up with fish and the guy that sold them never used nets. He said they hurt the fins (bettas and other fish, like some cichlids he had). So, I put my hand in, after making sure they are very clean (no soap residue) and, cup my hands--they swim in. I leave my hand slightly closed until they settle in, then I move them to where they want to be. I also handfeed my bettas. Maybe I'm nuts--okay, so I am but, I just learned that nets can cause so much damage--and I didn't want to pay the money for the thai ones.