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Old 06-15-2009, 10:12 PM   #1 
BakaMandy
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Exclamation Lots and lots of questions

Hello!

I have a few inquires about my betta fish that I was hoping someone could help me out with.

I got him just a little over a month now, and I love him to bits (you can pretty much call it love at first sight when I saw him at the pet store... I had to get him!) I know a few basics about Betta fish (one of my friend's lectured me about it when he bought his betta fish :P) but I'm bothered by just a few things. I've posted around on other fish forums but I've never got a reply.

I had a little problem with him last month. Shortly after two weeks of owning him, I managed to buy some proper equipment to clean his tank (the tank is about 3 gallons... that's the biggest I could afford and that could fit into my room. I'd like to get him bigger...) and did a half tank water change.

I then left for about three days (well, two nights). The morning I left he looked fine and energetic as usual. I told my sister to feed him while I was gone.

When I got back, I found that his caudal fin was been completely shredded. It was just that fin; not his dorsal fin, anal fin or ventral fins. I found that my sister forgot and hadn't fed him the entire time I was gone, so I was really worried.

His fins have never looked to be that healthy ever since I bought him. They look much thinner and much more transparent than other betta fish I have seen; they've always look pretty battered up. Though I don't know if Betta fish fins grow out or not, but they look to be more healthy the closer you look to his body, so I don't know if his poor fin condition was due to his previous environment or something else.

Anyway, when I saw his mangled tail, I looked up betta fish diseases for fin rot and parasites that could destroy his fins, but nothing really matched. He has lots of plants in his tank but none of them had been a problem before when he's swam around them (in fact he likes to rest on them a lot).

So I wonder if it has something to do with the tank cleaning since I had a little bit of difficulty since it was my first time doing it. I understand that bettas will bite their fins when they undergo a lot of stress, and I hope it's just that. I left him in the tank while I did the change (because I was afraid of taking him out with a net cause I heard it was stressful for them and can also damage their fins) and I wonder if that was a bad idea (he almost got sucked up by the cleaning tube since he was curious >.<).

I'm happy to report that his tail is healed now he hasn't done it again though. I think I've managed a way to take him out of the tank without using a net to do his tank changes, so it's been a little easier :'3.

But whatever it is, if anyone has an idea why or how his tail might have gotten destroyed, I want to know your opinion so I can prevent or avoid doing so again. Also if you have any good tips that would help me help his tail become more healthy, I would be grateful!

Another thing is about cycling.

Because I'm trying to make him into a healthy happy fish, I've been taking a lot of advice from a friend who is fish obsessed.

She told me that it might be possible that my fish got stressed out because I didn't cycle his tank. I tried to read about it but I got confused about that process =v=;... Something about establishing a proper bacteria environment and low ammonia levels (I understand ammonia is bad for fish right?)?

But anyway, I went out and bought something she suggested called "Nutrafin Cycle" to help with that. But I'm afraid to use it because I don't know if it's okay for Betta fish or not. Does it help them?

And also, how important is light for a betta fish? Because I have to turn off my tank light or I can't sleep at night, and I don't know if complete darkness is good for a them or not.

Another thing I was wondering about (I have a lot of questions...) I've never seen my betta make a bubble nest yet. I know that if they make one, it's usually a sign of a happy healthy Betta, hence why I'm increasingly worried.

He seems happy and healthy to me. He's energetic enough, he only starts to slow down around night time when he starts taking his fish naps. He's got a hearty appetite and loves to eat. I just recently switched to flakes because he was having trouble eating pellet food with them being bigger than his mouth; I had to cut them into smaller pieces. All the food was specialize for Bettas. The tank is kept at a 78-80 degrees F (My room is really warm and his light gives off a lot of heat, so I don't need a heater O_o; ). He has lots of plants and a plastic cave to hide in too.

The only thing I'm wondering about is the filter. I have an under gravel filter for my tank that blows bubbles at the surface and I was wonder if that's could discourage my betta from making a nest. Should I get a different type of filter?

I was also wondering how often I should change the filter for that since there was no instructions for that when I bought it.

Um... I think that's it ^^; if you have anything that could be of help to me, I'll be more than grateful! This is my first time taking care of a fish on my own, so I want to do a good job

Thank you!
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:37 PM   #2 
dramaqueen
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Hello and welcome to FishForum. If your plants are plastic, they could be what's tearing up his fins.Check the cave for sharp edges, also. If you plan to cycle I would google fishless cycling to read more about it. Cycling confuses me too, thats why none of my tanks are cycled. lol Cycling with the fish in the tank can be very stressful for the fish because of the ammonia buildup. You can turn the bubbles down on the filter by getting a gang valve. If you are going to do full water changes then you'll need to take the fish out. Taking the fish out of the tank is always stressful but as long as its done gently it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Its ok that he didn't get fed while you were gone. That shouldn't be a problem. They can go quite a long time without food. I'm getting ready to go on vacation and mine will only be fed every other day, once a day. I'm glad he's eating good. Flakes are kind of messy but as long as they are the kind specifically for bettas, they should be fine. Your temperature is good at 78-80 degrees. I can't tell you anything about filters because I don't use them. I think you aren't supposed to change the cartridge until they are falling apart. Someone else will have to advise you about that. I've heard that the Cycle stuff doesn't really help the cycling process. I hope this info helps.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:43 PM   #3 
BakaMandy
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Thank you very much for your advice!

Another question - what kind of water hardness should I keep a betta fish in? I just recently bought a GH test and it told me my tap water was soft, but I've been using spring water (which someone recommended I'd do) which tested to be very hard.

And it's obviously affecting the pH. I was freaking out because the spring water was well over 8.0 and it took a lot of a pH adjuster to bring it down to something a bit healthier. But I still have to overdose my tap water with pH adjuster to get it relatively neutral too since it hovers way to close to 8.0 too.

:S
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:41 AM   #4 
dramaqueen
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I have read that its best not to fool with trying to adjust the ph because it will usually go back up. The fluctuation is not good for the fish. Hopefully someone will be able to tell you more about this and the water hardness than I can.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:13 AM   #5 
fishyinpa
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yeah,dont mess with the ph. Is your tap water real bad? Cause you can just use that,plus water conditioner. Ph flucuations is bad for betta. So keep it at one thing and leave it alone lol. Plus the higher the PH,the more toxic ammonia becomes. So if your tap ph is much lower than the spring,Id use that. Else you will have to clean his tank alot more often. Hope that helps.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:20 AM   #6 
cottoncandygirl
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about the fins im so sorry cause i dont now much xD
ut for the bubble nest i think he might be doing it but the current of the filter destroys them.. that is what usually happens :D
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:10 PM   #7 
BakaMandy
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Yeah, my tap water and the bottled spring water have both tested to be well over 8.0.

What I have been doing is doing is testing the pH of the tank water and then using a pH adjuster to change the pH around the same pH as the tank water and then let it sit and age for a little with with the conditioners in it before I change it.

@cottencandygirl: well I found out his fins were getting ruined by some of the fake plants I had set up. I took them out and his fins have started to get better :)
The current from my filter only makes small ripples, I don't think there's any real current since it's just an under gravel filter with an air stone in a tube that blowing bubbles at the corner of my tank. Is that still enough to destroy bubble nests?
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