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Old 06-03-2010, 12:40 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: FL Panhandle
Smile new convert (my road to redemption)

Hi All!

I'm Michael, but my fish is named Murphy so I'll go by that. I was first attracted to Betta fish in college because it was all I could have in the dorms. Unfortunately I kept my little guy in one of those tiny jail cells because I bought into the lie that he would be happier in a smaller space. He made it one semester before going belly up. Makes me sick...

Fast forward 12 years and I'm now gainfully employed and a happy family man. About a month ago I decided I wanted a Betta for my office, so I stopped by Walmart and got the best looking one of the sickly lot they had on display. I also picked up another 1/2 gallon prison cell because, again, I thought that's what they preferred. In no time flat I had a beautiful fish living right here by my laptop...

It didn't take long though for me to become concerned about Murphy. He just kept swimming non stop against the side of this little cell he was in. Side to side, against the side, constantly. I began to wonder about that mud puddle myth. A quick Google search led me here, as well as to other sites, and almost immediately I was reading a plethora of information that confirmed that my fish was as unhappy as any other creature would be in such living conditions. Off to Walmart we go.

I read here that 5 gallons should be plenty so I purchased their 5 gallon starter kit and got to work. I knew that setting up a tank is supposed to done in a certain way and that it takes time to get everything right, but I felt like I needed to make haste. Filling it with spring water and using store bought aquarium conditioner, I let it filter a full 24 hours before introducing Murphy to his new home.

Immediately upon putting him in I was concerned about the water flow, but a quick search here on showed me how to make a baffle. I still wasn't happy with the flow so I made another out of a water bottle, but left it more intact this time. I've been very happy with the results of the second one. After getting that settled out, I'm convinced I've got a very happy fish.

The guy just swims around non stop! This time though, he rarely hits the side of the tank; he seems perfectly happy with the space he has. Top to bottom, all over, he's just constantly gliding around the entire tank (and to think of how trapped he was before...). My baffle directs the water down the back wall and sometimes he plays in the flow, circles around, and goes back for more. I have the best time watching him play and enjoy himself.

I have a lot more to learn about tank cycling and plants and other things to keep his home in top condition, but I feel like I'm definitely on the right road.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:47 PM   #2 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Orange County, New York
First of all Welcome to the Forum!!! This place is filled with super friendly, fun, fish loving people and I am sure you will love it here!!

It's wonderful to hear that you noticed your boy was unhappy and made the effort to research and upgrade his home!! Any betta is super lucky to have a 5 gallon tank!! Does your boy have a heater in his tank? The optimum temperature for a betta is between 76-82 degrees F. What are you feeding him right now??

Good luck!! If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask!! And be careful bettas are addicting!!
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:52 PM   #3 
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Location: ohio
welcome we love pics and dont buy that they like tiny space
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:51 PM   #4 
Ashcan Bill
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Location: Nevada
Hi Murphy. Welcome from another new guy.

I did kind of the opposite from what you did. I set up a 7 gallon tank I had in storage, and then took several weeks trying to decide what to put in it. After hemming and hawing, I found the right guy who turned out to be a betta.

There's a lot of info out there saying betta prefer calm water, but mine seems to enjoy playing around in the current the filter provides.

Sooner or later I'll add an oto or two. My tank has cycled, the numbers look good on water quality, and with the filter I'm running the tank should easily handle the bio load from two more fish.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:07 PM   #5 
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Location: FL Panhandle
Thanks for the welcome! I do not have a heater as of yet since Walmart was out of the ones for my size tank. It's on the list though, and I've got to find a water testing kit.

Finding the right food turned out to be an ordeal as he's very picky. I started with those little black pellets but he turned his nose up at them. Everything I read online said he would eat when he got hungry enough but after a week he still wouldn't try it! At that point I tried flakes and for the first couple of days he would chew them up but spit most of it back out, but then stopped taking them as well. After another week of that I was really scared he would die of starvation. He wasn't looking very good at all. I finally found blood worms and he turned into a crazed shark! I don't know if it is healthy for him to eat only blood worms but I've tried the other stuff a couple times again and he still won't have any of it, but he goes crazy for his worms. He has a good figure and color once again so I guess he is ok.

I was curious what they fed him in the store but no one seemed to know when I asked, so I'm wondering if they even feed the Bettas at all. When no one was looking I dropped a couple pellets into one poor guy's cup and he inhaled it, so I'm still curious about how Murphy was fed as a little(little-er) guy.

As for current, I'm pretty happy with how that turned out. Most of his tank is quite calm, yet still gets circulation. He does have a good stream down part of the back wall that he plays in quite a bit.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:13 PM   #6 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
Hello and welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:06 PM   #7 
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Location: FLORIDA
Welcome to the forum murphy.I am a new betta owner as well and have found this site to be a wealth of good information.My betta is an extremely picky eater as well,he will only eat the blood worms
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:16 PM   #8 
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Hello and welcome to the forum.

Have you tried the Hikari Betta Bio-gold pellets? I have 6 bettas and they all love them. They get treats like blood worms and brine shrimp once a week but the pellets are their staple diet.

If you're feeding blood worms that are freeze dried, it's important to soak them for about 15 mins in some tank water to rehydrate them before feeding them to your fish. Dry can cause problems as far as sticking in their throats and bloating.

Good luck. My dude in the 5 gallon has tons of fun swimming in the current from the filter too. It all depends on the betta.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:22 AM   #9 
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Yup. I second Romad on the bloodworm thing.
I have a "crazed shark" of my own at home who will only eat the bloodworms.
But I also have one with Swim Bladder Disease which can be caused by things like feeding bloodworms too much, so i am trying to turn the "crazed shark" onto other foods...not easy
I have some flakes, he will eat a bit of but they make the water dirty,
My other betas initially spit out the pellets, but now eat them so i am hoping it will be a matter of time and practice for him..
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:53 AM   #10 
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Welcome to the Forum Murphy!!! :)

For the food problem, normally I feed them every few days... and I will put a mixture of pellets in along with a couple bloodworms. At first, the pellets went untouched but once my fish realized there wereren't gonna be more portions of the bloodworms than that amount, they slowly tried the pellets. I have two fish out of the ten that just won't eat them, but the rest will. I guess I have some easy-going fish.
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