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Old 06-30-2010, 02:43 PM   #1 
pamilov
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not sure if my betta is sick

(i apologize in advance for not knowing a great deal about my betta.)

the betta we have is a school pet. we got him (at least i'm pretty sure it's a 'him') in january. i don't know what specific type he is, & i don't know how old he is. (he was 'rescued' from a high school science class - as far as i know they observed/compared changes in behaviour due to small living environment - but this may not be totally accurate).

he came to us in a flower vase (with only sea shells & one live plant), that i quickly exchanged into a 1 gallon plastic 'bug' container....complete with live lily pads, gravel, 2 plastic plants, & some colourful acrylic shells.

at first, he seemed pretty normal, as far as bettas go; he was swimming around, eating fine (i feed tetra bettamin once/day, about a fingernail full, with 2 fasting days over the weekends).

i change his water every 1-2 weeks - about 3/4 distilled water (as i was told to do), and the remaining quarter about 1/2 tap water (that has been sitting for 24 hours) & 1/2 old water. (& yes, i rinse the gravel, plastic plants, & shells well under warm water).

when i change his water, i 'catch' him using a cup (to reduce potential damage to fins).

occasionally he would build a bubble nest.

about 2 weeks ago i noticed he was staying close to the bottom of the tank & not eating. (i even noticed a film of food on the surface of the water).

after about 3 days of this i did a complete water change (again about 3/4 distilled water, & 1/4 tap).

within 24 hours he appeared to be back to normal.

now, about a week later, i noticed a pretty big bubble nest (even nesting above the water line), and even though he is eating, he is voraciously eating only a few flakes of food i provide, then leaving the rest........and he is VERY active (almost crazy-like).

[***his increase in this 'psychotic' activity level is what concerns me the most***]

he darts & swims almost constantly - like he is uncomfortable in his own scales (lol) - but especially when i go over to the tank. (he does not seem to be rubbing or intentionally bumping against anything). he flares a little when i show him a mirror, but mostly avoids it.

...and i also noticed - just today - that his tail fin seems to have been cut a little. it's a clean vertical cut, almost like someone took a pair of scissors to them (although this is impossible). it is only a very small 'snip' (for lack of a better word), as about 98% of his tail seems to still be there. (any chance he bit them himself?)

i realize i may have a perfectly fine, healthy fish (i've read that as long as there is a bubble nest, he is a happy fish), but i really just want to be sure.

(also, any advice on how i am caring for him, i.e., water, feeding, etc., would be greatly appreciated).

by the way, his name is 'peaches', as the kids in the classroom described him as "not as red as a strawberry would be, but more like a peach".

he is my first fish (ever) & i've already fallen in love with him, so i want to make sure i am doing right by him.

thanks for any help you can provide!!!!

~pam
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:47 PM   #2 
Jooleeah
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Is 1 gal. big enough for live lilly pads
If youre using tap water, at all you, need to use dechlorinator to get rid of the chlorine in it, and also he needs a heater.
As for the rip in his fin check to see if any of your decorations/plants are sharp or prickly enough to snag fins.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:05 PM   #3 
pamilov
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thanks, julia!

the lily pads are about the size of the tip of a finger (about 1/2 inch long & 1/4 inch wide). i got them at the pet store & 'grew' them from a bulb. there are about 5 or 6 of them growing from the bulb, & the stems of the leaves stretch to the water line. the stems are very thin & he doesn't seem to be bothered by them; i.e., they don't impede his swimming.

do you think they are still too big?

as for the de-chlorinator, do i get that at a pet store? any particular brand? (i hear different recommendations on what kind of water to use. what is the best thing i can do/use?).

as for the heater, there is limited outlet availability in the classroom. the 2 outlets that we have are too close to the windows & i am afraid that the a possible draft might be bad for him, & direct sunlight might be too hard to monitor.

the classroom is kept at about 75-85 degrees at all times, but rarely below 77. does the water temp vary from this very much? (sorry if that's a stupid question. i am VERY new at this).

& i did think about sharp edges & snagging. i will look into this further, but since the 'cut' was so clean & not ragged, i didn't think it was that. (the 'plastic' plants are plastic in everything but the 'leaves'. they are a soft, fabric-like material).

(btw, the kids in the classroom think he just needs a girlfriend. knowing what bubble nests are used for, it was the only way i could explain why he does that ~ lol).

again, thanks!
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:22 PM   #4 
Jooleeah
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Yep any dechlorinator will do, just run into a petstore and grab a small bottle :) as for the lilly pads idk im not really a botanist :p maybe someone else will post

Theres probably a lot of temp fluctuations (which is stressful for the fish) in a classroom with people going in and out all day I know for me in school the temperature is everywhere. so maybe get an extension cord or something, but that temperature range is generally good. :)
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:24 PM   #5 
Oldfishlady
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In a 1g unfiltered container you need to increase the water changes a bit more to at least every-other day 100%, or in your case I would do them M-W-F and on T and Th make 50% water changes/ Plants are fine and are helpful.
Prime is a good dechlorinator to use and I would use that and switch the source water to 100% tap and Prime, this will make your water changes easier too.
Make sure the water temps from new and old water are within a couple of degrees from each other to prevent any sudden temp change related problems.
Don't add another fish to the tank, especially another betta male or female they will tear each other apart and you will end up with two dead fish,
Remove any uneaten food after feeding and always use the dechlorinator with any new water added to the tank/fish.
Temp is important and should be kept in the 78-80F area but since you have limited outlets I would try to keep it at least 76F, some Bettas can tolerate lower temp better than others and survive but may not thrive...but when you are limited...you are limited and can only do the best you can.
Good luck
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:34 PM   #6 
pamilov
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thanks again, julia.

i will get the dechlorinator tomorrow.

unfortunately, we are unable (due to regulations) to use extension cords in our school. (it's a preschool & they have rules for EVERYTHING ~ *groan*).

however.....it just occurred to me that right around the time he started his 'depression' phase, he was moved closer to, though not next to, our air conditioner (it's a window unit). we don't run it much & are not allowed to run it below 76 (it tends to blow the fuse in the building ----- it's an old building), but it just might be effecting him enough to make the water temp cooler than usual.

first thing tomorrow i am going to move him back where he was earlier this year & see how he does.

thanks again! you saved me a sleepless night. (ok, so maybe i'm being a bit of a drama queen, but you have helped eased my mind).
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:39 PM   #7 
pamilov
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thanks, oldfishlady!

removing uneaten food is something i've never done. do i just skim the water surface with a net? how long should i wait before removing (in case he's not finished with the meal)?
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:46 PM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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When he moves away from the food or stops eating, call it done and yes the net will work to remove the uneaten food if it is fine mesh enough. This will help keep the ammonia down and fouling the water too fast between water changes to help prevent health and fin issues.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:06 PM   #9 
Adastra
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Poor guy, definitely change the water with dechlorinated as Old Fish Lady has instructed and you should see a huge change. I also recommend Prime water conditioner, it is concentrated, so you will get the most chemical for your money. I highly recommend getting a larger tank for this fish since such small aquariums often cause neurotic behaviors such as glass surfing and tail biting. Many of these fish become obese from lack of exercise and others die from ammonia poisoning.

Simply because bettas can live in small, unheated spaces does not mean they necessarily should be left this way. I think it would be an excellent lesson to the children that just because you see a fish in the pet store in a cup, or a hermit crab in those tiny containers they sell at the beach, it does not mean that it is humane to leave it there. Bettas come from vast rice paddies in tropical Thailand, and thrive in heated, planted aquariums that are heated consistently in the range of 78-83 degrees. I suggest upgrading his container to at least 2.5 gallons so that it can be properly heated with a 25 watt adjustable heater.

If money is tight, I suggest ordering online from this site: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com they offer $9 flat rate shipping and just about every item is $10-15 less than what you would find in any pet store. Good luck with your fish, and I encourage you to continue to research the needs of betta splendens.
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:09 PM   #10 
pamilov
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thanks, adastra.

as it is i've been considering getting a larger tank. i wasn't sure about size, but i'll go with what you recommend. (looks like i have some shopping to do tomorrow).

unfortunately, i will still have the same problem with the heating. do they make a battery powered heater (e.g., something you can clip onto the side)?

price is no object.
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