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Old 11-26-2010, 01:59 PM   #1 
NikiandBeyond
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Hi, I'm new and I have some questions! :)

A few days ago, while buying some bird food, I came across a deal on a tank I just couldn't pass up! I got this (plus some cycle liquid that isn't listed) for $25 at my mom and pop store:

http://www.amazon.com/Marina-Mermaid.../dp/B0010WH2YE

It's been a number of years since I've owned a fish at all, and I had a betta in my early high school years (I'm 22 now). I wasn't the most resourceful or conscious pet owner, and it wasn't until the accidental death of my dear cockatiel (Niki) that I became committed to research. I joined a bird message board and got a bit nutty about it when I was fixing to get my present parrot, who is now 3.5 years old. I've kept on top of his care and staying as knowledgeable as I can, and now that I have a fish tank and am looking to rescue a betta, I'm at it again!

So after only a few days of even considering a fish and looking into the care, here's my plan:
-use tap water that I'll let sit for a day and add conditioner to
-replace about half the gravel that came with tank with "live gravel" that starts it cycling (I still don't quite understand what that means?)
*if I'm using this cycling gravel, do I also add the cycle liquid? The directions say to add a cap full. Maybe I should half that?
-stick on a thermometer
-I'll be getting a heater (Money is a factor for this one. I'm going to petsmart and walmart this evening to look at my options.)
*how do I best acclimate him?? how long should I have the bag floating? if I've purchased the heater, should I first make sure he's acclimated to the tank temperature, introduce him to the tank, and THEN turn on the heater? should I wait a bit between letting him learn the tank and turning on the heater?
*I'm excited about decorating, but should I take that slow? maybe leave things out for a couple of days? or if I introduce things later, does that just prolong the adjustment period and stress?

As for picking one out, what are the warning signs? Is there an age indicator? They'll be in cold water, so how much weight should I put on color, luster, and activity? Or go with the most active and colorful one I can find (I'm hoping for a crowntail)?

How about prevention? Is there a disadvantage to dosing it with betta revive to pump up it's health, even if it doesn't seem sickly? If there's no harm in doing so, where in the set-up process should I do that? I read some reviews, and I think it can stain?? If I use it, does waiting to put decorations in prevent that?

I'm sure I'll have more questions. I'm glad I found this site!
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:14 PM   #2 
shinybetta
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Make sure the"live gravel" isn't for marine tanks. Check everything in the tank for sharp items. Put the heater in, let the tank reach 80, then float him in for a while. Also, replace half of his water with tank water half way through temp. acclimating. Pick a fish that is active with no discoloration. Don't medicate unless he is sick. It could kill him. Hope you have fun!

Last edited by shinybetta; 11-26-2010 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:43 PM   #3 
ashleyy
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Yes, make sure the gravel is for freshwater not marine.

You may want to get a water testing kit. They are expensive but worth it, because you won't know when the water is safe without it - especially if you are cycling a tank. Look up fishless nitrogen cycling and follow those instructions before getting the betta.

You will want an adjustable heater as well.

As for picking a fish I just go with just checking to see if they are sick with anything. Make sure one eye isn't bigger than the other, no fuzzy, white or other weird patches on them, check their fins for brown/dark deteriorating edges. Make sure he isn't bloated, or swimming on its side. Check his body - make sure his scales are sticking out.

Other than all that you should find a good betta :]
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:12 PM   #4 
NikiandBeyond
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So I've gotten my fish and introduced him to the tank, and though he was active prior to getting in the tank, he really isn't thriving now.

Sorry for the photo quality. I took the pictures on my phone. We named him Casper.

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He's lethargic and his eyes have lost their life, despite the 79 degree water he's kept in. I have yet to use a testing kit, but I introduced him yesterday morning, and there were only 5 hours between seeming fine and excited about his surrounding and me getting home and finding him listlessly switching between corners at the surface and corners on the floor of the tank.

Last night I added the correct quantities of Prime and bacterial supplement, and I turned off the filter, to make getting to the surface a little easier on him for now. We woke up to find the water milky/cloudy from a bacterial bloom? I did a 25% water change, because I read that the blooms can deplete DO, and I wanted to reduce any toxic concentrations. He seemed to be a little improved, moving around in the tank and swimming a little stronger. But I haven't seen him since 10:30am, and my bf won't be back home from work until 11pm. We'll get the chance to test the water tomorrow... I know I screwed up...

A couple more questions:

His scales above his gills and base of his little fins/flippers are very iridescent (the white spots in the pictures TAKEN BEFORE BEING INTRODUCED TO THE TANK). It didn't strike us as abnormal when purchasing him, assuming it was part of his coloration. It's on both sides of his body. Since things are off with him, it seems very noticeable. Could it be something? Maybe he got lighter and it stands out more?...

How about his tail? Chewed on, for sure? Might that grow back?

And is there a name for his coloration?

If he's still alive, I'll take pictures with my digital camera tomorrow night.
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:15 PM   #5 
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I forgot to mention that his eyes also have an iridescence to them... Normal?
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:24 PM   #6 
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The iridescence is his color... and it sounds to me like ammonia poisoning. Is the tank cycled?
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:05 PM   #7 
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First off, welcome to the forum! It's good that you've decided to research more about betta care.

A few things:
-Most conditioners work instantly on your water to remove chemicals unless stated otherwise, so you don't need to leave it out for a night.
-The cycling liquids usually don't work so well, if at all.
-You should put the decor in first. When he's introduced to a new (bigger) place, he's understandably a bit stressed. Providing decor/plants that he can hide in will help him feel more secure.

At any rate, keep your eye on the water quality and do small, regular water changes if you think that the ammonia levels are too high. Could be that he's also adjusting.

His tail's a bit ragged, but it'll hopefully grow back with warm clean water.

Good luck! He is a cutie!
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:22 PM   #8 
NikiandBeyond
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My bf just got home to check on him, and Casper's still alive. He doesn't seem as energetic (comparatively) as we found him this morning, but my bf also just got in from work and turned on the light. It could just be grogginess?

We really don't know what to do. My bf doesn't have a car, so we can't use the water testing kit until tomorrow evening when I can get out there (he lives about an hour away). How could ammonia have built up to poisonous levels in 5 hours? We used Prime at about 7 last night, after conditioning and waiting we added the bacterial supplement (petstore employee said it'd be perfectly safe to use the two while the fish stayed in the tank), and turned off the filter. This morning we did a 25% water change, conditioning the new water with Prime, in response to the bacterial bloom, which should have also lowered any unsafe concentrations?

My bf reports that the cloudiness is even worse(/thicker?) since before we changed water this morning. He's doing another 25% water change now. And since it's been over 24 hours and the Prime's effectiveness has worn off, he's treating new and existing water with Prime again. We're also thinking about turning the filter back on. There shouldn't be anything still harming him, right?

Trying to make him healthy and happy again over the phone is difficult. :(

I'm relieved to hear that the spotting on his body around his gills is normal.

Since this has turned into a health situation, how could I go about moving it to the emergency forum?
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:36 PM   #9 
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I don't know how to move things, short of making a new thread, but I do know you don't need to re-treat old water with Prime. You only need treat the water you're putting in, because once treated, even after the Prime 'wears off', the chlorine and heavy metals are gone, so don't worry about that, at least.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:48 PM   #10 
NikiandBeyond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupiter View Post
First off, welcome to the forum! It's good that you've decided to research more about betta care.

A few things:
-Most conditioners work instantly on your water to remove chemicals unless stated otherwise, so you don't need to leave it out for a night.
-The cycling liquids usually don't work so well, if at all.
-You should put the decor in first. When he's introduced to a new (bigger) place, he's understandably a bit stressed. Providing decor/plants that he can hide in will help him feel more secure.

At any rate, keep your eye on the water quality and do small, regular water changes if you think that the ammonia levels are too high. Could be that he's also adjusting.

His tail's a bit ragged, but it'll hopefully grow back with warm clean water.

Good luck! He is a cutie!
Thank you for the welcome, and your words are very reassuring! At least, I think we're doing what we can with our limitations.

We did wind up putting the decorations in while we were preparing. It does seem like the cycle liquid didn't work at all, but this bacterial supplement sure is. In fact, I sniffed the cycle liquid and commented, "It doesn't smell like bacteria". Boy does the supplement!

Here's what we had set up (before putting in the thermometer):

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When I first started floating the container, Casper was unbelievably excited.

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He immediately started exploring confidently. This was before I got home and found his condition so compromised. Since then, he has spent a good bit of time in corners, or under that arch. I really hope we can get him to pull out of this. And still, since being in the tank, he won't even notice food.

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