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Old 01-28-2011, 08:27 PM   #1 
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maycausedeath's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: MA
First Time Owner

Just a warning, this is really long!

This is my first time owning a Betta, or really any fish. I had those mosquito fish that everyone gets in fourth grade, but my mother swiped them as "cooking companions" once they turned into a huge colony. My only real experience with fish has been them, and they survive in a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter and a tank cleaning about per month. They've lived through gatorade and grape juice, not to mention grapes and other strange foods from childhood and my mothers strange vegan concoctions. They're the fish that just get a pinch of food once a day and thrive. Our house is also kept at a brisk 60.

Anyway, I got a Betta yesterday, and I hope I'm doing this right. He's in a 2.5 gallon tank, with well rinsed gravel, that little zen looking rock tower/stack that seems to be very popular here, and a live java fern in a tiny little ceramic pot, which is surprisingly nice for being from petsmart. I made the trek to a not so local fish store to pick up a nice adjustable heater and an adjustable filter. I did a 100% water change before I put the gravel in and installed the heater and filter. The thermometer says it's 76 at the moment, quite a feat since our usually stable filter decided today would be a good day to deliver 40 degree water. I would like to have the tank cycled eventually, even though it's a bit small.

The Betta himself, Spencer, is doing much better since I put the heater in, although he is really jumpy. He's a tiny but gorgeous red and blue crowntail. I am a bit worried though, at the petsmart he came from most of the fish either had fin rot, or were dead. In fact, the Betta I was originally going to get had it so bad I could see the bones on the ends of his fins. I feel terrible, he was a really big beautiful iridescent silver blue, turning to deep blue on fins, but I have no idea how to care for fin rot. I went and looked at the aisle with medications but I couldn't find anything.

I picked Spencer because I heard that crowntails are more resistant to diseases like fin rot (even though I used to think they were terrifying ahaha) I came home with a generic medicine for ich and stuff like it just in case. He seems to have trouble swimming sometimes though, he doesn't really move his fins except for the tiny almost clear ones by the front of his head, and he moves them really fast. I also noticed one of his little spiky things on his fins (those long things on the end of their fins only crowntails have... I'm not really sure how to describe it) makes a loop. The only possibly thing I could think of is that it was broken and healed strange. He also has some broken bones on the bottom of his tail (they might be from me unknowingly netting him earlier) and what look like little red dots at the end of his "spines". He also seems to have trouble eating food sometimes, moving his head up and down like he's trying to swallow. His pellets are really tiny, so I'm not sure what the problem is. It also seems like one of his gills sticks out more than the other.

I tried to give him freeze dried bloodworms as a treat, but I quickly decided they're terrifying and I hate them. I couldn't get it to sink and it stuck to me. He also seems to need all of his food sunk for him, and now that the gravel is down if he doesn't see it he just won't eat it. He just won't notice it if it's on the surface.

Is there anything that could be wrong with him?
How many times should I change the water weekly if I want the tank to cycle?
I'm interested in live plants. Will the java fern live, and could I add others like marimo moss?
Could I add any other animals to his tank (2.5 g)
What are bio balls?

So um, basically I just want to know if I'm doing this all right. Sorry for writing this giant wall of text, I'm a worryer Is there anything I'm missing/not doing right?
Thanks for reading!
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:58 PM   #2 
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Haha, don't worry, sounds like a wonderful tank! Heater, filter and 2.5 gallons. Excellent! Hehe. 76 degrees is perfect for a betta. Sounds like the gravel and decor are great too! It is true, CT are more resistant to disease, but I did read that their lifespan is just slightly shorter as well. It is a good thing you came home with backup medicine.
Now, you say that "seems to have trouble swimming sometimes though, he doesn't really move his fins except for the tiny almost clear ones by the front of his head, and he moves them really fast." Those fins help him stay upright and fan oxygen and water through his gills, so don't worry about that! It is perfectly normal.
You say one of his crowns makes a loop. Your assumption is probably correct, and it doesn't harm the betta or cause him any pain.
The bone like hard parts of his crowns at the base of his tail will probably heal on their own. The tiny dots on the crowns are usually part of their natural coloring. We call them "freckles" on this website, haha.
When bettas move their head up and down, they are usually breaking the pellet up or kind of "chewing" it before it goes down the throat. All of my bettas nod to do this, it's adorable.
Lastly, the thing about his gills. I don't think there is anything that you need to do if he is breathing normally.
I don't know much about cycling. Hopefully someone else on this site that is more knowledgable will help you. However, I hope I helped you with the other stuff! Hehe.
He sounds like a lucky betta! Thanks for rescuing him. I hope this was helpful.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:07 PM   #3 
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Unfortunately you probably won't be able to get a 2.5 cycled.. it is just too small. Try a 5 gallon.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:38 PM   #4 
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wow! sounds like a great home for him.
Are you sing a water conditioner? It is neccesary and I was wondering if you were because that may be why he is jumpy. I used tetra safe or prime.
In a 2.5 gallon with a live plant (awesome-it will help maintain the water quality by eating the ammonia) you would be able to get away with one full 100% waterchange a week and maybe a partial 50% during the week. If you get a turkey baster you could use it to clean his poo out of the tank (maintains better water quality)
Be sure to look around the forum to learn more or if you have any questions it can be helpful! Now pictures please!

ps the spiny finnage may be from poor water quality, it may improve in your new set up-I'd keep an eye on it
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:06 AM   #5 
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As for the fin rot, just keep the water clean and get some Aquarium Salt. You can find it pretty much anywhere, including Walmart for a few bucks (it looks like a small blue carton of milk). It helps speed up fin recovery. Just remember not to use it for more than 10 days, then after about a 10 day time of not using it, you could use it again. Over exposure to the salt can harm them.
Good luck! I hope you grow to enjoy your Betta as much as we all do. :)
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:23 AM   #6 
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Might want to unpot the java fern... they will die if the rhizome (the thick, rooty part) isn't exposed to open water. You can bury the smaller, stringier roots though.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:45 AM   #7 
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Bettaluver, thanks for clearing so much up! I'm glad to hear that most of that is normal. I'm sorry to hear about the shorter lifespan, but hopefully he'll be happy.

Turtle10, really? I thought that I read 2.5 is the smallest a tank could be cycled at. Unfortunately I won't be able to get a 5 gallon due to money and space constraints, I was originally hoping to get one D:

Sjones, I am using Prime water conditioner! And here I thought I'd mentioned everything in that giant post lol. I thought we had a turkey baster lying around the house, but I can't find it so I'm going to get one today. He has a bad habit of only eating his food when it's in the process of sinking. I've already read through the thread about Betta habitat pictures, and most of the general Betta care and how to tell if they're sick and that sort of stuff. Pictures are coming soon I promise! I've gotta wait until he wakes up though, I turned the light on and woke him up, and he didn't appreciate it haha. So he's sleeping now.

Aluyasha, thanks for the information! I guess that's why they don't sell a specific cure for finrot at petsmart. I wish I could go back and get that Betta from petsmart... It's a shame it's such a drive and so expensive to set a tank up. They're on sale too, $1.99 if you have one of those cards. By the way, I've noticed this every time I saw you post... The Betta in your avatar is gorgeous!

Kelly, oh geez thanks! I hope it's not too late to fix this. Would leaving it in the pot without any gravel be okay?
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Old 01-29-2011, 03:42 PM   #8 
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Don't worry, I think the lifespan was only a few weeks difference. I own a crowntail and I have had him for 7 months. He's awesome! He sounds cute. Do you have a camera for pics? :D
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:11 PM   #9 
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Thank you. I will tell Gyger you think he is pretty! :)
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:09 PM   #10 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....

The 2.5g filtered tank will establish a nitrogen cycle, however, due to the needed water changes on a 2.5gal tank to maintain water quality and fin health with twice weekly 50% water changes you should not have any spikes or problems while the nitrifying bacteria colonize

A turkey baster is a great idea to use between water changes to remove any uneaten food or even weekly substrate cleanings

The twice weekly water changes need to be 1-50% water only and 1-50% that also include the substrate/gravel cleaning with either a vacuum or stir and dip method

The filter media also needs a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month and when the water flow slows to maintain good water flow

When making water changes make sure the replacement water is within a couple of degrees in temp from the tank water so not to cause any temp related problems and always use a good dechlorinator with any new water added to the tank/fish and the type you have Prime is a good choice.

The best medication is fresh dechlorinated water from frequent water changes for minor problems and for more advanced fin problems a 10 day treatment with aquarium salt 1tsp/gal along with 100% daily water changes while in QT
Often with new fish the improved water quality and nutrition is all they need to help the fish immune response kick in and self heal within 7-10 days

It sounds like you already have a pretty good idea of general care...look forward to seeing some pic.....
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