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Old 04-10-2011, 08:05 PM   #1 
lilxsteffie
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Did I do something wrong?? =(

I apologize for the length in advance! I just wanna get my bettas back to being strong, healthy & beautiful =)

I just got 2 new betta fish (1 male, 1 female, no names yet) from my bf about 5 days ago. They both were not in the greatest health conditions either, pretty lethargic, sat at the bottom of their cups, not moving much, dull in color. The male is a crowntail, light orange body & blue/white tail & fins. I think he might have fin rot, but I'm not sure since his fins haven't receded or gotten worse since I've had him and I haven't done any treatment for anything yet. The female is a veiltail, light orange/pinkish body, red fins/tail w/orange striations. She doesn't seem to have any physical ailments. I fed them the night I got them, the male has a healthy appetite. The female didn't eat anything, kinda acts like shes afraid of the food because she swims away from it.

Spent about 3 days setting up their tank while keeping them in separate 1.5 gallon bowls. New tank is 10 gal w/a opaque divider so they cant see each other. The pH is a solid 7.0, nitrate/nitrite levels at 0ppm, temp is at 80F, has a heater, no filter (still researching on which to get or if i should just stick to water changes), not sure of the water hardness. I conditioned the water using nutrafin aqua plus & added some aquarium salt also. Decoration wise, I have black/pink substrate, 2 fake plants on each side, and each has a pirate themed tunnel decoration, i rinsed everything with hot water before putting them into the tank. I waited 24 hrs before transferring them from the bowls to the new set up and I did acclimate them, spent 15 mins on each fish pouring out some of the bowl water and adding some of the new tank water (3 times). I just transferred them to this tank last night.

This morning when I went to check on them, their tank was very cloudy! I got worried so I checked the ph/nitrate/nitrite levels and they were still at 7.0 and 0ppm. Don't know why it would get so cloudy, it wasn't when I transferred them last night. However my fish seem to be more active, they swim around a lot more, but when they're not swimming they're just float in a corner majority of the time. I tried feeding them again this morning (top fin betta bits), the male is still a very aggressive eater, he snaps the food up right when it falls in and/or swims up to it like he's hunting...its cute! The female on the other hand still hasn't eaten anything and still reacts scared when I drop some food in the tank. Observations when swimming...the male explores a lot and swims around calmly but once he touches a decoration it's like he freaks out and darts in all kinds of directions! Once this happens he continues to bump into other things which sends him freaking out some more. Usually after he slows/calms down he goes back up to the surface and floats in the corner. The female explores every now and then also, she's always a calm swimmer. But it seems like she can't stay near the bottom half of the tank for extended periods of time. She'll swim down half way, then come up for air, then go half way again, and come up for air again. She does this about 3-5 times before swimming around the bottom once then she immediately comes back up to the surface and floats in the corner. Are my fish sick?

I'll post up some pics in a few, just waiting for my camera to charge. Thanks in advance!!! I hope to get some advice and hear from you all soon!!!
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:42 PM   #2 
Gerty7408
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The cloudiness is due to something called a bacterial bloom. It also happened to my tank, so don't worry! People just recommended to me that I should do a water change within a couple of days. :) Your male betta sounds totally healthy and happy! As for the female betta, I'm not too sure. I just had a female betta (I've only had males in the past) she seemed really shy and timid, however then she quickly got sick and passed away within a few days.

Not saying that is what is wrong with yours AT ALL! But I just haven't had experience with female bettas... so I don't know if their behavior differs from males.

Sounds like you're doing a great job and you've educated yourself well!!
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:49 PM   #3 
lilxsteffie
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Pictures =)



Sorry, I know they're really blurry, it's an old camera & the water is still cloudy =(
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:16 AM   #4 
roadrunner
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Your tank is not properly cycled, so I would suggest frequent water changes and maybe get seachem stability to help you establish bio filter faster. (You can google articles on how to cycle your aquarium if you want to know more) If you are using test strips, please be aware they are not very accurate. Get some individual liquid tests instead or take sample of your water to LPS. As for adding salt, it's good for fin rot, but not for longterm use. Clean water and optimal stable temperature is the key to keep your bettas healty. Also good food and safe environment, so you may want to check your decoration for any sharp edges, especially plastic plants. If you run pantyhose over the plants and they rip, most likely they will rip your bettas tails as well.
For food, I can recommend hikari micro wafers. My boys love them! I feed them 2 pellets in the morning, 2 at night, one day a week no food and I switch pellets with blood worms or daphnia once every few days. Daphnia work like a natural laxative and helps with digestion, blood worms are a treat.
I hope that helps.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:34 AM   #5 
LolaQuigs
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Welcome and congratulations on your new fish! They're very pretty!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilxsteffie View Post

The pH is a solid 7.0, nitrate/nitrite levels at 0ppm, temp is at 80F, has a heater
Have you tested for ammonia? That's a really important parameter to watch, especially since your tank isn't cycled; so it's definitely a good idea to pick up a test kit that includes a test for ammonia, if yours doesn't.

Quote:
no filter (still researching on which to get or if i should just stick to water changes), not sure of the water hardness.
Bettas don't need a filter, but in that size tank I highly recommend one. Without a filter you will need to do a 50% change and a 100% change every week, and 100% changes are a huge pain in larger tanks. If you get a filter, you can do two 50% changes until your tank cycles, and once it's finished cycling you only need to do one 50% change per week. So a filter definitely cuts down on the work for you; not to mention, having a cycled tank will help keep your parameters stable.

Quote:
I conditioned the water using nutrafin aqua plus & added some aquarium salt also.
It's a really good idea to have aquarium salt on hand because it is a safe, natural way to treat several betta illnesses, however it should only be used to treat illness. Overexposure to salt can weaken a fish's immunity, so I'd stop using the salt, but definitely keep it on hand, just in case.

Quote:
Decoration wise, I have black/pink substrate, 2 fake plants on each side, and each has a pirate themed tunnel decoration,
It can never hurt to have more plants. :) They make the tank look so nice, and bettas really like a lot of crowding. Just make sure they're silk, or they are soft enough not to snag pantyhose if they are plastic. I like the pirate theme!

Quote:
i rinsed everything with hot water before putting them into the tank. I waited 24 hrs before transferring them from the bowls to the new set up and I did acclimate them, spent 15 mins on each fish pouring out some of the bowl water and adding some of the new tank water (3 times). I just transferred them to this tank last night.

This morning when I went to check on them, their tank was very cloudy!
How long did you rinse everything (especially gravel)? I know I always rinse and rinse and rinse my substrate...it takes ages...and when I put it in and fill the tank, it's still cloudy from dirt and dust! So it's possible that your tank is cloudy because the decor and gravel wasn't rinsed well enough.

Quote:
I got worried so I checked the ph/nitrate/nitrite levels and they were still at 7.0 and 0ppm. Don't know why it would get so cloudy, it wasn't when I transferred them last night. However my fish seem to be more active, they swim around a lot more, but when they're not swimming they're just float in a corner majority of the time.
I'm glad they're perking up. Some bettas just take a little while to adjust to new surroundings, so it's pretty common for them to seem out of it for the first few days. Bettas aren't constantly on the go, they do like to rest. It's really nice to have plants with large, flat leaves; they really seem to love resting on those!

Quote:
I tried feeding them again this morning (top fin betta bits), the male is still a very aggressive eater, he snaps the food up right when it falls in and/or swims up to it like he's hunting...its cute! The female on the other hand still hasn't eaten anything and still reacts scared when I drop some food in the tank.
Some bettas take days and even weeks to start eating. It's just another part of them getting used to the new environment. She'll figure out that the pellets are food eventually, just keep trying to feed her, and if she doesn't eat it, remove the pellets from the tank so they don't contaminate the water.

Quote:
Observations when swimming...the male explores a lot and swims around calmly but once he touches a decoration it's like he freaks out and darts in all kinds of directions! Once this happens he continues to bump into other things which sends him freaking out some more.
Does he ever look like he's rubbing up against the decorations? Or does he just get startled when he accidentally touches them? If he's rubbing against them, it's a symptom of parasites. If he's just freaking out when he stumbles across them, it's probably another example of him getting used to the new tank.

Quote:
Usually after he slows/calms down he goes back up to the surface and floats in the corner. The female explores every now and then also, she's always a calm swimmer. But it seems like she can't stay near the bottom half of the tank for extended periods of time. She'll swim down half way, then come up for air, then go half way again, and come up for air again. She does this about 3-5 times before swimming around the bottom once then she immediately comes back up to the surface and floats in the corner. Are my fish sick?
Does she ever tip to one side or float vertically? She might just prefer the top (bettas are generally surface dwellers) but if she has any of these other symptoms and/or she seems like she really wants to stay down and can't help but float to the top, she could have swim bladder disorder. She does look a little bloated in the picture, so it could be SBD. How much/often do you feed? Google swim bladder disorder and read up on the specifics of the symptoms and see if it seems like what she has.
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:28 AM   #6 
lilxsteffie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner View Post
Your tank is not properly cycled, so I would suggest frequent water changes and maybe get seachem stability to help you establish bio filter faster. (You can google articles on how to cycle your aquarium if you want to know more)
Thanks for the tips, are there any brands you could suggest? I've been reading up on filters but still feel under informed about them. I also asked a few local tropical fish stores & pet shops about cycling & filters but it was really hard to understand them since they all spoke broken english. I tried asking at the local petco & petsmart but the workers there don't seem too knowledgeable. Also another user said that the cloudiness was due to "bacterial bloom" not sure what that is but, is that a possibility also?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner View Post
If you are using test strips, please be aware they are not very accurate. Get some individual liquid tests instead or take sample of your water to LPS. As for adding salt, it's good for fin rot, but not for longterm use.
I used the Api liquid tests for both the pH & Ammonia. I'm a chem major so I know from experience that the test strips aren't accurate lol. Can the aquarium salt harm them? A friend who has a few bettas told me to add some whenever I do a water change and she's had hers for 2 years now. If it is harmful I'll just clean out the tank 100% and start over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner View Post
Clean water and optimal stable temperature is the key to keep your bettas healty. Also good food and safe environment, so you may want to check your decoration for any sharp edges, especially plastic plants. If you run pantyhose over the plants and they rip, most likely they will rip your bettas tails as well.
I try to keep the water as clean as possible, when they were in the 1.5 gallon bowls I did at least a 50% water change daily. Yesterday was their first day in the 10 gallon tank so I haven't done any water change yet. I checked & tested the decorations on some stalkings already and it was fine, the plastic plants are more like eraser in texture compared to hard plastic. The tank temp is at a pretty constant 80F, I have the heater set so once the temp drops below that it turns on to bring it back up.
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:35 AM   #7 
lilxsteffie
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Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
Have you tested for ammonia? That's a really important parameter to watch, especially since your tank isn't cycled; so it's definitely a good idea to pick up a test kit that includes a test for ammonia, if yours doesn't.
It is a liquid ammonia test kit from Api, sorry I forgot to mention. Any tips on cycling and/or filters? I was planning on getting a filter my next payday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
It's a really good idea to have aquarium salt on hand because it is a safe, natural way to treat several betta illnesses, however it should only be used to treat illness. Overexposure to salt can weaken a fish's immunity, so I'd stop using the salt, but definitely keep it on hand, just in case.
Thanks for the advice! I'll let my friend know as well, she has a few bettas and was the one who told me to add some aquarium salt whenever I do water changes. I'll probably just move them back into their 1.5 gallon bowls and start the 10 gallon set up over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
It can never hurt to have more plants. :) They make the tank look so nice, and bettas really like a lot of crowding. Just make sure they're silk, or they are soft enough not to snag pantyhose if they are plastic. I like the pirate theme!
I originally wanted to get live plants, but I need to do more research on keeping them. I'm a student and I work part time so I don't need/want and plants that are high maintenance...figured fake would be the right place to start lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
How long did you rinse everything (especially gravel)? I know I always rinse and rinse and rinse my substrate...it takes ages...and when I put it in and fill the tank, it's still cloudy from dirt and dust! So it's possible that your tank is cloudy because the decor and gravel wasn't rinsed well enough.
I think I rinsed everything pretty well. I put the substrate in my extra large noodle strainer and just kept rinsing and rinsing till the water ran clear through it. I'll rinse it all again when I re-do the 10 gallon tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
I'm glad they're perking up. Some bettas just take a little while to adjust to new surroundings, so it's pretty common for them to seem out of it for the first few days. Bettas aren't constantly on the go, they do like to rest. It's really nice to have plants with large, flat leaves; they really seem to love resting on those!
Haha yea I read that somewhere also! I was planning on getting each of them one of those leaf hammocks from petco, I thought they were soo cute haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
Some bettas take days and even weeks to start eating. It's just another part of them getting used to the new environment. She'll figure out that the pellets are food eventually, just keep trying to feed her, and if she doesn't eat it, remove the pellets from the tank so they don't contaminate the water.
Oooh ok, well I'll just keep watching her and trying to feed her then. How long is too long for her not to eat though? I feel like shes starving just because my male eats like he's never gonna eat again whenever I drop the few pellets in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
Does he ever look like he's rubbing up against the decorations? Or does he just get startled when he accidentally touches them? If he's rubbing against them, it's a symptom of parasites. If he's just freaking out when he stumbles across them, it's probably another example of him getting used to the new tank.
I don't think he's rubbing against them. When I watch him, it looks like he's trying to swim by the decorations as close as possible without touching them, but the second he does touch one he goes crazy and starts darting around. I'm really scared that he might have fin rot though, does it look like he has it from the picture? I'll try to post up clearer ones later if I can borrow a higher quality camera from one of my friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
Does she ever tip to one side or float vertically? She might just prefer the top (bettas are generally surface dwellers) but if she has any of these other symptoms and/or she seems like she really wants to stay down and can't help but float to the top, she could have swim bladder disorder. She does look a little bloated in the picture, so it could be SBD. How much/often do you feed? Google swim bladder disorder and read up on the specifics of the symptoms and see if it seems like what she has.
No, she floats normally, not tilted to either side vertically or horizontally. It just seems like she can't go in to the deeper half of the tank for long cuz has to breath from the surface of the water. She does head up to the surface a lot more frequently than my male. I feed them 3-4 pellets a day, 1-2 when I wake up in the morning, 1 in the afternoon after I get home from school and then the last one at night after I get off of work. My male always seems hungry and ready to eat when fed but the female hasn't touched anything yet. And I'll do some reading on the swim bladder disorder.

Thanks for the welcome & the advice!
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:36 PM   #8 
LolaQuigs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilxsteffie View Post
It is a liquid ammonia test kit from Api, sorry I forgot to mention. Any tips on cycling and/or filters? I was planning on getting a filter my next payday.
Good, that tends to be a very reliable test kit! I can't offer advice on types/brands of filters, as all of mine came along with my tanks in kits. Just check the label, and find one specified for the size of your tank. Bettas don't like a lot of current, but it can be hard to tell how strong a filter is before you try it. If you get one that is too strong, it's easy to baffle it by tying some aquarium sponge to the outflow.



Quote:

I originally wanted to get live plants, but I need to do more research on keeping them. I'm a student and I work part time so I don't need/want and plants that are high maintenance...figured fake would be the right place to start lol.
Live plants are great for simulating a natural environment, and they help reduce ammonia. I've had bad luck keeping them alive, so I just use silk plants, but I think I'm going to give live plants another try once I've done a bit more research. This thread is a very helpful guide to live plants.



Quote:
I think I rinsed everything pretty well. I put the substrate in my extra large noodle strainer and just kept rinsing and rinsing till the water ran clear through it. I'll rinse it all again when I re-do the 10 gallon tank.
You really can't rinse that stuff enough! So if you are taking it down and starting over, it's definitely not a bad idea to re-rinse everything just to be safe.


Quote:
Haha yea I read that somewhere also! I was planning on getting each of them one of those leaf hammocks from petco, I thought they were soo cute haha.
I have those betta hammocks too, but be careful with them. They contain a metal piece that can rust, and one user here recently had a horrible experience due to the metal poking out. There is a thread in the Betta Habitats section that shows how to do a safe, metal-free DIY betta hammock, so that might be something to look into.



Quote:
Oooh ok, well I'll just keep watching her and trying to feed her then. How long is too long for her not to eat though? I feel like shes starving just because my male eats like he's never gonna eat again whenever I drop the few pellets in.
Some people here have had bettas go upwards of two weeks without eating. They can survive several weeks without eating, so don't worry, she won't starve! However, prolonged disinterest in food can be a symptom of illness. But if she seems healthy and doesn't display any other signs of disease, I wouldn't worry about it right now.

It could also be that she is a picky eater, or the pellets you have might be too big for her. You might want to purchase a couple different brands and see if there is something else she likes a little bit better.


Quote:
I don't think he's rubbing against them. When I watch him, it looks like he's trying to swim by the decorations as close as possible without touching them, but the second he does touch one he goes crazy and starts darting around. I'm really scared that he might have fin rot though, does it look like he has it from the picture? I'll try to post up clearer ones later if I can borrow a higher quality camera from one of my friends.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but his fins look ok to me. Fin rot is characterized by the edges of a fish's fins becoming black; since your fish has naturally black fins, that also makes it hard to tell. Clearer pictures might help. But in the meantime just keep an eye on them and watch out for any changes.


Quote:
No, she floats normally, not tilted to either side vertically or horizontally. It just seems like she can't go in to the deeper half of the tank for long cuz has to breath from the surface of the water. She does head up to the surface a lot more frequently than my male. I feed them 3-4 pellets a day, 1-2 when I wake up in the morning, 1 in the afternoon after I get home from school and then the last one at night after I get off of work. My male always seems hungry and ready to eat when fed but the female hasn't touched anything yet. And I'll do some reading on the swim bladder disorder.
As long as she's not having buoyancy problems, she probably doesn't have SBD. Overfeeding or too many freeze dried treats can lead to bloat, which can lead to SBD, but your feeding schedule sounds great to me. Other than the disinterest in food (which I'm sure will change soon enough) she sounds like she is exhibiting normal behavior.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:45 AM   #9 
Harley
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Smile

I've had decent luck with my Java fern so far. I just got some liquid fertilizer for it and some sunlight. It hasn't died yet and I'm no plant expert.

I bought some substrate that said it was dust free and didn't need rinsing. I was skeptical so I rinsed it anyway, it was still a bit dusty for a day or so. You really have to wash it multiple times to get it all clean.
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