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Old 06-01-2011, 09:25 AM   #1 
Sakura8
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Too Timid to Eat

I've noticed my new girl is too shy to come to the surface much, only to breath. When I try to feed her, she darts away at the sight of my hand and hides in her plants; ultimately I end up removing the pellet before it dissolves into a mess. Would it be acceptable to try and feed her a bottom-feeder food until she's no longer so shy? I have tried frozen foods but the things were a pain to feed because I couldn't break off a small enough bit for one tiny betta and what I did get in there was too big for her to eat. She kept having to spit it out and try again and I ended up having to vacuum up the rest which probably stressed her. So far, the only thing she's eaten has been a few freeze-dried bloodworms. And yes, I know, don't feed those too often etc. I'm picking up some garlic later today, but in the event that fails . . .
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:31 AM   #2 
Burd
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I don't know what kind of frozen foods you're feeding them, but I've been feeding all of my girls and boys frozen brine shrimp. I don't feed it frozen - I always let it defrost and control how much I give them right off of my finger. If you defrost it, you can just drop the right amount in and let it float to the bottom. Frozen brine shrimp have been great about being tiny enough for even my smallest fishies.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:37 AM   #3 
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Problem is I read in a book that you should never feed food that has been thawed and refrozen because it could kill them. It doesn't say why it can kill them, though. So I've been trying to break off just enough but unless you thaw the stuff, it's too hard to handle.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:16 PM   #4 
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Anyway, the issue wasn't with frozen food so much as that she's just too timid to come to the surface to eat. She darts away when she sees my hand over her. Also, I think even Hikari pellets are too big for her and they're the smallest of the pellets I have. So I got New Life Spectrum Small Fish Formula .5mm Sinking Pellets (whew, what a long name). They don't sink that fast so even my glutton male can eat them. I *think* she's eaten them. It's hard to tell because she won't eat when I'm in the room, but they have all gone missing. Even the two that eventually did float down - I did see her nibble those up. So I'm glad she's eating something that's not freeze-dried bloodworms. But she's still so shy!

By the way, I really don't know why they say not to feed frozen food that's been thawed and refrozen. It's in my betta "bible" Aquarium Care of Bettas by David Boruchowitz. I'll google it sometime and find out why.
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:04 PM   #5 
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Same reason you don't do it with raw meat for people. Possible bacteria and subsequent bacterial infection. I've refrigerated my leftover bloodworm cubes for a second day but never longer then that. :)

My Gourami had the same problem. I just kept my hand motionless over the water with food between my fingers and when he came up I'd drop it. It took him about 3 days to learn hand over water=food. It might take your shy girl longer.

I don't see anything wrong with supplementing her with sinking pellets though, as long as she's eating them. Bettas are hunters anyway. They'll find pretty much anything that's edible.
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:21 PM   #6 
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Thanks Vaygirl. Lately I have been putting my hand in there with her. It's actually really cute. She inches forward and up, slowly, slowly . . . then darts to the surface for air and flashes back down to the bottom. But she's getting better, moving around my hand more and more. Her pellets are too small to hold but I'll try it with a bloodworm, if I can stomach holding it . . .
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:44 PM   #7 
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My recent two fish were very shy... I would just sit by them and let them get used to my presence. Dont disturb the water or make any sudden movements. They'll soon associate you with food.
Your presence will soon become a pleasant thing.
Just give your fish time.

Think about how many MAJOR changes its went thru recently. Allow your fish to adjust.
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:24 AM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayneForhest View Post
My recent two fish were very shy... I would just sit by them and let them get used to my presence. Dont disturb the water or make any sudden movements. They'll soon associate you with food.
Your presence will soon become a pleasant thing.
Just give your fish time.

Think about how many MAJOR changes its went thru recently. Allow your fish to adjust.
Thanks for the advice, RayneForhest. I'm glad to report that, slowly, she's opening up. Her temp tank is on my desk where I spend a lot of time so she sees me a lot and I found some food she can eat with her tiny mouth (as long as I don't openly watch). She's getting to where she will swim around my fingers if I put them in the tank. It's cute - she inches forward and up, bit by bit, then darts to the surface and grabs some air, darts back down and then inches back to my fingers. It's like she's testing to make sure they don't move.

But oy, no kidding about major changes. In the first 12 hours, she moved four times. The tank she was supposed to go in malfunctioned so she went back into the cup she came in. Then a plant leaked green dye in that cup overnight so she had to be moved to a different cup. Finally, I got an emergency temp tank set up and she's moved into that. So I don't blame her for being shy at all. I just worried she wouldn't eat (or breathe, for that matter).
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:33 PM   #9 
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Mine's made quite a few changes also. He recognizes me to an extent + behaviour conditioning ie opening the tank lid. I just found a good technique to feeding him betta pellets, it will limit spitting out and minimise uneaten food. Soak the pellets and squeeze them flat. A toothpick to take tiny bits off the pellet and feed the fish. The size and timing for next bit will probably differ. My betta follows the green tooth pick quite eagerly and even biting it when it can :). What sort of vacuum to you use to remove uneaten food? Its no big issue with a 1/2gal tank to change water and remove the food but larger tanks are something else.

Last edited by nel3; 06-03-2011 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:29 PM   #10 
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Thank you for the tips, nel3, they're very helpful. I just use a plain ol' gravel vac since she's currently in a barebottom isolation tank. I hope to move her to the 10g once I'm sure she doesn't have any diseases. She's getting better, still darts away at sudden movements, but at least I see her coming to the surface a little more often. Before, she was skulking along the bottom and hiding in her plants.
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