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Old 06-22-2011, 09:48 PM   #1 
ThorAndGhost
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Possible Inbred Betta?

Hi All!

Well I'm new to this forum so please, be gentle with me!

I HAVE been reading all kinds of posts, and have been on at least 2 dozen different websites trying to determine if my poor cellophane betta, Ghost, is um, well, "special" ... shall we say?

If he is, well, I just need some advice on how to provide him with the best possible care I can. And if he isn't? Well, if someone could explain to me why he's been acting so strange, that would be a big help!

So essentially I have a lovely red betta, Thor, who was purchased from the same petstore. He swims around like a happy little maniac, makes bubble nests, and does the "happy dance" whenever I show up near the bowl. He's got a stellar appetite, and I fast him once a week.

Both fish are in their own 2 gal (I think, we use metric in Canada!) bowls, and I do 10 - 25% water changes daily, add water conditioner, and 100% water changes weekly. When I first got them, I added a small dose of bettafix just to make sure any possible health issues were taken care of, but Ghost just seems WEIRD.

Now, he swims around, but this "enthusiasm" level is nowhere near Thor's. He refuses to eat pellets (I tried 2 different brands, I tried crushing up both into really super-tiny pieces, but no luck), and he'll sort of "chase" a bloodworm (the frozen kind, but well-defrosted and served at room temperature), but then he gets confused. It's like, he knows he's supposed to chase the thing, but then he's not really sure what to do with it. He'll put his mouth really close to it, like he WANTS to eat it, and then sort of forget what he's doing and let it float away. At this point, one of two things happens. First, it'll float away and he'll forget all about it, or alternatively, he'll chase it again and we'll start the whole process over again. Now, on the very RARE occasion that he actually EATS a bloodworm, he spits it out instantly and then forgets about it. I tried serving them in much smaller pieces, but essentially the same thing happens. I have had him for a week now, and he still won't eat! I thought maybe he wanted to "soften" the food up and eat it again, but 30 minutes later, the stuff is still in his bowl, untouched and of course, I have to remove it.

Ghost also makes the most unusual bubble nests I've ever seen. They're sort of erratic and haphazard. There's just about 10 or 15 random bubbles floating, well, EVERYWHERE. It takes him much longer to build them than Thor, but they never quite seem ... uh, "together" ?? It's as if he started making a bubble nest in one spot, forgot about it, and then moved on to another, and another ....

I know bubble nests aren't really an indicator of health, but this is rather unusual.

Other stuff you should know:

There is no heater on the bowls because my apartment is so friggin' hot, I think it's already comparable to tropical temperatures.

Both fish have nice pebbles on the bottom of their tanks, and lovely, SOFT artificial plants to hide in and rest on. The plants are quite big, but it leaves them plenty of room to swim as well.

Neither fish can see each other. Thor flares up at anything, so I thought maybe Ghost might just be shy or docile at first, and I didn't want to stress him out with a dominant neighbor.

Ghost will follow my finger if I place it on the bowl, but only about half the time. Sometimes he seems to be in a trance, completely unaware of his surroundings. If I make a noise nearby, like clinking a glass or something, Ghost won't move when he's in his "trance." I think I could change his water when he's in this state, and he still won't budge. Sometimes he's so deep into it, I have to check to make sure he's still alive!

There is no visible sign of disease. Fins are not clamped. Shone a flashlight on them, no sign of velvet. No fuzzy stuff growing on them. The only comparable sign of disease is Ghost's lethargy. I know he's getting used to his new home, but he seems to have a bit of a split personality or something!

Has anyone encountered anything like this? Please let me know! I really want to give Ghost the best home possible. And if by some chance he may be inbred (I hear cellophanes are quite rare in petshops), then that's okay too. I still love him, I just want to know how to take better care of him!!!

Thanks everyone!
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:53 PM   #2 
Silverfang
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I'm curious, how long have you had Ghost? If he's still new, he could simply be adjusting. IT can sometimes take a week for a betta to start eating once he's in a new environment.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:56 PM   #3 
ThorAndGhost
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Only a week, but would this also explain his "trances" and the weird bubble nests?
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:01 PM   #4 
MikiMaki
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Bettas like all animals differ in personalities, maybe you're just very used to Thor's behavior and the way Splendens are "supposed" to act. Like a toy poodle who doesn't yip at everything. =)
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:03 PM   #5 
Silverfang
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I'm not really sure about the rest. He could still be adjusting. The bubbles, nothing to worry about, my boy would do that, he'd have a bunch just spread out on the surface of the water.
Hopefully someone else can give you more info.
Just curious, do his gills move normally when he goes into these "trances"?
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:08 PM   #6 
ThorAndGhost
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I did consider that, which is why I won't let the two fish see each other, but I think more than anything I just want to get poor Ghost to eat. The rest of his behavior is no big deal to me, in fact, I rather like the idea of having two pets with such different personalities, but more than anything I just want to make sure I can keep Ghost healthy.

It's so hard to tell if he has a disease, or he's just not used to his new home, or if he's downright weird! I bought Thor only a day earlier, so I use him as a basis for comparison only to factor out the possibility that maybe the water here in the city is too hard, or something along those lines.

I was wondering is cellophanes are more docile by nature, or if it's just a random thing with all bettas.

Anyway, any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!!
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:10 PM   #7 
Silverfang
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Just keep trying with the food, removing what's not eaten after 5 minutes or so. I'm sure he'll eat eventually. (Of course he might be the cunning sort who will get you to feed him just what he wants. I tell you, they are smarter than we give them credit for)
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:12 PM   #8 
ThorAndGhost
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Silverfang: Thanks for the reply!

His gills BARELY move in his trances! It's almost as if he's died! I honestly have to check and double check to make sure he hasn't died. If I try to remove uneaten food while he's in a trance, he won't flinch. I could move something right next to him and he still won't budge. Any ideas?
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:22 PM   #9 
MikiMaki
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Perhaps he's blind? I would assume he would feel the vibrations of your finger or net in the water though...
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:05 PM   #10 
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Maybe you should put his bowl next to Thors to see if he will flare. Or show him a mirror. It could be an indicator that shows if he is blind or not, which he could be if he goes into these "trances" where he doesn't react to movement. I've also read that if you put Ghost's bowl right next to Thor, so that Ghost will seem Thor eatting, it may entice him to want to eat as well. Kind of a getting-his-share-of-the-food-while-he-can thing.

My males used to (and sometimes still) do that bubble thing. I think its almost like they are still "learning" how to do it. My boy Chuckie Sue used to do it for quite a while, and then one day, he made a HUGE nest.

Cellophane or not doesn't matter. They are both betta splendens; cellophane is just a color type (like a brown dog or a grey dog), and halfmoon (for example) is just a fin type. It doesn't really have an effect on their personality/behaviour. (Except halfmoons are in general, more likely to be tail biters for some reason, probably the weight of their fins).

He may not eat until he's ready. My bettas wouldn't eat the first day or two I got them either.

Maybe get a thermometer and check the exact water temp.Some bettas are more sensitive to temperatures than others. My betta Spazz is fine at 76* (he gets cranky at anything higher), while Chuckie Sue needs at least 78*+ to be "himself".

Does he rub himself against things, like his plant or the gravel?
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