Hi again everyone. I am really not sure if Claude is sick or not, but I figured there is no harm in describing what he is doing and seeing if anyone here has some insight. He is in a 10 gallon filtered tank, with a baffle on the filter to reduce current. The tank is part planted with live african sword and part artificial and has been running for about two weeks, but was cycled using a biological agent. I just tested ammonia levels last night and they were 0 ppm. I wont be able to test for nitrite or nitrate until Tuesday because nowhere in town sells kits. His last water change was a 30% change five days ago. The temperature is really the only thing that has recently changed. I had a little 50 watt Tetra heater, but I never saw it turn on. I figured it was fine because our house is usually quite warm (up to 81 degrees), but yesterday morning I woke up and his tank was 76 degrees even though the heater should come on at anything below 78. There was still no indicator light, so I am returning that one. I bought an Aqueon 50 watt to replace it and it actually has lit up a couple of times through the night. The temperature is set to 79 and it looks like the tank is at about a stable 80 degrees now.
So on to his behavior. I have noticed that he is always a bit clamped in the morning. I mean like first thing when he swims out of the cave where he sleeps. his fins just look a bit narrower than usual but he is active. This usually stops after 20-30 minutes and he perks up. Today I have been up for about an hour and his fins are still narrower than usual. His dorsal shoots up when he stops swimming. It's just that none of his fins are as wide as I am used to seeing. He is very active and swimming around like normal. I am not sure if I could expect true fin clamping to be accompanied by reduced activity or not. Also, I have not seen him flare at anything since we brought him home about two weeks ago. He has not flared at food, mirrors, nothing. I assumed that he was just very calm, but this morning when I pressed my finger to his glass he flared, and again when I put my fingertip in the water. I have never seen him act that way. I did read that sometimes they have to adjust to their new home before they will start flaring, so I know this could be normal. It is hard to describe but it seems like he is more tense than usual. His behavior reminds me of a cat bristling. I don't really know how else to describe it, but his mood seems different if that makes any sense. He has no other symptoms that I can see. Has anyone noticed their betta just in a bad mood certain days? If he were sick would he be flaring and swimming around so much? I just don't know what to make of him today. He probably didn't get as much sleep as usual last night since I was up late. Since my husband is still asleep I have yet to give him breakfast or open the blinds, but his hood light is on. Once I let some daylight in and offer food I will post an update. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great since I am still getting used to how normal bettas act. Thanks so much!
I'm afraid some people have had really iffy results cycling tanks with those biological starters. It seems that they can really skew the readings. It will be great when you can get nitrate/nitrite kits because I wonder if those readings are a bit high. That is usually the case. That would cause Claude to clamp up a bit and be just a bit . . . off. Also, have you had any weather changes? Sometimes bettas can sense those. Or so it's been said. I'm not 100%, never been able to test it. Is he eating all right?
Thanks Sakura. He is eating great so that is a good sign. There is supposed to be a big storm coming in so I guess that could be part of it too. This hadn't occurred to me when I posted this but I just adopted two large black moor goldfish. They moved in next door to him in a 30 gallon tank a few days ago. He is maybe a foot away, but they are probably still visible. I know that you cant put them in view of other bettas, and I know that you can't put them in with long-finned fish since they will think they are bettas. It seems logical that you also shouldn't put them next to long-finned goldfish. Could this be what is keeping him mildly stressed? I covered that side of his tank and he looked a bit calmer but that may just be me expecting to see improvement. Does it make sense that seeing the goldfish would upset him?
It's definitely possible that from a distance he thinks the goldfish are bettas flaring at him, since black moors do look puffed up like that. I wouldn't really put anythinf past a betta's way of thinking, that's for sure. It's good that he is eating, a betta who doesn't want to eat definitely has something up with him. I would say it's a combo of the storm, possible high nitrite/nitrate readings, and the goldfish that could be causing him to act tense. If it is supposed to be a big electrical storm with lightning, he can probably feel the electricity. Sounds like pretty much all you can do is keep an eye on him, make sure he stays eating, and test the nitrite/nitrate as soon as possible. I'm glad he seems healthy other than a little stressed.
Sounds like a good plan. That hurricane off the coast of Texas is supposed to be headed this way. It won't be that severe, but some rain at least and we had lightning yesterday. I taped some pale construction paper on the tank to block his view of the goldies, so that should at least take care of that factor. I don't really trust the LFS's test strips so I am hoping to get up to the next town on Monday or Tuesday and buy some of my own. Will be doing a water change tonight just in case. He isn't flaring anymore either since putting up the paper. Silly little one. ^_^
So true! Seems like all fish do. I don't blame him for being nervous, those moors are nuts lol. They have spent about the last hour diligently digging around all their river rocks and spitting the gravel into the bare bottom area of their tank. What little trouble-makers.
Rofl. I had to tease my husband that they aren't many out there who can make a huge mess and have me label it adorable. ^_^ They just look so darn happy. Of course, their play defeats the whole purpose of the glass area, but...awwwwww. <3