I am watching my friend's two bettas this weekend while she is away. She has a male and a female (in a VERY small container. I am going to convince her to get a bigger one.) and the two don't get along extremely well. I saw the male flaring his fins at the female quite a bit last night. This morning, I had about 3 hours of classes, and when I got back to my dorm, the female wasn't there. I found her on my carpet and thought she was dead until she jumped a little bit as I picked her up. I currently have her in a small cup as it's the best I have at the moment. She was covered in fuzz and other stuff that comes from being on the carpet for a while. I don't know if I will be able to save her. She mostly stays at the bottom of the cup and is breathing pretty hard. I've changed her water a few times already because of the carpet stuff floating around. I know she needs to go up for air, and I know that she can swim, but she is choosing not to. How often does she need air? I don't have any betta treatment here and have no way of getting some, but is there anything you guys can suggest?
I just moved her to a bowl because she will have a little more room and won't have to swim as far for air. Her condition hasn't changed much besides the fact that she is cleaner now and doesn't have as much carpet debris as before.
After watching her for a little bit, she seems to be going up for air on her own, but it looks like it is almost painful for her to try to swim. She doesn't appear injured, though, so maybe she will be alright. I just wish I knew how long she had been out of the water.
First, to address the poor little female.....shes probably just very stressed, not only from her jump(poor thing, likely just trying to get away from that male...)but from being kept with a male beforehand as well.
Lower the water level so its easier for her to get up for air and keep her in a dark area where she can rest and recover. Sadly, thats probably all you can do for her for now.....but the good news is that Bettas are tough little fish, and so long as she has no visible injuries she should hopefully recover within the next couple of days.
Now, the other issue...
Please, please do not put them back together.....males and females should never be housed together(unless temporarily for breeding purposes, but thats different). Bettas are aggressive fish, and while females can sometimes be kept together in large tanks in groups under the proper conditions by a more experienced keeper(however, this doesn't always work out either), both genders can and will kill one another. Even during breeding there is always the chance of death.
Keeping a male and female in a small bowl together......its inevitable one or both of them will end up dead eventually.
Of course, you can't be blamed as these aren't your fish....but I'm offering this information so that you can relay it to your friend when you return the fish to her.
Also, while separating them should be the first and most pressing thing to tell her....perhaps suggest an upgrade; a 5 gallon divided down the middle would be a perfect home for both, or just two separate Medium+sized Kritter Keepers(its a cheaper way to go)as Bettas are, in fact, very active and intelligent tropical fish who need proper space to swim and 'stretch their fins', if you will, and heated water at 78-81 degrees F year round.
You can also suggest she sign up here on the forum if she has any questions ;)
Anywho, its unfortunate that you got stuck with this mess, and I hope that the female recovers. :(
Thanks for the help! I have never had females, myself, so I didn't know that you couldn't put them in with a male. That is definitely good to know for future reference. I suggested that my friend get a larger bowl. I have a 1 gallon bowl for my male right now, which is easiest since I am at college and have to take it home with me on breaks. I suggested that she try to find a 2 gallon and get ornaments with lots of hiding places for the female, but maybe I will just tell her to get two separate bowls.
She seems to have a little more energy now, though she still doesn't move much, but hopefully she will pull through!
Maybe wrap a towel around her bowl to keep it a little darker even...it'll help with the stress. Its good to hear shes got a little more energy, thats definitely a start :)
Oh yes...keeping males and females together is just like keeping males together. They can, and will, fight and kill each other.
However, also like two males, a female and a male can co-exist in a divided tank of 5+ gallons just fine provided the divider is secure and the water is low enough/top of divider high enough that the female can't jump over.
A good thing for your friend, and even you, to think about is Kritter Keepers from the rodent or reptile section(Medium or larger). They are GREAT if you are on a budget(they run roughly around $10), very light and easy to carry and transport for water changes/moving(even lighter then a glass bowl), they can be safely heated, and they come with a nice lid to prevent any jumping(bettas are jumpers, especially females). They are also small enough to fit almost anywhere if you have limited space.
Over all, its a great, cheap alternative :)