Hello all, I am new to this forum as well as new to fish ownership... I am a full time college student, and I purchased a male blue betta fish (Alec) a week ago today. I'm a huge animal person and the hardest adjustment to college life has been the lack of animals in my life, so a fish was my only option. I went to the local PetSmart and bought a plastic one gallon bowl, some red marbles, a plastic orange plant, water conditioner, and food. So far he seems to be doing alright, even though I didn't do as much research as I should have before I introduced him to his new home. But now I have done lots of reading about care and such... I learned that when there is a "bubble nest" on the water surface, it means that he is happy and healthy for the most part, and when I cleaned the bowl today, sure enough there was a bubble nest! I have his bowl on my desk so that I can keep a lamp on it all day and turn it off at night. He has a great personality as far as fish go; he watches me when I'm working at my desk or moving around within his line of sight, and he will follow my finger around the bowl, which brings me much pleasure as it is the closest I can get to "playing" with an animal right now!
Anyways, I was just curious to see if anyone had some tips for me on ways I could make his life any better, i.e. treats I can purchase on a college kid budget, things I can do to make him more comfotable, etc. I know that a plastic gallon bowl isn't the best option, but space and money are limited. I will be changing his water at least every other day. Also, what is the best way for me to clean his bowl without traumatizing him? Today, I just scooped him up in the cup I bought him in (I don't have a net) and then once I had cleaned the bowl and marbles, poured as much of the icky water out before pouring him back into the clean water. When he was in the little cup, it was like he was panicking thinking he was going to be stuck in there again... swimming around really fast and bumping into the sides, I felt really bad for scaring him but his water was disgusting and I didn't have another option. When I put him back in his home, he seemed to be "breathing" pretty hard, but he soon calmed down and is now back to normal.
Another thing, I haven't actually seen him eat, but he doesn't seem to be underweight, I have just been putting in one pellet a day. I thought that bettas would eat even if they weren't hungry, so I hope this doesn't mean he's sick. I know I can just go buy another betta if Alec doesn't make it, but I am already attached to him, as silly as that sounds, and if I don't have what it takes to keep a fish alive then I'm not going to continue to save them from the pet store just to let them die in my care.
Any tips, advice, encouragement, etc would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Ecforgie, welcome to the forum. Glad you are here and congrats on your new betta! You are off to a decent start. Just a warning, I would carefully monitor the bowl temp since you are putting the lamp on over it during the day. The lamp may/may not be making the water too warm. Bettas like a temp around 78-80.
As far as treats go, you could buy frozen bloodworms (Maybe 5.99 for a very large supply) however, since you have just 1 betta, it may be wasteful as they come in cubes most of the time. If you can find flat sheets that you can tear a small piece off of, it may be worth it.
For pellets, I would watch him when you feed him to see if he eats. He should have more than 1 pellet a day. I would do 2 feedings, 3 pellets per feeding.
Eventually, try to get him into at least a 2.5 gallon tank, preferably with a gentle filter, and a heater if needed.
To make him more comfortable, you can buy him a small cave or ornament from the petstore that he can hide inside. Just make sure there are no sharp edges he can hurt himself on.
Betta fish are great pets and very interactive for fish! You will find the more bettas you have, that each one has their own personality. :) If you really want to have fun with him, buy an r2 fish school (About $20- online) and you can teach your betta to do tricks! (It really works!) :D
Also when you have time you should post a pic of your new friend. The betta lovers on this forum love to see pics... :D
Last edited by smellsfishie; 08-27-2011 at 11:44 PM.
Ahh, much better, thanks!! As I was sitting here I saw him eat for the first time. The pellets I use keep sinking to the bottom and since I have marbles I'm afraid that he is having a hard time getting to the food. Do you think I should consider removing the marbles, or will he be ok this way?
It's a brand called Aqueon Betta Food, just tiny brown pellets. It was the only kind I could find at the pet store that was specifically for bettas... and I've been watching him... he will root around between the marbles and then open his mouth and a little tiny piece of food comes out, I guess he's just breaking it up?
Aqueon betta pellets are really small, compared to some other brands like Omega One or Hikari... It's a good brand though... I personally would just feed 1 at a time and watch him, if you want to keep the marbles. You could do 3 or 4 of those 2x a day, in my opinion. Others may think differently. But they are kind of small.