Okay, so I've read that it's okay to use a mirror occasionally so your betta can flare out and get a bit of exercise. I was just curious how long you should hold the mirror in front of him 'cause I like that he's getting exercise, and I like that he gets the chance to strut his stuff and all.. >.> and as much as it amuses me, I'd like to not get carried away and stress him to the point of sickness or death, ya know? I mean, the past couple of days, I've only been doing it once out of the day, and not very long since I'm so paranoid.. What would anyone say is the recommended amount of time and how many times out of the week should I do this?
Well I can't help with that because my bettas refuse to flare at a mirror. :P
But they are in a divided tank and can semi see each other. They flare, it seems, when ever they are bored. Everyone eats REALLY well and no one seems stressed or worried. They all swim happily and will go hours ignoring each other.
The reason I post that is because you should definitely limit how much you flare him but I don't think you have to get paranoid, actually I find that my bettas get bored if I leave something in their tank for to long or try to play with them for to long.
Other things you can do to exercise your fish include putting a washed button on a string and playing with them in the tank (I have one male that LOVES this game and a male and female that don't even care lol) also putting a ping pong ball on the surface of the water. Be sure to try different colors. Alfonso absolutely hates gold but loves brown.
You could try putting things outside the tank for him to look at and "explore" without stressing him out.
Actually redecorating his tank will give him exercise as he explores his "new" territory. This can also be loads of fun for you. :)
Just get creative and have fun with it. And your betta will tell you as soon as he starts feeling stressed.
Though I do throw in a rest day every Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes Saturday during which I don't do anything with them.
Sarahlydear: Ah, okay. I mean, it's not that my betta seems to be bored.. >.> he swims around a lot and explores. He's very fearless, but doesn't flare at anything but the mirror, and I figured the mirror would help him stretch his fins out, ya know? At first he didn't care about it, but I kept trying, and eventually he was like "... who the crap is THAT?! Rawr!" Otherwise, I'll take everything else you said into consideration, and if anything, I was already planning on changing some stuff around the next time I changed his water ^.^
I decorated the shelf I have him sitting on so there are sea shells hanging around the tank by fishing line. Sometimes I just flick one of the sea shells next to the tank and he goes right to swimming around, trying to get after it. Not violently, of course, and like I said, he doesn't flare at it ^.^; I think he's just trying to figure out what the crap it is..
but yeah, I appreciate the advice very much ^.^
N03113: Yeah, anytime I change his water, I use a net and he freaks OUT. I try to be gentle as possible when using it, but he does NOT want to be anywhere near that thing... and I don't think it would be good for my fish to use the net as "play time" >.>;
I'll be sure to use the mirror every other day ^.^ I know in comparison to the other things he reacts to, the mirror has to be triggering stress. I do want Zabimaru to be able to stretch out his fins and develop a beautiful display, but at the same time I care too much about him to risk anything ill happening to him...
I've only got a 1.5g so I have to change the water more often. I have a syphon to help drain the water and pick up little bits of stuff that end up getting left behind like poop or tiny plant pieces. I've thought about leaving him in whenever I do the 50% changes, but he's VERY bold and curious, and with the limited room, I don't want to risk squishing him against the tank wall by accident or accidentally sucking him up >.< Plus the way I figured is if he already doesn't like the net, I can only imagine how much he'd freak out if he noticed his water was going down and some new foreign object coming into his territory.
I've got several hand-drawn colored pencil betta glued to popsicle sticks that I suddenly startle my boys with... lots of fun, especially if you get the "RAWR... oh, I know you zzzz" response.
Nothing as funny as getting someone with the same gag twice!
I usually leave the mirror beside the tank for a while on most my boys, they get to rawr at it and after a while they know its their own reflection.
I use it on my girls from time to time too, they don't flare at it. They start to recognize themselves in it and will pose and wiggle for fun.
When Sherbert was young and his fins were healing I put him in the 4-way in the sorority tank and he stretched his fins out nicely... and got to the point where his fins were kinda cramped out flared and he was barely twitching to the surface to get more air. I got him back in his tank quickly when he started doing that. You can pretty much tell when your boy starts to get beligerant based on his sip-of-air, if he splashes through the surface in a violent pass its time to take away.