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Old 09-04-2011, 10:57 PM   #1 
ejcapulet
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Question A handicapped Betta?

Recently, my beloved Renoir succumbed to old age (he was 4 and my tropical fish provider said she'd never heard of a betta much over 3), since he was kind enough to go down slowly I was prepared for it. So I replaced him with a stunning blue-and-cream half-moon tail male. In the store I noticed that this new fish swam in such a way that I never got a look at his left eye - his right eye was always facing outwards. Other than that oddity, he was very responsive to me: I like my fish friendly, so it was love at first sight.

Once I got him home, acclimatized, and in the tank I got a good look at his right side; I was shocked to see that his right eye is tiny and seems to have no lens! His left eye appears mostly normal but not to work all that well either (it looked cloudy so I put him on a round of tetracycline) because he spends a whole lot of time nosing things and then twisting around so he can get his functional eye close to them. Both eyes do move and such and he reacts to light and (to a lesser extent) movement, but I have to tap the side of the tank just above the water-line to get his attention to feed him! Is this something common or was he injured as a fry or what? If so, are there other common problems I should be aware of? And what on earth can I do to make his life easier? The tank is two-gallon, well-planted, all decorations are smooth stone, I change the water twice a week and feed only specialized all-meat betta flakes, and he has a low-flow filter and mini heater, so he has all the comforts but I need to know if there’s anything I can do to make his tank more handicapped-fish friendly.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:26 PM   #2 
Luimeril
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he may be totally blind in that eye. having a blind, or partly blind betta isn't that different from having a betta who's not blind at all. i, personally, own a blind white HMPK, named Theodore(Theo, for short). It's tough at first, getting used to having a betta with a handicap like that. it was lots of trial and error. i found that i couldn't use rocks on the bottom of his tank like with my others. that way, he can still eat all his pellets, and not waste any that he missed out on. i also never change his decor, it's always his big pink plant, and smaller plant with the wide flowers he can rest on. and, i trained him to eat from a black, floating ring.

but, that's just what I do with Theo. i suggest it to anyone who thinks they have a blind betta, because it's easy on me, and on Theo. he knows where to run to if he gets scared, doesn't have to worry about getting 'lost', and knows where to get food when it's feeding time.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:06 PM   #3 
ejcapulet
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Luimeril, thank you so very VERY much, I was really worried that this was somehow unworkable. Luckily Picasso (named for his very lopsided eyes) can see through his good eye and is getting used to his new home!
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:10 PM   #4 
SKA123
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I hope this doesn't come out bad, but I think it's really sweet of you to take him in. I'm not trying to say because he's handicapped that he's not worth loving. I just think it's incredible of people to take care of any type of being that is a live, and just love it so much. I hate when people say "oh it's just a fish" it takes a lot to take care of them. and yea. now im rambling lol
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:15 PM   #5 
fishy friend2
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i love my handy capped betta his name is popeye and he only has one eye there is not that much extra care just make sure to feed him on the side he can see well out of
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:25 PM   #6 
SKA123
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awww. do you rescue these bettas?
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:54 PM   #7 
ejcapulet
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I feel sort of embarrassed now! Everyone is being too nice. Really, I had no idea he was half blind when I bought him (he's friendly and beautiful, what more can you ask for?) However, I am certainly one of those people who would NEVER say "it's just a fish" because I'm just a human and I sure don't want anyone to think of me like that. I pick my bettas by how well I click with them, the more responsive the better. Oddly enough, I noticed that certain colored bettas are more likely to respond to me and other colors respond to my friends. Most of my bettas have been exclusively blue because that's what seems to like me; my cousin has always had red because they respond to her but my blue boys ignore her.
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