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Old 11-10-2011, 08:24 PM   #1 
MC216
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Male Betta Swimming At the Top of his Tank

We got a Betta on Saturday. He was the centre piece at a friend's wedding, and we took him home in a fish bowl - he was in a proper betta kit tank by Monday evening. We know next to nothing about fish (other than what I've read here), but would like to know why he has started swimming at the top of his tank today. Is this normal? Problematic? He seems to be younger because he is smaller and his fins aren't that long.

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:44 PM   #2 
vilmarisv
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There's no problem with him swimming near the surface. Is he sideways?
I assume that he doesn't have a heater... bettas like warm water and they get lethargic in cold water.
Welcome to the facinating world of betta keeping!
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:06 PM   #3 
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Nope, no heater. We only have room for a small tank and are keeping things simple on the kitchen counter.

Thanks for clarifying that swimming near the water's surface is a normal behavior.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:14 PM   #4 
Sweeda88
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I'm sorry, but there's nothing "proper" about Betta kits. A Betta should have at least a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater. Those kits are a 1/2 gallon at MOST. Please get something larger. Your fish will be much happier.
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:48 PM   #5 
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Welcome to the forum.....

Lots of proper ways to keep this species successfully in a lot of different size containers....what is most important is the water quality and temp as long as you provide proper care-the tank you have may work out fine......we will be happy to assist you in proper care for the setup you have....

Can you post a pic, what size is the tank, any gravel or decorations, live or fake plants, any type of filter (filters are optional), type of additives used-like dechlorinator, do you have a heater-(you may or may not need a heater-your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range), do you have a thermometer-(you need this)...what kind of food and is he eating

You got him last Saturday...correct....have you made any water changes and if so, how much...and swimming at the top-did this start after a water change if you made one that is....

The more info we have the better....swimming at the top can be normal or it can mean something is wrong....a pic would really help....

This is a great hobby and a great species to keep...its not as complicated as it sounds....
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:14 PM   #6 
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Welcome to the forum.

I tend to be a bit blunt, so let me know if I come off as too harsh. It's not like every betta owner has to dedicate a part of his or her livingroom to bettas like I did. So I know I went over board a bit in terms of fish care. But I think you fell for the "Bettas are easy fish" trap like a lot of new fish owners.

I understand that a lot of fish owners have limited space for their fish. I strated with bettas when I was on campus in a dorm room, so I didn't have my fish in anything larger than a gallon until I was in my own apartment. If you only have room for a small set up, then 1 gallon is the minimum you can safely keep a tropical fish. Bettas need their water to be 78-80 degrees. It isn't possible to heat 1/2 gallon properly, which is why Sweeda88 warned you that your betta kit is not proper. If you do go with a 1 gallon set up, ZooMed and Hydor both make good small tank heaters and both are pretty cheap.

Even if you do figure out a way to keep the water temp constant without a heater, you have to keep the water clean. A 1/2 gallon set up would need 100% water changes every other day. Not only is that a hassle for the fish owner, but that is stressful for the fish. I had a 1 gallon filtered set up that required 2 50% and 1 100% water changes a week. The 50% water changes were quick and my fish were stressed once a week compared to every other day. A lot of members on the forum will suggest 2.5-3 gallons because those set ups only need 1 50% and 1 100% water change a week. More water means less work to maintain the tank. :)

If you don't have enough plugs in your kitchen for a heater (filter is optional if you do enough water changes), then you can't have your fish in your kitchen. If your set up isn't 1 gallon (which is the smallest set up that can handle a heater and/or filter), then you have to upgrade the size. I know your friend was using the fish as a center piece, but that doesn't mean Betta fish are decoration. They have basic needs that have to be met for the sake of the fish.

I hope this helps you with your new fish. I hate when people fall for Betta fish myths. The longer you are on this site, then more you will realize most pet store workers don't know what they are taking about. :)
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:55 PM   #7 
lexiloo52
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I think 90% of betta problems are due to stress. Leave him alone in the dark for a few days without messing with him. Check on him and feed him, but don't turn a tank light on and just let him get used to his new home.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:57 PM   #8 
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@Sweeda and Snowy Surface:

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Old 11-11-2011, 07:52 PM   #9 
Myates
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexiloo52 View Post
I think 90% of betta problems are due to stress. Leave him alone in the dark for a few days without messing with him. Check on him and feed him, but don't turn a tank light on and just let him get used to his new home.
lol I'm sorry but so far I keep seeing you saying the same thing to everyone's problem :P

That really isn't the answer to most- as a betta swimming at top doesn't mean he should be left alone in the dark. Heck, if that was the case I'd never see any of my bettas :(
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:44 PM   #10 
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Mine spends a lot of time at the top, remember they have to go up for air.

I know everyone here will hate me but I feel that 1.5 gallon is just fine for a betta. That's all I have and he swims very freely, get exercise, flares up all the time, has a hiding space, little house... etc.
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