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Old 01-03-2012, 10:27 AM   #1 
caesardelamer
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Aggressive behavior after trauma

I am new to fish - got a Betta for Christmas. His name is Caesar de la Mer :)

I will just list all the stuff I've done so far, and hopefully someone can tell me if anything is wrong. I very well could be overreacting.

The first day we got him, we took him home, and I prepared his new tank that night. I used bottled water (only a half gallon tank for a pretty small Betta) and used a treatment because I didn't realize that was only for tap water. It was a conditioner for his fins though (Nutrafin) so I thought it would be ok. But once we got him in there I was terrified that maybe the water was too cold. So I put him next to the radiator and after a day or so he seemed to perk up, eat more, etc. I also have a plant in there that is not yet rooted but the idea is that it will root and then he'll have roots to eat from. It's a Pothos. And the tank came with some purple gravel. All was well.

Until the debacle that happened when I tried to change his water a week later. He managed to accidentally fall/jump (not sure) out of the net before I got him into his temporary receptacle. I didn't handle that very well, but my husband managed to get him into water fairly quickly. But he jumped around a lot on the kitchen counter before we got him into water and I was so terrified, let alone the fish. I'm sure it was pretty traumatic for him.

At first, once we got him back into the clean tank (with 100% new water because I didn't realize you weren't supposed to do that), he seemed a little stressed. I forgot to use the conditioner this time, but used the same water - at the right temperature. I figured he just needed a little time. However, since then, he started more aggressive behavior. It looked like he was fighting with his reflection, but even after I put up a piece of white paper around the back & side of the tank, he still seems ... angry, and fights with ...the nothing on the side of the tank. His little mouth moves - it looks like he's yelling. Kinda funny. But nevertheless, I'm very concerned.

Before The Incident, he was very active, but I didn't get any angry vibes. Maybe I'm just paranoid and think he's mad at me.

Other than him fighting with nothing, there don't seem to be any other symptoms. Water temperature is fine, but I don't have any testers to test the chemical composition of the water. Although I did just today realize that the plant wasn't rooting so I snipped the bottom off so it would start over. No conditioner in the new water -- maybe the plant didn't root because of the conditioner.

Regardless, I feel like ...I'm doin' it wrong. Help? Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:35 AM   #2 
caesardelamer
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sorry just saw this...

Housing

What size is your tank? 1/2 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 73-74 degrees fahrenheit
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? a plant
Is your tank heated? no, too small
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? a not-yet-rooted pothos plant

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? OMEGA ONE Betta Buffet Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets, crushed, twice a day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Nutrafin or none

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

no, have not tested. it is bottled water - Brand: Nova Blue

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? n/a
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? more aggressive
When did you start noticing the symptoms? a few days after a traumatic out-of-water experience
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? i've had him for 1 week; he was fairly young/new when i got him.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:54 AM   #3 
bahamut285
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Going through this really quickly:

1. Do not use bottled water unless there is something seriously wrong with your tap. Most bottled waters do not have the necessary ions to support a healthy bodily system (for people as well as fish). Fortunately, Nova Blue is spring water so it is passable, but it would still be recommended to use your tap. Water conditioner removes chlorine and chloramine from your tap water, but preserves everything else

2. In a 0.5 Gallon tank, I would recommend daily or every 2 days at most to change 100% of the water. Contrary to popular belief, unless you did something incorrect (i.e. not acclimating, not treating the water, especially sensitive betta, etc.) 100% changes are generally fine.

3. Bettas are carnivorious. He will not eat your pothos' roots. He needs to have pellets or flakes that have close to 50% protein content, which I believe the OMEGA one pellets have.

4. Bettas breathe much like humans do when we swim, they come up and take a gulp of air. The pothos will grow over the top of your tank and eventually suffocate him...I suggest removing it and planting it somewhere.

My signature down below has a few guides that are a good read. There are also a few stickies on basic care for beginners :)

As for him falling onto the counter, in my experience of jumping fish, as long as your countertop is clean and you don't use any harsh chemicals to clean it with, he should be fine with additional water changes.

If he is darting around (called flashing) and breathing heavily it is generally a sign of distress, not aggression. Flaring (in which their gills protrude and a "beard" is shown) is a sign of dominance/aggression.

I hope he gets well soon!
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:02 AM   #4 
caesardelamer
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Ah ok so why I used bottled water is because I don't think the tap water is very good. When we first got the fish, they had recently been working on the pipes in our building and the water tasted more acidic and I just didn't trust it for the fish. I personally filter our water to drink it. Would that be ok?

Or should I still put the Nutrafin in the bottled water?

So if he is distressed... Um. What do I do? :)
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:04 AM   #5 
Tikibirds
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Always use conditioner with water :)

Last edited by Tikibirds; 01-03-2012 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:07 AM   #6 
bahamut285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caesardelamer View Post
Ah ok so why I used bottled water is because I don't think the tap water is very good. When we first got the fish, they had recently been working on the pipes in our building and the water tasted more acidic and I just didn't trust it for the fish. I personally filter our water to drink it. Would that be ok?

Or should I still put the Nutrafin in the bottled water?

So if he is distressed... Um. What do I do? :)
Using bottled water temporarily should be fine in this case, but I would not recommend it long-term, as I stated above.

Adding the conditioner to bottled water is a personal choice, but I would personally do it to establish a habit.

How long has it been since the incident? I can only think of two things...the first being what Tiki said (THEN EDITED OUT, GAWD, lol): there is something wrong with his water. The second thing being is that he probably is still distressed about being on the counter.

For both these things, a water change is recommended...generally
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #7 
caesardelamer
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Tiki, so I mean the latter. So he looks like he's trying to swim through the tank wall. Good to know.

Ok so perhaps the conditioner is indeed necessary. Can I just add it right now while he's in there? And as for the water I'm still not sure if I should do tap water.

His mouth movement was kind of rapid.

Of course since I posted my thread, I cut the bottom off the plant so it could start rooting again and since then he seems to have calmed down. Maybe it was the plant.

By calm down I mean he started swimming around the tank again. He looks like he's pacing. Just kind of swimming back and forth normally across the back.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:13 AM   #8 
Tikibirds
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Quote:
the first being what Tiki said (THEN EDITED OUT, GAWD, lol): there is something wrong with his water.
LOL sorry. I seen you had already replied before I finished my response and since yours was better, i eddited mine :P
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:14 AM   #9 
bahamut285
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Yup you should be able to toss in the conditioner.

As for your tap water, wait about a week or two to let it really flush out, then maybe run the tap for a few minutes before collecting water to put in the tank. Add conditioner, acclimate him slowly and watch him. If he freaks out, take him out and put him back in some bottled water, then post back. I can give a variety of solutions for problematic water :D

I'll subscribe to this thread.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:16 AM   #10 
Tikibirds
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So the plant you were talking about is the kind that covers the opening of the tank?

I have heard that when they open their mouths under water they are trying to take oxygen out of the water but generally bettas breath air from the surface. If the plant was blocking his access to air - his rapid :yelling" may of been because he could barely breathe.

Is this the setup you have or something similar?

Last edited by Tikibirds; 01-03-2012 at 11:17 AM. Reason: pic
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