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Old 03-12-2012, 07:56 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Nuremberg, Germany
New Female Betta hasn't been eating for the past 3 days!

Dear community,

My boyfriend and I are new betta fish owners. We bought 3 bettas (one male, two females) and put them in the Fluval Edge Aquarium ( We bought the aquarium and at the store we were told to prep the water using the different water-prepping solutions that were included in the Edge package and have the water prepped one week before we put the fish in. When the week was over, we went back to the store, brought a sample of the aquarium water to be tested to make sure it was okay, and they told us that we could put one male and two female bettas in the tank.

They said the water was perfect and the aquarium was ready for our fish. For the first couple of days, the fish were acting normal and eating regularly. We were told to feed them about 5 fish food flakes (which they were fed at the store) once a day. A few days ago, however, one of the females stopped eating. At first I thought she was just a bit slow and didn't get to the food in time before the other two gobbled the flakes up. But at one point she went up for air, and a flake was right above her mouth and she didn't eat it, she just ignored it. Upon further observation, I also noticed that she wasn't as active as the other two, spending most of her time at the bottom of the tank and going up only for air.

Today, my boyfriend decided to take her out of the tank and put her in a small bowl by herself to see if she would eat at all, and she didn't eat anything. I'm not sure how long betta fish can go without food, but I'm worried she might be sick or depressed and is starving herself.

The tank has 6 gallons (23 liters), 3 live plants, LED lights, filter and aquarium gravel. We have only had the fish in for about a week and were told that we could do a water change once a month, so no water change has been done since we got them.

Please help!

Last edited by SofiaC; 03-12-2012 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:46 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
I'm not an expert, but I think I can help. A male betta can never be in a tank with another betta unless the tank is huge, way more than 6 gallons, probably around fifty gallons.I don't have a sorority, but I've read other posts and know you need 5-6 female bettas in a ten gallon tank at the least. Bettas are tropical fish and have to be kept in water 76 -82 degrees, preferably 78-80 degrees, so they need a heater. They're probably not eating because they're too cold and because they're stressed out by being with other bettas. I recomend buying two 2.5 gallon and three heaters. A hydor theo is a bit spendy, $20 for a 25 W at, but very good. Then you could put each betta in its own heated tank. The six gallon is fine for a single betta, it'll love it. The other course of action is to return two of the bettas to the pet store, buy one heater, and keep the betta in a heated six gallon. Either way will work. Don't feel bad about messing up, pet stores are notorious for giving bad advice. Hope one of the ways works out for you.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:00 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Newfoundland
Welcome to the world of betta keeping! There are a few things that could be causing her trouble.

First, males and females should never be housed together save for breeding. In your current set up you are likely to have one or both fish seriously hurt, or kill each other. The same can be said about keeping two females together. Eventually one will bully the other until they get sick, or worse.

In a tank your size you really should do a water change more often, once a week really. For now you will probably want to do a 50% water change a week.

Three days without food will not starve her, bettas have been known to last a week or more without food, not that it is recommended. The second thing I would mention, is their food. It is a.better idea to feed bettas betta pellets. They need a high protein diet.

Bettas are a tropical fish, they need warm temps, ideally in the 78 degree range is desired. I noticed you didn't mention a heater or the temp.

Really, three bettas won't be able to manage in your tank. Each betta should have 2 - 2.5 gallons each. Or about 10 liters. In traditional rectangular tanks you can divide them to house 2 bettas, but the fluval tanks are oddly shaped, and thus I don't know if anyone has ever tried dividing one.

I'm sorry you got bad advice, unfortunately most pet store employees don't know anything about fish, let alone bettas.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:21 AM   #4 
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Location: Nuremberg, Germany
Thanks for your replies! Your help is greatly appreciated.

I just want to clarify some things. I'm not sure what the temperature of the water is, but our room is pretty warm and the water is at room temperature (so it should be ok?). Also, at the pet store they had a bunch of female bettas (10-15) together in an average-sized pet store tank. We live in Germany, and here the rules are pretty strict when it comes to animal care. For example, originally we wanted to keep the fish in a round bowl, but they told us they wouldn't sell us a fish that would be kept in a round bowl because it's inhumane (they go crazy if they have to swim round and round). Of course, we didn't know this before. Anyway, I got the impression that they knew their stuff and, although, I had never heard of keeping three bettas together, they had a similar set up in the store, so it seemed fine to do as they suggested.

I may be wrong, but at this point I'm just confused as to how I should deal with the situation... :S
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #5 
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Unfortunately incorrect information on betta care is worldwide. :(

The people here really know there stuff on bettas. I'd definitely listen to the advice here instead.
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