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Old 04-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #1 
robbyg
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Newbie Betta Fan has lots of questions

Thank you to this community for this fantastic resource. Were it not for you, our new family member, MrMissy, would at best be very unhappy, if not worse. We've come to learn a bit about him, his personality and his likes and dislikes but have lots more questions for you all.

He arrived in our house as a birthday present for our daughter Sasha (the story of his name is a good one reserved for another time) in a 1 qt tank of cool water (NJ March). Within a couple of days (thanks to you), we moved him to a 10gal tank of conditioned water at 78F managed by a good submersible heater and checked with a thermometer at the other side of the tank. We made the mistake of running a pretty powerful filter (part of the stock Aqueon 10gal kit) for the first week which drove him into hiding in the cups, rocks and plants we'd put there. After realizing that things were wrong, I eventually switched the filter off for a day to find an active, happy little fish swimming around.

He took a few days to get used to the bigger tank but he now eats well, comes to look at us when we talk to him and generally makes himself busy around the tank. Since his ordeal of the currents, we've kept the filter off (mean to figure out how to baffle and keep some filtration and beneficial bacterial culture at some point) and replaced about 3gal of water each week for the last two weeks.

We've been checking the NH3 levels - first week it was quite high (maybe the new plants contributed to this) - around 1.5, and today it was down to about .125 before his water change.

His appetite is good. We feed him dry pellets which he takes about 3 times a day, 3-5 at a time. We also got some frozen bloodworms which we gave him today and he turned into a mini piranha, yanking at them and flaring like crazy.

Now the questions:

1. In the last couple of days he's started flaring (we didn't know this term until trawling this site this evening). He doesn't do it a lot but at least a few times a day. He does it a *LOT* when he's eating bloodworms. Eats one, flares at us, then looks up waiting for the next one. When he's not been fed, he barely flares. Is this expected? Good/bad?

2. How often should he have bloodworms? Clearly this is an addictive substance for MrM, I'm thinking once or twice a week but he'd happily have them hourly. He also really likes his dry pellets. Any other food worth considering?

3. Filtration. Those few extra pellets, waste, dead leaves all could do with some cleaning up. What's a betta-happy way of doing filtration?

4. I know that he's supposedly happier on his own in the tank but with his vigorous swimming to meet us when we come to see him I can't help feeling that he's lonely. Any advice here?

RG
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:51 PM   #2 
wystearya
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Your picture is cute!

I just want to suggest the option of a sponge filter. They do not need to be baffled, as the flow is gentle enough for Betta fish. Also, there is no risk of the fish harming himself, as the water flows in through the sponge and out a tube near the top of the water level. Fish and fins are unable to get sucked into it. ;)

These run off air pumps. I got the Tetra whisper air pump. I got a small size, since I am only running the one sponge filter off it.

I have this sponge filter: http://www.amazon.com/Hydro-Sponge-F...3759264&sr=8-1

My tank is just 5 gallons, and it still doesn't disturb the water too much. If you do go this route, I will also suggest using it with an air stone. Just a cheap one will do. The air stone can be attached inside the sponge part >> I had to look this up to get it correctly assembled. The air stone will make smaller bubbles and thus help to keep the water surface disturbance under control.

---------

Frozen bloodworms and high quality pellets are both great foods. What brand of pellets did you get? Omega One Betta Buffet pellets are a good choice. I've heard other people recommend New Life Spectrum, but I couldn't find this in my pet stores. I think offering a bloodworm feeding 2-3 times a week is enough.

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Filtration >> Again, the sponge filter would work for this. You just have to gently wring them out once in a while. Just don't use tap water on them, as the chlorine can kill your beneficial bacteria once the tank is cycled! Also, you can get a siphon -or gravel vac- to help clear debris from your tank bottom. I often just use the tubing without the gravel vac, you can spot clean easily with it!

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Do you have any plants (real or fake) in the tank? Any caves or other hiding places? Interesting decor can help a Betta to not get bored. Those floating Betta Logs are great too!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:33 PM   #3 
TakoLuLu
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Another suggestion for the filter would be to keep the water level in the tank higher and rig up a baffle for the filter you already have. There's a very handy sticky for how to create one with a water bottle.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:40 PM   #4 
Micho
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1) My new boy is in a 10g with other fish and the tank is glass and he flares probably more than 20 times a day. But he's fine, flaring may cause tearing of the fins and stress but if it's not prolonged flaring, anything for a few seconds will not hurt. Dunno why he's flaring when he's being fed though, flaring occurs because he sees another Betta. Maybe he is just seeing himself?

2) Bloodworms are treats, and good thing you knew that! Frozen bloodworms should be given maybe once or twice per week, a few are fine, but a lot may cause bloating so be wary. A lot of people suggest the New Life Spectrum brand or Omega One, if you can't find those Hikari is the latter option. But really I just find any type of food I can, limited brands where I live.

3) Baffling is actually quite easy, doesn't need to be a water bottle or anything fancy like that you'll see. I just put a piece of aquarium sponge on-top of the filter output (the waterfall part), and there it's done. It also works as a second mechanical filter, so be sure to wash it every now and then, it gets pretty yucky.

4) If you think he's lonely maybe some tankmates will interest you? A 10g opens the door to other fish living with him, but there are some factors that decide that. One of them is the temperament of MrM, if he's a mean Betta and nips and bites another fish, he can't live with other companions and has to live alone. Also the other deciding factor is hardness of your water and the pH of it. Bettas can tolerate a range of pH and hardness but most fish cannot, I suggest you find out the hardness and pH before deciding to get fish friends. Also, I suggest you do research (or just ask us), what species of fish you want as tankmates for your Betta. A lot of people buy species that are non-compatible with the Betta or the tank itself (too small of a footprint).

If you don't want fish friends you could do a snail I prefer Nerite snails, or some shrimps. Shrimps may become food instead of friends, so I suggest getting some Ghost (Feeder) shrimps, they're inexpensive and if they die, oh well. :) If he doesn't hunt for them or hurt them, maybe consider Red Cherry Shrimps, they're hardier than most shrimps and pretty cute.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:33 PM   #5 
gbose
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Be careful with tankmates! make sure there's nothing that looks even remotely like a betta (ie not colorful flowing fins). I had 2 (female !) guppies killed by a betta because he thought they were competition!

Try something drab-colored.

GBose
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:17 PM   #6 
robbyg
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Thanks

Thanks for all of the responses.

I've tried to baffle my filter using sponge and the bottle but haven't managed to get the current low enough to keep the fish happy. I'm going to go for a sponge filter.

I'll definitely keep his bloodworm diet at the treat level once or twice a week. He really likes the Aqueon Betta pellets. He'll happily eat about 8 at a sitting but we ration him to 4 or 5 about 2 or three times a day. Is that about right?

We've got a couple of live plants in the tank. When the filter current was strong, he'd often lie down on the leaves but now he occasionally wanders around them but mostly ignores them. Instead of betta logs (which I couldn't find locally), I thought of cleaning a couple of wine bottle corks (for some reason we have a lot of those around) and tossing them in the tank. Would that do any harm?

Thanks for the hints on tank mates. We may try a couple of shrimp and will post some pics soon.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:36 PM   #7 
Rosso1011
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One thing I didn't see mentioned is your feeding schedule. It looks to me as if you might be overfeeding him. Try 3-4 pellets 2x a day. Bettas will eat as much as you offer them, so it is important not to feed them too much. You also want to fast your betta 1 day a week.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:53 AM   #8 
robbyg
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Wow, from Rosso1011's post, we're definitely overfeeding him. He's getting almost double what you've described - around 4-5 pellets 3x a day.

What's the consequence of overfeeding? Will he join the ranks of the obese?

What's the benefit of fasting?
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:07 AM   #9 
Olympia
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There may be nothing wrong with that amount. Some betta take food better. Is his tummy really round? This means he's eating too much, which can lead to bloat and swim bladder disease. Some betta are much more prone to this than others (my crowntail can only eat half as much as my other fish). Feeding more over the course of the day is okay, maybe 3 pellets x3 a day. The problems start when you feed too much at once.
Some people fast betta, because they don't eat everyday in the wild. Others don't. I only fast my crowntail since he is prone to bloating. It's more a personal choice. It gives their digestive system a day of rest.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:06 AM   #10 
wystearya
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Bloating and swim bladder problems are definitely something you want to avoid. While it can be cured, it can be hard to watch the fish you have grown to love struggling to swim. Overfeeding is the main cause of both bloat and the swim bladder problems. If the pellet size is small, I would say no more than 3 per feeding, twice a day.
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