new Blue Alien won't eat "normal" betta foods - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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new Blue Alien won't eat "normal" betta foods

Hi folks, I'm new here and I'm also the new owner of a "wild" Blue Alien Betta. He doesn't seem very interested in betta foods I've used before, so I'm looking for pointers. Sorry if this gets long.

I have owned two bettas previously; a large Plaket from the LFS and then a Veil Tail from Walmart. Both lived in a planted/heated/filtered large turtle bowl (approx 3.5 gallon), and both were happy and very friendly. They would come to the top of the bowl and "wag their tails" whenever they saw me, and had personalities like tiny dogs.

Well this time around I set up a large-surface-area 10 gallon tank. It is approx 23" x 14" x 7" deep, so the fish will have lots of surface area to cruise. It is planted with some small Anubias and some S. Repens (can't wait till they fill in). I have 3 Otos and a Nerite snail in with him. The tank was filled and planted for 3 weeks before the Otos & snail, and then another 2 weeks before the Blue Alien. I have had him 4 days now.

My previous fish happily ate Hikari Betta pellets, blackworms, brine shrimp, wild mosquito larva, and the occasional sinking carnivore pellet. But the only food this little guy (3 month old, 1.2") has taken are a few nips off the blackworms. Little nibbles, then looses interest. He won't take the betta pellets, or sinking food, or flakes, or frozen brine shrimp. And he won't take anything directly from me or the surface - He watches the worms sink to the bottom, takes a little bite, and lets the worms dig down into the substrate. I'm worried that he's not going to get enough food.

So, is there something in particular that "wild" type bettas really go for? Or should I just relax and offer pellets/worms until he gets hungry and associates me with food?

Last edited by Maxwedge; 01-21-2020 at 12:50 AM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Oh and he doesn't seem scared of me or the Otos at all. He cruises around the tank all day, hangs out around the Anubias, gets a breath at the surface, looks around the bottom, does another lap... I have some clay shrimp tubes in there and he sometimes swims through, but he doesn't "hide" in them. He is strip-y though. Two dark horizontal lines and a pale belly, but bright blue on top. He was solid blue in the sellers pictures before I bought him, but has been striped since I un-boxed him. Maybe it's just the stress of a new home, and a big one at that.
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File Type: jpg Wild Blue Alien.jpg (18.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Wild Blue Alien w Stripes.jpg (42.4 KB, 7 views)
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 06:55 PM
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He's stunning.

Looks very healthy too.

I've never used blackworms but I've heard they can have problems with parasites when live.

My best success with non-eaters of flakes, pellets, etc. are bloodworms (pre-soaked if freeze dried). They aren't alive but can be wagged about a bit. I have a Ram who never found much else interesting, I was worried he wasn't eating at all, now.. he begs incessantly for more bloodworms - they're the only thing he'll snatch off the water surface too.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks PNW. He has plenty of energy and confidence so I'm not going to worry about the lateral stripes. Tonight I noticed him scouring the bottom for worms, and saw him find and completely eat two. So he's figured that out, but I really want him to take food from me so I can control the amount he eats. We'll figure it out.

I changed up his aquarium today, adding more Anubias plants, an AquaClear20 filter, and a tiny circulator pump at the opposite end. Before that I just had two sponge filters (and the heater). I think the sponges could handle his waste, in theory, but there just wasn't any circulation. With the extra plants and flow he seems really happy now. I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow.

I'm going to call around and see if any of the area fish stores have live brine shrimp. I tried frozen and he just watched them fall to the bottom, but I think a swimming seamonkey would get his attention.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 07:17 PM
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I've got one of those. He looks just like the one in the seller's photo. The photo you posted looks different than the seller's photo or am I seeing things? Still very handsome :)

You've only had him a few days, so perhaps he's just adjusting?

My fish had only been fed live daphnia and had no idea that pellets were food. Fortunately I had daphnia, and he also liked frozen brine shrimp.
The only pellets he will eat are this brand from Germany called Dr. Bassleer's Bio food. It's almost 60 % protein, and oddly he came to prefer it over live daphnia. Weird.

You might want to have a look at the ingredients in Hikari - mostly fillers. I think most of the pros on here like New Life Spectrum and I think Ocean Nutrition. The first ingredients are protein from fish and no fillers. (I'm just a hack, but I'm sure someone will chime in).

My "Alien" hybrid looks a lot like Mahachai - like the one in seller photo. He's got the personality of a wild fish - was very skittish for months. He definitely knows who feeds him, but he still likes to lurk under the driftwood a lot - he doesn't do laps like your fish!

For such a scardy cat he's a surprisingly aggressive fish, but that's a different story (example he harassed a guppy till it jumped out of the tank).

You're the first person I've met on here with another Alien so "Howdy!" !

Just curious where did you find yours? I found mine by accident at an Expo and couldn't resist.

The fact that your fish is bottom feeling seems like a good sign - mine does the same thing. He lets the pellets sink and grazes along the bottom. He's grown a lot since he arrived.

I'm not ambitious enough to raise black worms - your fish is lucky!

There's a couple of folks on here with wild betta perhaps they'll stop by.

Cheers

Here's Rigel, like the blue star.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks PH, I like Rigel's dark mouth. I got my fish from Coast Gem USA in San Diego (overnight shipping). I was (am?) very suspicious that they sent me the wrong fish, but I've stared and stared at him and the pictures, and the pattern of black dots on his dorsal fin matches. He's just been pale on the bottom with very pronounced stripes. Either way, the guy in my tank is mine.

I looked up the foods you suggested and my local PETCO has the New Life Spectrum Betta, and epay has it and the Ocean Nutritian. I also have some Daphnia and Scuds on the way. My betta is roomies with some BumbleBee Gobies, and they really only eat live food. My wife is thrilled that I'll have another tank, full of swimming "bugs".

The black worms are super easy to keep. When you buy them at the fish store, in a little meal worm cup, they tell you to rinse them off in a fish net every night. This gets messy and tedious pretty quick. I just keep them in a tupperware container in the fridge with a 1/2" of water over them. When I take them out to feed the fish, I pour the water off and fill with fresh (do this at the sink). They stay at the bottom of the container and don't flow out with the water; it's easy. Give them some algae wafer crumbs, or a little bit of fresh veggie scraps, brown paper, etc. and they will live in the fridge for months.

The only problem I am having is worrying about the Betta overeating. When I had them by themselves (previous bettas) it was easy to portion out 2 or 3 worms and watch them eat it all. But in a community tank like I have now, I have to put many in at a time so everybody gets some. So far the wild betta isn't pigging out, but I'm worried I'll find him with a bloated belly. So far so good - the Gobies are much more aggressive worm hunters.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Wild Blue Alien and friends.jpg (48.3 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Wild Blue Alien skylight.jpg (60.8 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg Worms.jpg (66.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Worms fork.jpg (42.4 KB, 3 views)

Last edited by Maxwedge; 01-25-2020 at 12:03 AM.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 02:44 PM
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Wow thanks for all the info about black worms. When it's frozen outside (I keep daphnia outside) I'll supplement grindle worms bcs I don't have to look at them in the fridge LoL. You've got a great LFS because non of mine sell live black worms or any live food that I know of. According to websites black worms need a tank set up so good to know it's so easy in the fridge. My fish love chasing the daphnia, but not everyone has luck culturing them. As long as it's cool out mine dont crash. I can find them under a layer of ice, but when July and August arrive I can't keep them alive.

One note about that place in San Diego. When it comes to these "Alien" Hybrids, they're known to post generic photos from the internet, and send a different fish. They've been called out on FB a lot for this.

The vendor at the expo got her fish wholesale from Frank's Bettas (in Thailand). If you Google for Frank's images, you'll see the fish I posted is an exact match. Mine was $40.00 with no shipping fee since he was right there. I'm kinda surprised he's grown so much bcs he was the runt of the litter.

Just an aside for future reference if interested I discovered a private breeder also in San Diego (on eBay) who has imports as well as privately bred "Aliens" for about $20.00 + shipping. I've seen his Blue females and they look like a Blue female version of the male I have. Feel free to pm me if you'd like his info, although it's easy to figure out not too many selling these in the US.

I'm not sure, but it's possible they sent you a female? The only alien fish I've seen pictures of that had stripes like that are female. Out of curiosity I did a Google image search on my fish (curious about what wild "type" he might be?) and Mahachai is the one that comes up the most. They are mostly green, but he looks green depending on the light.






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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 02:52 PM
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Fish looking green and blue - apologies for photo quality.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 04:07 PM
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The fish in the OP is definitely a male. I know these fish are hybrids, but stressed wilds of both sexes will lose their colour and show strong horizontal striping. This is why they rarely display well in fish store tanks and why they get a undeserved reputation for being brown and boring looking.

Usually the cause is lighting that is too bright, and/or a lack of cover. Light coloured substrate will also wash out the colour of most fish.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 08:47 PM
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@LittleBettaFish interesting.. I'm surprised then my male had color and no stress stripes because it took him about a month to recover from his travels.

Here's a little blue female. ;)

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