New Betta Fish remaining still at top of tank - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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New Betta Fish remaining still at top of tank

Hello all,
I am a new owner of a betta fish and I bought him two days ago. I purchased a 2.5 gallon tank for him as well as a heater and three different types of food. I have been feeding him twice a day and keeping the heater on trying to keep the water above 76 degrees Fahrenheit. I used water conditioner when I set up the tank and made sure to rinse the two decorations I got for him and the gravel. The tank is unfiltered.
I am beginning to worry about him, as he seems to sit at the top of the tank and stay there. I will put my finger up to the tank, and he seems to get scared and run away when I do that. He is spending a lot of time at the top of the tank. When I put my finger up to him, he will acknowledge me and move around for a couple of minutes. But then he will return to the top of the tank and remain still.
Is he resting? He is eating and he ate twice today as of writing this post, although very slowly. I am worried for his health and want to make sure I am doing everything right. If there’s any advice that you could give me it would be much appreciated. I am going to do a water change as of writing this post to see if that makes him more stimulated. I should also note that when I put a mirror against the tank he does flare up, so at least we know he is asserting dominance.
Thank everyone in advance!

Anthony
First time Betta owner as of March 2018
Undiscovered passion for Bettas
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 09:05 PM
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What brand of heater? Is it preset, adjustable, or one that's constantly on?

Do you have a thermometer in the tank, is the temperature fluctuating?

What are the decorations in the tank? Can you take a picture of the tank, and a close up picture of your betta?

76 degrees is the bare minimum betta should be kept at, and they do best in temperatures between 78 and 81 degrees. If your temperature is fluctuating and dropping below 76 that may be why he's acting the way he is. Adjustable heaters are best, preset next best, and the ones that stay constantly on I wish they would stop selling. If aren't using one and can afford it, I'd get an adjustable heater. 25 watt Hydor Theo's are relatively small, reliable, and fit in most 2.5 gal tanks https://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Submers.../dp/B0006JLPG8 .

If your tank is on the bear side that might be contributing to his behavior, betta do best when they have lots of plants, either real, silk, or soft plastic, to explore and hide in. Bear tanks can stress them out, and some will exhibit behavior like you are seeing.

Keep an eye out for white fuzz on him, or little white specks, those are signs of fungus or ich. Also lack of appetite can indicate illness.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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The brand of heater is a Tetra Submersible Heater that is 50 watts. It advertises tanks from 2 to 15 gallons and a temperature of 76 degrees, plus or minus two degrees. It is a preset heater.

I do have a thermometer. The temperature does seem to fluctuate, but not all that much as far as I can remember. For most of today, it stayed around 76 degrees, maybe dipped down to 75 or 74, but mainly stayed at 76.

I have two decorations along with some gravel lining the bottom. I have a tall plastic plant and a cave with many plastic plants around it for a space for him to hide. He went and inspected it yesterday when I first put him in the tank, but didn't care for it all that much. Maybe with time he will go back to it and realize it is a space for him to hang out in.

Here is an image of my betta from earlier today followed by one taken just seconds ago.

https://i.imgur.com/1Clgwjb.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/JMJS82g.jpg
(I'm in the middle of a water change as of typing this, please don't be alarmed by where he is now.)

Here is the tank:
https://i.imgur.com/7FskqtL.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/IjQHH9E.jpg

I know 76 is the minimum, and I would like it to be hotter. I moved him from my living room to my bedroom right now where it is usually warmer, maybe that will help. I was considering getting a better heater where I can adjust the temperature. Do you think getting one that I can adjust would be a good idea compared to the one I have already?

Thank you for the advice!
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 09:28 PM
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I had a preset heater to start but I had the opposite problem, mine was getting too hot ( my condo is pretty warm with the heat on in Winter) so I was finding my self having to unplug and monitor very closely which was becoming a full time job. It was also too risky as I did not want to fry my Betta! I purchased a Hydor Theo 25 watt which seems good so far and the option to adjust is key as your house temp and the weather fluctuates. I'm in Wisconsin so it fluctuates quite a bit. I bought mine online because all my local shops either had the tiny preset ones or really high wattage, not much between.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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I'm located in New York so it does get cold in the winters. Maybe I should go to a shop and look for an adjustable heater to purchase. Ideally 25 to 50 watts I assume. Key being an adjustable heater. I hope that the only issue is the temperature of the water and not the condition of my water or anything else. I am using the water conditioner as instructed on the label. I followed that when first introducing him to the new tank as well as just now doing the water change.

I should add that as I am monitoring this post, I am looking back behind me where my betta is now stationed and I'm observing him. When I am not at the tank, he seems to hang out at the top and relax. He will move about but not much, more or less in the same area. When I approach and move my finger around, he will come around and see me and move towards the bottom of the tank, but when I leave again he will go back up to the top. Note, all of this is after about a 75 percent water change I just performed about 20 minutes ago.

For now, I think it is going to be a good idea to keep him in my room where it is warmer than the rest of my house, and perform water changes every day or every other day. From what I understand about the nitrogen cycle, apparently you do water changes frequently for about a month and then you can go to a regular interval of once a week? I hope that is correct.

Additionally, maybe in a couple of days I will invest in a better, adjustable heater.

Last edited by TheDiamondOreo; 03-11-2018 at 09:37 PM.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 10:30 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

Remember that when you put a Betta in a new tank it is probably a mansion compared to what he's been living in and this can cause them to feel insecure until they get used to the larger home. As long as he is eating and moving around it could just be a period of adjustment.

Here is this site's cycling tutorial. If you're using Seachem Prime you can add two drops per gallon per day with and between water changes.
https://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fi...-tutorial.html

I have a 50 watt Hydor heater in my 2.5. It is just a couple of $$ more at www.drsfostersmith.com and is the same length as the 25 watt and you're pretty much covered if you get up to a 10 gallon tank. I keep all of my Betta-based community tanks at around 77 with no issues. I just did a search for "preferred Betta tank temperatures" and the ranges were all over the place. But one thing on which everyone can agree is steady temperature is most important. I sincerely doubt if the 76 is steady it is doing him any harm. However, even a one or two-degree fluctuation can cause stress.

A couple of notes:

1) It is requested that members embed their photos because there are any number who cannot follow links and get back to BF. To embed click on "Go Advanced" and then either the paper clip or "Manage Attachments." Do a preview to make sure the photos are embedded.

2) I can't get to the images but if you're cupping him when you do water changes that's not necessary. It is actually more stressful to net or cup them than it is to do the water change with the fish still in the tank.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 10:36 PM
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I have a small filter so I currently am doing 25% water change every 2-3 days or as needed! How much are you feeding during the feedings if I
may ask? My Betta Eli goes between the top and bottom, they do like the surface more than other fish since they go up to breathe, I hope it's nothing more than that for your Betta!
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Apologies for the photos not being embedded. Here are them fixed.






I will take note of not taking him out of the tank during water changes.

Since he is new to me, and I am a new betta owner, I guess it would be best to follow the cycling routine when needing to do the water changes. I will make a trip to the pet store and try and pick up a water testing kit to measure the ammonia and nitrite levels and follow the cycling tutorial. Thank you for the amazing resources! I will also pick up a better and adjustable heater.

So just to clarify, I should do the following to ensure health of my Betta:
-keep the water temperature at something higher than 76 (preferably 78-81) with a better heater that doesn't fluctuate
-perform half water changes weekly or if ammonia/nitrite levels approach 0.25-0.50 ppm (whichever comes first)
-4-5 drops of Seachem Prime on water changes

Just trying to make sure I have everything planned out correctly.

@bettatanksalot :
I have been doing 3-4 pellets of Aqueon Betta food and 1 or 2 dried bloodworms as dessert :) I hope that isnt too much! I do that twice a day.

Anthony
First time Betta owner as of March 2018
Undiscovered passion for Bettas

Last edited by TheDiamondOreo; 03-11-2018 at 10:50 PM.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 10:56 PM
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You also add the Prime on a daily basis to keep Ammonia "locked" and your boy safe. And, yes, I would keep his tank at 78. Raise the temperature slowly a degree at a time. So set the heater on 76; wait an hour or so and set on 77; wait a couple of hours after it hits 77 and raise to 78, etc.

If you can order online Drs. Foster and Smith have free shipping at $19. I have found, as a rule, they are cheaper than PetCo or PetSmart.

Nice tank and lovely, lovely Betta!

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the help and nice compliments! My boy will be so happy thanks to you. Cheers! :)
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Anthony
First time Betta owner as of March 2018
Undiscovered passion for Bettas
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