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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i just bought my betta, Antione, last friday. he was flaring a lot in his cup at the store as he could see the rest of the crowntails on the shelf and i noticed a couple of his rays on his anal fin were short/...broken off? anyway i got him home and he hasnt flared until today, just a minute ago and i saw his anal fin again and it looks like he might be missing more? im not experienced by any means but i feel safe saying its not fin rot.

he also hasnt eaten yet, and he seems to just float in one spot until i come up to the tank and he swims around really fast. and sometimes hell swim around leisurely or quickly when im not around.

also, theres this stuff on the surfaces of my tank, i can only actually see it on the bottom, but i feel it on the sides as well. it feels like a spoon after you get done stirring jell o before it chills... kid of hard to explain.

so here are my questions:
How can i help his fins grow back?
Is melafix really that bad for their labrynths?
How can i get him to start eating?
Can i do it without buying live food?
What kind of care/work is required for live food?
What is the stuff on the side of my tank?
Is it the "good" bacteria?
Should i clean it?
Is the not eating/somewhat laziness due to still getting accustomed?
How long does it normally take for them to build a bubble nest?
How long does it take for them to start eating normally?
Should i get more plants?
Should i have a substrate?
Should i clean the substrate if i do get it?

sorry there are so many questions but i figured id get them all out there. there are so many helpful people on this forum! :) if you can answer even just one or two id appreciate it :)
 

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You should post a picture and state the size of the tank so that we get a better picture of what you "should have more" of.

As for the questions, I'm still new to bettas so I'll leave them to the experts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hes in a 5.5 gallon, there are 2 plastic plants and a betta hammock (leaf) also there are littl eclear marbly things to hold up one of the plants, but i couldnt afford to get enough to cover the bottom of the tank at the time, theres still a little gravel from when i had it in there but i cleaned most of it out after my last fish died... ill try to get a picture up now. all the plants are fake
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ok so the first picture is his tank. 5.5 gal
second pic is the stuff on all the surfaces as best i could get it
third kind of shows how stringy/scragly his crown tips are
and the last two show the gaps in his anal fin
 

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I would suggest that you get him something to hide in, like: a pot, mug, hollowed log, or a hollowed decoration.

Other than that you can either get more substrate or remove what you have(I personally find substrate more for aesthetics than functionality) Always clean the substrate before you put it in the tank: run it through water to get rid of dust and debris in the substrate. You can put it in immediately after you do that, no need to wait on that.

Your boy looks healthy. I won't put too much worry in that gap, it will heal.

New bettas could be stressed and wont eat for a while, keep trying and whatever he doesn't eat you should clean it up if it is sitting for more than a day.

It's all up to the betta whether or not he/she wants to start eatting so again just keep trying. As for bubble nests, not all bettas males build one. It's just a happy surprise when you get to see one. :)
 

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do you think the gap will make him more prone to infections like fin rot?
As long as you have clean water he should be fine.
can i use an old mug thats been used and washed as long as i rinse it out really well?
Yes, just rinse it out with really hot water and it should be good
have you ever seen stuff like in the second pic on a tank?
I personally only see a slight discoloration, if you're concerned enough, take an aquarium scrub brush to it and suck up whatever comes up.
 

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Cute boy you have..

How can i help his fins grow back?
do you think the gap will make him more prone to infections like fin rot?

For repairing fins, time, clean water and high protein diet is all that is needed. Splits tend to fuse back within a day or two, but missing pieces can take weeks to grow back. If more are missing since Friday, most likely he is biting his own fins. Possibly due from stress of the move, feeling exposed and scared in a large new tank without much cover, or the filter isn't baffled and the current is causing his fins to feel heavy and drag.
Any damage to their fins makes them prone to fin rot- keep up on the weekly water changes of roughly 40-50% in that size tank per week and he should be fine. Keep an eye on it though just in case.

Should i get more plants?
Should i have a substrate?
Should i clean the substrate if i do get it?

You don't need substrate, but if willing to vacuum it when you do water changes, it's good to have in a cycled/filtered tank as it will hold beneficial bacteria- not a whole lot, but a good amount that will help keep the tank from recycling if you have to replace the filter for any reason.
More plants and hiding places may make him feel more secure and not so exposed, and will reduce his stress and help him adjust faster.

What is the stuff on the side of my tank?
The stuff on the surface looks to be either protein (which is common in tanks) or dust from the house/air vents. If it's thick, you can use a paper towel to gently scoop it out. It may come back- but if it's just protein then it's harmless.
(Is it at the surface or on the bottom?)

Is melafix really that bad for their labrynths?
Yes, it has a tree oil ingredient that has potential to harm it, and has been known to harm it in many cases. Bettafix is the same thing, just watered down. Best to keep on hand is AQ salt for external problems, Epsom Salt for internal problems. General Cure and Marcel I & II are generally medications that, along with a salt, will cover more common and not so common ailments.

How can i get him to start eating?
How long does it take for them to start eating normally?

It's up to him and his stress level.. it can take days to weeks before they may eat healthy. Just continue to offer food a couple times a day until he eats- removing any uneaten shortly after eating to avoid it from rotting in the tank.

Can i do it without buying live food?
Live food is great for them, but is not needed.

What kind of care/work is required for live food?
Depends on what live food you are wanting- for free and generally safe live food you can place a bucket outside with leaves, a little bit of dirt and wait- even in winter daphnia will reproduce in it, and still water will attract mosquito, where you can then use a shrimp net or possibly a small fish net to capture the larvae, gently rinse under a soft running tap and feed.

Is the not eating/somewhat laziness due to still getting accustomed?
Possibly- but have to keep in mind that since we don't know the history of fish we buy at stores, we don't know if they come with illnesses. Also keep in mind the breeders don't always feed their betta a day or two prior to shipping, and a lot of stores won't feed them, or feed very very little, while they are on the shelf to help reduce the risk of the water going too bad before being purchased.. so between the stress of the moving, and moving into a larger home they have the added stress of not eating regularly, so sometimes their systems have to get back into the "habit" of eating once more and looking for food.
The lethargy could be due to stress and feeling exposed.

How long does it normally take for them to build a bubble nest?
Not all bettas will build a nest.. it varies for a lot of reasons. The top reasons (we believe since we can't get into their heads) is for mating, territory and a weather system coming through. Generally males will make most of their nests under a leaf that is floating at the top of the water- or anything really that is floating up there, as it's sturdy and it's their natural instinct to do so. You can't force them to do so, and it's not a sign of happiness, as they will build them in the small cups when they are on the shelf next to other males.

Hope this helps and answers some of your concerns :)
 

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also, theres this stuff on the surfaces of my tank, i can only actually see it on the bottom, but i feel it on the sides as well. it feels like a spoon after you get done stirring jell o before it chills... kid of hard to explain.
Re-read it, sorry.. it could be dirt/dust if the tank wasn't properly cleaned before setting it up- generally want to use an aquarium sponge to scrub it before you set it up.

How long has the tank been set up?
Did it just pop up or was it there since you set it up?
How long do you keep your lights on in the tank, in case it's brown algae (which is common in newly set up tanks as they are trying to establish a cycle).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cute boy you have..
thank you :) i think he looks kind of like Dory from Nemo haha i love his yellow fins (which have gotten brighter since i got him!)

How can i help his fins grow back?
...If more are missing since Friday, most likely he is biting his own fins ... or the filter isn't baffled and the current is causing his fins to feel heavy and drag.
is he able to bite his anal fin? also i havent gotten around to baffling the filter just yet so i dont keep it on

Should i get more plants?
Should i have a substrate?
Should i clean the substrate if i do get it?
More plants and hiding places may make him feel more secure and not so exposed, and will reduce his stress and help him adjust faster.
he used to hide on the suction cup behind the heater so im assuming this is what he was doing. i think im going to get a mug from the kitchen and rinse it thoroughly and let him hide in there :)
Is the not eating/somewhat laziness due to still getting accustomed?
Possibly- but have to keep in mind that since we don't know the history of fish we buy at stores, we don't know if they come with illnesses. Also keep in mind the breeders don't always feed their betta a day or two prior to shipping, and a lot of stores won't feed them, or feed very very little, while they are on the shelf to help reduce the risk of the water going too bad before being purchased.. so between the stress of the moving, and moving into a larger home they have the added stress of not eating regularly, so sometimes their systems have to get back into the "habit" of eating once more and looking for food.
The lethargy could be due to stress and feeling exposed.
i fed him right after i got him home after the 30 minute car rideand he ate a pellet but it was like 2 fused together so he spit it back out cuz im guessing it was too big and he hasnt eaten since then, im pretty sure hes not sick right now though, because when i come up to his tank he darts around, although that could be because hes stressed or scared but ill keep watching for signs

Hope this helps and answers some of your concerns :)
it helped immensely! :) thank you so much for answering all of my questions :) this forum has been so helpful with my fish so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re-read it, sorry.. it could be dirt/dust if the tank wasn't properly cleaned before setting it up- generally want to use an aquarium sponge to scrub it before you set it up.

How long has the tank been set up?
Did it just pop up or was it there since you set it up?
How long do you keep your lights on in the tank, in case it's brown algae (which is common in newly set up tanks as they are trying to establish a cycle).
hmmm i think maybe 4 or 5 days. i didnt notice it until i took the gravel out when i changed the water after my last fish passed away, and i keep the light on all the time


EDIT: also i didnt clean the tank before i filled it up... should i empty it and do that?
 

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You are welcome :) I love the people here too.. have some great members!

As for your question, yes they can get to their anal fins.. one of mine who I had to "time out" from his new neighbor boy recently went back to his old trick of biting his fins.. has a couple nice large U shapes missing from only his anal fin. He hates it when he doesn't see either me or another fish for any length of time. He starts to eat his fins.. but yet he is constantly flaring when I allow him to see a neighbor. Luckily the ones I switch out and put next to him tend to ignore him most of the time. (He is constantly next to me at my desk, have a long counter running next to me against the wall where I line up all the tanks, and I switch out the one immediately next to Xander's when doing a water change so I can see them for a bit.. but Xander is my old man and favorite, so he's always the first one in line next to me.. he just gets grumpy from time to time.

I think they most likely lay on the bottom, or in a cave, possible curved some.. and when the anal fin is laying on the bottom of the tank, they can turn just enough to grab it. But I would definitely keep an eye on it just in case rot comes- look for black to very dark red in color with it seeming to "flake" off, and is a little crusty... you can also look for the fungal form of it, which will be white puffs at the edges.
 

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hmmm i think maybe 4 or 5 days. i didnt notice it until i took the gravel out when i changed the water after my last fish passed away, and i keep the light on all the time


EDIT: also i didnt clean the tank before i filled it up... should i empty it and do that?
Most likely it's dirt that you didn't see.. tanks tend to collect a lot of dust when sitting empty. Since you haven't turned the filter on, I would do that now before you start the cycle process.
BUT reading back on it, it looks as if it was going prior and you removed the gravel. If that is the case, then it's probably debris and waste particles left by the other fish/gravel.. I would clean it out still, especially if you want to go bare bottom.

Keeping the light on all the time can be bad for a few different reasons- you will grow algae.. sometimes some algae is good to have, but there are some pesky ones you don't want, such as the brown algae.. and the more the light is on, the greater the chances of growing it.
Also, fish need a day/night cycle just like us.. they need time to rest to recharge their bodies.. otherwise it's a lot of stress for the fish, and in the end, the overall health will be deminished and therefor their life span shortened. Like all animals, they need time to "sleep".
 

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Discussion Starter #15
huh, i never knew they could reach there. Xander sounds pesky and cute :D haha i think Antione has a pretty spunky personality when he shows it. i had the filter on for about 24 hours before putting St. Jimmy in and about 24 hours between him and Antione and also overnight after changing the water/gravel (Antione was floating in his cup) ill probably clean it tomorrow. my mom wasnt awake last time i changed it so hopefully she wont yell at me for using too much water haha and i knew they rested but i guess i never thought about the light. are they okay with being in total darkness or should i turn the light of during the day with curtains closed?
 

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You can keep the light on during the day, or use natural light- either way you want it. You can keep the light on for a good chunk at night too if you wish. The only time I keep mine in total darkness (or close to it) is at night at bedtime- which for them is generally around 11pm.

It depends on your schedule too- how late you stay up. I would say as long as they have a good 5-6 hours in the dark then that should be fine for them.

I tend to keep my lights on for around 10-11 hours, sometimes a bit longer, and sometimes during the day I'll turn them off for an hour or two to give them some natural light and a bit of rest time if they had a busy day of flaring/cleaning.
Otherwise, I wouldn't keep the lights on for more then 12 hours straight.
 

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You're welcome! One more tip- I'm heading off myself too- I would turn the tank light off about 20-30 minutes before you go to bed, leaving your room light on, or a light in the room on, until you go to bed- that way it won't stress him out going from light to sudden blackness. He will get used to settling down when he sees the lighting gets dimmed.

Good luck!
 

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Fin rot kinda looks like burnt fryed fins and black particals can be found in the tank. I reasontly had this issue . Even thoug I had been changing water out and adding contioner . Do u have a ph test? I picked a ph test up that's a liquid test ph was in the 8.2+ range he also had cloudy eyes and fins where singed looking. After I balanced it out useing spring water because fauset water ph is around 8.2+. Even with conditons. Aquarium salt + stress coast have helped he still looks sick. Some meds even for ick are best at half dose. The aquarium salt is not the same as table salt. 1\2 teaspoon for 1 gallon+ neacco responded best with 1\2 of a half gallon in the 2.5 gallon tank.
 
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