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Struggling new fish, please help.

1473 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  DragonFish
Last Sunday (January 31) my friend went out and bought both of us a Betta fish. I had nothing to care for the fish, as it was a surprise, but he told me I could borrow goldfish flakes from my friend to feed him until I got real Betta food. I ordered a Betta fish kit online from PetCo, but sadly it still has not arrived. So right now, my Betta is living in my Tupperware. Just last night I received some Betta food from my hall director, but now my fish won't eat that.

I have had several Betta's in my life, and none have ever acted like this one. He is very jumpy and timid. He currently lives on the sink counter in my dorm, and will get scared and attack the Tupperware walls if I even turn on the faucet sometimes. When I first got him, I set something down on the counter near him - thinking nothing of it - and he began flapping rapidly on the surface of the water and then floating upright for most of the day. Now he either just sits at the bottom of the Tupperware or gets into his fits of flapping and attacking the container.

I do not know what to do and I am very nervous and scared for my fish. I have already grown attached to him, but he was already pale when I got him and is looking worse every day. Should I just try to let him adjust to his new space, maybe he is just scared by it. Could he be facing any other dangers?
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How big is the tupperware container you have him in? How often are you changing his water? What type of food, pellets, or flakes? Did you use water conditioner on his water before you put him in it? What is the temperature of the water? I know, I am full of questions. One last question: what betta fish kit?

Bettas can go awhile without eating food, so he won't starve to death in just a few day.
I would say he is just really nervous, also a tupperware probably isn't the easiest for him to see through if it even the clear ones. So when he senses vibrations in the water not being able to see could be freaking him out that way.

I would check the water temp, the pale color could be due to too cold of a water temperature. What noko said I would just leave him for a few days, if he isn't emaciated from the petstore and looks a good weight I wouldn't try to feed for a a day or so, just leave him be and see how he does.
I am more than okay with these questions! I started him in a 7 cup (1,7L) size Tupperware, but about an hour ago I switched him into a 5 cup (1,2 L). I put him in some fresh water the day after I got him, and I just put him in some fresh water when I switched him to the smaller tupperware. I have also been scooping out as much of the dirty water as possible between then and now and adding fresh water when it got low. The only thing I have been doing is letting the water sit for about 24 hours, if not longer, before I put him in it.

As for food, I started with basic Goldfish food flakes, but he would spit those up and they ended up just sitting at the top of his tank. Last night I got a hold of Betta fish food, and it is just small brown-orange circle pellets. I'm not sure what kind of food exactly because I just got a few in a Ziploc bag.

I do not know the temperature, I can only say room. It's not too warm or too cold in here, if only it gets stuffy every once in awhile. The kit I ordered is this one:

Also, I'm not sure if this affects him, but these dorms get very dusty very quickly. And I think it could be harder on him because he is in Tupperware so the whole top of his "home" is exposed. I've been trying to skim the top of the water as much as possible for all those little particles, but I still worry. Again, I was not prepared to take on the fish because my friend just brought him to me in a bag - I was hoping to go buy my fish myself so I could also purchase everything else I might need.
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The bowl that comes in the kit isn't suitable as a permanent home for a betta. You will need something that holds at least 2.5 gallons of water. His food might be too big for him to eat try breaking one in half and feeding him them that way. Bettas need warm water. I suggest a water temperature of around 76-82 degrees F. The container you have him in now will need a lid. Bettas breath from the air, so he will still need to get some oxygen. I suggest taking a piece of paper and poking one or two small holes in it, and putting it on top of his container. Bettas like to jump, so he will jump out if you don't have a lid.
My Tank

I have a 1.5 gallon tank and no heater is that bad? It does have a filter and a few hiding spaces.:roll:
When it comes to the food, he won't even look at it. Last night I put three little balls in his dish (as recommended by the woman who gave them to me) and he didn't even look at them. So this morning when I tried to feed him again, I put down some Goldfish flakes as well, because they cast a bigger shadow and he'll notice those. But he went in for the flakes, spit them up, and then went back down to the bottom of the Tupperware.
Bettas require stable temps of 78-82 degrees F, and therefore need a heater unless your room(or dorm in this case)is that warm all the time with no or very little fluctuation in temp. Like JamieTron said, the pale coloring is due to the cold and stress.

Also, that 'betta kit' isn't really appropriate for a betta....1/2 gallons is FAR too small, the minimum you should keep him in is 2.5 gallons to allow proper exercise, stimulation, and safe heating. In a 1/2 gallon, you'll need to clean it out every day to keep deadly ammonia from fish waste building up, it can't be heated to the proper temp safely without cooking your fish, and its not enough room for your betta to be active and get the exercise he needs to keep him healthy, happy, and his fins from curling or clamping.
You'll also need some very soft silk plants, bettas fins tear easily, and some sort of cave for him to hide in. Your guy may also be feeling exposed without any place to hide in the container you have him in, bettas naturally come from a densely planted environment with a TON of cover.
If there is any way you can cancel the order and get your money back, do so right away.

Some cheap options for a 2.5+ gallon are 'Kritter Keepers'. They're light, easy to clean, cheap, the medium size is 2.5 gallons, they come with a convenient little lid so your guy doesn't jump out, and they can be safely heated. You can also check Craigslist in your area, you can usually find whole setups for pretty cheap that may even include a heater.
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What kind of heater would I need, and how much do they cost (on average). Are they very big/bulky? And let's say I order a Kritter Keeper, or any tank that is bigger, is there anything else I can do in the mean time? Most of my purchases are made online, since my campus is a little secluded from the town and it's not easy to get to the stores.

Thank you all for your help and advice!
well for a tank of that size like dragonfish said that tank is too small for a heater but if you get the 2.5 gal critter keeper you will need a 25 watt heater you can order one from walmart for about $13 the brand is tetra its 6.25" and as for a hideing space you can use a small cup or clay pot,,, if you keep offering him a pellet everyday he will eventually try it so just watch to see an if he eats it i wouldnt offer him more than 3 pellets a day
I'm not good with heater brands and prices, though any submersible, adjustable heater between 15-25 watts should be alright. And no, they shouldn't be all that bug or bulky looking. Check around at different places online like Wal-mart(like truthequalslies said), Petsmart, Petco, and so on. Also, don't forget a thermometer to monitor the temp and make sure it stays stable and where you want it.

Yes, those clay pots you find at craft stores make GREAT caves and plastic drinking cups make nice temp caves as well, not to mention both are very cheap. ;) Also, don't forget the silk plants! A couple should do. You can run them over a tissue and if they tear the tissue, then they're too sharp.

In the meantime, keep your guy in the darkest, warmest, quiestest part of the dorm, change his water out daily, and keep offering him pellets until he accepts them. :)
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