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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, new, first time betta owner here. And by new, I mean two days ago.

Basically, what had happened is that my roommate decided that we needed a fish. I didn't want anything to do with it (because, as many know, college students make pro pet owners) but when she and our neighbor brought Rakesh home and were about to dunk him into cold tap water, and he started flipping the heck out, I had to step in.

So I've been playing fish doctor for the past two days. He's doing TONS better than he was (he would spaz out and then float to the top, then spaz out again) but he's definitely not the happiest fish I've seen. They managed to remember to buy food, which is always a good thing, but they didn't get any dechlorinating drops. My roommate claims that she had kept her betta fish of three years in tap water his whole life, but with how Rakesh reacted I somehow doubt it. Over the first night (we finally got him out at around 9:00pm) he stayed in the cup that he came in from Petsmart that we filled with bottled drinking water. I know that isn't the best, but he started swimming again and seemed to recover splendidly.

The next day I moved him back to his 1-gallon tank (after cleaning off the tank, rocks, and plants), which I filled with distilled water. I know that's a red flag, too, that just went up in all of your heads- I know now, after buying two gallons of it, that distilled water is horrible for fish. But given that the choice is between tap water and distilled water, I'm pretty sure the latter is better for the moment.

I've been trying to get back to Petsmart to get dechlorinating drops since supposedly tap water+drops is better, but me lacking a car and the closest bus stop being about a twenty minute walk away, I haven't been able to get out there. I also wish that I could get him a properly heated tank, a good filter, and all the necessities of actually good fish owners, but I'm currently on a strict college-freshman budget. I'm trying to see how well I can do without digging too deep into my pockets to save a fish who, as much of a jerk as I am to say it, isn't even mine.

So to get to the point:

I need help. Desperately. I've been cramming on taking care of betta fish between classes, trying to figure out what we're doing wrong and how to fix it. Rakesh's a red veil (I'm guessing, from the posts on here), and he's been sitting on my desk for awhile now. He's watched me (so I'm guessing he's responsive) and he's flared once or twice. However, I've also noticed some white, almost iridescent looking spots on his face and what looks like faint stripes along his sides. He's also eaten I think a total of two pellets since we've gotten him (Top Fin, Color Enhancing Betta Bits). Rakesh has been swimming around the tank, hiding under the plants a bit, and basically investigating since I put him in. His fins have uncurled since he got into the drinking water, and more when in the distilled water, and he looks much brighter than before.

What are the necessities that I most definitely need to get? Like I said, I wish I could spoil him rotten, but from what he has right now it looks a bit better than what he had at the store. Our rooms are, beyond our control, at about 80 all day, so though I haven't taken the temperature of it, I'd say the water is about 70-75 degrees. His fins are a bit ratty, but I'm pretty sure that Rakesh looked like that already when he came here.

Here are some pictures. Unfortunately the lighting at the moment isn't the best, but I did my best.
http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/7060/img01621.jpg
http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/8310/img01561.jpg
http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/7017/img01601.jpg

Thank you so much, all of you, for your help. Or at least reading. And I'm sorry that I let the two of them purchase this poor thing without thinking it through.
 

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I do recommend a 2.5, which is easier to clean. doubt your roomie will clean a one gallon twice a week, as needed. a small heater to at least keep it above room temperature is a good thing especially if you don't control the heat in the room :3
The spots on his face can be 1 of 2 things: marbling, or ammonia burn/scars. faint stripes, usually is a good sign of stress. As soon as you can to aovoid problems with distilled, get him tap water conditioner :)

so list
1. 2.5 tank (optional right now)
2. heater (prefered, but not good for 1 gallons usually)
3. tap water conditioner (a MUST)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for the reply.

Yeah, somehow I feel that I will be left with the tank cleaning as well. But I forgive the little guy- he's growing on me. I do kind of have a question about cleaning, too. I read that at minimum, it should be a 25% water change per week, and then a full blown cleaning once a month. Or is that just for larger tanks, with filter systems? And do dechlorinators get rid of chloramimes, or would I have to get a separate formula for that?
 

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I think they should get rid of chloramimes - usually check the back of the conditioner. I have never had any trouble with conditioners :)
Depending on the tank... my 1 gallons (if NOT overfed remember)get cleaned once every 2-3 days 80-100%. For 2.5, twice a week 40% usually works, or once a week 50% because it is not cycled.
For a cycled tank (more stable in 5+ gallons) 25% a week is usua; :)
 

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Yeah, definitely get conditioner and a heater to raise the temperature to 76-80 degrees. You are doing the right thing taking care of a fish that's not yours. I admire you for that. I'm a freshman in college, and I know the conditions that a lot of the fish are kept in are horrendous :(
The conditioner that I use is Seachem Prime, and it gets rid of chlorine and chloramines. I'm pretty sure it also gets rid of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, but I don't have it with me, so I couldn't tell you for sure.
If you're going to stick with the 1 gallon, you have to do 100% water changes, and I personally don't have a 1 gallon, but I think that changing the water 3 times a week is the minimum? But you should probably wait for someone else who has experience with 1 gallons to reply.
Good luck with Rakesh and I'm sorry that you have to deal with your roommate's ignorance.

Edit: Sena replied before I posted. Listen to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you very much to both of you, I really really appreciate it. I'll do my best to get my hands on some dechlorinator, I'll try to get out there tomorrow or early in the week, if it stops raining. Otherwise I'll change out the water for the rest of the distilled, then get some drinking water gallon bottles. I hear those are supposed to be better than distilled, but obviously you all know better than me.
 

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Hi, I would get a heater if you have a walmart near bye that sells fish stuff you can get one that heats a one gallon for $15. also conditioner is a must you can get that cheap at walmart to. And for cleaning I do two 25% and 1 100% each week with no problems. As long as you keep it clean it shouldn't be an issue. (I have a 1g that I keep a fish in permanently)
 

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That cleaning is actually pretty good as you are breaking it up into 3 :) I have to keep Dally in his 1 gallon bowl because he seems to dislike larger awesomer tanks -.-
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh, gah, right! Walmart has a fish area-I was so focused on trying to get to Petsmart I forgot. There's a bus that goes right up there, I'll hop on once it starts running again. Thank you all so much. I'll clean out his water tomorrow, and then grab some conditioner and a heater on Tuesday, if everything goes well with my schedule.
 

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awesome!! :) kind of sucks you're spending money and caring for your roomie's fish o_O lol but hey better than watching him suffer and die.
 

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He's growing on you? Looks like you might get the betta bug :p
From the images, he actually looks in pretty good health. I can't see any stress stripes on him, the ones in the first picture is just natural colours.
 

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From the images, he actually looks in pretty good health. I can't see any stress stripes on him, the ones in the first picture is just natural colours.
Really? Good! Then he's doing better than I thought.

There's always been a fishtank at home, about 15 gallons I think, and we've had bettas before in there. This is the first time that I've actually helped to take care of a betta in a single-fish tank, and even at home the most I did was feed them every now and again. But yeah, I've missed all of our pets up here so I may end up looking to take care of a fish or two up here. I haven't minded taking care of Rakesh much.

The money isn't too much, now that I look at it, especially when I go get the drops and just use tap water. I was concerned, at first, that the price would quickly pile on top of itself. But right now, total, I think we're at about 23 dollars. According to my roomie, she's got the drops under control- getting them from a friend.

Rakesh was actually supposed to be a pod fish, to be shared between the others here. (In our dorm, the floor is divided into groups of 6/7 rooms, a pod.) He was going to be taken into the middle room to sit on a table during the evening when everyone was out there, then brought into someone's room for the night and the next morning. That'll probably go back into effect, soon, now that he's healthy again. I wish it wouldn't, I wouldn't think that all that moving would be good for him, but like I said, he's not really my fish. :c But I'll try to at least keep him happy and healthy as best I can.
 

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Really? Good! Then he's doing better than I thought.

Rakesh was actually supposed to be a pod fish, to be shared between the others here. (In our dorm, the floor is divided into groups of 6/7 rooms, a pod.) He was going to be taken into the middle room to sit on a table during the evening when everyone was out there, then brought into someone's room for the night and the next morning. That'll probably go back into effect, soon, now that he's healthy again. I wish it wouldn't, I wouldn't think that all that moving would be good for him, but like I said, he's not really my fish. :c But I'll try to at least keep him happy and healthy as best I can.
Haha, my Gilbert gets stress stripes every time I take him out to change his water -___-

And the moving around wouldn't be so bad, as long as they take the heater and plug it in with him. There's also a good chance that everyone else would get bored with him in a few months, so you may end up with him xD
 

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I hope everything works out for you and Rakesh!
 

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Aww that's nice that you're taking good care of him. I was going to help out but everything has been said already. People are so effective on this site. LOL!

So most important things are the heater, thermometer and conditioner. As long as you keep up with the water changes after, little Rakesh should be fine! Good luck!
 

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If your tap water isn't too chloriney, a half-half solution of tap and distilled water can be a good temporary solution. :) It's not ideal, of course, but then the whole situation isn't. You have much admiration from me for doing what you are for him. :)
 

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Thanks a ton for all the replies, guys. <3

Right now, I don't really feel comfortable giving him a half tap and half distilled mix, just because I don't know how chlorine-y it is. Or chloramine-y. I'm going to change out the distilled today for some new distilled. My roommate says that she has a friend who's going to give her some dechlorination drops, so we'll see when that happens. And unfortunately, I was told that a heater wasn't needed with how hot it is in here. Granted, I don't think it'll be that much of an issue because, it's true, it is always really hot in here. But between the heater that they have at Walmart probably not fitting into this shape of a tank and it having to be carried and plugged in with Rakesh wherever he goes, looks like one won't be bought. If he is given to me, then definitely I'll get him a better tank and a heater. But until then, unfortunately the room temp will have to do. :c

I am kind of concerned about his eating. He hasn't eaten a whole pellet from what I've seen, so I crushed it this morning. He went crazy after it, chasing the little bits around. But then, when he finally caught one, he's suck it in, then spit it back out. The strange thing is, though, is that he'd chase after it again, suck it in, then spit it out once more. Could that just be because maybe they fed him flakes at the store, and he doesn't know what to do with this kind of food? Or is there definitely something wrong with him, on top of the water issue?

Also on a kind of unrelated note, the stripes along his side kind of look like the stripes on the logo on the home page, if you're logged out. Are those stress lines? He still has them. (If so, probably because of water. But I just wanted to check.)
 

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Most of my bettas wouldn't eat at first either, so that is normal. Along with chasing the food - that's normal too :lol:Some of my males when stressed or sick will be paler, with a stripe or two.
 

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Welcome to the forum & hats off to you for stepping up to take care of the little guy :). I have a couple of one gallon tanks that are used for some of my fish (some are special needs and some just don't like bigger tanks). As long as you can keep up with the water changes, he should be okay. Heat is preferrable definitely. And a lot of mine wouldn't eat at first, but usually settle in after a couple of days. Good luck!
 

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Being a college/grad school betta owner, I know how difficult it can be to properly maintain a fish tank. First and foremost, definitely get a heater and water conditioner. This will go a long way to ensure his health. It probably won't hurt to pick up a water test kit, so you can test the water for anything really bad (and knowing water on college campuses, it's pretty bad stuff). Good luck!
 
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