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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, this is my first post here and I'm hoping you guys can help me out.

I have a male betta that I brought home a week ago. Named him Buddy. He seems to really like people, gets excited at meal time and always swims right up when I check on him. His personality is what got me to buy him as I didn't really think he was an attractive betta, lol. Had him in a 1 gallon half moon tank and since he is active I decided to upgrade him.

Bought a 5.5 gallon tank with the works - new plants, gravel, a cool rock formation with a nice size cave and it has a decent light & filter. The filter I knew would be a bit strong, so I made a baffle out of a plastic water bottle and added it before I put Buddy in. There was a small amount of current but not bad, so in went Buddy.

He seemed just fine, seemed to be adjusting well to the new tank & all the room, swimming around checking things out. Was eating, though he had to chase his food a bit. So, I was satisfied, happy he was enjoying the tank, and went to bed.

This morning I find that he's somehow torn several fins. He seems agitated at the filter. He kept swimming under and around the baffle and I noticed he was rubbing himself against it - I think perhaps this is how he tore so many fins? I took the baffle off, put in a piece of aquarium sponge which softens the current, but he still seems agitated. He spends a lot of time swimming around the filter and intake and flaring.

I thought perhaps he was seeing his reflection in the side of the filter with the light on, so I tried with the light off. No change, he's still flaring at it. I tried putting a white note card on the outside of the tank held in place by the filter, to block the reflection he might be seeing, but he's still doing it. Could it be the water flow? Just the filter itself?

I don't know what I should do here. How can I get him to be comfortable in this tank? I spent far more than I should have on all this stuff, and it's quite upsetting that he's not enjoying it and has managed to hurt himself. He was very happy in the 1 gallon, and I could always move him back, but I so wanted him to have a real tank.

What can I do?
 

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Do not move him back to the 1 gallon. 1 gallon is too small for a betta because of the bioload and how quickly ammonia builds up in a tank that size.

You can try to baffle in the intake as well. Just take some filter sponge and wrap it around the intake and secure it with a rubber band. you can buy a decent size box of filter sponge at petco/petsmart for $5.

Do you have a heater? Bettas a need a heater (more than a filter). They are tropical fish and need water that is 78-80 degrees F. Heaters also keep the temperature stable. Fluctuating temperature are just as bad for a betta a cold water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I'll keep him in the 5.5 gallon if the 1 gallon is not a good idea. I may try to baffle the intake if he keeps this up much longer. I purchased a box of aquarium sponge so I have plenty of extra. He's got a heater & I have the tank at 80 right now.

I added some colored paper across the back of the tank to help cut down reflections against the filter and that seems to help a bit. He is still spending a lot of time right under the filter and next to the intake, staring around flaring. He is swimming around a bit more now that the water bottle baffle is off and the sponge is there instead - it cut the flow down quite a bit. Should I just give him a day or two and see if he gets used to it? Would it be a bad idea to take off the filter?

I haven't actually seen him go into the cave - it's near the bottom of the rock formation, and he's not shown any interest in going into it at all. I did check it out when I bought it and the inside is smoothed and I didn't notice anything too sharp on it. But I'll double check just to be sure.
 

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I would just wait a few more days. Add some stresscoat to his water to help with regrowth. If his fins continue to get shredded then baffle the intake and if that does work the maybe remove the filter or get a different one that has a calmer flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, I'll be adding stress coat today to help him out - should I also do the regular water changes (50% Mon/50% Thurs/100% Saturday) to help his fins?

I did end up baffling the intake and the flow seems to be bothering him much less today. He's been swimming around much more and flaring less. He will still flare a bit when he swims in front of the filter, but overall he seems much better. He did not damage any more fins last night, so I do think it was the plastic water bottle he was rubbing against that was splitting them.

I think he will be okay, which makes me feel so much better. I bought all this stuff because I just wanted him to be as happy as possible and he was so upset with the changes. I'm so happy he's getting used to them now.
 

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Just like some people, some bettas are more upset by change than others. Everything you did is for his health and happiness, and when he finally adjusts to all of the changes, he'll do much better than he would have in his old home. :)
 
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