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FAQs on Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish

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Related FAQs:  Betta ID/Varieties, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta System, Betta Feeding, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

2019 Guest Post Ideas; Betta f'      2/15/19
I hope you are well. I am Janice Wiging, Content Editor at nippyfish.net. Our website has 38 domain authority and monthly traffic is 13.4k.
<Ahh, have looked. Very nice>
I came across your website while looking for resources for my upcoming article & found the content on your website really engaging.
I'd love to contribute an original piece of writing to your website. Would you be open to considering a submission from me?
<Yes; we do purchase, post new content>
I have some topic ideas which I think would be a perfect fit for your website:
1) How we can feed a Betta Fish Step By Step?
2) Must Know Top 5 Betta Fish Food
3) How many days can a Betta fish go without food
Please select one from the above which suits you best, but I am open to suggestions.
<Mmm; I see these topics have been covered on your site, and elsewhere on the Net... adequately. Folks are sure to find, read them placed already via search tools.>

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.
<Thank you for your offer; and efforts in helping to provide useful, actionable information to fellow hobbyists. I encourage you to write, make submission to analog magazines in our field (ornamental aquatics); when you have enough graphics, text, to compile a given subject into an eBook, direct-to-print work.>
Best Wishes,
Janice Wiging
Content Editor| www.nippyfish.net
<And you, Bob Fenner, Head Cheerleader, WWM>

Problems with "dragon scale" Bettas       9/21/18
We have Dragon Scale Bettas at the LFS here. They tend to have thick scales that tend to be shiny although I am seeing this less and less. Also the scales apparently can grow over one eye or both eyes blinding the fish completely.
<Indeed, just what the hobby needs -- another fish that's crippled by the mutant genes we've bred into it.>
The one I saw today had one good eye and one seemed clouded or maybe it was a thin scale over the eye. Does anyone know about these Bettas?
<The International Betta Congress are probably the best people for information about new Betta breeds.>
As in it maybe being a case of trying to breed for characteristics that backfires when it leaves the fish blind?
<Yes; so far as I can ascertain, all dragon scale Bettas are handicapped to some degree. Some fry die very early on, others survive for months or a year or two, but they don't seem to have the same 3-4 year lifespan of typical fancy Bettas. Even those that live some years will usually end up blind.>
Also it seems that when Bettas are inbred for interesting characteristics they seem to lose their feisty nature and tend to be slower and timid, not the usual "natural" Betta wanting a fight with another Betta. Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Fish Proposal       8/11/16
Hi There,
I'm Hazel from It's A Fish Thing (itsafishthing.com
<http://www.gmgm11.net/x/c?c=416710&l=092747fd-c292-4953-bc85-11cc84b8c3e1&r=b3f1d15b-12fe-4a56-8aa9-c5570e8cd222 >)
While browsing your site I came across an excellent article on Betta fish care http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/betta_splendens.htm
We have recently done what I believe is an informative Betta care infographic and think it would be a superb addition to your article (or even great to use for a new article - where I'd be happy to help with some content to go with it).
Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in and I'll send you over the infographic.
<Is this the link? http://www.itsafishthing.com/betta-fish-care/
If so; I'll just add to the Betta files as a reference. Bob Fenner>
All the Best

Bettas need for surface breathing       4/2/16
Hi all! I suppose I'm directing this question at Bob, the resident Betta expert...but I'm confident that any of you guys know the answer.
<Ah yes>
On a recent blog, I mentioned a horrible incident (I shudder to think of it) in which all of my female Bettas got their heads stuck in an ornament.
It truly was like a scene from a fish horror movie. One was dead, two still alive but stuck so badly that I literally had to shake the ornament with force to free them. One was too far gone and I decided the other, after observation, was as well. So, I used clove oil to euthanize them.
When I mentioned my story/warning re: aquarium decorations on the blog, another poster mentioned that the need for Bettas to breathe surface air was a total myth and that they could basically survive without ever doing
<Mmm; incorrect>
He didn't mention any extra means of oxygenation for the Betta...just that it was simply not true that they needed to breathe surface air (or air...whatever it's truly called). Since EVERYTHING one can find on Bettas
pretty much mentions this need from the start, I wanted to ask you all what your take on this is. Thanks in advance! You guys rock!!
<There is less obligative need when younger; but as far as I know all Betta spp. are aerial respirators as adults.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Bettas need for surface breathing

Ahh, thanks Bob! May I use your expertise (vicariously) to gloat??
<Mmm; I wouldn't>
Nah, just kidding! By the way, I purchased your book on Bettas last year...enjoyed all the information and left you a nice review!!!
<Ahh; appreciated. BobF>

Orange balls      6/20/13
What r these orange balls in my female Berta's bowl?  It also got very cloudy overnight.
<May be eggs from her... can't tell; but look to be something someone has otherwise dropped in. And Bettas don't live long or well in these sorts of bowl settings; need heater, filter. Read here:
This water needs to be changed out ASAPractical, and this fish put into a proper environment.
Bob Fenner>

Betta questions 9/22/12
Dear Crew,
first of all I´d like to thank you for your great homepage!
One week ago, I purchased a beautiful male Betta. He lives in a 25l (6.6 gal) tank (cycled, filtered, heated, planted). NO2 = 0, No3=5 mg/l, pH= 7,5, KH= 5°dH, GH= 9°dH, Temp. 26°C. He is fed alternately with a variety of flake foods as well as live or wet frozen mosquito larvae, Daphnia or Artemia (small amounts once per day) and so far, he´s doing fine.
<All good.>
Still, I have two questions: 1) the only cohabitant in this tank is a brown Planorbarius corneus. Since about two days, the Betta is frequently flaring at the snail. Is this too stressful? Should I remove the snail?
<How long has the snail been in there? If it has only been a short time (2 days?) then I'd monitor and see how it plays out. The animals shouldn't really be able to hurt each other.>
2) It´s not my first aquarium, but my three other tanks are much larger. In there, I do 25-30% water changes once a week. Should I do more frequent partial water changes in the Betta tank due to its small volume?
<I think your usual process should be fine.>
Thank you and have a nice weekend!
<Welcome. - Rick>

Arofanatics Carnival 2012, Sing.     9/3/12
Bob A local online forum http://www.arofanatics.com/ has teamed up with the Betta club, Ranchu club and Pleco club to set up this year's carnival. Attached are the pics of prize winners from the Betta show.
<Thank you for sending these Betta pix along Perry. BobF> 

Betta Grand Champion- Arofanatics carnival 2012    9/3/12
Bob Sorry about the fuzzy image. I only had a cheap digital camera with me yesterday.
<And no flash... a shame. B>
Re: Betta Grand Champion- Arofanatics carnival 2012    9/3/12
We were not allowed to use flash. I will send in more pics once I have organized my album Perry
<Ahh, figured as much after thinking. Cheers, B>

Shipping a Betta fish    4/24/12
I have a question about shipping Bettas or any fish. I have a friend who would take a Halfmoon Betta that I have, but they live far enough away that I would have to ship it. So I looked up info on the net about shipping fish, and one of the things that needs to be done, it seems, is using a tank and hose to slowly put oxygen into the bag, much more oxygen than water, and ship with the right insulation and box etc. Do fish breeders buy tanks for this purpose??
<Tanks? As in oxygen? Yes... but for one fish... using an insulated box (likely available through UPS, FedEx) and just doubled fish bags and atmosphere will be fine>
It seems as though fish shipping is only for the breeders who are known and selling a lot of fish. So it looks like shipping one fish is too pricy.
What kind of tank do breeders use?
<...? Double 2,3,4 mil plastic bags... you can get these through any petfish store>
or do they rent them? or go to a place somewhere where they pay to have oxygen put in the bags??
<Likely you don't need this... the fish can be shipped w/o for a few days...>
 I didn't know it was quite that complicated. I also read that most breeders do the two day shipping which is more stressful for the fish.
Thank You!!
<Please visit a local fish store for materials, input. Bob Fenner>

Silver Betta?    2/5/12
Hey guys,
I love your site, and have used the FAQs many many times while setting up all of my fish tanks. (a 50 gal coral/saltwater a 15 gal freshwater, and a mini 5 gal biocube) Your knowledge base has been a huge help for me over the years!
<Ah good>
Anyway, my latest project is a 2 gal bowl (tricky, I know) to go on my coffee table in the middle of my living room. After some research I decided the star the show would be a male Betta fish.
I came across this little guy, a super delta Betta if I'm not mistaken, in the pet store and I was simply smitten with his personality - even in those horrid little cups they keep Bettas in at the pet store, he swam around as much as he could and does this delightful little shimmy dance whenever I feed him.
His body is a silver-grey, shiny, with black lining on his scales. His fins are gorgeous with uneven streaks and specks of black throughout. The first 1/2 inch of fin is a shiny silver, fading into a jagged 1/8 inch band of bright, shiny white which kind of reminds me of pictures of butterfly Bettas I have seen. The band of white looks frosty, almost jagged and ripped up, but it leads into a band of clear/cellophane at the edge of the fin which is healthy and unmarred, and all of the fins and scales flash bright as tin foil when he swims.
I can never seem to get a photo that does him justice (he always ends up just looking grey), but I will include one anyway.
All of the websites I have looked at on Betta coloring have lots of information on black, red, blue, green, albino, cellophane, etc., but none of them have anything to say about Bettas as shiny and silver as this little fella. Any of you Betta geniuses out there know what kind of breeding strain his silver would have come from? Or his tri-colored fins?
<Mmm, I do not; but there are many series of magazine articles (Gene Lucas in FAMA a fave) and books... Joanne Norton... on Bettas, genetics>
While I'm here, do you have any recommendations for safe tank-mates?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaq2.htm
 I know more fish are out of the question from the size of the bowl, but what about snails or small shrimp to help keep the substrate tidy?
<And the linked files above>
I also am considering switching my fake plants for live ones, but I have heard mixed reports - any tips on a good plant for such a small space?
<Keep reading>
 Should I just stick with the fake ones I have in there?
<I like at least some live>
Thanks in advance for letting me pick your brain :)
<This isn't such a forum... WWM is a reference service. Please learn to/use the search tool and indices. Bob Fenner>

What do Betta's need for care?      9/14/11
I am not finding much from the internet
<Much here!
Essentially an aquarium at least 5 gallons in size; a tropical fish tank heater; a small filter; and a hood to stop them jumping out. Everything else is optional, but not these things. Do bear in mind the stories about
Bettas living in hoof-prints filled with rainwater are rubbish, and while breeders can keep them in jars, they change almost all the water daily and keep the jars in a heated fish room that provides both warmth and humidity (Bettas are very sensitive to cold air and dry air). Don't expect any fish to be a cheap pet, and if can't afford to get the basic equipment, or don't have the space, then please don't try and keep them at all. Far too many fish die prematurely because of this. Fish clubs exist in most major cities, especially in the US, and they will often provide guidance, even free equipment, to people starting out in the hobby. Cheers, Neale.>
So is it possible to keep a Betta in a vase.

<Not reliably nor humanely, no.>
My family kept Betta's in vase and they survived for a long time.
<Some smoke cigarettes and don't get cancer; doesn't make smoking safe.
Most Bettas kept in vases have short, nasty lives. Is keeping Bettas in a jar or vase animal cruelty? I'd argue it is, especially if the pet owner knows what that Betta needs to do well. Given good conditions a Betta can live for 2-4 years in a properly maintained tropical aquarium. For everyone who says their Betta lived a year in a jar of water, there are a hundred Bettas that die within weeks. We get a LOT of messages each month from people with sick or dead Bettas, and there's a common thread running
through them all: poor living conditions, specifically, bowls and vases. Ask yourself why you're trying to keep an animal in conditions any vet will tell you won't be humane or healthy. If you want an animal companion, find one that will work in the space and budget you have at your disposal.
Cheers, Neale.>
I don't understand why you are using sarcasm with a reader.     9/14/11

<It's exasperation, Courtney. You wouldn't believe how many people hear advice about not keeping a Betta or Goldfish in a bowl; ignore it completely; buy their Betta or Goldfish; and then when it dies in a few weeks, they'd go buy another. You may not be one of those people -- and I truly hope not. But I can't tell that for sure, so I'm being as forceful as possible. Unlike the guys in the pet store, I'm not selling you anything and I have nothing to gain from helping you out. My own goal here is to encourage you to keep your pet fish properly.>
I am simply providing you with information that I know. Once again I am personally a first time pet owner.
<And I'm not. I'm very experienced, and I care deeply about animal welfare, hence my firmness.
Cheers, Neale.>

My Filter Story: Was Re: Sudden tank deaths, one possibly sick fish (plus - How do you say the word "Betta"?) 3/4/10
I was going to write this up later but saw a post that I'd like to comment on. If you think better for BB let me know.
I don't expect a play by play response by any means because a lot of this is editorial but there are a couple questions at the end I'd like opinions on.
FYI, when you (NEALE!) say :
<<It's "Betta", to rhyme with "better". It doesn't rhyme with "beater".>>
In the US (proper English) "Betta" is closer to beta and nowhere near "beater". I sat in with a class at Microsoft Reading (after I was stymied by the fact that the elevator had a "0" floor. I had no idea what button to press) and heard "rooter" for "router" for the first time. Where ours is more like "pouter" or "doubter". I think this is what was behind the war of 1812.
<Ah, this has nothing at all with the differences between British and American English. At this point, let me remind readers I'm not a Euro-snob.
I'm a snob in lots of other ways, but not this. I lived in the US for 3 years, and a good part of my family are Americans as well, even though I'm British. In fact my British friends and relatives sometimes comment on my occasional use of Americanisms and American pronunciations! Anyway, the better/beater pronunciation of Betta comes down to the fact this is neither an American English nor a British English word, but a Latin name based on a Thai (I think) word that is transliterated (i.e., spelled out phonetically) as "Bettah". This is one of the local names for the fish. When spoken in any sort of English, the correct pronunciation is "better" rather than "beater". By all means look this up in your dictionary, but here's one American English dictionary, Merriam Webster, that even has an audio file pronouncing the word as I've described:
So, the better/beater thing is simply about right versus wrong. It's nothing to do with local versions of the English language. A couple of analogies would be these: in England, it is quite common for people to pronounce Michigan as "Mitchigan" and Illinois as "Illinoiz". These aren't British English versions of the words, they're just plain wrong. I hope that clears this all up once and for all.>
I don't regret getting into the hobby though it is quite like a drug in the sense that the dealer gets you hooked on something cheap and you have to keep going back for more stuff.
<Yes, can be like a drug, in two ways. Firstly, there's the stage when people want to keep everything, without realising (or being told via books or retailers) that they can't. Secondly, there's the stage when expert fishkeepers try to keep difficult fish, and end up spending huge amounts of money providing the right conditions for that fish.>
No retailer here is going to recommend a fishless cycle and my tank was cleared by the big chain because it didn't have ammonia, nitrite or nitrate after four days.
<Indeed not. One might argue retailers have a vested interest in selling fish along with the tank, since any fatalities will involve additional purchases within a couple of weeks.>
Of course it didn't! It didn't have anything organic to get these processes going.
But even my big fancy LFS is cool with fish stocking as long as you don't more than double your stock every week or two. Hadn't heard that rule before.
<Nor had I.>
What I'm saying is there is frustration like the fact I have different species recommended by the LFS after the infamous tetra incident. They didn't make more money on me by selling me the fish they did.
<I think Bob and others here would agree with your observation. Retailers who provide bad advice ultimately lose more customers (and profits) than they create. Most every retailer in every hobby is against this problem, the one of short-term profits against long-term customers. People starting out in hobbies tend to be [a] cheap and [b] ignorant, so selling them less expensive gear and instant gratification often works well in the short term. But in every hobby you'll hear stories about people who started off in that hobby, hitting a couple of failures, and then giving up. I think this is one reason online retailers do well, because they don't care, as their catchment area is national. Brick and mortar retailers on the other hand really do need to cultivate their local catchment area of customers.
And this surely means a bit more "hand holding". Telling people to get the 15 or 20 gallon tank, not the 5 or 10 gallon tank. Telling people to come buy some fish in 3 weeks time, not today. Telling people what the local water chemistry is, and pointing them towards species that will do well in that. And so on.>
On the contrary, I was very impressed that they would give me recommendations by e-mail when I could have gone somewhere else with the info. I respected that and I still respect them but mostly on a relative scale since no one mentioned the importance of matching water hardness until everyone was home and comfy (comfy accept the Pearl). So I'm determined to make it work.
The tank came part of a kit for only $130 with heater, HOT filter, light hood and sample potions and food. Usually the rule is whatever comes as part of a package deal probably isn't the best around and I was not impressed with the turn the dial "set and forget" heater.
<Sometimes, these kits are pretty darn good. It really does depend.>
But here's the part that kills me. Or almost kills the fish. Or really doesn't but bear with me.
The filter that came with it was the Aqueon Aquarium Power Filters 55 which doesn't have a great review rating at the big sites (average probably about 3.5 stars). It is floss with carbon and a comb thingy that does some mechanical filtration and captures bacteria so you don't re-cycle when changing the filter cartridge. Cons with this are it has an electrical hum to it that almost sounds like you forgot to ground a turntable (whatever those are). The water fall is quite loud and I remembered after it was too late why I didn't like those water fountain decoration things. Frankly, they make me want to produce my own ammonia if you know what I mean.
<I hear you! As someone who's idea of a good night is a night where he only gets up once for a bathroom visit, I like aquaria to be silent. One reason I'm a big fan of canister filters rather than air-powered or hang-on-the-back filters.>
After I discovered this site I began reading the daily FW FAQ every day and occasionally general which I did today. That's when I saw the post about sudden tank deaths and it appears that the poster is probably using an Aqua Clear Power Filters by Hagen which unfortunately has the somewhat proprietary system that you advise against from a cost standpoint though it's still pretty cheap versus a fish and chip order (but not in front of the tank and what the heck putting fries on a pizza?).
<Yeah, I'm not wild about filters that force you to buy proprietary filter modules. It's sort of like razor blades: the thing's cheap initially, but in the long term, you're paying an awful lot for plastic fixtures and other mark-ups. There are some hang-on-the-back filters that, like canisters, simply accept whatever stuff you want to ram into them.>
After doing the requisite reading here (you really should have a counter that ranks newbies by how many articles they read) I decided since my tank was cycled (it wasn't) that I would switch from the Aqueon to Aqua Clear because I liked the idea of changing the media in stages, the ceramic thingies were geeky enough, AND most important no carbon in case of sickness.
<I tend not to use carbon in freshwater tanks, though it does have its uses.>
I would take the comb thingy from the Aqueon to seed the Aqua Clear since the tank was cycled (it wasn't).
Now, what I found out was that if not perfectly balanced the lid would vibrate insanely and priming this thing can be a real headache. It won't re-prime itself after a water change or a power outage and that concerns me. But things really went bad the other night after doing a 25% water change I was having trouble getting it primed and pushed down in the wrong place. The gunk that apparently could not be shifted into the sponge came rushing out the top in a lovely brown liquid with huge fish scales (Gourami?) and even a dead fly.
<The brown liquid is good, actually, and means the filter is doing its job.
That's basically fish faeces and other organic particles broken down into slurry. As for the dead fly... However, if this stuff gets spat into the aquarium, it generally means the mechanical filter media either isn't sufficient, or else needs to be rinsed more often. In itself the slurry isn't toxic, and to be honest, I end up with a bit in my aquaria after cleaning out the canisters because some collects inside the hoses and whatnot. But it's more unsightly than dangerous, and quickly gets cleared up by the canisters once they're running.>
The tank was awful. This was after waiting for the little floating stuff to get picked up by the filter which hadn't finished even after water changes after a week. Things weren't cloudy just not pristine. When the overflow happened it got cloudy and ironically it was the first time the water tested positive for nitrite which I had tested before the water change.
It's like all the bacteria got stuck underneath the fish scales and crud and couldn't make it out to the tank.
<I see.>
So after an emergency water change I decided to stick the "old" filter back in but in my panic I forgot to prime the carbon. I set the Aqua Clear on low and moved it to the other side of the tank. What amazed me was that within two hours the water was nearly crystal clear and the nitrites were gone. Though this was a sign of the cycle being broken it appears to be back tonight.
One of the things that I may not have taken into account was that the Aqueon is a model "55" for a 36 gallon which I think is the same size as the other poster. This model moves 325 GPH versus 200 for the Aqua Clear.
<Ah, yes, the importance of turnover. The recommended tank sizes on filters are more marketing than science, like miles/gallon on motor cars, or number of servings on cereal boxes. They bear little connection with reality.>
I wanted the Aqua Clear to work. It just made more sense. And I assume that the floss and water travel of the Aqueon is what is working better versus the carbon which both of them have when configured properly.
<Carbon only removes dissolved organic material, the stuff that tints water yellow. You can have water that is perfectly silt-free (i.e., clear) but tinted yellow, even brown. Filter floss traps silt, and you need enough of it, and enough turnover, to remove cloudiness.>
I plan on leaving the Aqua Clear in there through the cycle or at least for a bit because I think I should have a Gourami prison tank (I mean quarantine tank) considering the amount of bullying I've seen with two different species and the fact that there are four different kinds in there now with 17 fish total. It seems it's just a matter of time before needing one for sickness and I have many redundant parts now.
<Wise approach.>
My questions probably are best summed up with floss versus sponge and does what I describe above make sense or did I perhaps get a dud on the Aqua Clear?
<Floss tends to be better for trapping silt particles than sponges, but floss does need to be rinsed, perhaps replaced, much more often. That's logical: the more stuff it catches, the quickly the filter media needs replacing.>
I'm sorry this is so long but I wanted you to know there are some new hobbyists that are trying to follow your good advice but there is so much conflicting data and backfires out there. After all, we all seem to trust a company that sells great food or equipment or test kits but then also find out that the magic potions for speeding up cycles etc are just snake oil (eel oil?).
<Actually, there are some products that can help with water clarity.
They're called flocculants, and they really do work. But if you have a chronic problem rather than, say, silty water caused by adding new gravel, then it's best to find a filtration system that works for you.>
I'm sticking with it and no fish have died without my permission. Looks like the cycle is settling in finally and I'm sorry that 17 fish have to bear it.
If cars were like this I think they'd keep going when you hit the breaks.
-Frustrated yet grateful in Charlotte.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Filter Story (plus - How do you say the word "Betta"?) (RMF, re: retail in the US?) 3/4/10
Oh I think we now have three pronunciations of Betta. Your correction wasn't the version I was expecting.
<Oh! What's the 3rd pronunciation?>
Thanks for that. I don't think the big chains here make money on fish replacement or at least right away. The LFS actually makes you prove good water before giving you a free replacement but the chains don't care.
<The water testing restriction is a very good idea. Gets people to connect the water and the health of their livestock.>
If it dies in two weeks they replace it. So in that sense they are selling the fish cheaper and guarantee it will work. At least eventually.
<Bit harsh on the fish that died though!>
I will give them credit too that they do hand out some guides written by the chain on how to get started just not the best.
Honest, they have a couple full time fish people on staff tending the area all the time and there's no way their salary is being covered by the fish.
<Maybe the case. Often the animals are "loss leaders", and the profit comes from the other things people buy over the years.>
Well maybe higher end chain stores with salt water species where you can get a "Nemo".
<Perhaps. There are some good chain stores out there. In fact the one nearest me has some excellent staff, including one chap who breeds seahorses. One thing I know Bob does rile against is the opinion of some expert aquarists that retailers are basically nothing but trouble. I think Bob's right on this, and I know some very good shops and some very bad shops. The tricky part is explaining how to tell them apart. By the time you can do that, I suspect most folks will be expert enough to ignore bad advice.>
The water overflow into the tank was my fault. I just didn't understand what the reaction would be until it was too late. Still, it was almost embarrassing that after two weeks the Aqua Clear couldn't clear the tank as fast as the "inferior" Aqueon which did it in two hours.
<Proof is in the pudding, eh?>
I almost added "just tell me what to do Neale" at the end of the message but didn't want to sound bitter. I'm not. It just seems to do this right you need secret codes, passwords, handshakes, and friends in high places. The easiest way might just be to be ignorant and blame mother nature when killing your own fish with ammonia.
<Often you see people doing precisely this. The infamous "internal parasites" is my favourite rationalisation.>
Two more things about the retail stores. If you did come in with high ammonia or nitrites I am convinced they would tell you to do a water change. It's in the documents they hand out. That would give them the chance to sell what you need for the change and indeed they sold me that stuff upfront.
<Water changes *are* a good idea when you have non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels, but they fix the symptom, not the problem. So *as well as* changing the water, you want to think about why you have non-zero ammonia and nitrite, and make the required changes (e.g., feed the fish less).>
What I think they are up against more than profit motive is the adage that the customer is always right. Let's face it Neale, if you worked at Pet* here in the US and told people they were guilty of killing their fish like you do here, I don't think you'd sell that many fish.
<Likely so.>
It's easier and appears to be better customer service to apologize for defective fish that weren't defective, replace them and try to sell a water changer kit at the same time.
<Certainly true.>
Most people come in with pre-conceived notion of what they want and in retail if someone asks for a red sports car without the skills to drive one, you still sell them a red sports car.
And even if they were evil, which I don't think they are, they do introduce a lot of folks to the hobby that are coming by for cat food. I know this for a fact :') I would have adopted a kitten that night if it wasn't for the paperwork. Now me and the cat have our own chairs that we sit and watch the fish together. She's a teenager now and you know how hard it is to get quality family time and since the tank is widescreen maybe she thinks it's just HDTV with really good reception.
I hope someone benefits from this discussion about filters. My main point is the banging of the head on my desk with all these forks in the road.
I'll look into canister at some point. That's on my list but as a primary system it sure isn't cheap for the same GPH.
<This must be an American thing. Here in England something like an Eheim 2217 can be picked up for a street price of around £80, or $120. That's a 264 gallon/hour filter, which is enough for a 66 gallon tank at a turnover of 4 times per hour. Given how long an Eheim 2217 lasts -- at least 10 years -- and the ease with which spares for Eheim filters can be obtained, such filters are very good value. But for reasons I can't fathom, every time I visit a store in the US, Eheim filters seem to be selling for twice as much money as here in Europe. Makes a nice change for me: always seems us Europeans end up paying twice as much for everything compared to our American cousins!>
Besides I have 1000 articles to read here on the subject.
<Quite so.>
Thanks again. Heading to BB soon with irreverent fish observation stories!
<Have fun over there. Some nice folks. Cheers, Neale.>

beta fish 1/6/2010
hello. I have a beta
<Betta, to rhyme with "better". Not to rhyme with "beater".>
fish that I believe is a female, as she is gold and not very pretty, but not sure.
<Should be easy enough to tell. Females have short fins, males don't. Females tend to be less aggressive, too.>
She has a super distended belly, doesn't eat much that <Do review the needs of this species. A common myth is they do well on pellets. While fine from time to time, a diet of just dried foods will lead to constipation, and that can cause bloating. Fish will also bloat if being kept badly. I mention this because far too many people imagine Bettas can live in unheated bowls a gallon or two in size. THEY CANNOT. Minimum, you're looking at a 5 gallon aquarium with a heater and a filter. No, water changes don't remove the need for a filter, and no, a centrally heated home or dorm room isn't warm enough. Do read here:
Constipation can be relieved by NOT using dried foods of any kind, and sticking to cooked peas (squished) and live (or wet-frozen) brine shrimps and daphnia. Add a teaspoon or two Epsom salt per 5 US gallons as well. Not
regular salt, Epsom salt. Once the bloating goes away, use your dried foods, but only once or twice a week. The rest of the time use live or wet-frozen foods: bloodworms, brine shrimps, etc. Dried foods are as likely to cause constipation in fish as they do humans. Imagine if all you did was eat Jerky for a month! You'd be pretty bloated, too.>
I a seeing and has this small white thing sticking out where I believe she goes to the bathroom?
<Goes to the bathroom? I love Americans; they're so wonderfully prone to euphemism for normal bodily functions. I'm visualising a fish jumping out of an aquarium, running up the stairs, sitting on the loo, and wiping its backside with toilet paper. Anyway, I suspect you mean its genital pore.
Yes, on Betta splendens, it is often the case that females have a small white tube present by the anus. This is the genital pore, the opening through which eggs are extruded during spawning. Males, for whatever reason, don't tend to show their genital pore quite so often.>
Please help, I want to save her if possible.
<Assuming the bloating is constipation, the prognosis is good.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

re: beta fish 1/8/10
Thank you so much for all the helpful info.
<Neale is "marked out", but I will relate your thanks, message here>
I will get the live food this afternoon and hopefully it will help. One last question, the genital pore is out right now and is there a chance that her belly is filled with eggs that she cant pass? Sorry if I sound stupid :)
<There is a possibility of this. Please read here re the use of Epsom Salt:
Bob Fenner> 

Thank you! Bettas, WWM,  4/19/09
I read over your section on Bettas and found myself nodding and smiling along as I read. I currently have 2 female Bettas, Betty and Mickey. I must say that I love the female Betta temperament. They love people interaction so much!
<Ahh! You are perceptive>
I even got my sister-in-law to get a female for her community tank, and her Betta loves to be "petted" like a dog or a cat would! My first female Betta, Betty, is in our 55 gallon tetra tank for a few more weeks, but she is getting moved to her own 5 gallon tank shortly. This is because the other female Betta, Mickey, was a bit aggressive and started nipping. To solve the problem, I moved Mickey in with the guppies in a 29 gallon tank and shortly thereafter noticed perfectly sized, Mickey-shaped bites out of THEIR tails. To make a long story short, Betty gets her own home, Mickey will live wonderfully with the tetras, and the guppies' fins and tails will begin to heal. Everybody will be happy.
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful section you put out about the Betta in general. Mickey is wonderful at keeping down the snail population in the tetra tank. My fiancée observed her coaxing a snail shell off the side of the tank, sucking out the snail and eating it, then letting the shell fall to the bottom! I wish I could have seen that! Just think: for her, it's a daytime treat!
Thank you for the wonderful site that you have started. It's great to have a resource like WWM to visit when I am not sure what is going on with any one of my eight tanks. In a 2 bedroom apartment, any area that does not have furniture in it has a tank in it!
<Wait till you're in your own home!>
Take care and have a great day!
Jenni Rutt
<Thank you for sharing your uplifting observations and kind words. Bob Fenner>

No question, just thanks! Bettas, WWM   9/11/08
Dear Crew,
<Good evening,>
I have been searching your site, trying to diagnose what is wrong with my Betta, Sparky, and have learned much helpful information. I just wanted to express my appreciation for the sensitivity, care and respect (and also the humor) with which you answer everyone's questions and concerns.
<That is very kind of you to say, and appreciated by all of us.>
It is obvious that you are sincere in your love for Bettas, and in your desire be of as much help to them, and their caretakers, as possible. Thanks for being out there and for doing what you're doing.
<Fishkeeping is a hobby that has given each of us much pleasure, allowed us to meet and talk with many interesting people. So this is really just a way to give a little bit back to the community. Plus it's fun!>
<Thanks for writing, and I hope your fish gets better. Cheers, Neale.>

Link Exchange, Bettas  - 4/7/07 Hi, <Hello there> Having been a fan of your site for a while, and found many an answer within its many articles, I would like to share this resource. I have recently, with the help of two other Betta keepers, launched a new website in the UK focusing on the welfare and proper care of Betta species, and I would love to participate in a link exchange with Wet Web Media as I have found many good Betta articles on your site that I feel would benefit our members. Our website can be found at http://www.mybetta.co.uk. Also - can I ask if you have a banner for your site that I can add to our links page? <Mmm, no banner... a simple link with our name would be fine. Will add yours to our FW links and Betta splendens Bibliog..> Kindest Regards Lindsey Jarvis <Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Betta (Crowntail or tail rot)   3/4/07 Hey guys! <<Hello, Karley. Tom here.>>   A friend who works at an aquaria store nearby told me to ask you guys since he wasn't too sure how to help me. <<Okay.>> I have a male Betta that I bought 3 months ago.  I'm not too sure what type it was but looked like one of your run of the mill Bettas (not a Crowntail).  I bought a 2 gallon tank for him, a couple silk plants, a small tank under gravel heater, and a filter.  The filter was rarely used since the tank was small and he doesn't like too much current.  I fed him a small amount of flakes twice a day.  (Let me just say that I am a complete fish virgin.)  I did weekly water changes but was too stupid to notice all the poo stuck to the bottom of the plants and gravel. <<Part of the problem with 'smallish' tanks is that they don't easily lend themselves to cleaning the substrate, etc.>> (Since then I've bought a saltwater reef tank with all the trimmings and actually learned a great deal about being a responsible fish owner.)   <<Glad to hear this, Karley.>> Because of the reef tank I have learned about ammonia and nitrites and all that jazz.  I bought a Hagen test kit with all the droppers etc... Anyway, Betta's ammonia levels were off the charts.   <<Oops'¦>> I did a 100% water change and he seemed to be doing great except for his tail was looking rather ragged.  And it seemed to be on all his fins. From all the pictures and research I assumed he had tail rot.   <<A reasonable assumption given the circumstances.>> I tried the BettaFix (tea tree oil) and nothing happened. So I bought a 10 gallon tank and "hospitalized" him. I medicated him for 5 days with Maracyn 2 (and the usual amount of freshwater salt). <<The salt is the safest way to go for this situation.>> After 7 days I did a 100% water change. I have a small filter on at all times and a proper Jaeger heater set at 79 1/2. He's still a happy guy, swimming and eating, but his tail looks the same.  It's been a month since I put him in the new 10 gal. tank. Water quality is top notch. (I have a tap water filter that I got for the reef tank.) No ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite, perfect pH. <<I like the sounds of that!>> Well, I was very confused, so I invited my aquarium friend over to look at him and maybe attempt some surgery if needed (cutting off the offending pieces). <<Eeek! There are rare occasions when a surgical procedure is the only way to save the animal's life but 'cosmetic' surgery is a good way to end its life.>> He looked at Betta and said that he looks exactly like a Crowntail Betta and didn't want to do anything until I got some advice from you.   <<Whew.>> Looking at pics of other Crowntail Bettas he looks like them, but he definitely didn't when I bought him and it was kind of strange that this all started around the time of the ammonia incident.   <<Coincidental.>> So my very long winded question for you is, can a Crowntail Betta look like a normal one and a month later have those "special" looking fins?   <<Possibly. Bear in mind that same finnage traits that make Crowntail distinctive can be present in any Betta. The gene responsible is partially dominant which makes it a good bet that as long as one parent shares the gene, the offspring will share it as well. In other words, you'd have to be sure of the breeder to know that you're getting a 100% Crowntail Betta.>> Any response would be oh so helpful.  BTW, I love your site, it actually helped me out a lot with my clownfish. Very comprehensive. <<Thanks, Karley. We appreciate it and we're happy to have been of help.>> Thank you ever so much in advance,   Karley P.S. I've never had any other fish with him so he LOVES his 10 gallon tank to himself. <<A ten-gallon tank is about the optimum size for Bettas so I don't doubt for a moment that he's in 'fishy Heaven'. Best regards. Tom>>

Betta Help!!! fdg.   2/14/07 Hello, I just wanted to know an answer to my question. My Betta is not eating the Betta pellets that I am giving him, what should I do now???? <May be your environment is unsuitable... too cold, unfiltered... Might be this individual is just unfamiliar with prepared foods... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Betta Questions... gen.   1/10/07 Hi Bob- <<Hi, Margaret. Tom filling in.>> This might be long - sorry!   <<Oh, stop. :) >> I'm a by-accident first time male Betta fish owner and need some help!<<Okay.>>Someone at work received the fish as a gift for the holidays, and since I was the only one here, I took care of it, and now it's ended up being mine. <<There seems to be some of that going around, Margaret.>>   Since I've never in my life owned any kind of fish, I'm really at a  loss as to how to care for this guy.  He originally was in a small glass cube, and I was told only to feed him these Betta ColorBright flakes 3 times a week.   <<Bettas are easily overfed but small amount every day won't hurt him.>> After only a week he was floating on his side at the top, but still alive. After doing some online research, I was immediately shocked that I wasn't taking care of him properly. <<Kudos for the research, Margaret.>> So I went to the pet store and purchased a 1-Gallon fish bowl, Tetra freeze-dried bloodworms, AmQuel + and NovAqua + to treat the water, and a fake fabric plant so he could have something to sleep/hide behind.   <<All good'¦>> I have big, smooth pebbles at the bottom of the bowl, I rinsed the plant and placed it in the bowl, and I used water from the water cooler at work to fill it (I took the temp. of it and it has stayed around 75), put in a drop each of the Amquel and NovAqua, and immediately placed the fish back in the bowl.  He attacked the plant for a few minutes, and when he got used to it he seemed happy and was swimming all around.   <<So far, so good however I sense a 'but' coming.>> He seemed great for a few days after. I would give him 1 freeze dried bloodworm in the morning, then a few flakes at night, and he doesn't get fed on sat. or sun. (because I'm not at work where he's kept).   <<Shouldn't be too big of a problem.>> However, yest. morning he was floating alive on top again and struggling to get to the bottom of the bowl.  It's not that he can't get down there eventually (he usually does) but it seems like he floats on top all morning, then starts swimming around in the afternoon, eventually getting to the bottom. <<Okay. You need to understand that he'll breathe air from the surface. This part of Betta behavior isn't unusual. In fact, it's totally necessary for their survival.>> When he gets to the bottom, he also digs around the pebbles. <<Mine doesn't but it's not an indication of a real problem.>> I bought freshwater salts last night and placed a couple in the bowl this morning, plus I tested the water for ammonia with the Mardel Small Bowl Water Change Test, in case I needed to change the water, but it came back fine, so I'm not sure what else to do.   <<You're doing fine thus far. My only recommendation is that you mix the salt with fresh water before adding it to the bowl. Undissolved salt can 'burn' fish. Seems contradictory, really, but you want the salt to be in 'solution' when it's added.>> He has always had a small pinhole in his bottom fin and has always had something smooth and black protruding from the gills all around his head, so I'm not sure if he has a gill disease, or bacteria infection? <<The aquarium salt will, likely, take care of both 'conditions' if this is what they are. The fins on Bettas are easily damaged/torn. Might have been from handling, for instance. If they become ragged or split, it's a problem. As for the gills, I wouldn't leap to any specific conclusions at this point. Stick with the salt, removing old water and replacing it with fresh water, salt included, on a regular basis.>> And if it is either of these things, how do I treat it in a 1-Gallon bowl? <<Let's see if the salt works first.>> I also bought this water conditioner called Bowl Buddies that use fizz tabs - it seemed a bit more easier to use than the Amquel, but I'm waiting to use it until I change the water again sometime this week. <<A one-gallon bowl should have the water changed, at least, twice a week. In fact, given the location, I'd go with Monday, Wednesday and Friday. About half should be right.>> It came with Hikari pellets, which I fed him 2 this morning that he ate right up. <<Look into a variety of foods, Margaret. There are good quality flake foods for Bettas as well as freeze-dried bloodworms and daphnia. Brine shrimp are a real favorite as well. (Don't buy the frozen variety. It's excellent but would be a waste of money in your case with only one fish to feed.)>>   Besides the illness questions, I have a few other questions too. <<Fire away'¦>> Should I not be putting fake plants in the bowl? <<Fake plants are fine if they're made of silk. Plastic plants have sharp edges that might tear a Betta's fins.>> When I change the water, should I pour the already existing water into another bowl with the fish, clean out the bowl, place fresh water and conditioner in it, then immediately place the fish and some old water back into the tank, or do I wait a little while for the conditioner to work in the water before placing the fish back in? <<Find a suitable container -- a large plastic measuring cup would do well -- and dip out about half of the water from the bowl. Dump this and fill with fresh water and the conditioner and salt. (Your Betta will be fine until this is done. Trust me!) Let this water sit for a bit -- until it appears perfectly clear -- and then add this back to the bowl. If I have a concern here, going with what we've got, it's going to be issues of temperature and using the 'drinking' water. Bettas need warm temperatures. Warmer than 75 degrees. Need to be nearer to 80, or higher. Also, water should be taken from the tap rather than using 'purified' drinking water. Tap water has 'elements' in it that fish require and, often, bottled water has had these elements removed. As an aside, if you decide to take him home one day, the bottled water won't likely be available. Acclimate him to tap water. Finally, consider a little larger tank for him. A one-gallon bowl isn't 'bad' but he'd do better in something in the range of 2 1/2 gallons up to five, given that you've got him at work. This would also allow you to get a heater and filter. (No, I don't have a brother-in-law who sells aquarium equipment. :) ) Just far better for the fish all around.>> Sorry for all these questions, I'm just really confused and baffled by this fish!! Thanks again- Margaret <<You're welcome, Margaret. Like I've told other folks, you know where to find us! Cheers. Tom>> Thank you!  I actually sent another email today-please disregard. <<Caught it, Margaret, and figured you didn't need a second reply to the same question(s). All is happy!>> Margaret <<Tom>>

New Betta tank - 09/02/06 Hi, <Hello there - Jorie here.> Several questions . . . A friend recently "regifted" me her Betta-in-vase-with-bamboo, which she resented, understandably, receiving as a wedding present. <Ah, I wish some people would get it through their thick skulls that fish (as any other live animals) are *not* appropriate "presents" to give others - unless discussion has occurred before and proper arrangements are made.> I thought the vase was way too small (2 gallon) and the bamboo didn't look healthy. Plus, the Betta started to get little patches of fuzzy mould on his fin tips even though I cleaned everything, changed the water (with treated tap water), and added BettaFix as soon as I got it home. <Good.> After reading about the devastating effects of unchecked fungus I panicked and went down to the science dept. of the school where I work and "borrowed" 20 gallon tank which I set up with gravel, healthy live plants, filter, heater, aquarium salt. <Wonderful! The Betta will definitely appreciate the heater (ideal Betta temp. is between 80 and 82 degrees F.), and the filtration is, in my opinion, essential for any fish to thrive. Of course, a 20 gal. tank is pretty much the equivalent of a palace or celebrity home w/ 19 bedrooms to a Betta - if this is only a temporary arrangement and you need to return the tank, I'd recommend a 3-5 gal. tank (w/ heater and filtration, of course) to house a single male Betta.> The Betta, after a day looks happy, and the fuzz has disappeared. He's even showing regrowth. <I'm glad to hear it.  The little guy is lucky to have you!> I also bought Maracyn and am wondering: 1. Should I treat him anyway? <No - never a good idea to medicate unless there's a clear need for it.  You've done a great job in cleaning up his environment, and if you see that the fungus has already gone, then leave well enough alone.  Keep an eye on him, of course; if the problem crops up again, you can always re-assess.  Also, since you already used BettaFix, that's another reason to not add another med. - never a good idea to mix medications.> 2. The tank was not cycled, have I done something awful? Can I fix this error? <You have not done something awful...since you have only the one fish in there, you aren't likely to see a real "spike" in ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (i.e., cycling).  Nevertheless, do keep up on water changes (with such a large tank, I'd say 25% a week, with just the one Betta), and you can monitor the toxin levels with test kits.  Obviously, if conditions warrant, you can always do more water changes as needed.> 3. The Betta will eat nothing but freeze-dried bloodworms, and the local pet store has no live food. Would it like some tadpole? There is a pond down the road. <Gosh, no!  Bloodworms are an excellent food source for Bettas.  Live food is not necessary or even appropriate for a Betta - there's always a risk of introducing disease w/ feeder fish and such.  Plus, fish and tadpoles they are way too big for your Betta.  I'd suggest picking up a dry Betta food, such as Hikari pellets.  I believe Tetra makes Betta pellets as well, but I think Hikari is a better quality food all in all.  Alternative w/ the bloodworms.  If you really want to give your Betta a treat, try freeze-dried or frozen, then thawed Mysis shrimp - he'll love you for ever! 4. He has never, though he is a perky fish, made bubble nests. Is this a matter of concern? <Absolutely not.  Some Bettas do, some don't.  Honestly, of all the types of fish I keep/have kept, I find that the Bettas each have their own individual personalities - they really are the most "pet-like" of fish, in my opinion.  I adore my two Bettas - I say "good morning" and "good night" to them each day, etc. etc. So long as he's swimming and eating, he should be just fine.  Make sure he has at least a couple of plants/decorations to rest in or behind.> Finally, this tank is huge... <Agreed!> ...and I think it could easily accommodate a couple of other life forms. <Sure, depending on what you have in mind...> The most mentioned basic additions seem to be shrimp or snails, yes? <The success of that will depend entirely on the temperament of your Betta.  Some of my Bettas have been peaceful enough to live w/ Amano and cherry shrimp, while others have thought of the shrimp as "dinner".  Since you do have so much space, you could look into a bamboo wood shrimp (but, you mentioned having aquarium salt...inverts will not likely tolerate this).  Snails also won't like the salt.  I'd suggest perhaps looking into livebearers (mollies would appreciate the salt; I'm not sure about fancy guppies, as the Betta may go for their pretty fins; platys would be fine also if there isn't too much salt in the water.  With all livebearers, be sure to get either all of one sex, of a ratio of about 1:4 male:female.  The Betta may take care of the fry, as well:-).  Other potential fish tankmates would include white clouds, tetras, or danios.> Thank you so much for you help. <Hope I have!> Alice <I'm so glad there's people like you out there to rescue the Bettas from the non-suitable parents" out there...Jorie.>
Re: New Betta tank Part 2
 - 09/02/06 Thank you again for your help. <You're welcome.> I'm feeling a *lot* less nervous now. <Good!> (Imagine how awful it would be to kill someone else's wedding present.) <I understand.  Plus, I get pretty attached to all my fish, so I cry when anyone dies, even from old age.> I just need clarification on a couple of points: Are the bloodworms a complete diet? <Fish need variety in their diets just as people do...> (I've tried different pellet type foods and he just spits them out.) <You've got a few options: you could try flakes (I don't think I've ever had a Betta eat flakes, but there are Betta-specific flakes out there, so some Bettas must!) Also, the Mysis shrimp is almost *sure* to be a hit.  Finally, there's a product called Kent Garlic Xtreme (basically just pure garlic extract) that works very well as an appetite stimulant...it's very powerful, though, so just use 1, 2 at the most, drops a minute or so before feeding.  Or, you can soak pellet or flake food in it, first.  If, for some strange reason your Betta will not eat anything except the worms, well, that's better than him just eating brine shrimp (equivalent of potato-chips for fish...virtually no nutritional value), so don't fret too much.  Experiment, and I'm sure you'll find something that works.  Just stay away from the live food.> And if I decide to go ahead and try any of the tankmates you suggested how long should I wait - the tank is less than 2 days old right now. <Well you definitely want to establish the nitrogen cycle, and that can't have happened in 2 days.  Too early to add new fish/livestock.  Once you've seen a spike, then decrease in ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, in that order, your tank is "cycled".  Read here for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm >   Is there a reliable single "all in one" toxin tester, or must I navigate a tortuous chemical labyrinth (as it seems to my addled humanities brain when I try to read any of the web pages on this topic). <Haha! Trust me, I am by no means a chemistry geek, and I can barely do simple math!  Unfortunately, there isn't one magic test that will measure everything you need.  Also, the most "simplified" products, such as Ammonia Alert (or something like that) - a suction-cup ammonia reader - are notoriously unreliable.  You really just want to be able to test ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH.  There's a test kit made by Tetra (called Master Test Kit, I think) that is very easy to use and equally reliable.  It comes with everything you need, is maybe $25 (will last you a while w/ just one tank!), and is very self-explanatory on how to take measurements.  Basically, you take little samples of tank water, add one or more chemicals from the kit, wait the allotted time, and viola! measure the reading against a chart.  Quite easy, trust me!  Stay away from the "dip-stick" tests, as they are not reliable at all.> <You are definitely on the right track - relax, and enjoy your new fish.  And, we are always here to help, should the need arise.  Jorie>
Re: New Betta tank Part 3
 - 09/02/06 Thank you again for your help. <You're welcome.> I'm feeling a *lot* less nervous now. <Good!> (Imagine how awful it would be to kill someone else's wedding present.) <I understand.  Plus, I get pretty attached to all my fish, so I cry when anyone dies, even from old age.> I just need clarification on a couple of points: Are the bloodworms a complete diet? <Fish need variety in their diets just as people do...> (I've tried different pellet type foods and he just spits them out.) <You've got a few options: you could try flakes (I don't think I've ever had a Betta eat flakes, but there are Betta-specific flakes out there, so some Bettas must!) Also, the Mysis shrimp is almost *sure* to be a hit.  Finally, there's a product called Kent Garlic Xtreme (basically just pure garlic extract) that works very well as an appetite stimulant...it's very powerful, though, so just use 1, 2 at the most, drops a minute or so before feeding.  Or, you can soak pellet or flake food in it, first.  If, for some strange reason your Betta will not eat anything except the worms, well, that's better than him just eating brine shrimp (equivalent of potato-chips for fish...virtually no nutritional value), so don't fret too much.  Experiment, and I'm sure you'll find something that works.  Just stay away from the live food.> And if I decide to go ahead and try any of the tankmates you suggested how long should I wait - the tank is less than 2 days old right now. <Well you definitely want to establish the nitrogen cycle, and that can't have happened in 2 days.  Too early to add new fish/livestock.  Once you've seen a spike, then decrease in ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, in that order, your tank is "cycled".  Read here for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm >   Is there a reliable single "all in one" toxin tester, or must I navigate a tortuous chemical labyrinth (as it seems to my addled humanities brain when I try to read any of the web pages on this topic). <Haha! Trust me, I am by no means a chemistry geek, and I can barely do simple math!  Unfortunately, there isn't one magic test that will measure everything you need.  Also, the most "simplified" products, such as Ammonia Alert (or something like that) - a suction-cup ammonia reader - are notoriously unreliable.  You really just want to be able to test ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH.  There's a test kit made by Tetra (called Master Test Kit, I think) that is very easy to use and equally reliable.  It comes with everything you need, is maybe $25 (will last you a while w/ just one tank!), and is very self-explanatory on how to take measurements.  Basically, you take little samples of tank water, add one or more chemicals from the kit, wait the allotted time, and viola! measure the reading against a chart.  Quite easy, trust me!  Stay away from the "dip-stick" tests, as they are not reliable at all.> <You are definitely on the right track - relax, and enjoy your new fish.  And, we are always here to help, should the need arise.  Jorie>

Re: safe decorations for Betta tank  9/3/06 Jorie, <Alice> Last question, I promise: I read on your site that sea shells are generally not a safe decoration, so I've taken them out. How about Amethyst stones, smooth sided, and glazed coffee cups? <I think the stones will be fine, but do you know what the coffee cups are glazed with?  I'd be concerned that some lead based ceramic glazes could potentially leech out into the water.  I know some people used terra cotta planter pots w/o problem.> Thank you, Alice <You're welcome. Have a great holiday, Jorie.>

New Betta owner  - 09/01/06 <<Hello, Jacqueline. Tom this afternoon.>> We brought home a beautiful Betta and have purchased the drops to condition his water. We also use a Brita filter for ourselves and use it for his water too. <<Generally we don't recommend filtered/bottled water for our pets since the elements the fish need are absent - or nearly so - from these sources. Do keep a close eye on your new Betta but leave things as they are for now.>> He seems to respond to me. <<Bet you're the one who feeds him. :)>> I have observed some interesting behaviour and want to be sure it's not an indication of stress. He's not puffing out as I've seen on some sources (aggressive or threat response, like a cat puffing up.) but he sometimes flops on his side on the stones (we cleaned and treated them, too - also rinse them with each water change). It doesn't seem as if he's scratching himself on the stones, but it's definitely a deliberate motion. Sort of flinging himself on the bottom. I actually can't tell if he's touching the stones or if they're whisked about by his fins. <<I suppose it's interesting to see a Betta flare at himself in a mirror (I've never done it with mine, truthfully) but I don't see the lack of this behavior as any indication to be concerned. I certainly doubt that it's stress- related. Think of your Betta as a "Gentleman" fish not given to macho displays. As for his bottom-flopping, mine acts similarly. Not to the degree you describe but not far from it either. Sure made me take a deep breath when he pulled this on me the first few times but now I just sort of accept this eccentricity.>> He comes to the top when I feed him and he clearly seems to like a little attention. The water temp. is between 75 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit. <<I hold mine at 82 degrees, Jacqueline. 75 is too cold for Bettas. Actually, I could go a couple of degrees higher without any concern whatsoever. The key here is keeping the temperature as stable as possible. Five degree swings, particularly over a fairly short period of time, aren't good especially in the downward direction. This would be very stressful.>> Seems very uninterested in the mirror thing. Anything to worry about? <<Not in my opinion.>> Thanks in advance. <<You're more than welcome.>> PS curiously, my cat is completely uninterested in the new addition. <<Your Betta won't flare and your cat doesn't want to eat him. Is someone in the house slipping your pets Valium, by any chance? :)>> Jacqueline Church <<Enjoy your new Betta, Jacqueline. Best regards. Tom>>

Tybalt the Betta   7/27/06 Hi, <<Hello, Amelia. Tom here.>> I convinced my parents to buy me a pet for my fifteenth birthday, which was May 27, so a few days beforehand I came home to a deep blue Betta in a 1-gallon tank that the box said was "specifically designed for Bettas and first-time owners". <<I wish they'd specifically design a tank in the 5- to 10-gallon range for Bettas. Might be less problems. ;)>> At first I was disappointed, having expected a cat, but I soon grew very attached to the little guy, named Tybalt for the character in Romeo and Juliet.   <<A cat. A Betta. Not much difference. :)>> I read up on Betta care and got a thermometer that sticks to the inside of his tank, and I placed the tank under a lamp, still saving money to buy a light to leave on all the time.  He was really hyper and quirky at first, and I would sit for long periods of time watching him "sneak up" on the thermometer, touch it (it shakes slightly at the softest touch), and "run away".  Then I went to the mountains with my grandparents last week and left vivid instructions on when my mom should feed him (three times a day, flake food that came with the tank).  When I came back four days later scum had built up on the sides of his tank and the plastic plant in it, and Tybalt was lying on the gravel on the bottom, just beneath his plant. <<Not good.>> I did a full water change just so I could clean the brownish-green scum off, and at first he seemed a little happier.  But that's been about a week and he still isn't his old self (he doesn't play with his thermometer and he rarely even moves from his spot under the plant).   <<Couple of things come to mind but let's go on...>> Then I noticed that when I'd feed him he wouldn't come to his food (usually he attacked it).  He usually ate the freeze-dried blood worms I gave him as a treat like it was going out of style, but now he won't touch it.   <<Not unusual if he's stressed or "blocked up". How does his belly look? Any signs of bloating? Bettas are designed as "meat eaters" and flake food that's high in vegetable matter may not sit well.>> I have no idea how to check water quality, but I've been using the same water the whole time and he hasn't suffered.   <<A test kit would tell you what you need to know. Fairly simple to use, as well. You could also take a sample to the fish store and ask them to test it for you. Ask for the specific readings if you do this. When you experience problems, having the exact parameters can tell a great deal.>> I also use the conditioner that came with the tank, although I lost it and didn't have it for one change this summer (I change about one-fourth of the water in the tank every week and add half a capful of conditioner to it, like the instructions said).   <<This could be an area for concern, too. Tap water that's treated with Chloramine has Ammonia in it. A conditioner that treats only Chlorine would leave the Ammonia behind. A number of conditioners/dechlorinators now treat for both Chlorine and Chloramine. I'd opt for one that does both.>> I just went and looked in on him.  The temperature is almost 80, so I turned the lamp off for the night, and he was lying under the plant again.  I worry about my dad having the air conditioner on seventy all day so it's less that seventy in his tank, and when I turn the lamp on he turns it off.  My dad doesn't understand the concept that he's not "just a fish".   <<You might "gently" explain to your dad that wide swings in temperature can harm or, kill, your pet. Fish aren't designed the way mammals/people are. Even small but sudden swings in temperature can wreak havoc on a fish's system. Tybalt is beautifully built to breathe air like we do but if the surface air is colder than the tank temperature, he can die from breathing it. (Our body systems heat the air as we breathe it in. A fish can't do this.)>> I just want Tybalt to be healthy and lively again.  I'm particularly worried because we're going to the beach next week, Sunday through Wednesday, so my grandmother will be taking care of him.  Is it possible that he just missed me?   <<I wish I could tell you that he did, Amelia. The $50 word for this is "anthropomorphism", which is simply people trying to place human-like characteristics on animals and other non-human entities. Sadly, Tybalt doesn't have the capacity to "miss" you in the way that you and I know the meaning of it. On the flip side, my guys sure know when I come home from work that it's time to eat! Might be something to it after all. :)>> Would taking him to my grandmother's be bad or good while we're away (she lives within shouting distance)?   <<Wouldn't it be better for her to be able to keep an eye on him at her house?>> Also, his bottom fin, the one below his tailfin, is twisted.  I didn't notice until I held a mirror up to his tank tonight, just to see if he'd move.  His gills puffed up, but the rest of him stayed limp.  I haven't been giving him the mirror lately, because he was so spazzy over the thermometer I thought that was enough exercise.  But his bottom fin was twisted, not injured I don't think, just like when you curl your hair around your finger, that shape. <<Three areas of concern from what you've described here, Amelia. Diet, with perhaps not enough "meat". Include some live insects, if possible. Your water conditioner/dechlorinator and, of course, temperature swings. Frankly, I'd concentrate on the latter two. Get a conditioner like NovAqua+ (Kordon's) that handles both Chlorine and Chloramine and, do whatever is possible to keep Tybalt's tank at 80-84 degrees all the time. Stability is really the key here with no big swings in any of the parameters.>> Please help me get my lovely active Betta back, Amelia PS. Sorry it was so long, I worry easily and I really want someone to be able to tell me what I should fix. <<No apologies necessary, Amelia. By the way, Bettas appreciate some "aquarium salt" in their water. One third of a tablespoon for his tank, at the most. Should help, though. My best to you. Tom>> Betta Troubles 7/10/06 Good Afternoon~ <Good afternoon to you.> My husband and I bought our 4-1/2 year old son a Betta fish on Thursday (today is Monday) and he is dead already. <Uh-Oh.>  What in the world did we do wrong?  I feel just terrible!  We bought a 1.5 gallon tank, used room temperature spring water as we were told to, Betta gravel, and threw in a couple Betta plant bulbs. <Unless your tap water is of a horrible quality, I prefer tap water with the appropriate dechlorinator.  Actually easier on the fish.> The Betta fish food said to only feed him 2-3 days, so we fed him on Thursday and again on Sunday. <Every day in small amounts is better, but every 2-3 days is fine.> I looked in his tank on Sunday, and it was starting to get weird looking already.  Poor "George" had a scummy look to him, bubbles on the top of the water, etc. <Water quality issue.> Then 2 hours later, I looked at him again, and his poor little lips were at the surface, and his body was vertical!  I decided to change his water already, and when I transferred him, he sank to the bottom and just stayed there to die.  We want to get another one, but not if we are going to kill the poor thing.  What can we do better this time? <Few things, all covered on WetWeb.  Try http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Should give you a good base line to understanding what is happening.> I had looked at a few sites last night to see if I could find something, but I didn't see anything that we did wrong.  I did see some sites say to feed 2-3 times a day, and scoop out the remaining food with a net, so they don't over eat.  But our fish food jar said 2-3 DAYS, not times per day.  So I am fearing now that we starved him. <Unlikely, can go up to a week without eating with minimal effects.>  I am just so confused.   Please help. <Will try.> Jamie K. <Chris> 

Sick Betta Fish   7/6/06 I have a Betta fish named Bubbles and I noticed the other day that his belly is bloated but his scales are not sticking out like a pinecone.  And today I noticed that one of his ventral fins is gone.  He is eating fine and swims around like normal. Can you please help me out with my Betta fish?  Thank you. Sally <Mmm, not with the information presented. Need to know more re this fish's system, history, water quality, foods. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above... write back with more data. Bob Fenner>

Poor Betta, English   6/17/06 hi bob, i have just noticed that my Siamese fighting fish male has a hugely distended abdomen which seems to be  filled with clear liquid. Could you please advise me as to what this could be and if it is treatable he seems to be able to swim around ok and his appetite also seems to be normal. All his normal behaviour also seems to be in place, and his fins are clamped to his body or  down at all, which has left me somewhat intrigued .   i look forward to your reply on this matter in the near future     Sam <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Poor Betta, English, a non-reader   6/18/06 Hi Bob    <Sam>   Thank you once again for your help  as i <I> can see it looks like a case of body bloat or Popeye and i will treat him accordingly  is there a particular cause for this sort of thing that i could try to avoid <... is posted on WWM> in the future as i know my partner thinks so much of this fish and its wonderful colours, it is a burgundy and blue colour with bright red tips to its fins which are amazingly long and its color seems to be getting more vibrant the longer we have it  i look forward to your response in the near future       Sam <Read my friend, read. Bob Fenner>

Questions about Questions 4/09/06 Hi, Just read through your articles and have a few Betta questions. But first I'd like to be sure that this is something you still do. Thanks, Gail <We sure do, what did you have questions about? Best regards Gage> My Betta fish    4/9/06 Hello, my Betta fish is about 3 years of age. and he has been very healthy and active his life. <This is a good long while to keep this species alive, healthy> but for the last few months he has not been eating normal. he lays on his back, floats straight up and down (as where he looks as if he's standing on his tail. he has trouble swimming, and rarely tries. he does have moments where he bolts to the top of the bowl. <... not heated, filtered?> he also has a black spot near his gill that has just recently appeared. his gills look very black and non normal. his eyes do look very swollen at times. and he just sits straight up facing the top of the bowl. do you know what could be wrong with my Betta?!   sincerely:   holly <Maybe. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Siamese Fighting Fish, life, universe, everything    3/31/06 Hello, <Hi there! (Doing his best Doug Adam's movie computer voice)> I saw your information on the web, and wanted to ask you about a fish I have.  He was lying on his side in a container at Wal-Mart and looking awful, so I bought him to hopefully treat him.  I bought also Fungus Clear and Parasite Clear made by Jungle Laboratories.  He also has a large bulge on both sides near his tail. We used the fungus clear because we thought it was his swim bladder, but later used the parasite clear because we were told that that bulge could be a parasite.  We also put a bubbler with him because we thought this would help. I have talked to several people, two were with the Jungle Labs about what to do for him.  Nobody has any clear cut ideas about what to do for him.  I read your article about adding salt, <You've done this... "in aces" with the addition of their products> and we have used that on other fish we have and it has worked great.  But this guy has a whole lot wrong with him.   That is why I bought the medicine. Could you please tell me what you think.  He is a young fish.  He has lived all week on his side, not moving very much. Thank you so much. Cindy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above, particularly (after Disease) on Betta Systems. Bob Fenner>

Unknown Problem - 3/24/2006 Hey, It's Renee again. <<You did not put who you spoke to previously. This is Lisa.>> I just wanted to know what I can do for my fish that has Pop-Eye. I would be very hurt if I lost this fish. Can you help me please? <<Such is posted on WWM.  You do not even give the species here.  Please read.  Lisa.>> Renee
Lisa. My fish is a Betta.
It has pop-eye. I've spoken to several different people every time I email ya'll. So I am never too sure who is going to get my email, so I leave it open for anyone. I am sorry. <<It's ok Renee, but all is still posted on WWM.  Lisa>> Now will you please help me? Renee.

Betta Feeding Question    3/24/06 Robert: <<Lisa with you today!>> I just recently got a blue Siamese fighting fish, is that a Betta fish? <<Certainly is.>> Anyway it doesn't seem to want to eat dried foods and I was wondering if I could feed it raw or cooked fresh salmon? <<I would not.  Please Google Betta splendens on WWM for proper care & feeding.  Lisa.>> Bob Eckess

Google: Betta, Compatible, Tankmates:   2/7/06 I have a approximately 3yr old Betta, who I surmise to be a male as he has flowing fins w/vibrant colors.  I upscaled to a 10 gal tank today.  All I have had with him is a water frog.  What else is compatible with a Betta?     Thanks   Kim Gillespie <Google: Betta, Compatible, Tankmates: Betta, Compatible, Tankmates Bob Fenner>

Snail and Betta fish reproduction   1/26/06 Hello Bob, I have two questions, the first is how can I encourage my snails to reproduce? (what kind of plants to put in the aquarium, amounts of food, etc...) <Depends on species (some like hard, alkaline water of lower temp.... others the opposite for instance), but feeding with green-based foods, providing sufficient alkalinity, about the right pH, regular water changes... having some of both sexes if of this nature... is about all that's called for> My second question is about Betta fish. My husband and i are interested in breeding our rare and very beautiful male Bettas with our also very rare and beautiful female Bettas. Can you give us some beginners tips????? <Mmm, wish I could readily do so. I worked (cleaning mostly) at such a facility as a youth for two years, and have bred Bettas... but would take a few hours to put my thoughts, recollections together. Please use the Google Search Tool on WWM with the terms "Betta Breeding" for what is posted/archived> Thank you so much Carrie please email me back!!! <Bob Fenner>

Betta Keeping, life lessons  12/24/05 I am really not looking for help at this point as it is too late for that, however I am trying to find some answers to educate myself.  Please forgive me, as I have never owned a fish and am not knowledgeable about them.  To give you a little background on my story, I bought a blue and red male Betta for my girlfriend in August to keep her company at college.  She named him Napoleon, and he always did great.  He lived in a little round glass fish bowl until late September when they both moved back home with me.  We bought a one gallon tank and a thing that circulates the water.  We put some rocks and a couple little fake plants in with him.  We changed his water completely and washed the rocks and plants once a week every Sunday and then half his water on Tuesdays and half on Fridays, always making sure it was distilled room temperature before putting Napoleon in it. <Good technique for temp., but distilled not desirable> I don't know anything about ammonia or nitrates or PH levels like you talk about, and that is something we regretfully never checked.  Napoleon was great and after he moved back home his colors became very vibrant.  Everything was going fine until this week.  We changed his water on Sunday, cleaned the tank and rocks, and put it all back together.  We used distilled water warmed to room temperature  (about 78 degrees) and life was good so far.  (On a side note we fed him 4 pellets in the morning and 4 in the evening. We thought since he was bigger than most Bettas he needed to eat more, I'm not sure if we were wrong in doing this.)  We changed half his water on Tuesday and he was his happy little self.  On Wednesday morning we noticed that he was a little lethargic and didn't swim all over his bowl, only swam up to the top to get his food.  I looked on the internet and couldn't find anything that fit his symptoms, although I thought maybe he was starting to get constipated.  Unfortunately I had to take my girlfriend to the emergency room Wednesday night (she's alright) so I had my mom stop by to check on Napoleon and she called me to tell me he wasn't looking very good.  When I got home he was floating on his side at the top of the bowl.  I thought at that point he was dead, and I tried to retrieve him and he uprighted himself and swam spastically all over the bowl before floating on his side again.  Realizing he was still alive, the first thing I did was change his water and again all he did was float sideways.  I did the pea thing and dropped it right in front of him and he took it in his mouth and spit it back out.  He wouldn't eat anything.  I couldn't get to a pet store until Thursday morning so I said a little prayer that if he was suffering that he would go onto a better place and not hurt anymore.  When I awoke Thursday morning he was still floating on his side and I noticed that he had lost all color (completely white) <Not good> around his fins and the back of his head, nowhere else, and both of his eyes were bulging out.  Again I thought he was dead and tried to retrieve him, and he swam away and started floating again.   I called a pet store and the clerk there told me to either flush him alive and not deal with it or put him in a Ziploc bag with some water and stick him in the freezer until he died.  Neither of these sounded humane and I don't believe in flushing fish down the toilet, and I couldn't freeze the poor guy to death.  As I was trying to track down another pet store, dear Napoleon left his world.  As bad as it sounds I didn't realize how attached I was to the little guy until he passed away.  I feel like a horrible horrible person for causing him to suffer.  After looking on your site, I cannot find any information that matches the symptoms he had.  He didn't have any white spots or evidence of fungus, he wasn't bloated, the only thing I could find was about the Popeye and it seems to me that was a secondary symptom.  I would like to know if any of you guys might know what happened? <Mmm, likely "just" environmental stress...> I'm sure it had something to do with our changing his water this week, but we did everything the same as we always had.   Whatever we did was bad enough it only took a few days for it to kill the fish.   We would like to know what we did wrong and what caused it, because we are at a loss.  I am really hoping that what I have told you rings a bell and you can tell us what happened to our poor Napoleon.  We are thinking about getting another Betta in the future as they are such magnificent creatures, but we don't want to risk hurting another fish.  It is a heavy load on my shoulders knowing that something I did caused the poor thing to suffer.  If you could educate me on what steps were wrong that we took I would appreciate it.  I don't ever want this to happen again if we get another fish.  Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you very much! <Thank you for writing. So clearly, and showing your care. And do take a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm Bob Fenner>

5 year old Betta  12/12/05 Hello from San Diego. <Hello! John here with you this evening from cold and wet Shanghai>   We have a Betta who is 5 years old, yes 5! <This is good going!> The man that we bought him from is very impressed.  We didn't realize what a long life this has been for a Betta. He has a large bowl with a peace lily.  Recently our dog (who is 14 1/2) took his plant out and ate part of it. Our poor Betta was lethargic and laying on the bottom of the bowl nestled in the crease at the base. <I had a similar experience when my cats went digging in my old Betta tank a few years ago.> His color was pale and he didn't want to eat.  Swimming seemed to be an effort and he seemed heavy, like he is sinking.  Of course we got him some more plants to cheer him up (making sure that the leaves stay underwater so that our boy Bugsy doesn't eat them.)  His color is now much better and he has perked up a bit. He also is moving his eyes.  Before they were stationary.  He is able to lay on leaves close to the surface and easily gulp air now which seems to be helping a lot.  The best part is that he has made some bubble nests!  We can't help but feel that he is saying thank you and that he is happy, but he still is not eating. <His predicament does sound somewhat better.> Usually we give him his food and give a tap to let him know it's there.  He has always been a good eater, and a bit of a beggar. He even knows how to snap bubbles to get our attention (smart fish!) For the past 3 or 4 days we tap but feel as if he can't really see it.  We always tell our animals that they are going to live forever but it seems that maybe he is tired and ready to leave.  We just want him to be happy and comfortable. Do you think that he might pull through? <You Betta has lived a long live... but it is certainly possible that he could pull through. Make sure the water quality is pristine, and temperature is stable. You could try feeding a few (thawed) frozen bloodworms, or soaking his food in garlic to improve his appetite.> Thank you for your time <You're welcome. Good luck to you and your Anabantoid friend. John.>

Thank you for help saving my Siamese fighting fish's life  11/19/05 I don't know you but I followed your advice on the Siamese fighting fish website and so far what you suggested seems to be working miracles. I went to bed 2 nights ago and my fish was laying all the way at the bottom of his tank, not moving. This has never happened before in the year that I have had him. I woke up and he was in the same place. I cried because I thought he was dead. I tried to get his attention and after about 5 minutes I saw some movement. It was a miracle. I had already said my last goodbyes and I was ecstatic with joy. With this new hope, I quickly changed his water, added sea salt and raised his temperature to 85 degrees. I also added some new plants. He seems to be doing a lot better. Thank you so much. <Welcome> I still have some questions though.  He is a 16 gallon tank and I raised his temperature I think from 78-80 to 85 but how long do I keep it at 85? <A week or so> Keep in mind, when I added the bottled water to his tank, unfortunately the water was not as warm as usual when I add it. I usually leave 8 or 9 jugs in the sun for a while but because time was of the essence, I felt that it was more important to get new water in instead of waiting 6 hours for it to get warm in the sun. I know it was much colder than he's used to but I felt I had no choice so I cranked up the heater. I also added 3 spoons of salt water like you suggested. Should I add more today? <Mmm, no. This is about the right amount total> I am actually on my way to the store to buy a thermometer so I can know the exact temp.   By the way, I am a musician and I wrote a song about my last Siamese fighting fish. Since your information and love for the breed saved my new fish's life, I want to send you a free CD that has the song on it. Please let me know your mailing address. Much Gratitude, Jeff <Thank you. 8586 Menkar Rd., San Diego, CA 92126. Bob Fenner> <<Should've asked to send on the Net... so could be shared. RMF>>

About my Betta Fish 10/13/05 Hello! My name is Patricia Flores.  <Hi! Catherine, here.>  I am from Bakersfield, California.  <Originally NC, now in Pasadena, CA.>  I have had my Betta fish since August of 2002. Is it normal for a Betta fish to live for more than three years?  <With good care these fish often live to about 3 years. About a decade ago, 5 was not uncommon, but as they've been bred and inbred, 3 seems to be about maximum. Congrats on good fish husbandry. Catherine> 

Betta Beginnings - 09/02/2005 Hi. I just got 3 Bettas for about 4 days now. <Much to learn!  Uh, also, PLEASE learn to capitalize properly....  including "I", "I'm", the beginnings of sentences, etc....  We have to fix these errors prior to posting on the site.  It gets very tedious.> I have some concerns/questions: 1: Summer is almost over, and its getting colder. The temperature at my house during the day is around 80+ degrees, and it gets around the 70s at night. I know that it is going to be colder when fall hits (I live in California). <Me, too.> So my question is: do I need a heater for my fishes (keep in mind that I have 3 small bowls--will it fit?), <Yes, you do, and no, it won't fit in a small bowl.> and if so, how much is the cheapest, and are they innovative ways to keep the bowls warmer with household products? <Aside from keeping the room they are in at a constant temperature, there is no such method.> 2: My Bettas are 3 inches (so they are adult, I guess). Well, I'm afraid I am overfeeding them. the problem is, they constantly go to the water surface for food, and feeling sorry for them, I feed them. I've been feeding them at least 4 pellets and 2 bloodworms a day, per fish. So my question is: am I feeding too much? How many pellets and bloodworms should I feed each Betta?     <I would offer them this same amount of food every other day.> 3: I've done research, I found out that Bettas can be ear damaged if the volume of say, the TV and boom box, is too loud. And what's more, they can be stressed by the aggravation, and thus, die sooner. <Correct.> So my question is: how loud is too loud, for the TV, and for the boom box? <I haven't got a decibel statistic for you; use common sense and discretion, and keep your animals far from these devices.> 4: I read from your forum that Bettas like to live in aquariums of at least a quart. <That's a hazardous minimum.  I urge systems of 2 gallons or more, for environmental stability, which is of the utmost importance to the longevity of ANY fish.> Two of them are in a fish bowl of dimensions of a 1.5 inch radius (3 inches in diameter), by 5.5 inches tall, <Distressingly small, and impossible to keep stable....> and those two are way more happy in them (they blow bubble nests regularly)   <You've had the animals less than a week....  I assure you, these volumes are far too small for long-term survival.  Such containers are developed for people who tend to be more interested in aesthetics than the lives forced to live in such confines.  These fish will not be "happy" for a great deal of time, I fear.> than my other fish, which is in a 1.5 quart aquarium, and it was 2 days late in blowing bubbles nests. <Even this is too small....  but better, at least.  Bubblenests, this early on, are pretty much irrelevant in gauging the fish's status.> The question is, should I upgrade to a bigger aquarium? <I would, absolutely, if at all possible.  A 10 gallon tank divided into three sections with substrate and decor would be great.> Thank you so much for getting the time out to help me. <Please read more here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Betta Beginnings - II - 09/04/2005
Hello Sabrina. <Hello, again!> Thank you so much for helping me out so quickly. I wish every business was as reliant as you. I will be getting a bigger aquarium soon, equipped with a heater, so rest assured, my Bettas will no longer be suffering. <Wonderful to hear, my friend!!> P.S.: I capitalized just for you! <I am truly grateful.  Thank you very much.  Wishing you and your scaly pals well,  -Sabrina>

Please help, is my Betta dying?  8/31/05 I've searched your website and still haven't found the signs that my Betta is going through. <OK, I'll try to help...this is Jorie.> He hasn't been eating for the past 4 days, all he does is lay in the corner of the bowl at the bottom and he is breathing really hard like he's gasping for breath. I have no other fish nor do I have plants in the bowl with him. I cleaned it out the same way as I always do, same temperature and I wait about 5 min.s before I put him back in cuz I use the stuff to take the chlorine out of the water. <I'm glad you are doing regular water changes, but am  little concerned with the method you describe.  You shouldn't be removing the fish each time, as this will needlessly stress him out.  Rather, prepare the water the night before you plan to do the change, add the chlorine remover, and you'll be all ready to go the next day.  Do you have a test kit? Just in case, take a reading for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to make sure everything is OK. Regardless, it sounds like there's something in his environment bothering him, so I'd suggest another water change.> My boyfriend thinks he might be blind because the fish is very fidgety if you tap on the bowl or the desk where he's at, he will go nuts like he can't see. <He probably just doesn't like you tapping on his house!  Some Bettas, additionally, are more sensitive than others - this one could be overly skittish.> I've had him for 8 months now and everything was fine till about 2 days ago. Is this a sign he's going to die or is he just going through a phase and will snap out of it. I'm very concerned since I grown attached to him and I don't want to see him die. Please help! <Hopefully this isn't the end for your little friend.  I will tell you that 2 years is considered a pretty long life for a Betta; who knows how old your guy was when you got him 8 mos. ago.  Bettas tend to exhibit slow signs of aging, just as elderly humans do...it's not a drastic thing like you describe.  Test the water, do a water change, and keep a close eye on him for signs of disease, etc.  With regards to not eating, Bettas can go a week or so without eating and without having problems...you could try adding garlic extract to the water with his next feeding (just a drop) to see if you can peak his interest. Good luck, Jorie>

Betta help 8/24/05 Hi. My Betta (I've  had since April) recently started acting funny. I noticed today a swollen stomach and he clearly has no interest in eating. Another concern is he is always at the top of the water, in the corner of the tank, with his head bobbing in and out of the water as if gulping air. Anything I should be concerned about? I recently changed  the water but I followed the same routine as any other time. Thanks for your time, D. Roberts <... I would be, am concerned... is this fish in a heated, filtered setting? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above... Enjoy the education. Bob Fenner>

Single Male Betta - Has stopped making nests!  :-( 8/9/05 Thank you for this wonderful site -- best on the net! <Welcome> My male beta is the greatest 'friend'!  Happy always and loves to be 'petted'. (yes petted)  Very affectionate and social he is.  He is approx. 1 year old now, has always made nice small nests surrounding the edges of his takes that keep him busy (he is alone in his tank), but about 3 weeks ago he stopped making nests. <Happens... temperature, water quality, nutrition... age... sigh> Nothing is different with his surroundings or feeding habits.  His color and attitude are still great.. he just doesn't make his nests anymore is all.  Is this common or might I have cause to be concerned about my loving 'baby boy & friend'? :-(   Thank you for your help.  Concerned - Wendy <Do try improving on all the above fronts (save age)... Please read through our Betta Articles and FAQs files re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down... Bob Fenner>

A Betta's usual fate 8/4/05    My Betta fish's name is Leroy, and he is a chipper and perky fish. He likes to swim tons and I got him merely 3 or 4 days ago. I put him in little over a gallon vase. I put in his tablets for the ph level and chlorine in tap water, and lowered him in the tank in a baggy to get used to his temperature. I cleaned everything out before I put him in. After one day his tank got incredibly cloudy. I figured it was the rocks so I got some aquarium rocks washed them off and changed his water, once again adding tablets and cleaning everything off. The next day his water became cloudy again. He had not eaten some food and it made the water cloudy. I thought that was the problem so I bought new food that doesn't make the water cloudy and I make sure he eats it before I leave. However today his tank is cloudy again, and last night there were white bubbles on the side of his tank in a small group. I scooped them out, but I didn't clean his water. I'm new at this help me out. Is something wrong or are looks deceiving? - Rosey <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Betta companions 8/4/05 We just moved our male Betta into a three gallon tank.  We would like to add one or two more fish.  What kinds would get along the best? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Betta friend(s)? 8/3/05 Hello, my name is Lindsay and I have a question concerning companions for my one male Betta Fish. First of all, I plan on buying a 3 or 5 gallon tank (i would prefer to buy a three gallon because it is less expensive and takes up less space, however, if it is impossible to fit other fish in with him at that point, i will consider a five gallon) as well as a filter and heater. Taking these conditions into consideration, I would like to know who the best possible tankmate(s) for my Betta could be. By the way, this is a great site. Thank you, Lindsay <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Betta Not eating 7/30/05 My Betta been acting funny lately, he hasn't been eating for the past 2 days and he seems depressed. I only have him in a bowl by himself, and I've never had him with any other fish. I'm not sure what's wrong do you have any idea? ~ Jonna <All sorts... please read, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm then on to the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

I need help! Help yourself... re Bettas, WWM 7/26/05 Hi. My name's Kara, and I was wondering if you could help me with a problem I'm having with my Betta. I've had my Betta for a little over a year, and he's always been very healthy, had a great appetite, etc. But, a few days ago something went wrong. He won't eat, and all he does is sit at the very top of the bowl not moving at all. I even tried putting a mirror up to him to see if he would try to fight it because he always did, but he ignored it. What's wrong with him? Is he dying? I don't want him to die!!!!!! Can you please help me, I'm afraid we might be running out of time! What do I do? <... have you read the articles and FAQs files on Bettas posted on WWM re Bettas? Please: http://www.google.com/custom?q=Bettas&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Rubi, My Red Betta 7/26/05 Hi my name is Victor Lopez, and well, I have several questions about my Betta fish I don't know if my fish is a Female or male? <Males are much larger, have much longer, pointed unpaired fins> ..... but I purchased it in a cup. <Almost assuredly a male> It is red and it is around a length of about an inch and a half, Though recently around three days ago I placed a plant in her bowl and I discovered bubbles all under a leaf what can this mean I haven't paired it with any other fish? Will it be alright if I wash the bowl weekly even with the bubbles under the single leaf? I need an answer please, Can you help? Thank you - Victor <All this and more is answered, offered on WWM... please read: http://www.google.com/custom?q=Bettas&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Goldfish problem and a Betta question 7/9/05 I just got into fish hobby about 4 months ago - unfortunately with very unprofessional help from a pet store I ended up with 2 fantail gold fishes in 8ltr (2gl) tank. <ouch - I wouldn't shop there again if I were you> One of them got sick and I have put him into separate 10 ltr tank - he had lots of white cotton stuff on the head, fins and tail. I have treated the water with fin rot medicine, added a tea spoon of salt in the aquarium and also made him few salt baths after which he seemed to be getting much better. <The antibiotic should do the trick - the salt is unnecessary> Almost all white stuff was gone and only the tips of fins/tail were reddish. I continued the treatment, but after some time he started to get the white growth once more and now I don't know what to do. A new 150ltr tank needs another 2-3 days to be finished but I am afraid to move him into the tank while sick since I don't want to risk my other gold fish. Pls help! <Keep the goldfish in it's current aquarium, and make sure to follow the instructions on the medication - do NOT discontinue treatment sooner!  If you're not having luck with that medication, complete the treatment (usually 5-7 days) then do a 100% water change, and try using something like Furan-2, or Nitrofurazone.  Regarding your new tank, remember that new tanks need to be cycled!  Here is some further reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm> And... now about a Betta - I got one of these by accident - felt sorry for a beautiful fish kept in a ve-e-ery small bowl in a pet store. He's got a 10 ltr tank now and looks happy. <Sounds good> The pet store also sold me a Chinese algae eater as a good company for Betta, but after some time it became too friendly and started trying to 'kiss' Betta. <Definitely not a good tank for a "Chinese algae eater".  Keep the beta by itself, and return the new fish> So the question is what fish can I put into Betta tank (with filter) to pick up all the sinking food? <None - just be sure to completely clean out the tank once a week or so, or purchase a filter> My Betta seems to believe that whatever sinks is not food any more and gravel ends up collecting leftovers. <As do all Bettas/Betta tanks :)  Try floating foods for less mess (make sure to feed a variety, though - they love mosquito larvae btw :>) Thank you. <You're welcome, and please consult the further reading in the links above, as well as this one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm> Svetlana. <Neat name ;)  M.Maddox>

Re: follow up on "goldfish problem and Betta question" 7/10/05 Dear M.Maddox, <How goes it?> The answer was really helpful, so I decided to try your patience with one more question: stocking scheme, since I don't seem to find enough info on it. <That's what WWM is for :)> At the moment I have 2 goldfishes fan tails (guess very small ones - about 3&4 cm) in two separate tanks. I will be moving them into 150ltr tank as soon as it's cycled and I've been breaking my head about appropriate tankmates. <Ouch - the medical bills!> I am quite set on adding a black Oranda to the company but not sure about the rest. <Goldfish always get along fine with other goldfish> First of all I have to say that the goldfishes I have are quite used to high temperatures - I live in Cyprus where "normal" summer temp is about 37-40 and winter ~20-27. <They do prefer slightly cooler temperatures, but are very hardy> So, do you think it might be possible to add 2-3 Corys to the set up? <Not sure what a "Cory" is, I'll need the scientific (Latin) name> Tank =150ltr, filters - Penguin Power Filter 350B + biofilter that had no name on the box and capacity up to 200ltr, planning to put some light on it and a filter for winter if Corys are ok for the tank. <Your filtration sounds fine> Beside the temperature differences are there any other reasons for keeping gold fish separate from Corys? <Like I said, let me know the scientific name of that species and I will be able to answer that for you> Thank you again. And I have to compliment you, it's the first site that is really helpful - and I did spent rather lot's of time looking for the info around after realizing local pet shops won't be of any help. <You're most welcome - WWM really is a wealth of information, due to the hard work of many.  It's helped me several times> Thanks. <Anytime> Svetlana. <M. Maddox> My Betta 7/6/05 hi        When I got my Betta it was a very nice colour of blue and now it's blue-gray. What should I do? Can they live on flakes or pebble type food? <Please read here re your Betta: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and the linked files above re Behavior, Feeding. Bob Fenner>

Travel with Betta fish 7/4/05 Hello, My name is Rachel. I have two Betta fish in a five gallon tank. I will be moving six hours from where I am currently living. I plan to take my fish with me and would like to know if there are any suggestions on how to travel with them. Thanks! Rachel <Bettas, being aerial respirators, travel very well just being bagged up in some of their water, packed in thermally insulated containers... sometimes for days. Bob Fenner>

Betta article  07/02/05 Just read your article in Pet Age. <An industry periodical> Just wanted to tell you great job. Schuyler Sloane (Mr. sky) Founder and president of The Northeast Philadelphia Aquarium Society Visit us on the web @ www.phillyfishclub.com <Thank you for this... Want to impart my thanks to the editor there... We had a "misunderstanding" or better, lack of understanding re the content of this piece... This series is more "pro" toward advertisers, extant products... But I am adverse <<or rather averse... >> to promoting poor practices, products and techniques that are harmful or just non-beneficial to our aquatic charges. In this case, the little death traps which are unfiltered, unheated "bowls" for Bettas mainly. To her credit and perseverance, the article was not tossed... or much modified. Bob Fenner> Cart afore the Betta purchase Hi, I just bought a female Betta and i already had a male. Well, i don't know if i should put the two together. I don't know if they will fight or lay eggs or anything else, i just don't want them to kill each other!- What do i do! thank you Cassie <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dried blood worms Hi, <Hello there> I have had my Betta for about 3 weeks and he is doing great, makes bubbles nests every time I clean his water.  He is in a 1 gallon fish bowl that I clean 1 to 2 times every week. <Good> He will ONLY eat bloodworms, will he be ok with this diet.   <Mmm, no, not indefinitely... I'd start mixing in other freeze-dried, frozen-defrosted, fresh... even specialty "Betta" pelleted foods to wean him off this exclusive diet> Another question, how much should I be feeding him and how many times a day? <This is posted on WWM... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm please read there. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Sharon

Betta, could he drown? Why the ????? Hi? I have been looking through your site to try and find out what's wrong with my Betta ( Gary ) ? He has a swollen belly, swimming on his side and has now buried himself into a plant and looks like he s dying? He did this a few weeks ago and was fine the day after? Could I be overfeeding him? He lives with some tetras, a loach and a small catfish? All plants are real? The tank holds 10 gallons? feed them flaked food morning and night?  <Bettas don't live on flake food> I keep thinking that he could drown as he s not surfacing a lot? <No> I have removed him from the plant a few times but he just bobs around the surface for a few minutes and then buries himself in the plant and just go s limp????  I've stopped doing this now as I could be stressing him out. ( and the other fish) . Could he be constipated? He does eat a lot? Thanks for reading this, love the site, Debb  <Please learn to use your spell and grammar checking tools... And read on WWM re Bettas, Nutrition, Systems... all posted for you. Bob Fenner>

New to Bettas Hello. My name's Kat. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this or not, but I'm desperate, lol. I'm doing a long term project for my aquatic school involving Bettas. I'm going to be getting the Betta in a few days, and I've been doing research on their care, but I can't find anything that's clear. I'd like to know, basically, what conditions are optimal for the health and growth of my Betta. Like temperature, feeding...what to do for the tank. Everything, basically, lol. Sorry about this. Also, if I were raising a baby Betta (can't remember the exact name) to an adult, what would I need to do to make sure it stays alive and thrives? Sorry if there's any inconvenience, and thanks in advance. <The ideal set up for a Betta is a 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater and sponge filter. Keep the temperature steady, anywhere from 78 to 82 will be fine. The sponge will take time to become established with a bacterial colony that will control ammonia. Read here on FW cycling. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm For food there are many good Betta pellets and flakes on the market. They also love bloodworms, but try to get frozen rather than dried. You can give them a treat of any small bugs or spiders you find. Don>  

Betta fish Hello; My 9 yr. old is doing a report on Bettas. We're looking for basic information, as far as origin, facts, photo's, maintaining care. Of course our computer is a bit outdated, this greatly effects our search time. Is there a site that can help with this? There are so many that appear to have the different info, but none that have the complete info. This is a plea for you who is all knowing! We anticipate your response. <What we have is posted here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  Scroll down... to Bettas... but you may well have more luck finding (quickly) what you want by visiting a local good-sized library... there are quite a few small, popular book/lets on Siamese Fighting Fish. Bob Fenner>

Betta Gender Mystery - 03/31/2005 Hi! I have had 3 Bettas for almost a year now and I thought that I had 2 males ( Known already) and 1 female, but the female has long fins. The day I went to the Mililani pet store I headed to the fish section and noticed Bettas with long fins. I was looking for a female Betta so I didn't bother with the long fined Betta. The pet store owner is my neighbor so he had told me that the long fined Betta were new to his store and known as a "SHOW" Betta. I asked him "Where are the female show Bettas?" He said they are right in front of you! So all this time I have thought I had a female Betta, but I noticed that I can't see her egg spot! This is because her fin is in the way.  <You should still be able to see this, despite finnage....> Can you help me with this problem. Also she is a blue show Betta and I see a dark blue, black line going across her body. So can you help me to figure is my Betta a girl? <Without a photograph, there is no definitive answer we can give you. There are a lot of "long" finned females offered on Aquabid lately, so you might take a look there, and compare with your own. If you can get a good photograph to email to us, we can likely help make a determination as to gender, but without, it's just not possible. The "long" finned females that I have seen, in person and on Aquabid, are still not comparable to good, long-finned males; colorful, for sure, but the finnage is still obviously not that of a male. The body shape of a female is different, too, once you get used to seeing them. Get to as many stores you can to look at their females and compare to your own. Wishing you and your beautiful Bettas well, -Sabrina> 

Betta Question Hello! <Hi there> My 10 yr. old son has a Betta they were doing to get a cub scout badge. He LOVES his fish. We just moved him on up to a larger aquarium. Which JJ (the fish) seems to love himself. My first question is : are there any other fish to put in there with him? Or would that be bad?  <Not bad... and there are other easygoing species that go well with a Betta in such a setting. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm > I've heard something about some kinda little thing that would live in the rocks and eat his poo but I'm not sure. The only other fish I have ever had was a Jack Dempsey whom would let no other fish live with her. Also, we added a plant seed too. It's an Aponogeton - we were told it was ok. Is it a good plant to have? <Yes, a very good genus of "annual" aquatic plants. Very good for this setting> I know they do not live too long but it would tear my little guy up to lose him. <Mmm, male Betta's can live for a few years... most are purchased at a few months of age> JJ has done really well adapting to his new surroundings. It was kinda funny for a day he wouldn't move outside of the size of his old tank (inside the new one)! Now he swims his little heart out and flares up at my cats! He also loves his little hide - a -rock. Is there any tips or anything you can give me to help him live as long as possible? I have been  reading on your website and it's wonderful. Thanks for your time! <Ahh, thank you for writing. I know not much more than have written, placed on WWM, but there are many other folks who have devoted years to the culture, enjoyment of Betta splendens. Their insights can be found in books, clubs, articles... Bob Fenner> 

Temperature for Bettas Jorie, Thanks for your response. <You are welcome.> My Betta is in less than one gallon of water. Where do I purchase a 25watt heater and a thermometer? Where do you attach the heater? If I place him in a 2 gallon tank will I need a heater? <The smallest submersible heater I am aware of is the 25watt, and you definitely would not want to use this in a tank less than 1 gal., as you would likely cook your friend! Here's a link to the Eclipse 3 gal. that I personally like very much: Eclipse 3 gal.  You can certainly shop around for a better price...sometimes PetSmart, PetCo, etc. have these on sale. I like this because everything is included, the filter, wet/dry filtration, light fixture, etc.  Here's a link to the size heater you want...this would be great for anything between 2-5 gallons (general rule of thumb is 25watts per 5 gallons of water). And, finally, here's a link to show you the type of thermometer I'm talking about...I personally like the ones with the suction cups: thermometer.  The thermometer you can find at any local fish store (LFS), the 25watt heater may prove a bit more challenging...I'd just call ahead, since some stores don't go below the 50watt size. I personally order lots of stuff from Drs. Foster and Smith (links I provided you), and I'm happy with their service, for what that is worth!> Pardon my naivety although I'm a new Betta owner and I want to do the best I can for him. <It's great that you are learning and growing in the hobby, Sandra...I myself started with one Betta, and now have 6 or so freshwater tanks...be warned, this hobby is very addicting! We are here to help, so any more questions you might have...Jorie>

Female Bettas I have recently gotten into Bettas (two males). When I was at the store purchasing my fish, I noticed that there were females for sale and I wanted to get one for decoration purposes only (no intention to breed) and decided to do my homework prior to purchase. <Always a good idea> However, I haven't been finding a whole lot of information about female Bettas, only male. <Much of the information regarding male Bettas can be applied to females. After all, they are the same species.> So, can you fill me in on a few questions: <That's what we're here for> what are good tankmates for females? Are they too aggressive to be kept with others (I heard a rumor that you can keep Bettas (male) an angels together but a shopkeeper told me they saw the combination and how pre-mortem both sides were)? <Generally, fish a bit larger than the females that are not too rough and tough, nor too peaceful, make good companions. Larger tetras, such as Black Widows and Lemon Tetras make good mid-level companions. Corydoras catfish, Dwarf (Peckoltia) Plecos, and Bushynose Plecostomus make superb bottom-dwelling companions. Smaller Loaches, such as Pangio kuhlii would also work. A tank dedicated solely to females of various colorations would also be a splendid display, provided 4 or more females are kept to diffuse aggression.> What about tanks with pumps/filter? They seemed to do well in the little bowls but I have a small tank with a filter and a heater on it so, knowing these fish are  tropical, I figured this would be a good place to keep her but I didn't know which fish are worst. <Bettas are indeed tropical, and a heated, filtered small tank can bring only good.> Does no fancy fins mean they can swim faster to evade fin-nippers? <Generally, yes.> I know males attack flashy fish (guppies) but does that apply for females too? <Sometimes. You should watch your fish carefully and go from there.> I hear females fill with eggs prior to breeding; does that mean she's going to be like a chicken and expel unfertilized eggs when she's past her "time of the month" or do they NEED to be bred? <Nope, I have never heard of such a thing occurring. Bettas can do perfectly well without being bred.> In short: would you recommend this fish for non-breeding purposes only? <Absolutely. Good luck, Mike G>

My Betta has not eaten for a month He is about 13 mos. old. He doesn't act particularly sick but he is very slow. What to do?  Thanks, Annie <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> 

New Betta Owner Hello, I am a new Betta owner. I have a few question's for you: There is a live plant that was in the tank with him. He was eating it and I wasn't sure that that is healthy for him. I removed it just in case. <Put it back> Would you advise me to purchase a tank with an automatic filter because right now that filter is me. <Please read here re Systems for Bettas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm > My Betta also has some sort of white stuff growing on him. I'm not sure exactly what that is. Thanks for your time, New Owner <And see the blue links above... re disease. Bob Fenner> 

School Project Hi Robert (is it?) <Yes, or Bob> I am doing a school project on Bettas. I am using this website for some of my research, but I need to give you credit for this information. I need the following to cite your website: -Author <Should be stated on the piece/s themselves... if not then I penned> -Date last updated <Need to know the piece/s in particular. Some are quite new, some ancient> -Title of website <WetWebMedia.com> -Group responsible for this website <The people listed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmcrew.htm> -Address of the site. (I have the address for the page on Bettas that I'm using, but need the address of the homepage.) < http://WetWebMedia.com> Thank you SO much, and if you could give me anymore information on Bettas that would be great. Please get back to me as soon as possible! Thanks, Lauren <I know little more than is posted. Bob Fenner>

Impulse Betta Purchase Hey. I've just brought a Betta fish of an ocean colour. But one problem I have is I have no idea how to look after one and what I need to feed it. What to put it in and everything else and I was hoping you could give me a few tips on what I got to do. Thanks Stephanie <Hi Stephanie, Don here. These are questions you should have asked before you took over his care. Please research the needs of any pet before bringing it home. There are many posts here about basic Betta care, but I will give you some of the basics. The ideal set up for a Betta is a 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater (set to 76 to 80 degrees) and sponge filter. Temp is very important. To stay healthy he needs a steady temp in the high 70's. There are many very good Betta foods on the market. They also love tiny insects like fruit flies, small spiders, etc.. Be careful not to overfeed. Do a 50% water change every week if you have no filter. Make sure you dechlorinate and match temp. Siphon the water from the bottom to remove waste and uneaten food>      

Pair of Bettas Hi! Great site! I've a 2 Bettas I received as a gift a month and a half ago.  I keep them separated and I change their water 1-2x per week.  They are in small square quart sized bowls with small rocks on the bottom. I use my bottled drinking water after it has sat out for half a day to reach room temp before I clean their tanks. Sometimes I just rinse everything really well with tap water, other times I wash with a little bit of Melaleuca antibacterial hand soap. I'm feeding them the dried "stinky" pellets that came with them which they seem to be eating pretty well. The problem I have is that their water, after only a couple of days, has all this white mucousy looking stuff all over the place. It doesn't seem to bother the betas, but it certainly can't be good for them. They are looking pretty good regardless, they eat, they are alert. Their bottom fins are a bit shreddy looking and have looked that way since I got them. Any suggestions? Thanks so much! Kristine <Hi, Don here. First, stop using the soap. They can leave a film on the bowl that gets into the water. The bacteria that grows in a healthy tank is good for the water anyway. Try changing only half the water, but twice as often. Use a siphon to get the junk out of the stones. A little aquarium salt, about a teaspoon, may help. The smaller but more frequent water changes along with the salt will help with both the fins and the white stuff. BTW, your Bettas would do much better if you could get them each a little tank with a heater and sponge filter>   

Betta in Paradise All my chemical tests are good. <Great, but would like to see the numbers> I feed my Betta Hikari <Great brand> freeze-dried brine shrimp, Tubifex worms and daphnia in sort of a dry blend. <Great mix of foods! Maybe add a high quality Betta flake or pellet.> He eats small amounts twice a day, three times on weekends. <A little too much, IMO. Once, twice a day is fine. Skipping all feeding one day a week is not a bad thing.> The pH is being lowered gradually from 7.6 to 7.0 by switching from bottled to tap water. <Not too bad an adjustment. You should get this done in two, three days. Then you can go nuts with water changes.> Temp is a constant 80 and he resides in a Hex 5 filtered aquarium. <You are a Betta Goddess!> Problem? Last Thursday I gave him his mirror for his usual two minute session-it ended up being a half hour because I got totally sidetracked. <No need for this at all! But it is cool to watch.> Since then he still has his appetite but tends to rest more on his plants.  He is not as active. He doesn't appear to have any signs of disease. I always use aquarium salt and Bowl Buddies for a water conditioner- I did use Stress Coat <Glad that you stopped. I don't like this product at all.> but I age his water by the gallon and Bowl Buddies is a more exact measure. <I use only a dechlorinator. Nothing else. Works for me> Help! <Why, your doing fine!> Is something wrong or is this just a phase. I think he might be a year old-he was kept terribly and I rescued him. <Many thanks!> Thank you Sue <Hi Sue, Don here. Have you done a water change since you totally PO'ed him last week? That may help. If you do not see any signs of illness then I think he's OK. Do a water change and keep an eye out for bloating, ragged fins, white spots etc..>    

Crown Tail Betta Question - 10/10/2004 I recently bought a friend a Crown Tail Betta to cheer her up.  She has had two Bettas and both have died and she was not going to get another.   <Might be a good idea to try to help her figure out why the others died; perhaps it is something you can help her prevent from happening again.> Do the Crown Tails have the same habits as a regular Betta or are they different altogether?   <They are precisely the same.  They may be a bit more delicate due to more extensive inbreeding, but still, same behaviours and such.> Her first Betta used to jump up and eat out of her fingers, got excited when she was around - could this one do those sorts of things too? <Yes indeed.  It's just a matter of time and proper care.  Wishing you and your friend (and her fish) well,  -Sabrina>

You better believe that's an old Betta! Hi gang: I consider myself a reasonably accomplished/obsessed aquarist. But my sister (who owns only one fish) purchased a visually-mature blue Betta. . . just over FOUR YEARS AGO. This old-timer is definitely moving slow. Eyesight weakening (but not gone). Rear of dorsal fin deteriorating. . . and slowly forming some sort of white 'tumor' where it's disappeared. Listing slightly at-rest. But 'gramps' still responds eagerly to external stimuli. . . charges food (once he locates it). . . and a few weeks ago even built a bubble nest! I figure part of his extended-life may be due to an ambient room temp. that averages in the mid-to-high sixties year round. But is this geriatric fish at or near some sort of record? < We get asked about the longevity of Bettas every once in a while and it is always hard to determine because many fish are sold as adults but are probably only a few months old. In the wild Bettas probably don't live any longer than a couple of years. Your Betta has reached a remarkable age. Probably in part due to the low ambient water temps. It may be a record but I don't know of anybody that keeps track. -Chuck> Chuck

Re: Age of a Betta and male's tail Fin Hi Chuck, Thanks again for your reply. I have a question about how to find out what age my fish can be. If I measure the length of my male Betta's body only, he is 2 inches and my female is 1.5 inches. Is measuring the body only of the fish a good way of determining its age, if so what age would you say my fish are? Or how could you determine its age ? < In the wild the seasons have cool and warm periods so you can look at growth rings on scales. Really no way to tell on captive aquarium fish. Bettas are turned very quickly at aquarium stores so you can probably assume that the Betta was around 6 months old at the store when you bought them.> ------------------------------------------------ Second question has to do with my male fish, his tail fin as a "U" shape tail and in the middle it as decolored with little lines (tares in the fin), it is small now. I do not have a digital camera to take a picture, therefore I draw one (See Attachment), the decolor is some what a off-white color. I add some aquarium salt to the water after each change (100%) every 3 to 4 days. Any suggestions on what it could be and if I should treat it now ? If so with what ? < Some Bettas are bred to have a split tail. Look on the internet for pictures of fish with tail rot and see if the photos match your fish. If that is the case then do a 30% water change and service the filter if you have one. Treat with a Nitrofuranace type of drug and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks, Mario D.

Betta Problems Hi! I need your help. I want to know if I could keep both my Betta in the same tank. I know I cant do boys and boys but can I do boys and girls? < Only when the female is ready to breed. The male will continually chase her and may kill her in too small an aquarium.> Just one boy and one girl. You see, I'm afraid that they will breed. Very bad. LOL Also It is very hard for me to distinguish between boys and girls. I have 3 Betta fish all together. 2 I got at a wedding about a year ago and the other one I saved yesterday from my friend who wanted to see him die.... Well I saved him, And though my parents aren't happy. I was wondering if you could tell what sex they are at an early age because there is a defendant size difference between the two I got at the wedding compared to the one I just saved yesterday. Also the one I saved yesterday is a whitish pink with black spots.... weird. Well, please help, < If you had a tank large enough that was well planted with lots of hiding places then you might get away with it. I would still recommend separate bowls for each.> OHHH!!! Also one more question.... Is it ok if I just feed my Betta the store bought food or do I also have to give it live food to. (I know the kinds) AHHHH!!!! Please help. Thanks < Store bought food is OK but live food is better. Chuck> Kelly Thanks Again

Another Jumping Betta Hi, <Hi, MikeD here> I have one male beta and while my sister was cleaning the tank, the Beta jumped out of the place he was put into while she was cleaning. It was a pretty big jump. He seems very tired and he cant swim very long, but he can still go up to the surface to breathe.<That's a good sign.> Even though he can swim up to the top, he cant stay there very long and eat the pellets. Any suggestions on how to feed him?? <I'd suggest trying a different food for a while. I've just recently become aware that many people are feeding Bettas JUST floating pellets, and a wider, varied diet never hurts. Even the occasional housefly makes a welcome treat for a Betta (swatted, not sprayed!**grin**) How long do you think it would take him to heal and regain his energy? <That's hard to say as the injury can run from minor to severe, depending upon the fish, how it landed, on what, etc. Just be patient, keep it fed and it's water clean and the odds are good. By the way, although they CAN obviously live in a bowl, they'll usually do much better in even a small aquarium with a filter, which eliminated jumping and water change deaths.> Thank you for reading <No problem. That's what we're here for. Good luck to you!>

Questions Hi, My name is Karly and i have a question about Bettas but I'm not sure if this is where i put my question at but if it is please reply with a yes or no I'm still looking at your FAQ's for Bettas to see if i can find my answer there. Thank you, Karly <<Dear Karly, yes, you can email me your questions, I will be happy to answer them for you :) -Gwen>>

Old Betta  >Hi, I have a Betta fish that is almost 3 years old now.  >>Oh my, he's an old guy!  >He used to swim around often and every time I would put food in his tank he would come up and eat it but now lately he has just be laying on the bottom of the tank or in a little house I have in his tank, and when I put food in the tank he usually doesn't come up for it and so I will tap on the tank and sometimes he will try to swim up but he usually just falls back down, and I haven't seen him eat.  >>I am afraid that these fishes don't live a terribly long time, and it sounds as though your fish has hit old age. When animals go from old age, you usually see a gradual slowdown, and then when it gets bad it gets bad fast. He may have skipped that gradual slowdown.  >He might be eating something while I'm not home but I'm not sure. He still has very nice coloring and he doesn't seem to have anything wrong with him. Please help me, I'm not sure what's wrong or if maybe he's just getting old!!! Thank you!!  >>It is my belief that he's quite old for a Betta (though I've read reports of them living a long time, but we honestly have NO way to control the aging process). I will touch on a subject that many have difficulty with, but I do not feel it is in any way fair to the fish to allow him to starve to death. If he becomes very thin before passing, I feel it's our duty to humanely euthanize fish in this condition. My definition of "humane" is fast and painless. Icing a fish is NEITHER fast, nor painless. Netting it up and hitting it upon a very hard surface *is* both fast and painless. Also, we have another crewmember who has used something called "clove oil", a few drops in a dish or bowl that the fish is placed into seems to work very quickly and painlessly from what she's relayed. I do not know where to get clove oil, though. It is something to consider for when the time comes, and I know it is a very personal choice, completely up to you. In the meantime, make sure his little bowl is warm and temperature stable, keep the water clean of the uneaten food as I'm sure you already do. Marina

Betta Care - 04/03/2004  I just bought a Betta at the pet store and we asked if there was any special needs that we have to give it and they said no, so we have a 7.5 L bowl with a filter.  <Bettas are indeed very, very simple fish to care for. 7.5 liters is plenty of space, and a great size home for your new pal.>  How many times do I have to clean it even with a filter,  <Well, part of that depends on your setup - like whether you have gravel or not, what kind of filter it is, stuff like that. I would recommend changing half the water every week, and be sure to use a siphon to clean the gravel when you do this.>  and any other needs do I have to give it?  <Most importantly, do not put any other Bettas in the tank - males will fight to the death. Your tank is a perfect size for the Betta to live in, but I'd suggest not keeping any other fish with him. It would be ideal to keep the temperature in his tank relatively constant, around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so you may want to consider getting a heater for his tank.>  Also they said that only tap water would be fine.  <Exactly true - but you should be sure to use a water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine from the water, this is very important. Also, you may want to get test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, to help you monitor your water quality; if something should go wrong, and your fish gets sick, these water parameters can clue you in on what's wrong, and help you figure out what needs to be fixed.>  Please help me. Thanks, Kim  <Look here for some more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm - and be sure to check out the links at the top, for more questions/answers asked in the past that might help you on your learning path. Enjoy your wonderful new pal! -Sabrina>

Betta Changing Color Thanks, Gage, for answering so quickly.  I'll try not feeding my Betta for a few days and then reintroduce the Betta Pellets.  He does seem quite active and healthy otherwise, except for one thing -- that discoloring of a few of his scales seems to have progressed.  He's mostly royal blue, with deep green highlights.  His head area is really really dark red, and his two "beard-looking" (sorry not to know the technical name) <No worries, I don't either, some of us are just hobbyist, not scientists, I think beard thingies is a perfect name for them.  I also like to use the term do-whacky, it describes a lot of the components in my filter.> thin fins underneath his chin are deep red.  So, he's a pretty dark-colored fish overall.  But in the past few days, the scales under his chin (by the base of those beardlike fins) have slowly lost their color and are now pale.  His gills also seem to be turning brighter red, instead of dark.  I've tried to get him to flare his gills to check if they're shredding or something, but though he lifts his fins in response to a brightly-colored object, he won't flare his gills. <Have you tried a small mirror?> Sorry this is so long... <Not a problem.> to sum up, thanks for the feeding advice but now I'm wondering what this chin/throat scale-paling thing is.  I am using Aqua-Safe, but could it be some kind of poisoning in the tank? Sorry to have to bother you again.  Thanks so much for all your help! <Well Sandy, my professional opinion is that I don't know.  Bettas have been known to change their color, as long as it is not fuzzy, a nasty open flesh wound, or a big swollen tumor looking thing, I would not worry.  Just keep up on the good husbandry and I bet he does fine.  Best Regards, Gage> Sandy

"And a Betta Addict is Born" or, "I've Created a Monster!" Hi Sabrina, My friend and I were out at Wal-Mart last night and were looking at the Bettas and I saw two very petty ones, well they were all very pretty, but these two really screamed for us. They were in a very small amount of water and it had not been changed in some time, which I told the manager about and she tried telling me about where they come from and I told her the difference between bacteria beds and a cup of their own waste. She stopped talking to me. :) My friend even got into the act and I was quite please with all his knowledge on the whole thing. <Wonderful!  Pretty soon, you guys are going to have Betta houses everywhere - in the kitchen, on the dining room table, in the bathroom, at work....> So we took our new babies home and got them in fresh clean water and they are doing great! Well I notice that when mine flares one of his gills does not flare, like it doesn't have the lower flare part. Don't know what that is called. Both gills flare, just one doesn't have the large flare part. (Good thing the manager didn't ask me that huh? LOL) He acts healthy, is eating, swimming, strutting his stuff, just one sided strutting. :)  Is he ok like this? I mean the one flaring gill. <This is probably a genetic deformity, nothing major to worry about.  I would recommend strongly against breeding such a fish, so as not to encourage a bad trait, but he should likely be fine.> Oh Sabrina, he is so incredibly beautiful. He has a pink body with a blue vertical stripe and then his fins turn a turquoise and bleed into a light blue and then tip into a red. So incredible. <Sounds like a beauty indeed!> Just happy as can be with all my boys, four of them now! I just want to know if he is ok with that gill like that or if his life span will be shortened or anything like that. On the side where his gill does flare out when he is not flared his gill does not close down tight like my other boys. <Yes, likely a genetic deformity.> Talk soon and have a fabulous day and thanks in advance for your help. Time to do a water change on one of my saltwater tanks. Let me know if you need a pic of him flaring, if that would help. <If you wish, feel free to send a pic along, I'll be glad to take a look - he sounds beautiful, anyhoo.> Magic. <I'm glad you're having so much fun with your Betta boys!  Also glad to hear your friend is taking a great interest, as well - wonderful news.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>

Betta Teeth I just found your site, and found it to be very informative.  I see that your Q & A is  aimed at the real basics and the new aquarist.  I was shocked to see the following: "Bettas Hi there, Crew,  I have had 2 Bettas for almost a year....love those jumpin' little guys to death!  But have not found any information ANYWHERE that tells me if they have teeth!  Not on the 'net, not in the encyclopedia, not in the fish stores, and not in any Betta books.  Can you please answer this for me?  Thanks!!! <I don't believe Bettas have teeth, IanB>" Certainly Betta have teeth, all fish have teeth!  Why, as a Pro in the fish business, would you not know that?<To be honest with you "I am not at all an expert" I am just a 17 year old high school student trying to help fellow hobbyists>  Some are modified; as in Parrotfish where the teeth have fused into a beak for crushing corals, Catfish and Suckers' teeth are tiny and scrape and grasp,<yes, I am aware of this...> Lampreys and Remoras have their own specialized denticulation- but they are TEETH.<Technically yes> Teeth and feathers evolved from scales and fish and reptiles are scaled.<Ok> If you are not absolutely certain of an answer why do you guess?<Because I "guess" I wanted to :)> It took me less that five minutes to confirm that they did by a simple GOOGLE search for Belontiidae Taxonomy and Anabantidae Taxonomy. In many families and genera of fishes the tooth count and cusp configuration are a primary taxa for defining species separation and I would bet that the original description of Betta splendens describes the denticulation in detail.<Maybe you should be a scientist or join the crew to answer questions such as the one pertaining to Betta teeth> If you don't know don't guess. Look it up or just say, I don't know.<thanks for the insight bud> You guys are doing a good job and providing a good service to the Aquarium Hobby (Business). I hope my comments help you do an even better job.<Have a nice day, IanB> John McQueen

- Word Up to Ian - WWM Crew I have enjoyed and learned so much from the WetWebCrew over the past year or so that it really bothers me to see emails such as the one from a Mr. John McQueen.  Perhaps this isn't the place, but I don't have his personal email address or would respond directly to him.  "Does a Betta have teeth"? First, I guess we would have to define "teeth" in this context.  However, if the answer is "yes, they have teeth (of a sorts)", then just say so.  We are all here to learn and share.  To question Ian's intelligence only revealed the level of the author's.  "Why, as a Pro in the fish business, would you not know that?"  Sir, the word "Pro" implies that one is being paid for services rendered.  Ian is a VOLUNTEER and he's not "in the fish business". Why would you not know that?  Maybe it's because "I just found your website...".   Stick around.  Much to learn, share, discuss, accept, discard as you will.  Mr. Behnk (that's Ian, by the way) has much to offer and does so with intelligent , well thought out responses.  Those of us fortunate enough to have discovered this site some time ago appreciate and respect his counsel. Respectfully, Barry Rinehart <Thanks for those comments, Barry. I'll make sure Ian sees them. Unfortunately, every once in a while we get someone coming by with something to prove, or a chip on their shoulder, and they don't 'really' want help with any of it, they just want to dump on someone else. I agree with your stance, and Mr. McQueen should just get over his 'bad' self. So, here's to learning, sharing, discussing, accepting, and discarding as you will. Cheers, J -- >

Betta Teeth, Making Friends Ian, Sorry if I was so hard on you.<that's fine> I had no idea that you were such a young fellow. On that basis, you are doing a far better job than I could have done when I was 17.<thanks> I am 60 years old so I've had a big head start on you. <agreed> I have been fascinated with all things aquatic all my entire life.<similar to myself> I started with Guppies at about age 5 and have had aquariums on and off all of my life.  Spending my childhood in Alabama and Louisiana I always had muddy shoes.  In those days there were CLEAN "ditches" with more interesting things than you could learn about in a lifetime. Frogs, turtles, snakes, crawfish, native fishes (mostly Gambusia), and  incredible aquatic insects and insect larva. A large Dragon Fly larva in a five gallon tank will keep you entertained.<yes indeed lol>  If they were a foot long they would make sharks seem like puppy dogs. We had no pumps and filters for home aquariums then. One had to keep the tank population low and that is still the best advise to all aquarists.<agreed>  Another aspect of aquarium keeping that has sadly declined over the years is "Balanced Aquarium", wherein you created a water garden with lots of plants. You gave the plants about a month to really root well and only then did you introduce the fish. The plants used up the carbon dioxide and nitrogen and gave off oxygen the fish feces and urine fertilized the plants. The Dutch still specialize in this method and it makes for a beautiful tank (with or without fish). Now to you, I don't know if you plan to make a career in biology of the aquarium business but either could be a good choice. <I mainly specialize in Marine fish. I am going to school to become an Ichthyologist> Whatever you do in life never be afraid to say, "I don't Know". You will garner more respect by stating that you don't know something than guessing and later being found out to be wrong.<yea>  I weigh everything that I am told, in science, business or any subject. I like to read three books by different authors on a subject. If all agree on a particular point there's a pretty good chance it's correct.<yup>  If there is disagreement- look further.  I'm here. If I can help you, e-mail is free. If you think I'm a jerk you may (what do old guys know anyway?).  I admire your running very slick website and hope you do well in whatever you do.<Thank you for the knowledge and kind insight my friend, good luck, IanB> John

.... and the Betta sitting saga continues Hi all! Sabrina, thank you for all of your wonderful help! My friend is doing fantastic with his fish, he has even gotten another one and is keeping up with water changes and keeps a watchful eye on them for any signs of disease or anything wrong. I am very proud of him. <This is wonderful to hear!  I guess this means the (empty) threat of baseball bat-style teaching is removed?> I have bought 3 special babies myself. I am looking at tanks now for them. I am rapidly running out of room due to my saltwater tanks <Ah, what a wonderful, space-consuming hobby we have....> so I would like to keep my new babies in small tanks and have been looking at the Mini Bow 2.5 and one of the reasons being is because of the divider in the tank. <The only dislike I have for the mini-bow is the incandescent lighting, but that's not a major issue.> I have been doing a lot of reading on Bettastarz.com and IBC.com and a whole slew of others and they say that letting the boys strut their stuff is very good for them. Now I would not leave their light on all the time and would put some plants up in front of the divider, giving them only some area of site to each other. Does this seem like an ok idea? <Sounds like a plan to me.> Also on this size tank, how often and what percent do the water changes need to be done? <I'd go with 25-30% weekly, if possible.> Should I even bother with a divider, or should I get each boy his own 2-2.5 gallon? <Purely up to you.  I tend to lean toward larger spaces, myself, but one gallon is plenty for a Betta to prosper.> And if I do get each boy his own tank, will he still be happy if he is not strutting his stuff? Or should I do what the other sites recommend and put a mirror up for them for an hour or so a day? <You could; I don't think it's all that necessary, as they should be able to see their reflection in the back of the tank.> As always your advice is much appreciated.  -Magic <Sure thing.  Enjoy your new bettadudes!  -Sabrina>

Discolored Betta Hi there, <hello! Ryan with you this morning> I have scrolled through all of your previous letters and emails I don't find anything to quite fit my problem, and I am hoping you can help. <I'll do my best> I have had my Betta for about 3-4 months now, in his own 2.5 gal tank, with basic rocks, plastic plant and "house" to hide in. I do approx.20% - 40% water changes once a week with a gravel vacuum, and 95% about every 5-6 weeks. <With what kind of water?> About a month ago I noticed the base of his tail "lose colour", it changed from deep blue, to white, almost transparent. I kept an eye on his in case it was fungus, but nothing ever developed, he was eating & swimming fine. Then his colours seemed to shift, the red on his belly started showing on his belly tail fin, and his face got lighter in colour. A friend who works at the local LFS advised me that Betta can change colour somewhat and not to worry that this was normal...well I still kept an eye on him, he was eating and swimming normally, but the ends of his fins have started to curl inwards a bit, still no signs of fungus or fin and tail rot that I can tell, no holes or ragged ends, his head now has 3-4 light grey-ish spots, but they are almost transparent and not fuzzy or slimy, and I noticed last night on his face that his gills are looking a little redder then usually and he seems to have an open sore now on his face that I missed before!! I feel so awful that he's obviously sick and I never noticed. I did a full tank change yesterday, added about 1.5 tsp. of aquarium salt and put in an small tank aerator/filter, that the tank did not have before. I don't know what to do now, I don't know how to treat wounds like this. Someone told me to use Bettafix or Melafix, but that Bettafix would be better?? Should I be treating him with something else?? Please help me, I do not want to lose him!! He's become my buddy who greets me and is always happy to see me, and I feel like such a schlep for not taking better care of him!!  Thank you,  Lianne <Yes, it sounds like a fungus to me.  I would treat with Bettafix ASAP, and switch to a higher quality water for the changes.  With 2.5 gallons, you could simply buy bottles of purified water if you don't have a pet shop with access to RO/DI.  I would also start doing 50% water changes at most, 95% is putting additional stress on your little buddy.  Discoloration has also been associated with vitamin deficiency, so make sure to vary the diet as well.  Best of luck!  Ryan>

Betta Guys or Betta Gals? I have a question regarding my Bettas.  I bought two of them.  A red one and a white one.  I do not know if they are boys or girls or a combination or what.  They are in separate aquariums though.   <Best to keep 'em that way, even if they are females.  Females in groups of, say, for or five (or more) will do okay, but just two or three females will beat up on each other.> The white Betta seems more aggressive and the red more peaceful.  How can tell if they are boys or girls? <Male Bettas will usually have long, elegant fins, and females will have quite short fins, comparatively.  There are such things as short-fin male Bettas, but they're not seen nearly as often as regular long-finned males.  Also, males are typically much more colorful, though some females available now are stunningly colored, too.  Almost anywhere that sells Bettas in cups sells only males that way; usually they'll have a tank where they keep several females together.  Though, I have seen a couple of instances where females are sold in cups, too.> Thank you!  Have a wonderful day! <You too!  -Sabrina>

Betta Fightin' I recently had 2 male Bettas in a 10 gallon fish tank, separated of course, and one accidentally got in the other one's side of the tank.   <Uh-oh!> I do not know how he got in there or how long they were in there fighting because it happened while I was asleep at night.  Well, the older one died and the younger one survived but is now acting weird.   <Ugh, so sorry to hear that....> I treated his cuts and torn fins with the Betta medicine at the pet store and got him a smaller tank (1 gallon).  He now just lays at the top of the tank, halfway out of the water, and hardly eats.  He is really jumpy too.  It has been  a few weeks since his fight and I cant figure out what is wrong with him.  I treat his water with ChlorOut and partially change it once a week or so.  Can you help? <Well, definitely maintain the absolute best water quality you can.  I'd recommend to try treating with Kanacyn or other quality antibacterial medicine, to try to help him recuperate and prevent bacterial infection from setting in.  The 'Betta medicine' from your store - I've seen stuff called 'BettaFix', I think, and I believe it was tea tree extract, basically the same stuff as MelaFix.  It may help some, keep treating with it as directed on the bottle.> Thanks, Becky < I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you; Bettas are tough, he may just pull through.  Good luck with him!  -Sabrina>

Short-fin Male Betta Behavior >I have a short fin male Betta, he flares up to the mirror and my other Bettas once in a while and then after a few minutes of flaring he stops and gets scared. All of my other Bettas are fine, but what's wrong with him? >>Nothing's wrong with him, he's not scared, he's "squaring off" with them.  Challenging them to a duel and all that, showing what fine mettle he's in you see.  If there were a girly Betta for them to show off for then it would get *really* intense.  He's healthy and happy, so keep up whatever it is you're doing for him.  Marina

- Betta Care - Thanks for your reply and apologies for taking so long to get back to you. <No worries.> A lightning storm burnt out my modem and the poor thing was back from repair just minutes ago! <Ahh good.> Yes, it is (was) a freshwater Betta and the tank is heated to 25C. It is a two foot tank and is populated with a selection of tetra's and a mixture of live and artificial plants. <More information for you about Betta care here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm > Thanks, Annie.   <Cheers, J -- >

Bettas Hi there, Crew, I have had 2 Betas for almost a year....love those jumpin' little guys to death.  But have not found any information ANYWHERE that tells me if they have teeth!  Not on the 'net, not in the encyclopedia, not in the fish stores, and not in any Beta books.  Can you please answer this for me???  Thanks!<I don't believe Bettas have teeth, IanB>

Re: Betta fins - he's gone and done it again! :( It's me, Elf, again... <Hello Elf, Ronni here with you again> And once again I have a problem with my Betta's fins. The pH checks out ok, and we just changed the water (my water conditioners are: Novaqua and Amquel, I also use a small amount of aquarium salt) so it can't be ammonia nor nitrates. Despite careful water monitoring, and medicating with BettaMax, his tail (and only his tail, mind you) seems to be... well a part of it, anyway.... missing. <OK> History: About 10 days ago, I was about to start his daily feeding (at 8:30am) when I noticed that... it seemed that he had misplaced about 1/4 of his tail - a ragged tear, or something, starting in about the middle of the tail and expanding its horizons right out through the tips of the fin so it looked like someone had taken a very sloppy fish-tail pizza slice from his tail... and left many cheese strings... I was alarmed and puzzled, as you can well imagine, and went about searching the mini-tank for his lost tail bit... and found nothing. I went about feeding him, and he was as happy as ever to eat like the little finned pig he is. He was energetic, hungry (that's a given!), and flared fantastically at the cats as they strolled past his tank... But after two days (I decided to wait and see if the tear healed, in case it wasn't something that needed treatment) more of the tail was missing. We tried Maracyn2 for a while, but it didn't seem to help, as he lost more tail. We then did a 100% water change and put in BettaMax. After 5 days we repeated the process (we saw progress, and so continued the standard treatment)... We just did another 100% water change, with BettaMax, yesterday... His fins were fine this morning, so says Mum (I had class, so she fed 'I'm), but this evening, right before dinner, I noticed that he had lost 1/4 of his tail - again! Arghh! <Hmmm'¦> New changes: We took out his aquarium gravel when we switched to BettaMax, and haven't put in new "turf" since. He has a silk plant which he loves, dearly, though I am mildly suspicious of the weight-rock. <Possible culprit here. Try a week or two without the plant in there.> I also put in a new air stone (we have to keep the water moving, because of the heater), which produces more, finer bubbles than the last one. Although our little blue crown-tail has the same kind, with the same type of bubbles, and he seems fine... Though he does occasionally get "pinholes" in his fins... Hmm... Could the perhaps-too-efficient air stones be the culprit of Monty's torn fins, and Pip's pinholes? <This is possible but unlikely.> Or do I just need to clean Pip's tank a little more often, and need a stronger medicine for Monty?... Or just give the Maracyn2 more time? *looks sheepish* Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soon! -Elspeth "Elf" <How long did you use the Maracyn 2? If it was for the full recommended time then I wouldn't bother with it again. Do definitely stay on top of water changes. Because Betta tanks are often so small, it's hard to keep the water quality as good as it should be so frequent water changes are a must. I would try some time without the plant and if that doesn't help I would try a different method of circulating the water. Also, how warm do you keep your house and is the temperature consistent? Ronni> Re:

Help with Betta swelling Thank you Ronni!  I looked closely and no evidence whatsoever of scales sticking out. On the contrary, he has almost a bald look in the swelling area.   <That's good> Will try feeding him peas.  Mystery illness.  Somewhere I came across the concept that they can get thyroid problems which can cause swelling and could be treated with potassium iodide. Have you heard of this? <I haven't heard of it but that's not to say it doesn't happen. Check out www.bettastarz.com they have a pretty extensive list of Betta diseases and illnesses that might give you more help.> Thanks again! My best, Nancy <You're very welcome. Ronni>

Re: Concerned about my Betta I've had a plastic plant in his tank and I thought it was developing bubbles on the surface but when I took it out they moved to the side of the bowl.  I just wanted to know if this would harm my Betta or even the plastic plant? <This is completely harmless and actually a very good thing, your Betta is blowing a bubble nest and it shows that he's happy. Males will blow these nest even if there's not a female around as long as they are happy with their water/tank conditions. A plant leaf or the sides of the bowl are the most common places to see them. Ronni>
Re: Concerned about my Betta I just wanted to say thank you very much. Words couldn't even describe how grateful I am for your advice. -- Amy <You're very welcome, I'm glad I was able to help! Ronni>

Betta Questions Hi <Hello> We currently have one beta fish in a fish garden. The directions we received said that the fish will eat the plant's roots but we also feed the fish Betta Bites. <I'm glad to hear you're feeding him. It's a myth that the fish will live off the roots of the plant. Bettas are carnivores, they live on insects in the wild. Betta Bites is a wonderful food for them. You might also give him frozen bloodworms as a treat once a week or so.> What is the procedure for cleaning the water for Beta Fish? <50% water changes 1-2 times weekly or even a 100% water change weekly as long as the new water has the same Ph and temperature as the old water.> What is the largest size container we can place the fish in? <This is entirely up to you. He would probably be happier in something larger than the vase but it's not completely necessary. I keep my Bettas in 1-2 gallon tanks.> And Please explain to my husband why we can't put another fish in the container with the beta fish. He thinks as long as the fish is bigger than the beta fish it will be okay. <Sometimes you can successfully keep other fish in with Bettas but it's often with mixed results. Certain species (Tetras) will kill Bettas and other species (Guppies) often get killed by the Betta. Also, Bettas generally do not like filtration in their tanks while all other fish require filtration. I don't recommend that any fish be kept with Bettas for these reasons although I know of many people who have successfully done so. However, if you really like Bettas and want a very pretty community tank, female Bettas can usually be kept together (no male in the tank!).> Thank you, Lilly <You're welcome. Ronni>

Re: Betta and some buddies? Greetings.  I have a Betta in a 10 gallon tank....he looks lost in there (though I'm sure he's loving it), so I decided to add a few more fish.  After much discussion with the fish dude at Petco, we chose a rainbow shark, and two black-skirt tetras.  We were assured that these fish would be relatively compatible after a short break-in period.  It's been several days and I'm noticing that the Betta and one of the tetras are still fighting.  The Betta refused to believe he has to share his vast 10 gallons, and the tetra has nipped the heck out of Betta's fins.  I'm ready to yank the tetras out and choose something else.  I'm considering several lemon tetras, and possibly two or three of a small, black and white striped fish (not sure what they are but they are shaped like a tiny bass).  Do you think I will continue to have the fin-biting with these alternate fish?  The Betta is a beautiful pale green and dark red calico looking thing, and I want him to retain his plumage.  Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.  DT <Bettas are funny creatures. For the most part they are pretty docile but once they've made up their minds on something, very little is going to change it. I have learned from experience, Bettas and Tetras (especially the Black Skirts) don't make good tank mates; the Betta usually gets picked on/killed. Neither do Bettas and Guppies, the Betta will often kill the Guppies. The striped fish you describe may be either Zebra Danios or *possibly* White Clouds. White Clouds won't work as they prefer a cooler water temp. The Danios may work although they tend to be a very active fish. The best recommendation I can make is to get a smaller tank (2-5 gallon) for the Betta and keep the Tetras and/or Danios in the 10 gallon. Ronni>

New Betta, New Betta owner Hi ! I just came across your site. I have a feeling it will be a lifesaver. <Hi and welcome! I know it's been a lifesaver for some of my fish.> I purchased a male Betta from a Wal-mart store. I should have known better, but we live in a very remote area, and mart-mart is the only store within 100 miles of us that carries pets of any kind. <Oh, my. That is remote. Mail-order fish supply shops will be very useful -- do check out the links on our Daily FAQ page!> I purchased a 2 gallon tank. Some Betta food, dried bloodworms, and some plastic plants. <I am very glad you did not go with a Betta bowl. These fish may not need acres of room to swim, but they do like to swim around some. These fish like it *warm* -- 80 to 82 degrees is about right for them. So you should also get a 25 watt heater and tank thermometer, dechlorinator, and possibly some other supplies. > I used bottled spring water, brought it up to about 70 degrees, (this might not have been warm enough), and slowly acclimated my Betta to the new tank. <Definitely on the too-cool side.> He would not eat, and seemed listless. <Probably stress from moving, cool water.> I put this down to his whole moving experience, decided to let him adjust. The next morning he had white fluffy stuff in patches all over his body. I jumped on the internet, read some articles, and determined that it must be a fungus called "cotton" or " velvet". I drove the 50 miles back to mart-mart, and got some "fungus eliminator". <Your heart is in the right place...at least one brand of "fungus eliminator" is ordinary hydrogen peroxide. Also, velvet is actually caused by a parasite, rather than a fungus, and cotton is usually caused by a bacteria. Do try to get the temperature of the fish tank up to about 80 degrees, but raise it slowly. If you can't get a heater immediately, move the fish tank to a warmer location.> I also purchased another Betta, named him "backup", and brought him home with me just in case. Might sound morbid, but I'm already hooked on Bettas, and didn't think the first one would make it. Got home, added the proper amount of fungicide, And waited. At first, the cottony growth lost it's white appearance, turned clear, and the fish started to act a little more frisky. Then within hours he was laying at the top of the tank gasping, and shortly thereafter died. I cleaned his tank out. Also everything in it, More bottled water, and then added the new fish. He seemed much more active than the first, and I thought all would be well. Then this morning I got up and went to say Hi to him, and now he has a clear-ish velvety covering all over one side of his head and gill, and on his back tail fin. He is also not eating. I added a tiny bit of Fungicide, About a dime's worth of Epsom salt, And am now waiting again. I read on your site about "bathing them" ??? <Most commonly done for marine fish, as some marine parasites can't tolerate fresh water at all.> Please help us. We don't want to lose "backup" too !! <You could temporarily move "backup" out of his tank, and clean his tank and its decorations thoroughly -- use a bit of bleach in the tank to kill any unwanted nasties. Then give everything a good rinse (rinse twice) and either put everything in the tank with tap water and a double dose of dechlorinator, or if you don't have dechlorinator yet, let everything air dry. Then put "backup" back in his tank, but do not put the gravel, plants, and other decorations in until he's healthy. You're going to want to do fairly large water changes for a while, as the parasite that causes velvet can reproduce and live for a day or so even if it doesn't have anything to live on. That's why you want to put "backup" into a bare tank, so the parasites can't hide in the gravel etc.> Also, a couple of other questions...Can I use philodendron cuttings in his tank? Are they toxic? <Whether or not they would be toxic to the fish, I'm not sure. But I would avoid them -- they might add something unwanted to the tank water.> And the tank I purchased has a small filtration system. I did not hook it up because I was under the impression that Bettas did not need it. True? <Your Bettas will benefit from a filtration system. The purpose of the filtration system is to keep the water clean, which you would have to do with more-frequent and larger water changes in the absence of a filtration system. Do read some of the freshwater filtration FAQs and other FAQs linked from the freshwater index page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm > Sincerely,  Desiree'   <I hope "backup" recovers! Hang in there, and keep reading! --Ananda>
Re: New Betta, New Betta owner
Oh Thank you for your quick response !!!   <You're welcome.> I did change "backups" water again, when I was on a different site last night, I saw that they needed warmer water. "will purchase heater ASAP", meanwhile, I moved him to a shelf above the woodstove to keep him warmer. <Ah, good -- just make sure he doesn't get TOO hot!!> I have seen those little vases that are all the rage, <I hate those.> and felt horribly sorry for the little fellers. We have our own well for water, and I was wondering if I still have to buy bottled water, or can I just let our well water sit out for a bit ? <It depends on what's in your well water. Even though you might not be adding chlorine, a good water conditioner might help by neutralizing some of the other stuff that might be in your water. I've been using Prime (made by Seachem) for my tanks.> If I buy bottled water, do I still need dechlorinator? Should I get a bacterial medicine? <Perhaps a good general anti-biotic... Furan-2 is one that combines a couple of different anti-biotics.> Would something designed for "ick" work? <Not necessarily -- but it might, depending on the medication used. I looked up velvet in the "Handbook of Fish Diseases", and its first suggested treatment is increasing the water temperature.> Jeez....I have a lot to learn !! <As did we all when we started -- and we still do!> Also...I did hook up the filtration system after reading your site, and it drove him crazy!! Scared him I guess.. figured he didn't need any more stress, so I turned it off. <Good idea. What kind of filtration system is it?> Thank you sooo much for your help ! <You're quite welcome. --Ananda> Sincerely, Des & Backup

Betta filtration Hello, just trying to get a filter which does not create a great deal of water movement since the Betta doesn't like a lot of water movement.  I have a Penguin Mini but it produces so much movement the Betta seems to get really tired.  I really need to change that.  I have 3 Betta's in a 5 gallon tank that I split into 3 sections that all share the same water.  Please help me. Thanks Sandra <The simplest solution to this is to remove the filter completely. I have a similar tank (10g split into 5 sections) that I keep Bettas in and I don't run a filter at all. Ronni>

Bettas Hi, I've had a male Betta for about a year in an Eclipse 6. Today I saw a new tank, advertised for Bettas, with an eggcrate divider so I can have 2 more male Bettas. I'm wondering if it would be stressful for them (always "flashing" ?) to be in the same tank even though they'd be separate from each other? <Good question... though Betta splendens is "pretty autistic" as far as fish species go... chasing its own tail for instance, likely not realizing it's doing so... I do think you are right here: That it is more stressful to be constantly "challenged" by the sight, interaction with other males. I encourage sufficient "rest" from such displays (a few days away visually) if/when the animals seem to lose vigor. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much, JJ

Re: Bettas Dear Mr. Fenner, I should have known my Mom (BarbaraT) was right about this! Thank you, JJ <Ahh! You are learning. Bob Fenner>

Betta I don't know if you will be able to help me, but.....My happy and healthy Betta jumped out of his temporary bowl yesterday (twice) while I was cleaning his home. He fell pretty far and hard. I was surprised he made it. Now today he has been swimming in circles all day, chasing and biting his tail (like a dog). Do you know why? Is there anything I can do? Thanks <Glad you caught your Betta out of the tank before it dried up... these are tough fish, and yours will hopefully fully recover. I would not add anything in the way of a medication as yet. Please do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettafaqs.htm and "hang in there". Bob Fenner>

Betta fish To Whom it May Concern: Recently I have viewed your web site on Betta fish because I am writing a report on the species. I would like to use you as a source in my paper, therefore, I'd like to question your expertise. An immediate response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Stacey Borrego <Granted. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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