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FAQs on Betta Foods, Feeding, Nutrition

Related Articles: Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting FishBetta Systems, Betta Diseases, Improved (Better?) Products for Bettas!,

Related FAQs:  Bettas in General, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta System, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Baby Boy Betta; fdg.      4/5/17
Dear Wet Web Media,
Re: My baby boy Betta, Dublin.
Hi, I got Dublin at Petco on January 25th. He's about an inch long now, maybe a bit more. From the very beginning I fed him First Bites along with Baby Brine Shrimp. Currently, I am feeding him Micro Pellets
because he is not ready for the adult Betta pellets. My question is how much are you suppose to feed a Betta? I read and hear so many conflicting comments. I do know a Betta should not be overfed.
<Less is better, but really best gauged by the "fullness" of this fish. The belly should neither be sunken in nor bulging. A small bit of food twice daily is best. No stated, given volume or number of pieces due to variables
such as temperature here>
Thanks again in advance for your advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Baby Betta  
Re: Baby Betta about 12-20 weeks old; more re fdg.     4/6/17

If we are away for several days - how long can a baby Betta go without eating?
<Several days; perhaps a week. Bob Fenner>

Brine shrimp... as a strict diet for Bettas, Corydoras       3/20/16
Hope you all are well this spring season!
I have two Cory cat fish and one Betta in a 10 gal Aqueon tank.
I have been feeding them brine shrimp once a day for a month or more. They love it. I started feeding them the BS because one of my Cory fish behaved as if she were constipated. It was recommended and did help. All three
love brine shrimp (I cut tiny piece off a frozen slab).
<Mmm; better to expand this diet; use the Artemia more as a treat. The small/ish pelleted foods for Bettas would be a good staple for all here>
My worry now is the impact of the uneaten bits of brine shrimp caught up in the QuietFlow water filter cartridge. I change it every 4-6 weeks.
I do feed the shrimp pellets, algae wafers, and the Betta gets his Tetra BettaMin medley and a few dried blood worms from time to time.
Could the BS in the filter create an unhealthy water situation in the tank?
<Only if much of it accumulates... Measuring Nitrate/NO3 in your water; keeping this below 20 ppm through water changes, gravel vacuuming, live plant use, activated carbon... is a good method of ascertaining and controlling water quality here>
The fish all seem fine at this time.
I appreciate any guidance you may give. I love these fish and want to keep them happy and healthy!
Thank YOU! Marlow
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: brine shrimp       3/21/16

Thank you Bob for your advice..the Nitrate is very high, between 80 and 160.
I put a fresh charcoal filter in the water filter and will do a partial water change.
<Yes! Pre-mix and store some water... change out about a quarter per day...>

I do clean the take weekly 1/4 water changed, use a siphon to pull up debris from the substrate 1/3 section each week too).
I guess the brine shrimp (Artemia?) is the problem.
<Likely a good part>
What do you think about Nitra-Zorb?
<Can work>
I have 3 moss balls, leaf plants do not last more than a few months. I don't know why.
<Something/s missing or too much! See WWM's plant subweb>
I have two 10m watt mini compact fluorescent lamps in the tank. Perhaps not enough light?
<Not for many plants... look to water sprite, Ceratopteris... other floating types of true plants>
Any more input is so very much appreciated...
<When; where in doubt, keep readingggggg! Bob Fenner>

Betta and Shrimp Food     6/20/14
My betta ate some Fluval Shrimp Granules. Will he be ok?
<Fine. Neale.>
re: Betta and Shrimp Food
Thank you.

Betta Fish Feeding    9/19/12
I plan to get a Betta fish.
I plan on getting freeze-dried foods for it.
<As part of the diet.>
I know Betta fish need food that is easy to digest.
<Yes, and limited quantities or they can bloat.>
I know freeze-dried foods can be hard for some fish to digest as they are.
<Do not overfeed.>
If I presoak freeze-dried food, would it soften the food so it will be easier for the fish to digest?
<A good idea.>
I hear Bettas love mosquito larvae.
<As do most fishes.>
I hear They are easier than most foods for a Betta to digest.
<Adding Spirulina to the diet will also help.>
Do they make freeze-dried mosquito larvae?
<I have not seen freeze-dried mosquito larvae (aka glass worms). Bettas will eat pretty much anything you put in the tank. Here's the thing. It is extremely easy to overfeed them, and they tend to become constipated when overfed. When they become constipated, they bloat, and it's not always easy to recover them. Best to prevent it. As for diet, it's best to provide a variety of foods. I feed my Betta a single flake of about half a square centimeter or a single frozen mosquito larva daily, mixing up earthworm flakes, Spirulina flakes, and other frozen foods as well. They need some vegetable intake to keep their digestion moving. Some people give the inside of a cooked pea periodically, and indeed, this is part of the treatment for bloating because it acts as a stool softener. Bottom line is, you must use restraint when feeding, and give them a variety of foods.
I feed my Betta whatever the other fishes are getting that day, just very limited quantities. It's a good idea to fast them regularly, as well.
- Rick>

Tubifex worms.     7/6/12
Will freeze dried Tubifex worms help in the conditioning of Siamese fighters?

<Would not use Tubifex worms at all. Not a healthy, safe food. You will find live daphnia and brine shrimp at any good aquarium shop, and these are infinitely safer and more effective. Using live foods makes all the difference when conditioning fish for spawning, though it's perfectly possible to spawn Bettas without live foods. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tubifex worms.
The problem is that the pet shops in Johannesburg don't sell brine shrimp or daphnia. I've looked.
<Grow your own! Brine shrimp eggs can be got mail order, while Daphnia (or some local equivalent) will be seen in any pond, and can be brought home and cultured easily in a small pond or water butt.>
The only stuff I can really give them is that tetra Betta , blood worms , and now this Tubifex worms. Shall I continue with the blood worms?
<Tubifex and Bloodworms are known disease-carriers (which freeze-drying should kill) but I'd also be worried about heavy metals. Aquarists are increasingly leery of using either. Do try instead stuff from your fridge!
Tiny bits of white fish fillet and seafood will work just as well as any non-live food. It's the variety that's the key, rather than using any one specific food. So offer these alongside your regular flake and cooked peas, and you're providing a good, balanced diet.>
Thanks Neale

Female Siamese fighter acting strange, repro., fdg.     5/5/12
Hi , on Thursday I bought 5 crown tail Siamese fighters , 2 male and 3 females. I've noticed that one of my females has an ovipositor sticking out a lot and her tummy isn't swollen , not as far as I can see whereas the other females ovipositors don't show at all. Now this female is frequently swimming to the area where my separated male is and flares her fins and challenges him , but at the same time she has dark vertical bars on her body when she passes him. Is it possible that she's already conditioned or should I condition her anyway even if she's not?
<It is possible that the one female is "ready" sans showing her ovipositor, but I would condition (through feeding, water changes) her/any female prior to trying a spawning. Bob Fenner>
Re: Female Siamese fighter acting strange

Thank you for your advice , I did a water change yesterday , the temperature is about 27-28 Celsius and I've started feeding them bloodworms this morning. Is that ok?
<Mmm, am not a fan of these sewer "worms"... Search on WWM re, and also Betta Feeding (FAQs). BobF>
Re: Female Siamese fighter acting strange
I forgot to mention that in addition to conditioning them with frozen bloodworms I've been giving them food designed for fighter fish. Its shrimp and krill I think its called 

Female Betta Stares At Food   2/28/12
Good Evening..I have a female Betta who is 10 months old. I do weekly water changes and feed her freeze dried bloodworms..
<I would not use these sewer fly larvae. See WWM re>

she's fussy and doesn't like pellets. She was a ravenous eater….now she stares at the food at the top gets excited with fins pumping wanting to lunge at it but doesn't ..She just stares at the food as if she knows what it is but has forgotten how to eat…I had this happen before with another female Betta and she was dead within a month as she would miss the food and couldn't pull it from the top..It looks like this one is headed down the same path and I don't know what to do to stop it…I know she can see because she still gets all excited when you go up to the bowl. There are no other visible signs of illness as she looks healthy but I know not for long….Any ideas on what it can be????…Thanks John
<The singular food, they're trouble. Or temperature, some aspect of water quality...  Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Female Betta Stares At Food    2/29/12

Any thoughts on what I can do now since she's already behaving this way???
<? Switch to other foods. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
the second tray. B>

My new Betta, rdg.   7/22/11
I just won a Betta from a carnival and I have no idea on Betta behavior or how to take care of him.
<Posted. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
the second tray down>
I only have a couple Betta question and hoped that you could help me. I know only basics of these guys, I know he doesn't like pellets. Is this normal?
<Yes... have to be trained generally to accept... And if environmental conditions aren't right... may not eat anything>
he eats the flakes alright but he will eat a lot one day and almost none the next. I think he is just a baby because he is small and his fins are not flared out. My main concern is he goes to the top of his tank sticks his nose out of the water and then he stops moving.
He stops swimming and his gills stop moving. When I move the tank or open the lid he freaks out moves away, is he okay?
<Likely so... is this system heated, filtered, cycled?>
I have a small maybe two gallon tank. One of those cheap tanks you get at Wal-Mart, is it big enough for him?
<Likely so. Read where you've been referred to>
does he need gravel and trees or is a plan tank okay? I like to clean the tank ever other day, is this to<o> often?
<Likely so... the water needs to be treated ahead of use...>
what is a appropriate time to
change his tank? Mostly my concern is him looking dead and his lack of eating.
<Read; then write back if you have specific questions/concerns still. Bob Fenner>

Betta suddenly stopped eating. Temp. var.  3/30/11
So my Betta, Brigadier, has suddenly stopped eating.
<... what foods?>
His tankmate, a mystery snail named Sarah Jane, is curled up in her shell with something white sticking out of it that does not look like a part of her. I did a complete water change yesterday of the 2.5 gal tank
<... is this system heated, filtered?>
they share hoping that would help Brigadier start eating again. But it hasn't and now Sarah Jane is acting weird too. She's usually scooting around the tank everywhere. I did lose another snail, Benton, a little over a month ago, and I brought Brigadier and Sarah Jane home two weeks ago during spring break. They traveled in his little cup I got him in but the car had no shocks and I kept them in a .5 gal tank for a week. But they were fine then. Brigadier has been fine the many times I brought him up and down the hill during various school breaks since I got him in September. And Sarah Jane has always been active.
Brigadier also survived a bout with fin rot in October and has been fine since, his fins have even grown back. I have no idea what's going on! I thought I was doing everything right! The ammonia tests say that the levels are fine.
<0.0? And NO2?, NO3?>
Brigadier looks like he may have a coppery cast to one of his fins. And when I cleaned his tank after I put everything back in, filled it back up, and put the water conditioner and filter back in I did wipe the outside of the tank with a Clorox wipe, but nowhere near the edge. Could that be what's wrong?
I've done it before and it hasn't done anything. Sorry for rambling. I'm just worried about Brigadier and Sarah Jane.
Thank you for your time.
<Temperature? Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta suddenly stopped eating 3/30/11
I feed him the pellets, but every once and a while I give him the freeze dried blood worms. The tank is filtered but not heated the light keeps the water fairly warm, usually upper 70's. Right now its in the mid 80s.
<... trouble. When the light goes off, the temp. plunges>
The ammonia tests I use are just the little strips, NH3 Nh4+ tests. I have noticed Brig is eating. Just not when I'm looking. Thank you for the link.
If I get a live plant how do I clean the tank?
<All posted...>
I'm hesitant about getting a real plant because I have a black thumb, I can't keep plants alive to save my life. Are the glass stones ok or is gravel better?
<... the latter... Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Betta suddenly stopped eating 3/30/11
So gravel is better? I thought the glass stones were easier to clean.
<Don't write. Read. B>
Re: Betta suddenly stopped eating... refuses to read, follow directions...  3/30/11

Ok. Sorry. I haven't been able to find what I was looking for. Thank you for  being patient.

Hello! Life food, culture for Betta   12/11/10
Dear WetWebMedia, I'm looking to create a reasonably inexpensive sustainable live food culture for my Betta. I understand that worms are a popular choice, but I feel like a swimming culture would be more interesting and fun for me. Daphnia pulex (this is a great guide for understanding the species http://www.caudata.org/daphnia/) has come to my attention (additionally, fairy shrimp, but they seem less practical. If you do know anything about culturing them, I would be very interested!).Daphnia feed on
infusoria in the water. Growing green water, which is considered the best bet, is not practical for me. Alternatively, yeast, soy flour, liquid fry food, and spirulina can be used. Recently, I read an article that indicated that some snails produce infusoria in their waste. Or rather, their waste feeds the infusoria? Either way, the article recommended the placement of apple snails in a fry tank to provide infusoria. It also mentioned Ramshorns as heavy waste produces and good "infusoria snails." My Betta resides in a heavily planted tank which produces a lot of Anacharis/elodea.
My plan is to create a small, inexpensive aquarium, feed it mostly Anacharis with occasional algae tabs and Hikari Crab Cuisine from my shrimp, and produce daphnia. Now, the question turns to proper snail care.
It is important to me that any animal under my care lives a full and healthy life. Seeing as apple snails do not live full lives in aquaria, and Colombian Ramshorns are so large, the Red Ramshorn has come to my
attention. They apparently can and will eat plants, although I've read they do not often do so in planted aquaria with other food sources. Anacharis was especially mentioned on Wikipedia as a plant that they
consume. So, how small can an aquarium be to still support healthy snails? My current plan is a one to two gallon aquarium, with a sponge filter, 12 hours of full-spectrum lighting (to encourage algae growth), and
small heater. I'm not experienced with such a small aquarium, but it seems I will probably have to do a 80% water change and vacuuming on a weekly basis. I can replace the water with used tank water from the larger (cycled) tank. In addition, I could cut the sponge filter in half, and swap out half of it on a weekly basis for half of the filter in my larger aquarium (the sponge filter is simply for extra biological filtration and not desperately essential to tank health).So, will this adequately support a breeding population of daphnia and red Ramshorns? What changes can be made to improve it? Thank you so much for your time and any help you can offer! I hope I gave you the information you need.
<Hello Micaela. Live foods aren't worth wasting much time on. Your Betta will be much healthier if given a diet based around daily use of a good quality flake food, together with offerings of live daphnia every week or two, daphnia being quite a good laxative and therefore good at preventing bloating. It's also a good idea to starve your Betta for a day every two weeks, and then offer squashed cooked or canned peas the following day. Peas offer some vitamins as well as lots of fibre, and again, there's a connection between using fibre-rich foods and Bettas avoiding problems with constipation and bloating. Do understand that the conditions daphnia and infusoria need are NOT ones that fish will thrive in, at least not in aquaria. Yes, people have created "microcosm" aquaria where populations of tiny animals thrive, and thereby support aquarium fish, but those tanks are measured in the hundreds of gallons and stocked with just a very few fish.
Realistically, you aren't going to be able to do it in 2 gallons! So forget about that idea completely. Want your Betta to be happy? Then get -- at minimum -- a 5 gallon aquarium, install a heater and filter, and add some floating Indian Fern at the top of the tank. That's Betta paradise.
Anything smaller isn't good, and almost all of the "sick Betta" stories we get sent here are from people who try to keep their Bettas in tanks smaller than 5 gallons. In other words, spend your time and money on stuff that will deliver good living conditions -- the size of the aquarium, the heater, and the filter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hello! Betta fdg., food culture  12/11/10
Thank you for your reply, Neale! However, I think you misunderstood my
question. My Betta already has his own filtered, heated, planted twelve gallon tank, and I'm talking about setting up a separate one or two gallon tank that he will not live in, purely for the purpose of providing live
food. My question is about the health of the snails in a very small aquarium, and their ability to provide infusoria. I am aware that Daphnia aren't necessary, but it would be interesting to me and a good addition to my Betta's diet.
<Hi Micaela. There's little to be gained by doing this. Infusoria aren't of any value except for feeding very small baby fish; adult Bettas certainly won't care! As for keeping them in 2-gallon tank, no, I wouldn't recommend it. For the cost involved in heating and filtering such a system, you'd have a hard time keeping anything other than tiny Ramshorn or tadpole snails. By all means keep Bettas with Nerite snails, Tylomelania snails, assassin snails or for that Cherry shrimps if you want something unusual to keep alongside your fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta feeding beh.   2/11/10
Dear Crew,
I have had a Betta for about six months. This morning I fed him and it seemed, even though he swallowed the bloodworm, he was still chewing it. He has never done this before. I don't think anything is wrong with him. I
just care for him.
Thank you
<Most fish, including Bettas, have a second set of jaws in their throats.
These are known as pharyngeal jaws. Fish can use these to chew food, and sometimes you can see the fish chewing a morsel of food without the mouth (the "normal" jaws) moving. Although odd to see, it doesn't mean anything is wrong. So if your Betta is happily swimming about and feeding normally, then I wouldn't worry unduly. Most problems with Bettas come down to environmental issues, typically lack of heat (they must be kept in a heated aquarium) and poor water quality (their aquarium must have a biological filter). Cheers, Neale.> 

Constipated female Betta - 2 years old  11/6/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello Elizabeth,>
Thank you as always for the incredible job you do helping us keep our fish happy and healthy. Pixy lives in a filtered 10 gallon, heated tank.
<What a fantastic home for this fish! Music to my ears. Well done.>
I went away for 5 days and I think she was overfed during my absence.
<Yikes! Remember, instead of scheduling others to feed them, most (adult) fish are best left without food for up to two weeks. This does them no harm at all if they're in good health to begin with.>
She is swimming vertically sometimes and has a small bump on her left side. I did some reading on your web pages and it would seem that she is constipated.
<Can, does happen... especially where dried foods are used.>
I treated the tank water with two tablespoons of Epsom salts, gave her ¼ of a pea and she has not been fed now for over 24 hours. The feeding stopped on November 4.
My questions are:
Is there anything more I can do for her?
<Time, afraid, is the great healer here.>
Do you have any idea of when she will start swimming normally again?
<Should clear up within a week.>
Of course I do not want to starve her so I thought I should start feeding again (her regular amount or less) on November 7 or 8.
<Don't worry about starvation! Don't feed the fish at all until she's better, or if you do want to feed her, stick religiously to foods that have a laxative effect, i.e., peas, live (or wet-frozen) daphnia, and live (or wet-frozen) brine shrimp. Do not use any freeze-dried, flake or pellet foods; this include freeze-dried daphnia and brine shrimps. It's the drying process that makes foods more likely to cause constipation, which is why I recommend they be used as part of a balanced diet, alongside wet-frozen, live, and/or green foods.>
Can you help me to help her?
Thank you,
<Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Constipated female Betta - 2 years old   11/6/09
Hi Neale,
After reading your replies I have a really good feeling that she will be fine. That is a great idea about the feeding, I will remember that when I leave town.
After my girl recovers I will vary her diet more with the live or wet-frozen brine shrimp and the daphnia. I started her off on pellets but once she tasted the freeze dried blood worms she would NOT eat nothing else, except the occasional quarter of a pea.
<Ah, that happens. I guess flake food isn't all that tasty. Many of my fish won't eat it, or at least, only grudgingly.>
Right now she is 'perched' in her bed of grass and since it is difficult for her to swim, she doesn't always come out to see what's going on. When she realizes that she isn't going to be fed, she 'humpy swims' right back over to her sleeping area.
<Sounds like she's on the mend.>
Thank you Neale.
<Happy to help.>
<Have a good weekend, Neale.>

Betta with trouble seeing/ eating   10/1/2009
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Leslie,>
Thank you so much for your help in advance. I have been away at school and my dad has been feeding my Betta once daily (pellets and freeze-dried blood worms) and giving him water changes once every 1 to 1.5 months. My Betta lives in a 5 gallon tank with an Eclipse filter, but the filter is only on maybe 2 hours per day because every time we turn the filter on, my Betta looks all mopey and hides in the space between his heater and the tank. If you think the filter should be on more, please let me know.
<You really should leave the filter running all the time. The thing is, when you switch a filter off, the bacteria that remove the ammonia start to die. If the filter disturbs the Betta, i.e., he gets pushed about wildly, then try and either [a] turn the filter pump down; or [b] replace with something more gentle. The ideal filters are plain vanilla, cheap and cheerful air-powered sponge filters. Electric pump filters tend to be too strong for use with Bettas, though some can be turned down to a lower turnover rate, and by directing the outlet towards the glass, you can stifle the flow of water quite a bit.>
I have had my Betta for almost 4 years now, and over the years, we have noticed that his ability to accurately attack/ snatch his food has declined quite substantially.
<Simple old age. Four years is a TERRIFIC age for a Betta. Most specimens barely last a year because of how people generally maintain them (i.e., not very well). Since male Bettas are about 6 months old when they're taken to pet shops, your specimen is very, very old by Betta standards. Well done!>
The last time I was home was almost 3 months ago, and he had trouble getting his food, but I find it hard to believe that it could get this bad just 3 months later. When feeding him now, he will miss 10-15 (if not 20) times (the pellets sink after he misses) before he gets 1. It's easier for him to get the freeze dried bloodworms because they are longer, and they also do not sink after he misses.. but I don't think I can feed him freeze dried bloodworms only right?
<It's not ideal, no. But do try other "easy" foods to see if they work. Squished cooked peas, regular fish flake, or better still, using long forceps to "hand feed" your pet little bits of food.>
There also doesn't seem to be anything visually wrong with his eyes either - they are neither overly opaque or white.
<Still, he may be losing some of his eyesight for the same reasons humans tend to have poor eyesight as they age. In Betta terms, your chap is something like 100 years old!>
I also showed him a mirror, and he usually would go crazy, flaring up and swimming all over the tank in a frenzy. However, this time, he just sat there and stared at it, not moving. This concerns me greatly because he always used to respond to his reflection.
<I fear, simply old age.>
I noticed the other day that he had some dark stringy poo hanging (maybe about 1/4-1/2 inch long). I thought that may be a sign of constipation (he also has a "history" of being constipated which is usually resolved with peas), so I tried to feed him some peas, but he hasn't been able to eat too many because he can't see them very well? and keeps missing when I put small pieces in front of him (after they sink, I try to recollect as many pieces as I can see).
<Do try hand feeding. I feed many of my fish this way, and forceps mean you don't have to stick your hands right in front of the fish, and that makes them less nervous. Try little strips of prawn meat or individual wet-frozen bloodworms. These are the right size to hold easily, and you may find he takes them without much fuss.>
His fins also appear clamped. His left pectoral fin seems quite a bit smaller than the right one, and there is some white material at the base of the pectoral fin. I can try to snap some pictures tomorrow during the day if you think it would be useful. His breathing also seems more rapid than usual.
<Well, do the usual thing and check water quality and that the temperature in the tank is right. Do a 25-50% water change and see if he perks up. Give the filter a clean (rinsing the biological media in old aquarium water, so as not to shock the bacteria with extremely hot or cold water). Just do the usual things to see that his habitat is still good.>
Also, yesterday a scale fell off near his head leaving a whitish color beneath. My dad has said he has seen him lose a scale or two as a result of rapidly swimming into things in the past, but I have not seen him recently swim into anything.
<Losing the odd scale is normal. Wouldn't worry too much. Indeed, old fish do seem to lose more scales than young fish, and they do sometimes show usual deformations of body or strange patches of colour. All these things likely occur for the same reasons as they do when humans get old: stuff just don't work quite as well as it did when we're young!>
I could be wrong, but it also seems like his mouth is crooked, like his lower "jaw" isn't closing all the way. My dad has mentioned that he has trouble eating larger pellets (normal sized Betta pellets).
<Do try offering smaller or softer foods. Again, hand feeding can be very helpful here.>
I apologize for all the little details, but I wanted to include everything that I observed. My main concern is his great difficulty seeing/ eating, his sullen disposition, and his inactivity/ lethargy.
Water parameters are as follows:
nitrate 20ppm
nitrite 0.5ppm
hardness 100-150 ppm
alkalinity 120ppm
pH 7.5
<All sounds good, except the nitrite, which should 0, and likely isn't because the filter isn't on all the time. You really should fix this.>
Thank you so much for your help. Your advice and time are greatly appreciated!
<Given how old this chap is, I'm sure you have the basics covered. But do review filtration, as that likely is the "weak link" in the chain here. It could easily be a stress factor causing some of the problems, though old age is a likely explanation in more general terms. Cheers, Neale.>

Dear crew everybody says Bettas hate flakes but my Betta LOVES FLAKES!!!!!!!!!!! why is that??
from, Joe  9/7/09
<Every Betta is different, perhaps? Not all brands of flakes are the same, and certain flakes appeal more strongly to finicky fish than others. My fish are used to wet-frozen and live foods, and generally spit out flakes with disgust. But other folks maintain the exact same fish on flakes without problems. So there are plenty of reasons why some fish will eat flakes, and some won't. Cheers, Neale.>

Congratulations Neale (and a Bit of Betta nutrition)   4/8/09
Hi Neale. I'm not sure if you'll remember me just by my name, but you've helped me out quite extensively and multiple times with my planted freshwater tank.
<Yep, I remember the name and the tank, though I admit because I keep misreading the name as "Neil Sedaka"!>
I just wanted to congratulate you on a great Betta article in Aquarium Fish International. I might be a little late with my accolades since I didn't get to the mag as soon as it came out, so if others have already said it, I
just want to join in.
<Well, that's very sweet of you to tell me this.>
I hope that really taught a lot of beginning aquarists the correct way to keep these beautiful fish. I've really fallen in love with the little guy I have on my desk at work who lives in an appropriately sized, filtered and
heated tank.
He watches me all day and seems to wag his tail like a dog when I come in to work (and feed him of course) in the morning. You also had some absolutely breathtaking photos of Bettas and it was just spectacular. Bang up job all around.
<They're lovely fish kept properly; it's a shame people ignore their modest requirements so often.>
I find now when I read all my magazines that I look at the author name much more than I use to because I feel very friendly with all of you guys, but especially those that have personally helped me such as yourself and Mr Fenner (he had a great one on Basslets last time around).
<I'll admit it's lovely being able to interact with people here at WWM in a way that isn't possible via the printed magazines.>
Okay, no questions today, just an email of thanks and praise. Hope you are proud of your great work along with all the other great contributors on Wet Web. Have a fantastic day!-Nick
<You too!>
P.S.-I lied, I do have one question. Is frozen Cyclops an appropriate Betta food?
<If they'll eat them, sure. Cyclops are a bit small though, so I'd try a little out and see how much goes in the Betta and how much into the filter.
Cyclops are (in the freshwater hobby at least) mostly used to feed baby fish. They're smaller than Daphnia, though similar in being nutritious and high in fibre. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Congratulations Neale (and a Bit of Betta nutrition) 4/8/09
Thanks Neale.
<Most welcome, Nick.>
You were right on about the Cyclops. He was pretty interested, but seemed to have a hard time getting hold of it, kind of like with the daphnia, but probably more so. I basically was just trying to add to the variety of his nutrition.
<A combination of quality flake food, live frozen Artemia/daphnia, frozen bloodworms, and greens such as Spirulina and cooked peas would make a perfect diet for Bettas and indeed most fish.>
I've been doing 2 types of pellets as well as frozen brine shrimp with Spirulina, bloodworms most often and occasional daphnia.
<Sounds great.>
Don't feel bad about the name thing, you are one of the surprising many who wants to call me Neil instead of Nick. I got called Neil so much in high school by teachers even after being in class all year that after a while I stopped correcting people and just answered to it anyway. It has followed me through my work life and I would imagine it will continue to.
<Oh dear!>
It's a little surprising to me because I'm 30, so he's before my time, and very few people my age or younger seem to know who he is, while people older than me ALL seem to know him (he must have been big in his time, I guess).
<In his time, yes...>
You got the difference though, it's that last name spelling-mine S-A-d-a-k-a and his S-E-d-a-k-a. Way too close. I wonder if he's the same nationality? I am half Lebanese, but not sure about him (although I think
he is kind of dark completed). Just a little boring "Nick" background.
Congrats again Neale, and extremely glad to be able to correspond with you and everyone there.-Nick Sadaka, no relation to Neil.
<Or Neale.>
P.S.-I don't mind one way or another, but certainly don't feel like you have to put this with the other queries. Something tells me most others will find the "Nick saga" pretty boring. Again though, your call, I don't
mind either way.
<I dare say some would find this more interesting than the average oh-my-god-my-goldfish-is-dying missive. I certainly did! Cheers, Neale.>

Fat Betta? 03/24/09
My question is about our male Betta who we have had for about a year. He has become so fat that he seems to have trouble swimming.
<Not uncommon. For obvious reasons, Bettas in small tanks get little exercise, so are prone to obesity just like people who stay indoors, get regular meals, and don't do any exercise.>
I have cut him back to one pellet a day!
<Feel free to feed every other day until he starts losing weight. If he's fat, he doesn't need food. Fish don't need to burn up calories constantly to keep warm (like we do) so most species can go without food for very long periods.>
And still he is bulging, I think the reason is that tiny ants have been getting in the tank and he is eating them.
<Sounds possible. Stop feeding altogether and see what happens.>
I am trying to solve the problem by skimming the water to remove what I can but am worried about him overeating and me having no control. I have fed him fruit flies but are ants good for him?
<Yes, provided they've not been contaminated with bug spray or whatever.>
I plan to do a water change and general cleaning since I am worried about the water quality now. He is in a 2.5 gallon tank with carbon filter and BioWheel. He also never makes bubble nests except when we first got him.
Is this normal?
He normally knows that when we turn on the light its chow time and lately he has been ignoring the signal.
<May simply be getting old. The lifespan of wild Bettas is about a year, two at the most, and the captive bred ones are six months old before you buy them (before then, their fins are too small to be attractive). So at 18 months, yours is definitely well into middle age. Cut back his food, because he doesn't need so much. As ever, review water quality though, just
in case.>
We keep the light off because it heats the water too much. His water temps are normally around 80-82. Thank you for any advice you may have to offer.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Fat Betta? 3/30/09
Thank you Neale for your response.
I have not been feeding the fish at all for a week and he is still big.
<As I said, if the bulge is on the muscular part of its body, it's unlikely to be constipation.>
He is lopsided with the bigger bulge being on his right side. I have not found any more ants in the tank either so I don't think he has been eating anything. He generally is sitting around on the bottom and is not himself.
I have put out a trap for the ants and moved the fish food in case that was attracting them. We have 2 dogs and a child so no spray is used inside the house. I believe they are ghost ants.
<I doubt these have been a factor either way, to be honest.>
When I cleaned the tank the pH was very low (around 6) and the ammonia was slightly elevated. I changed one gallon of water out of the 2.5 gal. tank which brought the pH to about a 7 range on my color chart. I scrubbed everything, changed the filter and rinsed the gravel too.
<Do take care not to over-clean the filter; the ammonia is likely nothing to do with any algae you see on the rocks and such, but either overfeeding or lack of filtration. In particular, over time water moves more slowly through a filter as it gets clogged. There's a crossover point where the flow of water drops below the minimum needed to "clean" the ammonia
produced by the fish. Though this varies, the old rule of cleaning the filter by rinsing the media every 4-6 weeks in a bucket of aquarium water is a good idea.>
I don't know what else to do or not do. I was told at the store where we got him and buy our water from that we can use Zephyr Hills water for the Betta, they never told me that before?
<There's no need to use mineral or distilled water in aquaria. Indeed, distilled water would be very bad, and water from a domestic water softener almost as bad. Plain vanilla drinking water from the kitchen tap (unsoftened, if you have a water softener) is ideal. Treat for copper and chlorine just as with any other aquarium.>
Anyway we have such awful tap water here that I never use that in the tank.
<How "awful"? Water from a domestic softener for example would be far worse, being low in carbonates but high in sodium.>
I was going to give him one pellet last night but he wouldn't stay up to the surface. He seems to wobble and swim like he is too heavy to stay up.  I have to leave at the end of this week for a week long trip and am worried about what will happen to him in the care of my husband.
<Suspect he's simply getting towards the end of his life. These fish are little more than annuals in the wild, and given they are 6 months old before they appear in the shops, if you've kept your for 3 years, that's a MAJOR achievement. But no-one lives forever -- which is as it should be (segue to the 'Circle of Life'). So enjoy what time you have with this old guy, and try not to be too unhappy. When the time comes, you may decide euthanasia makes sense, rather than letting him waste away or suffocate (if he can't swim to the surface). We have an article on that here at WWM. It's an overlooked aspect of caring for fish, the important bit about knowing how to ease their passing, when the time comes.>
Thank you for your time and any advice you have to offer.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fat Betta? 3/30/09
Hi again,
No the bulge is not in the body but just belly area like under the gills.
You didn't mention constipation to me before but if that is our problem what do I do?
<My apologies; there were two bloated Betta messages today, and I must have confused your fish with the other.>
This fish was purchased by me last March.
<Right, your fish is still comparatively young. The other fish was 3 years old.>
I know they don't live a long time but sure was hoping to get results similar to my neighbors who have had Blue Bettas for 3+ years.
I changed the filter cartridge but know to not scrub the BioWheel.
The other parts of the system had white deposits on them so I scrubbed off the deposits as much as I could.
<The white stuff is lime; it's harmless, and gets left behind from hard water after evaporation.>
The bulging of the belly is so acute that I see white between the separate spaces of the scales.
<If this is the abdomen looking swollen, then yes, constipation may be an issue. Much said about this on WWM, but in brief, stop feeding dried foods (pellets, flakes, freeze-dried) and instead use cooked peas, live daphnia, and live brine shrimps. Starving the fish a bit will help, but you do need these fibre-rich foods to help. Epsom salt at 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons can help, though in conjunction with the fibre-rich foods, not instead.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

I have a question about my Betta. Beh./sys./fdg./hlth.   02/08/09 Hi, <Ave,> About a week and a half ago I bought my first Betta. He is in a 2 gal tank with an under gravel filter, and a small heater. When I first got my Betta, I noticed he was extremely sluggish, and that he would not eat his food. I looked it up on line and decided to buy a heater ( thinking that the temperature might be a problem). I have had the heater in for 4 days now (the temperature is kept at 79°F), but he still rarely ever eats. <Ah, if kept "cold" (i.e., below 25 C/77 F) for more than a few days, the damage may already be done...> I also bought frozen blood worms, thinking that the problem may be he just didn't like pellets. However, this didn't help either. In the past couple of days I have noticed that his face seems to be losing color. He is a bright red crown tail Betta with very bright violet dots on his body and streaks throughout his tail, however over the past few days his face is increasingly becoming white. When I first bought him I noticed a few dark spots on his body but thought nothing of. I have tried everything I could think of, and do not know what else to do. The water was treated with Top fin Beta Water Conditioner, and the aerator was ran for about 2 hours before he was introduced to the tank. I am extremely concerned about him. Earlier today I decided to put a mirror up to the tank to see if he would even react to his reflection; he didn't. He just laid at the bottom of his tank, nose down, like he usually does. I rarely see him swim. Please help me, I don't know what the problem is. Thank you, Mercedez (Texas) P.S. He is the only fish in the tank. I was also wondering if it would be a good idea to get a snail to help with the left over food. <There shouldn't be any leftover food. Mercedez, it's almost certain there is an environmental issue here. Very small tanks -- in the case of Bettas, anything less than 5 gallons -- are difficult to maintain. While you sometimes here of them kept in pots and jars, what you don't appreciate is that the water in these containers is changed at least daily. Moreover, the room they're kept in is a super-warm hot-house specially designed for keeping tropical fish, so that chilling isn't a problem. Do a water test: test for ammonia and/or nitrite, and then get back to me. Without that piece of information, I can't say anything specific, though the odds are that the fish is exposed to high levels of ammonia. Certainly don't add any food! Read on WWM about cycling aquaria and maintaining good water quality. I cannot stress this point strongly enough: Bettas aren't novelties, they're animals, and like any animal have a very specific list of requirements. Among them is heat, clean water (i.e., zero ammonia and zero nitrite), and enough space that pH remains stable between water changes. Always remember to use dechlorinator, and never use water from a domestic water softener. Cheers, Neale.>

Very sick Betta 12/02/08 Hello, WWM crew? I stumbled across your website, and I like your advice. I am desperately trying to find a way to help my crown tail Betta, Indy. He's lying on the bottom of the tank and has been acting weird for a month. He still eats every day, but sometimes I have to pick up his castle that he's constantly hiding in (lately) to get him out to eat. The water quality all tests good, he has a filter, heated to 80 degrees and only sharing the 10 gallon tank with 2 tiny cherry shrimp. I've only had him since May. Is there anything I can do to help him? Will aquarium salt kill the shrimp? How long can he stay under water without surfacing for air? I've been watching and he hasn't surfaced now for about 2 hours. Only his little eyeballs are moving around, watching me, so I know he's alive. He has always been a very small Betta, so I thought he was young when I bought him. In the last few months, he began losing his beautiful blue color, having white stripes, but otherwise healthy, but recently he's pulling his fins in to the side and will not flare. I'm so worried. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for any advice, Skymouse <Greetings. Your tank sounds perfect. You haven't told me anything specific about water quality or water chemistry though. While I appreciate things might seem "good" to you, there are shades of grey that some aquarists don't always catch. For example, water from domestic water softeners shouldn't be used in fish tanks. And low levels of nitrite and ammonia aren't "acceptable", whatever the test kit packaging might suggest, the values of both have to be zero. One thing not always considered is that Betta splendens is not a long-lived animal. Male fancy Bettas are about 6 months old when you buy them (since people want full-grown males with the long fins). Wild Bettas live for about 12 months, so as you can imagine in captivity if you keep a pet fancy Betta for a year, your Betta will be about 18 months of age, well over what it would get to in the wild. As Bettas age they typically become less active and their colours fade; in short, they become old-looking. Now, answer your specific questions: No, small amounts of salt will not harm shrimps. How long Bettas stay underwater between breaths depends on various factors such as temperature and activity level; unless the tank is unusually deep, this isn't an issue I'd worry about. To summarise, review water chemistry/quality, and cut back on food for the time being, so that he builds up an appetite. After, say, 3 days offer something tasty, such as wet frozen or live bloodworms. Do remember fish get bored of the same dried foods, just as you'd get bored if you ate nothing but breakfast cereal. Dried foods are also notoriously likely to cause constipation, and this can lead to major problems. I'd recommend using pellets or flakes for only half the meals any fish gets, and the other half should be live or wet frozen (not freeze dried!). Try offering wet frozen bloodworms by hand, using long forceps. Fish readily accept food this way, and by wiggling the prey, you can make it more fun for the fish, as well as for you. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: very sick Betta  12/3/08
Dear Neale, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. <I'm happy to help.> This tank has been set up since January 2007, and the Betta fish with the cherry shrimp have been in there since May 2008. The PH is at 8, ammonia & nitrite 0, and am doing 30-40% water changes every 2-3 weeks. I use half distilled and half tap (well water). I have a top fin power filter. Do you recommend anything different? <I'd perhaps do the water changes a bit more often, but really it shouldn't make much difference given the size of this fish and assuming you are careful not to overfeed him. More than likely the conditions in the tank are more than acceptable.> Do you think 2 tblsp of aquarium salt could make him any more comfortable? The water is about 8" deep. <The addition of small amounts of salt is sometimes recommended with Bettas, but in a properly maintained aquarium isn't necessary. Salt detoxifies nitrite and nitrate, but since you have zero nitrite anyway, it isn't going to make any difference.> I do try to give him a variety of different flakes, pellets, he loves freeze dried blood worms - (are they bad?) and he really gets excited about peas. <All sounds fine.> He eats everything. - - you said "live" stuff? really? I have done the frozen mysis shrimp, but the live things, - - yuck. <You don't have to do live foods if you don't want. Some people (including myself) enjoy scooting about the garden pond for daphnia, bloodworms or whatever, and then letting their fish enjoy them. But there is no practical advantage to using live foods, so if you don't want to use them, then don't. Wet frozen foods are a perfect replacement, and arguably cleaner and safer.> I'll do it if it would help. He's really just looking pathetic, either hanging motionless on top or lying down on the gravel (but mostly stays inside the castle). He used to be so lively. If he is dying of old age, I'd accept that, but would like to do what I can to make it easier on him. <I suspect he's just getting old. Unless he's actually suffering, I wouldn't alter things. As with any older animal, you can reduce the amount of food offered, but keep up the variety.> I hear about people having Bettas in cold little bowls and their Bettas going for 3-5 years. I don't get it. <Trust me, it's one in a million Bettas that gets to 5 years of age in a cold bowl! In fact, I've never heard of a Betta that old. Most live around a year after purchase, making them about 18 months old when they die. While it is true that the warmer the tank, the shorter the fish will live for, if the water is too cold, the fish gets sick and dies anyway. For Bettas, the minimum temperature is about 25 C / 77 F. Most Bettas kept at room temperature actually have short, grim lives. They're treated as disposable pets in effect, replaced every few weeks with another one.> Thank you again, skymouser <Cheers, Neale.>

Question About Fighting Fish -- 07/21/08 I've had a Siamese fighting fish for almost a year, his name is Silvermoon. He's been a very pleasant, surprisingly peaceful and an amusing fish thus far, however in the past few days I've noticed he's become less interested in his food. <Check temperature, water quality.> The last two days, I fed him but he didn't eat it for a long time, I walked away and by the time I returned the food was gone. Today, however he just doesn't seem to want to eat and I am concerned. The temperature is 24 degrees (Celsius) and the water was recently cleaned, I put a little bit of the old water as per usual although not as much as before as it was getting dirty frequently, and I put the proper medications in the tap water. <What filter are you using? Bettas do not do well in unfiltered tanks (unless you are changing 50-90% daily). Regardless of their size and activity level, like all fish they need zero ammonia in the water. Using your ammonia test kit and check the water. If you have anything other than zero ammonia, that's your problem. Review filtration and how you are maintaining the filter in terms of cleaning the media.> I don't understand why he isn't eating, even when he swims to the top sometimes he doesn't even try and eat it. I feed him bloodworms mostly, and the occasional pellet, usually he eats them quickly. I feed him twice a day, one in the morning and one at night everyday. What am I doing wrong? What should I do? Regards, Stefan <Most folks "fail" with Bettas because they keep them in too-small, unfiltered aquaria. Poor water will kill Bettas just as fast as anything else. So invariably that's the thing I'd recommend you check first. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question About Fighting Fish
The water is pretty clean, I just cleaned it today and cleaned it a few days ago as well. <If the tank in not filtered, you need to be changing some (50%) of the water daily.> I check the ph level and it is normal according to chart I was provided in the fish store. <Ok.> The tank I have is probably too small, and I do not use a filter. I used to, but with my old fighting fish it tended to suck him in because of the tank size. <Obviously the wrong sort of filter. An air-powered sponge filter works just dandy with Bettas, providing both gentle current (which they like) and good water quality (which they need). Here in the UK, a basic sponge filter plus a small air pump would cost well under £20. Given the cost of the ceramic castle and the bright purple gravel, I'm guessing you're not averse to spending money on your pets, which is good!> I assume that means I need a much bigger tank yes? I'm going to sort that out as soon as possible and put him in my bigger tank with a filter and heater, it will take me a few days however to complete the tank. <Bettas simply do better in at least reasonably big tanks; something 8-10 gallons would be ample. A small heater and air powered sponge filter would complete the set-up nicely. No need to buy a ready-made kit; buying the "parts" individually can work out less expensive.> If I do it by the weekend, do you think Silvermoon will be okay until then? <Yep, if you lay off the food and keep the water clean.> Is there anything I can do in the meantime to make sure he doesn't expire, like frequent water changes? <Hole in one! I can see we understand each other...> He was swimming a lot when I cleaned his tank, but now he's hiding in the castle...there is a castle inside the tank that has 2 holes in it to swim in and out of, he tends to go in the very bottom hole and hide in there more than usual. <Wouldn't read TOO much into this, though when fish are stressed they do tend to find the safest place and lurk there.> I have attached some photographs to help provide better insight. 1 and 3 are of Silvermoon and his appearance, 2 is of the whole tank to give you an idea of the size and the castle and stuff and 4 is of the temperature. <Looks a nice little set-up, though I'd suggest not using purple gravel next time -- fish feel more comfy, and show better colours, when the substrate is dark. Black is great, plain gravel just as good. As for ornaments, they couldn't care less, and castles are just fine!> I hope this helps save Silvermoon, SG <Every confidence in your understanding of the situation, and what you need to do to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Picky eater, Betta    2/13/08 Hi All, <Elizabeth> Thank you for helping me out so many times. Hopefully I'll get this new puzzle solved with your help. <Good> Pixie lives in a perfectly heated, filtered 6 gallon tank that she shares with her plecostomus <Will need more room...> and snails. Regular cleanings and filter changes keep this tank very healthy. No decorations that a Betta can get stuck in, only living plants. When we got her, her tail fin and most of her body was translucent and you could see the green pea inside her as she digested it. Now, at 2 months in her own tank, her tail fin has filled in with color (red) and her body is no longer see through. She is a gorgeous little lady with a pinkish body and bright red fins. <Nice> Pixie, our female Betta is one picky eater. I started her off on mini Betta bites and she was fine with them until I fed her a dried bloodworm. Now she snubs the pellets. I thought I could outwit this youngster by getting Betta flake and "mix" it in with her worms but alas, no! She picked through and ate the worms, leaving the flake. I give her a bit of parboiled pea every other day (too often?). <Not if it's eaten> I get the pea out of it's shell and cut it into 8th's. She eats about 3/4 of a half a pea right now. <This is a bunch> My question is, how much worm should I be giving her? <One piece or so...> Will her lifespan be significantly decreased on this bloodworm and pea only diet? <No, not really> There were no instructions on the worm tube. Is she missing nutrients by not liking pellets? What about shrimp? How much shrimp to feed? <Depends on the type of shrimp... the pellets of some makers (Hikari, Spectrum...) are nutritionally complete... and the mix you propose may be missing some essential nutrients... but as with humans, their companion animals... how much does this contribute to lessened vitality, longevity?> Thank you for your thoughts on this, Elizabeth PS - I did scan your website for answers as to the how much of bloodworm to feed but did not see any answers, but was firmly convinced that Bettas are indeed picky eaters if you feed them worms! <Ah yes, this is so. Cheers, Bob Fenner, who would not be overly concerned here>

Help with my Betta  1/14/08 Dear Crew, I have a Betta for a about 3 months in an established tank of 6 months old. Water Parameters Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 15 Ppm Water Temp - 78F <All seems fine. How big is the tank? What sort of filtration? Any other fishes in the tank?> From last 2 days he would want to eat his pellets but he would spit them out immediately. I was thinking its some kind of a parasite/bacterial infection. Checked his body for any visible signs like any spots or extra body growth. He seems to be fine. <Hmm... do try another type of food. Feeding any fish a single sort of food all the time isn't a good idea. Live foods are usually the best things to please a jaded palate. Try live Daphnia or mosquito larvae -- these are adored by most Bettas! If you can't get those, frozen (not freeze-dried) bloodworms worm well.> I am thinking of treating him with some medications but I am totally lost as he hasn't exhibited any known illness. <Don't treat a fish until you know the disease. Randomly using medications is dangerous.> I also did a 30% water change and added some aquarium salt but nothing had seemed to improved. <How much water to you change per week? In a very small aquarium (less than 40 l/10 gal) a 50% water change per week is essential. There's no need to use salt in a freshwater tank; Bettas do not come from brackish water. Instead, concentrate on water quality and water chemistry. You say nothing about hardness or pH. Big, regular water changes ameliorate the natural acidification of aquaria over time.> Pls advise, how do I save my little one. Best Regards, Vamsi <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Overfed Betta?  1/5/08 Hello, I need some help regarding my Betta. During the holidays I gave my Betta a week feeder since I wasn't going to be in town. I made the mistake of using a generic feeder for all types of fish because the pet store was all out of the little Betta feeders I usually get. After being away for the week I came back to find my Betta's belly very large and it seems that one side is fatter than the other. I stopped feeding him for four days and the belly still hasn't gone down. I also did a 50% water change and gave him part of a pea for the past two days. Could he still just be suffering from overfeeding or have I done permanent damage to him? Thanks, Lisa <Does indeed sound like he enjoyed the Christmas feast a little too heartily. Stop feeding and see what happens over the next few days. If by the end of a week he isn't back to his normal slender self, get back in touch and we'll discuss options. Fish can go many days without food, even weeks, so it's almost always better to skip feeding during vacations rather than relying on machines or neighbours to feed them in your absence. Fish aren't like cats or dogs, which need regular, daily meals; Goldfish here in England will spend the 3-4 months of winter without food and it actually does them good! Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Vitamins?  8/6/07 Hi WWM, <Hi Jean> Just wanted to know if there is any vitamins I can put into my Betta's water to build up his strength after being very sick? I tried giving him pellets with vitamins in it, but he keeps on spitting them out. <As you've seen, Bettas can be very picky as to what they do and do not eat. My suggestion is in addition to keeping the water very clean (this will help re-build his immune system), try feeding him a variety of meaty foods, such as mysis shrimp and bloodworms. Hikari makes a frozen variety that have vitamins included. Also, there are products such as http://www.boydenterprisesonline.com/pages/3/index.htm specifically designed to be added directly to the tank's water, or used when thawing frozen food. Do be sure to keep your Betta's environmental conditions pristine - he's likely weakened from his illness, and this will greatly help!> Thanks for your help again - Jean <Best of luck to you and your Betta, Jorie>

Overfed Beta 8/1/07 I love my beta fish (Mr. Fishy) <Mmm, if you did wouldn't you know the correct spelling? Betta> and have always taken really good care of him, (or so I thought before reading the FAQ on your site) he is about 2 years old, and was in really good health until last night. Mr. Fishy resides in a 2.5 mini bow aquarium, created by Tetra. It sits on my bathroom counter (most counter space in there) I have this aquarium background on his tank so that he can't see the mirror behind him. <Ah, good> As far as Mr. Fishy is concerned, he's swimming in underwater Greece. He has a filter hanging on the side of his tank, I'm concerned that the current it generates is too strong, but can't turn it to a lower setting than its on. I just replaced the decoration in his aquarium with a smaller set of Greek ruins, because he's grown so much that the other set wasn't leaving him with much swimming space. I leave his light on at night so it heats his aquarium up and I turn it off in the morning when I feed him. He has no tank heater, because the tank is too small, <Mmm, look for the company name "Hydor" on the Net... and get a heater> I was wondering if you could recommend a better set up for Mr. Fishy. His tank doesn't get very dirty, I switch the filter out whenever it needs changing, and replace a some of his water when needed, but is there anything else I can do? What should I do? <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above> Also, Mr. Fishy is sick :( He was swimming around very energetically, and happily just two days ago, and Brandon and I were thrilled to find that every time we walk into the bathroom, Mr. Fishy surfaces and waits for food, in our excitement that Mr. Fishy was actually aware of our existence (he's pretty unconcerned about us, he's never so much as swam my way before) we would drop a pellet of food in his tank every time he swam towards us. He was eating the food, and seemed fine, but last night I noticed his belly is bulging. I've been dreaming Mr. Fishy was going to die for a few nights (I lost a hamster, and a cat recently, and become much more attached to my fish in the last month due to their loss, I'm scared he's next because he's all I have now) and now I'm afraid I've killed him. His tummy is bulging, and I just know I overfed him, what can I do? Is he going to die? Please help me <Mmm, do cut back on the food/feeding... just a few pellets per day... Read where you were referred to... get the heater, perhaps a small bit of floating plants... And be aware that two years is about the natural life span of Betta splendens. Bob Fenner>
Re: overfed Betta -- 08/01/07
<The beginnings of sentences are capitalized...> thank you so much for your help and advice, (and sorry for the typo of Beta) I am reading up on the links you gave me, and looking into a heater. I have two more questions, if I get a heater, will the light overheat his water at night? <No... these devices are thermostatic...> And also, as for Mr. Fishy's bulging tummy, besides cutting down on feedings, is there anything I can do? <Yes... read... where you were referred to... You will find ref. to Epsom Salt use...> I haven't fed him today yet, and the bulge is still the same size... I'm really worried. I know 2 years is pretty much where is his clock is set, but I still don't want him to die because of anything I've done (like overfeeding), will he be ok? <Keep reading. RMF>

Inappetent Betta, recovering from fin rot Hello! <Hi there> I could really use some help getting my betta to eat. I've had him for about 2 weeks in a planted a 5-gallon tank along with 7 very young (i.e. really small) danios, 2 Amano shrimp, and a snail. He has not eaten at all since I got him, and is beginning to lose color not only on his head but his body as well. He had fin/tail rot when I got him that I treated with a combination of MelaFix <Not worthwhile... and possibly a cause of trouble here> and tetracycline and I increased aquarium salt to 1 tsp/gallon. He appears to be regrowing some healthy fin now, but still will not eat. I have been doing 25% water changes every other day, but hope to move to a slightly less frequent schedule once my fish is healthy. I have tried TetraMin tropical fish flakes, Hikari Betta Bio Gold, live bloodworms, <SHOULD eat these...> thawed/shelled/cut-up frozen pea, and a prepared frozen mixed feed containing Artemia, daphnia, krill, Spirulina, and vitamins. He completely ignores all food, and is not very active, preferring to hang out right next to the tank heater (he rests on the top suction cup so he doesn't have to swim at all to breathe). Water temperature is steady somewhere between 77 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. All water chemical parameters are good (no measurable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates; pH between 6.8 and 7.2: "hardness" reads moderate (50), and buffering capacity reads 120 on a 5-in-1 test strip. The tank is aerated and now that I've finished with the meds, filtered using a Whisper tank filter containing activated carbon. I'm afraid if he doesn't eat soon, he'll be an ex-Betta. Please help me avoid that circumstance! -A. <I'd raise the temp. to the low eighties F., perhaps isolate the betta to reduce the competition with the Danios... try the Bloodworms (frozen-defrosted) or Tubifex/Blackworms the same... Bob Fenner>

Follow up: Inappetent Betta, recovering from fin rot 7/9/07 Hello, again! <Adelia> I am still unsuccessful in getting my betta to eat anything. Per your suggestion, I isolated him in a breeding net to remove competition, turned up the tank temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and tried frozen/thawed Tubifex worms. I've also tried frozen/thawed mosquito larvae and bits of garlic on the advice of my LFS, and re-tried live bloodworms. He just hangs out near the surface and completely ignores all food, even when it's literally sitting on his nose! He seems to be getting thinner and thinner. This leaves me with three main questions: 1) Is there anything else I can try? <Yes... the addition of Epsom Salt is often efficacious here... See WWM... the search tool... re dosing, cautionary remarks> 2) If there is nothing else to try, when, if ever, is it time to consider euthanasia? Do I just let him starve himself and hope he eats at some point? Is he at all likely to spontaneously recover? He doesn't seem to be a "happy" fish, and I don't want him to suffer unnecessarily. <There are many "things" yet to try... and do know that often these issues resolve themselves spontaneously> 3) If euthanasia should be considered, what is the best method? I've never euthanized a fish before. <I'd hold off... These fish can go w/o eating for surprisingly long periods of time... do try a few live tubificid worms in a small "cup" of sinking plastic or glass in its net> For your reference, I've included the original message with your response below. -A. <Thank you for this. Don't give up hope. Bob Fenner>

Betta... non-feeding while owner's on holiday  -- 6/17/07 Hello <Greetings.> I have a male Siamese fighting fish very happy and in an ideal environment. <By which you mean a 5-10 gallon tank with a filter and heater, right? Check the nitrite is at zero and the pH where it should be -- you want ideal water conditions before you leave.> He is fed everyday (Hikari and sometimes bloodworms). <OK.> I am in a situation where I must leave him for a week. Would he be OK with that? <Absolutely fine, assuming he's well fed and in good condition. Do a 50% water changes the day before. A largish tank will dilute any potential problems, such as the heater or filter stopping. Check the filter is working properly and not clogged up. Siphon out any uneaten food so there isn't an "ammonia bomb" ticking away in your absence. Make sure the lid is securely fitted so he can't jump out. Even small fish can manage 1-2 weeks without food, and larger things, like big catfish, much longer without food.> Maggie <Cheers, Neale>

Betta Question, Mmmm, fdg., comp. mostly  -- 06/15/07 Hello <Hello.> First, I would like to thank you for your wonderful site. It has been very helpful to me in the past few months. <Cool.> About four months ago, I was in Wal-Mart picking up some bedding for my bearded dragon. The store I go to has the fish and reptile supplies together, so while I was there I spied the betta shelf. There were only two fish left, a little double-tailed female who was, sadly, already dead, and a medium sized male. He was a dull grayish-white, but he seemed healthy enough and I felt bad for him (just call me a sucker) so I decided to purchase him. <Whilst I am entirely sympathetic to your actions, the downside to buying unhappy animals to "rescue" them is it encourages those retailers to get some more and keep them in similar conditions.> I got a two gallon "bowl" (it is rectangular shaped and has a purple vented lid so it really isn't a bowl) along with some purple glass marbles, a silk plant, some Betta Bio-gold, freeze-dried blood worms, freeze dried brine shrimp, and some sinking carnivore pellets. <What about a heater? Bettas are tropical fish, and need a constant 25 degrees C (77 F) to do well. Much below and they become sickly. Like all labyrinth fish (gouramis, climbing perch, etc.) bettas are very sensitive to cold air, and need warm, moist air above the tank as well. I'm not wild about 2-gallon bowls for bettas, though I accept many people keep them thus.> I had never had a betta before, but I recalled that they are carnivorous. <Yes, they are largely carnivorous. Mostly insect larvae, such as mosquito and midge larvae.> I took him home and set up his aquarium in the reptile room where the temp stays at a steady 78 degrees at all times. <Ah, very good. No problems with the heat and hopefully humidity.> He is fed twice a day from the above list in a semi-random fashion. I make sure he gets some of each item at least once every week. I do, by the way, have to break off small pieces of the sinking carnivore pellets, as they were designed for much larger fish. I do partial water changes every 5 days or so. <All sounds fine.> Riku is now a gorgeous pale orange with red flecks in caudal and anal fins. His fins also have light sky blue streaks (I believe it is called a lace pattern?) that match his eyes depending on how the light hits him. My pity purchase turned out to be quite the little jewel and he has such a personality. He dances for me every time I sit in front of him. He tends to ignore everyone but me, except he flares at my sister (good fishie; wish I could say I taught him to do that). <Ah, how sweet.> Following the advice on your site, I have decided to move him to a 5 gallon system with a live Java Fern. I have read that bettas are compatible with Corydoras, but I have also read that they will eat neons and other small fish. <Mixing Betta spp. with other fish is kind of a dark art. Corydoras should be absolutely fine. Other completely docile, bottom dwellers would also be good, such as kuhli loaches and Ancistrus Suckermouth catfish. Midwater fish are more tricky. I can't imagine a Betta splendens (which is your species) eating neon tetras, though the larger mouthbrooding Betta species can and do eat small fish. Neon tetras have sometimes been reported as fin-nippers when kept with bettas, so approach this combination with caution. I've done it, and had no problems, but others have not been so lucky. I'd actually recommend going for more docile schooling fish, such as marble hatchetfish, which are totally placid animals. Gobies are another option, but finding freshwater gobies is a bit hit and miss. All this said, 5 gallons is too small for very many fishes. Depends a bit on the shape of the aquarium, but realistically half a dozen neons plus the betta is probably about all you can fit in there without the tank looking overcrowded. Water quality is another issue, though neither neons nor bettas are terribly messy fishes, especially if you avoid overfeeding.> I had planned on adding about three Corydoras habrosus or hastatus, but they are smaller even than some neons. Would Riku eat them? <No. Those lovely little catfish will be too spiny. At least, the adults would be. Obviously if you put in teeny-tiny juveniles in with a fully grown betta, there's a risk he might view them as live food! Both those species of Corydoras are nice but not exactly bullet-proof, so water quality is important.> Thanks again for the awesome site, and I apologize for the long email. <No probs.> Regards, Suzanne <Cheers, Neale>

Betta beh. and feeding comments -- 06/07/07 Hi Crew! <Hello.> I wanted to share a couple of observations about my Betta, which I thought might be of interest to other Betta owners. <Cool.> I read recently (was it today?) on WWM that Bettas don't eat flakes. Mine does :-) He started eating them when he was in the community tank. Now he gets mostly Betta Bio-Gold micro-pellets, also bloodworms, the occasional brine shrimp treat, and just about anything else we give the other fish. <Ah, the question of what-eats-what. For every person who has a fish that only eats live herrings and durian fruits, you have another who keeps the same species but finds it enjoys chopped spam and eggplant. Really, all you can do when recommending diet is to say what you've found works well. I agree prepared foods such as flake and pellets are often very good. But understanding the wild diet for a given species is important. In the case of livebearers, goldfish, and many cichlids, people ignore the fact they are largely vegetarians in the wild. Some catfish eat wood. Bettas feed on insect larvae, so things like mosquito larvae and bloodworms are certainly the most authentic diet. But just like people, fish thrive when given a balanced variety.> One thing though. When he hasn't seen flakes in a while, he tends to forget that they're edible and doesn't notice them as long as they're floating on the surface. I have to poke one or two underwater before he takes a bite and "remembers" they're edible. Then he goes to the surface and grabs the floating ones. Maybe he's come to associate my finger-poking with food, no matter what's at the end of said finger... <Fancy bettas are dumb as posts. Too much inbreeding, not enough natural selection.> Also, he goes *nuts* for peas! My Mollies won't touch the stuff, but he just *loves* them. He jumps for his pellets when we stick them on a wet finger and hang it just above the water surface. For pea bits, he jumps out at least a third of his body as soon as he's had a first taste, I don't even have the time to put them in the water! <Interesting your mollies don't like the peas. But do make sure they get some sort of greens: vegetarian flake food is ideal, but otherwise supplement their diet with Sushi Nori, for example. I can't stress this enough: in the wild, mollies are mostly algae eaters.> And a strange behavior. As I mentioned earlier, he used to be in a community tank with Mollies. Everything was fine until, after about three weeks of peaceful cohabitation, he decided that he didn't recognize them anymore when the lights were off. Lights on, no problem, totally peaceful tank. Lights off, rampage. Lights on again, no problem. So we had to take him out of that tank (good thing because I now want to go brackish for the Mollies...). He's got his own Eclipse 3 now. He tried to taste the Apple Snail's antennas at first, then apparently decided they're not edible. He still comes to investigate every time the snail decides to do something though :-) <Many fish are curious about apple snails and nip them. Perhaps their tentacles look like worms? Mixing bettas with community fish is sometimes unpredictable, as you suggest. It may simply be boredom. Without any of its own kind to interact with, it decided to make-do by picking on something else. Animals just aren't solitary, one-of-a-kind things though we treat them as such. Anyway, your mollies will be 100% happier in brackish water. Since brackish is my thing, I think you'll find this aspect a great way to specialise. Make sure you look over the Brackish section of WWM... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm .> I hope this has been helpful! <Indeed it was, so thanks for writing.> Thank you! Audrey <Cheers, Neale>

Betta used to eating Tetra Fin   6/5/07 Hello Crew, <Hi there - you've got Jorie tonight. I apologize for the late response; I just "found" this query in my in-box...we recently switched e-mail servers; perhaps that caused the delay? In any case, hope this response isn't too late.> I have been reading as much as possible in the two days that I have had my two new Crowntail Bettas. <Wonderful. Usually better to read prior to purchasing livestock, but definitely better late than never!> I bought them at Wal-Mart mostly to save them from those little cups. <I understand. This is one of my weaknesses- seeing beautiful little bettas in the fish store "cups". Awful.> They are each in a brandy snifter type vase - in about a half gallon of water. <Unfortunately this is not much better than the "cups" you "rescued" the bettas from...> Snifter will hold about a gallon to a gallon and a half, and I hope to increase water level. <Curious as to why you are waiting for the water increase? Just be aware that bettas are labyrinth fish, and take in air for the surface; do be sure to leave enough surface area that they can comfortable do so. With regard to an ideal betta set-up, I like to recommend a minimum of a 3 gallon heated and filtered tank. Of course, you could do a 5 or 10 gallon tank, and this would likely seem the equivalent of a luxury condo to the betta, but I've found a 3 gal. to be the absolute minimum. Additionally, a three gallon tank is large enough to accommodate a 25 watt heater (bettas like a steady temperature of around 80-82 degrees F), and a weekly 50% water change allows the nitrogen cycle to remain established (read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm ), yet provide enough clean water for the fish. Personally, I use Marineland Eclipse 3 gallon tanks- reasonable in cost, and they come with the filtration already built in. Quite simple. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm> I live in a rural area of Florida, near the St. Johns River, and have well water , which has sulphur in it. I do not put bleach in it as my well installer instructed. I bought Zephyr Hills bottled spring water to fill the fish bowls. The temperature is 74 degrees. <Definitely do not use bleach! Bottled water is lacking in certain essential elements, from a fish's standpoint. Better to use something like Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter (basically a simple de-ionizing unit), or purchase RO/DI (reverse osmosis/de-ionized water) directly from a fish store. Both RO/DI and DI water will strip water of some essential nutrients, but there are products that add these back in, as well as adjusting the pH from the 5.0 it comes of the filtration unit at. I use the Electro-Right and pH Adjust combo myself. 74 degrees F is way too cold for your bettas; another reason to invest in at least 3 gallon tanks, which will accommodate 25 watt submersible heaters.> The two Bettas have not eaten. <Although Bettas can go for quite some time without eating, in this case, I would opine they are probably cold and uncomfortable in their homes...> From reading on your site I learned that it may take a few days to adjust. <This is true, but they do need reasonable conditions to adjust to.> I have offered them dehydrated blood worms, frozen blood worms, Betta BioGold pellets, frozen brine shrimp, and some other kind of pellets. <I'm surprised the fish haven't responded to the frozen bloodworms...mine usually go crazy for these, as well as frozen Mysis. Pellets are "hit or miss" - really depends on the Betta's individual personality. Ditch the brine shrimp, as it has basically no nutritional value. As for the dehydrated bloodworms, I'd say your better off with the frozen variety, as most fish seem to prefer it. Although you can purchase a garlic oil supplement called Kent's Garlic Xtreme to help stimulate appetite, I do believe if you improve the conditions you are keeping these Bettas in, you'll see a marked improvement.> Have offered very small amounts, and then siphoned out about an hour or so later. <Good. Only feed what the fish can consume in a couple of minutes (for example, I feed 3-4 pellets, or 2-3 bloodworms per feeding per Betta). Great that you aren't letting the uneaten food decay, as this will pollute the water.> I just called Wal-Mart and learned that they have been being fed Tetra something, a flake food. <I have *never* had a Betta accept flake food. Try improving the environmental conditions and feeding the frozen bloodworms alternated with the pellets, and I think everything will work out A-OK.> Should I feed them what they are used to eating until they acclimate to their new surroundings? <See above.> Additionally, I believe the water they are in has a high pH level. I drove 40 miles to St. Augustine to get the liquid reagent that you recommended in some of your posts only to find that my well water, and the bottled spring water both read 7.8 or above. <In all honesty, fish require stability more than precision, in the area of water quality. This is especially true of Bettas, which are pretty adaptable to many conditions. I am glad you purchased a test kit (hopefully a liquid one, and not a "strip" kind, as the latter is highly inaccurate), but truly, giving the Bettas larger tanks, filtration and heat will likely solve all your problems.> The color is blue. I bought the pH kit with the pH Up and pH Down additives. When I add one dose of the Ph down to a gallon of my well water, the reading is still blue (7.8 or above). <I don't recommend "monkeying" with the pH. I am confused, though, when you talk about adjusting the well water's pH - I thought you were using spring water? In any case, see the info. above about using filtered water. Also, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm The reagent does not test for levels above 7.8, so I don't know what my actual level is. <A saltwater pH test kit will allow you to read higher pH levels.> Bottle directions state : "To lower ph, add two drops for each gallon of water. Take another pH reading before adding another dose of pH Down. Some fish may be sensitive to pH adjustments greater than 0.2 in a 24 hour period, so changes of this magnitude should be done with extreme care." But I don't understand what a pH adjustment of 0.2 is equal to in drops. I saw something somewhere about trying to lower pH with driftwood, but have no idea how to do that. <This is the DI unit I was referring to before: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=4484&Ntt=tap%20water%20filter&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&N=2004&Nty=1 ;. It will produce water with a neutral pH of 5.0. When the ElecroRight and pH Adjust products are used (2 tsp. per 5 gallon, and 1 tsp. per 5 gallon, respectively)(, the pH should be exactly 7.0. I think this is the best solution for you, as it sounds as though your tap water isn't so great. Also, www.drsfostersmith.com is an excellent source of aquarium supplies; you mention that you live in a rural area, so this may help you. www.bigalsonline.com is another good choice.> Tonight's partial water change (about 50%) included a water conditioner, Beta Plus by Nutrafin. I was told by a pet shop owner that it was important for Bettas kept in city water or well water in this area. <You must take pet store employees' advice with a grain of salt. It isn't always wrong, but it is highly suspect. Best to do your own independent research. So long as any fish is properly acclimated, it can successfully be switched from tap/well water to filtered water.> Another Betta keeper has had her fish in plain bottled Spring water for two years, and a third person I spoke with, had her fish in plain old city water that she let stand for 24 hours before using. <You'll always see conflicting advice in this hobby. I can tell you for a fact that bottled water is missing necessary elements for fishkeeping purposes, and will likely shorten a fish's lifespan, as a result. That isn't to say some people don't/can't keep fish in these conditions, but it isn't necessarily ideal. Same goes for the well water. The advice I am giving you has been well-researched and corroborated by many hobbyists, and I am confident that it will help you and your Betta. You must always consider the source of any information you use...> Neither of these two had Crowntail however. I seem to have read somewhere that Crowntail need a lower pH then the regular Bettas. <I've never read/seen this. What I can tell you is that Crowntail bettas are more genetically altered/manipulated, and can be more sensitive to poor water quality than "regular" Bettas, but the standard "requirements" for Bettas remains the same. Some quality Betta websites include: http://www.bcbetta.com/ http://www.bettacave.com/ http://www.ibcbettas.com/ > Now that I have the pH test drops I will check the city water at work tomorrow. If it's lower than what I'm using, I think I can avoid a nervous breakdown. If it isn't, I hope you can recommend something. <I recommend reading/understanding basic Betta requirements and focusing more on the "big picture" - that is, instead of fiddling with the pH to make it just so, focus your energies on getting larger filtered/heated tanks for your new pets, and perhaps consider a DI filtration unit. Yes, there is some initial cost involved, but it will serve you and your Bettas well in the long run, I promise!> Thank you in advance for your time. <You're welcome. Hope I've helped!> Gracin <Jorie>

Betta not eating   5/25/07 Hi, <Hello there- Jorie here today.> I have a betta in a 10 gallon tank by himself. <A luxury condo for a betta - I'm sure he loves it!> The tank is cycled, ammonia/nitrite/nitrate all low if not zero. <Ammonia and nitrite need to be at zero, not just low.  Nitrates can be as high as 20 ppm, but obviously lower is better.> The tank is heated to about 79 degrees, and the betta is actually pretty active. <Sounds like a good setup.> However, whenever I feed him, he never seems to eat anything.  I usually come back an hour later and have to remove whatever food is in there so it doesn't mess up the water quality.  I have tried flake food, floating pellets, sinking pellets, nothing seems to work.  I haven't tried any live foods yet, but I am wondering if that will just encourage the picky eating behavior. <I would suggest trying frozen, then thawed bloodworms and/or Mysis shrimp. My bettas absolutely love both of these foods. Also, you can add a drop or two of Kent's Garlic Xtreme (or pure garlic oil from the spice section of the grocery store) to stimulate appetite.  I'd be surprised if one or both of these options doesn't work.  I wouldn't suggest going to live foods unless both of the frozen options fail; you are right, it will just encourage the finicky eating.  Also, there is always the possibility of introducing disease via the live food. Best of luck, Jorie>

Betta vacation feeding    5/11/07 Ok, I'm just going to bother you one more time and that's it!  Is it ok if the fish goes w/o food for 3 days?  If I have to go away for longer, how would I feed the fish? Thanks again- Margaret <Mmm, for three days I would not bother with such feeding... not likely a problem for a healthy Betta to go w/o feeding for this interval. Some folks might proscribe some live tubificid worms, even an automatic feeder (with pelleted food), but I would just leave the fish be for this time. Bob Fenner>

HELP!!!! My children have just fed out two male Betta's freshly defrosted free range chicken breast (skinless if it makes a difference to my question).  4/26/07 <At least it was free-range chicken!> I caught them just as the last tiny pieces were being placed in their respective tanks. <Oops.> The Bettas ate it all up and my son (who is 9) tells me they only got 3 small pieces each. <Of course they did! Probably compared to the boring dried food they've been getting, this was like dining out at the Ritz!> There is no sign of the chicken in their tanks and my kids told me they attacked it as soon as it hit the water. <Hah!> What is going to happen to my fish because of this.  Will they die and if not is it ok for them to have this occasionally as I have never seen them eat their food this quickly. <Should be fine. The risk to the fish is small. HOWEVER, the risk to your children from salmonella is more significant. So I trust that they washed their hands afterwards, and you probably ought to assume the aquarium is infected as well, and institute a "hand cleaning protocol" after working/playing with the aquarium. That's good animal husbandry practice anyway, so worth teaching the kids. Again, while aquaria can "catch" salmonella bacteria, the risk isn't that great (after all, they have aquaria in hospitals!) but you should be aware of it, and perhaps consult your healthcare practitioner for advice.> Thank you for your advice in advance. <No problems.> Emily

My Betta won't eat  3/19/07 Hey crew members (specifically the crew member answering my query), Well my long living betta of nearly 4 years died on Tuesday night.  As I just couldn't bear the thought of having an empty tank, on Thursday (pay day,) I went on the search for a new fish and saw my new betta.  He was alert in the shop had made a bubble nest, flared at himself occasionally when he'd see his reflection in the tank and had greedily scoffed down his food when I asked to feed him. <All good signs> I asked the shop owner to hold him for me went home and made sure everything was still good in the betta tank then picked him up on Friday on my way home from work.  He seemed to settle in well and I didn't think much of it when he refused food Friday night (the trauma of the move and all). <Yes> On Saturday morning, he still refused his betta pellets, so I tried some frozen blood worms and he refused those as well.  I pipetted them out of the tank (so as not to leave them to foul the water) and left him alone assuming he was still adjusting.  Tried him on frozen glass worms about mid day and he still ignored them, and Saturday night I still had no luck in feeding him the glass worms, blood worms or pellets.  So Sunday I thought I'd pull out the big guns.  I went and got him some live brine shrimp (I know they're not very nutritious, but I know my betta in the past loved them as a treat every once in a while) and still he refused to eat. <Nothing wrong with an occasional treat...> I was starting to get a bit worried at this point, and called up a friend at the DPI to see if they were still doing research on mosquito larvae and if they were if I could come get some (they're all in sterile containers and screened regularly to keep them free from disease causing agents) as I've never seen a betta that could pass up a live mosquito larvae, and well, my first, he wouldn't touch them.  So after three days of pipetting out uneaten food I am a bit concerned about him not eating, as he still refused food this morning before I left for work.  He has no obvious signs of illness (no stringy poop...well no poop at all for that matter, good colouration, no signs of any external parasitic organisms, breathing fine...gills don't appear to be inflamed at all, not bloated, swims fine...in fact he's been cruising all around the tank checking himself out at all sides, resting on the bottom for a bit before going for a cruise again pretty much just acting like a normal betta minus the eating). So now I'm in a bit of a quandary as to what to do.  He's in a 60 litre tank, heated to 28°C <82.4 F. to you yanks> with a small DIY filter   Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 0 pH - 7.2 (this has always been very stable).  This is the exact same set up as used for the other betta for at least 2 years except I had removed the plants after my other betta died and put them into my P. gertrudae tank for breeding substrate.  So I guess my question: Is this tank too big for him? <Mmm... No>   Maybe he's not use to having so much room and can't find the food? <A good guess...> My first betta had been in a 20L tank initially and I moved him into the larger tank when I started breeding him.  Maybe going from the small 10L tank they had him in at the store to the 60L tank I have him in now was too much of a culture shock for him.  Should I get out my 20L tank again and put him in that for a bit until he gets adjusted? <Worth trying> Or do you have any other suggestions on how to get him to feed? <Yes... I would try a rather large water change (like half) and kick the temperature up another degree or two C.. This won't be "too high"> I didn't think black worms would work as I'm pretty sure bettas are mainly surface feeders and the black worms sink almost immediately. Any help would be appreciated. <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Betta Failure!...reading, more info 3/16/2007 Hi, I just recently killed my first Betta in under 8 hours!! <<Oh no.>> The idiots at the store did not mention anything about care, and we used tap water :-( <<You should have done your research before purchase.>> Anyway, his replacement seems to be doing ok, (2 days and counting).  However, I read on your site that Bettas should only get one, maybe 2 pellets a day.  The pellet food we have for ours says 3-4 pellets, twice a day.  Who is right?? <<Depends on the size of the betta, and personal opinion.  A much more pressing concern is my worry that your tank is not cycled.  Please provide me with some more information, and search freshwater nitrogen cycle.>> <Please give URL, referent. RMF>   :-)  Thanks, Jennifer <<Please get back to me/reading. Lisa Brown.>>
Re: Betta Failure!...reading, more info 3/16/2007
  3/21/07 Thank you!  We actually exchanged the tank we had for a new, larger one with a filtrations system, live plants, gravel instead of glass beads, etc. that should be a much better environment.  We are changing the water (80%) weekly, leaving the new water, treated, and out for 24 hours before adding so that it comes to the same temperature.  Is there anything else major that I am not doing? <<Yes, did you cycle your tank? Is it heated? Do you know what I mean by cycled?   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm. Lisa Brown.>> Jennifer
Re: Betta Failure!...reading, more info   3/21/07
Yes, it's heated.  I know when you say cycled, you are talking about the freshwater nitrogen cycle, but I don't know what I'm really supposed to do. <<ok.  Now that you have a fish in the tank, you should be doing massive daily water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrIte readings at 0.  That link I provided will give more information. Lisa.>> Jennifer Grant

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>

Feeding a Betta  11/18/06 Dear WWM Crew, <<Hello. Tom here.>> I have a question regarding, "feeding a Betta".   <<Okay.>> I am currently feeding my Betta a daily mixture of the following:  live black worms, dried blood worms and Betta pellets; twice a day.   <<Sounds fine as long as it's not so much as to turn him into a 'porker'.>> I read on the Internet that is good to feed Bettas such foods like:  Small bits of Tubifex worm cubes, small pieces of spinach and carrots.   <<Foods that are high in protein and fiber are all good for Bettas as long as what you offer is small enough for them to eat without difficulty.>> Can you recommend other foods that I can feed my Betta?   <<Daphnia (mosquito larva) and brine shrimp are a couple of foods that mine seems to love.>> Also, how much do you feed a Betta?  I heard that you feed them how much they can consume in one to two minutes.   <<That's a bit of an issue with Bettas. I'm sure you've observed yours gobbling down food as I have with mine. What they're 'capable' of consuming in about two minutes is probably too much. You'll see that we frequently offer that a Betta's stomach is about the size of one of its eyes as a measure of reference. A good way to check him physically is to look at the stomach area below and just behind the head. There should be a slight 'rounding' in this region. If it's sunken, he's not getting enough. If it's rounded more than slightly, he needs less food (or a trip to Weight Watchers!)>> Thanks in advance for your help. <<Happy to do so. Best regards. Tom>>

Feeding Bettas  10/23/06 Hi!!!:D <<Well, hi back to you. Tom here.>> I am the owner of 3 Bettas, two females and one male. <<I'm the owner of only one... (sigh) :) >> I know that you suggest not overfeeding them, but I would like to know about how much to give them. I don't want to overfeed, but I also don't want to starve them to death!! (I freak out thinking about what could happen if I do O_O;;;) <<Trust me, Laura, unless you stop feeding them all together, they won't starve! To give you a "perspective" (I didn't think this one up myself), a Betta's stomach is about the size of its eye. (I don't want to know how someone figured that out!) Kidding aside, about one flake of food per day is all the more a Betta really needs. Warm-blooded critters like humans need food for "fuel" to maintain their body temperatures. Fish don't. They, obviously, need food to survive but it isn't nearly as critical and, in fact, can go for long periods without eating.>> Could you at least give me an idea? I feed them freeze dried bloodworms and AQUAculture Betta Pellet Food. <<Sure. A couple of bloodworms per day or a pellet, maybe two. More than that and you're overfeeding.>> Laura <<Tom>>
Re: Feeding Bettas 10/23/06
Thank you for such a speedy reply! <<You're quite welcome.>> My Bettas Sakura (female, red), Hinata (female, blue), and Sausuke (male, Blue body with red fins except for the rim :D they're blue as well) also thank you! <<They're most welcome, as well. Love their names, by the way.>> My roommates freaked out when I told them about how much we should feed them. Of course, I really don't blame them because I had forgotten to explain how big their stomachs were. -_-;;; <<Since there may come a time when you might call on your roommates to 'fish sit' for you, it's important that they fully appreciate what you've shared with them. Better not to feed them at all for a few days than to feed too much in a gesture of misplaced kindness.>> I have one more really quick question for you (sorry ^_^"""). I've read that it's ok to have females in together, but can you have 1 male and females together in a tank? I've been wondering because my male isn't in the best tank in the world, and the one the females are in is MUCH better (bigger and newer). <<Wish I could tell you this would be fine, Laura, but I wouldn't advise it. Male Bettas can be nearly as aggressive with females as they are with other males. Additionally, the male is the protector of the nest after spawning and will definitely become aggressive during this time. Better to leave things as they are.>> Laura P.S. Sorry if I say something incorrect. I'm kind of a newbie with fish and I'm trying to learn all I can to make sure I do EVERYTHING right! I don't want sick or dead fishies :'( <<You're doing fine, Laura. Your questions are good ones and I trust you've come away with some information that will help you keep your pets happy and thriving. My best to you. Tom>>

Smaller-than-average beta pellets?   9/27/06 Hello, <Hi there> My beta has trouble chewing and swallowing full-sized Hikari pellets.  The only way I can make sure she's eating them is to cut them in half with my fingernail, but this isn't working too well.  I've been told that there are smaller pellets on the market, but have been unable to find them.  Can you recommend such a product to me?  Thanks very much. Julia <I'd look into the finer grades of Spectrum Fish Foods here... along with the occasional offering of some small meaty frozen/defrosted animal foods for treats. Bob Fenner>

Betta Not Eating  - 09/07/06 Hello from Tampa, I have had my Betta Tommy for about 5 months and a week ago he stopped eating, became listless and shudders and trembles when and if he swims.  He used to love me and would get excited when he saw me, now he hides.  He usually sits on the bottom of the tank but the few times he comes to the top for a breath of fresh air and he sees me he shudders and hides in his weeds.  He looks whitish and puffy under his throat and seems to have a hard time breathing.  I changed his water and added ick medicine.  Then I went to 1 pet store and 1 fish/aquarium store and they both they recommended I start using Melafix, but I see you don't recommend it.  I changed the water again and have been adding that for 2 days.  I also am trying to feed him Jungle Anti Parasite food, because one said he may have parasites.  He's in a one gallon tank.  Should I change the water again and add Epsom salts?  How much for a one gallon tank and how often.  I had canned peas and they sunk so I'm freezing some now.  I was also told to get him live shrimp.  I appreciate any help. thanks, Linda < Make sure that he is warm at about 80 F. I would recommend treating with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. It sounds like a bacterial infection.-Chuck>

Betta Not Retrieving Food  8/28/06 Hi Crew at WWM, I have read previous answered questions, but have not found any answers for my questions.  I have a Betta for 7 months now, who I named Bartholomew.  I set him up in a 5 1/2 gallon tank with filter, air pump and heater, which is set at 79 degrees.  Recently, he started having problems retrieving food; he lunges and misses.  I feed him an alternating diet of blood worms and Betta pellets; one in the morning and one at night.  Bart still is an excellent eater, but he needs a little help by pushing the pellet below water line or holding blood worm below water line.  Bart's colors are bright with no signs of disease.  He swims around aggressively.  Do you have any suggestions on how to feed him and what could be causing this problem? <Your system and feeding sound fine... there may be "something" amiss with this Bettas vision, coordination due to genetics...> Also, at one time I recently experienced a problem; woke him from sleeping to feed him late at night, he immediately came to the top of the tank and quickly went to the bottom of the tank, lost his color and stayed there for about 15 minutes. <To be expected... "light-shocked"...> He gradually got his color back and came to the top of the tank, ate and was swimming around as his usual self.  Soon I will be going on vacation and leaving Bart with someone else to take care of him.  I will be keeping him in the same 5 1/2 gallon tank with the same set up as I previously described.  My question is can the new surrounding effect him in any way, since he was easily agitated by waking him to feed him?  Thanks ahead for your assistance. <Can... Bettas like tortoises are creatures of extreme/regular habits. Hopefully yours will overcome this current feeding difficulty. Bob Fenner>

Better Betta Nutrition, ...   8/17/06    Hello <Good evening!> I have a beautiful Betta fish (male) he is extremely picky about what he eats the only thing that I have found that he will eat are these little flakes for Betta's I'm sure there OK for him right? <Actually you should mix up his diet.  Try some frozen foods too.> well anyway right now he is in a little fish bowl and he looks very unhappy because the lack of space I have 20 gallon tank I want to put him in and I was wondering what other kinds of fish that are regularly sold in local pets store I could put in there with him if they can be with other fish I had read somewhere that they can but I'm not sure what kind!!! <Bettas can be fine is a bowl if its filtered and most importantly heated. But if you would like to add him to a fresh community tank, one without too much water disruption you can.  Read here for all kinds of info about tankmates and so on.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm  Have a great one, Jen S.>                   thank you for your help                 Mandy Leach

Siamese Fighting fish, no info.   6/22/06 Greetings! I have a Betta that I bought in February, which has recently been not acting as normal <As?> Firstly, he has stopped eating the "Betta flakes" that came with him when I bought him. <Don't blame him there... unpalatable> Is it possible that these are now stale, and don't taste so nice? <Likely so, yes> I have bought him Freeze dried bloodworms, and for a while, these went over well, but now he isn't really keen on them either. Secondly, on his back (Dorsal) he has a long white section, which he didn't have originally. Only showed up a couple of weeks ago. It's exactly the size and shape of the area that sits out of the water when he floats at the surface, is about 15mm long, and 2mm from the top of his body. I don't think its Ich, because it's not a spot and it's not raised, and I couldn't find anything else about such a random change. Cheers, Phil <...? Is this animal in a heated, filtered system? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta Not Eating - 05/07/2006 I am so happy to find this site.  We have a beautiful pink beta for  about 1 year.  We have him in a 1 to 2 gallon tank and have been feeding  him dried  bloodworms every 3 days for the last year.  I change the water  once a week and he has been very active and happy and wonderful.  His name  is Sammy. Well we went away for 10 days and I had a friend feed him twice.  I  told her to give him a drop each time but when we got home practically all of  the food from the container was gone.  I changed the water and he was still  eating the next 1 or 2 times I fed him.  This was 5 weeks ago.  4  weeks ago he started twitching in his tank and swimming on the side  he  hasn't gone to the bathroom or eaten since then.  I started him on the  Maracyn-two for 6 days even though his skin looked fine and he was not bloated  at all.  He still is not bloated and I tried some Epsom salt and even tried giving him the inside of a pea which he did not take. What should I do?  Do you think all of that food that was left in the  tank or that he ate polluted him?  Can he ever recover after not eating or  going to the bathroom in 4 weeks? My kids are all so upset.  We love him so much.  Please can you  offer any advice or is this the end. Thank you all so very much.  -Audrey < It is possible to have an internal bacterial infection without the swelling. I would clean the tank and treat with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Feeding Betta on vacation - 5/4/2006 Dear Mr. Fenner, <<Ms. Brown today!>> My boyfriend and I have had our beta fish for a few months now. His name is Murray and he is a beautiful blue color. We rescued him from my boyfriend's younger sister who wasn't taking very good care of him. We got him a tank and a heater and some aquatic plants, and aquarium furniture and he seems pretty happy. <<I'm sure he is!>> We have gotten very attached to Murray--he has quickly become a member of the family. <<As do all pets.>> Soon we will be going out of town for 5 days and we don't have anyone to come in a feed Murray, so we are very concerned about him starving. We'll, of course, change his water right before we leave--but what will he do for food? <<I would do a water change the day before you leave.  I've had 'great' luck in something being amiss in my source water right before I leave, and not being there to correct it.>> Is he able to survive five days without food? Or is there some device we can get to feed him? <<There are many 'auto-feeders' available commercially.  Do steer away from feeding blocks.>> Thank you so much for your time and any information you might have. Best Regards, Kathleen <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Betta not eating  - 04/19/06 Crew, <Barry> First, thank you for having this very informative site.  I only just discovered it but won't ever lose it. My question - I have a beta for two yrs now, in a 2 1/2 gal tank on my desk at work.  I've always fed him pellets (which I now understand isn't the best approach) which he's attacked and eaten (several) each day.   For three weeks now I find he tries for the pellet but can't hold it in his mouth and spits it out.  I've attempted smashing the pellets, but he doesn't go for the small pieces.   Last week I put live blood worms into the tank - he had interest (curiosity) but hasn't eaten one - that I've seen.  There have been no changes in his environment and his actions, color and humor remain as normal, but he hasn't eaten and I wonder if it has something to do with his mouth.    <Maybe, but doubtful... much more likely an "environmental" cause here... worse, "age"> Thank you again for taking this question - I look forward to any advice you may offer so that my desk buddy can remain with me (and co-workers as well) for sometime.  We're worried about him. Barry <Do give this a read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above... Even if you've read it before. I would make a large/r water change, check nitrogenous levels, temperature here. Bob Fenner>

My (cold) Betta, Kappa    3/31/06 Hello Crew! I emailed you not too long ago about my Betta, Gamma, who was sick. Although I took all your recommendations, I didn't get him the help he needed quickly enough, and he passed away. I don't believe he passed away from any illness, but rather from malnutrition - because although I fed him, he refused to eat. Because Gamma was only in my care for a week and a half, I was able to return him to Wal-Mart and get a new Betta. This Betta is a beautiful light blue Betta, with dark blue and red fins, and I have named him Kappa. However, I really want to have better luck with Kappa than I did with Gamma. Is there any advice you could give me on how to keep Kappa as healthy as possible, and to keep him from getting sick? <Most everything I know re Betta splendens captive care is summarized, posted on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm> Right now, Kappa is in a 1 gallon tank. He is the only fish in the tank and for the time being he will remain that way. The tank has an undergravel filter, as well as a light, which I sometimes use, though not often. Kappa has a fish rock, and two silk plants in the tank with him, and eventually I am going to buy some live Waterlilies to add to the tank. The water in the tank is tapwater that I have conditioned with a conditioner called "Aqua Pure" and which has a half teaspoon of aquarium salt in it. I mixed this in a gallon jug, before adding it to the tank. How can I ensure that Kappa remains healthy? <Needs a heater... to be kept warm enough, consistently...> Like Gamma, he is not eating, however as I just got him today, I assume that he is still getting used to his surroundings and will eat in time. Is there any way I can coerce him to eat? <Posted> I have tried freeze dried blood worms, as well as Betta pellets, but he won't eat either. I have Betta flakes as well, but as Gamma utterly refused them, I haven't tried them with Kappa yet. Thanks a ton! --Michelle "Washi" Maxfield <Time to read. Bob Fenner>
Re: My (still cold) Betta, Kappa    3/31/06
Here is an update, although you haven't emailed me back yet. Kappa is now eating! However, although he will appear to eat, and possibly to "chew" his food, he tends to spit out the flakes and the pellets. Is there something wrong with him? <Likely just cold> Other than that he appears to be doing quite well in his new home. I am quite glad that I adopted Kappa and I hope to have him for a long time. Thanks for your help and advice! --Michelle "Washi" Maxfield <... please read where you've been sent. Bob Fenner>

Betta Not Eating  - 02/20/06 Hi Bob, I've had this orange/brown beta fish for 25 months. Hasn't eaten in weeks (no exaggeration) and is skittish when I try to feed him. Otherwise hangs out, listless, on the silk plant, almost out of the water.  I do offer food every day but end up removing it later in the day. He is in a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater that brings the water to 74-76 degrees. I figured he is old and will die, but this is taking forever. Any suggestions? < Crank the water temp up to 80-82 F and do a 50% water change. Offer some live food live Calif black worms to get him going.-Chuck> (I have another beta, blue, that was given to me at the same time, in another tank beside him. This one is doing fine. Of course he could be much younger...who knows?) Thank you very much. Dorothy Marshall

Bettas Won't Eat  2/18/06 Dear Robert Fenner, I've really found your wet web Betta site useful and informative.  It's surprising how these little fish vary so much in behaviour though. I wonder if you could advise me on a few problems I've had with my guys. I've had Blue Boy for a year now. He has quite a personality, and used to rub up against my fingers in greeting just like a cat. He loved Tetra brand tropical flakes, and yes I know this isn't advised, but they sold it to me at the aquarium shop.  He also eats the blood worms in little envelopes and loves fresh fish when I have it. Live food isn't practical for one fish. Here in England, Frozen seems to come in big frozen chunks. His behaviour has changed in the last few days though.  I just bought a new 30 litre tank and a new beta.  The new guy is living in a 4 litre bowl with gravel and a fake plant.  I was told that I needed to have the tank up and running for a week, though I don't see how the is preferable to a bowl.   Anyway, I temporarily  placed the bowl near Blue Boy's tank just while I was sorting it out.  Well, normally placid Blue Boy flared and fluffed and since then has not been so happy to greet me, either hiding behind a plant or looking rather aggressive. The bowl hasn't been anywhere near him in two days. Also the new guy wont eat.  I call him Narcissus, coz he's more interested in his reflection than anything else.  I've tried him on Betta pellets, flake food, blood worms (dried and moist from envelopes.) Although he's tried the pellets, they get spat out. He doesn't try the other foods.   He seems healthy and mildly interested in the food, but won't actually eat. He constantly races around the bowl and seems very small compared to Blue Boy. I know this can't go on forever. Is this behaviour normal in new situations?  I was going to put the older fish in the new tank with a few Corys and danios, and the new one in the older, smaller tank as he is smaller. Now I think maybe I'll just upset them more. Any advice would be so appreciated. Thanks again for your excellent site. Sincerely, Judith Lowe < In the wild male Bettas take over a small stringent pond or bog and kill off all other male Bettas as rivals. Your beta has seen another beta recently and knows he is around somewhere. He want to see the new beta first before the new beta sees him. The new beta is also aware of a larger beta in the area. Keep them separated and they will both settle down and eat over time.-Chuck>

Blind Betta Can't Eat   2/14/06 Hi there, Thank you for taking my question. I have recently cured (I think) a beta of pop-eye. At this time, although the swelling has subsided, the fish appears to be blind. As a result, he has not been eating. I've even put the food, literally, on his "lips", but he's not interested. In order to keep him from starving, is there a liquid nutrient I can put in the water? Or do you have another suggestion? My fish has not eaten, to my knowledge, for approx. two weeks now. Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated. B. Hancock < Get some live black worms . Get some on the end of a pair of tweezers and drop them on the head /mouth area of the beta. The action of the live worm may get him to eat.-Chuck>

Betta Constipation & Betta Feeding   1/4/06 Hello! I have 2 questions about Betta fish.      1.) I believe that 1 of our Betta fish is constipated. His sides & belly seem very swollen. He floats sideways & seems to not be able to swim downwards... it's like he keeps floating to the top. He's very hesitant about eating. He usually loves to eat... especially bloodworms. He also darts around his bowl really fast. This has just started all this within the past day or 2. What can I do about his constipation? From what I've read on your site, I believe it's constipation. <The best curative here is Epsom Salt...>   2.) What, how much, & how often should I be feeding them? <This is also posted on WWM> We have gotten so many different stories from so many people that we are really confused. I usually give them either a few bloodworms, a few crumbled flakes, or a couple of crisps 2-3 times a day. They usually finish the food really quick. <Twice, thrice is fine>      I am a bit more nervous about caring for them as the 1 that we had the longest.. about 1 1/2 years...died about a month ago. We think he ate some of his plastic plant & it got stuck in his mouth somehow. The middle one... which we got a few months after the 1st...seems to be doing pretty well. The newest one...which we got about a week after the 1st one died...about a month ago...is the constipated one.      We've never had fish before we got the Bettas. About 6 months ago...we tried an aquarium with like 10 fish & an algae eater...but all the fish died & we gave back the algae eater back. Bettas seem so easy to care for...for the most part. They are in big bowls right now...but we are going to get an aquarium (with a divider) to put them in...So they can have more space & the constant warmth they need. Also, I'm very nervous about putting any plants/decorations in with them. Is it just a freak thing that the Betta ate the plant? <Very unusual> I would like to put some decorations & plants in so they don't get bored & can hide when they want to...but need advice on it 1st.    <Please see WWM re Betta Systems...>      Sorry to go on so long. Any help/advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!                                                    Kelly    <Bob Fenner>

Piggy Bettas.. Female Bettas Hogging Food - 11/01/2005 Hi, I'm Chris, and I have a large aquarium with female Bettas, Corys, Oto cats, and some diamond neon tetras.  <Alright....> The posts I've searched on you website, show a lot about Bettas not eating. That's not my problem. I've been told Bettas will only eat brine shrimp, bloodworms, etc. But mine eat sinking pellets for the Corys, algae tablets and flakes for the Otos, mini-pellets for the Neons. And, the 4 Bettas are so fast (and fat) that they get to the food before the others.  <Heh! A "pack" of female Bettas can almost outdo a pack of ravenous wolves, I think! Very efficient little eaters, in groups.> They push the Corys away from the pellets to get at it themselves. Any suggestions on how to feed my other fish, and keep the piggy Bettas away? I added the Corys and Otos only 2 weeks ago to help keep the tank clean. They seem to be okay - so far. <My best recommendation is to feed the Bettas on one side of the tank, and once their attention is in the food there, feed everyone else on the other side. You may actually need to separate the Bettas from the rest of the fish - for the good of the Bettas as much as everyone else - they can easily cause themselves to get quite obese.> Thank you for your expertise. <And thank you for writing in. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

New Betta, Feeding; Old Betta, Fungus - 10/21/2005 Hello, <Hi.> My friend just got a new blue male Betta yesterday, and he's living in a beautiful 1 gallon bowl with a live plant. The problem is that he doesn't want to eat. She's tried blood worms, Betta premium foods, and pellets, and he doesn't eat anything. He's kind of small, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it. What can she do? <Just give him some time to chill out - it may be a couple of days before he accepts food. If in a few days he still won't eat, try offering him frozen or live foods - bloodworms or brine shrimp, or mosquito larvae - NOT Tubifex worms.> On another note, my red Betta is doing fine after his little drunken accident, <Little drunken accident.... Uhh, did you write to us before about this? I have some vague memory.... Attaching previous correspondence when you email us works wonders.... we go through some dozens of questions *a day* sometimes.> but he still has the fungus by his gills. The fungus is white and doesn't have any texture to it. I think it had to do with the fact that when I first got him I didn't change the water for about two weeks, but rest assure I change his water every week now and I got him a 2.5 gallon tank. So what can I do about the fungus? <Description is too vague.... also with so very little information about your system, I am uncomfortable giving any recommendation to medicate as the problem may be entirely environmental.... Please be testing ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> How much salt should I add to this new tank? <None if you like - or no more than one tablespoon per five to ten gallons.> Thanks, -Worried owners <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Betta (Over) Feeding  10/19/05 Hi just a quick question about my Siamese fighting fish, <Sure.> I tried looking if the question has been answered before but in vain.... I've had it for about 6 months always feeding it flakes which seemed good I decided to change to Wardley pellets as am leaving country and it will be easier for my nephew to feed pellets as I can tell him to put in a certain amount of pellets rather than guessing how many flakes to sprinkle....<Good idea.> anyway at the start he would eat but it would go in his mouth and he would spit it out as I guess they r bigger than he is used to.....this would happen several times with the pellet getting smaller and smaller until finished, I normally feed it 4/5 pellets a day spread over two feeding periods a day... <Far to much food for a Betta. Bettas have quite slow metabolisms; feeding 3-4 times a week is all that is necessary, if you wish to do daily feedings 1-2 pellets are sufficient.> after a few days it would take longer and longer for him to even think of eating the pellets and I've noticed several lying at the bottom of the tank uneaten... <A sign of over feeding.> please advise I would like to keep feeding him these as its easier to measure, can I maybe crush them up to smaller pieces or would that cloud the water or should I revert to the flakes <Please feed less.> please reply thanking you, Rehman <No trouble, AdamJ.>
Re: Betta (Over) Feeding  10/19/05
Thanks for your quick reply Adam, much appreciated... <No problem.> one last question, u said am over feeding it I always thought that a fish will eat and eat and eat no matter how much u give it till it dies? I guess this is a myth? <Yes.> reply and thanks again <No trouble.> p.s. I will feed my Siamese fighting fish 2 Wardley pellets a day (one in morning and one in evening) <Even with this feeding regime I would pick at least one day out of the week and fast him that day, Adam J.>

Female beta on a hunger strike -- Update No. 3  9/23/05 Hi Crew, <Mario> Please read below for some background information concerning my female Betta. I have had her for a year now, and since the beginning of August she has not been eating on a regular basis. Maybe one or two small pieces of bloodworms or brine shrimps (dried) every couple of days. The water is filtered, and heated at 80 with the A @ 0, Ni @ 0 and Na @ 5. I have tried frozen bloodworms, garlic extract, and vitamin drops, one or two drops a day. Also I combined the two, but still she won't eat on a regular basis. I do about a 25% water change 2 twice a week to keep the Na at about 5ppm. She is generating a bit of stools, this could be a sign he is eating, I only have fake plants (silk), she is on the side that contains the filter (sponge). Any other, suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Mario D. <See our previous correspondence... below, on WWM under Betta Feeding... try live foods. Bob Fenner>
Female Betta on a hunger strike -- Update No. 4, more useful information... 10/17/05
Hi Crew, This all started in early August. See below for past e-mails.  I could not find any live food, so I got frozen bloodworms to feed her. She would only eat one worm out of a hand full that I would try to feed her. Most of the time when she tries to eat a worm, I notice that when she chews, she looks like she is choking on the food and then she would spit out what she does not want to eat. Does the choking mean something is wrong with she? <Maybe> Some people I spoke to say she is acting her age (18 - 20 months now), that she is in the process of passing on. <Possibly, yes> Some say she is just being picky, and give her more time. <Always a good idea> The water is heated and the readings are A and NI at zero, and NA at 5ppm, the male she shares the tank with is doing fine. <... there should not be a male permanently present with female Bettas> With your experience, do you see any hope she can be saved? <Yes> I tried garlic and vitamins drops (1 a day), but this has not pick up her desire to eat. Should I increase the drops? <Not necessarily> She swims around, but mostly stays at the bottom. But she does sometime show playful moods. You suggestion on the matter would greatly be appreciated. Thanks, Mario D. <... for the semi-last time, you should have read what is posted on WWM re Betta splendens from the get-go... Separate the male and female. Bob Fenner> 
Female Betta on a hunger strike -- Update No. 5 -- 10/18/2005
Hi Bob, <Sabrina with you in his stead> Yes, the male and the female are separated by a divider and I use a screen with a small window, so that they can only see each other from that window. <Still perhaps not an ideal situation - Bettas, like other animals, can smell each other, etc., and it may be a touch stressful to her to be constantly in contact (even though it's "distant") with the male.> The tank is a 5 gallon with the divider they each have 2.5 gallon. <Good enough on space, to be sure.  You might try removing her to an entirely separate system altogether and see if she responds well.> I tried to put them together a long time ago, I saw the female turn from a dark blue to a complete white with horizontal lines and I know she was not a happy camper. <True enough.> Thanks again, for your input. <I do agree with Bob that you could just give this some time....  she will likely come around for you.> Mario D. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Siamese Fighting Fish feeding 8/31/05 Hi, I recently purchased a Siamese Fighting Fish named Dragon and have made a home for it by itself in a double Penn-Plax Betta Bow Front Tank (no, this is not an advertisement for Penn-Plax). I have just noticed that Dragon has not consumed any of the Penn-Plax Pro Balance Betta Food Pellets I have fed it over the past week. Every time I place a pellet in the tank he swims around it extremely disinterested. I am worried and do not know what to do. Please advise. <Hi Prudence, Jorie here.  Some Bettas are extremely picky with what they eat.  I am not familiar with the pellets you describe, but I'd try offering your fish either frozen, then thawed bloodworms or Mysid shrimp.  To thaw, you can add some garlic extract to the water (just a drop!) Garlic is an appetite stimulant and most fish can't resist food soaked in it! You could try soaking a pellet in the garlic extract as well (for a different feeding, of course) and see if that makes him interested.  If not, try switching brands of dry food.  I personally like Hikari's beta food - good quality stuff.> Thanks ;) P.S. Re cleaning the tank (bowl), I know that I should half empty the tank each week and add treated water, however is it best to take the fish out and clean the whole tank i.e. stones and all?. <No, you don't want to remove the fish each time you do a water change, as this will needlessly stress him out.  Leaving the stones in place will allow the tank to cycle, as the beneficial bacteria will establish colonies underneath.  If things get really grungy, in time, it's OK to clean everything and temporarily re-house your beta, but you shouldn't need to do that more than once a year or so...assuming the tank you are describing has filtration (Sorry, not familiar with the brand).  Just be careful not to overfeed and the tank will stay cleaner!  Good luck, Jorie>

Geriatric Jerry? - 08/17/2005 Hi,  my beta, Jerry, has been with me for nearly 3 years.   <A long time, for a beta, these days.  And that's even on top of however old he was upon purchase....> He has always eaten well.  I started off with beta food pellets, which I used for about 2 years.  Recently, he began to go for the pellets and missing them.   <Probably from getting on in age.> After a while he would stop because he doesn't like them soggy.  I then changed his food to freeze dried bloodworms (everyday) hoping that maybe he was bored.  He did ok.  But he still goes food the food and misses it.   <Have you tried frozen bloodworms?  These *might* be easier for him to grab....> I'm not sure it's his mouth or eyes, but if he goes for the food it must mean he sees it, right?   <Maybe, or maybe just doesn't see it very well.  It could just be that he's having trouble maneuvering....  all part of aging, I fear.> I just feel so bad for him.  Also this week I thought I was going to lose him,  he began to lie on his side on the bottom breathing deeply.  This happened in his 10 gallon tank.  So I  changed him back to the fish bowl, which he eventually became himself.   <Ah, good.  Do please test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the 10g tank!  There may be something amiss that, given time, will affect the younger, more spry beta, as well.> One more thing, I noticed he was swollen on his right side toward his tail.  Some things that might help you help me: He lived in a 10 gal. w/ another male beta, but divided for about 3 months.  The food problem began before Tom, the new beta.  By the way Tom is doing fine, its just Jerry.  I separated them just in case Jerry is contagious.  Please help!  What do you think is wrong with Jerry?   <Just as above....  Unfortunately, as much as I'd like, there's no cure for age.> And how can I help? <You already are....  softer foods, less water flow, perhaps even floating plants for him to be able to rest near the surface will all be helpful to him.> Thank you so very much!!   <Thanks for writing in, and for providing such great care for your fish!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Female beta on a hunger strike, except when it comes to bloodworms 8/14/05 Hi Crew. <Mario> Your input would greatly be appreciated on the following matter. I have a 5-gallon aquarium with a sponge filter and a heater than has been running since January/2005 and cycled since April/2005 that houses two fishes (Bettas - a male and a female, both are 1 year old), with a separator so each have there own space without any bullying. <Sounds very nice> My situation is the female has stop eating for about a week now (i.e. Freeze dried bloodworms or brine shrimps, and even the bio-gold pellets). So, last night I tried frozen bloodworms which she ate a good amount, but did spit out a few. <Mmmm> The male as not been affected, he is doing just fine. I tested the water, my A @ ZERO, NI @ ZERO, NA @ 10-20, <Twenty is getting to be a bit worrisome... on the high side> PH about 7.2-7.6 and the temperature around 80 F. I have been to do small water changes (20%) every second day (with some aquarium salt) hoping this would get her going again. <Good idea> Her color looks fine (I see no visible signs of illness); therefore I feel it is more internal. She swims about with less fury than before, but spends a good part of the time at the bottom, acting/feeling depress. <Mmm, doubt, or at least discount "something internal" here... as you've had the tank, fish so long...> Thinking back I remembered the chlorine and chloramines remover that I used a week ago, do have a little odor; maybe it was bad enough to affect her, but not the male. <Possible... but my guess is on the high nitrate, and whatever else (unmeasured) that this portends... I would set out a good volume of water (a few gallons), make this ready, and do a large water change here... this will likely stir the females appetite... additionally, you might add a bit of liquid vitamins (for fish or humans.... they're the same) to the water, foods...> Should I continue with the water changes (adding some aquarium salt or should change to Epsom or sea salt) or should I medicate? <I would continue as you are with the water changes, but increase the volume to reduce the nitrate, leave off with the salt, medications> Also, when I defrost a cube of frozen bloodworm, is it OK to store the unused portion, wrapped with plastic in the fridge for them to eat the next day, if so, how many days can I keep the worms in and out of the fridge before they go bad? <Can last several days refrigerated this way. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Mario D.
Re: Female beta on a hunger strike -- Update 8/21/05
Hi Crew, <Mario II> After receiving your reply last Sunday (Please read below for some background information), I did a massive water change and was able to bring the Nitrates down to 5ppm. <Good> Since then she has eaten very little about 3 pellets and would chew on some freeze dried bloodworms or brine shrimps, but only to spit out not long after. I tried to feed her frozen bloodworms, but she refused to eat. <Takes time to change fish behavior...> But most of the time she would just simply look at the food and show not interest in eating. I did add some vitamins drops (made for children), two drops each day and to the food but with no real success. <Takes time...> She does produce a little stools each day, so she must have been eating enough to generate stools. I only have a plastic plant and the filter on she side on the tank. This afternoon (Saturday), I tested the water and the readings were the same as all week, the A and NI at zero, and the NA at 5. <Okay> But today she was the least active of the whole week, would not eat at all, stayed at the bottom, only to come up for air and then head back to the bottom and hide mostly behind the plant. I used a flashlight and I noticed that she is breathing more rapidly today than I have noticed before. Any suggestions at this point would greatly be appreciated. Thanks again, Mario D. <Time going by my friend. Please be patient, keep the faith. Bob Fenner>
Re: Female beta on a hunger strike -- Update No. 2  8/27/05
Hi Crew, Another week is about to pass, where my female Betta has not eaten, since Wednesday August 17 (3 pellets). <I see> For some background information, please read below. She mostly stays at the bottom, only coming to the top for some air. I checked the water again last night, the reads are still the same A @ zero, NI @ zero and NA @ 5ppm, I do a small water change (20%) every 2 days, hoping this would spike her some, and also to keep the NA down. I still give 2 drops of vitamins each day. If, she continues to not eat how much time do you think she has left? <A few weeks likely> Thanks again for all your insight to date on this matter, what do you suggest I do going forward. Thanks Again, Mario D. <I would try, continue to try some live foods... bloodworms, Daphnia, Brine Shrimp... just a few pieces during the daylight hours. Bob Fenner>

Betta not eating  since I bought him ....for 2 weeks, WWM Hi, I bought a new Betta fish about 2 weeks ago from a Petco store. Its not been eating since then. I tried to feed him with Hikari BioGold pellet and flakes, but he doesn't seems to eat any of these. He seems to be very active and    making bubbles. I do water change every week. He is in 1 Gal container. Please suggest what should I do. Thanks. <Bettas don't always take to dried foods and should never be fed them exclusively. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta not eating  since I bought him ....for 2 weeks.
Hello, Thanks for your email. <Welcome> I bought a new Betta Food today - Freeze Dried Bloodworms. and my Betta just loves eating it. Could you please tell me if a Betta can survive just on this food, does it meet its nutritional requirements? <Cannot, and Betta Foods/Feeding/Nutrition FAQs are posted on WWM> I tried putting one Hikari BioGold pellet in between, but my Betta spits it out. Also, how much should I feed him? He finishes whatever I give in fraction of a second! Thanks DS <Please go to WWM... Bob F>

Betta not eating I've noticed that over the last couple of weeks my Betta has gradually stopped eating.  He is on a diet of bloodworms and has had a healthy appetite until now - does not like anything else at this point. <Not good> He will show interest in the food, circling and hovering below the food but will not actually feed.  Both eyes seem slightly enlarged but are not cloudy.  Do they have vision problems with pop eye. I test the water and do regular partial water changes - he is in a 3.5 gal. tank - no ammonia problems.  PH is high but that is the tap water here. I have read your recommendation for adding Epsom salts and will try that if  you think it would help. Very worried owner. <You could try the Epsom, but very likely your Betta is suffering from a nutritional deficiency... I would try some other foods... live black worms, brine shrimp, Daphnia... and ultimately wean it on to a complete pelleted diet, in addition to occasional other meaty/fresh or frozen/defrosted, freeze-dried... foods. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta not eating
Hi again - So far no luck with the new food regime. I have tried brine shrimp and daphnia and he turns up his snout - won't even taste. I was only able to find freeze dried - nothing live at our pet store (small town, fairly far out of the loop). Eyes have protruded now to the point of having a white ring around them. <Not good> Still no visible cloudiness. He's not bloated. Can't see any lesions. Breathing does seem a bit laboured. When I partial change water I don't use fresh from the tap treated water, it's treated and sits in a jug for at least a week. Checked the water again - no ammonia, PH is 8.2 (same as always). His tank has an undergravel filter system, some mostly brown algae growth on the gravel and plastic rock and plant ornaments. Tank temperature is 76 and steady. Can't think of anything else to tell you. Any suggestions welcome. Way more worried owner. <Have you perused the Betta articles, archived FAQs on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  It might give you solace, perhaps something new to consider... Bob Fenner>

New Betta set up and feeding Hi, I am really worried about my new Betta. I just got my new Betta and its my first time having a fish. I absolutely love him and have a few questions. I have the vase and lily set up which I heard is not the best, but I also heard if you have it set up right it will be just fine. So what is the right way to have this set up? Also I was watching him eat today and I noticed when he would take a piece of food and he would spit it back out. A lot of food sinks to the bottom too. It is flake food called BettaMin Tropical Medley made by Tetra. What's Going On?!? Thanks Amanda <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the area on Bettas... read re their set-ups, care... Bob Fenner>

Re: Follow up on sick Betta, Jwala (Hindi - Fire) That Won't Eat Dear Bob, <Karl> Thank you for your help with my Betta that wouldn't eat. My Betta was named Jwala by one of my coworkers, Jwala being Hindi for fire. He still lives but isn't thriving. If you remember, he went a full month without eating after the room temperature dropped one night. I tried different foods as you suggested and finally got him to eat flake. I also raised the room temperature.  It has been anther three weeks and at this point, I could use some more advice. The first time Jwala ate after his one-month fast, he rolled over on his side and floated at the surface looking very much as if he were dead. I thought the food had killed him, but after 20 minutes he was swimming upright again. Gradually, over a period of days, I increased the amount of food I offered him. Every time he eats he repeats the floating-on-his-side-looking-dead behavior. He can only eat very small pieces of food that float well. Betta pellets float well, but seem to be too big for him still. If the food doesn't float well, he cannot get it.  I've seen him try to chase a sinking piece. He swims fiercely but cannot dive more than an inch or so and comes bobbing back to the surface like a cork. I wonder whether there is something wrong with his swim bladder or whether he is just too weak. <Perhaps both... have you tried adding a bit (the equivalent of a level teaspoon per five gallons) of Epsom salt to the water? This might solve the floating problem here> Unfortunately, I will be out of the country for about a month. One of my coworkers has volunteered to tend Jwala while I am gone. Do you have any suggestions for feeding Jwala. I have been feeding him small amounts of crushed flake three or four times a day. I doubt that my coworker will be able to do the same. Thank you. Your help has been very well appreciated. Karl <Am fearful that the flakes won't sustain him... do add the Epsom. Bob Fenner>  

Peas? How? Feeding Bettas - I Want to Know! I've been reading the forums and see where feeding Bettas peas is a 'good thing'. <Mmm, if they'll take them... better to offer a mix of meaty foods that are bite-sized along with a staple diet of dried "Betta food"> How exactly do I do this? Pieces of peas with tweezers? Only frozen then thawed peas? Raw? Canned? <Canned or frozen, squeezed to rupture, toss skin...> My Betta has developed what looks to be constipation. So I've upped the dose of aquarium salt in his 1 gal bowl (w/ rocks [no gravel] and other "town like" decor) I saw where putting a philodendron in the bowl is good too? True? <Nope, not good...> I've had him now for about a year and he's done rather well especially once I put heat to his bowl about 3 mo.s ago :) He really enjoys slurping up any mosquito larvae I feed him.  But that is seasonal and I need to get him a more variety of foods.  <Look for frozen, or freeze- or otherwise dried...> Only gets the pellets right now. From reading your forums, I believe the pellets may be the constipation problem. I'm feeding him twice daily w/ one pellet (until I get some dried and/or frozen foods) and he's hungry each time. His color is good and I completely change out his bowl each week (the rocks, etc. too) and only use spring bottled water...as our local tap water kills fish...and may be doing a number on me as well. I always (especially after seeing some white fuzzies on him once) put a few grains of aquarium salt in with the new water. He's always made bubbles and still does as we speak.  Other than the swollen belly, he's doing great. So, please tell me. What am I doing wrong that I don't know about? Thank you for your time. Stacy <I would sub Epsom Salt for now... should "loosen" things up. Bob Fenner> 

Re: pea? Why a pea? I just wanted to let Mike D know why a pea was likely added to the aquarium in the Betta Compatibility FAQ (Betta not feeding, but being fed on): The mushy innards of a cooked pea is supposed to act as a laxative for constipated fish. I only have experience using this with my male Betta, but I can say that it worked well. <Thanks much for this. Don't know where MikeD has gone off to, but will post for all's edification. Bob Fenner> 

Red Betta Blues pt2 Thank you, I realized the address thing right after I hit send... fortunately, I never posted that picture anywhere else. I've been doing water changes for them both more often, both fish are still active...adding salt to both tanks. They both seem to be doing a lot better, the lump on the red fish is about half the size as it was yesterday and I bought them some blood worms, which they go nuts for over the flake food. I read the thing about the pea earlier, but I have no method of cooking peas in my dorm room unless they serve some in the cafeteria by chance. But, he seems to be doing a lot better now that I laid off the flakes. Ali <Good to hear. Nothing wrong with flake as a staple food. It's balanced and formulated to be a complete diet. Use the natural foods a few times a week as a treat food. Helps keep things moving. Don>

This Betta Could use an Italian Grandmother! Thanks for responding to my earlier message about the cats--spraying the cat once with water seemed to do the trick. <One stop shopping, I guess! I didn't see your earlier question, but I'll try to help you out with your Betta...this is Jorie.> My Beta seems very happy (big bubble nest & lots of swimming), but I still have a couple of concerns. He doesn't really eat--just a tiny bite here or there. I've tried flake food & freeze dried brine shrimp. Do I need to break it up for him? Should I try another type of food. <I've never been able to get a Betta to accept flakes. Try Hikari's Betta pellets (good quality food, can't remember the exact name), and maybe consider investing in some frozen bloodworms and/or Mysid shrimp - my Bettas are wild for both! Of course, be careful not to overfeed...maybe 5 or so worms, and 1 Mysid (separate feedings) - your Betta's stomach is only about the size of his eye. I'd yet to find a Betta who doesn't like those meaty foods...> Also, his bottom fin looks great, but his top fin is clumped together (he looked like that when I got him). Does he have a problem? <Well, hard to say, but if it's always been that way, perhaps this is just the way the fin is? Can you get him to flare out by teasing him with your finger up against the tank, or even a mirror? Will he spread his top fin then? If so, check to make sure there's no visible signs of fin rot, etc. If not, I wouldn't worry, but do double-check.> Is 2.5 gallons too small to heat? We have him in the warmest room in the house. His water is at 79 degrees with the light on during the day. This may sound like a stupid question, but do the heaters have thermostats? <You can purchase a submersible 25watt heater for a 2-3 gallon tank; in fact, that's exactly what I run in both of my 3 gal. Betta tanks. They do have internal "thermostats", that will allow them to shut off when the water reaches the temp. you want, but you do have to play with the settings at first to get it right. I'd suggest you experiment in a bucket before adding the heater to the tank. Once you get it set, you can just leave it alone, but it can be tricky to get that setting right at first on the smaller heaters.  Hope I've helped, Jorie.>

Betta not eating, acting normally Hello - <Good morrow> I've been through your site, reading the articles regarding Bettas not eating, yet they all list lethargy, staying at the bottom of the bowl, etc. as symptoms. My Betta seems to be acting normally - he flares regularly, & is very active, yet seems to show no interest in his pellets (Hikari Bio-Gold, fyi). When he does, he will take one in his mouth, then spit it out. I've tried blood worms as well, but he will not eat. He's now been without food for just over a week. I did a complete water change when I noticed his behaviour, & cleaned his gravel & "plants" with Aquarium-salt water, as there was some algae growth. I figured he was not liking that green water too much, but the change did not seem to help. There appears to be no physical changes in his appearance, either.  <Good descriptions, moves thus far> He was sick a couple of months ago, & was treated with Betta Fix, which seemed to help him along in about a week. At that time, he demonstrated the symptoms that the other visitors to your site have mentioned. <Okay> I'm stumped, & starting to worry. I've had this guy for about 1 year now, so he's not new to his environment. Would love to get your feedback. Thanks. LMT <I would add "a pinch" of Epsom Salt to the system water... and look into some frozen (defrost this first) food... like Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, Mysis... this should trigger your Betta's appetite. Bob Fenner>

Betta not liking worms About a month ago, I bought my new Betta some Freeze Dried Blood Worms, I give them to him about twice a week, but he never eats them, I'll put them in before I go to bed at night, and they are still there not touched by morning.. <Mmm, a couple of things... you might try soaking these dried worms in a bit of water for an hour or so before offering... and don't leave food in the container overnight... best to offer while you can observe, remove if not consumed in say, five, ten minutes> he eats the pellets like they are the best thing that's ever happened to a fish. Why does he not like the worms, and what else is there to give him for that vitamin the worms provide? thanks!! <There are a few well-formulated dried/pelleted "Betta foods", that are complete nutritionally, palatable... Other meaty foods include Daphnia, Brine Shrimp, Glassworms... others, that are best (for one fish) bought, kept frozen, a bit defrosted... and alternated with dried foods on other days. Bob Fenner>

Ghost Catfish and Bettas health/feeding and compatibility I currently Have 3 Ghost catfish a female Betta and 2 Dwarf frogs in a 10 gallon tank. I have had some problems with the ghostfish staying alive. I was wondering if the Betta was a bad idea to put with the ghostfish? <These fishes should get along well enough together... the catfish are pretty quick to avoid periodic aggression in your size system... One thing they do need is occasional meaty food... and a lack of metal objects in their water. We have some scant coverage here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/silurids.htm Do check out your water quality to assure it is within their natural range (see WWM and fishbase.org re the species) and add some meaty foods daily to their diet. Bob Fenner> 

Betta Upgrade Hi, I have a question about my Betta and eating. Recently my Betta lived in a 1/2 gallon bowl. After each water change he would make bubble nests, and ate twice a day, and would even jump for his food sometimes, he seemed like a pretty happy guy. I recently got a 10 gallon tank with a filter and heater, treated the water let it cycle and finally put him in. He took to it immediately. He is always exploring and swimming around. He hangs out mainly by the filter and hugs the heater a lot. My problem is its been about 3 days and he hasn't eaten once. I put the food in and it just gets swept away with the current or drops to the bottom. I usually feed him Betta bites which he seemed to love and on occasion I would put in some freeze dried worms. When he didn't eat the bites I put in the worms, and he didn't eat those either.  He's not hanging out at the bottom of the tank at all, always at the top, but its really concerning to me that he hasn't eaten. I even tried to float a cup and put the food in it so that it wouldn't float away, but he just looked at it and wasn't interested. What should I do? I'm considering putting him in the bowl each time I want him to eat, but I don't think that is a good idea?? Thank you. <First let me say thank you! A 10 gallon with a filter and heater is a great home for a Betta! You could even add a few Corys in there. It's normal for him not to eat for a few days after a move. Are you testing his water? A fishless cycle requires about 6 weeks to complete, with a some sort of decaying organic matter to feed the filter's bacterial colony. You must test in order to see when the cycling is complete. Even if you did not do this, it's OK. Just don't add any more fish for a while. Do a 30% water change once or twice a week for a few weeks and you should be fine. A single Betta, lightly feed, will not foul the water quickly. But testing the water is the only way to be sure. Make sure you do not overfeed and always use a gravel vac to remove waste and uneaten food when doing water changes. This is very important. Good luck. Don>

Betta Feeding Hi, I bought a Betta one week back. I am feeding 3 times a week. But it is not eating the piles/food that are on the gravel. So it is having only half of the food that I am feeding. So shall I add more food to feed the Betta or not. I am using filter for my one gallon tank. Do I need to use filter through out the day or can I keep for 12 hours a day and shut off during nights. Thanks, Aj. <First, there should be no food on the gravel. Do a water change using a gravel vac to remove the old water. You should do this at least once a week or whenever you see uneaten food. You don't mention a heater. Very important that your Betta is kept at a steady temp in the high 70's. This would be easier to do in a 2.5 or 5 gallon tank. Only feed him as much as he will eat before it hits the bottom. Two or three Betta pellets daily is plenty. You should leave the filter run 24/7. Don>  

Betta fish Hi, again <Hello...this is Jorie> I have just 1 more question, my females Bettas aren't eating the pellets that I give them, so what should I do? they swim next to the pallets and looks at it. <Is this a newly introduced food? You could try adding a drop or two of Kent's Garlic Xtreme to the water to stimulate their appetite, but Bettas can be picky eaters.  Have you tried either frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms? That's a favorite food with Bettas, as is mysis shrimp. Some Bettas eat pellets, and some don't.> It seems like they want to eat it, but they don't want to, so I'm not sure what to feed it, is it because my water isn't good or? <You definitely should check the water's parameters (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) just to be sure it isn't a water quality problem.  Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates should all be at zero - if they aren't, do a water change ASAP to clear out those toxins, as they are quite poisonous to fish.> thanks again <You're welcome. Jorie.>

Starving Betta Hello - I adopted a male Betta about 4 weeks ago. <Good of you. Now comes the fun> He was living in my sister's second grade classroom and the kids were ignoring him and he was spending too much time in the dark. I originally had him in a very large bowl and he seemed unhappy. I put him in a smaller bowl, which he seems to like better. <More likely the water change perked him up. Even a large bowl is too small, IMO. A 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a sponge filter and heater is ideal> I change the water every few days to keep it clean, <OK, good. Frequent partial water changes are better> and the temperature is warm. <Not warm or steady enough. Bettas are tropical fish and need a steady temp in the high 70's> He spends his day floating around the top of the bowl making lots of bubbles. <Good sign. He's making a bubble nest and looking for love> Unfortunately, I can not get him to eat anything at all. He has not eaten anything since he is with me and he is getting quite thin. I've tried all sorts of foods to no avail. About a week ago he started to turn gray and list to one side. I thought maybe the water was too cold so I put lights around the bowl and he perked up. <Would have to be on 24/7 to help. And that's not good. Again, he needs a steady temp in the high 70's> I feel really bad that this fish will not eat. I don't want him to die. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. <See if he'll eat blood worms. You can get both frozen or freeze dried. The frozen come in little cubes that are way too large for a pair of Bettas. Try the freeze dried or a small bit of the frozen. If all else fails, see if your pet store has live brine shrimp. Not a good food, but may kick start him. But I feel it is in vain for his long term health if kept too cool> Also, I adopted another male Betta last week from the pet store. He is in a separate bowl next to the first Betta and he eats just fine. I noticed that this new Betta has little fins near his gills that he uses to swim around with. The first Betta does not seem to have those fins. Could that be why he does not swim? <No. The second Betta is flaring out his gill plates to appear bigger to the first. Move them or put something between them so they are out of sight of one another. The stress building up in them is not a good thing. Don>   Thank you very much for your help. Jaime

Picky Betta I noticed that when I feed my Betta, he will some times eat the food, then spit it back out. He doesn't do this all the time, and I haven't noticed him doing it before. I've been feeding him Hikari Bio-Gold for a long time now and he only just started doing this. I feed him 3-4 pellets twice a day. He will still eat the food eventually, but is this normal? , Jeremy <<Jeremy, cut back on the food. You are overfeeding him. Cut back to once a day, and if need be, once every other day. This should help. You can also vary the foods he eats. Bettas are carnivores and should have bloodworms, insect larvae, etc. You can find these either frozen or freeze-dried, at your local pet store. Please be sure you are doing enough water changes, too. -Gwen>>

Betta Feeding Hi, I have a question. I have heard that Betta fish can live in a bowl and eat a plants roots for food, not having to supplement with anything else. Is this true? <No. Some claim that small organisms living among the roots will supply enough food to support the Betta. Not true in the long run. Please feed your Betta. A small tank with a heater and sponge filter is far better than a small, cold bowl. Don> Matt

Recently purchased Betta won't eat at all I have a male and a female in a half gallon container with a separator to keep them a part. I bought both Bettas at the same store, first I bought the female and two days later I purchased the male. when I asked the dealer what they were feeding the Bettas the salesperson said Bio-Gold so I purchased the food. My question is, the female has accepted the food and it does not take her long to eat it but the male will simple look at the food, but will not eat it. When I asked the salesperson, I was told it is normal simple remove the pellet(s) and try again the next day to give it up to three weeks if the male still will not eat come back to the store. He looks health he is swimming fine and at time notice his reflection or the female and will begin to flare and the female will do the same. My room temperature is 20c (about 68-70f). If I put a lamp over the container will this heat the water, without a temperature gaze, how long should I leave the light on. If I do need a temperature gaze inside the container or can I put one outside next to the container still give a good reading. What do you think I should do < Heating the water is a good idea. Bettas do best at and around 80 F. You can use a lamp but make sure you don't get it too close and get the water too hot. Then there is the problem of keeping it warm when you turn the lights out. Small volumes of water lose their heat very quickly. Try and keep you Betta in a warms spot in the house and use the lamp to increase the water temp. Once he warms up you should see him start to eat.-Chuck> Thanks Mario D.
Re: Recently purchased Betta won't eat at all (GOOD NEWS)
Thanks again, WetWebMedia (Chuck) for your feedback. I got my male Betta to eat; it seems he has a taste for dried blood worms better know as "freeze dried red grubs". I tried flakes, without success. What I plan to do is continue feeding him the dried stuff and every couple of weeks I will add the frozen blood worms. What do you say? Is dried food as nutritious enough for a Betta to live on for a long time? < I always recommend a varied diet for fish. All foods have certain advantages and disadvantages. So try other foods to besides the blood worms.> One concern is on the label it says.       Caution: may cause an allergic reaction. I looked at other labels for dried food, and only the one that I bought contained this warning. I asked the salesperson, and was told the all dried food brands are the same, and not to worry. Is this warning normal, even if other products do not specify it on the label? < Check the ingredients and see what is different. I suspect that there is shellfish in the one that has the warning. I think that this would be important if you were using this to feed a food type of fish used in aquaculture.> What do I look for if he does get a reaction? < I don't think he will get one. Just in case feed sparingly at first and see how he likes it.> I purchased a brand called "Nutrafin - Basix" Betta food. If, dried he likes to eat, then that it should be. I am new at this, can you give me a name or two, of a good one, and I will try to purchase it next time I go shopping for food. Note: the female like to eat it also. Thanks again, Mario D. <Quality name brand foods that I recommend include Tetra, Marineland, Spectrum, Hikari and OSI are all good. Other companies are reformulating their foods all the time so it is sometimes hard to keep track. Check labels and read ingredients. You fish are the ultimate test.-Chuck>
Re: Recently purchased Betta won't eat at all (further questions)
Thanks for your reply. To further my question. Both the male and female share the same water, the female eats OK, but the male does not. Do each Betta react differently to the water temperature? < They should both act and eat the same but maybe the male is just a little more picky.> But, just today, he started putting the pellets in his mouth, but then ejects it and the pellet ;looks like it has not been eaten. I started feeding both my Bettas blood worms and the male did eat some. Is this a good sign? < Once he starts eating then you should try and give them a varied diet that should include some flake, pellets, frozen and live foods.> Is eating the blood warms better for the Bettas than, the pellets? < Each food offers some advantages and disadvantages. why a varied diet is best.> If not, how long can a Betta go without eating? < Depending on the water temp. probably at least a couple of weeks. They are not very active fish so their caloric intake requirement is not as high as some of the more active fish.-Chuck>

Feeding my male Betta fruit flies??? Hi CREW Is it good to feed my male Betta freshly killed fruit flies?  I hope they don't have parasites...and how many can I give him in one feeding?...I don't want to overfeed - he's in 2 gal. bowl I only did it once he ate it in one gulp... Then I gave him 2 Betta bites At times I see fruit flies around my bathroom or kitchen esp. if some fruit went a little bad Basically I just want to know if this is a good/safe diet for him since I know he's a carnivore and I haven't gotten round to feeding him live foods yet Can I feed him brown ants from outside and flies in general and  tiny spiders? < In the wild Betta eat small insects that fall into the water. I would only give him enough so they are all gone in a few minutes.> I want to get an aquarium 6 or 10 gallons? < Bigger is always better.> I need To have temp control of his water What type of filter would you recommend - as I see conflicting opinions online that filters can harm male Betta splendens < You don't want a filter that has a huge water flow with it. You still need to turn the vol. of the tank over at least 3 times an hour but you need to protect the Betta from the intake tube or his long fins will get sucked up and torn.>  What watt heater would you recommend - I read always opt for a lower wattage than you think you need to safe guard fish if anything goes wrong < A 25 to 50 watt heater would be fine. It depends on how cold you keep your house in the winter. If you let it get cold at night then I would go with a least a 50 watt heater.> And I'm thinking of getting java moss or fern with a little aquarium salt added to water < These would be appreciated but not too much salt.-Chuck> I just want to help my Betta friend live out his lifespan happily Thanks for your time and expert advice

Betta & 10 gal home Hi Chuck.. thanking you again for finding time for me & my Betta...but for now I need to set aside the aquarium dilemma. I have found on 2 occasions what looks like a black piece of hair, but it doesn't move. First time it was size of eyelash, 2nd time its nearly twice that size (very thin but tubular and perfectly straight) totally alien from his normal stool-if it is a part of his stool, doesn't look like his regular stool movement at all. I'm hoping its not a parasite since I'm planning to place him in an aquarium w/ plants by himself. I have fed him on occasion wild fruit flies I killed myself and brine shrimp. Could the fruit flies have had parasites, when I squashed them they had red blood to my surprise! I don't have a digital camera now - so I cant send a pix < I suspect that what you are finding is the exoskeleton of the fruit flies that are indigestible to your Betta and simply passing through. I would not worry about it.> And these past 2 days he spit out his Betta bite pellets & Hikari brand pellets, maybe his loss of appetite is coincidental. Maybe its his way of telling me he wants live food!--don't know--- < Could be fat and sassy and can wait for the good stuff. Wait a couple a days and see how he acts. If the water has cooled down then that would make a difference on his appetite too.> (A separate ques. How many brine shrimp would you feed him per serving he is an adult Betta?) < Only enough so that it can eat in a couple of minutes. No more!> Eagerly awaiting your response I writing to you from NYC its 4:15pm now if you cant respond by 6:30pm to this email address: XXXX@dot.nyc.gov can you then Email me at XXXX@hotmail.com, since for the next 3 days I wont have access to the 1st address, And thank you again *smile* Diane Ps just the other day I went to "Petland" - and was very saddened to see 6 tiny bowls with gorgeous Bettas sitting listlessly and dejectedly in their confines. It really upsets me how pet shops are marketing these poor little souls  - its very cruel. < Keep in mind that these are temporary setups and not designed for long term residence . It fact many Bettas are usually sold in the first week they arrive at the shop.> I cant help but to feel I'm doing a justice for my Betta at home - he has a 2 gal to himself - and he has quite a bit of energy. (even though I'm ques parasites) They are lovely animals, they're very curious and love to inspect the newness of everything they come across < Welcome to the world of tropical fish keeping. You are truly a hobbyist because you watch your fish and not just look at them.-Chuck> Regards Diane

Siamese Fighting Fish We have a very limited fish store. Can you elaborate on what you mean by live food. < Many stores carry an assortment of live food such as Tubifex worms or brine shrimp. If you could even find a few mosquito larvae it might help. We change the water about once a week, using a method to allow the water to come to temp. The average temp here is currently ranging between 40 to 60 Deg F. (2 to 15 Deg C) < Sixty to forty degrees F is way too cold. If these are the water temps that you can maintain then I would recommend getting a paradise fish instead.-Chuck> This may be the problem by the sounds of it. I'll get a heater too. Thanks < Try a water change and offer a little live food from your local fish store to see if he moves around a little bit. Warm clean water would be a big help. They like to be up around 80 degrees . -Chuck>

Betta 14 Aug 2004 Hi, <Hi Natalie, MacL here with you> I bought my fighting fish about a month and a half ago. It lives in a small quarter gallon fishbowl without a plant or gravel and I change the water frequently (about half the tank, two times a week) and use a dechlorinator. <Good Job!> I also feed it daily with Nutrafin Max. The instructions on the back of the package said to feed the fish as much as it would eat in two minutes, two or three times daily. <They like to sell food. And I'm not saying its not a quality food, you just have to realize what they are in business to do.> However, the worker at the pet shop said to feed it two to three flakes, once a day.  The sizes of the flakes in the package vary dramatically (especially as they break down easily) and I felt that this was an inaccurate measurement of servings. <Very wise!> When I feed my fish, it never stops eating. I feed it about a pinch each day and it finishes it in significantly less than two minutes, but it is a lot more food than the recommended two to three flakes, and substantially more than the amount that my sister feeds her fish. <I'd definitely consider cutting back.> However, it has refused to eat anything in the last two days and I have had to clear the old food out of the bowl.  It has also changed from its initial dark red colour to a light brownish yellow. <My guess would be its experiences an ammonia rise and possibly a ph drop.  You should do a water change and it should help him immensely. Any time you see him stop eating or anything like that the first thing to do is a water change.> Its body is almost translucent because it is so lightly coloured and is yellowish.  It doesn't move much anymore.  I have heard that fish are more lively in warm water, and although I live in Canada, it is summer now, and the room temperature is around eighteen to twenty degrees Celsius.  When I first got my fish, it was always moving  rapidly around its bowl and very lively, now it barely moves and sometimes it looks dead. <They do sometimes just sit there like they are dead, very scary.> Should I be heating the tank? <He should be fine without, you might consider putting him under a light during the day to give him some additional heat if you are concerned but not in the window.> Have I been overfeeding my fish? <I think perhaps a tad, a flake is probably all necessary during a day.>  Is my fish constipated?   Should I move my fish into a proper tank with gravel and a plant?  <It would be great but not necessary. He will be fine in his bowl.>  Is it sick? <I think he's suffering from pollution in his tank, but you will fix that with a water change.> Will it die soon? <Hopefully he will have a long and healthy life. Good luck, MacL> Thanks.

Over-eating Betta? Having recently lost a 2 year old male Betta pal, I purchased a new male Betta, but he was smaller than my old one and the saleslady told me that was because he was still very young.  Well, he practically begs for food. He is constantly scouting the water's top for Bio Gold pellets.  Everything on the web indicates feeding only 3 or 4 pellets twice a day but I have been giving mine about 6 at a feeding, 4 times a day -- which he wolfs down in seconds.  I don't want to harm him with overfeeding, but he sees me approach the tank and rushes up to the top to beg.   I can hardly bear to see him constantly searching for food.   Am I harming or helping this immature fellow with so much food?   Ellen Kavanaugh <<Hi there. I doubt you are harming him, younger fish DO eat more than adults. Feeding him three times a day is fine, but smaller amounts! What you DON'T want to do is develop bad water quality. Is there a filter? If not, test the water regularly to ensure the ammonia level stays between 0(our goal) and .25ppm. If there is a filter, test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to determine when to do the water changes. After a while, you will figure out how often to change his water with the current feeding schedule. Also, he may slow down after a growth spurt, you will need to see how he reacts. When you notice that his eating is slowing down, or that he is beginning to let food drop to the bottom and shows no interest in it, you can change the feeding schedule back to twice a day, or once a day, even. Good luck!-Gwen>>

Betta not eating 3/8/04 Hi all! <Hey! MacL here trying to help today>  I've been reading posts on your website with great interest. I am looking for some help though. Currently I have 2 Betta tanks that are filtered (or at least a little filter system with air bubbles). One sits near a window and one sits on an entertainment system. The one near the window is a bit cloudy. <Very possibly an algae bloom or could be a rise in ammonia.>  This same tank has "BoBo" in it. He has seemed to stop eating. I am feeding him and the other Aqua Culture Betta Pellet food. "BoBo" was eating fine up until the last 2 weeks or so. Sometimes he eats a few pellets and sometimes he won't eat at all. <If its an algae bloom it could be affecting the ph of the tank and making him ill. If its ammonia same thing. Might be wise to get it out of the direct sunlight and do a water change to take care of the problem. >  He use to eat with great enthusiasm. He sometimes looks like he is hibernating. He won't move at all, like he is sleeping in the rocks. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, R P.S. Both Betta's get their water added to and/or partly changed or completely changed. Both with the same procedures all the time, drinking water is used (not distilled or tap). <My thoughts are that its the natural sunlight.>
Betta not feeding, but being fed on
hi guys, <Hi! MikeD here!>     I'm new on this website and I noticed a few things I had no idea about my Siamese fighter, but talking about him I am getting increasingly worried as I have had him around  a week with some other fish {because my water was fine so I could get some more} but I have not seen him eat. All my other fish swim to the top and grab the flakes but he just stays in his area not even looking at the food. <<Bettas don't really "like" flake foods, need more substantial, meatier foods to be healthy. RMF>> I have also seen that he has lost a chunk out of on his fin and has lots of little bite marks were it looks like the end of his tail has died off!<That's likely what is happening. Many fish, such as tetras and barbs are well known fin nippers that keep biting that tale.> I do know that they don't like new tanks but I can't stand to see such a beautiful creature suffer! My friend has lent me a special like sick box to put him in with a pea<Why a pea? I can see no reason a pea would make any difference at all, other than to decay.>> to make him better is this right?    In my tank I have 1 neon tetra, 1 albino shark, 1 catfish, 2 female Siamese fighters, 1 silver tetra, 2 sail fin mollies, 2 mollies, and two others that I can't spell, but any way do you think they are the problems<Yes. Many of these fish, including the female Bettas can and will attack the flowing fins of a male Betta.  He's probably staying in that corner in hopes of building a nest to attract a female, or else he's hiding there for self protection from whatever is attacking him. Often male Bettas do not make good community fish residents for this very reason. My suggestion would be to remove him to his own aquarium.> is it the filtration system that might  be sucking his fins in cause that is were his area is!<No>    please help from Amy

Betta having a hard time eating Hi, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I've had my Betta for about 2 years now, and I've been taking care of him decently. Over time I've noticed his lip size has increased from the time since I first got him. I didn't really think anything of it until I started feeding him. He seems to have a hard time getting the food within his mouth. <He is fairly old for a Betta...kudos on keeping him this long.> Every time he lunges for the food he displaces the water and sends the food somewhere else, and I think he can't open his mouth that far anymore. I've tried breaking the Betta food pellets into smaller pieces but it doesn't seem to working that well. The only thing I can think that might have caused it would be when he got a fungal growth on him one time, but I don't recall if he had it before or after that fungal growth. Its been about 3 days and he hasn't been able to get anything in his mouth so I'm quite worried. <His teeth are somewhat worn down, too, at this age. I would suggest you switch to frozen/thawed bloodworms, which should be easier for him to eat. Live blackworms could be used, too. Even flake may be easier for him than pellets.> Thank you for your time, Daniel Thomasberg <Hope this helps! --Ananda> 

"Mr. Fishes" the Betta does NOT like shredded wheat (1/23/04) Hi, Sorry I hate to bug ya~ <That's what we're here for... Ananda at the keyboard tonight. Apologies for the delay, but the person who got it first has had computer problems.> I read a lot of your info on Betta constipation and I did try to go to a suggested site ("bettastarz.com") it was unavailable. <Check the WWM forums, too: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ....> So here's my prob/question my Betta AKA: Mr. Fishes (adopted 7 mo ago from a tsp of h2o @ Wally world) has been happy until recently the area just before his tail fin is very swollen, it isn't like the pic's you have posted where the stomach area is enlarged this is the back half. <In other words, the intestinal tract?> It has gotten much worse in the span of two days. Just to fill ya in on his background he was a cup fish when we got him and made him into a vase guy, then we found he had a personality, (he is a ladies man he puffs up at guys but will eat from my hand)  :>) so we got him his very own 2 gal. He was so happy he blew bubbles! <*Always* a good sign when a Betta boy builds a bubble nest "just for the heck of it".> Later my very sweet 6 yr old decided she wanted a lobster! Thanks a lot Wal-Mart! <Eek. The "lobster" -- most likely a type of crayfish -- is likely to at least try to eat anything that swims. I would suggest a separate tank for it.> So Mr. Fishes and Katrina lived in some peace in a 29 gal octagon. We recently moved and had decided to move them last to avoid paint fumes etc. <Good plan.> When I went over to visit and feed our extended family I found a very lopsided Mr. Fishes so I took him home and back to his vase I put in some stress coat because I think Katrina may have gotten at him in the chin area since he is hanging on the bottom now. I just read one of the posted responses that they really don't care for air? <Bettas??? Bettas have a labyrinth organ that enables them to get air from the surface. I hope you don't have a plant in that vase.> Until the octo he hadn't had heat or air. <Heat is a good thing for Bettas -- we liked to keep the tank our Betta was in at about 80 degrees.> My darling other half was sent to feed them a few days ago but forgot to take the food with him so he confessed to feeding both my tanks SHREDDED WHEAT!!!!!!!!! frosted no less... because it was there. <Oh, my. Not good. That sugar isn't healthy for you or me, let alone a fish that never gets the stuff otherwise...> All of my other fish seem fine but not the Betta. Did my guy constipate my fish? He is getting around slowly, and laying at the bottom a lot he is getting so big. The area seems almost transparent it is so stretched out!!!! Please Help! <Time to give Mr. Fishes a "treat". I'd suggest you feed him something with some bulk to help him pass the blockage -- if he'll eat a bit of frozen/thawed pea, that could help. If he won't eat that, try frozen bloodworms (that's the treat). You might also try giving him some Epsom salts in his water -- about 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of tank water every day for three days (usually, I suggest 1 tbsp per 5 gallons, but in a Betta tank/vase...). If this does not help, let us know either here or on the forums. --Ananda>

Betta Not Eating Hi! A week ago, I bought my Betta, Prospero.  This is my first fish, and while I researched before buying him, I'm still worried.  I have him in an unfiltered 3/4 gallon tank that I filled with tap water (treated with AquaSafe, of course) and a drop of Aquari-Sol to guard against fungus and parasites, just in case.  I keep the temperature around 78 degrees, using a desk lamp for brief periods when the tank gets any cooler.  Prospero seems really active and has made a large bubble-nest, which I've read is a sign he's happy with his environment.  I plan on doing a 50% water change every five days or so; I did my first change yesterday.  The only problem is, he refuses to eat the Wardley Betta Food pellets I bought for him.  I don't know exactly how much is normal for Bettas to eat, but I've been putting five pellets in per day, removing as many as I can after 10 minutes once it's obvious that he won't eat them.  Fearing that he'd starve, I got freeze-dried bloodworms.  He eats those gladly, but I've read they're not an appropriate staple.  How long can Bettas go safely without eating?  If I only use the pellets, will he eventually eat them when he gets hungry enough?  I don't really have any experience with using frozen foods, and I'd prefer to avoid them if possible because I don't have a freezer in my dorm. What are signs of Betta starvation?  He's definitely not lethargic, but I've noticed that some of his scales (just three on his dark head) and the very tip of his tail fin seem a little faded.  He may have come with the slight discoloration -- this could just be my imagination as a nervous first-time "parent", but I'd like to know if this could be a sign of his not getting appropriate nutrition.  Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.  I love your site and appreciate having a chance to ask questions! Sandy <Hi Sandy, sounds like you are on the right track, warm water, regular water changes, right on.  The fact that the Betta is eating freeze dried blood worms and not the Betta pellets tells me that he is probably just being picky, fish get this way sometimes.  I would try feeding him Hikari Betta pellets, my Bettas always loved that stuff, starve him for a couple of days and try the pellets, as long as the fish is not getting too skinny or showing other signs of problems I would not feel bad about starving him for a few days.  Best of Luck, Gage>

Constipated Betta Hello, <Hi Sandra, Sabrina here> Is there anyone there who could lend me some advice on my constipated Betta? I posted the situation on the forum board here, but would appreciate any expert help your crew could offer. <Well, since this email got put in my care, and I've already been communicating with you on the forums, I think you've pretty much got all I can tell you thus far.  For the benefit of our readers, though, and to have this archived for anyone else with similar issues to be able to search and find it, I am happy to go ahead and address this again - who knows, perhaps some tidbit that I forgot to mention on the thread will fall out of my head as I go.> Here is my post: <For reference, the thread can be found at:   http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=15081&tstart=0&trange=15 .> I have a 1-year old male Betta who is constipated. I first noticed this last week and immediately recognized the signs, as we lost a Betta to constipation earlier this year. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I am very careful not to over-feed, and I vary the diet as much as possible, but somehow Bernie still managed to become constipated. <They are extremely easy to overfeed, with their humongous appetites and tiny little Betta tummies.  It may be possible that he's just plain fat - but the fact that your other Bettas aren't bloated probably disproves that.> Now he is swollen on his sides, and there is no poo in his tank. We have two other Bettas and they are both fine; the only thing I can think that might have caused this is that I was in mid-cycling of his tank and had not done any deep-cleaning on his gravel until a week or so ago. I'm wondering if he may have eaten bits of food that were stirred up when I cleaned his tank recently. <I'm sure that's possible, but I think it unlikely.  Fish can get constipated for no apparent reason, sometimes; it can happen when they eat too much at once, or are offered an inappropriate diet (probably the reason we see this so much in goldfish).> I don't want to lose another Betta to constipation; I had to watch as our first Betta suffered for several weeks and died a terrible death from it. I am resolved not to let him eat anything until I see improvement. <Fasting, along with offering *only* foods of high roughage content (bits of pea, adult brine shrimp, daphnia) should help clear him up, along with adding Epsom salt to the water at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoons per ten gallons water - that comes down to about 1/3 to 2/3 of a teaspoon per gallon, or a touch more.  The Epsom salt will help relieve pressure in him, and may help him pass any blockage in his gut.> It is day 4 of fasting, and he is still pretty swollen. <Try the Epsom salt, and keep fasting him - he can go quite a long time without food.> I ordered Pepso food, which someone recommended to me because it contains cod liver oil. It should arrive today. <I don't think I'd use Pepso food, as it contains medicines that I think are quite unnecessary in your Betta's case.> I tried feeding him a bit of pea two days ago, but am nervous about it this since it seemed to make the constipation worse in Horatio (the Betta who died). <If the pea doesn't/didn't help, perhaps try a brine shrimp or two.  Your local fish store would probably give you a couple, as these are usually sold by the ounce - which is a *lot* of little shrimp.  I'd try the Epsom salt first, see how that goes.> Can anyone offer any other advice here? Am I correct in not feeding him for days or even weeks if necessary? This is bringing back awful memories, and I don't know what to do!!! <I don't think he could go more than a couple weeks without eating, and even that might be a stretch - but many days is fine.> I can't believe I'm going through this all over again; after Horatio died, I become almost obsessively careful about feeding, so I'm at a loss as to how this happened. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <As above, it can "just happen".  And again, Bettas are so easy to overfeed.  In any case, try the Epsom salt, and failing that, in another couple days or so, try offering him a brine shrimp or two, or a tiny bit of daphnia.> Sandra <Hope all goes well!  Wishing your Betta a speedy recovery,  -Sabrina>

Constipated Betta - III Hi, <Hi, Sandra!> I may see if I can take a digital photo this weekend so you can view the swelling and see what you think.   <That would be excellent.> There definitely is no pine-coning; that's the first thing I checked.   <Whew!> What would be the other symptoms of a bacterial infection?   <Stringy, white poo would strongly indicate internal bacterial infection, or internal parasites.> How is it contracted?   <If bacterial or parasitic, it could be something he's had all along, and has only become noticeable now.  I do feel that it's more likely constipation, though.> What kind of food treats this? <For internal bacterial nasties, I've had good luck with food medicated with Oxytetracycline; for internal parasites, like worms and such, Piperazine or Levamisole in food would be my suggestion.  Again, though, I think it more likely that your fellah is just constipated - though these other possibilities are, well, possible.> The reason I believe(d) it to be constipation, is the lack of poo in the bottom of his tank, and the fact that he swelled up so much when I fed him the Pepso food.   <Yeah, I really am thinking it's more likely constipation.> Too, it started as a small bulge on the side in the exact same manner as our Horatio, who also suffered from constipation.  But the swelling has me concerned; I would think it should be diminishing by now.  Could it be because he's so young, and the swelling is just more noticeable on his small body?   <That could be, perhaps.> He is otherwise behaving normally now, but almost looks like a pregnant guppy.  :-( <Yikes.> I am glad he is eating the pea; I guess if they get hungry enough, they tend to be less picky, although Bern has always been the less finicky of the three. <and therefore more likely to overeat, probably.  It seems those that tend to eat anything tend to get constipated more often.  I have one female Betta like that, but I honestly don't think she'd take peas!  I'm still amazed at that.> Many thanks again,  Sandra <You bet.  Best wishes,  -Sabrina>

My Betta hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have had a beta fish for almost three years and the other day I saw him eating his own tail. <Are you sure you actually saw him eating his tail?  I can't imagine a Betta being that flexible.> I freaked out and to touch him to get him to stop it. the tail is very fared so I think he is doing to a lot.  I am wondering why this happened and what I can do to stop him. <If he is really eating it's tail, maybe you're not feeding it the right or enough food.  Try feeding it some frozen bloodworms.  Mine loves them.  Just a few will give him lots of nutrition.  For the frayed fins, add Melafix to the water.  That will help it heal.> thanks so much, Rachael <You're welcome, I hope this helps--Pufferpunk>

Betta food Sabrina, I have a rather dumb question for you. I can't get my boys to eat anything other than Hikari Betta Bio-Gold. I have tried the freeze dried blood worms but they just spit them out. Will they be ok if they are only fed the Hikari? <I imagine they could survive on it, but a varied diet is always good.> Is there a way to get them to eat the blood worms? <Try feeding the bloodworms only for a few days; they'll get the picture, and probably love 'em.  You could also try frozen bloodworms - I would be very surprised if they turned their noses up at *that*.> Thanks and I hope you are doing well. <Yes, actually, very well, thank you.  I hope the same for you, also.  -Sabrina> Magic

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