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FAQs on Betta Systems 5

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

Related FAQs:  Betta Systems 1, Betta Systems 2, Betta Systems 3, Betta Systems 4, Betta Systems 6, & Betta System: Bowls/Tanks, Heating, Lighting, Filtration, & Water Quality, (See also: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling), Maintenance, & Bettas in General, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta Feedings, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta bubble nest, sys.  8/15/07 My Betta was a very vigorous bubble nest builder when I first put him in his tank. It's an Eclipse 3 gallon with a BioWheel. Now he's stopped nest building. I'm concerned about two reasons why: (1) the BioWheel in the tank agitates the water surface (2) because it's summertime, my office has cranked up the air conditioning which has lowered his tank temperature from 79 degrees to 74 degrees. Should I take out the BioWheel? Should I put a mini heater in the tank? I don't want to cook my fish. He seems to be otherwise healthy, with nice fins and an appetite. <Greetings. The water in a Betta's tank should certainly never be allowed to get cold. They are tropical fish. 74F is a little cooler than they like, so if you nudge the temperature up to around 77-79F, that would be good. Certainly, don't let it drop any further. As for the BioWheel, yes, splashing disrupts the nest and puts the Betta off building his nest. But who cares? Water quality trumps nest building. So don't worry about it too much. If you want, add some floating plants like Indian fern so he can build a more stable nest, but as ever, concentrate on water quality. Cheers, Neale>

Female Bettas/ other fish? 8/10/07 Hello, I have a 5.5 gallon tank with four small female Bettas in it and I was curious if there are any other fish I could include with them without the females causing harm to them, thank you :) <Greetings. No, there are no more fishes you can add. You are already overstocked, and your thoughts should definitely be towards upgrading the aquarium rather than adding more fish. Cheers, Neale>

how many? Stkg. female Bettas  -- 08/11/07 hello, i was curious about how many female Bettas i could house in a 5.5 gallon tank? <5.5 gallons, or 20 litres, is really not a lot of water. I have buckets that size. You can probably keep four or five female Bettas *alive* in such a tank, but it wouldn't be much fun for them. I'd sooner use a tank at least twice that size, so I'd have space for a decent air-powered sponge or undergravel filter and a bunch of floating plants for them to explore and hide among. Indian fern is ideal for Bettas: nice and bushy, and forms hiding places close to the surface so they can easily gulp air. I really don't like the idea of "how many fish can I cram into this tank" -- it's the wrong approach. The question should be, "how much space does this fish need to be happy". Cheers, Neale>

There is something living in my Betta's tank  8/4/07 I have a Betta (over a year old). When doing a partial water change a few weeks ago I noticed very small black specks floating on the surface. Last night when feed my Betta I saw these little specks moving about on his rock and on the gravel below. There must be hundreds of them. I removed the Betta from his tank as a precaution. The local fish store doesn't know what these specks are. The fish seems fine, just a little irritated at getting moved out of his home. The tank has gravel, a plastic rock to hide in and a plant that grew from a bulb. Any ideas as to who the new neighbors are and should I be concerned about them? Thank you for you help. <Mmm, well... could be a number of types of life... worms, crustaceans of sorts... but not likely deleterious/harmful. A photo (micro) graph or loupe examination will likely get you to the phyla level in ID. You could bleach/destroy these (see WWM re), but I would likely ignore them. Bob Fenner>
Re: There is something living in my Betta's tank  8/5/07
Hi, <Hello again> Thanks for getting back to me. This morning I had to take our 4 legged pet to our vet, and while I was there I asked if she could put one of the little critters under a microscope and see what these specks looked like. She had not seen them before but they appear to be an oval crustacean. A first, it was just a brown/tan oval covered with hairs/cilia. When we continued to look, it would open up very quickly like a bi-valve or clam. <Ah, very likely an Ostracod... aka seed shrimp... See Google images re> Maybe it uses this action for movement, like a scallop?? We came to a similar conclusion as you, that it was harmless. Perhaps they have been in the tank along time, but with the warmer temps, their population exploded and they became obvious. Meanwhile, "Cosmo Bubbles Wong" has been returned to his freshly cleaned tank, and is once again happy. Thank you for your help, You know us fish mom's, we worry over everything. Susan <A pleasure to assist you. Bob Fenner>
Re: There is something living in my Betta's tank  8/6/07
Yep, it's an Ostracod! Fascinating little creatures. Thanks again. <Ahh! What a planet eh? Thank you! BobF>

Question about Betta tank   7/25/07 Hi there, Thank you for such a terrific site! I have learned so much, and my aquatic family thanks you :) I am receiving a school of four female Bettas tomorrow, and would like to house them in my 29-gallon tank. However, I just set it up this weekend, so it is not yet cycled (I conditioned the water, seeded with gravel from my cycled tank, and 2 platys are now living there; temp is 80). I am wondering if I should move my other platys over to the 29-gallon, and let the Bettas live in the 10-gallon until the larger tank is cycled, or would the Bettas be okay in the tank while it cycles since it is so large (in which case, I would move the platys back to the smaller tank and, of course, closely monitor the water quality)? Also, I have an aquarium ornament (large castle) that I would like to move to the larger tank - if I move this and do a partial water change at the same time, do I risk disturbing the smaller tank's cycle? Thank you so much! The advice is much appreciated! Chris <Hello Chris. Female Bettas are essentially hardy animals and should do well in the 29 gallon tank. If the tank isn't cycled, your best approach would be to "instant" mature it using a product like Tetra Safe Start or Bio Spira. Alternatively, try and add some filter media from an established aquarium. You can take as much as 50% of the media from a mature aquarium without seriously harming biological filtration. Obviously adding all that live media to a new aquarium quickly makes it a safe home for your fish. Failing these two approaches, 4 Bettas in a 29 gallon tank is within the "safe zone" for cycling it without deaths, provided you perform at least two water changes per week, and make them big ones, around 50% a time. I'd trust Bettas in a cycling tank long before Platies. Bettas are air-breathers and adapted to swamps, and this gives them an advantage over Platies that naturally inhabit clear and clean streams. Moving ornaments will do no harm. Bettas are surface fish though, and what they like best is floating plants. Even pond weed will do, though something like hornwort or Indian fern is better yet. You'll see them skulk about the top of the tank displaying to one another (even the females are a bit pushy) and it will be an altogether nicer tank for the Bettas and a more entertaining one for you. It also leaves you free to add fish to the bottom and middle layers later on. Corydoras catfish, for example, make excellent companions for female Bettas. In due course, adding the Platies should be fine, and they'll be happier in the 29 gallon tank than the 10 gallon one. You could use that one for a nice breeding project some time, perhaps. Everyone should try and egg-laying species like Corydoras at some point, and fish like Peppered Corys will spawn readily in a 10 gallon tank and the fry are very easy to rear. Hope this helps, Neale>
Re: question about Betta tank  7/26/07
Hi Neale, Thank you so much for the advice! I truly appreciate it :) Can I ask: how do you prep 15 gallons of water for a 50% water change, e.g., heating it to the proper temp? I use a (new) pail for <4 gallon changes in my 10 gallon tank and let the water come to room temperature as well as add conditioner. Chris <Hello Chris. What you're doing is fine. Most dechlorinators will also remove copper as well, so you can mix a little hot water from the domestic water heater if you need to raise the temperature a bit. That said, many fish enjoy a small change in temperature. Provided the water you're adding doesn't lower the temp below 18C, you're unlikely to cause any harm except with exceptionally sensitive species (like discus). Remember, whenever there's heavy rain, the water temperature in freshwater bodies changes (drops) dramatically. Indeed, this is the trigger to spawning for many species. If you add too much cold water at once, it doesn't kill tropical fish, but they go loopy for a while and can't swim properly. Done this with a tank of juvenile soft water cichlids, adding way too much cold rainwater. Below about 10C, and cichlids lose all motor coordination! This is a long way of saying that assuming you don't freeze your fish, just scale up what you're doing. Big water changes (25-50%) help water quality so much and for such little cost, you'll wonder why not everyone does them! Cheers, Neale>
Re: question about Betta tank  7/29/07
Hi Neale, <Hi Chris,> If you can stand it, I have another question for which I can't find an answer...my female Bettas seem to be having a bit of a hard time in the filter's current. They don't seem stressed, but when I turn off the filter, they swim around up top, and when it's off, they are mostly at the bottom or resting in the plants. <Bettas come from water with minimal flow, so it is entirely possible the current is too much for them. If you can, reduce the filter flow, or else attach something like a spray bar to spread the water flow more widely and perhaps direct the current at the glass instead of outwards so the water current is further dispersed. The best filters for Bettas are air-powered ones.> Should I turn off the filter for a few hours a day? <No!> Or will this mess up starting the cycle (today's readings are ammonia .5, nitrite .5, nitrate 0, doing the partial water changes)? <Yes, switching off the filter will mess up the cycle. Ammonia and nitrite are still WAAAYYYY too high. Step up the water changes for now, doing 50% changes every day or two.> If I need to leave the filter on all the time, should I do something to soften the current (e.g., add more plants, add more water to lessen the "waterfall" from the Eclipse filter, put hose over the intake)? <Any of the above might work, except for the plants. They don't really have a big impact, and live plants don't actually like strong water currents. A thick tangle of plastic plants might help. But experimentation is the thing here, or failing that, using a smaller filter (or a bigger tank). You obviously know what you're after -- pockets of gentle water flow at the top of the tank -- so just try things out until you get this result.> Thanks again, you are a life saver! Chris <No problems. Good luck, Neale>
Re: question about Betta tank   7/30/07
Hi Neale, <Chris,> Thanks again for your input - just want to give an update: I added water to lessen the waterfall effect and it seems to have done the trick! The Bettas are much more active and spend less time fighting the current. I will be adding more soft (fake) plants for them to rest on, they really like the ones that are in there, but don't like the others to rest on "their" plants. I changed more water to bring down the nitrites (the ammonia is down to 0 today, and there is a trace of nitrates :). <All sounds very promising!> I also found this on the internet and might give it a try to further cut the current, maybe others might find it useful, too: http://www.petfish.net/articles/Do-It-Yourself/currentkill.php <Cool.> Thanks again, Chris <You're welcome. Good luck, Neale>

Re: New 46 gallon bow front - strong support for fishless cycling method! -- 07/23/07 Hello Jorie, <Hi Robert> Thanks for the advice, I'll try out the fishless cycling. <I'm glad to hear that! There's lots of information to be found on this...try a Google search and you'll soon find more information that you know what to do with!> Once that completes I am thinking 4~6 Gourami to start with. <Sure. My advice regarding stocking is to pick out the one species you really want in the tank, then stock the rest accordingly, based on matching environmental conditions, temperament, etc.> By that time my books will have come in and I will have read MUCH more of your website and others. <What books have you ordered? Hopefully a copy of David E. Boruchowitz's "A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums", as well as the Bailey and Burgess "Tropical Fishlopedia" are both on the list. The former is a great starting-up book, and walks you through setting up the tank pre-cycling on (although, if I remember right, he does advocate using fish to cycle with, which we've already discussed:-)>, and the latter is invaluable for diagnosing/treating disease, when the inevitable does happen...> How about this time I send links to the plant pictures? http://www.doryweather.org/~rberry/fish/plants.jpg <Not sure exactly what that is - some sort of Spathophyllum perhaps?> And the happy Betta in his heated and filtered tank with a 2" Pleco hiding in the "cave". http://www.doryweather.org/~rberry/fish/betta_tank.jpg <Ummm, this is not quite what I had pictured when you said heated/filtered tanks, I hate to say. I was thinking along the lines of a 3 gallon aquarium, complete with wet/dry filtration, a 25 watt submersible heater, etc. Honestly, this setup is not conducive to fish; there can't be more than a half gallon of water. A Betta needs a minimum of 2-3 gallons of water, and the Pleco, obviously, much bigger than that. I do realize that the Pleco situation is temporary, but do get going on the cycling process in the 46 gallon ASAP.> So, there is the mystery plant from before. The closest I can come is some species of Green Taro. A bog plant which explains why it likes both above and below water. <You might be correct on this ID...> Thanks for the link, it got me pointed in the right direction. <I'm glad to hear this, and glad to help. Keep on reading, researching; you're on the right track! Best, Jorie> -- Robert
Re[2]: New 46 gallon bow front - strong support for fishless cycling method! Plus, unsuitable Betta environment... -- 07/23/07
Hello Jorie, <Hi again,> One of the books I have ordered is "A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" and the other is about planted aquariums. <Excellent. By any chance did you order the Peter Hiscock "Encyclopedia of Planted Aquaria"? That's a great resource...> Fishless cycling: I am at 1ppm ammonia and 0.5ppm Nitrite, so cycle is proceeding. <Sounds great. Nitrogen cycle should complete anywhere between 2-4 weeks; just keep testing the water parameters. Don't forget to check for nitrates, also...> Betta tank... the picture size is misleading I suppose. The glass is 22 inches tall and 12 inches across. With the rocks in there it takes about 8 gallons of water to fill it. <Better than it looks, I suppose, but still not an ideal setup.> <Regards, Jorie> -- Robert

Temperature of Betta Tank -- 07/18/07 > Hi, WWM crew, <Greetings!> > I have a 5½ gallon tank with a heater, filter and air pump that accommodates a Betta. My Betta is 1½ years old now. My question is; is it too late to add a couple of small Danios, since he has been living by himself that long? <It's best not to mix Bettas with other fish. Danios need a lot of swimming space, and a 5.5 gallon tank is too small for them. Baseline for happy Danios is a 'long' 20 gallon tank. I have kept them in a 10 gallon tank and all they did was fight and bump into the glass. Not recommended.> > Also, I have another concern; during the summer months I have been having a problem controlling the temperature his tank. My questions is; can I control my heater with a timer? Unfortunately, I leave my tank heater set at a constant 73 because at night I run an air conditioner because it gets extremely hot in my apartment. Sometimes I notice that the temperature in my tank does not exactly say what I set my heater at. For instance, the digital thermometer is now reading 79.5 and the light of the heater is on; which does not make sense to me. Does this mean that there is something wrong with my heater or is that normal? Please give advice. <Yes, it's fine to put a heater on a timer. A heater the right size for your aquarium should switch on and off automatically at the temperature it is set to -- but bear in mind the scale printed on the device is very much a "guesstimate" because other factors are involved. One factor is the size of the tank, any given heater warming up a small volume of water better than a big volume. In a 5 gallon tank, a 50W heater set to 25C might actually raise the temperature to 27C, while the same heater in a 40 gallon tank would only raise the temperature to 22C. Ambient air temperature is another factor, as are water circulation, direct sunlight, and evaporation. So the only way to test a heater is by trial and error. In summer I tend to set all the heaters down to their minimum settings. Letting the tank temperature rise and fall between, say, 25C in the day and 18C at night does the fish no harm at all. So what I'd recommend you do is try setting the heater to a lower setting and see what happens. Even at the minimum setting the temperature is unlikely to fall to lethal temperatures, so doing this is perfectly safe and you can establish what setting you need to get the ideal warmth for your fish.> > Can you also tell me where I may order a monthly magazine and join a club about Bettas? Thanks again in advance for your continued help. I think your site is great. Jean <Not sure I can recommend any one magazine all about Bettas. Most of the standard fishkeeping magazines will feature Bettas from time to time, but not every month. Your first step should be to find a local Betta club in your area. Many countries have one, and some large cities also have their own clubs. I'd also encourage you to buy a quality Betta book. Publishers like TFH and Aqualog can usually be relied upon to deliver well-researched books from notable authors. Over the years there have been lots of books on Bettas. There are also some excellent books on labyrinth fish (the group the Bettas belong to) and any one of these might give you both information on the numerous species within the genus Betta plus some appreciation of their position within the labyrinth fish family of fishes, such as gouramis and climbing perches. Good luck, Neale>

Male Betta, in a bowl... no filter, no heater... no referral    7/14/07 <<Hi, Stephanie. Tom with you.>> I have a male Betta about 7 months old or so. I have him in a gallon bowl with clear plastic rocks at the bottom and feed him twice a day. I changed the water three days ago and this afternoon his water was so cloudy I could hardly see him. When I changed the water, it smelled strongly of sulfur. I do not have well water and have never had this problem before. Is he sick or was it just a weird Friday the 13th thing? <<The bowl has a bacterial bloom going on, Stephanie. For a one-gallon bowl, the water should be changed every other day, at least, particularly if you're feeding twice a day. (What goes in must come out.) The bacteria that were lurking/munching in the rocks were 'stirred up' by the water change and are now giving the water its cloudy, foul-smelling appearance. (Stable, balanced aquarium water shouldn't have much, if any, odor to it at all.) Keep changing the water at least once, or twice, a day until things clear up and consider larger, filtered, heated quarters for your pet. Since you've taken the time to write, I assume you want what's best for your pet and a one-gallon bowl is far from what's best for him. A five-gallon tank with a dark (not light) substrate would seem like Heaven for your Betta and would allow for filtration (badly needed) and a small heater (also badly needed).>> Thanks Stephanie M. <<Happy to help, Stephanie. Best regards. Tom>>

Betta's Lighting   7/12/07 Dear WWM, <<Tom with you, Jeannie.>> We keep our Betta, Bartholomew, in a 5.5 gallon tank with one of the short sides against a wall. The wall blocks any direct light coming from the windows which are several feet away. The only light the tank receives during the day is indirect light and it is minimal. The tank is not in the dark but nor does it receive much light. <<Okay.>> In the morning the room lights (recessed spot lights) are on as well as his tank light from about 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM. In the evening, the same lights are on again from about 6:00 PM to about 11:30 PM. The only light on during the night sleeping hours is a night light located about 8-10 feet from the tank. Is my Betta receiving enough light? Do we have him in the dark or with insufficient light for too much of the day? Please advise. <<I would say that Bartholomew is getting adequate light, Jeannie. Keep in mind that, in the wild, Bettas live in an assortment of water conditions, many of which are dim/murky. I've got mine in a 'lighted' tank but keep the lights diffused to provide a more natural level of light for him. No need to be concerned about the amount of light your Betta receives. He's fine with what you're providing.>> Thank you for your help. Jeannie <<You're quite welcome. Best regards. Tom>>

Betta fish query #9,472,631   6/10/07 Hello, <Hi Melissa - Jorie here.> I recently got a Betta fish 5 days ago. <Welcome to the wonderful world of Bettas! Of all my freshwater fish, the Betta ranks among my favorites, as it is beautiful and full of personality. I hope you are keeping your new pet in at least a 3 gallon heated and filtered tank; Bettas like stable 80-82 degree F water, and the tiny little jars the pet stores sell truly aren't suitable for ghost shrimp, let fish...> It is a crown tail Betta fish. <Sounds nice. I've got one of these myself.> I am not too sure if it is a boy or a girl. On the little cup thing it came in it said male. <Generally, the Bettas with the long-flowing, magnificent fins are boys; the girls have short, stubby little fins. Also, does your Betta "flare" when you put a finger up to his tank (or a mirror)? If so, that's definitely a male Betta. Here are some great websites for Betta-lovers: http://www.ibcbettas.com/ http://www.bettacave.com/ http://www.bcbetta.com/ > About 4 days later the fish developed a huge stomach. <Generally one of three things: internal bacterial infection, constipation (caused by overfeeding), or a tumor.> If you look very closely at it, it has small red circle thing inside it. <I am have having trouble envisioning this. Does it look like a pimple? Are there red streaks under the Betta's skin? Can you perhaps snap a picture and send it along?> I am not sure what it is. My sister who takes care of the fish says it is pregnant but it has no mate and we don't know if it is even a girl. <Considering I'm almost positive this fish is male, I don't think it's pregnant. I hate to say it, but it doesn't sound like your sister is overly knowledgeable on fishkeeping; again, I question the environmental conditions this fish is kept in? So many "illnesses" and "diseases" are caused by poor water quality, and are easily remedied by improving the water conditions. Do read here for a good article on keeping a Betta happy and healthy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > How can you tell if it is a male or female and how can you tell if it is pregnant? <Do a Google image search for "male Betta", and another for "female Betta"; you'll be able to see exactly what I was describing above, about the difference in finnage. Also, there are some quality, inexpensive Betta books available; I do suggest you pick up a copy of one or more and read about your new pet: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/002-3536912-4086423?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Betta > Sincerely Melissa <Do keep asking questions and reading; you'll soon be able to take over the care of this fish and educate your sister! Best regards, Jorie>

Questions, Betta sys., FW worms there   6/3/07 Hello Again <Hi there> My Betta Two Socks is doing wonderfully. However I have a new question... The background for this was caused when I went over to his tank and spoke with him before going to bed. I suddenly caught sight of a couple of small worm like critters in his tank with him. The smaller ones are hair like yes, but I can still see them. The bigger ones seem sluggish and just bloated. Both have a center that is darker than the exterior. Once removed from water they dried up and pretty much curled into a ball. I have a Loop which allowed me to get a closer and intimate look at the little bastards, They do look like worms which yeah I understand they have rings. They are not long mind you and comparing images of worms found online... complete and utter loss. the wriggle about at the top of the rim where the water is. When pushed back into the water they just fall all the way to the gravel. To make matters worse... I think my little buddy ate one. which is funny but not good at the same time. now, i haven't been able to change his water for some time now. I am planning on doing that tomorrow and am looking to set him up with a bigger home... more specifically a five gallon tank instead of his 2.5... which has three rooted planted now... a crud load of gravel... no filtering system because I hate undergravels. <There are... alternatives...> So Am thinking since I bought the plants and put them in there and now Am seeing critters in there. Maybe the plant had them <Likely so> and they just sprouted. What can I use to kill the critters and keep the plants and Two Socks happy and unharmed? <Not likely at all that these worms are deleterious... I would do the tank change as you state and move the gravel, plants to it... and not worry> or I could start a new tank, more like a replacement. I have an unused gold fish jar, left over gravel from the gravel bag and some extra water for Two Socks whenever i do water changes... I've also read up that i might be over feeding him and that caused the little worms to come to life... I feed him 3 pellets twice a day. Am planning on giving him just 1 pellet twice a day after reading that stuff on your website. <Mmm, not from the pellets> So do you have any ideas as to what these little critters are because 1 they aren't planarians: they are thin like thread, larger ones look like eraser droppings when you erase with a number two pencil... minus the color. they are semi clear with a darker center. 2 movement is wormlike: they move in a slithering and wriggling movement. 3 when removed from the water they lift one part of their bodies up, i think the head and start waving that around slowly. 4 when pushed back into the water they just fall right back down tot he gravel without moving... so it seems like they have to be above the water but not completely or they trailed up the sides of the aquarium. any ideas and ways to kill them? <Are likely oligochaetes of some sort... I would not try to kill them... Will "go" of their own accord with good set-up, maintenance... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Micro-organisms? FW   5/25/07 I have some sort of micro organism in my breeding tank (Bettas). I'm not that it is a parasite because my fish seem to be doing alright. It's barely visible, but it looks like a millimeter-long, white worm. I had a plant in the tank that didn't make it and started decomposing, but since then the tank has been completely emptied, cleaned, refilled, and several water changes. I guess my question is what is it? And can it potentially harm my fish and/or fry? If not is it likely the fry will eat it? Thank you very much and have a good night! <Not likely a problem... perhaps some sort of small worm or crustacean... that "came in with" the plant... Not likely harmful, perhaps unpalatable. Will probably disappear as readily as it became aware to your conscious. Bob Fenner>

Dirty Water? Betta in a vase...   5/24/07 Hi everyone, <Susan> I know very little about fish but have a question I'm sure you're familiar with. I have a male Betta and his 'tank' is actually a very large vase (3-4 gallons) with rocks on the bottom and a pagoda inside which he likes to swim in (I purchased these decorations at a pet store). <Ah, yes... very aware of these (a few years back) "decor items"> I am worried because there is pretty much always a white, opaque film on top of his water. Whenever possible, I skim this off the water and discard, but sometimes disturbing it causes it to circulate throughout the rest of his water. The water I use for his tank is simply tap water which I run through a Brita and let sit out until it comes to room temp. I use a water conditioner for the chlorine which I am sure the Brita doesn't eliminate. I am worried this film might cause my Betta to suffocate or be indicative of an illness. Please advise, thank you so much! Susan <Is a concern... even for this facultative aerial respirator... Can/does breath directly/atmospheric air... But of more/real concern is the inappropriateness of this world period... Bettas are tropical animals... need heated, filtered settings... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

A little help... Goldfish, Bettas... Systems gone wild! Show us your fish!  5/17/07 Hello, my name is Jaime.  I was reading your website and I found a lot of information that I didn't knew about Bettas.  I'm still kind of new to this, so far I have 6 Bettas (3 males and 3 females) I tried to reproduce them unsuccessfully, <Is a great experience> and I wanted to know what would you recommend me to do to improve their lifestyle.  I wasn't into pets but know I've grown fond of the little buggers, I attached some pictures of their tanks.  I recently put my oldest Betta in a 5 gallon tank along with some goldfish <Mistake... incompatible behaviorally and environmentally> and some ghost shrimp. That tank has a filter and I noticed that as soon as he was putted   there, his color changed from a dark blue to red in his fins and part of his head. He is swimming around trying to know the tank, but I am not sure if they will get along. <And this is way too small a volume for even one goldfish... you show several>   I feed them with freeze dried bloodworms and pellets and I try to not feed them the same thing always thinking that maybe they will get a healthy diet.  I clean their water every 2 days <Too frequently> (I put the Bettas into the tanks they original came with and change all the water of the tank with tap water, and use water conditioner to remove both chlorine & ammonia) and then I put them back in.  I feed them bloodworms in the morning when I get to work, and put one or two pellets when I leave at night. Thank you for your time <Mmm, am wondering where to begin... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm The articles and FAQs files in the first try on Goldfish, and Betta... Systems... What you show in your photos and writing is inappropriate. Bob Fenner>

'Frantic' Behavior, Betta on a desktop   5/10/07 Hello to all! <Jasi> Firstly, a huge pat on the back for selflessly providing much needed information to give our fighters five star treatment! > the below, you need to read a bit more...> I have taken time to browse your site and made sure to note all advice given to ensure I am providing a good environment plan to move him to a larger tank soon. I have a Siamese fighter named Samurai and he's gorgeous! He has been mine for about one month now and lives on my work desk seeming that's where I spend most of my time and want him to be close.^_^ The air con is set at 24 degrees Celsius (I think that's 70 F??) but is there any way I am able to heat his tank with a desk light? Without causing too much brightness? <Mmm, not really... as this light "goes out" at night, isn't on during the weekends... Need constant warm water...> Or anything in fact that will keep him at a steady happy temp? I think he would be happier in around 28C (the smallest heater sold here (Aus) is too big for his tank) <Look for the Hydor brand... come in small wattages> My main concern about Samurai is the way he behaves.. It's understandable that when transferred to a new environment he is 'sussing' it out by swimming all about, however.. he swims around which looks like frantic swimming--dashing and jolting around the tank. He will also routinely swim on one side diagonally down, across, up then back to starting position! This can't be normal can it? <Is not> He will do this over and over before something distracts him to do otherwise (e.g.. food) or he gets over it. I am more than happy that he is active but the WAY he acts is worrying me! I have a live plant in his tank which fills it quite a bit but he still has room to have a good swim about. There are times where Samurai has caught my attention because I have heard him hit against the glass, is this hurting him??? <Likely so> He has also flickered across the surface of the water which seems to be in a panic mode. He has jumped across/over the plant (which sits just under the surface) lay on the leaf on the other side very very still... then started to swim again. He is always at the glass swinging from left to right like someone shaking their head.. argh! is he okay guys? I just want him to be happy.. <Something amiss with this fish's environment... Likely related to cycling...> He has never tried to actually jump OUT of the tank but does hitting the glass mean he wants out? or more room?.. <Heat, filtration...> Also. does noise effect him? My phone rings at work and at the moment he is next to it. Should I move him? <Mmm... possibly> Really appreciate the help. Thank you xx Jasmine P.S He eats fine - every 2nd day 3 dried blood worms or 5 tiny blood/bone something.. His color is fine and vibrant and he is very aware if people come near his tank and his surroundings. <This last is a good sign... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New Tank, Cloudy water  -- 05/08/07 Hi Crew, Thank you for your excellent advice you gave me regarding a previous finned friend. New problem: I read your FAQ's but didn't see an answer that fits my situation. I have a 6.6 gallon heated tank for my gorgeous blue lavender female Betta, Nigella. I conditioned the water and added Prime to make sure it was good. I tested the water, waited two days tested again and added my fish. Overnight the tank went hazy/cloudy. Is this new tank syndrome? < Probably, Check the ammonia with a test kit.> Will Nigella be ok or am I suffocating her? < Ammonia is toxic to fish and needs to be dealt with.> She has living plants and a lot of room to swim. On top of that she's very interactive and playful. I have had her for a few months and finally got her a larger tank. Last night the water was crystal clear and this morning it is cloudy. I feel bad that I did something wrong. Thank you, Elizabeth < Excess fish food and fish waste are broken down by bacteria into ammonia. When the biological filtration is established it will be broken down into a less toxic nitrite and then once again into an even less toxic nitrate. If you add Bio-Spira from Marineland the bacteria will go to work right away. If not it will take a couple of months to get the tank established. Feed your fish once a day, and only enough food so that all of it is gone in a couple of minutes. Remove any leftover food. Vacuum the gravel to remove fish waste and do numerous partial water changes to keep waste levels under control.-Chuck>

New Betta questions -- 5/4/07 Hello, <<Hi, Karen. Tom with you.>> I just received a Betta 3 days okay and I am clueless. From what I have learned I have a multicolored Betta and he is a very handsome fellow.  So, I purchased a 5-gallon hex Eclipse bio-filter tank it is plastic with no heater.   <<Fine choice of tanks, Karen. A five-gallon tank is an excellent size for Bettas. Now, you need a heater. Look at a 25-watt 'Theo' made by Hydor. A quality product that's a good size for your tank.>> The Betta: I put him in yesterday and him would not eat today. He won't eat or puff his fins.  He is swimming around the vegetation of the tank but does seem to not be as straight today, a little bowed, not much.   <<Bettas take a bit of time to acclimate to new surroundings. More than some other fish, actually. The fact that he isn't eating or 'flaring' isn't a big concern right now. Bear in mind, however, that his tank is 'uncycled'. (Check up on cycling an aquarium on our site.) In the meantime, you'll have to do regular water changes. VERY regular water changes. About every four to five days, remove and replace about one gallon of water, conditioning the new water with a water conditioner that treats for chlorine and chloramines. (Not to worry since water conditioners are readily found at pet stores that deal with fish products.) Do not overfeed! This can/will lead to cycling problems. (If you float a flake or two of Betta-specified food at the top of the tank and he doesn't take it, skip it. Throwing more food in won't do any good.)>> I don't see any lumps, bumps, or spots and I'm worried about the little fellow. <<Don't be, for now. Bettas are very hardy despite their fragile appearance. Don't be afraid to 'interact' with him. Tap lightly with a fingernail on the front of the tank when you want to see him, particularly at feeding time. He'll soon associate you with food and will show up whenever you're near. (Yeah, it's 'cheating' but he's a fish, not a Cocker Spaniel. We go with what we've got. :) )>> Any advice will be appreciated. Karen Jones <<Definitely check out our information on aquarium 'cycling', Karen. Lots of good stuff that will fill in many of the blanks. If you need some clarification, feel free to write. Best of luck. Tom>>

Betta tank size likely causing problems  4/25/07       Hi people, <Hello there.> I have two questions. One: I have a Betta in a 1 gal. (8.5 inches long 5.5 wide ad to top of water 5 in.) tank. I know it is small but let me go on...I have 1 live plant in it with three other Betta bulbs <These are likely Aponogetons> that are growing. <Although live plants do help with providing oxygen, they don't makeup for quarters that are too small. The minimum size I recommend for a Betta tank is 3 gallons (filtered and heated, of course).> I also have a hang on 1-3 gallon hang on filter, a bridge for hiding. Regular gravel, readings are stable (nitrites, nitrates etc.) <Stable doesn't necessarily mean good; ammonia and nitrites need to be at zero, and nitrates no more than 20 ppm...> ...and the temperature is stable at 80 degrees F. <Good temp. for a Betta.> I do 10% water changes once a day and feed him 2 pellets or (depending on the day) a couple of blood worms. Is he happy? <My preference would be to see him in a 3 gallon tank. However, I am glad to read you do daily water changes.  Be sure that you are heating than new water prior to adding it, or you may be causing a temperature fluctuation.  Honestly, I tried keeping a female Betta in a 2 gallon tank, and that, alas, proved too small, and she ultimately passed on earlier than she should have...> Two: my same Betta has black edges on his fins not all around but on one small part of it. Any ideas? Water quality is fine as stated above. <Are the edges starting to degenerate, as well? I believe what you are describing is fin rot, and it is usually caused by poor water quality.  Some Bettas are more sensitive than others (likely due to the multiple genetic manipulations the entire species has been put through over recent years). In any case, I think this is reason enough to give your Betta an upgrade. As stated above, 3 gallons is a minimum; 5 even better.  I've got 2 3 gallon Eclipse tanks for my Betta boys - tank comes complete with filtration (carbon filter and bio-wheel). Easily accommodates a 25watt heater. Doesn't cost too much. Although you are doing daily water changes, you either aren't doing enough, or the daily changes are causing enough stress to suppress the Betta's immune system, causing him to get sick.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,   Harry <Hope I have helped. I appreciate your situation, and I'm not trying to jump to conclusions. However, everything you describe about your husbandry sounds very good, so the obvious solution is to change the one variable you can - tank size. Good luck, Jorie>
Re: Betta tank size likely causing problems FOLLOW UP; transporting fish for use in science fair project
 4/26/07 Hi Jorie, Thank you for the extremely quick response! <No problem - that's why we're here!> And I also neglected to tell you what a great site WWM is and that it is an invaluable resources this is to all and how much it has helped save lives (the lives of the fishies of course!) <On behalf of all, thanks for the kind words...> Alas, I am only 12 and my funds are running short. So I won't be able to move him for probably a month. Do you think that this is alright? <If that's all you can do, then it'll have to be.> I have BettaFix and am wondering if this will cure him until his home is remodeled; will this surface? <The main ingredient in BettaFix is Melaleuca, or tea tree oil, which, WHEN USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH GOOD HUSBANDRY, can help in preventing secondary infection in cases of fin rot.  The best thing you can do is keep your Betta's tank water clean. If you use the BettaFix also, it likely can't hurt. Give it a whirl - but remember, it isn't a cure-all, and truly, water changes are your, and your Betta's, best friend right now!> Also I'm doing a science fair project and want to use my fishies. <What do you plan on using them for?> I want to use Bettas, guppies and cherry barbs. if they are at my school for only one night  (with me guarding them of course) in 1 gal. filtered heated tanks will this be possible? I own them all but want to make sure that they won't be stressed out and kick the bucket!!!! They would be grouped like this: 2 cherry barbs in one tank, 2 guppies in another and finally 1 Betta. If this would work great, and if not then would 2 gal. tanks? <Any time you move, transport fish you stress them out. If the fish is healthy to begin with, everything could go smoothly and without problems, but I won't tell you that it is without risk.  It's your call, but in honesty, it could go either way. The 2 gal. tanks would be better, but the more important question is whether you'll be using water from their established home.  If not, you run the risk of shocking their delicate systems.  And, also, how do you plan to transport the fish to school? If it were me, I'd not want to risk my pets...perhaps you can think of a different science fair project? I certainly don't want to dissuade you from learning, but I do want you to know there are potential problems in store for you/your fish...> ANY help would be great!!!!! Harry <Hope I have.  When you have funds, do please upgrade your Betta's tank to a 3-5 gal., filtered, heated tank - he'll thank you for it! Best regards, Jorie> P.S.- no fish will be hurt for the project!!!!!!!    thanks again,      Harry    

Betta too warm? Writer not reading?   4/2/07 Hi, so I'm kinda new to the Betta thing, I've had this guy for almost a week and he seems pretty lazy, but, around 3-4am every night/morning he gets active and starts like jumping out of the water. <Do make sure the water level is kept low enough, the system covered to avoid it leaving...> When he isn't doing this he seems to enjoy hanging out with his head kind of buried under a rock in the back bottom corner, my apt is very warm, <... not consistently so...> right now I have two fans on the go and the temp is still 85 degrees.. could it be that the water is too hot? and if so, id there dome kind of opposite to a heater I <...> could use to bring down water temps or do I need to look for someone to give him to that lives somewhere with lower indoor temp. <You need to look, read before writing us...> would putting an air bubble strip thing in there with him add any kind of cooling effect, like a wind chill for underwater? the things I saw said still water so I haven't dropped in an air bubble thing yet, but if that would make him happier I'd gladly get him one. thanks for making this site, it's very helpful. <You should use it: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta too warm?   4/2/07
Sorry to have bothered you, I did read it ... "As regards thermal variance, of course a thermometer is all-important in gaining insight. Betta's are tropical fish... they live in warm water... the mid 70's to mid 80's are ideal... anything below 70 F. is trouble... and chilling, being in cold water will result in loss of appetite, vigor, stress... and possible death directly." So I clearly understand anything under 70 is bad, I was asking about at least 5 possibly 10 or more degrees warmer then "ideal". <As in 90-95 F.? This is really too warm> I checked it out at the pet store who thought temp. wouldn't be much of an issue, and just said not to leave him in direct sunlight. <Mmm, generally not a good idea... once again, not just a given temperature, but not too much fluctuation in a short period of time is important> They advised me to get him frogs for company, and change to frozen blood worms for food -I did both and he seems happier. I read about someone in England and possibly floating ice in their tank but that hardly seemed like a long term solution, <Agreed. Is only an emergency/stop-gap measure> or answer to how warm the temp there was. Anyways, your site is very useful, apparently the answer about if it's too hot is on there somewhere and I missed it. keep up the good work. <Thank you for your further input. This animal is, then... in a heated, filtered environment I take it. Bob Fenner>
Re: too warm Betta?   4/3/07
filtered yes, but heated no. <Mmm... a good idea to have one...> I just live in a very warm apartment, the temperature doesn't fluctuate much it's just always very warm, very rare to be under 85. <Wow! I take it you are writing from/live in the tropics> He actually seems to be much happier now, same temp, but with frogs in tank. he made a little bubble nest thing last night. <Ah, a good sign> swims around more. thanks for responding <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Another Betta question...!   3/31/07 Hello, and thank you for the greatest informational site on Bettas I've been able to find!! <Yikes! Powerful endorsement!>   I'm a relatively new Betta owner; about 3 weeks or so.  Stewart is a beautiful blue and red gentleman who has adjusted well to his 2.5 gallon tank, as compared to the cup I bought him in.  Terrible things those little containers, I wanted to buy them all to get them out!  (My husband would have none of that)  He now has a good quality adjustable heater and a little hidey place (ornamental "stump" with holes) and some nice plants.  I change out about half of his water every week, and clean his tank out once every week and a half or two weeks, careful to use only water and no soap.  He's fairly active and sociable, gets excited and dances in front of the glass when I come to feed and visit with him!  He's a regular bubble nest builder, and can put quite a masterpiece together in short order! <Heee! Well-stated> He's just great.  I'm trying to vary his diet with the pellets (he likes the smaller the better) and freeze-dried bloodworms.  Also, while he does spread his fins out all pretty like on occasions, he doesn't do it very often.  Should I find a mirror to get him going, so to speak, more often? <Mmm, "for temporary use only"... Too stressful to "challenge" continuously> Anyway, more importantly, after much searching and reading on the Ich problem which Stewart has been recently "cured" from, I've been unable to find any info that gives me an idea when I should replace the filter that I emptied the charcoal out of during his treatment, with a new charcoal filter.  After his last tank cleaning, I turned down his heater a few degrees (from upper 80's to an 82 - 84 degree range) and used the Aquarisol and salt as directed, but now am concerned that if I put the charcoal filter back in that it will take out the Aquarisol and/or other treatments that might still be in the water.  Any guidance and or any other advice you can give me would be very much appreciated!  Thanks to all of you for ALL YOU DO!!  =) Ruth <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words... I would wait a good two weeks after the treatment is "over" to change the filter media here. Bob Fenner>

Male Bettas in a divided tank  3/28/07 Your site is wonderful! Thank you! My husband and I just bought two Bettas yesterday and took the advice of the pet store (big mistake!). Needless to say we are off today to buy all the things they actually need. Right now we have them in a divided tank and one is constantly challenging the other. <Yes... till he gets "too pooped"... best not to house in constant view> This is causing one to be cowering in the corner and the other to be constantly flaring. We were thinking of buying a ten gallon and dividing it. Would this be acceptable? <Mmm, if the divider were not transparent...> Will the bigger tank curb the challenging behaviors? <To some extent, yes... but better that there is something more to obscure the appearance...> The most important question is if it doesn't stop will they be healthy or get too stressed out? <Too likely this latter> Will two separate tanks be necessary if it doesn't stop? <Mmm, no... just something with an obscuring effect... like a rounded hurricane lamp cover...> We are new to Bettas but look forward to a lifetime of providing healthy environments, raising healthy fish and reading your site! Thank you, Paul and Mandy Tebb <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words... I do encourage you to consider opaque glass or plastic sheet to temporarily separate these two. Bob Fenner>

My dear Betta :(   3/14/07 Hello anyone who is helping me! <<Hi, Jamie. Tom here.>> I got a Betta fish about three days ago, and just changed his water today. I had him in about room temperature water, but I thought it seemed cold, so I took him out and put warm water in. When I got Lloyd, they told me I didn't need a big container at all, but I wanted an okay sized one anyway just because (which is good, seeing as I found out they need room so their fins don't tear). <<Among other reasons, Jamie.>> Anyway, I was totally unknowledgeable about Betta's, so I brought him back, rinsed the rocks, and threw him in (well not threw, more like placed :)) the water. <<You learned, first-hand, to never buy an animal (fish included) that you know nothing about. A lesson learned'¦ ;) >> He was okay at first, he swam around, but yesterday and today he has been swimming very infrequently, will maybe go up and blow some bubbles, or so it seems, and will then stop moving and float in the water upright. Sometimes he lays on the rocks as well. What is wrong with Lloyd? <<Lloyd needs very warm water, first and foremost. His water should be, at least, 80 degrees F. Room temperature water, unless you live in the tropics, won't do it for him. Get him a heater. Laying on the rocks is normal. Mine does it all the time. Blowing 'bubble nests' is a very good sign. You're in the early stages, Jamie. Bettas will act strangely until they acclimate to their surroundings. Don't put too much into it just now.>> Is it the food? I feed him HBH Beta Bites (pellets), and they usually sink right away, which worries me. <<Bettas typically feed at the top but don't be overly concerned. He'll find it eventually.>> Is it the water? I used tap water, and don't have a filter or anything. <<Oops. Another 'first', get a filter along with the heater. Another biggie, get a good quality water conditioner that removes chlorine/chloramines. Research 'cycling' an aquarium on our site. In fact, research, research and, then, research'¦>> I don't want Lloyd to die, so please help! <<I don't want Lloyd to die, either, Jamie, but you have to do some homework. I can't 'save' him from here.>> Also, I didn't put anything extra in the water, maybe that's it? <<If you're referring to the conditioner, that's part of it. If you can't find the answers on our site, please, post back to me and I'll be happy to get into the specifics. What you're asking about now has been addressed many, many times so I don't think you'll have a problem finding answers.>> Thanks! Jamie <<Again, if you don't understand something, post your question to me. I'll be more than happy to give you more information than you'll need. :) My best to you. Tom>>  

Betta splendens Ali?   3/11/07 My Betta was originally in a small Betta container that held about a quart of water. : (   I felt sorry for him and he now lives in a 5 gal tank (Waterhome5) which is also home to a few small plants that I keep trimmed to a proportionate size for the tank and the substrate is small stones, about 1" round (purchased in a LFS).  So far this $4.00 fish has cost me over $100.00.   <A step up to be sure, but still a little small.> My one and only attempt to add fish to that tank was 2 Mickey Mouse Platys who managed to live for a whole 5 days before I finally put them out of their misery when they started looking like losers from a Mohammed Ali boxing match.  the Betta is now named "The Terminator".  <I'll be back.>   <Your tank is too small for this.> I suspect my mistake was that I added 2 young (1-inch) fish to a tank that already had one territorial fish, but I want to make the tank more interesting and entertaining, both for myself and for the fish - although he certainly had other ideas about that at the time.   <I would select a larger tank.  Perhaps a 20g - 29g.> My 3 local LFS locations have each told me that I should have added 4 or 5 fish at one time, <Sure this would work, if you wanted everyone to die from toxic build up.> suggesting Tetras or White Clouds, and a Corydoras or two instead of just those 2 Platies.  I do have a bit of an algae problem that I'm trying to keep under control, hence the addition of live plants, so am interested in an algae eater.  However, I don't want to add these fish just so they can be sparring partners for the Betta to train for his next bout.  Keeping to the rule of thumb of 1 inch of fish per gallon of water, would 4 neon tetras and a Corydoras be too much to add to the Betta in a 5 gallon tank? <Yes.  When you stock, you have to stock with the fish's adult size in mind.  They sure are cute when they are little, but it won't last forever. I would get a larger tank, or let the B. splendens live peacefully on it's own.> By the way - your site is the only place I've been able to find sensible, easy-to-read and easy-to-understand assistance - both are important qualities required by a "newbie".  Thanks for being there for us all. <That is what we are here for,  Brandon.> Lynne

Q about my Betta... in a Bowl   2/24/07 My Betta, Dietrich, is about six months old.  He's had a happy, comfy life.  Last week he stopped eating and started moping around.  He wouldn't swim and just laid in his plant.  I changed his water and he acted all better.  Then two days later he started freaking out.  Every time I come near his bowl <... here's the trouble. Environmental> he freaks out and starts zooming around and around, trying to fly out of his bowl (I keep a holey lid on it).  So I put him into a different bowl but that hasn't helped at all.  This is the first fish I've ever owned and I don't know what to do with him!  He hasn't eaten in days.     Kathy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Another Betta in a bowl... Beedy, beedy, beedy, hokay Buck  2/24/07 I don't know if this is where to ask a question or not, but... Bucky, had him about a year now. is spitting out his food he eats it chews awhile & spits it out. There may be some white stuff on his lips - not sure. fins & color look good. Been using extra salt, (1/2 tsp ) in his gallon tank, stress coat. 7 drops each of Mela fix and pima fix. His water gets very cloudy in a day or 2 . Is this from disease, or the medications. I have been changing it when it gets cloudy   Shelly in Pittsburgh <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: Bucky, the Betta, not in a bowl, but an unheated/lighted one gallon tank...
   2/25/07 <<Hi, Shelly. Tom with you this time.>> No, not a bowl. A gallon tank with a light that seems to keep him at about 74 to 75 degrees now that the weather has gotten colder. <<Shelly, please understand that, to us, a one-gallon container of any description equates to a 'bowl'. (That's to what Mr. Fenner was making reference.) Where Bettas are concerned, we recommend 'tanks' that are between 2.5 gallons and 10 gallons in size. Additionally, lights are poor sources of heat for these, or any, fish. The heat is, typically, unevenly distributed from top to bottom and, is subject to change throughout the day. A small, conventional aquarium heater is a much better choice here. Finally, 74-75 degrees is marginally acceptable for most 'tropical' fish much less fish, specifically Bettas, that prefer temperatures of 80-84 degrees. If that seems like a relatively minor change, try kicking your thermostat from 68 degrees to 72 degrees on a cold, winter night. Makes all the difference in the world. Living in Michigan, I can attest to the variation that even a couple of degrees can make. Imagine what living 10 degrees below your 'comfort zone' must feel like. Bettas might 'adapt' to colder temperatures but they won't thrive. Has much to do with their immune systems as well.>> Substrate is gravel and he has a little silk plant he likes to sleep under. This stuff around his mouth - would the pima fix and Mela fix help it, or do I need to use something like MarOxy? <<How about something much simpler? Visit your LFS and purchase some aquarium salt. ('Kosher' salt from the grocery store would work just fine.) Dissolve a 'light' teaspoon of the salt in with fresh, conditioned water on your next water change. Also, get the temperature up to at least 80 degrees with a heater. Right now, your parameters/conditions are less than optimal for your pet. Bring these 'in line' and we can go from there. Tom>>
Re: Bucky, the Betta, not in a bowl, but an unheated/lighted one gallon tank...
   2/25/07 OK thanks. He is already in the salt. Maybe I forgot to mention that. <<Perhaps I missed it, Shelly. Regardless, I'm glad you're using it for your Betta.>> Will look for the other stuff. <<Not necessary. Kosher salt and aquarium salt are essentially identical. Pure sodium chloride with no additives such as iodine or anti-caking ingredients.>> They told me at the pet store that a tank bigger than a gallon would be too big for one fish. <<We know for a fact that larger tanks are inherently more stable than smaller tanks. They're less prone to 'spikes' in toxins or fluctuations in temperature and pH levels. Larger water surface areas provide for greater oxygen exchange, which, if not crucial for the Bettas, most certainly is for our beneficial, nitrifying bacteria. Larger tanks allow us to provide a more 'natural' environment for our pets such as hiding/resting places, et. al. In my opinion, larger tanks are actually easier to maintain than smaller tanks are and, are more forgiving of a 'lapse' in regular maintenance (though we both know that never happens! :) ). All of these points, among others, lead to more stress-free and therefore, healthier, homes for our Bettas. Is there a point of 'diminishing returns' regarding the tank size appropriate for Bettas? Sure. Beyond about 10 gallons, the cost of running a correctly-sized filter and heater plus lighting probably isn't worth it in terms of providing more than your Betta requires. They're not particularly active swimmers so they don't need much more room than this in terms of swimming area. So, yes, there is a point of what might be called 'overkill' but don't buy into someone's claim that a tank larger than one gallon is 'too big'. Just isn't true. Tom>>
Re: Bucky Betta, sys., hlth.  -- 2/26/07
<<Hello, again.>> You know, I never had an interest in fish. Or fish keeping.  I am a cat & dog person, I volunteer at the Pgh. Zoo, I like all animals and at the zoo we teach respect for all living things. <<Admirable and commendable. Personally, in addition to my fish, I've got a cat, dog and what I believe to be a Tasmanian Devil disguised as a Yellow Labrador puppy. Something of a menagerie'¦>> I obviously have an interest in Bucky and the 4 or 5 Bettas I have had before him. But I still would not say I have become interested in the whole aquarium hobby thing. I just go into the pet store and see them in their little cups, and think, "I can do better than that.' I am sure there are others like me. <<Happily, there are.>> I have limited space as well. <<Understood and not at all uncommon.>> It is very hard to find equipment for him "in miniature". Maybe your web site has something like this, but for the "I can do better than this" people it would be nice to go to a place where you can order some appropriate, decent set up for the Bettas. Something easily maintained that even moms have time to do for their kid's fish. A small tank, a mini heater, a small easy to change filter. Instructions for slightly brackish water, and something that would last a couple of years. People would buy it for their Bettas. <<Truth? A virtual handful of caring, thoughtful people, like yourself, probably would. The key, as you know from your own volunteer work, is education. Folks will purchase a Goldfish, for example, with a potential lifespan of, perhaps, 20 years but won't invest a single hour (minute?) into researching what the fish needs to thrive and live a full life. The other problem is simple economics. Ordering online, you might consider a Marineland Eclipse 3 aquarium system along with a Hydor 'Theo' 25W heater. The Eclipse 3 system has a built-in Bio-wheel filter + light in the hood. (The combination of the Eclipse system and heater should run about $50 with a little shopping.) Not an 'endorsement'. Just a suggestion. ;) Should be just about perfect for Bucky.>> If you guys have researched what is out there, and have this listed somewhere and I missed it please tell me where it is.  If not could you give this a thought? <<I understand your thinking but we don't 'endorse' products other than to offer personal opinions. Mine may differ from those of the others on the Crew.>> Seems like you know your stuff, help us find it. <<Hopefully, I did. Best regards. Tom>>

Bettas and algae eaters - compatibility  - 02/17/2007 <<Hi, Lynne. Tom here.>> I have a 5-gal (19L) Waterhome5 tank with one Betta (named The Terminator after he killed 2 Mickey mouse platys recommended by my LFS).  I had a cloudy water problem and found out I was not allowing the tank to condition - changing the water as soon as it got cloudy.  I was doing a 20% water replacement every few days but it didn't help.   <<The cloudy water was likely the result of a bacterial bloom, Lynne. The bacteria (always present, by the way) feed on excess nutrients and as long as those nutrients remain, the bacteria will simply propagate and the issue remains unresolved.>> I have small smooth rocks as a bottom layer (no gravel).  Last weekend I did another complete change after being told I was probably being TOO clean and was advised to maybe just rinse but NOT scrub the rocks this time (some slime algae on Plexiglas sides needed to be cleaned, too). <<Beneficial bacteria will populate the substrate, whatever it might be. Too thorough a cleaning basically wipes out the population leaving you right back at 'square one'. If you choose to rinse your substrate rather than vacuum it, make sure you rinse the rocks in used aquarium water to prevent damaging the bio-colonies too severely.>> Then I started again, even with new filters, and added 2 live plants.  It clouded up within the first day, but after reading up a bit more decided to leave it alone to see if it would clear itself, and IT DID!  Yippee!   <<Yep. The 'bad' bacteria ate themselves out of house and home!>> Last night I noticed green "stuff" on all the stones at the bottom of the tank.  Here we go again! <<Likely just an algae build-up. The plants will help with this since they'll typically out-compete the algae for nutrients (nitrates) in the tank. Be careful about over-feeding and keep lighting levels minimized.>> Question:  How and what do I clean or not clean to get rid of this stuff?  Can I add an algae eater to the tank to help?   <<Regular water changes are important here. With Bettas, you should be looking at a water change once per week. Nothing extreme, just about 20% will suffice. Now, as to your second question, I'm neither a proponent of placing other fish with Bettas nor am I a proponent of adding 'algae eaters' to a tank to control algae. Regarding the former, I think you had a first-hand look with the Platys as to why I don't recommend mixing Bettas with others. All too often, somebody comes out on the 'short end', either the Betta or the other fish. As to the latter, you'd most probably end up with an algae eater that doesn't have any more algae to feed on after a time. There are other ways to control this nuisance growth without buying a fish that you may not really want beyond its ability/willingness to clean your tank. Your five-gallon tank is a wonderful size for a single Betta. No need to mess with a good thing.>> If so, which species and how many without crowding the tank.   <<See above'¦>> I don't have a water test kit (way too expensive) so I don't know what my chemical levels are.  I'm just afraid the unsightly algae is detrimental to the health of the fish. <<Your local LFS will test a sample of your water for free. Don't settle for 'fine', 'good', 'within limits' or 'safe'. Get the actual readings from them. As far as the algae goes, it's only 'unsightly' to us. The Betta doesn't care. Our concern is if the growth is due to excessive nitrates in the water. Since these can/will be controlled with regular water changes, keep up with these and you should be fine. Good luck. Tom>>
Re: Bettas and algae eaters - compatibility
 - 02/17/2007 <<Hello, again, Lynne.>> Whew!  Thought I was looking at a lot of money on fish, water test kit, chemical fixatives, etc.  I do a 20% water change every 5 - 7 days, so as long as the algae isn't doing damage to the fish I'll continue as I am and give the plants a chance to do their "thing".  Green isn't my favourite colour but it's soothing to the eyes (so I am told). <<A very positive attitude. :) >> This little $4. fish has cost me a bundle so far!  LOL!  Bigger tank (he looked crowded), vacuum, rocks, plants, tank scrubber, anti-chlorine conditioner, filters, food (he won't eat brine shrimp pellets).  He was chosen of the lot because he looked the most beat-up, sort of like one of Muhammad Ali's early contenders, with tears in his fins and the front two that are supposed to be lengthy and flowing were only about 1/4" long (I always was a sucker for animals in need). <<Technically not the best way to purchase a pet but your heart's certainly in the right place. Bless you for that.>> Since I've had him (about 5 months) his fins have grown back really well with only one slit in the top fin having a small bit of healing left - and his front fins are growing and flowing nicely.   <<Good to hear this, Lynne.>> I'd read that often Bettas with coloured edges on their fins usually don't have the coloured edges grow back, but his did and quite handsomely, too. <<Excellent but a bit unusual, as you suggest.>> He's VERY aggressive, though, even making a rush at the vacuum when I'm cleaning his tank.  (I guess he doesn't realize that the cleaning lady has to visit at least once a week.) What a trooper.  I figured if he had that much will to live, I'd do what I could to help. <<Well, I'd see the aggressiveness as all the more reason to keep him by himself. Bettas don't need companions, other than you, of course. Our 'human nature' sometimes gets in the way of doing what's best and, most natural, for our pets. Hard to overcome but necessary.>> Thanks so much for your quick reply.  Newbies really appreciate that. <<Happy to be of assistance, Lynne. Continued good luck to you.>> LC <<Tom>>

Betta on Spring Break? 2/14/2007 Hi- <<Hello Claire!>> I'm not quite sure which category this falls under, but my friend and I need some advice about our Bettas. We are going on a trip for Spring Break and need to bring our Bettas with us (I have 2, she has 1, and we'll be taking our roommates' as well). <<Is there really no one that can come care for them while you're away>> We are wondering if it is safe to take our Bettas in the car? It is a fairly long trip (10 hrs) and we didn't want to take them originally, but we don't seem to have much of a choice. <<Well, assuming they are in heated, filtered tanks now, you have a few things to consider.  Battery powered air pumps and heaters are one, as temperature stability is a concern, as is oxygenation, even with atmospheric respiration.  The vessels they are transported in must be stable, and you need to bring along proper housing (tank, heaters, filters, de-Chlor) for when you get to your destination, which includes an active bio-filter, such as the sponge from the filter on their tank (transported in tank water).  Furthermore, their care while you are on spring break is an issue.>> Is this safe? <<Perhaps, if you take the care required. I personally would opt for a fish-sitter.>> Thanks for your help! Claire <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Thanks so much for your response! <<You are quite welcome.>> We live in a college dorm so everyone is leaving, or we would leave our boys and girl here. <<Ah, understandable.>> Thanks again for your help, it is much appreciated! <<My pleasure.  Good luck with your pets, and do let me know how it went and how you went about it :). Lisa.>>

Caring For A Crown tail Betta - 02/09/2007 Hello! <Hi there! Jorie here.> I've been looking on your website and it's helped me so much in caring for my Betta. A few weeks ago, I decided that to give my dorm room some personality and that I was going to buy a fish. I remembered seeing those poor fish in the small cups or bowls at the pet store and decided I would save one of them and give it a home. <I'm a sucker for "saving" Bettas as well...I've got three at the moment, two boys and one girl (all living separately)> I bought a 1 gallon tank... <This is the absolutely minimum - obviously better than the cup, but ideally at least a 3 gal. tank is best.  In any case, try to fit a 25watt submersible heater in the tank - Bettas need water of warm (80-82 degrees F), stable temperatures.> ...some blue rocks, and a white (fake - but made of a softer material so it wouldn't have rough edges) plant. It has a filter, which I turn on for only about an hour or two out of the day to help keep his water clear (I found any longer than that and he almost seems to get too tired from busting all the bubbles it makes!). <You need to leave the filtration on 24/7, so it can effectively do its job.  Many filters can be adjusted, so that the water output is less or more - obviously, for the Betta, less would be good. In any case, your Betta will adapt to the current, so long as it isn't too extreme...> I had originally bought him some Betta pellets to munch on, but soon - I saw that his water got a white cloudy substance at the bottom, and the next day, I saw he was spitting out his food and just letting it sink to the bottom. <That's not good.  You don't want left-over food sitting on the bottom of the tank, as that's a quick way to foul the water.  In your 1 gal. tank, I'd recommend changing 75% of his water twice per week, also, siphoning out any waste off the bottom of the tank.> I then went out and got him some Omega Freeze-Dried Bloodworms, which he seems to be enjoying very much. <They do love bloodworms! Also, mysis shrimp are a big hit.  I'm surprised, though, that your fish didn't like the pellets - what brand were they? I've had good luck with the Hikari Betta pellets...perhaps try those.  Also, in general, remember that the Betta's stomach is about the size of one of his eyes...only 3 or so pellets once per day is more than enough food.  Alternatively, 5-6 small bloodworms for a meal is good.> The thing I'm truly worried about is that he use to be a gorgeous deep blue color, but recently - he's been turning a bright (but beautiful) red! Is it normal for a Betta to change colors as much as he does? He seems to go back and forth - and right now he's a mix of blue and red.  He seems very happy and is swimming around effortlessly, eventually stopping to see what is going on on my computer screen. <Cute little buggers with lots of personality, aren't they? Many times Bettas do change colors once you get them home from the store and put them into more appropriate containers.  Going back and forth, though, is a bit strange, unless he's just one of those very unique "marbled" colored Bettas.  So long as you are keeping his water clean (there should be no build-up of ammonia, nitrite and nitrates; the twice weekly water change schedule should ensure everything's good there, along with feeding him sparingly) and keeping him in a warm, stable temperature, all should be well. Do turn that filtration unit on, though!> I'm just worried about my fish, I've grown very attached! <I understand. Out of all my fish, my Bettas are among my favorites, as they are so entertaining and truly "pet like". Here's some links to my favorite Betta websites: http://www.bcbetta.com/ http://www.bettacave.com/ http://www.siamsbestbettas.com/ > Thanks, Bethany <You're welcome - enjoy your Betta! Jorie>

Betta health... just sys., env.   2/3/07 Hello, I have a Betta that started showing signs of iridescent fins with a small white spot on his dorsal fin many months back. Its like at that spot he just lost his color. But its the spots on his other fins that are interesting. They are shiny. <Mmm, this is likely mostly "age"...> He is also a little lethargic (probably a little cold because I have a tank without a heater), <... this is a tropical species...> and he doesn't make bubble nests as much anymore. I use water conditioner and try to change his water 1 time a week. He is in a average sized goldfish bowl, I'd guess around a gallon. He doesn't scratch himself against anything, his eyes don't bulge and he has no ulcers or sores. He doesn't look like he has salt on him and he doesn't have "clouds" around his fins so I don't think its that type of fungus. I have treated him with malachite three times with no change. <Not a good idea> In fact, he almost seems to be shedding scales. <The medicine...> I find very small flaky pieces on the surface. I worry that I'm causing him undue suffering and really want to help him feel better. Do you have any suggestions? I can post a picture if you would like. Thank you, ~~Strawberry's owner <Be a real "owner", care-giver and provide your charges with the care they need/deserve... Please read and heed: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta health   2/4/07
thank you so much for your reply. I will stop the malachite treatments and try to keep his tank warmer. thank you! ~~Carlene, care giver of Strawberry <I do hope for a complete recovery. BobF>

Temperature for ADFs/Betta  1/30/07 <Hi Betty> Thanks so much for your prompt response!   <No problem.> I'm so glad I found your web site so I could finally get some much needed information.  I've read a lot of the letters on your site and I agree that pet stores don't give you much info on dwarf frogs.  They have books on all kinds of fish, but I've never seen a book only about dwarf frogs.  And that's a real shame since they make such nice pets. <But there are lots of websites:    http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/mypets/dwarfs.html http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/Dwarf_African_Frog http://home.earthlink.net/~ecotank/id22.html http://www.petplace.com/reptiles/choosing-an-african-dwarf-frog/page1.aspx http://www.hv3.7h.com/dwarffrogs.html http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfaffrogfaqs.htm  > Don't worry, Pufferpunk -- I'm not going to put anything else in the frog tank.  I've learned my lesson.   <Glad to hear that!> And it's funny that you should say that the Neons are difficult fish to keep, because the pet store guy told me they are considered "beginner fish."  But I found out otherwise and I won't be getting any more of those.  I dearly love my frogs and my Betta, even though I still think he looks lonely.  But no more pals for him either. <Good> I do have one more question about water temperature.  I have a thermometer in the frog tank and it's reading about 68 degrees.  I haven't taken the temp in the Betta tank but I imagine it's the same, since they're in the same room.  Should I get an aquarium heater for the frogs and/or the Betta and if so, what temperature would you recommend? <Check the above sites for temps for your frogs.  Bettas are tropical fish which means 78-82 degrees.  It will probably be difficult to find a thermometer that will keep a bowl like that stable.  Maybe you could put a light over it or even better, give him the 5g & get a 10g for the frogs to have lots of swimming room.  You could put plants & other fun things in there for them to check out!  ~PP>

Bettas, Filtration and Thank You's - 1/24/07 Happy hello from a freshly educated Betta keeper! <And a happy hello from me, JustinN again!> To JustinN and Bob F, I'd like to personally thank you both.   <On behalf of both of us, you're quite welcome.> You've answered questions for me in the past and your wisdom has saved two of my fish's lives.  Bob introduced me to the possibility of an infection I didn't even know existed and JustinN...what a palm-to-forehead moment!  Cycling!  The last time I had a tank I was 18... ten years ago.  I was shocked that I had forgotten something so fundamental. <No worries here, you remember now and that's the important part! Part of the human condition is to make mistakes, and from the mistakes, learn and grow. Chalk it up to education, my friend.> I vacillated painfully about what to do to correct my unforgivable fishy oversight, and ultimately settled on apologizing profusely to my four Bettas (separate tanks--!), performing a 50% water change, picking up some nitrogen booster stuff and praying to Poseidon.   <Hehe, a few frozen (then thawed!) blood worms or mysis shrimp will go a long way towards an apology here... *grin*> Now I've got my fingers crossed and my hands out of Kira's tank (being careful Bob, I promise). <Excellent> So I'm singing your praises to all my friends and looking for a WWM t-shirt.  Amazon--? ;-) <There is a link for such on our front page, on a link labeled "WetWebMedia Gear" -- I'll also provide the link here: http://www.cafepress.com/cp/store.aspx?s=wetwebmedia.0 > One last question for the moment.  Kira (the one with the crooked spine) is in a 2.5 gallon with a BioWheel.  I unplugged his filter this afternoon to treat him with bloodworm (freeze dried).  The filter tends to stir up the surface so much that he has a hard time chasing down the food.  His fins are huge and I worry for his bad posture. <Ok... Can this filter be throttled down? (Sorry, I have no personal experience with the Eclipse systems.) If so, this will likely help some all around.> 20 minutes later, I had a bubblenest. <Excellent!> The last thing I'm gonna do is drop my female in there.  I know precisely squat about breeding and won't risk fishy tuberculosis since I don't know if it's contagious (or if he has it). But will there be any ill effects if I turn the filter back on and obliterate his nest?  I was hugely flattered at this discovery after being convinced I'd made irreversible mistakes and I'm loathe to mess anything up now!! <Oh, no, no worries here my friend. The filtration is essential; if it can be throttled down to not agitate the surface as much, it may help some, but do aim to keep it running.> Thanks guys. Oh, JustinN, thank you so much for taking the time to correctly forward your reply.  I've requested that yahoo fix this silly reply-forward thing for years and they can't seem to figure themselves out.  I always come to the site to read through the FAQ's whenever I can. Your dedication to ensuring that your help is received speaks to an impressive commitment to your passion as an aquarist.   Pasada <You're gonna make me blush! Seriously though, this is just what I feel is my 'duty' here.. I like to help, feel beneficial, as well as I like to know that other people are receiving as accurate of a story as possible... If I wasn't doing it here, I'd probably be on some message board around the net doing it elsewhere! Likewise, you say you've been having issues with Yahoo's mail service... May I offer you a (free) invite to Google's provided mail service? I do believe you can arrange it to receive all your Yahoo email as well.. The choice is yours, just let me know, my friend! -JustinN>
Bettas, Filtration and Thank Yous - an outsiders follow-up - 1/25/07
Good morning! <Hello, Susan, JustinN with you today.> I also have an Eclipse 5 gallon Hex with a BioWheel for my Betta. I have slowed the current down by trimming every other spoke on the impeller. Trim a little bit at a time and test. I also have a slim piece of aquarium safe sponge inserted alongside the BioWheel and the outtake port. Also, if you place plants around the intake tube that will help. Finally, floating some plants near the outtake ports helps dissipate the surface flow. When it comes to feeding time I still shut down the pump so he can eat more easily. I Hope this helps. <Excellent suggestions here, Susan. We will post for all to see, and I will likewise forward this on to Pasada. Cheers! -JustinN>

Betta Care and Tank Set-Up   1/19/07 I just purchased my Betta a couple of hours ago. Along with the fish, I bought a Betta care kit ( little tank, Betta flakes, and a tap water conditioning treatment) He seemed fine bringing him home, and a little while after I put him in the cleaned tank with the conditioned water. After a couple of hours, he started sinking to the bottom, sort of on his side, and only swimming if I moved the tank. Even if I move the tank, he swims for a couple seconds, and just sinks to the bottom again. The water seems to be room temperature, although I do not have a thermometer. What do you think is going on? I'm concerned, hopefully you have some ideas. <This fish is suffering through your tank nitrogen cycle...toxic ammonia is afflicting this animal and/or poor acclimation, temperature swings...likely a combination of all. Access the WWM main page and use the search feature to look-up proper beta care as well as establishing FW biological filtration.>   Thank You, <Anytime.>   Emily. <Adam J.>

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

Betta at Work  1/5/07 Hi, <Hello there> I was reading some of the FAQ and noticed someone mentioned that they have a Betta Fish at work and that he fasts on the weekends and so they give him a little extra food on Friday. Will the Betta be OK if he doesn't eat over the weekend? <Likely yes. I'd be very careful with the "extra" feeding on Friday, though, as that's a very easy way to quickly foul the water...> What is the longest they can go without getting food? <A week or more...but I wouldn't suggest regularly subjecting any fish to this...> I looked at the feeders that you put in the water that dissolve over time (releasing food pellets as it does this), but I've read that those aren't the best and can change the water chemistry (pH). <It can also quickly pollute the tank; I don't recommend these at all.> I've gotten him an electronic automatic food pellet feeder, but I only have a gallon tank and the feeder doesn't fit well with the hood still on the tank. <I'm not surprised.  In all honesty, if you feed your Betta right before you leave work on Friday, then first thing Monday a.m., he will likely be OK. But, since you mention it...the 1 gal. tank he has - hopefully it's filtered and heated (to a stable 80-82 degrees F)? Also, I'm hoping you do regular water changes? I myself have three Bettas; two males, each in his own 3 gal. Eclipse tank, that I do 50% weekly water changes on, and 1 female in a 2 gal. tank, that I do about 75% water changes on weekly.  In all honesty, I think the 2 gal. it too small, and the 3 gal. is perfect...anything less than 2 gal., well, let's just say I sincerely hope that this tank is at least filtered and heated, not to mentioned very well maintained.  Just looking out for the health of your Betta...> Thanks for your help! -- Lawrence <You're welcome.  Your Betta will likely be fine without food over a weekend; I'm more concerned about the environmental conditions he's living in. Best regards, Jorie>
Re: Betta at Work - follow-up
  1/6/07 Hi again, Thanks for your reply. <Sure!> I just got the Betta actually, although I've been reading up trying to educate myself in the meantime. <Excellent.> I am using an UGF and have been testing the water every day (well its  only day two, but I intend to keep testing daily until the tank is cycled). <Great plan.> To be honest, I'm not completely sure I will take him to work yet. <I see - I assumed that he was already there.  My bad.  In any case, although he *could* survive at work, he'd be better off at home, where you can check in on him daily.> My original plan was to have him at home until everything was stable, just in case. I may decide to just leave him here at home. I'm mostly  concerned about water temperature at work. It may be too cool for him there (I'm really not sure). In either case, I do not have a heater, but the temperature right now is right at 80 degrees and has been staying constant (again, I'm only at Day 2). <Have you tested the temperature during the middle of the night, for example? Is that temp. with the tank's light on, I imagine? I'm sure once the light is turned off, the temp. falls. It really is best to keep a Betta in a 2-3 gal. tank w/ a 25 watt. heater; your 1 gal. *may* fit the heater, but may not. Stability of temperature is even more important that precision - keep that on mind, also.> As I said above, I've been testing the water chemistry and plan to do  regular water changes. Im surprised to hear how much of your water you are changing. From what I've read, 25% is what I was expecting.   <In a larger tank, absolutely.  But when you are dealing with such little tanks, the water can foul very quickly.  This is but one reason why smaller tanks are actually more difficult to keep stable.  Do be sure to match the temp. and pH of the old and new water, when doing water changes, so as not to shock the fish.> Are your tanks filtered (as I understand larger water changes are   needed if its not filtered)? <Yes, all my tanks are filtered with power filters, carbon media.> Assuming the water is kept clean and warm, do you think he'll be OK in the 1 gallon? <It's pushing the envelope, but yes.  It really is imperative to get a heater in there; if the tank won't fit a 25 watt submersible heater, then I'm afraid you'll have to upgrade.  Aside from that, if you perform regular water changes, don't overfeed, and keep the temp. stable all should be well.> One other question, I tested the water this evening with the "API   Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit" and found low levels of  ammonia (<0.25 ppm). <That's bad - fish absolutely cannot tolerate ammonia.  Do a water change ASAP.> I also put a "Mardel LiveNH3" tester in the tank that is supposed to constantly monitor ammonia levels. It is currently saying 0. What is your experience with these types of testers? Are they accurate? <No, they are crap, in my opinion.  Throw it out, as it will just confuse you.  The API test kit you have is very reliable, in my opinion, and so long as you test frequently, you don't need the other (non-functioning!) monitor.> Thanks again for your help! -- Lawrence <You're welcome.  There's so many wonderful Betta websites out there; here's a few of my favorites, for your reference: http://www.ibcbettas.com/ http://www.bcbetta.com/ http://www.bettacave.com/ http://www.siamsbestbettas.com/ Best regards, Jorie>

Betta Question From A Newbie  12/29/06 Greetings from Canada, <Canada hello> I have spent the last two hours skimming through your web site and found it very informative for an absolute beginner like me. <Good to hear.> My question is in regard to a Betta I purchased recently. I got it at a local shopping mall pet store. They had about 30 or so of these beauties piled  on top of each other in very small plastic containers. <Typical of most/all Betta sellers.>  The Bettas came in  several colours each were very striking in their own way. One guy attracted my  attention and I decided to buy him partially because of his uniqueness that I will describe in a second but also because I thought he may have been injured and needed care that the store wasn't giving. <Good for you.> The store staff were not helpful in answering any questions I had and the guy working on the floor told me that I could have the Betta for $1. He said  that the fish had suffered damage in transport and was suffering from fin rot or something along those lines. Well, long story short, I bought a 1.7 gallon Marina goldfish starter kit (couldn't make myself put him in one of those tiny Betta kits they sell) and 2 weeks later he is doing very well.  <Good to hear, those tanks are terrible for goldfish but make nice homes for Bettas, just make sure to add a heater.> It's just him and a fancy guppy (friend gave  it to me when he knew I got the kit) and things seem to be going well. <May get aggressive with the guppy with time depending on his personality.> He is  quite active and seems to be very healthy. <Nice> What the store staff claimed was fin rot was nothing at all. He is a Crowntail Betta I discovered! <Neat> My gain, the store's loss as far as I am  concerned. <Yep> The problem I have is trying to identify him by his colour. I am not  familiar with the proper terminology so I shall do my best to describe him. His  central body from front to back starts with a mild pink/red and turns a lovely  neon baby blue, metallic sheen which continues along the rear fin/tail. His  bottom fins are confusing to classify. At the point where they leave the body  they are blue and very quickly change to a dark ochre/brown-red and then as you  get near the tips they go pearl white, almost clear. His top fin is a light blue / pearl white / clear. When he spreads his fins they are amazing looking. I keep thinking if dragons were real these would be something a regal dragon would be  proud of. <Very much so.> Your help would be greatly appreciated and keep up the excellent job of helping newbies like me. Peace, Geo <I'm not familiar with any official color classifications, although I'm sure they exist.  I would contact the IBC http://www.ibcbettas.com/  for more on how to describe your Betta in a more official manner.  Good luck with you new pet.> <Chris>
Betta Question From A Newbie  Part II 12/29/06
Thanks for your fast response Chris. <Sure> Just a brief update regarding the search to identify my Betta. I was able to find a photo on the Net of a Crowntail Betta that looks almost exactly like my own (except it's missing the white creamy fork tips). Supposedly it's classified as a Thai Double Double Ray. I have included a copy of the images I found and a link to the site that shows a few interesting Crowntail samples. http://www.deemarkbettacanada.com/page/page/2759430.htm <Nice> Since I obtained my quick education from your site and a few others the last two days I went back to the pet store and took another look at those cheap ($1) Bettas. Apparently a few are veil tails, half moons, and a couple more Crowntails.  <More common these days.> The remainders I am not exactly certain.  <Often combinations.> I educated the woman working there this morning as she didn't know much about them as well. She was appreciative but seemed more concerned that she needed to change/increase the price. <Typical unfortunately.>  Hopefully she will take better care of them if she thinks they are worth more.  <We can hope.> I wasn't aware of the need for a heater. The room I have the tank set up in is fairly warm year round. Is a heater still necessary?  <They require upper 70s/lower 80s and stable temperature.  Unless you keep you house very warm most likely inadequate and not stable enough.> Thanks for that tip. Both the Betta and the guppy seem to have come to an understanding as to territorial rights. The Betta likes to hang out on the left side of the tank while the guppy more or less stays over on the left side where the plants are denser. Of course the Betta goes where ever he wants and periodically gives the guppy a run for his money but he hasn't gotten excessively aggressive, just a little chase now and then.  <Hopefully stays that way, as they mature sometimes the fins of the fancy guppies trigger a hostile response.> If I bred guppies in that tank would the fry be of any use to the Betta in regard to dietary needs?  <A snack maybe, but definitely not needed.  I would bet they could outbreed his appetite too.> Another quick question. If I should be lucky to get my hands on a decent female Crowntail, how long do I allow her to remain with the male for spawning purposes? <Introduce slowly using a tank divider and remove the female immediately after she releases her eggs.> Peace, Geo <Chris>

Help with Betta and tank cycling  12/23/06 Hello, <<Good morning, Heather. Tom here.>> I have found a lot of very useful information on your site, but I need a little more help.   <<That's what we're here for.>> Here's the situation... I got a "free" Betta fish at a Christmas party about a week ago (they were part of the table decorations).   <<That's a new one'¦>> I took him because I thought he'd be a great work buddy and would be easy to care for.   <<He can be if done properly.>> Then I started doing some research because I research everything to death and realized that I was in over my head. <<I wish the person who came up with the 'Christmas decoration' scheme had done the same. (sigh)>> The first problem is that he is in a large vase (about 3/4 of a gallon) and the poor little guy (his name is Fred) is freezing to death at about 68 degrees.  I've moved him to the top of the refrigerator where it is warmer, but the temperature fluctuates a good bit.  I'm not sure which is worse... a steady 68 or an unsteady temp in the mid to high 70's.   <<Much as we preach 'stability', in this case the warmer temperatures are less likely to prove his undoing than leaving him 20 degrees lower than he should be.>> I have acquired a 5 gallon Eclipse tank for him and it is set up and running (although I still need a heater). <<Excellent choice on the tank particularly where size is concerned.>> This is where the next set of problems comes in.  I have done a lot of reading about cycling the tank so I understand what needs to happen there, but I'm not sure how to go about doing it in this situation. Should I cycle the tank with Fred (once I get a heater of course) so that I can get him out of his cold vase ASAP?  If I do this, how do I do it with the least amount of stress to Fred?  Will cycling the tank with Fred in there be more stressful to him than leaving him in his vase and cycling the tank some other way? <<Find a good store that deals in fish/aquarium equipment and buy a bottle/package of BIO-Spira (Marineland). (It will be refrigerated.) This product -- the ONLY product - will 'instantly' cycle the tank for you, which will eliminate the delay in transferring Fred. At the same time you can purchase the heater and, a personal recommendation, aquarium salt. Now, if there's going to be a 'tricky part', Heather, this is where it's going to come in. First, change out 25% of the water in the new tank adding a good water conditioner to remove chlorine/chloramine. (There are a number of good products that will do this unlike the BIO-Spira 'wannabe's' that claim they instantly cycle aquariums. 'Fritz-Zyme Turbo Start' is another product that must be refrigerated and contains live nitrifying bacteria however, it contains Nitrobacter bacteria as opposed to Nitrospira bacteria which is the prevalent nitrifying bacteria for nitrites in aquariums. I knew you wanted to know this'¦) Add one tablespoon of aquarium salt to the new water and mix it in thoroughly before putting the fresh water in the tank. Set the heater up to bring the tank temperature equal to what Fred's vase water is currently. (Do not yet raise the temperature to its final setting.) Add the BIO-Spira according to the manufacturer's instructions and remember to refrigerate the remaining product. Move Fred to the new tank and slowly -- over the course of a few hours -- raise the tank temperature to a minimum of 80 degrees. (I keep mine at 84 for what it's worth.)  From there it's a matter of good maintenance and feeding. As an aside, Bettas do well with regular water changes on the level of 10%-20%, at least, once per week. Again, this will require conditioner and a small addition of aquarium salt to maintain the ratio at one tablespoon per five gallons. A heaping teaspoon for each gallon of water changed should do just fine.>> Thank you for your help, Heather <<All in all, Heather, this isn't as bad as what you might have convinced yourself that it is. Seems daunting when you get caught in an 'avalanche' of information but all you really need is a few solid basics. Two 'thumbs up' for saving Fred and caring enough to take care of him properly. Best regards and happy holidays to you. Tom>>
Re: Help with Betta and tank cycling
  12/24/06 Good morning Tom, <<Good morning, Heather.>> Thank you for your speedy reply (hopefully you're in another time zone though and not up answering fish questions at 5am!).  I, of course, have more questions now. <<5 AM would be a little early but not by much. Actually it's closer to 6:30 AM right now. :) So, what do you have for me?>> I have done some dialing this morning (or rather I made my husband do it, at this point he probably really regrets encouraging me to take Fred home) and found a shop that carries Bio-Spira so hopefully I will have some on hand by the end of the day.  I totally understand the purpose of the Bio-Spira so I'm good there.   <<Excellent!>> Why do you recommend the aquarium salt?  I've seen some recommend this and some not so I'm wondering what the logic is.  Also, when I set the tank up last night I used Bio-Safe so I'm not sure why I would need to do a water change. Just to add the salt? <<There are a couple of reasons here, Heather. While Bettas aren't the 'delicate' fish that we tend to believe they are, their fins are subject to problems such as tearing and fin rot. Much as we may try to stay on top of water conditions you'll likely find Fred lounging around on the bottom of the tank from time to time. A little disconcerting if you happen to be accustomed to fish that display this behavior when they're sick! Since there are other than the beneficial types of bacteria in all of our tanks, predominantly located at substrate level, I use aquarium salt as a preventative measure. Additionally, though Bettas are a labyrinth species that actually require very little water in which to live, the salt does assist the fish's gills in the uptake of oxygen. As you might have discovered during your research, warm water holds less oxygen than cooler water does and Bettas do well in temperatures much warmer than the majority of tropical fish prefer. I keep my water level lowered so that my HOB filter agitates the surface more and, I've a small air wand for additional agitation but, frankly, I like the 'insurance' aspect against unnecessary stress. Finally, though I've read compelling evidence against the use of salt with freshwater fish regarding the elevation of the specific gravity of the water along with the inclusion of 'unnecessary' electrolytes, my own experience, along with feedback that I've received from our readers, is that Bettas appear less stressed and more active with a modest amount of aquarium salt in their water. As an aside here, I don't use anywhere near the ratio of aquarium salt in my 50-gallon community tank that I do with my Betta so I'm not touting the use of aquarium salt without what I consider to be good reason. P.S. The water change is, in fact, to add the salt. You never want to add it directly to the tank.>> I really appreciate your help.  I'm really trying to get Fred situated by Tuesday because we're going out of town then.  We'll be gone for 5 days, will he be OK without food that long?  From what I've read, it seems like it's better to just let him go without food than to have someone else feed him and possibly over do it. <<If he could, Fred would tell you differently, but I see no reason why he shouldn't be fine for five days. Bettas are quite easy to over-feed so I view it as prudent to avoid the possibility.>> Speaking of food, the table decorator did at least provide Betta Bio-Gold pellets so that's what I've been feeding him.  I feed him 2 pellets in the morning and 2 in the evening.  That's not too much is it?  I'll look for some of the other recommended "treats" today at the fish store. <<From time to time you'll see it mentioned here at WWM that a Betta's stomach is about the size of one of his eyes. You could easily reduce the amount Fred gets by half. One way to judge is to look at his belly area. It should be slightly rounded. If it appears flat or sunken, he's not getting enough food. If his belly's plump, you need to put the boy on a diet.>> I'd like to put just more than Fred in my 5 gallon tank if I could. From what I've read, it seems like they do well with Corys.  How many could I add without overloading the tank?   <<With Corys, I'd keep the number to three. Bear in mind, though, that Corys don't tolerate salt well so, if you've decided that you want to go with the aquarium salt for Fred, you'll either have to cut back on the amount of salt you add or look for other tank mates.>> I like African Dwarf Frogs too... would he get along with one of those (I would just add the frog in that case, not the Corys)?  I read the compatibility section, but I didn't really see anything about frogs. <<Fred should do fine with an ADF if you choose to go this route. These are a little more salt-tolerant than the Corys would be though they really don't need any if housed by themselves. I haven't run across anything that would suggest a problem with housing one of these frogs with a Betta and they appear to do just fine with the salt levels that I've recommended for Fred. Just to be on the safe side, you'd probably do well to cut back just a little. Also, since Fred will prefer to feed at the surface and the frogs, like the Corys, prefer the bottom, there shouldn't be any 'wrestling' for food, either.>> Thanks again! Heather <<You're welcome, Heather and Merry Christmas Eve. Tom>>

Betta fish question  - 11/11/06 <<Hi. Tom here.>> Kind of a naive question.. But what does Betta poop look like? <<Dark and threadlike (stringy) provided he's healthy and didn't have chili for a midnight snack. :) >> I've had 1 other Betta before, and I don't know why I've never bothered to look before. <<Not the first thing I rush to look at in my tanks, either.>> I just cleaned his bowl (I switched him to a 1 gallon bowl as opposed to his regular 2.5 gallon tank after I got a carnival goldfish and, of course, the goldfish just died today after two months), and I noticed big brown lumps at the bottom. <<Sorry about your Goldfish. You'll want to look at thoroughly cleaning the 2.5-gallon tank out and moving your Betta back, though. This is about the minimum size tank that he should be in.>> I think that's his poop, but I'm not sure, since I have a hard time picturing THAT coming out of HIM. I can't find anything about what it looks like, or what those lumps could be otherwise. They're flat most of the time, and some go in a spiral like a snail shell. I'd just like some conformation. I suppose I'm just used to fish stuff being brown and stringy. <<If I were a betting guy, I'd say you're seeing the early stages of brown algae (diatoms) forming, probably around where your Betta's feces are laying. (The combination of both is likely the cause of the 'spiral' look you refer to.) Common in a 'new' tank and easily removed via cleaning. Bettas require frequent water changes so the cleanups that go hand-in-hand with these will reduce or eliminate excess nutrients in the water and, most probably, the problem. Nothing to be concerned about here. Tom>>

Bettas need filtered aquariums, heat, good environmental conditions...   11/6/06 Hi! <Hello there> I have two Bettas that are in separate aquariums. <How large are these aquariums? Ideally, 2-3 gallons per Betta is a good setup...> One of them was very active at first but recently he started to float at the top the vase most of the time, instead of swimming around as he used to. <OK, a "vase", in my opinion, is not an aquarium.  How many gallons does this vase hold? Also, when was the last time you measured the water's ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels? When was the last time you did a water change? That's the first thing to check when a fish starts acting ill...> He eats well but I also noticed that he some times dashes around in the water quickly and a few times when he's done this, I noticed that he was rubbing against the rocks as if he was trying to scratch himself. I read that usually this is done when they have a bacteria or fungus however, he seems to look fine in color and there are no signs of fungus on his body. When he originally started doing this I noticed that he had a brown looking coat on his body. <Sounds like his slime coat is damaged, or could be a body fungus...I can't tell you for sure w/o a bit more information.  but scratching and "flashing" are certainly not normal behaviors.  Again, I suspect poor water conditions...> I asked someone at the pet store how I could treat this and they told me to put a couple of drops of Ich X in with a change of water. <I agree with the water change, not the Ich X.  Ich appears as a coating of white dots (like salt), not what you are describing...> After doing this the Betta became listless and could hardly keep himself afloat. <Sounds like the wrong dosage of medication, perhaps?  I'd do a complete water change, if you haven't already, and get that med. out of his home...> He would swim to the top of the water and then slowly sink to the bottom of the tank. Eventually I changed his water completely and he still continued to be weak and listless but the next day he was fine and the brown coat was gone. <That's good news.> I had another Betta who had the same symptoms (brown coat over scales, stayed at the top of the aquarium, ate well'¦) but he eventually died. I'm trying to save this one, what can I do? I change the water at least once a weak, I use bottled water at room temperature or tap water with water conditioner, I don't over feed him but I still don't know what I'm doing wrong. The other Betta that I mentioned is maintained the same way but I think he may have pop eye and fin rot, what should I use to treat him for this and how do I really know if it is pop eye? <Pop eye and fin rot are both usually caused by poor water conditions.  Again, I don't know how large the vases you keep the Bettas in are, but I'm guessing based on this e-mail they aren't too big. Sounds as though your weekly water change isn't sufficient - perhaps try doing one every other day?  Also, do consider housing the Bettas in more appropriate aquariums. I like to recommend the 3 gallon Eclipse tank as a perfect Betta home.  It has filtration, (which your vase does not), has room for a 25 watt heater (which also your vase does not; Bettas like a stable water temperature of at least 80 degrees F...), and has ample surface area to allow the Betta, a labyrinth fish, to take in air from the surface.  Do read here for a useful article on keeping Bettas in proper conditions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > After using Ich X, I'm kind of scared to put anything in their water now since it nearly killed my other Betta. <I understand and agree.  I would suggest fixing the environmental factors, and see if the problems resolve themselves - I am willing to bet they will...> Can you help me out? <Am trying:-)> By the way, just so you know they aren't in any fancy aquariums with filters and all that kind of stuff. As I said one is in a vase and the other is in just a round plastic aquarium'¦ maybe this is the problem? <I do believe this is the problem.  Even though pet stores keep the Bettas in ridiculous tiny little cups, this is by no means appropriate and will eventually kill the fish.  Do consider "upgrading" to a filtered, heated tank, keep the water clean, don't overfeed (only 4 or so pellets a day), and your Betta should likely recover. Good luck, Jorie>

Betta death trap = lava lamp "tank"   11/5/06 I am writing because we have a Betta fish that we have had for one year, no problems, no changes. <When properly cared for, Bettas are very resilient and low-maintenance.> He eats like a pig, Betta Bio-Gold food. <They do love to eat! Do keep in mind that a Betta has a very small stomach - about the size of one of its eyes - so don't feed more than it can consume in 3-4 minutes.> He has been in the same tank for the one year, until about 2 months ago we put him into a lava lamp looking tank. <Whoever came up with the horrific lava lamp "Betta tank" should be sentenced to live the rest of his/her life in one.  These are horrible creations - not nearly enough surface area for the Betta to swim comfortably...I know hindsight is 20/20, but why did you change a situation that was going so nicely for a year or so?! I *strongly* recommend you return the Betta to its original tank, where it was thriving...> I know now that we should have been treating the water as we did water changes, but we have used sink water for a year with no problems.  My son is changing the water, I am sure not enough, maybe every week and 1/2. <I don't think this tank is more than 1 gal. in size...it would indeed require regular, almost 100% water changes.  And yes, you either need to add a liquid de-chlorinator/chloramine remover, or let the tap water sit out for at least 24 hours.  Again, I highly recommend you throw away the dreaded lava lamp torture chamber and move the Betta into a suitable home...sounds like he was doing well where he was before.  I keep my Bettas each in a 3 gal. Eclipse tank, complete with a heater, filtration, etc.  I'm sure those lava lamp tanks can't accommodate heaters, and I have no idea how any filtration is possible (there likely isn't any...)> In the past two weeks he has developed a swollen belly. I have researched on "swollen belly", but not much seems to fit.   <Does the fish appear like a pinecone when viewed from above (i.e., do his scales protrude?  Do a search for "dropsy" and see if that fits...> Now I have read about over feeding, but he only gets about 5 pellets a day.  He has always eaten this much.  The pet store said to treat him with "Quick Cure" in case he got parasites from the water changes being infrequent. <No - never a good idea to proactively medicate.>   We have put the fish back to his original tank... <WONDERFUL! I am ecstatic that you did this, as I am sure the Betta also is...> ...using bottled water for water changes, and treated him 3x with the medicine. (The max you are supposed to according to the directions.)  No changes.  He is still eating.  He is active when you come to the tank.  I believe he is going to the bathroom also, because I see it hanging off him occasionally.  Any other thoughts, suggestions, ideas of what we could have done to him?  ;(  Thanks so much! <OK, here's my suggestions: 1. Ditch the medication (well, don't throw it away - save it in case it really does become necessary - but it does not sound as though there are any symptoms of parasites. 2. Do enough water changes to remove the remaining medication from the tank.  If there's filtration in the tank, change the media (i.e., add a new carbon filter, etc.) 3. Invest in a quality liquid test kit such as one from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals...you need to monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels to make sure all are zero (acceptable nitrate level is 20 ppm, but lower is better).  I think the problem the fish was experiencing in the lava lamp contraption was a build-up of toxins, which he, understandably, reacted poorly to.  If you have positive readings for ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate equal to or greater than 20 ppm, do a water change. 4. 5 pellets/day is not excessive...just make sure he's consuming them all w/in 3-4 minutes, as you don't want excess food sitting around on the bottom of the tank.  Consider supplementing his diet with frozen bloodworms and/or Mysis shrimp...Bettas are carnivores, and mine go nuts for those treats! I feed worms or shrimp probably about once or twice a week instead of pellets. A follow up question: how large is this tank? Do you have a heater in there, along with a thermometer?  Bettas do like warm water - 82 degrees F or so is a perfect Betta temp.  And, now that the weather is turning cooler, if there is no heater, you don't want a large swing between daytime and nighttime temperature, as this will compromise his immune system. All in all, it seems as though you were caring for your Betta well for the year you had him in the original tank - go back to what works!  I am linking you to a basic Betta care article, as well as one describing the nitrogen cycle (pertains to the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels I mentioned above).  Just be sure that you are doing regular (i.e., weekly) water changes (for example, in my 3 gal. Betta tank, I do weekly 50% water changes.  If the tank is 1 gal. or less, I'd say do a weekly 80-85% change...) Finally, if it were me, I'd write a letter to the manufacturer of the Betta death trap you, like many others, got sucked in to...tell them your story and how your fishy friend's health declined rapidly in there. It sounds like your Betta is strong and will likely pull through...keep an eye on him for odd behavior, coloration, etc. So long as he's eating, swimming and pooping, all is likely good in his world. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Good luck, Jorie>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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