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FAQs on Betta Systems 3

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 4, Betta Systems 5, 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,

Temporary (heated room) holding for male Bettas at Aquatic Specialties.

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

How fast to heat? 5/26/08 I just recently bought a male Betta from a local store. I tried to do some research ahead of time, and have had experience with freshwater fishes before (Common Goldfish, Tetras, Corys, Guppies, and Siamese catfish). With my previous fishes, water was fine a room temp., but I find that room temperature is not adequate for my new Betta (around 74*F). <Surprised Guppies and Corydoras were happy at room temperature. Usually tropical fish should be kept at tropical temperatures; when they're too cold, their lifespan is severely shortened.> I was able to find a small tank heater (2-5 gal size), as I currently have him housed alone in a 3 gallon tank. <Indeed yes, you will need a heater for this aquarium.> Since I've realized that the water is a bit chilly for the guy, how quickly do I heat the water? I don't want to cause additional stress by heating it too quickly, if that's possible. <Put the heater in the tank. Set to 25 degrees C, and then use a thermometer to ensure the water temperature isn't too hot or too cold. If it is, adjust the heater. Tanks less than 8-10 gallons in size are notoriously difficult to maintain, and heaters can overheat them dramatically. I simply don't believe these tiny tanks are worthwhile, costing only marginally less than an 8-10 gallon tank but being many times more difficult to maintain. But you have the tank now, so I guess you have to work with it. So while the heater should automatically go on and off by itself, do use a thermometer to make sure.> I also have a rotation of freeze dried Brine Shrimp, freeze-dried Bloodworms, and Hikari Bio-Gold Betta pellets for him to eat on a one or two week rotation (for variety). Do you think that's okay? <Yes.> I read that I should only feed him about 3 times a week. I did cheat a bit, though, and fed him about "one minute's" worth of food yesterday (the day I brought him home in that pathetic little plastic container), and again about "two minute's" worth today (he moved into his new home) as kind of a stress reliever. I plan to let him be for the next day or two. I hope I didn't mess him up. <The amount of food should be small, and what matters is the filtration and the frequency of the water changes. Fish don't die from being overfed; they die from bad water quality. So provided your aquarium has a filter and you replace 50% of the water weekly, it shouldn't make much difference whether you feed a small amount every day or every other day. Use your nitrite test kit to keep tabs; if you detect any nitrite, you're overfeeding/under-filtering.> As a side note, a discovery I made: Although it seemed like a cool idea at the time, I bought large, flat aquarium pebbles that have a black metallic finish to them. Although very cool looking at the floor of the little tank, I did not count on the little guy recognizing his reflection in each them and spending a lot of time at the bottom nipping at the various stones pissed off of at what he thinks is an uninvited rival. So, tip from me, stick to the boring NON-SHINY pebbles (which I plan to get first thing in the morning). <Good advice.> Thanks for any help/advice you can give me. Mae Y <Cheers, Neale.>

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

Re: My (still cold) Betta, Kappa    3/31/06 Here is an update, although you haven't emailed me back yet. Kappa is now eating! However, although he will appear to eat, and possibly to "chew" his food, he tends to spit out the flakes and the pellets. Is there something wrong with him? <Likely just cold> Other than that he appears to be doing quite well in his new home. I am quite glad that I adopted Kappa and I hope to have him for a long time. Thanks for your help and advice! --Michelle "Washi" Maxfield <... please read where you've been sent. Bob Fenner>

"Cornered" Betta  3/30/06 HI Bob, <Carol> A couple days ago, I switched my 2 Bettas from a divided 1.5 gal "Betta keeper" to a newly purchased divided 10 gal, unfiltered tank.  (Have read some about "cycled" tanks, but not sure what that exactly means.) <Mmm, very important. Likely the number one reason for aquatic livestock loss...> The one that was the more aggressive of the two is now acting quite differently.  My guess is that he went into some mild shock. He beats his "front" fins very rapidly and almost constantly, while squeezing himself as much as he can into one of the top corners of the tank, next to the divider.  He does occasionally swim around, and seems to be eating (Hikari Gold pellets). When I come close, he scurries off into top corner again, even if he's been elsewhere. He has an artificial plant and a small cave (which I've never seen him show any interest in). My belief is that the water may be a little cool (~ 70 - 72 degrees F), <I'd add a heater... water needs to be about ten degrees F. higher here... and a filter...> and I've not purchased any "real" food for them, either.  Which is better - frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, etc? <A bit of both> Have always added water conditioner and have begun using aquarium salt, as well. Chlorine and minerals, etc., have been checked and seem to be in the acceptable ranges. Any other ideas? <Yes... Please read here:   http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above> Also, what is your recommendation about water changing schedule for an unfiltered 10 gal tank w/2 - 3 fish and 2 snails? <Posted... on WWM> OH -- I also noticed this a.m. a slight slime on the surface of the water -- is this algae? Do I really need to get a filter? (sigh).  Thought this would be a relatively inexpensive pet/hobby.  Guess not, huh?   ?o: Thanks for your time, Carol <Heeee! Hardly. Please read for now and assemble a shopping list. Bob Fenner>

Blackwater extract use with a Betta, Tank    3/29/06 Hello to all you good folks! After reading your forum for quite some time I have learned to ask a question before I attempt anything new with my small tank. I was wondering about Blackwater extract and whether it would be suitable for a bachelor Crowntail Betta in a Hex 5 filtered and heated tank. Water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate a trace to 5, moderate hardness and alkalinity, pH 7.6, temperature a constant 78 degrees. This is the first week of a 20% weekly water change from tap water (conditioned with Aqua Plus) to bottled accomplished by mixing 25% new to 75 % old, followed by a 50/50%, 75/25% and finally a 100 % switchover. My tap has become suspect after much sewer system upgrading by the town. So if Blackwater extract would be beneficial for my guy how would I incorporate it into my water changes? <Can be added directly to the water in the tank, or to the new water to be used during water changes> Would I mix it with my new hybrid gallon of water and test for pH and hardness? What would be acceptable parameters for any sort of change in these two entities? <Likely no need to test. Won't affect that much> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Oh, by the way, I have never been steered wrong by any crew member and that "gentleman" should be reminded of that by any and all the people you have aided throughout the years!! Thank you very much. Sue :) <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Betta Systems - 3/24/2006 Hello, <<Hi Michelle.>> I've had my Betta for around 5 days. His name is Gamma and he's a very beautiful red Betta with blue around some of his scales. I have him in a 1.5liter (I think) fishbowl, with some pretty rocks and a plastic, weighted, flower. <<Bettas do not belong in bowls.  Please Google Betta splendens on WWM for proper care.>> Well, in the five days that I've had him, I've never seen him eat. I've been giving him BettaMin flakes, and I've actually started just giving him a single flake. I don't know where to get any bloodworms or anything. <<Most fish stores will carry these, and other appropriate foods.>> I bought Gamma from Wal-Mart, and although I know that isn't the best place of origin to have gotten a Betta, it is the only place around my area that sells fish or pet supplies. Today I was informed that I severely misunderstood and I've injured him by putting him in distilled water. Now I have him in conditioned tap water. <<OK.  I am assuming you did not 'cycle' Gamma's bowl.  Please search this on WWM as well.>> I'm worried about him, because he's not eating. I don't know if he's healthy or not. The water temperature is currently at 80*F, but I fear that it was a lot lower than that earlier today. He's also very twitchy. He doesn't swim smoothly like most fish, he "jumps".  I suppose is how I would say it. This is also worrisome to me. Although I've only had Gamma for a few days I'm quite attached to him. Also, I just barely added the rocks and plant in his bowl. Before he was only in the bowl and he was alone. How can I help him? <<Get him into a cycled, filtered fish tank ASAP.>> Thanks --Michelle "Washi" Maxfield <<Get reading my friend :).  Lisa.>>

Yet Another Cold Betta - 2/20/2006 Hello There! <<Hello Jennifer.>> I recently bought a new bowl for my fighting fish. I put in a few stocks of bamboo. <<Betta's do not belong in bowls.  They are tropical fish and need a heated, filtered tank.  Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm.>> Everything was fine with my little guy for a while. Then last night after I changed his water and put in the Betta cleaner <<??>> I got, he started to float on his side and had troubles swimming down. Every time he swims down, he floats right back up. I am not sure what is wrong with him. I feed him Betta flake food. He has never made a bubble nest, and is never very active at all, usually just lying around in his bowl. I also have a dwarf frog with him. I think is what they're called. What can I do to help my little guy?? <<Get him into the right environment.  Please also read about cycling an aquarium on WWM.>> Thank You So Much <<You are welcome.  Lisa.>> Jennifer Grafton

My Betta ... dis., env.  - 02/16/2006 Thanks for such a great website.  I have 2 aquariums at home (saltwater reef and freshwater) and one Betta here at work, and you all have been VERY helpful to me in my care of all three aquariums.  This time, however, I have searched the FAQ's and didn't find the answer to my question. <Let's add to them> I have a Betta in a heated (81 degrees) 3 gallon aquarium with a live plant, no other fish...  I have had him for about 2 months, and has been doing fine.  The tank was cycled before I added him, as my 4 year old Betta died a few months ago and lived in this tank for about a year. Yesterday I noticed that my new Betta has bubbles on the ends of some of his fins.  The bubbles are red like him, but a couple seem to be in a small white edge area growing on part of one fin.  Is this fin rot? <Mmm, no> I have never seen bubbles on the ends of the fins of Bettas before, and I see a lot of Bettas here at work.  My last Betta was 4+ years old and I never had any problems...   Please let me know what could be the issue, and what treatment I should use if anything. Thanks again, Larena <Very likely this accumulation of gas at the fish fins extremities is evidence of "emphysematosis", a condition wrought from too much/fine gas in the water itself (akin to opening a soda pop on a hot day)... Will self-cure over time... best to store all new make-up/change water at least a day (a week is better) ahead of time before using... to dissipate such gas. Bob Fenner>

Female Fighter in <small, unfiltered, unheated> Marina <brand> Betta Tank   2/14/06 Hi there, Recently I saw two beautiful female Siamese Fighting Fish in two separate aquarium shops, and I bought them both. One was bright blue and the other is dark blue (looks more like a crown fish). I tried to place them both in a Marina Betta kit tank which holds 1.84 Litres. The dark blue female tried to push the light blue female out of the tank. So I placed them each in a separate Marina Betta tank. I thought they only needed to live in a small area like the male fighters. <... at times> I was advised that female fighters prefer to live in groups in a larger tank with a filter. <Actually... can be crowded... but this is not a natural condition> I cleaned out their Marina Betta tanks each week and conditioned the water. But sadly, my light blue female developed ammonia poisoning and died. <Better to store water ahead of use for a week or more> I felt terrible! I had started her on Melafix treatment <Worthless> but it was too late. Please tell me more about ammonia poisoning. <Please read on WWM re> Since then, I bought an airstone ball for my remaining female. She likes to swim through the rising air bubbles as if she were enjoying a spa. Should I transfer her to a larger tank to prevent stress and illness? <Yes> If yes, what would be a healthy tank size for her to live in? <A few to several gallons or more... heated, filtered...> I am cautious about placing her in a tank with other fish because she seems quite aggressive for such a tiny fish. She likes her BettaMin Tropical Medley flakes each day and seems quite active - flirting with the large male fighter in the tank next to her. Thanks. Sharon <And please read re Betta Feeding as well... Bob Fenner>

Betta- SMELLS--AGAIN!   2/13/06 I know I and my 1 beta in a 2gal. tank are probably "small fish" to some of these guys and I really appreciate any help here.   Simple-- I have 1 beta in a 2 gal. bowl--  the water smells like a combo of urine and sulfur?!!!!  I have had this beta now MONTHS --no problems-ever--  I have changed the rocks out, the tank decoration thinking maybe it was the paint on the decoration (although of course says tank safe)  am now down to just a beta friendly safe plant and new rocks-  after water change- smell goes away for about 1 to 2 days and then back-- is this my FISH smelling like this??  Please help- its actually my 5 year olds fish-- 2nd beta- THANKS SOO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP AND TIME!!!  Your site is great!! T. Unrein <From living in wastes, stagnant, putrid water. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Smelly Betta Bowl   2/14/06
Wow- you guys are fast! I read your reply/link-  I'm sorry but I'm still stumped-  this fish lived in a 1 gal bowl for months without ever  a smell and weekly water changes-  then came the smell-- then... I moved him to a 2 gal. for more room plus to see if it would help the smell- and am still doing the weekly water changes-- but STILL ....this smell.... I am now thinking its the fish itself-- could there be some kind of beta disease in which HE actually is producing the smell??????   Could simply the temp itself if fluctuating too much cause this smell???  I'll go today to fish store to see about a thermometer at least? THANKS AGAIN!!! < Excess food and fish waste are being produced but the bacteria that normally break this waste down have either been killed off by medication or cleaned out by water changes. Feed you Betta once a day . Remove any uneaten food after two minutes with a siphon. Fish food quickly fouls a tank so it is important to get it out of there if the fish will not eat it. Add some poly filter. This looks like a little white sponge. Cut it up into little one inch cubes. Hide one cube in the bowl, like in an ornament. As it absorbs waste it will turn dark brown and then black. When it starts to get dark replace it with a new cube. This should help.-Chuck>

Persistent High Nitrite Level FW  1/31/06 I have read other messages on your site and other articles on other sites about high nitrite levels, but I still don't quite get it. I have a 10 gallon tank with 10 fish: 2 balloon belly mollies 2 ghost catfish 5 orange von Rio tetras 1 algae eater There are many, many small snails that were acquired accidentally with an aquatic plant that died some time ago. . . The snails, however, live on and reproduce at a staggering rate. <Mmm, you might want to collect and remove a bunch of these periodically... easy to draw to a small glass tray with a sinking bit of algae based food or blanched vegetable... as bait> Until today, I had a philodendron sticking out the top of the tank with its roots submerged. I took it out thinking that this was perhaps contributing to the problem. <Oh! Yes> About a week ago one of my mollies (there were three) started to act strangely as if she couldn't submerge. She would still eat when given food, but couldn't swim down to eat off the bottom like she always had. She had also lost a lot of weight. Eventually, she became very lethargic and got to the point where she was upside down and couldn't turn over. I took her and another sample of tank water to the local pet store. They said it didn't look like she had any disease and offered no explanation as to her condition. I assumed it was just old age and I only include this description in case it is symptomatic of some other problem. Anyway, when the girl at the store tested the water (something I had never done--shame on me), she said that the pH level was low and that I should increase it with a pH increaser. I bought the pH increaser and a test kit that tests for NO3, NO2, GH, KH, and pH. When I got home, I did a 30% water change and added 1 tsp of salt, which is my normal routine. (I keep around 3 tsp of salt in the water at all times.) I did not add any pH increaser. I tested the water immediately afterward and it looked OK except the water was hard, so I added a teaspoon of salt. The next day, however, the levels were as follows: NO3 = 40 <I'd keep this under 20 ppm> NO2 = 1.0 <Dangerous... should be zip, nada, zilch> GH = 300 KH = 0 pH = 6.8 I added another teaspoon of salt and changed the filter which was very dirty (because I had made the water very silty the last time I changed it--explanation below). The next day, the nitrite level was at 3.0. <Yeeikes!> I did another 30% change and waited an hour before testing. The nitrite had gone down to 1.0. One day later, it was back up to 3.0. The next day, 3.0 again. The following day, 5.0. Today, it was still 5.0 so I did another 30% water change. One hour later, the levels are as follows: NO3 = 40 NO2 = 3.0 GH = 150 KH = 40 pH = 7.2 There is currently about 8 teaspoons of salt in the water. <Mmm, you might want to mix some of this salt up in tapwater and test it for nitrite...> The strange thing (to me) is that the fish seem to be happy and healthy. From everything I have read in the past few days, a 5.0 nitrite level should have them dropping like flies! <Let's see... luckily your pH is low... if it were a little higher, the nitrite would be MUCH more toxic> I have checked for brown coloring of the gills and see none. They are not gasping for air at the top of the tank either. I can only surmise from what I have read that the salt is keeping the nitrite from being as toxic as it otherwise could be. <Oh, yes... this also> I have noticed the mollies scraping themselves occasionally on a structure in the tank. I read today that this was one sign of nitrite poisoning. I have had this tank for 8 months now and only three fish have died in that time (except for the batch I introduced right at the beginning before the tank had cycled!). About a month ago, I did a very thorough cleaning of the tank. I really stirred up the waste on the bottom, trying to get as much out as possible. I took out all the structures and washed them with hot (not soapy) water. I changed the filter as well. I also started feeding them much more around that time. Basically, I unwittingly did everything I could to raise the nitrite level! My questions are this: 1. Why isn't the level decreasing? <I suspect the houseplant> 2. Why are the fish still alive and acting normal? <They're tough, adapted to it, and the salt> 3. I have read on some sites of a biological filter or a biofilter: Is this (a) just another name for the normal filter, <Mmm, of a sort... all filters are ultimately biological to degrees> (b) a different kind of filter that I should have, or (c) just a term that refers to the nitrogen cycle that occurs within the tank? <Mostly the latter> 4. Could the snails be causing problems? <Yes... carry disease... and can influence water quality in high numbers> 5. I have read that most of the bacteria live on the filter. Wouldn't changing the filter then lead to these levels getting all out of whack every time? <Yes... a common problem/occurrence. In established systems not such an issue> Thank you for any help you can provide. - Bryan <I would read over WWM re FW filtration, add more filtration, remove the houseplant, reduce the number of snails, test the salt... Bob Fenner>
Re: Persistent High Nitrite Level... Betta systems and snail removal technique  2/3/06
Thank you. After removing the philodendron, the nitrite levels immediately dropped and are now < 0.5 ppm. Other levels are beginning to even out as well. <Ah, good> I thought you also might like to know that I have rigged up a plastic fork on some fishing line as a snail remover. I stick a piece of vegetable on the tines of the fork, and when a few snails crawl on, I hoist it up and scrape them off. It's not pretty, but it's been fairly effective! <Neat! Bob Fenner>

Pouring chemicals on Bettas won't cure them if the root problem is environmental  - 2/4/2006 Hello... our Betta has been sick for 3 weeks.  At first it looked like he had possible internal parasites, so we gave him "Parasite Clear".  That didn't seem to improve his condition.  Then he seemed to have velvet.  So we gave him "Fungus Clear".  He seemed to improve somewhat, but then started not eating and just laying on the bottom.  Sometimes he comes to the top for air and dives headfirst to the bottom and either lays on the bottom on his side or "sits" on his tail with his head up, the eventually lays on his side on the bottom.  I just cleaned his tank AGAIN and added "BettaFix".  Now he really isn't doing well at all.  His breathing is getting worse, and he lays on the bottom most of the time.  He doesn't respond when I gently move his tank to get him to move.  We got him about 2 years ago.  Do you think this is just old age taking over? Thanks, Donna <... is this fish in a heated, filtered system? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New product for Petco... Betta Death Traps  - 2/4/2006 Dear Mr. Fenner- <Eric> I got your email from a website article and found that you are a buyer for Petco's Aquatics division. If I'm mistaken I apologize and you may discard this email. <Mmm, I was the aquatics buyer for this company... 91-94> We are a marketing firm which develops new products for all industries and imports our own inventions. We have a new product which we've been retailing in small outlets since June which we would like to offer to Petco and other pet store chains. It is a wall hanging fish tank for betas or similar fish which is a complete set including the tank, glass gems, plant and background. There are 2 sizes and they retail between $20 - $35 for the entire kit. We've built out a retail website which displays the product. www.fish-bubbles.com < http://www.fish-bubbles.com/> <Mmm, a hanging bowl? W/o filtration, heating... this will not keep Bettas alive... I suggest you not sell this for live fish use> A similar type product without all the accessories was featured in a November issue of Time Magazine as one of the Hottest Inventions of 2005. We have these manufactured in China and currently have over 12,000 units on hand in our San Diego warehouse and have sold just under 10,000 units during the past holiday season. <A shame> Please let me know what you think of our product. Judging by our recent sales since June I think this product will become a great seller for Petco. <You can see my input re here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/bettabiz.htm and the linked files above. This piece ran in an industry periodical last year (to their credit). Bob Fenner> Eric Jacobs Sales Manager

Another Betta in a Bowl - 2/4/2006  - 2/4/2006 I just got a Betta fish, and I haven't even put him in his bowl yet. <<By bowl, I hope you mean tank...sadly, probably not.>> I have been reading a lot on this website and it is really interesting. Makes me want to get into fish. <<It's addicting!>> Well anyway, I want to know if my Betta is healthy. He is white (there were only two white ones at the pet store and I wanted a unique fish) but when you go close you can see his skin is just the least bit pinkish. <<Just means his skin is not opaque white, but likely clear, and you can see his flesh.  Not to worry.>> He has tiny dark spots on his skin, but it seems to me it is more like naturally coloring. <<Most likely.>> His fins aren't torn or anything, though they aren't as full and big as some of the pictures of other Bettas I've seen, and there are dark spots spattered all over them. Could this be a disease? <<Could be, but doubtful.  Keep an eye on him. Bettas are treated terribly in the store, so his fins may not be as nice as they will become with proper care.>> As for the way he behaves,  he is very alert. I bought him freeze-dried red grubs for food. <<Vary this as much as possible.>> Another thing I want to know is, is his bowl big enough for him? Its 1.5 to 2 gallons. <<Your Betta will be healthier and much happier in a heated, filtered tank.  These are tropical fish, and cold water is very bad for their health.  A 2-5 gallon tank would do fine.  Please read on WWM about Betta care.>> Could I perhaps put another fish with him in that size of a bowl? <<I would not keep any fish in an unfiltered, cold, bowl.>> There are lots of little fish at the pet store, as well as some kind of small white frog and little newts. What are the names of appropriate fish that are compatible? <<A single male Betta is compatible with most FW community fish.  Not in a bowl, but in a tank.  If you are interested in getting into fish, why not set up a 20-gallon tank, cycle it, and have a tank with more fish, in which your Betta can thrive?  Either of the options I have suggested will make your new pet much happier.  Lisa.>>

Betta Care 1/31/2006 I came across your website while doing a search on Goggle for Betta care. I recently purchased a Betta, a stunning bright orange one with red tips on his fins, his name is Flames. <<I bet he's beautiful!>> I currently have him in 2-gallon tank with a live plant and this nifty little skull for him to hide in if he feels like it.  I currently have a under-gravel flitter left on all the time, and a light, but  from reading on your website it sounds like he needs a heater and a 'sponge'  filter. <<Many use UG filters successfully.  A heater is important for your Betta's health.>> I went to pet store and asked about heaters but I think I'm confused because I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. Are there heaters small enough  for a 2 gallon? I've heard tanks smaller then 5 gallons can't be heated because it's not possible to control the temperature, as it may get too hot. <<You may try the Hydor mini.  It heats the water a few degrees.>> Also is the filter I  have now ok? Or do I need to buy a sponge filter, if so I have no idea what to  look for. I do weekly water changes and use a conditioner every time. <<Good to hear.>> He seems  quite happy and blows bubble nests often, and plays with our kitten Dash, he swims up and down the sides it so cute. <<They are gorgeous fish, worthy of the great care you are willing to provide.>> Thanks for your help and after I get  this tank fixed I'm going to buy 3 more 2 gallons and have 3 more Bettas, kind of  an element theme; Flames red Betta for fire), and green one for earth, blue for  water, and purple/pinky (or white if I can find one) one for air. I'll try to get  pictures soon. <<Please do! Also, read on Betta care on WWM, and do consider even larger quarters for your fishy friends.  I keep my Betta in a 5-gallon.>> Thanks again, *Katherine <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>

Betta Water Quality - 1/30/2006 Hi, <<Hello Liz.>> I was just wondering what was up with my beta fish.  I cleaned the tank about 2 days ago <<How was the tank cycled? What size? Ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte readings? How much water do you change, and how often?  Any tank mates?>> I noticed today that there is a layer of a clear gooey/oozy like substance that covers the top of the water line.  Do you know what this is? This is not the first time it has happened.  I was just wondering if you guys could help me out. <<Please provide more detailed info, I would be glad to!.>> Thanks a lot, Liz <<You're very welcome, talk to you soon.  Be sure to read the great articles on WWM on Betta care.  Lisa.>>

Ten Gallon Cycling and Maintenance... A sterling endorsement for good Betta Care    1/25/06 Hi, I am back again with more questions, and I do appreciate all of your great, fast responses.  I did have a 3 gallon Eclipse tank w/BioWheel that was set up for almost 2 years housing 1 very large finned OHM male Betta.  He was constantly rooting around in the plant roots snagging his fins, so it seemed logical to me that more space was in order.  I set up a 10 gallon tank 6 days ago, the water was treated with Aqua Nova and 1/2 Tbsp. of salt (just in case I ran into nitrite problems) it ran without the fish for 2 days.  Four days ago, I placed the old BioWheel in a filter bag and hung it on the filter around the outflow, <Good move> I moved a large pile of the old gravel, five 3 inch rocks, and 8 plants (7 java plants, 1 java moss) from the old tank, <Even better> I added 1 new tall piece of driftwood attached to slate base and a thin layer of new gravel which is the small variety rather than the larger I had in my old tank.  I added a couple of teaspoons of BioSpira to the tank and 1/8 tsp to the filter media (Biomax, carbon, sponge) and my Betta (after 45 minutes of acclimation).  My Betta, believe it or not, in 4 days, has shown fin improvement...amazing. <Yay!>   Not to mention attitude improvement.  Let me just add that when people believe they can keep Bettas in small environments, yes, they probably can but the specimen must be hardy or the people are very lucky because even with 3 gallons of water I experienced total mayhem with bacteria, fungus, fighting potential Finrot from snags, etc. <Couldn't agree with you more!> and was constantly performing water changes to improve water quality for 1 fish.  I cannot imagine a Betta in a bowl or in anything less than 10 gallons now, based solely on how happy my Betta appears to be not to mention the actual physical improvement. <Ultra Yay!> I have tested the water 2 times per day, morning and evening.  I have seen no ammonia or nitrite spikes or readings (both remain at 0) but have watched the nitrate rise to 5.0 maybe 7.0 as the test is a bit on the orangey side now.  Nitrate seems to be the only thing rising in the tank. The PH is between 7.0 and 7.2 depending when I take the test (morning or evening) I have an Aquaclear HOB filter and Stealth heater set at a consistent 78 degrees.  My question here is, if I am building nitrates daily and I am getting zero ammonia and nitrite readings will I experience those spikes down the road? <Highly unlikely... given your care in establishing/moving cycling procedures, the dilution of the large/r volume...> I cannot believe that this tank is cycled although I did bring in the old media and added BioSpira (was doing both improper?). <No, both proper>   I am trying to determine when I should consider the tank cycled and when to begin a maintenance schedule (as in vacuuming the gravel and/or changing water). <I'd wait a few weeks more for these> How often should regular water changes be performed in a 10 gallon tank in order to maintain optimum water quality to avoid fin problems and maintain health? <Weekly... about 25% of water volume> I would also like to know when will it be "safe" to remove the old media that I brought in? <A few weeks...> Sorry for the long explanation and multiple questions but I am unclear/unsure if my method was proper and how I should monitor it from here.  Thank you again, I don't know what I would do without you guys!  Sue <Thank you for sharing. You have saved, extended and improved many Bettas lives. Bob Fenner>

Using a Betta for Cycling.. Poor Betta. 1/24/2006 Hello, <<Hello Janice.>> My first visit, but I did send a contribution. <<Very kind of you.>> I'm setting up a new 10-gallon tank for a Betta, couple of Corys, plants and a few snails. The LFS said I could cycle with a Betta. <<Please don't.  There are many ways to cycle without harming anything.>> My question, how is an uncycled tank any worse than the bowl the Bettas are in now? <<A step from horrendous to awful at best I feel.>> I will move over a filter from an established tank. <<Will help.>> Would you recommend I not cycle with the Betta? <<Do you have access to Bio-Spira?  This will 'instantly cycle' your tank.  Please do read about cycling on WWM.>> I'm thinking of using the snails and fish food. Thanks...Janice <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>

Uncycled Tank, Very Sick Betta 1/23/2006 Hi!  I am hoping that you can help me.  We purchased a 2.5-gallon tank with the intention of using it for a Betta.  We cycled for two weeks (added that bacteria start at the beginning of cycling and some water from a goldfish tank to get the bacteria really growing). <<This tank is not cycled.  The bacteria you need resides on substrate and filter media, not the water column, and needs food (ammonia from fish waste, or purchased and dosed) to stay alive.>> Before adding the Betta, we did another 50% water change and let it sit with the filter running for 36-48 hours. <<The bacteria mentioned above will die within 24 hours without a food source.>> We tested water conditions before buying the Betta and all was fine. Within four days, the Betta came down with cotton fungus and was dead- to spite treating with Mardel. <<This was a water quality issue, not a disease per say.>> Well, we decided to start from scratch since I thought temperature may be a problem.  This time we used a 5-gallon tank <<Good size for a Betta.>> with a heater set to 78 degrees F.  Before putting the new Betta in, we again tested (water is a tad hard here- PH= approx 7.5 GH=around 100 ppm KH= around120 ppm Nitrate, Nitrite and Ammonia where all undetectable). <<Undetectable because the cycle hadn't even started yet.>> The pet store said these were all good values. <<They are, after cycling takes place.>> We did treat the water with EasyBalance and AquaSafe before water testing as recommended by the pet store.  We brought the new Betta home Friday evening.  I took a long time acclimating him (about 4 hours). <<Too long for me.>> Here is a picture of what he looks like today (less than 3 days later).  I did a 50% water change and started treating him with Fungus Clear yesterday morning at the recommended dose. <<I would stop treating, and continue your water changes everyday.  Do you have access to Bio-Spira? If so, do a large water change and add it to your filter.>> I guess I can't treat him again for two more days.  He just looks awful. <<Agreed.>> I feel so sorry for him.  Is there anything else I can do to save him? <<As stated above.>> This is treatable with Fungus Clear.  Right? <<Remedy the problem instead.>> I know it doesn't look good.  If he does die, which I hope he doesn't, is there anything else I can do to keep this from happening again?  What did I do wrong?   <<Please read on WWM about properly cycling an aquarium.>> Thanks, Christi <<You are welcome. Lisa.>>  

pH High - New Tank... Betta System   1/19/06 Hi!  I am in the process of setting up a 10 gallon tank for my male Betta who is currently in a 3 gallon Eclipse tank.  I have a question regarding PH of the new tank.  I always check the PH before and after I change water.  The PH of my water that sits around waiting for water changes is 6.8 - 7.0 consistently.  It is treated with Amquel Plus. <Okay> I rinsed the new gravel which is the smaller size and uncoated (well, I thought I did...) and placed it in a thin layer in the bottom of the tank. <... I would not change all the water... keep at least half, return to the tank if it's this small... vacuum only part out if/when it's larger> I drew water from the tap and conditioned with NovAqua (I plan on using Bio Spira, thus the change from Amquel Plus to cycle the tank), and placed in the new 10 gallon.  The tank has an AquaClear 20 with carbon bag, sponge filter, and ammo chip bag (these were rinsed before placed in the filter).  I did place some java ferns around the tank.  The temperature is at 78.  The tank has been running without an inhabitant for over 24 hours.  There appears to be some dust on the surface of the new tank; however, the water is not cloudy at all.  I performed a PH test of the water and it was 7.6.  This is a bit higher than my usual PH (as above).  I am concerned with what is causing the higher PH and would like to correct this prior to adding the Bio Spira and my Betta.  Could you help me understand why this might have happened and what I should do?   <Mmm, might actually "just" be the tap/source water... is not a consistent product... sometimes, places treated with chemicals in a "pulse" fashion> Could I have failed to rinse the gravel well enough? <Or likely "just" the gravel... most uncoated varieties are alkaline in nature... Of and by itself a good thing generally, as aquariums tend toward being reductive, losing pH if you will... the gravel helps buffer/slow this change> I do not want to shock the Betta in any way or change his PH as I mentioned it consistently reads 6.8 to 7.0.  Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.  I know I might be a bit anxious/overly cautious over 7.0 going to 7.6 as most people just fill up tanks and put fish in, but so far with this Betta a change is a change and he knows it!  Thank you. <Do just move a good bit of the "old water" with your Betta... All should be fine here, even with this large pH difference. Bob Fenner>

Betta follow-up - 19/1/06 <Hello Mitch, John here this time> Well, I got a heater, which keeps the water at about 78 degrees. The bubbles are still all over the top, but I recently learned that although Bettas take oxygen from the surface, they still use their gills normally, so as long as the water is correctly oxygenated they won't suffocate <More too it than simply having enough oxygen... dissolved wastes in the water column are of greater concern in a new tank.> (I think the bubbles are actually from too much oxygen, so it should be fine). <No. They are more likely from protein scum build-up on top of the water. You will know if they are from the Betta, as you would see him "blowing" the bubbles.> However, happy as he seems he still will not eat. <Do test for nitrogenous wastes.. and read up on "cycling" tanks.> Perhaps he is eating some of what I feed him before it falls to the bottom, because he's been at home about two weeks and seems content. Let me know if you have any ideas, otherwise thank you for all your help. <Unlikely to be content if he is not eagerly accepting food. Try different foods, and ensure the water is pristine. Most Bettas love thawed frozen bloodworms. Best regards, John.>
Re: Any input on this would be appreciated
   1/19/06 Thanks John. I'm glad I stumbled on this site. this  is great.. <Me too.. Whenever I need info myself I am amazed at how much I can find on WWM. Good luck with your new reef. John>

New Betta With Ammonia Problems   1/18/06 Dear Sirs: I did search for this, and found something quite close, but it didn't address my exact concern, so please bear with me. My Concerns: the tail "threads" the water getting cloudy so quickly. Here are the facts: New Male Betta, just purchased 50 hours ago. First 24 hours were spent in smaller bowl, with tap water & drops of tap water conditioner. Now in a round 1 gallon plastic tank, tap water conditioner drops, fake plant (I would describe the feel of the fake plant as perhaps feeling soft pine needles), plastic beads, little divers helmet. All came with tank) Just put him in this last night.  Mid-day today. water seems to be slightly cloudy.  (not heavily, but perhaps as if I'd put a teaspoon of skim milk into the bowl) I am in Australia, very hot, so air-conditioner has been on quite a bit during day, off at night. I have taken a cooked small prawn, held it a bit above or just on the water a couple times today and he'd do a little jump and take a very small bite out of it. I did notice when my husband was getting the new bowl ready, he had both his (cleaned) hands in the water trying to adjust the beads and such. Water did set for about 2-3 hours after being treated before putting fish in. He is acting just fine, but for a lack of a better way to say it. looks like he's starting to lose "threads" of his tail. Just today. Not getting quite as excited about seeing himself in the mirror as he used to. I tried to keep this as concise for you as possible.  Thank you in advance. Juli < As you new little Betta excretes waste it and uneaten food quickly turns to ammonia which is toxic to fish. This is the cloudy water you are experiencing.  It "burns" the fish's gills and fins. This may explain the threads you are seeing.  Do a 50% water change to dilute the ammonia. Feed only once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes once each day. Remove any uneaten food after two minutes. This will reduce the ammonia but not eliminate it. You can continue to dilute it with daily water changes. You can add Bio-Spira from Marineland that will put the bacteria in the tank and begin to start to break the ammonia down. The will transform the ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates. The nitrates are less toxic but still need to be removed with water changes. There are many chemical resins that will remove ammonia. You might want to look into these and make a little "tea bag" filled with these resins top control the ammonia until you can get around to doing a water change. An ammonia test kit will let you know when the resin needs to be replaced and when a water change is needed. Over time you may get the bacteria to developed naturally. Go to Marineland.com and check out Dr Tim's Library. Go to the article titled "The First Thirty Days" for a better understanding about what is happening in your bowl.-Chuck>

Betta Care and Un-Care  1/16/06 Hello! <Hi.> I recently got a 5 gallon Eclipse Hex tank with a bio wheel filter. I started it out with about a 1/2 inch of gravel, a small Amazon sword plant, 1 male Betta and 1 black mystery snail. I currently have a 25 watt heater set to 78 degrees F. I have had the tank set up for 5 days and so far everything seems to be going ok, <Except that you have added livestock far too soon.> but I have a question about tank cycling. Since Bettas are hardy fish, will he be ok while my tank cycles? <He may be, but there is no reason to subject a fish to a nitrogen cycle - no matter how hardy they are. It's cruel and unnecessary.> I have always kept my Bettas in a 2 gallon bowl without a filter and they lived for years so I assumed that he would be alright. <He probably will make it through, but again - he didn't have to.> I have read many different things about water changes. When should I begin them, <Since you have livestock - now.> how much water should I change, and how often should I perform them? <I would do one gallon, once or twice a week in this tank.> So far I haven't changed anything. In about 2 weeks I would like to add a few more fish. I was thinking about either 3 white clouds, 3 platies, 2 mollies, or 3 tetras. <That would be way too many fish. And the compatibility with the Betta would be very questionable in this size tank. If I added any fish with the Betta it would be something along the lines of a pair of Cory cats.> Do you have any suggestions as to what type of fish would be best and how many I could add. <See above.> I know that I can't add too many since my tank is small. I want to have a healthy long lasting tank but there is so much conflicting information and your site seems to be the best! <Keep up on the water changes, get a water test kit and keep reading WWM.> Thank you so much for your help! <Anytime.> Catherine <Adam J.>

One less chilly-killed Betta, thanks   1/13/06 Thank you for your information regarding these wall mount dishes. I had considered buying one for my daughter. Thanks to your information, I know not to. One less wall mount purchase. <Ahh! I thank you. Gratifying to realize one is helping others to preserve, further the health of their aquatic pets. Bob Fenner>

Heating a Small Betta Tank  - 01/09/2006 Hello Everyone, I have searched your awesome site as to what is the ideal water temp for my less than one-year-old male Betta's 2.5 gallon tank, with no luck. Blame my search skills I guess. The average indoor temp for this room is 70 F. Recently he's been lethargic, not charging around his tank as usual, but laying in the gravel or hiding. He is eating. Yesterday, after searching your site and piecing together what may be the trouble, I bought a Hydor Mini and a thermometer. The water temp was about 69 F, so I installed the heater. < Good Idea.> The aquarium heater insert says: "Always use a heater with a thermometer: If water temp should exceed 76 F, unplug the heater." The water had risen to 80 F so I unplugged it. < Bettas can easily handle 80-86 F.> Another bullet point says: "Do not use this heater for any use other than to increase the water temp by a few degrees in a 2 - 5 gallon tank." It seems to have raised the temp too high, right? He's fine (alive) and actually a little more active than before. He ate right away but isn't doing his "usual thing". What is the ideal water temp for a single male Betta in a 2.5 gallon tank? Is there an alternative to the Hydor Mini or would a larger tank be the best answer? Thanks so much, Elizabeth < Your Betta can handle 80 to 86 F. How much heater you need depends on how high you need to raise the water temp and hold it. The 69 F temp is way too cold for a Betta. Go for a quality brand 25 watt heater that you can set the temperature on 80 F and forget it.-Chuck>

Betta, lots of bubbles  1/8/06 Hi,   I bought a Betta about a week ago, along with a one gallon aquarium with undergravel filter (no heater until I scrap together some money, but temperature remains 72 daily and 68 nightly) and light hood. I leave the light on 12 hours a day, during the day. I aerated the tank for 72 hours before adding the fish. He was very lethargic when I first brought him home, seemingly due to lower temperatures on the first floor. When I moved him upstairs he got much happier. Even though he seems active and happy, he still has not eaten a bite. I started with some flakes <Don't eat flake food...> I bought and tried that for three days. Then I bought pellets and freeze dried bloodworms and have been using that for the last three days, to no avail. I'm worried that he'll die, but it seems like there is nothing I can do to save him, since it's in his hands (or fins). <... would have bought heater first, Betta later>   Also, less important but quite curious: when I turn the light on in the morning the tank is covered with quite large bubbles (I know he can blow bubbles, but these are larger than bubble nests I have seen in pictures). When I open the lid to let extra air in (there's a hole, but I don't know that it does a very good job) and turn on the light, about half of them dissipate. I'm constantly aerating, but there are no other fish to consume oxygen in the tank, I don't know if that's part of the problem. I'm really just worried that he can't breathe through the coating of bubbles (it covers the ENTIRE surface of the water). Thank you for your time, your site has been very helpful. -Mitch <The bubbles are not likely from the Betta... as it is likely too cold to stimulate such behavior. I would move this animals container to an area where it is consistently warmer... and save up for a Hydor heater (neat, small wattage ones) ASAP... Is this system cycled? I would be checking to make sure it is. Bob Fenner> (P.S: I can't go online very often to check your FAQ, so if you don't typically, can you please send me a short e-mail just letting me know that an answer is posted (I should be able to find it as long as I know it's there). Also, I checked and re-checked spelling and grammar to help you out. (and I'm sorry if I still missed some) <All are responded to directly and all (actually other than simple courtesy acknowledgements of no/little mutual benefit) are posted. Bob Fenner>  

Java Ferns and Betta  12/24/05 Hi... again.  I have another question after searching the database and it seems no one in the world has this problem, so I thought I would inquire of you.  I have a 3 gallon Eclipse tank, BioWheel, heater - consistently 77 degrees, and filter.  Water parameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH is 7.0.  I have 4 to 5 different sized java ferns in this tank along with 1 male OHM Betta (heavy finnage), he is 4 months old.  He is very curious, very active, and loves to swim through the plants and around the roots of my java ferns.  Upon examination of the java fern roots, which are of course above the gravel, are not soft at all.  Sometimes he will sit in the roots.  He eats like a pig, a very varied diet of Betta Pro, frozen bloodworms, mysis shrimp, and daphnia.  I use Amquel Plus as a dechlorinator.  I use 1 tsp of aquarium salt in his tank and add 1/4 tsp to his gallon container of water change water along with the Amquel Plus.  I do a 20% water change every 3 days (Could I be overdoing it?) <Not likely... all sounds good to great thus far> to ensure maintenance of his beautiful fins.  He has no visible signs of fin rot; however, I am beginning to believe that running in and out of these roots tatter the ends of some of his fins.  There is absolutely no disintegration of the fins, just a bit of tattering on the caudal fin.  Have you ever seen or heard of this? <Yes> Is there a solution beside removing the plants? <Mmm, this is not really a "problem" per se... I would not change anything here>   I really hate to remove the plants as I believe that they are healthy for the tank and for him. <Agreed>   If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would be thrilled to death to know.  Thank you again for your advice.  Sue <I wish you and your Betta well. Bob Fenner>

Betta Disease, Systems 12/18/05 Hello, I have had my Betta for about a year now. He is in a one gallon glass bowl/vase. My husband felt bad for him so we purchased a 10 gallon aquarium and  put him in there with some molly's. We had 5 fish in there with him and they all died. One had a pop eye and  the last fish got ick and died as well. (The medicine did not work) As soon as he got ick I moved the Betta back to his old bowl, but now he  has gotten it too. I am treating him with rid ick and got antibiotic in there as well because it looks like he has fin rot as well. After three days the ick is clearing up but I want to know when to clean his water. I ordered an Eclipse  5 for him and should I move him in there when it arrives or should I finish the  medication first? <I would go and rig up, run the Eclipse, sans activated carbon... did you raise the water temperature in your treatment regimen? I strongly encourage you to do so... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm> He is eating again and has come back up to the top of the bowl (he had been sitting on the bottom) I don't want him to die, his color has changed a bit too. Please give me some advice. Thank you, Laura <Read on my friend. WWM has sections on Betta Disease, Systems... Bob Fenner>

Re: The disappearing fighting fish  12/18/05 Thought you might be interested . We dispensed with the BiOrb and now have a full size tank. <A good move> We found a fighters head complete in a tulip shell after contacting you when we emptied the orb, no sign of the rest of it though. Thanks Trevor <Thanks for the update! Good luck with the new tank. Best regards, John>

Seeking Betta Advice  12/12/05     Dear Bob, I hope it is okay that I contact you through this email address. I have several questions concerning Bettas and have been putting forth due diligence in hopes of answering my many questions about how to care for Bettas. After visiting the website, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/, I have found that many other Betta owners have addressed questions to you and have been able to resolve their problems and I'm hoping for the same outcome, if you would be so kind.     At my workplace, I'm known to be the 'animal person' because I have several cats, a dog and a hamster and will practically go to the ends of the earth for them. The news spread to one my co-workers who dropped by my cubical one day and asked if I was interested in acquiring a Betta. I was very reluctant since I had a very bad experience with goldfish as a child. My goldfishes kept mating and spawning roe cluster all over the tank, whereby I tried to clean it and unknowingly cracked the tank and all the water drained and they died a horrible death. In any regards, she explained to me that she received the Betta as a gift when she attended a baby shower. She said it was awful and she believes the Betta should have a better home that can provide more attention to him because the water changes proved a nuisance to her husband and she herself didn't have the time. I went home and asked my boyfriend what he thought. He was enthusiastic and promised to share some of the responsibilities. I called my co-worker and she bought the fish to work the next day. He came in a little bowl that held about 22 fl. oz. of water (I measured). It was horrifying because the tank was this murky brown color. She also bought his food too, which is the Tetra BettaMin brand and suggested that if I change the water its fine that I do a full change but only with Arrowhead Mountain Spring water. I felt so bad I called my boyfriend and he asked me to go to Petco to buy him a new larger tank and do a water change at work in front of my co-worker so that she can go over with me anything I needed to know. I bought one of those Anchor Hocking Classic Drum Style 2 gallon tanks and gravel that looks like marbles that had been flatten. I didn't know any better! After a pH test and water change everything was fine and he was happy. My co-worker told me to only feed the Betta 4 flakes every other day. I thought that was incorrect. My boyfriend and I started to feed him 2 times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I started having to do water changes every 4 days. I was worried that one day I would crack the glass of the fishbowl in addition to the Bettas health because dust falls in the bowl and creates a thin layer of muck and during his feedings he would gulp a little of that stuff. I then bought him one of those Mini-Bow 2.5 gallon aquariums but when I bought it home it felt really flimsy. I went back to Petco the same day and ended up buying the Eclipse 3 gallon tank. Since it had a hood I didn't have to worry about the dust and I figured that the water would be cleaner because the tank had that 3-stage filtration system. Anyhow, I setup the tank and let it sit for a day and relocated him the next evening. When I went to relocate him I noticed he had a white batch on his forehead (review picture) and some of his scales above and below his lateral line-back half of his body- looked ruffled. I tried to look on the internet to see what was wrong with him. It didn't look like he had ick because it didn't look like someone sprinkled him with salt and the only other indication of having anything white on him indicated that he had a fungal problem. I went to Petco the next day and got him Maroxy and followed the directions and medicated him for 5 days. It didn't work! At the end of the five days he still had his white patch. On the fifth day I had guest over and they said that he has ick. I waited another 2 days and did a full water change and started giving him Maracide with Maracyn. It didn't help. I waited another two days and treated him again with just the Maracide (by the way, no filter except the bio-wheel). It's still not helping. He doesn't seem to be getting worst except now his food intake is less than it used to be maybe 8 little particles (brine shrimp and flakes).     I feel so hopeless. I really have no idea what to do with him. I have a feeling the tank may be too cold (only the backside of our house gets hits by sunlight). I would like to get him a heater. Do you think this is a good idea? I was told for small aquariums the conversion exchange is 4-5 watts per gallon. My tank is has a 3-gallon capacity and the smallest heater I can find is a 25 watt will that too strong for him? Can you advise to 1 specific brand of heater I should get as well as a thermostat to monitor the heater? Can you advise what wattage I should get? Also, once I have this heater and thermometer where in my tank should I place it?     In addition, to my battle-ram of questions, do I have the right tank? I thought I did except I think the filtration maybe too much. I like the filtration and I think he does too, but the current it creates bothers both him and I. He used to blow bubble nest and still does once the filter is unplugged. I think the flux in the movement of water is causing problems for him when he tries to create his nest. I LOVE his nests. It's the only way I know he's happy with me, so it's very important. Finally, his food! He won't take any other suggestions of food. He will not eat the Tetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried treats I got him or the Hikari Betta Bio-Gold. He just likes his Tetra BettaMin (especially the yellow bits in it). I pick it out for him so that he gets more of those than the flakes. I would prefer him to have a variation of foods. Please advise I would really appreciate it. Thanks again! Christina <Don here tonight. Wow! You've gone through a lot to house this guy. A big thank you for that. First and foremost, you want a heater. Bettas are tropical fish and need a steady temp in the high 70s. Get the lowest wattage one you can find and place it in a corner when it get some flow from the filter. The tank and filter you have him in are fine. Only two problems with housing. The incandescent bulb may heat up the water too much. Keep a thermometer in there and monitor. As long as the temp stays steady, day and night, you'll be fine. As to the flow from the filter, you are correct. Bettas do not like current. Maybe a few plants, real or plastic, would break it up a bit. That bio wheel will not help control water quality until it becomes established with two species of bacteria. Never clean the bio wheel. Not even a rinse in tap water. Read here on "FW Cycling": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm As for maintenance, you should never change 100% of the water. 50% once a week will be fine after your tank is cycled. Twice a week for now. Use dechlorinated tap water. As to feeding. Every other day is fine for now. Until you have this tank cycled food is a bad thing. It creates the ammonia and nitrite that cycling will control. After cycling is complete, once a day is enough. Getting his water temp up will help with his appetite. I think that if you get his temp correct and reduce the 100% water changes to 50% most of the other health related problem will clear on there own. Stop all medication. They kill off all the bacteria in your system, good and bad. And you must have that good bacteria. Bettas are tough little guys and fight off most small problems if they are housed in pristine conditions and at the correct temperature. Good luck with him. Don>     

Nitrite Persistence in a Betta Setup  12/7/05 Hi again, <Hello Sue.. John here to answer your query this evening> I have an established (well over 1 year) 3 gallon Eclipse tank w/BioWheel, heater, java ferns, and air stone. I left the tank vacant of a fish for almost 2 weeks. <If the tank is empty, there will be no bio-load to feed the bacteria in the biological filter - they will dies, and your tank will need to be cycled again when the new fish arrives. You can mitigate this by dropping a bit of fish food in the empty tank daily> I received my new Betta and placed him in the tank. He eats Betta Pro pellets (in the morning), frozen bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and daphnia (one selection depending on day it is) in the evening. I use Amquel plus to treat my water, I also add a little aquarium salt. I purchased new test kits. <Good. I wish more Betta keepers would do this.> Well, I began doing water tests and I find that I have 0 Ammonia, between 5.0 and 10 Nitrates, however...I have .10 to .15 (not quite the color on the chart) Nitrites. Of course having this reading prompts me to do a small water change (20%) immediately. <Good> Can you help me understand this and would you recommend Bio Spira to rejuvenate the biofiltration, I am assuming that I have lost it? <BioSpira might be a good idea.... or, in lieu, of this, plenty of water changes until the filter is re-established. Feed lightly until then.> Have I lost all of it? Also, if Bio Spira would be a recommendation, will it effect my Betta? <There may still be some biological filtering capacity left in your tank... BioSpira should not affect your Betta. > Thank you as always.  Sue  <Good luck! John>

New Betta Bowl Design  12/8/05 Mr. Fenner, Please take a look at these small aquariums (that I call aquateriums) that I designed specifically for Bettas and other small aquatics and tell me what you think please. I'm not getting a lot of feedback (positive or negative) from the Betta community. What's perhaps curious to me is that my website ( http://www.theofficegarden.com ) is predominantly an art store and I consider these (aquateriums) works of art designed for works of art...Bettas They can come in a basic form or equipped with aeration, filtration and heat. (All serviced from beneath so as not to interfere with the appearance of the unit.) I would really appreciate your comments (complimentary or constructively critical.) Sincerely (in need of advice), William M. Spears < Took a look at your web site.  <<Linky linky, please!  Marina>> <<<Linky linky fixy fixy.  See above.  Hey, guess what, I *work* at Homestead.  Nifty.  -SCF>>> I found you designs to be nothing spectacular. They are incomplete. Look at an empty aquarium and try to compare that to one that is aquascaped and full of fish. If you never saw the one that was set up then you would never buy the empty one. I might think differently if I ever saw one that had a fish in it. Have you ever kept a Betta in one of these for any length of time and really tried them out?  Little Betta bowls have been around for a hundred years. We now know they don't work and most of the aquarists that check out our WWM website are into giving their Bettas the best of care by providing warmth, filtration, food and space! Your products are very expensive and you provide no data with regards to how they work. What kind of filter? What kind of heater and how warm will it make the water. Can the heater be adjusted? How does the filter get serviced. Until you start to think like an aquarist I don't think you will be able to really sell your items to other aquarists. I know this is not what you really wanted to hear but you asked.-Chuck.> 

Filtration for a Betta - 12/09/05 Is the Bi-Orb filtration system too strong for a Betta? I am getting ready to transfer the fish and wanted to check first. <The filtration will be fine. Just be sure to cycle the filter before adding the fish. If you want to send e-mails in the future, please do not use all upper case, as we have to edit them before posting. > Thank you!  <Welcome! Best regards, John> 

Winston the Betta - 12/03/2005 I purchased my first Betta "Winston Valentine" 11-26-2005, I keep him in a 5 gallon fish bowl. Everyday he is doing something new. However the question I have I could not find much on. Today I noticed that his bowl was filled with white (almost transparent) strings floating through the bowl. Are those strings something to worry about? I went ahead and cleaned his bowl. I add a little bit of that stuff to take the chlorine out. Well about 5 hours later I noticed that he looked as if he was breathing hard, and he was darting around and would open his mouth really wide, almost as if he was choking. I didn't know if any of this was connected? Or if he may have just been trying to get me to feed him. The last two days I have read about bubble nest and he seem to be making them. Maybe it has something to do with that? Thanks for the help. I forgot to add that, sometimes my Betta will have rapid deep breaths and then he will go to the top to get air and I timed how many time he goes to get air and my results were a test run of: 5 Minutes: Minute 1 - 1 breath Minute 2 - 0 breath Minute 3 - 1 breath Minute 4 - 0 breath Minute 5 - 1 breath Is that normal? He just seems to be very active, and swims like crazy which is odd. Then opens his mouth very wide when I'm around. When he swims in a way he jerks real fast then swims to the bottom and hangs out then he swims fast as he can to the top and does a circle and then so on. Then he will act just normal. Is he just playing or is this a sign of a disease. Or is he trying to jump? Since I have only had him since 11-26-05 he has no decorating in his bowl expect for some rocks at the bottom. Thanks.  Jessica <Hi Jessica. A 5 gallon tank is an excellent Betta environment. The white stringy stuff in your tank is probably a bacteria or fungal bloom. These occur as your tank cycles and should go away over time. You can vacuum it out, but I wouldn't suggest changing more than 50% of the water at a time. Read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm for more information about making your system a bit friendlier for your fish. Your fish could be a bit stressed because your tank is cycling. For more information about cycling, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm. Test kits are fairly inexpensive.  You will need to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Their values should be 0, 0, and less than 20. If they are not, do 30% water changes daily until they have improved. When you do water changes, be sure the water is at the same temperature as your tank water. Also, add the dechlorinator before putting the water into the bowl. He also doesn't have a good place to hide and this may make him a bit nervous. Silk or real plants could help. Keep us posted, Catherine>

Breeding traps as living quarters - 12/3/05 Let me start by saying that I think your site has the BEST information out there. I use it for every little curiosity I have, and have found it to be * extremely * helpful. <Me too!> I have searched for an answer to my question, but I'm not exactly clear on the result, so I thought I would just go ahead and ask you and try to get a more exact answer. <Sure> Anyway, I have an average size community tank (29g). I house tetras (Neons & what I guess to be albino skirts), and guppies of different varieties. (These started out as feeders for my then small Oscar , and grew on me when they didn't get eaten.) Well, as you know, guppies multiply faster than rabbits, so I have quite a few fry that have managed to survive. (About 10 guppies total. Each time a female is about to drop fry, I place her in a breeding net which usually houses a male Betta . So, my question is, will the Betta disturb the tetras and other guppies until he can be returned to the net (he seems to like it there), <Potentially, although this does depend on the Betta. Most Bettas take offence at the long, flowing tails of guppies, and will nip at them. But there are exceptions. You could try, and watch carefully.> should I get him one of his own, or should I find entirely different living quarters for the Betta ? <Well, this is what I was thinking. It can't be much fun for a Betta to live in a breeding trap. And I'm also not a huge fan of these traps for pregnant guppies - it stresses them out. (I have the nice experience of fry trying to squeeze through the netting of a trap of mine, only to get stuck and have their heads bitten off by the tank inhabitants.) Perhaps a separate "guppy tank" or two is in order?> I also have 2 Corys , 1 molly, 1 platy, and 2 med/large Plecos . I keep the tank pretty well decorated with lots of hiding spaces, also. Occasionally I have comets in there 'in holding' until Oscar is ready for them. <Yikes... "feeder fish" are often raised in the worst of conditions and can carry a fair parasite / disease load. You're playing Russian roulette here, and the odds are not in your favour. I would not add them to your tank ... or indeed feed them, without a hefty quarantine. Your Oscar is not an obligate piscivore. It doesn't sound like you feed the Oscar solely on live fish, but I thought it was worth the heads up, just in case you do -- try feeding a range of foods> Sorry that I am so long-winded, I am just trying to give you the best possible description of the situation. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. <No worries... Best regards, John> -Mandy 

Betta Problems  11/18/05 Hi - I have a (rather large) female Betta fish. She isn't very old, but lately she seems listless. In fact, she hardly swims around anymore. She either lays at the bottom of her aquarium or props herself on one of her plants. There is also a small white spot on the top of her dorsal fin that has never been there before. The aquarium she is housed in has a divider in it and on the other side there is an additional female Betta. I'm wondering if you could give me some advice as to what to do with this (possibly sick???) Betta fish. I don't want her illness, if there is one, to pass on to her aquarium buddy. Thanks for any advice you can give. (I'd appreciate a quick reply...time may be short for my fish.) <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the area re Bettas... read re Systems, Feeding, Health/Disease. Bob Fenner> 

A lethargic and tired looking Betta  11/17/05 Hi, <Hello> We have had our Betta for about 4 months now (but he is just over 1 year old) and, up until a few days ago, he seemed to be doing fine. He (Max) lives in a 2.5 gallon fish bowl that we change every 2 weeks. He has a live plant, gravel and sea shells  <These shells could be trouble... dangerously influencing water quality> but these have all been there for some time now.  Just last weekend we noticed that Max was acting strangely. He was skimming the surface of the water gulping for air. He seemed to tire himself out and would drop to the bottom and it looked like he was labouring for breath (his gills are flapping and his mouth is gasping). We changed his water immediately and started adding BettaFix.  Now, a few days later, he seems even worse. While before he was at least up and about much of the day, now he lays on the bottom (often on his side) and is still breathing quite heavily. He rarely moves and seems to have problems when he does, in the end only moving a short distance and returning to lay on the ground. I can't see any physical symptoms (i.e. fungus, ick, etc.) but can tell that something is wrong. Anything you can tell is much appreciated. Chris <Mmm, likely environmental in origin... is this bowl heated, filtered? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above.  Bob Fenner> 

Beginning With A Betta - 11/08/2005 Hello, My name is Veronica. <Hello. Sabrina with you, today.> We got our Betta fish, named Goobi about a month ago. He has been in a 1.5 gallon tank with a filter pump. We have a small amount of gravel and marbles and a fake plant at the bottom of the tank. Goobi was a gift and we are not sure of his sex. <Likely male.... Females are less common, and not as attractively finned or colored.> I have never owned a Betta before. The tank had a little algae growing on it and Goobi's started getting some spots around his face and a little whitish under his mouth. So I took it upon myself to clean out the tank for the first time. I placed the Betta in a glass with some of the water from the tank. I used instructions I found online to clean out the tank step by step. Using 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to clean the tank. I used a little bit of vinegar to clarify the glass and rinsed it out thoroughly with the bleach and water. I rinsed the rocks and fake plants in bleach water and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water. <A complete cleaning like this is not safe.... There are special bacteria, called "nitrifying" bacteria, that oxidize the wastes produced by fish and other biological sources into less harmful compounds.... completely cleaning the tank like this kills those very important bacteria.> Once everything was clean I put everything back in the aquarium and hooked up the pump. I used warm water ( I read warm water is good for Betta fish). <Mm, warm only to a bit above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.... And, more importantly, *constant* temperature.... Too much information to impart to you in a single email.> I then placed the Betta fish back in the tank and he went berserk. Goobi was swimming frantically and acting crazy.  <I suspect, since you've been so thorough about telling me everything you've done thus far, that you may not have dechlorinated the tap water.... Chlorine and chloramine are deadly toxic to fish, and must be neutralized with a water conditioner.> I thought Goobi would calm down, but after a while Goobi was still uneasy. I put Goobi back into the glass of water it was in before and calmed down. When will it be a good time for me to put Goobi back in the tank without shocking him. He is scaring me because he is not moving much at all in the glass. <As I said, there's just too much to impart to you in a mere email.... Please read the following article; it should have answers to all these questions and many, many more - and also give you new, fresh ideas of things you may yet need to learn that I haven't thought to tell you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm - please also follow the links, in blue, at the top of that page. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 

Chilly Betta? - 11/02/2005 We've had our Betta for about 6 months, and he's always been very active, eating twice a day no problem and we've always kept to regular water changes in his 2.5 gallon tank. He's always been one to get very excited when you walk into the room and always comes to the side of the tank where you are at to say hello to you.  <He speaks?? Better call Guinness!> <<BRILLIANT!!!!>>  <<Oh.. not that Guinness..?  Sorry, I had to do that.  Marina>> But recently, his whole personality, eating habits and mobility has changed. He gets scared when you come near the tank, and tries to hide. He also went from eating regularly, to barely eating his blood worms, to not eating at all in the last couple of days. He also is not very active in his tank. Usually he would swim around at different depths, but now he stays near one side of the tank or the other, or just rests on top of a structure and moves very infrequently. When he does move, he is very slow, as if to use minimal energy.  He's super skittish and if you scare him (which doesn't take much now), he'll swim frantically in a darting manner, like he's all freaked out.... something he never used to do. It just seems he is a completely different fish all of the sudden. Also, he does seem to have become pale in colour down the sides of him and along the top. Any suggestions on what could be wrong with our pet? We really want to help him get better, if that is at all possible at this point. <Are you testing his water? Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate? Maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate at less than 20ppm, with water changes.....> The only thing I can think of is that there were a few cold nights, where the temperature inside our place dropped down to be cooler than normal and his tank water was probably a lot colder than normal, so we have now made sure that the heat stays consistent in our place day and night. Could that alone have caused him to be the way he is?  <Yes, it could.... you might want to invest in a small heater for his world.... very important to keep these tropical fish at tropical temperatures.> Thank you much in advance. <You bet.> Sincerely, -Todd Fitchett <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Betta Care, Algae Growth 11/3/05 Hey there, <Hello.> I've got a blue Betta in a 1 gallon tank with an air filter and a hooded light. There is some gravel covering the bottom of the air filter, and I feed him 2 pellets of Betta food every morning. <Too much food, I would fast him for at least 2 days out of the week.> I've had him for 2 months (approx.) and done one water change in the aquarium in that time  <Should be once per week.>  - including cleaning the rocks and the entire tank. However, in the last two weeks, there has been a noticeable faster build up of green algae in the tank.  <<Should NOT clean rocks and entire tank, water change only, or you'll be removing benthic bacteria essential for biological filtration.  Marina>> <Overfeeding and the small water volume are giving way to nutrients which are feeding the algae.> 1. Is this healthy for the fish?  <The algae will not hurt him but the high nutrients will.>  There is no change in his behaviour and he is still active and eating. 2. Should there / can there be anything else in the tank?  <Possible a small sponge filter or air pump.>  My understanding was they must be alone, but your site seems to indicate that there are some species that can live with Bettas.  <Some yes, but would need a larger tank in this case.>  Is my tank too small for that? <Yes.> 3. The algae build up looks dirty; if #1 is not a problem for the fish, is there something I can do to make it cleaner? <Water changes at least weekly.> Thank you for your help. Tei. <Welcome, Adam J.> 

SpongeBetta SquareFish - 11/02/2005 When we first started out we had a SpongeBob tank for my grandson. Well he's moved up to a 20 gallon but since we are doing his bedroom in SpongeBob we thought we could put the small tank in there with a Betta - it's almost 2 gallons and has a bubble wall and an underground filter. <Okay.> We also have two silk plants in there and gravel from the 10 gallon as a start up. <Great.> There is no light in the tank but it's on a table with a light. So we added a 25 watt heater and just bought a Betta a couple of days ago. <Great.> The problem is that the bubble wall, which is attached to the underground filter, seems to stress him. When we turn on the bubble wall, which we always left on when he just had Zebra Danios in there, the Betta wraps himself around a plant. So, if I want to filter, can I just use it for 10 minutes a day or so? <You could. Better yet, you could add a valve in the airline to "turn down" the air flow.> I still plan on doing a weekly water change with a vac, like I do with the 20 gallon. Any help you can give will be appreciated. -Casey <Try looking for the valves at local and chain pet stores. Can get brass or plastic. In a "pinch" (no pun intended) I have even used vice grips for this purpose, to squeeze the airline shut some. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

SpongeBetta SquareFish - II - 11/03/2005 Well duh! Why didn't I think of that?  <<Think of what?>> I'll buy one this weekend. <<Me, too!  Where can I get one?>> <Heh! No worries.> Thanks, -Casey <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Betta, Fuzzy Fin, Chilly Tank - 10/28/2005 My Betta was doing great up until this afternoon when I noticed he was just leaning against one of his plants. When I got up and looked closer he swam to see me I could see a small patch of clear like fuzz next to his dorsal fin. Two hours have passed now and it seams that this fuzz is spreading quickly. I have put some fungus medicine in his tank (Victoria Green B and Neutroflavine) <It's more likely that this is bacterial in nature.> We live in Florida and have experience a few cold days. Could this be a result of a temp change in his aquarium? <This could very well have stressed him and make him susceptible to disease.> He has 1 ½ gal tank with filtered water, but I don't have a heater for him. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> Please let me know what you think, I'm afraid he's going down hill fast. <I am concerned that this might be a bacterial illness, in which case I would treat with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, or antibiotic food. Please consider heating this fish's world.> Pat <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Sick Betta?  Eayore is Old  10/25/05 Hello, <Greetings> Even though your site was incredibly informative <Isn't now?> I didn't quite find what I was looking for. My Betta is about 3-4 years old. <Yikes... an oldster...> Eayore's fins have been looking bad for a while now, the bottom fin and tail are very ragged and are turning white at the tips. <Indicative of "old age"> The top fin has sort of twisted and folds down to the right when he isn't swimming. The rest of his body has faded too (when I got him he was much darker). I'm not sure is that is from age or not. <Is...> He is very lethargic and only moves to go up to the surface occasionally, and doesn't seem eager to eat. He stopped eating his Hikari Betta Bio-Gold so I gave him freeze dried bloodworms, which he seemed ok with. I added 2 plants and an airstone last night and he seemed more lively this morning but is still pretty lethargic. In a word he seems depressed. In his old container he has a glass fish and I'm starting to think he is lonely (I know it's not exactly normal for a Betta but he seemed so much happier with it...). Right now he is in this, it is very small and cramped so I am going to move him into a 34 liter BiOrb and get a couple of Cory's if he can be cured of the suspected fin rot or other problem. Would be compatible with a cat like this or this? <Yes, very suitable tankmates> If not, I'll get a clown loach or something similar.  I attached some pictures of his fins and discoloration to give you a better idea of what I am talking about. Thank you, PT <3-4 years in captivity for Betta splendens is a good long time... You are to be commended for your good care of this animal. Bob Fenner>  <<I am leaving the photos out, cannot make out much due to quality.  MH>>
Re: sick Betta? 10/25/05
Great, thanks for your recommendations. This is the last set of questions, I promise. I read that Kuhli loaches have lots of personality, and that they like small groups of their own kind, could I get some of these? <You could> If so, how many?. <A few, handful> If not, is there any particular species of Cory cat that is more outgoing or comical than others? <A subjective evaluation... I would go with whatever species suits you that is captive bred, available> And lastly, who should I put in the BiOrb first? <The Betta> Thank you so much, PT <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: sick Betta? 10/25/05
Hello again, <Howzit?> Thanks for responding so quickly! I guess I was worried over nothing. Just a couple more questions, 1. Could you recommend a heater for the 8 gallon BiOrb? <Yes, the Hydor Products line...> 2. How many Red Lizard/Whip Tail cats and/or Clown Loaches should I get to satisfy their preference of being in a group but not overcrowded? <I would not place these species in this small volume. Stick with the Corydoras> 3. Are Banana plants and/or Java ferns ok? <Okay? Yes> 4. Should I put a layer of gravel or sand under the marbles? <Gravel would be vastly preferable... can be washed (but saving a good deal of the water above it to replace), on a every few weeks basis> Thanks again, I have grown very attached to Eayore and want to make him and his soon to be tankmates as happy as possible! PT (a very relieved Betta owner) <Life to you. Bob Fenner> 

In-Tank Betta Chambers - 10/19/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have a Betta in a 1 gallon tank. I'm having a lot of trouble controlling the temperature. I will eventually (when I can afford it) get him a bigger tank with a heater. <Hydor makes a very small aquarium heater "pad" now....  I have not used it yet (though I do plan to give it a try at some point)....  You might want to see if this would be of help to you.> Right now I am thinking the best thing to do would be to get a container that hooks onto my community tank, so the Betta can have the benefit of the heated and filtered water. It is called Betta Vision, and you can see a picture of it at this website: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3832&Ntt=betta%20vision&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&N=0&Nty=1 <I don't like these....> My problem is that this seems very small for my Betta, <It is.> and I was wondering if you knew of any similar product that would work the same way. <You could perhaps construct something out of needlepoint canvas....  or employ an aquarium divider?> My Betta is not compatible with all the fish in my community tank, so he needs to be isolated somehow. <Really, the only excellent answer here is to heat him in his current space or a larger space....  unless you can divide your community tank to give him adequate space.  You've got the right ideas, though.> Thanks,  -Sarah <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Betta In A Brick - 10/14/2005 I recently bought an aquarium for my Betta fish that essentially is a glass brick. I believe a company in West Palm Beach, Fl (Nature in a Glass) used to sell these.  <I know vaguely the nature of the item of which you speak.... This is a terrible space to keep a Betta. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> But apparently they have gone out of business <This perhaps should be telling you something....> but some of the aquariums are still for sale. We purchased one but didn't like the underlying aquascape (it was really more about finding the glass brick with a hole already cut in it----lol). So, with the use of some thinners, we were able to remove the permanent seal, along with the sand and pebbles that were lying underneath the cured seal.  <Permanent seal.... Are you telling me this is to be an entirely sealed, closed system?? And you propose to seal a Betta into it?? Tell me you're joking, or that I am misunderstanding you....> We've designed our own aquascape; however, we cannot find anyone in NYC that can tell us what to use as the top layer to permanently seal the sand and pebble formations we have made. We're assuming the permanent seal contains some sort of non-toxic epoxy resin or polyurethane. Obviously, we don't want to introduce Nestor (our Betta) to a toxic aqua environment.  <Such a miniscule environment becomes toxic on its own.... buildup of ammonia, nitrite.... Sealing this system only makes that worse - worse even than those wretched "Aquababies" containers.... There can not possibly be enough plant life in such a space to provide enough oxygen via photosynthesis to keep a Betta alive; the animal would suffocate, and quickly.> We're also assuming this could be a long curing process. I'm so hoping you can point us in the right direction --- as this seems to be a very very difficult nut to crack but I know there has to be an answer. Thanks, Bill <I do hope I am misunderstanding you.... please re-state/clarify if so.... And if you are interested in self-sustaining aquatic systems, please look here: http://www.eco-sphere.com/  I just met Bill Stockley of this organization at his store in Kona, HI and got to see a few of these. Very interesting. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

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

Betta Behaviour, Environmental Conditions - 10/12/05 Hi there, hope you can help! <We shall see> I bought a male Betta a couple of weeks ago (in a 6 gal tank on his own with a heater set at 80 and an underwater filter with a sponge, live plants and change the water regularly every 5days about 80 percent with water conditioner) and am concerned about his colour. When I <Please remember to capitalize "I", add apostrophes in contractions like "I've".... We have to correct these prior to posting; it takes time.> first bought him he had a pale-ish pinky white colour head, the rest of him is light blue, lilac with bits of red in (mainly in streaks in his fins) anyway I've been watching him avidly and it seems that the pale colour has increased a bit on his head down his spine like he is losing his blue scales. He does sometimes nose dive down the side of the tank and then bury his head in the gravel, <An escape tactic.... This may be indicative of something amiss with water quality.> at first I thought maybe he's looking for food, then wondered if it's this behaviour that is taking his scales off or whether its some sort of disease? I'd be really grateful if you could give me some advice. <Check water.... Maintain ammonia, nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes....> I should add that in the morning especially he looks at me and darts down to the bottom of the tank, shakes his head and goes back up and keeps repeating this till I feed him, so at first I just thought this was his way of asking me for food or just what Bettas do. <Entirely possible, really.> This was before I noticed his behaviour sliding down the tank nose first and burying bit. His diet should be okay as he eats better than I do! He has frozen daphnia, bloodworms, dried food pellets, which he doesn't like much and just normal dried fish flakes.  <Sounds great.> Thank you for listening. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks, Jo and Betta <Read here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm . Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Siamese Fighting Fish - 10/9/05 Hi there, <<Hello, TravisM here>> I just have a quick question in relation to the space that a Siamese Fighting Fish should live in. I bought one of those tanks that has a divider in the middle (in order to hold two fish so they will not fight) however I took out the divider so my fish would have more room to move.  Although I was informed by the lady at the pet store that Siamese Fighting Fish only like to live in small spaces, I am finding it depressing looking at my fish having to live in that small environment. Please advise if this is really the case (i.e. they only prefer small spaces)? <<This is a common misconception. They can live in small bodies of water, but they would prefer a larger space and will thrive with a larger water volume. My advice is go with as big of a tank for your friends as you have room for.>> Thanking you, Prue <<TravisM>>  <<Is not a misconception, is based upon the fish's natural habitat - shallow streams, ponds, rice paddies.  Marina>> <<<But larger volumes of water are easier to maintain chemically, thermally....  these are, after all, tropical animals, and fare best in warmer water.  -Sabrina>>>

Siamese Fighting Fish Follow-up - 10/12/05 Thank you so much for your advice, I will buy a large tank for the poor thing.... <<He will appreciate it.>> One more question, do fish really have a 3 second memory? <<Hmmm, Last time I was talking to my fish I meant to ask one, but I forgot. Seriously though, I do not believe that for one or even three seconds. I can tell you from experience that if you tap on the tank before every feeding you can condition your fish to know when it is feeding time. You will also notice your fish seem to recognize you as the food god. The most convincing thing I have noticed is if you take a clutch of eggs from a clownfish they will glare at you for days, or until they lay a new clutch. So the easy answer is no, they seem to have a longer memory than I do at times.>> Thanks and I promise no more questions...... <<You are welcome and feel free to keep the questions coming.>> <<TravisM>> 

Betta System, White "Mung"? - 10/09/2005 Hello, <Good morning!> I am so happy to find your site, very helpful regarding info on Bettas. <I'm glad you find it so. Thank you for these kind words.> My question for you is... I have a Betta in which he is in a somewhat of a dome shaped (port hole tank) that has a mirrored backing, that mounts on the wall. <I've seen these, know what you're talking about.> My problem is, I change the water regularly, as needed, <"As needed" meaning, test frequently, change water if trace of ammonia or nitrite, or nitrate above 20ppm is present? Or....?> but at times there seems to be I guess you would call it almost like a white mung that floats down into the water. It almost looks like if you took an egg white and dropped it into the water. <Possibly a fungus of sorts.... possibly detritus or contaminants in the water.... Many possibilities, here.> There also after a few days after cleaning the tank the water seems to look a little oily on top (like oil spots). <These very small systems should have water changes every couple of days, in my opinion.... They stagnate, get "icky" as yours does.... Any very small Betta system will do this.> I cannot find any information as to what this could be. <As above, many possibilities.> I have bought fresh food and as I said keep the tank clean for this "mung" looks very disgusting and I can't think that it would be healthy for my fish. <I agree.> Any help you could give me or suggest would be greatly appreciated. <My recommendation is to move this fish into a larger, more stable, more easily maintained system. Take a look here for more info and tips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> Thank You, -Kimberly <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Betta System, White "Mung"? - II - 10/10/2005
Good Morning Sabrina, <Good morning, Kimberly! Hope you are well today.> Thank you so much for your quick response and helpfulness. <Any time - I'm glad to be of service.> I wondered if I could impose as to ask you one more question? <Absolutely.> I will take your advice as to testing water and upgrading to a larger, more manageable system as well. <I am quite glad to hear this.> My question is... my husband and I go round and round about what is the best method of water to use for refilling tank. I previously use only room temperature bottled spring water to fill fish bowl. I don't know if it is better to do this or use tap water that has sat at room temp for 24 hours (do I use the chlorine drops for tap water that has sat for 24 hrs. as well)? <If you do use tap water, yes, you will want to treat it, likely for chlorine and chloramine.... there are many products available that handle both.> My husband says to use our "well water" and I feel that is not an option, I could be absolutely wrong. <Honestly, at this point, I will say that well water is a serious gamble. If it is suitable to drink, it *might* be able to be made suitable for fish use. The well water at my folks' place in Idaho is the best water I've ever used for my fish aside from RO/DI, but the well water at my place in California is.... well.... I like my fish, I don't want them to die, and so I don't use my well water! Yes, it really is that bad. So, basically, what this boils down to is that there is EXTREME variance in quality of well water from place to place. When in doubt, don't use it.> It would not surprise me if he was "Right Again" ha... I would appreciate your input. <And there you have it :) > Once again, thank you so much and I look forward to continue using your great site as well as looking for more info at the web site you have recommended. <And thank you very, very much for your kind words.... It is a treat to correspond with people who really do want to learn about the lives in their care.> Thanks Again, Kimberly <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Betta System, White "Mung"? - II - And Thanks - 10/12/05
Good Morning Sabrina, <Good evening, Kimberly! Man, how fast days go by....> Thank you once again for your quick response. <My pleasure.> You have given me a lot of insight. I went yesterday and purchased a larger tank and will be given my Betta a new home as of today. <Ah, good. He will thank you for it.> Thanks so much, I have recommended your site to all my Betta friends.... <So wonderful to hear, and to be of help! Thank you for your kind words.> Take Care, Thanks a bunch, Kimberly <Wishing you and all your friends (and fish!) well, -Sabrina> 

Liz-Betta Lover (Umm, no... one cannot love what they don't know, understand) 10/9/05 Hello <Hi there> I have questions about my Betta fish and I can never get a straight answer from anyone, not even the pet stores. Okay, I got two Bettas three weeks ago. They are in separate 1 gallon tanks. In the tank I have approved rocks, artificial plants, some decor thing at the bottom and a thermometer. I was doing complete 100% water changes each week. <... not good... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm> The pet store clerk told that was not good. So every week I've been doing 50% water changes. But I also take out the rocks, rinse them off and put them back in the tank. I use tap water and put in a something that takes out the chlorine. However, the water still looks foggy. It drives me crazy because I feel that their water needs to cleaned, but everyone keeps telling me not to worry about it. <They're wrong here... the cloudiness is indicative of less than healthy conditions> I changed Toms (one of their names, the other is Chuck) tank on Wednesday, it's Friday now and it looks dirty. At night I keep the heat on in house but the temperature still drops almost 10 degrees throughout the night. <Very bad> I come in the morning and they both are so listless and don't want to even eat. This has only happened twice. But as the colder weather continues to happen I'm worried. <You are right to be> I would keep the lamp on the them, but I read that they shouldn't have a lamp on them for more than 12 hours at a time. So, I proceed to turn on the heat even more and put a lamp over their tanks to heat water. Then they gradually return to their normal selves. What should I do about the water temperature changes and the water changes? <Read the above reference> I really need someone's help. I don't want my fish to die. These are my first fish and I enjoy them so much. They both sit at my desk with (with a lamp in between them) me while I do homework for hours. They just stare at me and watch me the whole time. They get so excited when I stop to pay attention to them. I have really enjoyed them. It almost has become a hobby for me!  Please Help!! Liz Fort Wayne, Indiana  <Consider real environments, thermostatic heating... read the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Betta Bowls, Better Systems - 10/08/2005 Hello. I have taken care of a Betta (named Ollie) for the past eight months. I keep him in a large fishbowl, and although I have tried to feed him bloodworms, he prefers to eat Hikari's "Betta Bio-Gold" pellets. <Actually, this is not a bad food at all. I use this, Ocean Nutrition Betta food, and occasional bloodworms. My Betta is not picky, however - but I think yours would be fine with just the pellets. Try other foods occasionally and see if he has any interest.> I have recently moved away to college, and since I have been here, he does not seem to be the same. He has become very reclusive, whereas before he would display interest in his surroundings. Within the past week, he has been behaving especially peculiar in that he floats up near the top of the bowl and stays there until I feed him dinner (at which time, he appears to develop an interest in his food, but only momentarily). When I come up to the bowl, he sits still. It is only occasionally that I see him get air, and even then it appears to be more of an afterthought than anything. I am wondering what is wrong (is he sick or dying?), and if there is anything I can do to help him get better. <Much to think about, here; first and foremost, his temperature. Try reading here for more insight; improving his system should improve his health/activity level. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> Thank you very much. Tiffany <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Betta Rescue - 10/05/2005 Good morning, afternoon, or evening! <Wow, got all your bases covered!> I adopted a co-worker's Betta fish that was housed in a miserable jar and have placed him in a cycled 5 gal hex with filter, bio-wheel and heater. <Beeeee-autiful.> No aquarium salt, just water conditioner. Temp is 80, ph is 7.4, moderate hardness and alkalinity, O ammonia, O nitrites and 5 nitrate. He is next to another rescued male Betta in a similar set-up. They are both named Stewie.  He must be almost three years old (amazing)... <Great, indeed; Bettas seem not to be as long-lived as they used to be.> energetic and a good eater...they both get one pellet saturated with Biovit am and frozen food (also saturated pm).. one night larvae, bw, mysis, bs-Spirulina, krill. <A good, varied diet.> However, he had fin rot because his caudal tail is eroded almost down to the body leaving a white, grayish shiny look to most of what is left. <Yikes.> I don't know if this is fin fungus because it is not fluffy...just shiny. I wonder if I should treat with any of my Mardel products...Maracyn or Maracyn II, or leave well enough alone. <If the tail is still deteriorating, I would treat, yes - preferably with Kanamycin sulfate or Nitrofurazone, or both....  but failing that, then Maracyn II (Minocycline) or tetracycline or Oxytetracycline.> I did treat with aquarium salt (¼ per gal) for 10 days with no noticeable improvement. I appreciate any guidance you can give me. <If the fin is not still deteriorating, I would not medicate (except perhaps with Nitrofurazone, if you still feel it necessary - this is a very, very mild medication); just maintain optimal water quality; it will take time - perhaps a long time - for the fin to grow.> Thank you very much,  -Sue :) <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Betta question... Can't find answer anywhere!  10/3/05 Hi, <Hi! This is Jorie.> I've been reading through your FAQ's but I don't think this question has been asked yet.  If it has and I missed it, I apologize.   <No need to apologize; I do appreciate you trying to find the answer on your own before writing, but ultimately, we are here to help!> I have had a Betta, Buddha, for about 6 months now and he has been doing great.  He is alone in a 2 gallon aquarium.  I treat his tap water with Amquel+, Novaqua, and a small amount of aquarium salt.   <Sounds good...my only question is about water temperature...do you have a small 25watt heater in his tank? A 2 gal. should be able accommodate one, if not; Bettas like water quite warm, 80-82 degrees F is perfect, and keeping the water temp. stable is even more important. Here's a link in case you don't know where to find one locally: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=12060&inm=1&N=2004+113767+113133> About a month ago, I noticed that there was slightly white/clear stringy/cottony stuff on his silk plants (not actually on the fish).  I did a water change, and two days later it would come back.  I tried changing the water, soaking everything in boiling hot water, and it still came back.  I even tried to bleach out the tank which still didn't help.  I spoke to someone at my LFS who told me to clean out the tank again and this time add Aquarisol to the water.  I tried that... still came back.  So then I tried Jungle Fungus Clear Tank Buddies.  I treated four times.  With the fungus clear in there, the amount of this stuff would decrease, but not go away.  I cleaned the tank again, and put him back in his normal water, and the white stuff came back (as much as there would be before treating with fungus clear).  As soon as there is some of this white stuff in his tank, Buddha is very unhappy and his tail starts to get torn (I actually think he is biting at it, it is definitely not fin rot). <Wow...persistent stuff! When you cleaned (first boiled, then bleached) everything, you didn't put the old gravel back in, did you?  If not, I'm thinking this may be due to overfeeding...how much and what are you feeding the little guy? Keep in mind that his stomach is about the size of one of his eyes.  I typically feed my Bettas 3-4 mini-pellets (I use Spectrum New Life or Hikari) in the a.m., then either frozen, thawed bloodworms (3-4) or Mysid shrimp (1) in the p.m.  Aside from that, have you tried checking phosphate levels? Could be some kind of algae, which thrive on excess phosphates.  I'd suggest using filtered water...Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has a Tap Water Filter that is perfect in size, water-production capacity for a single Betta tank...  http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4484&N=2004+113773  If you go this route, you'll have to purchase two water supplements - ElectroRight and pH Adjust- to add back essential elements to the purified water.  I had excessive phosphate problems with my tap water at one point, but once I switched to this product, things were great. Hopefully one of these suggestions help you and your fish!> Yesterday I decided to put him in a small tank (to eliminate the possibility that his 2 gallon tank is harboring something).  I used bottled water this time, and a water conditioner specifically for Bettas, with a small amount of aquarium salt.  Already this morning the stuff was back in his water, which eliminates the possibility that it was the tap water, the conditioners, or the tank.  I bought a water test kit and nitrate, nitrites, and ammonia were all fine,  pH was around 7.5.  I know within a day or so his tail will be torn again as it usually does within a few days after this white stuff appears. <OK, strike the tap water theory...! Back to the overfeeding theory? Although that seems odd that this would happen in just one day.  The water condition you are using...did you use that in the original 2 gal. tank also? Perhaps that is the common thread...what product is it? Just a thought, but perhaps the bottle is contaminated? (I am assuming you are following the directions for amount of the product used.) Also, perhaps one or more of the decorations in the tank could be causing this...a long-shot, but you've got me a little baffled here also, I'll admit! Are you using silk, plastic, ceramic decorations? And for substrate, what are you using?> I'm going crazy here, and so is poor Buddha.  I don't know what to try next.  Please help us! <Wow, this is a tough one.  Try out the suggestions above, and please keep me posted, as I am curious, too, as to what this may be.  If we are persistent, we'll find the cause! In the meantime, I'd suggest the water filter and supplements, keeping the Buddha's water as clean as possible so that he doesn't get an infection from the fin/tail rot, and good diet (in small amounts.)  Also, the heater, if you don't have one already (keeping him warm will keep his immune system strong, and make him less susceptible to infection/disease.  Let me know how things go and we'll re-address as necessary! Good luck, Jorie> Thanks in advance, Julie

Setting Up Bettas  9/28/05 Hello there!  I know you have many Q&A's on setup, and I believe  I've read them all, but I am so totally confused and frustrated from reading  conflicting info. My problem is that I am going away for 2 weeks and need to set  my Bettas up so that they take minimal upkeep. I have four Bettas (one  inherited, the rest rescued from Wal-Mart) and they are now in their individual  1.5 gallon bowls--very happy and content.  I would like to put them in a  larger container and add a heater because my home is cold during the winter and  a filter.  I was going to get 4-2.5 gal. containers--each with their own  filter and heater, but I would need a lot of electrical plugs. It was then  suggested to me to get 2-5.5 gal. tanks and divide them.  They sold me  these wire mesh screens to divide them.  I got a filter for a 5 gal tank,  which I believe is fine, but I am having trouble with the heater.  I just  read on your site that a heater should have 25 watts for every gallon, but the  heater I got that specifically says it is for a 2 to 5 gal. tank only has 7.5  watts.  Confused? < The size of the heater will be dependent on the gallonage of the tank, ambient room temperature and the ultimate temperature desired. So if you room temperature is 60 F and you want to raise it to 80 F then a 25 watt heater will be required. If you keep you house at 75 F then a 7 watt heater will be required.> Also, is the screen going to be enough to keep them from  getting stressed from being in the same tank or should I put them in  their own 2.5 gal. tank? <Screens have openings and I would be concerned they would be at each other and damage their mouths while displaying> Also, another confusing fact, I read that there  should be 1 tablespoon of salt for every gallon for Bettas, but I have been  doing 1/2 teaspoon/gal. per directions.   Any help in setting up my 4  little guys would be greatly appreciated.  I also just purchased a little  gravel vacuum to keep their tanks clean.  Many thanks! < Salt is not required for Bettas.-Chuck>

Betta housing question  9/21/05 Hello- My name is Jillian <Catherine, here.> and I first want to thank you for your website. <Bob Fenner and the rest of the crew thank you.>  It has helped me significantly with issues regarding my Betta fish.  <I hope you found this Betta start up page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm> I purchased 2 Betta fish yesterday: Gus <That's my cat's name.> (who is silver, light blue and lavender) and Sebastian (who is purple and has red fins). I bought them a 3 gallon tank with a filter, divider and an assortment of plants <real?> and multicolored gravel. <Good start.  Do you have a heater?> I took the "tall grass" and put on along the divider so the fish could have a place to hide if necessary. <Sounds like a plan.> After observing the two interact, I found that Sebastian is aggressive and Gus is much more subdued. <Unlike my cat.>  When Sebastian sees Gus he immediately flares and pokes at the divider. I guess my question is: Can these Betta fish live in the same tank with a divider peacefully? <If there is enough cover, sometimes it works.  Often, one or both fish exhaust themselves with aggression or fear.>  Is it possible for Sebastian to get used to Gus and stop flaring at him? <Doubtful.>  It seems like Gus is scared of Sebastian and hides behind the filter.  <Poor little guy.>   So, basically, even though Bettas are obviously aggressive, can they co-exist somewhat peacefully?  <More plants will help.  They need to be able to avoid each other entirely if they choose to do so.> <Did you cycle your tank before you started with the fish?  If not, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.  If you haven't cycled and even if you have, you should keep checking your water quality.  Ammonia and nitrites should stay at 0 and nitrates below 20.  Any ammonia or nitrite causes stress, as does high levels of nitrates.  Ammonia and or nitrite over 1 ppm can be deadly.  Control all levels with water changes.  50% daily may be necessary.   Thank you,  Jillian  <Hope it helps.  Keep asking questions.  Catherine>

Re: More Betta Questions  9/27/05 Hello. The last time I wrote I believe I spoke to Catherine and her advice was her helpful. Again, thank you for the informative website.  <Thanks!, It's Catherine again.> I have a few very basic questions, nothing major. First of all, one of my Betta fish, Gus has been building a "bubble nest." I have two Betta fish sharing a tank with a divider between them and I'm positive Sebastian (the other fish) isn't a female. So why would Gus be building a bubble nest? Is that normal? Should I be worried? (I must say, it's progressed quite nicely!) <Gus is a happy fish that is hoping a female will come by and be impressed.  It's more than normal.  It means the fish is in good shape.> Next, do Bettas actually sleep? After observing my Bettas it seems like they're awake all the time!  Also, can Bettas actually see in the dark? <Yes, I believe Bettas sleep at night.  When you observe them, it's probably daytime and their lights are on.  As far as I know, Bettas don't have great night vision.  However, they come from muddy ponds, so they may be able to pick up on murky outlines.  The short answer is I have no idea.  I tried Googling this and failed miserably (even after I got rid of all the night goggles in Betta test phase).  I'll ask around on the forum and if I hear something, I'll get back to you.> Those are all my questions for now, thanks a bunch! --Jillian  <Catherine>

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Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

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