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Related FAQs:  Betta Systems 1, Betta Systems 2, Betta Systems 3, 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,

Get me outta here!

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Let's not hurt our Betta friends...please?!   11/5/06 Good evening, all...    Just wanted to show everyone the newest "fad" Betta tank - it's horrific: http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441813794&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=282574488339118&bmUID=1160532917388#detail <Ho-boy... reminds one of the sixties... Peace!>    Holds 1.6L of H20, so approx. 0.4 US gallons, and that's *before* the decorative stones are put in, further displacing water... <Sigh...>    I just answered a query from someone who has an ailing fish as a result of this death trap, and I expert to see more.  For my part, I plan on contacting PETA (I know, I know, I don't agree with a lot of what they say/do, but there is a place on their website to report "emergencies"...I consider the fact that this tank is on the market to be an emergency; if you open the link above, you'll see the absolute *rave* reviews people are giving the product. <Was very surprised, and pleased this last year that an industry mag. here in the U.S. allowed my largely unedited "review" of what's new in Betta products to run... is posted on WWM... denigrating such insufficient habitats...>    Over Xmas break, I am going to bring my little Betta crusade to the forefront and right an article specifically addressing some of these horrific Betta containers (remember Bubble Gear - the purse containing the live Betta a few years ago?!), etc. <Yay! Will be very glad to help you place (for pay) in the pulp and e-zines>    Just thought I'd share with you folks...and, since I quit smoking, I have to vent my anger and frustration somewhere, right?    Hope you all are enjoying your weekends...    LONG LIVE THE BETTA!    Jorie <And the rest of the planet. B> <<Ugh. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I love all the comments such as "it makes the room look really cool at night" - with absolutely no thought as to the fact it has a living creature inside it. Truly a waste of life. John Wells>>
Re: Betta death trap = lava lamp "tank"
  11/6/06 Jorie - Thank you for your response. <You are most welcome!> I am sorry to say that first of all I thought you never responded to the question, I sent this several weeks ago.  This is my son's e-mail address & I think the e-mail never sent until last night when we went on his e-mail account.  For some reason it held the e-mail to send later. <Sometimes we do miss questions - you are always most welcome to "check in" if it's been more than a day or so...> I must have sent it last night, not knowing I did when I went on his account.  I appreciate your quick response, sadly too late.  Although, I did do most of the things you suggested on your own. <Sounds as though we were thinking alike...> Approximately a week after I wrote this e=mail our Betta died. ;( <I'm sorry to hear this.> We have replaced our fish, he lives in a great eclipse tank!   Funny you mentioned that!  He is doing great, just like the first one was until I put him in that lava lamp tank ;( <Outstanding! How big is the Eclipse? As long as its at least 2 gal., your Betta should stay happy and healthy; some even thing 1 gal. is sufficient, so long as you religiously do water changes...> Happy & beautiful!  I wish I would have known the lava tank was a "death trap".  I only did it because it is my 10 year old's tank in his room and it really was a cute tank...."Was" being the key word! <We all learn through mistakes.  It isn't your fault someone created this idea.  It just saddens me that it seems to have caught on so quickly.  Do consider writing a note to the manufacturer, though...I will be doing the same!> One final question...with the new tank & filtration system, how often do you do water changes on a tank like this? <I do a weekly 50% water change in my 3 gal. Eclipse Betta tank, and I replace the carbon unit every month or so.> I appreciate your response, and amazing response time.  I have learned a lot out of this small tragedy! <I'm glad to hear that...perhaps you will one day be answering Betta queries on our website!  Forgive me for not remembering, but do invest in a 25watt heater for this Betta's tank if you haven't already...along with a thermometer.  Keep the temp. stable and 80-82 degrees F...this will do a lot towards keeping him healthy.> Rina <Best regards and enjoy your new Betta, Jorie>

The right kind of water?  10/31/06 <<Hello. Tom here.>> I am trying to find out what kind of water to use when I clean my Betta fish's, "Sera", bowl. The first time (when we purchased our Betta, "Sera") we used bottled water, but we noticed the same day that her bowl was getting cloudy and it was smelling. <<The cloudiness and odor were caused by bacteria. This is more likely to occur quickly if the new water were simply added to the water that the Betta was already in. Perhaps a little more food than should be provided and you've got a bacteria bloom, i.e. cloudy, smelly water.  As for the 'right' type of water, we strongly recommend that you acclimate your pet to whatever water you get from the tap. This should be treated with a dechlorinator if your water is contains chlorine/chloramine. Bottled/distilled water lacks a number of the trace elements found in tap water that fish need for good health which is why we don't recommend its use for water changes/general aquarium use.>> She seems to be fine. We feed her Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sundays. She seems happy although we are concerned about her bowl. She eats fine. Our daughters ages 12, 2, and 1 love her, our 2 year old named her Sera. I would not want her to get sick or die. Please help? <<Please consider a filter and a heater for your pet if you don't already have them. If your bowl isn't large enough to accommodate these, you might consider a small 5- or 10-gallon tank for Sera. Keeping a Betta in a small bowl may seem like fanciful fun but these aren't the best for the fish and really make it harder on the keeper where water conditions and general cleanliness are concerned. Enjoy your new 'friend'. Tom>>

Betta and Loach in 1 gallon? Too small...   10/27/06 Hi guys!  Thank you for such a great website! <Hello there - on behalf of the crew, and most significantly Bob, you're welcome!> About 3 months ago, I bought my first Betta fish and have enjoyed him so much! <They are wonderful fish, aren't they? I currently have 2 males and 1 female (each housed separately)> He's doing great but I wanted to add a bottom feeder to clean up the leftover food on the bottom of the tank. <If you are feeding the proper amount, there should not be any excess food on the bottom.  Bettas have stomachs the size of their eye; I feed mine no more than 4 pellets a day, occasionally 1-2 Mysis shrimp, or 8-10 small bloodworms (not all at the same time)> The only place that sells fish, etc in my town is a "big box store" unfortunately. <Not familiar with this store - sounds like a big chain, though, and not a specialty fish store?> The gentleman there recommended a Loach. On the tank it was labeled, Angencus Boua Loach. I've currently got him quarantined and thought I better check with you first before adding him to my Betta tank. <Best to ask first...> The tank is only one gallon. <This is a fine size for the Betta, but not sufficient for any other livestock, IMO.  Depending on the temperament of the Betta, you *might* be able to add one or two ghost shrimp, but that's it!> Thanks to your webpage, I quickly moved up from the tiny bowl I originally purchased! <Excellent.  Bowls are not very good for Bettas (or any other fish); did you see where Rome outlawed the fishbowl?!> Will the loach harm my Betta? <I don't think so, but there isn't room for both...> Should I have bought a Corydoras instead? <No - no space> Or should I leave well enough alone and not add a bottom feeder? <That's my suggestion.  Feed less if an abundance of food on the bottom is an issue...> Second quick question: Do they make an aquarium heater for one gallon tanks? <I believe you can put a 25watt heater in there...just monitor the temperature closely with a thermometer.> I have only found heaters for 2 gallons or more and they emphasize not to use with a one gallon tank. <I think you should be OK w/ a 25w...> In the winter in South Carolina, my house will be about 68 degrees F. <Bettas need stable temperature between 80-82 degrees F, ideally.  A large temperature swing will harm his immune system, making him more susceptible to disease...not to mention, he'll be just plain cold!> Thank you so much! Michele <You're welcome. Jorie>
Re: Betta and Loach in 1 gallon? Too small...
  10/27/06 Thank you so much for your help and quick reply!! <You're welcome.> If the Betta food pellet falls before my Betta eats it on the surface, then he won't eat it off of the bottom, of course. <I know, Bettas don't seem to understand the concept of food anywhere but on the surface!  I would suggest maybe feeding just 1 pellet at a time, letting him eat, then feeding another, etc.> I feed him just one pellet at a time -around 6 pellets a day. I'll cut down to 4 pellets per your advice and see if that helps. <I'm glad you were only feeding him six...that's really not too bad.  Do feed one at a time, allowing him to eat, chew, then become ready to receive another...> Once the pellets are on the bottom of the tank, the pellets hang around forever and don't disintegrate. <What kind of pellets do you use?  I like Spectrum New Life or Hikari, personally; I do think the "staggered" feeding will help.  And again, depending on your Betta's personality, you may be able to add a ghost shrimp or two (or even an Amano).  That's iffy in my experience w/ Bettas, but worse case scenario, you'll have given your Betta friend a tasty treat!> I just bought some freeze-dried bloodworms to add to his diet periodically per your website advice. <He'll be thrilled - my Bettas go *nuts* for both bloodworms and Mysis shrimp...they're in heaven when that's on the menu!> Thank you again for your website. You are doing a great job educating all of us so that we can better enjoy our fish and more importantly, our fish are living healthier, happier lives! <Thanks for the kind words.  I can honestly say I've learned a majority of what I know from the kind folks at WWM as well...> I'll pick up and try a 25W heater! <That should work fine - just keep an eye on the temp. as you adjust the temperature on the heater initially - they can be a little tricky to get right...> Thank you! Michele <You're welcome.  Have a good evening! Jorie> P.S. Yes, the "big box store" is a large chain store, Wal-Mart, so I'm very excited to have picked out a healthy Betta among the many sick looking ones and have him doing so well so far.

And This Month's Award Goes to.... Betta sys. - 10/21/2006 Hi Gang, I just realized it has been some time since I received your help and just wanted to reply with thanks. Your site is the first place I look when I have questions, and it continues to guide me through this sometimes very confusing (and rewarding) hobby. I also love that you demand correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation :)    Anyway, I ended up trying all of your suggestions. I threw out my old conditioners and switched to Stress Coat, and eventually Prime, with the same result. I also thoroughly cleaned out my litter box (even though it wasn't all that dirty) - but I wanted to make sure. But perhaps I just have dirty fish. *shrugs*    What I ended up doing was making a bit of an investment. I purchased four 5.5 gallon glass tanks, and hooked up four sponge filters to one air pump (to cut down on plug-usage). A four-way gang valve also allows me to turn down the current so the boys are able to swim comfortably. I have two of these tanks side by side on two different shelves, and one strip light running across each set of tanks. I'm in the process of planting them, too, and with the help of a little BioSpira, my boys now all live in ammonia-free, completely cycled water. I'm quite happy using sponge filters, and still vacuum the gravel about every two weeks, but it's a lot less work than before. The boys are thriving, and love having all that room to stretch their fins! It's amazing how NOT lethargic Bettas are when they are allowed to move. (I know I could have divided a tank or two to make it cheaper, but I would probably always worry about escapes, disease, and water-flow.) Anyway, sorry this was long! You guys are awesome, thanks for all your good work. Have a great day! Shannon <Wow! Nice set up! You get my 'Betta God/Goddess Award' this month! And yes, sponge filters are great at bio filtration. Only one suggestion that you may have already taken care of. Put a solid divider between the tanks so they can not see each other. They will flair at each other all day long which causes stress. Don>

Bettas and the Warmth they Need  - 10/15/06 Hello: <<Hi, John. Tom>> I bought a male Betta about three months ago and put him in his own 5 gallon tank with a small Visi-therm heater. <<Okay. Like the choice on the size of the tank, by the way.>> I got the heater online and it lasted two months then died. Visi-therm is one of the better ones if not the best or, so I heard. It had the automatic shut off and would shut off when the water reached the desired temperature. One day the heater decided to not shut off and I am glad that I looked at the temp reading on the side of the tank. I had to remove the heater. <<Your Betta's glad you kept an eye on the tank as well, I'm betting!>> We moved the Betta to the bedroom where it is warmer at night, and the temp in the tank is holding at 74. I tend to like to turn the heat way down at night to save on heating costs, though. <<You're singing my song, John.>> I am thinking of getting another heater for the Betta, but I am thinking that if a Visi-therm died, nothing else will last either and I may be buying pricy heaters every couple of months. <<Not necessarily.>> I wonder if what happened to the Visi-therm was just a fluke or if small heaters die like that a lot due to small components? Maybe Betta keeping is only for those in warm climates. <<I'm in Michigan, John, and 50 degrees sounds like a heat wave to us right now. I'm betting this was a fluke.>> Is there any other way to keep a small tank warm with some kind of thermal covering?? <<Your Betta needs temps in the 80-84 degree F. range, John. The only way that I know of to maintain that is with a heater. I realize you're probably feeling a little 'snake-bit' right now but I'd opt for another heater.>> One other question is that the Betta seems a bit "lonely" since his tank was moved away from the larger tank we have. He never sees the other fish since we put him in the bedroom. I wonder if it is safe to put a Corydoras catfish in with him for company. Every time I go in the bedroom he comes over at high speed like he is glad to see me, or maybe he just associates me with getting fed and I am just projecting feelings onto him. <<Fish don't get lonely, John, though many species are more 'comfortable' in a group of their own kind. In truth, he associates you with 'yummies' and is, otherwise, very content on his own. One reason that I wouldn't, personally, recommend one of the Corydoras types with your Betta is that I suggest the use of aquarium salt for Bettas and Corys are not very tolerant of salt. Additionally, the higher temperatures that Bettas prefer are a bit much for other fish, even Tropicals.>> Thank you!! <<No problem, John. And, don't be discouraged about the heater. I've got a small 25W Hydor for a 10-gallon tank that's served me quite well. Tom>>

Guppies And Bettas  - 10/14/06 Hi. I have had my Betta [Sushi] for 2 or three months. I have recently moved him into a 10 gallon tank. The tank has mirrored glass walls so when he sees his reflection he gets bigger, I know why but is it healthy? < After a while he should get used to it and settle down.> And I have tried to turn on the filter but every time I do his fins get sucked into it. I am scared that his fins will be damaged so I shut off the filter. Do you recommend sponge filters? < Look online or at your local fish store for a pre-filter sponge. They are usually sold for power heads but many will fit some outside power filters too. They clog pretty quickly so you will have to take them out and clean them weekly. Sponge filters are great. they just don't look so good in a display tank.> In addition to this I just got three guppies, 2 females and one male and put them in the tank with my Betta. The females don't swim around much, they just sit at the bottom. Is it because my Betta is in there? < Sitting on the bottom doesn't sound right, they may be ill.> Also my female guppies are as big as the male, which is pretty small. All the things I've read about female guppies say they should be bigger than the males. And I want to breed my guppies but not sure how. I know if my female, if pregnant, and has her fry in the tank the Betta will eat them. I plan to take out the Betta if one of my females have fry, but will the male eat them. Thanks for your time Shelby, age 12 < The females should be bigger than the males. Get the water temp. up to 80 F and feed them high quality food and they will grow up in no time. They are livebearers, so when a female is pregnant and ready to give birth she should be removed to her own tank. In the tank you can get a livebearer trap from the LFS. This will allow the fry to swim away from the female and hopefully not get eaten. All the fish will eat guppy fry, so raise them until they are large enough to go back in with the adults.-Chuck>

Betta Water Currents  - 10/13/06 Hi <<Hi, Lee. Tom here.>> Can you correct me if I am wrong on this please? Adult male Betta fish do not have a problem with a circulating water current in an aquarium due to a filtration pump, as they are strong enough to withstand or swim against it. <<Currents in the water are not 'natural' for Bettas though a healthy male shouldn't have much trouble provided the current isn't too strong. As their finnage suggests, Bettas aren't built for life in 'moving' waters. In fact, in their natural environment, about the only thing moving in the water is them since they reside in rice paddies and small pools of water. They are, however, amazingly adept at jumping and use this ability to survive when small pools of water dry up requiring that they 'move' or die. The labyrinth organ they possess is also critical to this process as it allows them to breath air while maneuvering to a new "home".>> A breeding tank that will hopefully contain fry should have no filtration pump as the fry are too small to withstand the water current? <<Again, Lee, this is kind of a matter of degree. Fry require pristine water conditions, even more so than adult fish. I understand the rationale here but there are options available that would limit the effect that a filter would have, current-wise, while ensuring that the babies are maintained in the type of environment they require to survive and grow. I don't know that I would agree that a fry tank should not have a filter, to answer your question.>> Thanks, Lee <<You're welcome, Lee. Tom>>

Vacuuming gravel, Sm., FW, Betta  10/03/06 How, exactly, does one go about vacuuming the gravel in a 2 gallon tank?  I have my tank all ready for a new Betta, with heater and filter and water conditioner, etc, but I am trying to picture in my head how the actual process of vacuuming such a small area goes.  I have never seen any tiny vacuums and besides, by the time the suction got going, wouldn't more than half the water be gone?  I vacuum my 10 gallon tank weekly, so am not new to the process itself, just the execution in such a small tank.  Help! <Hi Kathy - let me share with you how I do water changes in my 3 gal. Betta tanks w/ gravel bottoms: I use a siphon to remove about 1/2 the water each week, and I hold the suction end close to the gravel to carefully suck up any large particles.  I've found that if you don't overfeed the Betta (I feed mine 4 pellets each day), there really isn't much waste to necessitate actual gravel vacuuming in such a small tank with one fish.  Probably about once every 6-8 mos. I completely empty out the Betta tanks and replace the gravel, thoroughly clean the decorations, etc.  Hope this helps - enjoy your new Betta! Jorie>

Betta Aquarium Decor Question  9/25/06 Hi Bob, <Twyla> I am a Betta enthusiast and am setting up my next tank.  I purchased a 4 gallon BiOrb, and would like to camouflage the center air tube.  I purchased a synthetic tree root made by TopFin that was the right shape for the tank, but lacked a hole to slide it over the air tube, so I drilled the hole through it to make it fit. <Neat> The root seems be made of a white material that had been poured into a mold and painted.  I am concerned that white material will leach into the water and would like to paint it or just seal it.  Any suggestions? Thank you, Twyla <Water proof epoxy... there are some re-labeled for marine aquarium use (to adhere "frags") that your LFS (if they stock saltwater should have). Bob Fenner>

Follow up Betta Question Tom: <<Hi, Jacqueline.>> Thanks for your prior answer, and no, no Valium for the pets. I use the conditioner the pet store sold us, but in addition, just want to be clear. Tap water better than Brita? <<Each situation needs to be taken on its own merit, of course, but we, generally, recommend that fish live in water taken straight from the tap. If the Brita filter is removing something particularly noxious, obviously use the filtered water, instead. Our concern is that filters can remove elements from the water that fish need to remain healthy. Where we humans can "make these up" from other sources, our fish are pretty much stuck with what we provide them.>> Fluffy (so named b/c of aggressive behaviour on the trip home- sense of humour is important in this house) is by himself in a large vase. No tank, heater or filter. Also no plants or other things. Is this okay? We do notice his calls for attention and stop and talk to him. <<Keeping in mind that Fluffy will do best at temperatures in the 27-29 degree C. (82-84 F.) range, a heater would be a very good idea. In addition, I, personally, never like to see any fish kept in an unfiltered aquarium, whatever the style it may be. "Adequate" parameters can, perhaps, be maintained through frequent water changes but there's certainly no room for error. As I may have mentioned the last time, mine is housed in a 20-gallon heated/filtered tank and gets water changes every four-five days with the addition of aquarium salt. The tank is much larger, of course, than he might "need" but my experience has shown that the other factors are necessary to provide a safe, healthy environment for him.>> We do keep fresh flowers near his vase, he loves to look at them. He also watches us as we cook, eat, work at the kitchen island. <<My Betta currently has close to a "ring-side seat" watching me install all new drywall in my family room. I haven't found this project particularly humorous but I swear I've heard laughter coming from his aquarium. The cat and dog are merely annoyed that they can't get their usual 18 hours of sleep with all the noise going on. :)>> Thanks again. Jacqueline Church <<Happy to assist, Jacqueline. Best regards. Tom>> Thanks again. So reassuring when one is new! I've already recommended you to others! I'll keep on top of it. <<Sounds good, Jackie, and thanks for the kind recommendation. Tom>>
Re: Follow up Betta Question
<<Greetings, Jackie. Tom once again.>> Again thanks, I almost forgot the most important question. I'm sure this adds weight to the aquarium issue - there's been some wispy white things appearing in the water. Not on the fish in some of those horrible sick-Betta photos, but swirling in the water. I think I see a little white-ish spot on above his right fin thing (pectoral fin? The transparent ones that he uses for movement). I think there are treatments that will eliminate the disease if caught early? <<We might have two different issues here, Jackie. The spot on your Betta could, potentially, be Ich. The "wispy white things" aren't. Keep a close eye on both, especially the spot on your Betta. Medicating out-of-hand, as it were, wouldn't be appropriate unless/until you know what you might be dealing with. I mentioned adding aquarium salt with my Betta in our last discussion. The ratio I use is one tablespoon per five gallons of water. Though a very effective, and recommended, treatment for Ich, aquarium salt at this ratio is too light by half to actually deal with this parasite. I would suggest, however, that my Betta does very well with salt added at the ratio I normally use. Might not be a bad idea here.>> Reviewing your site, I think possibly these both are related to parasites coming out due to my stressing him with too cool, over-filtered water? <<The wispy things are not likely parasitic. If anything, they could be Planaria, which are a type of flatworm and appear when water conditions are less than optimal. Keeping up with water changes would take care of these. Ich, if it is such, is brought on by stress, though.>> Could this also be part of why he flings himself on the rocks (stress or itchiness?) <<A good indicator, certainly. "Flashing", as the scratching is sometimes referred to, can be related to a variety of possible parasitic infestations including Ich. It could also be a rather goofy behavioral pattern with him, too. At rest, my Betta lies in the gravel - a habit I wish he hadn't developed for the sake of my blood pressure - but it's his way.>> I changed his water last night with warmer, tap water, with conditioner. He was much happier. Obviously so. I feel horrible! <<No need to feel horrible about this, Jackie. You didn't know. Now, you do.>> I'll try to investigate a small tank/filter setup. We live in a small loft, part of why we thought this would be a fish we could handle. I've already bonded to the little guy, do want to do right by him...will he survive long enough for me to get this right? <<In the right conditions, he'll be fine. Bettas are actually "tougher" than they get credit for being due to their delicate appearance. Keeping the water temperature up and performing regular, frequent water changes are going to be the key elements here. Do keep a close eye on the spot you've observed above his fin. If this looks like it's spreading, as with Ich, you'll need to treat this immediately.>> Cheers, Jackie <<Best of luck. Tom>>

Betta Heater 9/20/06 Hello, <Hi> My Betta Wendy lives in a fairly small (less than 2 gallons) home, and thus I am wary of using an aquarium heater. <Several small models made specifically for this application.>  Currently I am using a small desk lamp set close to the side of the tank, with a scrap of dark fabric taped to the tank so the light doesn't upset her. <Sounds like a fire hazard, and not consistent enough.> My question is, what kind of lamp/what wattage of light bulb do you recommend for such a setup?  This lamp only gets the water to about 70.  Do I need to be so concerned about Wendy being exposed to the bright light?  If I have a full-spectrum bulb is this still a concern?  I've heard lamps made for turtles are good for Bettas, but I don't know what a good brand or size or anything is.  Is there another safe way to keep my Betta warm?  Thanks very much. Julia <I would stop using this setup immediately, sounds like a possible fire hazard.  There are many small heaters available for this sized tank, and even a slightly larger one would be fine.  Check on-line retailers for these.  This is really the only reliable way to get the temperature constant.> <Chris>

Flying Fish    9/15/06 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just got a Betta fish a couple of weeks ago (His name is Drake). At first I had him in a 2 gallon tank but later I bought a 5 gallon tank to house him in. I was doing a water change and Drake jumped out!!! I had my back turned away for one second and the bowl was empty... when I discovered him out of his bowl I quickly picked him up and put him back into the water. After a while of observing him to see if he was alright I discovered that one of his fins were damaged and a few scales were sticking out : ( I was just wondering if he will be alright? Will his scales grow back? Will his fin heal? <Yes he'll be fine. Adding Melafix will speed up the process.  Are you moving him out of the tank into a bowl to do a water change?  Not necessary, just change out 25% of his water weekly (after stirring the gravel a bit).  ~PP> Thanks

Betta Not Doing Well  - 09/13/06 Hello. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! I have a Betta in a one gallon tank with no heater. I have been told to change his water about once a week, since he started becoming skinny and acting different. But now, he doesn't seem like he can swim all that well. He has a tough time staying up and usually sinks back down if he doesn't constantly move his body. He lays on the bottom of the tank a lot and seems to have a hard time swimming. What should I do? < Get a thermometer and check the water temp. It should be around 80 F. If too much lower than that you need a heater.-Chuck.> Thank you, Anthony Monaco   

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

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

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

Betta compatibility in 5 gal tank   8/27/06 Hello! <<Hello, Sarah. Tom here.>> First, I would like to thank you for your wonderful site!  I found it three days ago and have spent numerous hours reading it. <<And, I'd like to thank you for the kind words. Glad you've found much to read.>>   I purchased a five gallon hex tank with filtration about a month ago (it has been fishless cycling for the duration).  I've been checking the Ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and after some fluctuation, they've all leveled out to acceptable ranges (7.2, 0,0, and 5ppm as per your FAQ's). <<Very good.>> I don't have a heater, but the water seems to stay between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. <<A heater still wouldn't be a bad idea, Sarah. Temperature swings of more than a couple of degrees can be stressful.>> The tank has a castle ornament with a cave-like opening and a small live fern (which was just introduced two days ago). I would like to get a Betta, and am wondering what I could put in with it. After reading through the Betta compatibility FAQ's, I've tentatively decided on getting a Cory cat (or two, if my tank can support them both), and maybe either three scissortail Rasboras (I read that Rasboras may be compatible; are they all the same, temperament-wise? <<Not really, Sarah. Your tank is already too warm to house the Rasboras comfortably. The Corys would adapt well enough to what you have now and a Betta would actually prefer it warmer by a couple of degrees.>> If so, these would be my first choice), or three white cloud minnows. <<The White Clouds and Rasboras prefer similar temperatures - cooler than what we normally associate with Tropical fish and certainly cooler than what a Betta will handle.>> I understand that the ability (or willingness) of a Betta to acclimate to community living depends on the individual fish.   <<Quite true. The key is to place them, if at all, in a community where all of the fish share common needs regarding water conditions.>> The only thing that I'm wondering about at this point is the numbers of the other fish I can get.  Would my small tank hold that many fish, or would I be overloading it?   <<The Rasboras would be overloading it terrifically, Sarah. Will grow too large for anything short of a 25-30 gallon tank, perhaps larger. The Cory(s) would do fine in small numbers but I'd like to make a point here with you. Bettas not only prefer but, in my opinion, need aquarium salt in the water. Catfish, including Corys, don't tolerate salt well. For that reason, I don't consider Bettas and Corys "compatible" in the broader sense of the word.>> Additionally, I am planning on adding the fish in stages, starting with the Betta, then the Corys, and last the third species.  Is this a good plan (assuming that the species can cohabitate in the available space)? <<Were it me, Sarah, I'd stick with a Betta alone. (Mine's in a 20-gallon tank by itself.) Your five-gallon tank is a good size for a Betta and, compared to what these fish normally get stuck in, I'd say it's a very good choice. I'm afraid. though, that you'd be pushing it to try to add more fish quantity-wise and, given the specifics of what Bettas need to thrive, I don't know that you have the options that I'm sure you'd like to have.>> This isn't my first tank (although it is the first in several years), but I've never had such a small tank.  Unfortunately, space restrictions do not permit anything larger.  I've previously owned two Bettas, which were both kept in one gallon bowls and both lived for about two years. At the time, I thought that they had to live in bowls and could not have other fish with them (I had no idea that Bettas could be kept in a community until I saw a few in community settings at a fish store). <<I'd be a bit leery of duplicating what you might find in fish stores, Sarah. Obviously, many more fish are typically housed together in display tanks than you or I would ever consider stocking our tanks with. Additionally, there are fish housed together that shouldn't be together in a "home" setting. Puffers are one example of this but there are others. This isn't to say it can't work. There are plenty of folks who'll share that they've kept Bettas in community tanks very nicely. I'm just going with the "high-percentage" call based on my own research and personal experience.>> Thank you, Sarah <<Probably somewhat disappointing advice based on what you were looking to achieve, Sarah, but I'd rather be a bit of a "wet blanket" than suggest giving it a "go" and having things work out poorly. Good luck to you. Tom>>
Re: Betta compatibility in 5 gal tank (Tom)
 8/28/06 Hi Tom! <<Hello, Sarah.>> I would like to thank you for your quick response.   <<Not a problem and happy to do so.>> Although I can't say I'm not disappointed by your 'wet blanket', I would rather be disappointed now than later, and would like to think that I'm giving my future pet a good home (which is why I asked in the first place).   <<I appreciate that and, personally, I'd rather think in terms of quality than quantity. If it's any consolation, I've "wet-blanketed" myself far more than I have any of the good folks like you who write in to this site. I really frustrate me, sometimes. :)>> Given that it is such a small tank, I've decided to go ahead and get only the Betta, rather than try to stock it with other types of fish (instead of the Betta) and deal with space/bioload issues. <<I like your thinking, Sarah. For what it's worth, I do a 20% water change every three to four days for my Betta and, as I mentioned, he's in a 20-gallon tank. He loves it but it's probably more than you'd go through with an "average" tropical tank. In fact, too much of a "good thing" for the average tropical aquarium can be more detrimental than beneficial in a lot of cases. You'll be spending plenty of time with your Betta. No need to "invite" potential problems.>> Again, thank you so much for the great info! Sarah <<Any time, Sarah, and thanks for writing back. My best. Tom>>  

My Betta is eating his tail!!!   8/17/06 Hello, Crew Members. <<Hi. Tom here.>> I am concerned about my Betta, Jinjy, since he has begun to chase his tail and eat parts of it. I have looked through the forum and have read other people's entries that deal with the same issue, but I still find myself at a loss as to how I might better my pet's situation. Here are some details that might help: Jinjy lived in a fishbowl with no filter for the first three months after I got him (This is terrible. I was completely misinformed about how to care for fish. The pet stores where I live sell them in the tiniest, most inappropriate and cruel bowls). <<Most do, Erika, sadly.>> After discovering this site, I changed him to a 20 litre tank with a very simple underground filter and a heater that is always set at 79 degrees. <<Very well done, although I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we didn't recommend the UGF. I'll explain as we go...>> I keep him in treated (dechlorinator, etc.) tap water and there is a small silk plant and a tiny cave in his home. He eats Azoo brand Betta 9 in 1 pellets, tetra BettaMin flakes, Wardley's 'Spirulina with Betta Glucan' food, and brine shrimp 5 times a month; once a day. I have been doing 100% water changes once a week (I found on the site earlier today that this is not recommended). <<All else sounds good, Erika, but the water change is too much. I do about 10%-15% every three to four days with my Betta. Less a matter of 'how often' than it is a matter of 'how much' at one time. Often is good but take this in little steps.>> I did some tests on the water today and the results are fine.  pH : 7.5   Ammonia: 0  nitrate= 0 nitrite = 0.3  <<Actually, a 0.3 nitrite level is not good. When dealing with either ammonia or nitrite, if it can be detected, you've got a concern.>> I read about the possibility of adding a tankmate to calm him down, but I do not think that he'd cope well with one. <<Bettas do perfectly well by themselves. I agree with you. Not a good idea to add another fish to the mix.>> Is it possible that the sound of my sewing machine might be disturbing him? It is about two meters away from him, on a different table. <<Possible? Sure, but not likely. Not to worry. Now, let's get back to your UGF (undergravel filter). Bettas tend to be 'lazy' swimmers inclined to rest on the bottom when the mood strikes. Exactly where all of the bad stuff is being collected and, more importantly, where the bacteria will be growing. The easiest place for bacteria to "collect" is on the fins of the fish. Do you scratch mosquito bites? Most fish can't "reach" but our Bettas can. (You know where I'm going already, don't you?) While Bettas need really good water conditions, the bottom has to be as great a consideration. That said, I recommend adding aquarium salt with your water changes along with vacuuming the bottom and cleaning the filter. Consider a different type of filtration, as well. (Bob doesn't like hang-on filters for Bettas - rightly so - but mine is in a 20-gallon tank (~ 75 liters), so I've got some latitude. :) )>> I thank you very much for any advice at all. This site has been tremendously helpful to me and to my friends who recommended it. <<Anything else I can help with, Erika, just post it. Tom>>

Betta/Corydoras Comp., Sys.   8/2/06 I love your site! It is so helpful and the best one I have come across.  I have a new male Betta in a 3 gallon, filtered tank. It has silk plants. He refuses to eat anything but frozen Brine Shrimp <Need to expand this diet... not nutritious completely> and it an active little sucker.   My question is .. . is a 3 gallon too small to add a Cory catfish to? <Mmm, no... is not too small for a small/ish species of Corydoras> I am concerned about the size of the tank and how active the Betta is. Being that Bettas are territorial, I worry that adding a Cory is not a good idea. What are your thoughts? Thanks! Dawn <Should get along fine. There is an occasional "super mean" male Betta that comes along, but most are so "autistic" that they leave such armored cats be. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Hi There, <Hello again!> Sorry, I found the answer. I kept reading and reading and found the same question. Whew! Thanks again! Dawn <Welcome. BobF>

Betta water temp.   8/2/06 Hello, <<Hi, Bridget. Tom here.>> I have a Betta who lives in an Eclipse Hex 5 gallon tank by himself.  Here in New England, we are having a heat wave, and I have no air conditioning in my house.   <<I do. I can tell from my electric bills! :)>> The thermometer on his tank only goes up to 86 degrees, which I suspect the water temperature has surpassed.  The room he is in is currently 90 degrees, but tomorrow's forecast is for temps nearing 100!   <<You're going to get what we had in Michigan. Sorry.>> I know Bettas like warm water, but I'm wondering if these temperatures are dangerously hot for him.   <<There will be some evaporation with associated cooling but, likely, it won't be substantial enough to keep it where he'd prefer it.>> Should I be concerned, and if so, can you suggest a safe way to cool the water?   <<In all honesty, I wouldn't be that concerned. It's sudden changes that will pose a larger problem than gradual ones will. Better than small water changes, which I'm sure you considered, I would try to run a small fan over the top of the tank to increase evaporation. This might entail some make-up water depending on how effectively the air movement contributes to evaporation. I assume you're getting equivalent humidity levels to what we had, as well, which will inhibit evaporation to an extent. Keep any lights over the tank off and, obviously, keep the tank out of any direct sunlight. A little side note: Next time you visit the supermarket, take a stroll through the aisle that has all of those lovely utensils in it and see if they have what looks to be like a very slender meat thermometer. The thermometer face is about the size of a quarter and sits on top of a metal "stem" about five inches long. (May be in a protective plastic tube.) Mine is graduated for commercial refrigeration work from -40F to 160F and is the "cat's meow" for checking tank temps. and for water changes. It responds very quickly and can actually be adjusted/calibrated for accuracy by immersing it in ice water and turning the face until the dial reads 32F. Just a tip, for what it's worth.>> I've read tips about floating a baggie with an ice cube in it, but that seems extreme for such a small tank. <<With cold water fish like Goldfish/White Cloud Minnows, I would consider this an effective, short-term remedy. Not so with your Betta. Dropping tank temperatures is much touchier than raising them is. I would avoid this one.>> I should note he is acting normal and looks fine, no signs of stress that I can see.   <<Glad to hear this and, hopefully, it will continue until Mother Nature throws some relief at us. (Hope we get it tonight here as promised. It's starting to wear a bit thin, if you know what I mean. :)>> Just checking, many thanks for your help! Bridget <<Good luck and stay cool, if possible! Tom>>

Bettas, community tanks, and dividers   7/28/06 Hello: <<Hello. Tom here.>> I have a fully cycled 29 gallon tank that I do a water change on every weekend. I have five Danios, two male guppies, four Corydoras catfish, and five neon tetras. <<Sounds nice.>> I recently purchased a male Betta, but not before getting a Penn Plax divider in the tank. The other fish have two thirds of the tank now and the Betta has one third, so on the Betta's side his section is higher than it is wide and he swims up and down a lot. <<He wants/needs to breathe surface air, as you probably already know. It's a lot of activity for a fish that's accustomed to not having much room to move around in.>> He was friendlier when I first got him a week ago, but he is now acting afraid of me when I come up to the tank. <<I suspect all the exercise is leaving him a bit exhausted/stressed. You've done great by giving him plenty of space but it really needs to be a lower/longer setup.>> A friend of mine said that he is stressed because he can see the other fish that he probably wants to kill and can't get at them. <<Your friend needs to do some homework. Your Betta isn't the least bit interested in fighting with, or killing, your other fish. In fact, your tank divider wouldn't really be necessary if you could trust the others to not go fin-nipping on him. A big reason for not mixing Bettas and other tropical fish is that Bettas prefer warmer temperatures than tropical fish typically like. He'd be quite happy at 82-84 degrees which is much warmer, relatively speaking, than your other guys would tolerate without problems.>> I was wondering if I should buy him his own tank or get rid of the other fish and let the Betta have the whole 29 gallons to himself. <<I'd go for a separate tank for the Betta. 29 gallons is far bigger than he needs by himself. Much as we stress "bigger is better" where aquariums are concerned, in this case, it would be "wasteful". Besides, why get rid of your other fish when you can very economically set up a really nice tank for the Betta?>> Thank you <<You're welcome.>>

Tybalt the Betta   7/27/06 Hi, <<Hello, Amelia. Tom here.>> I convinced my parents to buy me a pet for my fifteenth birthday, which was May 27, so a few days beforehand I came home to a deep blue Betta in a 1-gallon tank that the box said was "specifically designed for Bettas and first-time owners". <<I wish they'd specifically design a tank in the 5- to 10-gallon range for Bettas. Might be less problems. ;)>> At first I was disappointed, having expected a cat, but I soon grew very attached to the little guy, named Tybalt for the character in Romeo and Juliet.   <<A cat. A Betta. Not much difference. :)>> I read up on Betta care and got a thermometer that sticks to the inside of his tank, and I placed the tank under a lamp, still saving money to buy a light to leave on all the time.  He was really hyper and quirky at first, and I would sit for long periods of time watching him "sneak up" on the thermometer, touch it (it shakes slightly at the softest touch), and "run away".  Then I went to the mountains with my grandparents last week and left vivid instructions on when my mom should feed him (three times a day, flake food that came with the tank).  When I came back four days later scum had built up on the sides of his tank and the plastic plant in it, and Tybalt was lying on the gravel on the bottom, just beneath his plant. <<Not good.>> I did a full water change just so I could clean the brownish-green scum off, and at first he seemed a little happier.  But that's been about a week and he still isn't his old self (he doesn't play with his thermometer and he rarely even moves from his spot under the plant).   <<Couple of things come to mind but let's go on...>> Then I noticed that when I'd feed him he wouldn't come to his food (usually he attacked it).  He usually ate the freeze-dried blood worms I gave him as a treat like it was going out of style, but now he won't touch it.   <<Not unusual if he's stressed or "blocked up". How does his belly look? Any signs of bloating? Bettas are designed as "meat eaters" and flake food that's high in vegetable matter may not sit well.>> I have no idea how to check water quality, but I've been using the same water the whole time and he hasn't suffered.   <<A test kit would tell you what you need to know. Fairly simple to use, as well. You could also take a sample to the fish store and ask them to test it for you. Ask for the specific readings if you do this. When you experience problems, having the exact parameters can tell a great deal.>> I also use the conditioner that came with the tank, although I lost it and didn't have it for one change this summer (I change about one-fourth of the water in the tank every week and add half a capful of conditioner to it, like the instructions said).   <<This could be an area for concern, too. Tap water that's treated with Chloramine has Ammonia in it. A conditioner that treats only Chlorine would leave the Ammonia behind. A number of conditioners/dechlorinators now treat for both Chlorine and Chloramine. I'd opt for one that does both.>> I just went and looked in on him.  The temperature is almost 80, so I turned the lamp off for the night, and he was lying under the plant again.  I worry about my dad having the air conditioner on seventy all day so it's less that seventy in his tank, and when I turn the lamp on he turns it off.  My dad doesn't understand the concept that he's not "just a fish".   <<You might "gently" explain to your dad that wide swings in temperature can harm or, kill, your pet. Fish aren't designed the way mammals/people are. Even small but sudden swings in temperature can wreak havoc on a fish's system. Tybalt is beautifully built to breathe air like we do but if the surface air is colder than the tank temperature, he can die from breathing it. (Our body systems heat the air as we breathe it in. A fish can't do this.)>> I just want Tybalt to be healthy and lively again.  I'm particularly worried because we're going to the beach next week, Sunday through Wednesday, so my grandmother will be taking care of him.  Is it possible that he just missed me?   <<I wish I could tell you that he did, Amelia. The $50 word for this is "anthropomorphism", which is simply people trying to place human-like characteristics on animals and other non-human entities. Sadly, Tybalt doesn't have the capacity to "miss" you in the way that you and I know the meaning of it. On the flip side, my guys sure know when I come home from work that it's time to eat! Might be something to it after all. :)>> Would taking him to my grandmother's be bad or good while we're away (she lives within shouting distance)?   <<Wouldn't it be better for her to be able to keep an eye on him at her house?>> Also, his bottom fin, the one below his tailfin, is twisted.  I didn't notice until I held a mirror up to his tank tonight, just to see if he'd move.  His gills puffed up, but the rest of him stayed limp.  I haven't been giving him the mirror lately, because he was so spazzy over the thermometer I thought that was enough exercise.  But his bottom fin was twisted, not injured I don't think, just like when you curl your hair around your finger, that shape. <<Three areas of concern from what you've described here, Amelia. Diet, with perhaps not enough "meat". Include some live insects, if possible. Your water conditioner/dechlorinator and, of course, temperature swings. Frankly, I'd concentrate on the latter two. Get a conditioner like NovAqua+ (Kordon's) that handles both Chlorine and Chloramine and, do whatever is possible to keep Tybalt's tank at 80-84 degrees all the time. Stability is really the key here with no big swings in any of the parameters.>> Please help me get my lovely active Betta back, Amelia PS. Sorry it was so long, I worry easily and I really want someone to be able to tell me what I should fix. <<No apologies necessary, Amelia. By the way, Bettas appreciate some "aquarium salt" in their water. One third of a tablespoon for his tank, at the most. Should help, though. My best to you. Tom>>

Moving day... Betta sys. and dis.   7/26/06 Hi Bob, everyone, I'll soon be heading to college and that means moving my little 2.5 g tank + Betta along with me. College is about 40 min.s away from home. Obviously this isn't as serious an endeavor as some of the moves I've read about on WWM, but I want to do right by my fish. Plan is as follows. I feel a bit silly posting this among people faced with moving large glass marine systems... but... I'd like to know if I'm doing this wrong/could do it better. <Hotay!> Night before    1. Half-fill a quart-sized Ziploc with tank water, add Terrence,       leave open.    2. Siphon and bottle 1 gal of tank water. (I'm expecting the water on       campus to be different from home... different cities.. different       counties, actually) <Likely so>    3. Pull filter cartridge, sponge, carbon and place in another tank       water Ziploc with a few flakes of fish food. <No food necessary or desired> Seal. (Is leaving air       inside this important?) <Yes>    4. Discard gravel. (It's colored and it seems like some of the color       is coming off... I don't want it in my water. I have some       non-dyed, natural stuff that I plan on using instead when I move.) <Do rinse this now... move moist...>    5. Remove all remaining stuff from tank, clean all in bleach       solution. (How much bleach to water...?) <A teaspoon or so should do it... wear gloves, rinse well...>    6. Pack all but Terrence into a box. Moving day    7. Seal Terrence's bag with lots of air inside and hold in lap.    8. Unpack everything in new room.    9. Add new gravel and cleaned appliances. Add tank water.   10. Condition balance of water and add to tank.   11. Replace filtration and turn everything on.   12. When tank has reached 80 degrees (same as home), remove hood and       float Terrence's bag for a few hours.   13. Replace Terrence and hood, leave lights off. An update for "Mr. White Dot" Bob... Terrence developed a nasty case of fin rot (he's had fin rot before, but never such a fast-acting case) and his white dots/patches started looking a bit fuzzy. After a good water change I picked up some Jungle "Fungus Clear" (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate... <A good choice here> the furans treat bacterial conditions if I have my reading straight, but I'm not sure what the potassium dichromate is for... <To "burn" most any/everything on the outside...> and I'm not sure if it was one of the "active ingredients" but the tablets dye the water green/blue.) As per the box directions, after four days I did a 25% water change and re-dosed. His fins stopped receding/began regrowing, which was the purpose of getting the stuff, and the white patches receded during the beginning of the treatment but then mostly came back in exactly the same places, but they looked flatter, more defined than they did before. A week went by, still have white patches but only about 80-90% of previous coverage... am now two days into a second treatment in hopes I can knock out a few patches. Not sure if I have any real questions, but feel free to suggest/comment/admonish as you see fit. I'm feeling shaky about treating with Praziquantel since he doesn't match any of the flukes/worms/lice descriptions. <I would not use this then/here> Thanks for all your help... I'm always reading and learning. Two things I do daily: read the comics and read the FAQs. Rachel <Heee! Wish I had time (and interest) in the comics... the "news" is tragi-comical enough... BobF>
Re: Moving day... Betta sys. and dis.   8/17/06
Hi Bob! <Rachel> Terrence was just introduced to his new home and is displaying a good amount of curiosity as he takes in the new tank setup. Thankfully the water is not too much different... maybe 40 ppm more alkaline. For now all is well! Thanks! Rachel <Thanks for this update. BobF>

Betta system   7/25/06 Dear WWM Crew, I was given a 2-gallon tank with a submerged filter (a Hagen Elite mini, sponge filter). (I do realize it is on the small side for Betta raising...) The filter, even on its lowest setting, creates a current that seems too strong. I read your FAQ response about finding a way to divert the flow--do you have any suggestions for safe ways of doing so? <<Perhaps place a rock for the filter output to 'break' onto.>> Two other questions-- I read through the article on getting an aquarium to complete a cycle--I just wanted to confirm a couple of things. If using water <<Very little nitrifying bacteria if found in the water column>> and "matter" from an old aquarium, do I simply add it to my existing tank and continue testing the nitrate, nitrite, ammonia levels until they return to zero... then introduce the fish? (I'm an absolute tyro, if it hasn't already become apparent.) <<No, because if the bacteria have no ammonia to eat, they will die.  A fishless cycle can be done by adding seeded filter material, and adding ammonia of decaying fish food to feed the bacteria, until ammonia and nitrite are at 0, and you are reading nitrate.>> Thank you for all your assistance and all the FAQs. I will keep browsing  them. <<Please do.  Lisa.>> ~Allison

Tired Betta? Bowls... they've got names, but no decent environment  7/19/06 Hi! I read thru your section where you answer questions and was thrilled at the info you provide, thanks so much! My questions are these: About three months ago we bought two male Bettas. My three year old named them Max and Ruby after his favorite cartoon. Max is blue tinted, very active and it sounds like very lucky that I cracked his TINY plastic bowl while cleaning it. He has been transferred to a one gallon bowl and seems to be in heaven. <Closer to it> My concern is for Ruby (I agreed to the feminine name because he's a mostly burgundy color...)When we got him he was the healthiest looking of the bunch (got Max a few days later--store got a new shipment) although when I put him in his (again, TINY) bowl I was able to see that the ends of his fins were pretty rough looking and he seemed lethargic (can a fish be lethargic?). <Oh yes> After getting Max I could see that Ruby wasn't nearly as active as his neighbor, but I think he just needed healthy conditions and some peace and quiet because he perked up considerably for a while. In the last two weeks or so he has become MUCH less active unless I place his and Max's bowls next to each other. Now he mostly hangs out at the top of his bowl in one particular spot and rarely moves. What can I do to help him, besides a much bigger bowl, which he is getting this week? <Really? Get them a filtered system, with heater...> I also noticed what I would call bubble foam where he usually hangs out, floating on the top of the water. I realized from reading the posts that I have been WAY overfeeding, and I am also going to get bloodworm food (for a little variety) when I pick up Ruby's new bowl. My water temp. is pretty steady, between 75 and 78 degrees, <Even at nighttime? I doubt this... and what will happen when the weather cools?> the water (chlorine, ammonia, etc.) is within specs., too. I let Max and Ruby "view" each other for about 10 minutes every couple of days, and clean (because of the old small bowls) their bowls completely 2x a week. <A bad idea> Is there anything else I can do to help Ruby perk up? Would adding a real or fake plant help at all? Am I doing everything I can to keep them healthy? Thank you so very much for any suggestions! Cherish <Time to send you back... to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: tired Betta?    7/20/06
Thanks for your suggestions and the link. They helped lots and Ruby is perking up already. My husband swears Ruby has been more active in just one day than he has been in the last two weeks! <Yaaaaay!!! BobF>

Betta, Curling Fins, Disease? No - 07/04/2006 Greetings WWM Crew! <Hello, again!> The more time I spend on your site, the more I'm impressed. <And probably less impressed with this response time....  please accept my apology....  I fear that your email came to us in a format that few (read: me) in the Crew can respond to, and I've been a bit tardy these last few days....> Thank you for this incredible service to the fish fanatic community! :-) <Thank you very, very much for these kind words....  this means a great deal to me, and all on the Crew.  Thank you.> My 5-year-old daughter chose a male Betta for her birthday last October. His name is Marigold. He is housed in a Betta bowl (which I now understand is not best and will consider moving him) <Please do, thank you.  If you'd like a recommendation, I like using Marineland's Eclipse 3 systems for Bettas.  If the filter is too strong for them (never had that problem with mine), you can put a filter sponge over the intake.> for which she does partial water changes every 7-10 days (although it never appears that it needs it). <Be testing - small bowls like this never truly cycle; should be changed in its entirety every couple of days unless the space is a gallon or more.  If it is in fact less than a gallon, should be upgraded quite soon.> She uses dechlorinated water (tap water set to air out 24 hours in advance) and adds a pinch of aquarium salt. <If your local water treatment includes chloramine, this is inadequate - you will need something to neutralize chloramine.  Most places in the US now add this to our tapwater, sadly.> She faithfully feeds him pellets every day. (Another change we'll make now that I know they prefer a varied diet.) <And rather than feeding on a daily basis, consider feeding every other day or so - it's easier to kill a Betta by overfeeding him than underfeeding him.> I've noticed that recently his fins are curling on the ends. I searched your site reading all of the Betta articles and couldn't find any occurrence of this. <Is very common, and not a problem.  Many Bettas get interesting fin formations, either curling or extensions to the rays of the fins, or other neat things.> It doesn't sound like one of the common Betta diseases you explain in detail on the site. Is it something about which to be concerned?   <Nope.  Sounds good to me.> Thank you for your time. <Glad to be of service.> Sophie's Mom <I do hope Sophie and Marigold have a wonderful time together!  Ask Sophie to say hi to him for me.  -Sabrina>

Tank thoughts, more "white dots" (for Bob), Bettas in Mini-Bows, Disease   6/28/06 Hi Bob, <Call me "Mr. White Dot" from now on, please. Heeee!> Re: the woman considering getting a Betta for her nephew... I have my Betta in the 2.5g Mini-Bow kit she mentioned.  Based on the very little fishkeeping experience I have, I'd recommend it.  I've had a few, easily remedied problems with this tank, as follows, but the tank is so much easier than a bowl, and it comes with so much stuff, that I'd never trade it back. <Ahh, thank you for this> As could be expected, the incandescent bulb heats the water while it's on.  I replaced mine with a small fluorescent "bulb" meant for an Eclipse 3 tank, and the temperature never fluctuates more than one degree.  Plus, it uses less electricity and it looks a lot better.  We're all happy. <Good, and good suggestion> After a few instances of sudden shredding of Terrence's fins, I suspect that he gets them caught in the filter impeller because he likes to hide in the "cave" underneath the filter.  I've covered the intake with a piece of filter sponge.  (And I gave him something else to hide under, a little plastic bridge.  He loves it--swims through it, lays on it, sleeps under it...) <Quite a character> The tank has a full hood, which does keep the humidity up, but it sort of unnerved me to seal him in like that.  I leave the little feeding door open so there's some air circulation, though that's maybe more to comfort myself than out of necessity.  (And although it's not an issue for Bettas, it's a tall tank, so surface area is on the small side.) <Better than having the fish exit stage up> If you have to take the filter out or move it, unstick the suction cups by wedging something between them and the tank wall.  Don't ever, ever just pull.  The suction cup will come out of the filter and you have to do some serious mutilation of the cup's attachment to get it back in.  And if you don't put it back in, the water that comes into the filter will just go out the hole where the cup was. <Yikes, another statement to be heeded> And there are two noise issues.  Occasionally the suction cup on the back of the filter gets too squished, and the filter makes the whole tank vibrate... I just unstick the suction cup and let the filter settle back down without pressing.  And, the cover over the light may need to be screwed in more tightly so it doesn't vibrate. Whew!  That's a lot of words for such a small tank.  Sorry.  Just thought I'd share.  It took me quite a bit of frustration (and the application of a pocket knife) to fix that suction cup. <Understood> While I'm here-- the dots on Terrence have started to spread, very slowly, and the ones that disappeared when I added salt have either come back, or they never really disappeared at all (sometimes they're hard to see).  So at the moment, I still have Doc Wellfish's aquarium salt at 1 tbs/5 gallons (which should help if it's ich or fungus, right?), I've raised the temperature from 80 to 86 over the last three days (for ich), and I've been keeping the light off (on the off chance that it's velvet.  The salt/temp. killed my Elodea so I don't have anything to lose but some nuisance algae).  ANN is 0-0-10. I read on one of the Betta disease links that during treatment, salt concentration can be increased to 1 tsp/gallon, which would allow me to add another teaspoon to the tank.  Is this possible/beneficial at this point? <Not likely. I do think it's time to move on to Vermifuges, fluke treatments... Harsh, but should show either a cure or on to the next...> I don't want to stress the little guy out too much, especially since he doesn't seem listless and still has a great appetite.  And I really don't want to add medication when I don't know what this stuff is (I'll try to get a picture, but my brother has the digital camera right now.  At least, he's gone and I can't find it, so he either took it or hid it).  But I'm worried now since the spots have started to spread, albeit slowly. What, if anything, would you recommend at this point? <Prazi/quantel...> Oh, and just to let you know since you were concerned about it last time--I didn't get an email response to my last question.  Again, not a problem for me since I read the FAQs daily! :)  I copy/pasted it along with the other responses below. Thanks, and sorry for the long-windedness. From a very rainy NC, Rachel <Wish it would (finally) rain here (San Diego), we could/can use the water. Bob Fenner> Hi Bob, Recently the white mottled patches on Betta Terrence started looking more like white dots... remarkably like ich, in fact.  Although I obviously wasn't sure it was ich, I decided to cover my bases by adding salt as a mild treatment: a half tablespoon (i.e. 1 tablespoon per five gallons) of Doc Wellfish's.  (Terrence had had the same amount of salt in his tank a few months ago with no ill effects, though I had already gradually taken it out with water changes.) <Good> It's been five days since I added the salt, and today I noticed that a good number of the dots on his head have faded or disappeared. <Even better> The tank temp is, as always, between 79 and 81 degrees.  Water parameters are the same: ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10 to 15. Is/was it ich, in your opinion? <Mmm, possibly> I'm horrified he could've had ich for that long (since mid-April).  I could have introduced ich with plants from my LFS-- not sure of the date I brought them home, probably early April, but it was before I found WWM and was enlightened about QT. On an unrelated note: I know my teensy system of 2.5g isn't enough to support anything else, beyond maybe a shrimp, but since Terrence is getting old I was wondering what else could be kept in it after he goes to the Big Puddle in the Sky.  My DO is 5.5, which I've read is a bit low, <Tis okay though, particularly for Bettas... Anabantoids are facultative to obligate aerial respirators... can/have to breath surface air...> so I was thinking of getting another Anabantoid, and I read your suggestion to another small-system owner that some species of Gourami would work.  Would a dwarf Gourami be small enough?    <Should be, yes> ('Till then I'm hoping to keep my lone and happy Betta!) Thanks for all you do-- you have no idea how many of my questions have already been answered by the wealth of info on WWM! Rachel (Terrence's mom) <Thank you for sharing, writing so well. Bob Fenner>

Betta Fish sys. and beh.   6/24/06 <<Hi. Tom here.>> How do we find out if Betta fish can jump out of their  bowls? <<I'm not quite certain that I know what you're asking. If you want to know if it's possible, the answer is "yes". Actually, they're well-adapted for this as a matter of survival in their native habitats. If you want to know if yours will try to jump out of its bowl, probably not. As long as water conditions are good and your pet's bowl isn't kept near another bowl housing a female that he'd like for a "girlfriend" or, a male that he wants to "tangle" with, he'll be happy to stay put. Put a cover on his bowl for a week or so to give him a point of reference, i.e. the surface. This should make it quite unlikely that he'll go "adventuring" by mistake. Tom>>

Re: Jumping Bettas  6/25/06 - Tom, Thanks.  We had a Betta jump out of his bowl twice.  We've lowered  the water and will keep him a little more separated from his companion Betta whom  we sometimes put right next to him. <<Amazing critters, aren't they?>> With appreciation, Joe <<Glad to help, Joe. Tom>>

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

Betta male or female, lying on bottom but still eating plenty    6/14/06 Hello, The label on the container said "male beta".   I want to know if what I really got was a female.  I haven't seen it flaring at all and its fins are thin and sparse.  How do I tell which sex it is? <With growth, time going by it will be obvious. Male Bettas are considerably larger, with more flowing finnage, more "outgoing" behavior than females> And now,  it seems to be lightening up to almost "color-void" all over (except the fins).  I've had it for about a month and its appetite is really good.  As a matter of fact, it always seems thrilled with feeding time.  The problem is, for the last week it has been staying on the bottom of the bowl, only moving around when I move the bowl.  It rockets around the bowl like I scared it half to death then it darts right back down to the bottom again.  Sometimes it even looks like it is trying to hide under the gravel.   <Don't live in bowls very long or well in general...> Where we live, our tap water is VERY chlorinated.  (I've even had a hairdresser ask me if I just got out of a swimming pool when I went to get my freshly home shampooed hair trimmed.) <Good point>   I've been using spring water out of a jug to replace the bowl water.  Is that acceptable? <Possibly. "Spring" water is not a given quality> I've been to afraid to use our tap water even if I leave it out, because of the amount of chlorine in it.  What's wrong with my fish?   <Better to leave this source water out for a week or more before using...> Her name is Angel.  (If it's a boy I guess its name is Angelo) Thanks so much, Stacey <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New Betta Owner 6/12/06 Hello, <Hi> I've just recently purchased my first set of Bettas.  They are both females.  I have them in a 2 1/2 gal fish bowl, with a live plant, gravel, etc.   However, even though I was told two females can be housed together, I felt a need to separate them. The one female was always 'nudging' the other. <Best to keep these separated like the males, they can be just as nasty to each other.> They were both pretty active when I first put them in their nice, roomy bowl, but then the one that was being 'nudged', seemed to slow down. <Too much stress from being picked on.> I'm not sure, but I think her lower fins may have been bit off a bit. <Not surprising.>  I didn't pay much attention when I first got her, and what they looked like, but looking at the other one, it doesn't look the same at all.  It looks a bit 'nibbled' if you know what I mean.  My question is this, could the one beta be stressed, and that is why she slowed down? <Yep>  Will her fins grow back out, if it was indeed bit on? <With proper care/environment.> Do you think if I had left her in the same bowl, she would have adjusted to the nudging, or would she become more stressed, and die? <Would have become an ex-fish.>  Should I keep them separated now? <Absolutely.> Also, if the water should be kept in the 70s, how do I warm it to the 70s if I have no heater in the bowl? <Need to get a heater.>  I'm not sure what temp the water is (I *assume* it's room temperature), but I will purchase a thermometer next time I'm at the pet store. <Please make this a priority.>  In the meantime, how does one keep the water in the 70s if they are in a simple fish bowl?  <Need to get a heater and thermometer ASAP.> Oh, and everything I've read thus far has a different opinion on how many times to feed.  I was feeding mine twice a day, but they didn't eat the food immediately. <Twice a day is fine, just cut back on the amount.>  I also think mine are quite young still, so maybe twice a day at this point would be too often? <Twice a day is fine, just feed less, they need very little food per feeding.> What is your expert opinion on this? Oh, and in your article, you mention about  'Betta Bowls", wall-mounted "Betta containers", Betta Vase Set ups" and that they are cruel. Why is that? <Unstable, inadequate filtration.  Also people are uniformed on the requirements for the fish.>  I didn't purchase any of those (just a regular  2 1/2 gal  fish bowl), but am curious as to why they are cruel.   What IS best for them? <We keep ours in 3 gallon filtered aquariums.> I don't want an aquarium, even though they are beautiful, they are high maintenance, and I don't want that. <You already have an aquarium, but its shaped like a bowl.  Heating, filtering, regular maintenance are required to keep any fish.>  I have 15 other animals that I need to care for, so I need to keep it as low maintenance as possible, but still want to do the right thing for them.  <They can be fairly low maintenance, less that an hour a week easily, but some basic work is required.  While your bowl, once a heater is added, it not the worst place for a Betta, they really do need some basic filtration.  This can be accomplished by adding a small sponge filter to the bowl, or purchasing a small aquarium with a light and filter built in.  For about $50 total your fish will be quite happy.> My next purchase will be 2 males (kept separately, of course), and placed side by side with the females.   I'm really enjoying my new 'pets', but want to do the right things.  Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for you advice! Lynn <Unfortunately Bettas are often sold as maintenance free fish, however this is far from the truth.  They require the same as any other fish to be really healthy, it just that they can survive (not thrive) in conditions that will kill most other fish.> <Hope this helps.> <Chris>

Feeling helpless about my Betta  - 06/11/06 Hi there, <Hi Katherine, this is Jorie.> I am at my wits end about my Betta, Napoleon. I spend a lot of time browsing WWM in my free time and I've tried very hard to make Napoleon's environment as close to ideal as possible. And yet he keeps getting fin rot. He had it about a month ago, but then I started medicating him with Furan-2 at the suggestion of a WWM crew member. It seemed completely cleared up by a week or so ago, so I stopped medicating him and it started to look like his fins were growing back with very thin pieces in between the old splits. However, yesterday I noticed that these thin growth was shredding and splitting like his fins did earlier. He clearly has fin rot again, but I was wondering why he keeps getting it. I noted on WWM that it said that these illnesses rarely just "pop up" without environmental factors, but I can't figure out what these factors are in my case. I keep Napoleon in a cycled, Eclipse System 3 tank with Ammonia and Nitrite at 0, Nitrate below 20, and PH of 7.4. It is heated to just above 80 degrees. He has a few fake silk plants in his tank, in which I change 1/2 of the water about once a month now that it is cycled. I feed him 6 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets daily and the occasional pea, he won't eat frozen bloodworms despite my best efforts to convince him. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to take excellent care of my Betta, and he's sick anyway. Is there anything I can change to make him healthier? <Katherine, I keep two Bettas in identical setups (i.e., 3 gal. Eclipse tanks) and the only difference between our two systems is that I do 50% water changes 1x per week, instead of your 1x per month.  I'd suggest upping the amount of H20 changes you do and see if that improves the situation.  I'll be willing to bet your nitrate level will drop further and the situation will resolve itself.  Also, when was the last time you changed the carbon filter in that tank? I change mine about once every 4-6 weeks.  Everything else you describe sounds good...I think more water changes is your best bet here.  Good luck!> Thank you, Katherine <You're welcome. Jorie>

Sick Betta fish... not reading   6/9/06 I need some guidance with treatment for my daughters Betta.  We have had Betta's for over 6 mo's and have had several situations.  We have had this fish for 2 wks. now.  Almost as soon as we put him in the tank he was lethargic and would not eat. <Not good signs>   This was a newly started tank (new rocks and the tank was cleaned with boiling water after the old fish got sick from an algae eater we introduced, both died). <... the system was cycled?> We used distilled water <Not a good idea> with 1/8tsp salt to the 1 gallon tank. <Too small...>   After day 2 his top fin and upper part of his tail fin turned black and disintegrated and fell off.  I added Fungus Clear by tank buddies <...> and he looked like he was on the mend.  He started to eat which he hadn't done since we had gotten him.  Now where the fins fell off there are white cottony looking growths.  Now what do I try?  Any help would be appreciated.  I'm not getting good advice at the pet store.  Also, will the fins grow back? <If not lost too far back> Thanks! Kris <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo and Bettas - 05/31/2006 I was wondering what your views on bamboo compatibility with Bettas might be.   <What, live bamboo?  It can't live fully underwater; it will die.  It must have at least all of its leaves and much of its stem above water and won't live long otherwise.> <<RMF has used dried bamboos as UW ornamentation>> I've been reading your stuff and have decided that I really value your guy's opinions. <I'm glad you find the site useful, thanks!> -Maddy- <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Betta Home 5/31/06 Hi <Hi> I just bought a Betta fish and I wanted to make sure I am doing everything right.  I have him in a 3/4 gallon fish bowl but I was reading about how you seem to be against fish bowls. <Yes, too unstable.> I know that I'm supposed to have a water heater but I live in Cabot Arkansas and it is normally pretty warm. <Temperature fluctuations need to be avoided too.> Do you still recommend that I get a heater? <Yes, and a filter of some sort.> -Maddy- <Chris>

Something alien in my Betta bowl    5/27/06 <<Hello, Kim. Tom here.>> Today my male beta was jumping out of the bowl for about an hour, and after he had calmed down I noticed a small round thing in the bottom of his bowl.  It is a little smaller than a peppercorn and slightly reddish in color. Do you know what it is?  Please let me know. <<A little unusual, Kim, but I'd say your Betta was slightly "compacted". In other words, whatever he ate turned into a blockage, of sorts, until he was able to eliminate it, which I can only guess wasn't very comfortable. The coloration may simply be due to the food (?) that led to the build-up. Some fish will forage at the bottom of the tank and inadvertently swallow a small piece of gravel. Just a "for instance" here but these things do happen.>> Thanks, Kim <<Any time. Tom>>

New Betta Home 5/25/06 I am looking for a 5 gallon aquarium that I can add an underground  filter, a small heater, hood, and light.  I can not find anything around  here.  Can you recommend someone I can contact?  And, would the above be appropriate for him? Thank You, Jean B. <The system sounds fine for a Betta, although I'm not a fan of undergravel filters.  If you can find a tank with a powerfilter I think it would be better.  If the local pet shop/national retailer does not carry these in house they should be available through many online retailers such as Dr. Fosters Smith or Petsmart's'/Petco's web sites.> <Chris>

Bettas And Plants - 05/19/2006 What kind of plants should I consider to put in with my Betta male??   Sandi <Lots of options, really....  Depending upon how big the tank is and how much light is available, you might look into Anubias, Java Fern, and/or Java Moss for great hardy low-light options.  -Sabrina>

Two male Bettas, Betta sys. - 5/19/2006 Hello you wonderfully informative crew members! <<Hey Kristyl!>> I have a cycling 2.5 gallon filtered tank. The temp stays around 80 degrees and I keep it monitored so I haven't had the need for a heater just yet. <<Just make sure the temperature doesn't drop more than 2degrees at night.>> Anyway, it has a male Betta (Quincy) in it. <<I thought you said it was still cycling?>> He is a happy blue Crowntail, who loves to blow bubbles and swims feverishly every time I near the tank. I also have a freshly healed Betta (Leo) in a small quarantine tank. He was put with a female, per Petco, and took a beating. He has made a wonderful and fast recovery. <<Good work.>> My question is this, there is a divider available for my tank, it is not opaque, but rather clear, and has small slits throughout it, to let water move freely through. Is this mean or harmful to either one? <<Constant aggression can be very stressful.>> If they see each other they both flare like mad, obviously. This is a Tetra brand tank, and it is recommended for Betta fish. <<I think a 2.5 gallon is too small to split for two Bettas.  I would acquire another tank for your other Betta.  At the very least, use an opaque divider.>> Thanks so much for your time and patience with us novice fish keepers! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Kristyl

Betta In An Eclipse 3 - 05/17/2006 Hello, <Good morning.> First-timer here. <Welcome!> I have a single male Betta splendens (Napoleon Dynamite Lajoie) in a Marineland Eclipse System 3. <Nice systems.  Perfect, in my opinion, for a male Betta.> I've read this system provides too much current. <Oh, I completely disagree.  I have kept many Bettas in these tanks.  Currently, I have a very fine Crowntail in such a system at my workplace.  He's been thriving for months.> If so, can I devise something to reduce the water flow.  Also I use bottled spring water with aquarium salt, Aquarisol, and a "complete Betta water conditioner" - the brand name escapes me.   <I would absolutely stop using the Aquarisol; this is a copper medication - toxic.  Should only be used in conjunction with an appropriate copper test kit when treating specifically for an illness (like ich, for instance).  I know the bottle says otherwise, but really, it should not be used constantly like this.> I've had him over a year - at work - and he seems happy and healthy. He'll flare when I stick my mug or finger close to the tank but he won't throw down his "beard". Do some of these guys not do that? <Could be a genetic trait, probably nothing to worry about.> He's a three-dollar Wal-Mart reject, for lack of a better term. But he's cool. I have strictly silk plants - banana plants and tiger lilies and ivy hanging down the back of the tank. Plenty of free water space at the top.  Anyway, I'm mostly concerned about the current in the tank. And whether I'm using the right water/additives.   <As above, don't use the Aquarisol as a regular treatment in the water.  As for the Eclipse 3, he'll be fine in it, no worries.  If he does appear to have trouble swimming and can't handle the current, you can put a bit of filter sponge (like the ones used in AquaClear filters, just cut a slit in it) over the intake to reduce the water flow.> I just want to do the little guy right.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Sounds like he's doing great so far.> Best Wishes,  -Mark Black <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Betta Behaviour, Water Quality - 05/17/2006 Hi! I don't think this has been discussed anywhere else, but if it has, I'm sorry. <No worries.> I'm having a problem with my new male Betta. I got him about two weeks ago from a very reputable shop and put him in a set-up identical to the one my other Betta is in (I've had him for a good six months and he's always been a picture of health). For the first few days, he seemed to be completely fine: He was active, his fins looked great and he blew a very large nest. He swam around calmly, exploring his situation. Very occasionally, his body would give a little twitch (very slight), but I put that down to the stress of moving into a new home. He was also not eating as much as my other guy, but given that my blue boy eats more than my roommate's male too (also in the same set-up, also very healthy), I didn't consider that an issue.  The about three days ago, my roommate got himself a female. To cut a long story short, she was accidentally placed where my new guy could see her, and he was flaring at her for a good five minutes before we noticed and moved her. This was in the evening before he had been fed. When I did feed him about an hour later (freeze dried blood worms), he seemed kind of lethargic and just nipped at a worm before spitting it out again and ignoring it. When he still hadn't eaten five minutes later, I fished the food out and left him for the night.  The next morning, he was like a different fish. Most of the time he spends resting on or near the bottom, but every so often he will dart around the tank like a maniac, body twitching violently with every move. Sometimes it has got so bad that he will flip himself out of the water completely. <Good description.  Thanks for being so clear.> He has lost interest in his food completely, but will occasionally make loud chewing sounds with his jaw. His fins have become lifeless and droopy, but he is still blowing nests.  On the first day, I thought something might have somehow gotten into the water (God knows how), so I did a 100% change, rinsing out thoroughly with bottled water. It doesn't seem to have made any difference. I'm extremely worried about him, but I'm a very inexperienced fish-owner and I'm terribly worried about putting anything in without expert advice. Please help? <What you are seeing is more than likely a reaction to a toxin in the water.  This may be ammonia or nitrite from the nitrogen cycle, chlorine from the tapwater, or some other toxin that somehow got introduced to the system.  Of course, it is possible that the animal brought home an illness, but the first most likely problem is just simple water quality.  Please test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; if ammonia or nitrite is above ZERO or nitrate above 20ppm, you'll need to do water changes to correct these.  Please be sure to use a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer when you change water.  Also make sure that the temperature and pH of the new water are matched to the temp and pH of the water in the tank.  Take a look at WetWebMedia, articles on cycling, maintenance, and water quality, to learn more:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm .> Thanks,  -Annika <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Better Betta  5/11/06 Hi Bob, No questions, nothing pressing, just thought I'd let you know about the (good!) changes in the tank. I changed out my 15-watt incandescent bulb for a 10-watt fluorescent.  Not only does it look great (Betta Terrence looks neon blue now!), <I'll bet!> the Elodea is looking greener (maybe it's just the better light making it look that way but I'd like to think it's healthier), and best of all the temperature never varies more than a degree up or down from 79, whether the light is on or off.  I don't have a heater, so I'm surprised at how warm it stays, but I've gotten the same temperature from two different thermometers.  The room IS rather warm now that I think about it.  (I talked two friends who have the same tank kit into getting the same fluorescent "bulb" and they're just as pleased so far.) I gave the gravel a good vacuuming.  I didn't make a clean sweep of the whole thing but I was surprised at how much junk I got out.  I also changed the filter carbon.  And ta-da, nitrates are now below 20.  (Ammonia and nitrites still 0.)  I think a snail harvest is in the near future... I'm trying to bring the nitrates down as far as I can. I scraped a good deal of algae off the tank walls and it doesn't seem to be growing back as fast.  And I found a Ramshorn snacking on what was left. Thanks for all your help!! Rachel (Terrence's mom) <Yay! Thanks for the update. BobF, out in HI>

Betta sys. 5/8/2006 Hello kind volunteer fish expert! <<HA! Hi Tara.>> I'm thinking about getting a Betta splendens at some point, I've read up and I'm pretty sure about the set up I want. Though I will ask first and buy later, <<Lovely.>> I was thinking of setting up a 2 gallon biotope bowl. I've done my research and found an under gravel filter for bowls, and a Hydor heater (thank you by the way found out about them on WWM). <<The mini, I'm assuming? A great addition to small spaces.>> I am really only able to get a bowl though it will be kited out for a tropical fish, my question is more about whether it would be kind to the fish to put it in a bowl of this size. <<Is there no way you could get a little 5-gallon tank?>> I think Bettas are stunning fish but I would rather not get than have it in a bowl that's too small, I know that they live in mud puddles in the wild but I'm still not sure? I'm pretty certain that I will be unable to have any other fish in this bowl, but I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that apple snails are from Southeast Asia could I add one off these as there interesting to watch and good for the tanks (eating uneaten food)? <<These snails are poop machines though.  How about a dwarf frog?>> I'm in the process of setting up a Tanganyikan Shell Dweller biotope Tank, it was planted until Chuck (can't thank him enough) pointed out 'water is too deep/murky/dark for plant growth' so out went the plants. Which is why I wanted to create a very small (all I'm allowed and I'd be pushing it) planted biotope. <<In a bowl?>> Thank you for your time, this question is not in need to be rushed as I haven't got the fish yet, so if there are more important FAQ's (such as ill fish) please don't hesitate to put mine at the back. Thank you, Tara (UK) <<Glad to help. Lisa, Canada.>>

Betta questions    4/20/06 Hi crew, I have some Betta questions.  Okay, a lot of Betta questions. About six months ago I rescued my Betta, Terrence, from an environmental science project.  The project was to set up miniature ecosystems inside two-liter bottles.  Many of the teams (not ours!! we thought it would be cruel) decided to put Bettas in their "aquatic chambers."  At the end of the project, I volunteered to take home any unwanted fish.  Terrence was living in a two-liter bottle of algae, more or less.  Literally, the water was an opaque black-green. So obviously he had a rough start.  He recovered in a bowl for a while.  His fins grew back fully in blue and red, and though his body is still brown, it now has a hint of blue iridescence.  He lives in a 2.5 gal tank with a Whisper filter (on the lowest setting) and an incandescent light bulb in the hood.  It all came together as a kit; after reading through the many WWM FAQs I've realized that this is not the best setup, but he doesn't seem to mind the very gentle flow.  The water temperature is consistently 81 during the day and gradually drops to 78 at night (too big a change for him?) <Three degrees is not likely a problem... 4-5 would be...>   He has three small soft plastic plants and a small bunch of live Anacharis, plus a little bridge I just got for him to lay on and hide under.  (He loves it.)  He always has a bubble nest going, is fairly active, and seems very happy. A few weeks ago I noticed a white smudge on top of his head and another on his side.  It has not gotten bigger or spread anywhere else and it doesn't look like ich.  It's not raised or fuzzy.  It just looks like some of his scales have begun to turn gray. <Might be just this... a color change... happens with age quite often> (I don't have a picture right now but I can get one if that'd help.)  He's still blowing bubble nests, has a great appetite (he swims right up as soon as I open the food bottle-- Seachem Betta Bites.  I've tried freeze-dried bloodworms on him but he just stares at them).  I added aquarium salt after the white appeared and have always done 25-35% weekly water changes, 0 ammonia, 0.1 ppm nitrite, 30 nitrate. <Mmm, try to keep the nitrate below 20 ppm... More water changes, less feeding...>   I use conditioned tapwater for the water changes, and the alkalinity is 0 and the pH is 6.6.  I'm planning to find something to raise the alkalinity (any suggestions?). <I would not raise it>   Is the pH a problem? <No... more trouble likely in fooling with it here>   And if so, how would you recommend raising it? Thanks in advance--and you have a wonderful site, by the way.  I've been running my mouth about it to everyone I know who has an aquarium. Oh, while I'm writing-- my brother also has a Betta, Edmund, a very feisty and active little guy.  Lately the ends of his fins have started curling. <Also quite natural> They're not torn and don't look damaged, but they're curly and almost textured-looking.  Any thoughts on what's causing it?  He doesn't seem affected by it. Thanks a bunch! ~Terrence's mom <I would not be concerned here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Heater for a Betta.. yes please. - 4/17/2006 Hi, I recently got a male Betta, which I keep in a 1/2 gallon bowl. <<Bettas do not belong in bowls.  Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm.>> I'm pretty sure the temperature is not high enough, how can I raise it? <<With a tank and heater.>> Is it okay to shine a light on the lid of the bowl? <<I'm sure your Betta would like some light sometimes, as well as a heated, filtered, cycled aquarium.>> Also, is it okay to get a snail to put in as well to keep the tank cleaner? <<Not in that bowl.  Look into an Eclipse 3 or 5-gallon tank with a filter in the hood.  The low-flow of that filter is great for betas, and it is inexpensive.>> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa>>

Betta Care - 4/12/2006 Hello, I have spent some time searching your site and learned a lot about what I have basically been doing wrong and what I was told that was incorrect. However, my fish is not doing well and I'm still a little unsure what the next best step to take would be. I don't want to cause him more suffering. We got our Betta in October (and were told that they preferred small spaces) and had him in a small bowl maybe six inches in diameter. He was in our living room on the mantle as we needed a place where our cat couldn't get to him (previously had in on a table where I saw the cat going over and trying to swipe at him). The water would get dirty very quickly, so we moved him to the hallway where there would be no sunlight (no direct sunlight before, but still a room with a lot of sunlight in general). He seemed better. But then the water started getting filthy very quickly again (unfiltered, unheated). I saw him looking not so good tonight, so changed his water immediately (spring water at room temperature) by placing him in an entirely different and slightly larger container with all-new water. Now I am afraid that I have killed him (not yet, but he is not well); he swims quickly to the top for a second, then slowly drifts down, lists off to the side, his gills look like he is breathing hard, he did not eat the food I put in for him. I realize I've made many errors in his care, but I would really like to try to care for him properly now (if it's not too late); but I am wary of changing the water yet again (hours after the last change), wondering if this will cause even more stress. I guess I'm wondering if it would be advisable to change the water again (total water quantity right now is about 1/2 gallon--I see from your site that should probably be higher, another false impression I was given initially) and get some aquarium salt or make any other changes? Thanks-- Beth <<In your reading you should have gathered all the info you need, as all is posted many times on WWM.  Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm.  Good luck.  Lisa.>>

Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - 04/11/2006 I have had my Betta for about 3 months.  He started off very healthy but lately he has started to get lethargic and hang at the top.   <Not a good sign....> It gets worse. He won't really eat or move.   <Could be pure boredom, could be environmental disease....> Bubbles come out from under where his "coif" is (the thing that makes them look like that spitting dinosaur in Jurassic Park), <Excellent description!!  This is a part of his gill plate.... a part of the cover of his gills.> and he is constantly moving it like he can't breathe.   <Hmm....  Moving it rapidly, or just slowly and rhythmically?  It is normal for this to move as they breathe; this may not be of concern.> It is gray under his chin and neck.   <This is quite typical, probably not an issue.  You might want to take a look at other Bettas in stores just to compare; many Bettas have a silvery, whitish, or grayish patch in this area.> He is constantly at the top - he sticks his mouth out like he's getting air.   <Sticking his mouth out is okay, too; Bettas are able to take the same air that we breathe.> I didn't notice anything specific with his gills but I'll check tomorrow if he's still with us.  Also, once in a while, it's like he spazzes out: he goes real crazy and swims all over like he's epileptic, <Now, this is very telling.  I would urgently check his water quality.  Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm....  if it is not, do an immediate water change (perhaps 50% or so) with water of the same pH and temperature to bring the water back or closer to normal.  Another thing to check is to be sure that the air above his water isn't "trapped" like in a closed, covered tank; his lid must not be air-tight but have some small space at least for air exchange.  It is also important to keep their tank at a constant 78-82 degrees F....  a cold Betta will become lethargic as you describe.  A Betta that's bored with his surroundings but otherwise in good health will also become lethargic.  In either of these cases, he may refuse food as in your case.  Same all goes for poor water quality.  I would, as a safety precaution, do a good sized water change, make sure you've provided him with a home of at least a gallon in size, preferably heated, not airtight, and change his decor dramatically.  This will hopefully perk him up!> and then goes back to the top and floats and gets air and releases bubbles from his gills. <Ah, the releasing of bubbles is fine.  That's what he does with the "leftover" air he's not using.> Please help! <Well, I hope this has!  Wishing you and your Betta buddy well,  -Sabrina>
Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - II - 04/14/2006
Thanks for getting back to me. <You bet!> The "coif" - he moves it slowly while he's at the top, but it remains partly open all the time now - he never used to do this.  He also never used to blow bubbles from under it - now they come out of there all the time. <Disconcerting.  I very, very strongly recommend that you do a significant water change, immediately, and start testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> The spazzing out - he has always done this once in a while, no matter what the water looked like - even if it was just changed. <Once in a while is to be somewhat expected, if he gets startled or something, but it's still indicative of a water quality issue in this case, I fear.> The gray under his chin has not always been there.  It may have been a slightly different color but this now looks unhealthy. <Possibly his "stressed" coloration....  again, water quality may be a/the issue.> When I said he is constantly at the top getting air, I mean he's got his mouth out of the water almost all the time, moving that gill plate - it gives the impression it's hard for him to breathe but I'll take your advice and hope it helps!   <This also is disconcerting, and also indicative of dramatically poor water quality.  Please try to ensure that he has a tank of at LEAST one gallon, a constant temperature of 78-82 degrees F, water tested for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and treated with a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer....  Please also read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> One more thing: this fish is at a desk at work (in a cube) - is it important that they get natural light?  (in which case I'd have to take mine "on vacation" to someone else's cube!) <Nah, he'll be fine with just a tank light or ambient light.  I trust he isn't lit 24x7?  My office Betta Ziggy and I wish yours all the best!  -Sabrina>
Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - III - 04/17/2006
Thanks for the advice.  By the way, his name is Hyman (as in Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy). <Ziggy's actually Ziggy Starfish, after Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie with crazy hair.> When I noticed weird behavior, I did a full water change (which I understand isn't that great either as far as good bacteria buildup), <Correct.> but nothing changed.   <Have you tested ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate yet?  I can't tell you how urgent that is.  Life-and-death urgent.> I always use AquaSafe and aquarium salt.  He's in a 2.5 gallon tank and the water temperature is about 78 degrees - he's not under the light all the time but I use a small bulb ($3 Christmas candle light thing) to give him some heat during the day, otherwise he'd be down to room temperature. <All good.> I'll check him tomorrow and we'll see if he made it. <Ziggy and I will have our fins and fingers crossed!  Wishing you and Hyman well,  -Sabrina>
Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - IV - 04/19/2006
I did what you suggested and checked the water.  It's fine.   <Fine meaning ammonia and nitrite are zero, nitrate less than 20ppm, I hope?> He's still moving that gill plate up and down and "spitting" bubbles.  I'll do partial water changes more often maybe, without cleaning the rocks so the bacteria builds up?  I always did full water changes for Bettas because of the sort of tank they're in (more like a bowl and no filtration....) but I'll know now.  Thanks for your help! <Glad to be of service....  please do keep your eyes open for any other symptoms he might exhibit and keep that water ideal - hopefully he'll pull through.  All the best to yah,  -Sabrina>

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