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FAQs on Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish Behavior 1

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

Related FAQs: Betta Behavior 2, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta System, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta Feeding, Betta Reproduction, Betta Diseases,

Pic of Add's Bettas, a breeder in Thailand: plathai@hotmail.com

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta bubblenest???? 1/21/10
Hello WWM
I am wondering if my Betta (male) made a bubble nest or maybe they are just bubbles I'm not sure. I attached a couple pictures of it.
<The first photo likely is; the second and third aren't. Did you take these photos right after a water change? This looks like the water has just been changed and the bubbles will go away after some of the air trapped inside of them has a chance to diffuse out of the water..>
Also is my Betta setup an ok one? Its an 5 gallon plastic container with a plant. I change the water 2 times a week is this setup ok for him. It does not have a filter or heater but I have a big heater in my room and keep it around 75* F.
<This is too cold. He needs a heater, both for warmth and to keep the temperature steady. In a small volume such as this, water temperature will fluctuate quickly, which will stress him. Also, since Bettas are air breathers, I would use something other than plastic wrap to cover this vessel. Chances are small that he will "run out" of oxygen, but this air must get pretty stale. In addition, with no filter, there is little chance of biological filtration, i.e., the nitrogen cycle, ever occurring. This means that each time you change his water, the ammonia concentration will climb until you change the water again. He's going to be sitting in his own toxic waste products for a good five days out of the week, at least -- the only time the water will be clean for him are the days you change it!
Please enough of what is archived on WWM about Betta care:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betsysfaqs.htm (and the linked files at the top of the page)
And please read here for information on the nitrogen cycle. Filters have several functions, and one of them is to allow space for bacteria to grow in order to facilitate the processing of toxic waste products into a much less-toxic product. This is how fishkeepers get by with small weekly water changes, and these small water changes make for a more stable environment for the fish, reducing stress.
I think the results of keeping Bettas too cold and in unfiltered bowls will become abundantly clear after a quick perusal of the archived queries on WWM. If you have any further questions after reading, please feel free to write back.

Betta eye colour change 3/17/06 Hi, I've been searching your websites and reading the entries, but I haven't found anything about why my male Betta would have a change in his eye-colour. <Does happen...> I've had him for about 6 months, and he's a mottled red/grey/white Betta who had beautiful sapphire (blue) eyes. They are now, ironically, a strangely dark brown/black. Could it be, like with humans, that as they age, their true eye colour comes out...or is it because there is something wrong? <More of the former... a genetic predisposition> I've tested his water, it's fine... I do regular water changes, and feed only what he can eat in a couple minutes...so I'm unsure of what to do. There's no swelling (Popeye) or other major symptoms...but he is looking more dull than radiant these last couple of days. Could be nothing, could be something. Anyways, thanks for your time, J. <I don't think you have anything to worry about here... nor that can be done to change the color back. Bob Fenner>

Betta Behaviour - "You talkin' to me?" - 3/1/2006 I just purchased a 2.5-gallon aquarium, and the reflection is so perfectly clear on all sides that my Betta is flaring and all that. <<Likely not as reflective to him, from the inside.>> I went through many of your FAQs and some answers said it was okay and some said it wasn't. I am totally going to get wallpaper but I can't wallpaper all sides and I won't be able to get it for another few days. Is there a non-reflective glass tank or are they all like that? <<So long as it is not mirror, it's fine....>> Is it really ok for the guy to be ready for a fight all day or is it healthy? <<The constant stress is not healthy, no.>> Should I wait a few days before I make the change and see if he calms down? <<Add the background when you can. He is more likely flaring at you than a reflection. The walls look much different to him on the inside.>> Will he ever know that its only his reflection? <<If it is a reflection he is seeing, no.>> Do you think if he's smart enough he will start to understand English? <<umm...no (?)>> I just wish I could communicate with him, you know? <<Yes. Lisa.>>

Sluggish Betta - 2/22/2006 Hey, I got myself 2 Bettas, about 3 weeks ago now, and they had been doing great until now. I keep them in a tank with a glass wall in the middle to keep them separate. When I first got them home my blue one (Rayoki) was always very lively, and always trying to take on my other Betta (Chiyo). Chiyo used to be the one to back down and hide in his plants. Chiyo's recently perked up and started being the one try take on Rayoki, which I think is somewhat a good sign seeing as he was always hiding from Rayoki before. <<I cant think that this constant battle of nerves is good for either of them.>> But my problem now is, as of today, Rayoki has been hanging around the bottom of the tank, and his fins have turned a little paler than they used to be. He just sits at the bottom not moving, unless coming up for air. I feed them 3 times a day, and they both zoom up to the top for the food. Rayoki ate fine earlier, but when feeding them for the last time today, he just sort of floated up and looked at the food, and passed by it slowly to take a gulp of air before he went back down again. So he's not eating. I changed their water yesterday, and I used water conditioner and let that sit there for an hour before changing, just to make sure it was all good. <<How much did you change? How was this tank cycled?>> So I'm not sure if the water change has to do with his problem, Chiyo's doing better than ever in the new water. Could it also be stress from Chiyo trying to fight him more often than usual, or from the water change maybe? I might see about getting them separate tanks if Chiyo's stressing him out. <<I think two cycled, heated, filtered aquariums would do well for these fish.>> Hope you can help, I'm a little worried seeing him laying there almost lifeless, especially seeing as he used to be the lively one. <<Likely a stress or water quality issue. If corrected, Im sure all will be fine.>> Kier Western Australia <<Lisa. Toronto, Canada.>>

Another Cold Betta - 2/20/2006 Hi! <<Hey Charles!>> I have a new male Betta that I got from the local Petsmart. I have him in a 4 gallon tank and he seems to be depressed. He just lays there in the right corner on the bottom of the tank. He doesnt swim around and he barely comes up to eat the floating pellet food I have for him. Is it because he has to adjust to his new tank? <<Is this tank cycled? If so, how? Is his tank heated and filtered? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm.>> Anyways, Im changing him to a 2 gallon tank so I can easily change his water. <<Bad idea, a 4-gallon is much better.>> His water temperature is about 70 degrees, should it be higher? and if so how should I make it go higher? <<Yes, should be in the high 70s. Raise the temp with an aquarium heater.>> What plants and decorations are best? I want him to flare up but he seems really lazy. <<Flaring results from stress and aggression.>> I also want to pep him up but he is always looking tired. Im very worried about him and I hope I won't lose him. <<Poor water quality and chilling are the causes here. He should improve upon correction.>> Please reply. Thanks! <<Youre welcome. Lisa.>> Sincerely, Charles Xu

Outstanding... and a six year old Betta!? Wow 2/17/06 Hey Bob...I'm not sure what you meant by outstanding...I'm going to assume my geezer fish!:) <Actually, your usual sterling response> My Betta, Bubbles, is alive and well near the end of his 5th year...it will be 6 years that I have had him, come May. He lives in a 5-gallon Eclipse tank, with a Ramshorn and a dwarf frog. He is, of course, heated to a toasty 79 degrees, and was introduced to a fully cycled/heated tank from purchase. I feed him FD krill, frozen blood worms, Mysis, and algae flakes, rotating, and every other day. I change 25% of his water every week. In case you were interested ;) Lisa. <This is indeed a very ripe age for a Betta splendens... Congrats! BobF>

Betta Behavior - 2/11/2006 Dear Crew Member, <<Hi Jinny!>> I have a beta fish, his name is Samson. He has done fine in a medium-sized tank. A while ago, he had an open sore but has recovered. ( You can call that amazing ... for a few moments he looked like he'd die! ) He's eating fine, but is not swimming as much as he used to--he only moves when he isn't comfortable or when I feed him......... Is there anything wrong? Is there any way I can help him? If there is, please contact my Dad ( I am only 8! <<WOW, you're only 8? You write so well, you put many adults that write in to shame! :). Is your Betta in a heated tank? Maybe your dad can tell me what the ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte readings are for your water. Thanks for writing in sweetheart!>> Thanks, Jinny (Virginia) Van Doorn <<You are very welcome. Lisa (Ontario, Canada) Brown.>>
Re: Betta Behavior - 2/11/2006
Ms. Brown: <<Please, call me Lisa.>> Thank you so much for your rapid reply. <<You are quite welcome.>> This is Jinny's father. How would I measure the Nitrate, Nitrite and Ammonia levels in the tank--is there a tool/device that I can buy, maybe at a Petsmart or any other regular store? If none of the above, can you tell me where to find the tool? <<There are many liquid and 'dip strip' test varieties. I personally use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals tests, but any will do here. You can buy these at any local fish store, if you can't find them, just ask. They are a great tool!>> Thank you, John Van Doorn <<Both you, and Jinny, are very welcome. Lisa.>>

The real email about betta fish - 2/11/2006 Hi, sorry about sending you two emails. I'm not really sure what I did. Anyway, I have a pretty simple question for you that I cant seem to find the answer to anywhere. I just got a new betta fish and was curious as to how much he weighed. He looked pretty normal sized compared to the others in the store, if that helps. Thanks a lot Lauren Bouas <... a good question... Am only guessing, but I would say up to an ounce at the most. Bob Fenner>

Betta, resting/lying motionless 2/8/06 Hi, I am hoping that you can help me - I am worried about my male Betta! For the past two weeks, he has been resting/lying motionless on the bottom of the tank. He appears to only move from spot to spot on the bottom and even then this is rare. I have not seen him swim to the top for air for at least a week. On the rare occasions when I did see him swim to the top of the tank for food (this was more than a week ago), he appeared to be lopsided. Over the past three weeks, his activity level has decreased considerably. Normally, as soon as the lid of the tank is lifted, he swims to the top in a burst of energy and makes a show of "pouncing" at his food (I keep flakes and bites and dried bloodworms on hand - the latter is a treat). Now he doesn't even move - I am actually checking for gill movement to make sure he is still alive. I keep him (my three year old son named him "Fish") in his own 7 gallon tank and change the water regularly. Since he has started behaving oddly, I have tried changing the tank water more frequently, but there has been no change. I have also tried the suggestions posted on the website, for example adding a small amount of salt to the tank. His colour has also changed over this time period as well - he used to be a vibrant purple and blue, but now his colour has whitened. We have had "Fish" for 2 years now - my son loves him and I am attached to him as well. Any suggestions? Thanks! Cathy <Please read here: http://www.google.com/custom?q=Betta%2C+resting%2C+lying+motionless+&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com The cached versions. Bob Fenner>

Betta Behavior/Health Question - 01/12/2006 Quick, hopefully easy question! I have a betta that I purchased several weeks ago for my office. I have had one at home for about a year, in one gallon aquarium with a live plant, a small cave that he loves to hang out in, and a filter. The aquarium has a light on it that keeps the water in the low to mid 70's. <Even at night?> Harley (my home fish) has thrived in that setup and is at least twice as big as he was when I got him and still has beautiful, bold coloring. I feed him a type of pellet food - a few in the morning and a few in the evening - with dried bloodworms every now and then as a treat, and use tap water treated with NovAqua and AmQuel. <Sounds good> I've had him for about a year now, and I just read that bettas are often already a year old when you get them, so I'm dreading the inevitable time when I come home and he's not with me anymore. Anyway, I bought the exact same tank for work, and got the new betta (Fuego) at the same place that I got Harley. I feed him Betta Bites in the same pattern as I do Harley (except he fasts on the weekends, so I give him a little extra Friday) and used the same water treatment. He seems to be doing equally well, but after reading some of the posts from other betta owners, I am wondering if he's sick or if he's just has a spaz personality. He loves to rest in his plant (there've been a couple times he was so comfortably resting on the plant he looked dead) or in one special spot at the bottom of the tank, but then every once in a while he'll dart around the tank quickly and flip out - kind of like cats do sometimes. <Heee! Know what you mean... in fact I do this myself...> His coloring is great, and he's already bigger than he was when I got him. Do you think that's just his personality, or could something be wrong? <Could be either... maybe the office temperature fluctuates more in the evenings...> I did notice a tiny tear on his bottom fin this morning, but he's been a spaz since I got him and the tear is new. Also, I decided to get a snail for each tank, just for visual interest and to help clean up the leftover food. <Good> The guy at the pet store said it should be fine and neither snail nor fish should bother each other. Has that been your experience? <Yes> The fish both seem mildly interested in the new addition, but for the most part ignore the snail. Finally, my coworker got a betta at the same time, and loves to hold a mirror up to the tank to make him puff up. Is doing that all the time dangerous for the betta - i.e. does it raise their stress level to a dangerous point? <Yes... better to only occasionally expose Bettas to their reflections, others of their species.> Thanks! Lara <I would just keep an eye on the torn fin... as long as this Fuego is eating, he is unlikely to "go". Bob Fenner>

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

Betta fish mis-mixed male and female 1/8/06 I have a male Betta, about 2 mo.s ago we purchased a female and added her to the same tank as our male. <Not a good idea to permanently house together> We recently noticed that our male has lost all of his fins and we are not sure what has happened I read on your website something about fin rot but I'm not sure this is what that is or how mush Epsom salt to add to a 1gal tank or anything else for that matter can you help me? <Separate these two, observe if there are other fishes nipping at your male. Bob Fenner> Thank You Leslie

Betta Question... mainly behavior 1/8/06 Hi guys (and gals!), <Danica> Once again, thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, I'm back for more :) My little Betta buddy seems to be happier now that I've set up some dark cardboard at the back of his tank (on the outside of course) to cut down the reflection factor. He's stopped 'fighting' himself and has been moving about his tank a lot slower and in a far more relaxed manner. <Good> I also added a small 25w thermostat controlled heater to his tank since the water temperature was about 70 and wanted to bring the heat up a little to compensate for the air-conditioning here in the office. His tank is now at about 75. I bought a small lamp to give him some extra light too, since adding the cardboard has made his tank a lot darker. The lamp does give off a little heat but I have it far enough away from the tank to ensure it's not affecting the heat of the water. The lamp is turned off at night and I cover the tank so that it's nice and dark so he can get some sleep. <Sounds good> He's been eating some live bloodworms (2 per day max for the last four days) and has shown some interest in the Betta Bites but is still yet to actually eat one of them. Is this OK? I was going to go buy him some freeze-dried food to see if he'll eat that. <Just check to make sure this fish is not too thin> Today the little guy is acting much different to what he was before I put the heater in and I'm wondering if this is normal. He's swimming about at the moment (quite happily) but every now and then he goes to the top of the tank and sort of just sits there. He's not on his side or anything, just hanging at the surface taking in air and blowing a few bubbles. He moves away when I put my hand up to the tank, but if I leave him be he'll go back to swimming after a few minutes or so. I thought perhaps he could just be sleeping, but since I have no idea what these guys actually do when they 'sleep' I have to ask! His two front little fins stop moving while he is floating at the top of the tank so he is not moving at all. <They are lethargic much of the time... with periodic bouts of activity> His water is due for a change today (I have been changing it every few days, about 30-50%) so I will be keeping an eye on him after I've done that to see if his behaviour changes at all. I've tested the pH levels and it is at 7. I can't test for ammonia, but since I have been doing regular water changes, keeping the tank clean by taking out excess food and waste I can't imagine it would be that. Is this sort of behaviour normal? Is he just sleeping? Or should I be leaping into action? <No worries. I would raise the temperature to about 78 F. Bob Fenner> Thanks again :) Danica

Bettas Lose Their Color While Sleeping - 1/6/06 Hey Bob! It's Renee again! I just have a For_My_Information question... my Bettas lose their color at night. They get really still and don't move a whole lot. I have a dark blue body with red fins crown tail Betta, and when it gets close to night time, his blue body color gets to be a light reddish, almost copper color...without a trace of blue anywhere. In the morning though, he is dark blue and bright red and just fine. I was just wondering what caused these fish to lose color like that? < Many fish have a sleep pattern in which they are trying to hide and not be eaten by larger fish while they sleep.> For an update on my green Crowntail, he is doing a lot better now, he flares at himself in a mirror and he is swimming around his tank like nothing was ever the matter with him. All 6 Bettas send their greetings! Thank You, Renee < We all like to hear updates when a fish is doing better.-Chuck>

Betta Question... behaviour 1/4/06 Hi guys! <Danica> Greetings from warm and sunny Australia :) <Right back atcha from improving S. Cal.> I have just gotten a brand spanking new Betta (just under a week now) from my local pet store. They didn't say whether it was male or not, <Is almost certainly a male> but since it was in a tank all of it's own and the females were in together I can only assume my little pal is a boy! He's a nice dark purple and pink sort of colour, lovely long and full tail, pretty perky and alert. He's in a 10 litre tank all on his own, with a small filter that is turned down low so that it doesn't disturb the water too much, some stones and two fake plants. I don't have a heater in the tank as my little friend shares my desk with me here at work and our office temp is kept at 22 degrees Celsius (about 72 degrees Fahrenheit I think) on weekdays and gets slightly warmer on weekends because they turn off the air-conditioning. The tank has been cycled. Enough background info yet? ;) <Maybe> I'll get on to my question now... As mentioned, the little guy (so far unnamed) is quite energetic. He swims about and is generally content. He's not eating much at the moment, but I think this has to do with him needing to settle in to his new home. I have pellets, but will try to tempt him with some live food today. My concern is there seems to be a part of his tank where he can see his own reflection. He gets quite feisty and flares up, swimming up and down and rushing at the side of the tank. It's cute and all, but I'm not sure how good it is for him to be able to constantly see his own reflection. I've covered the side with a sheet of white paper and he seems to have calmed down now though he's still extremely interested in that side of the tank. How much is too much exercise for the little guy? <As you say, speculate... continuous is no good> Should I let him 'play' as much as he likes or only take the paper away occasionally so he can pick a fight? <I would leave the paper on almost continuously> Since he's not eating much at the moment I don't want him to wear himself out... Sorry if you've answered this one before. I had a look through the FAQ's but couldn't find anything relating to play time :) Thanks in advance! Danica <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Betta hiding after water change Hi everyone, and happy holidays! <And to you and yours> I'm writing to you out of concern for my male Betta, who I'm guessing to be about a year old. <Mmm, not that old> About a month or so ago, we did a full water change in his 5 gallon tank... <Better to avoid such wholesale change-outs> he's got a little filter and heater, which we keep at about 80 degrees. Well, after the water change, I put him back in the tank and realized a short time later that the heater was cracked (!). <Yikes!> We swiftly took it out (no pieces broke) but we couldn't get to a pet store right away so he was without a heater. Then the next heater we bought was of poor quality and didn't work very well (we returned it). The next model we bought is a little better but has been somewhat inconsistent--I'd find the temp elevating up and down every day. Things seem to have stabilized in terms of the temperature but it seems obvious that the Betta is traumatized. He spends all of his time crammed as far as he can go under his little rock and I never even see him come out to eat (he is eating, though, the pellets keep disappearing). We've since done partial water changes, but nothing seems to be making a difference in his energy. He doesn't appear to have any other symptoms, but on the rare occasion I find him lying on his side on the gravel... when he becomes aware of me, he swims and hides. Do you have any suggestions about helping him pep up? <Perhaps offering a favored food... Bloodworms... frozen/defrosted> It's winter here in Chicago; do Bettas hibernate in cold weather? <Mmm, nope> Thanks a lot! We've used your site before and you've always been helpful. ~Jamie k <Thank you. Please review the article, FAQs on Betta Systems... Time going by should solve this shyness. Bob Fenner>

Betta strangeness - 12/17/05 Hello WWM Crew! I recently set up a 10 gallon tank to take my blue Betta from his vase so he would have more space. <Great!> I placed some decorations, a lil' cave and some plants so he could hide. The thing is that I've noticed some strange behaviour (at least strange to me!). He usually sticks around to the left side of the tank, almost seems in love with the back of that corner. He sometimes hides inside the cave, which I find normal, but other times he kind of lies over the cave, or its side, or between the plants and seems to "fall asleep". He stops moving around and then later, zip!, starts swimming like nothing. Is he alright? Thanks for any answers. <As this is a new tank (and filter?), do test the water for ammonia and nitrite, and take appropriate action (water changes). Good luck to you and your Betta. Best regards, John> Francisco Vilches

Bettas/Behavior/Water Changes 12/04/05 I've had my Betta about a year, keeping it in a 5 gal tank with hood light and sponge filter. <Sounds good.> I recently made a 5-day move from Va to Fl and had no problems with the fish. I just made a 3-block move and the fish is now very sluggish, preferring to stay on the bottom of the tank. <Possibly some stress just from the move. Could also be some ammonia from disrupting beneficial bacteria colonies in both the substrate and on the sponge filter. During a move like this some larger/extra water changes are called for.> I have no heater as the temperature has always remained in the 'green' zone - it's usually around 75 degrees, as it is now. <This should be okay as long as it is stable.> The only thing I can remember that I've done differently recently is during this last move, I removed some water (about 50 ounces) for the move and replaced it with natural spring water. <Spring Water consistency varies upon location, some is as bad as type so a good dechlorinator (which I see you have used below) is a must.> I added the same amount of 'Betta Complete Water Conditioner', 'Crystal Clear', and 'Algae Destroyer Advanced' that I would have used had I used tap water. <This is okay though, I hope you were careful on the doses. I must say Im not a fan of the latter product and those like it. The best way to fight algae is through removing nutrients through weekly water changes.> I've always used tap water and had not noticed any problem with the fish. This is the first time I've used the spring water. I hope I've provided enough info for any helpful advice. <What is his diet? At this point all I can advise is often water testing and if necessary extra water changesdo these weekly at the least.> Thanks, Jim <Welcome, Adam J.>

Betta help 11/20/05 Hi! I just got a betta the other day. I've noticed that the tail <Fin> on the top of his body has been sticking upward occasionally. I had a betta before that has never done this. I was wondering if this was bad or if maybe he's scared or feels threatened. What should I do? Please e-mail me back if you can. Angie <Not likely a problem... there is an axiom re freshwater and marine fishes that the latter should almost always have their fins erect and the former hardly ever, but the dorsal pointing up on Bettas is not necessarily a sign of illness. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Betta Clicker - 11/16/2005 My Betta clicked at me this morning. <Neat!> I said good morning and he used his gills to make a...not rapid I would say, but a medium clicking noise at me, much like you might do with your tongue. What IS that? <Actually, in a way, just "biting" air, likely from the surface of the water. They can do this sometimes when they come up for air. He was probably excited at seeing you, and in his haste, made this clicking/popping noise instead of getting a "full breath". Neat, huh? Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Re: is my fish going to be ok? 11/16/05 Hello I'm so sorry it's cause I had tried sending it before and it just wouldn't send so I just wrote it quickly. But unfortunately when I went back into the room, not more than an hour after searching for answers he my little "Totito" (the fish) passed away... :( so thank you for the help anyway. I guess for now all I have left to do is take care of my Betta, and as for the fish who I believe was the reason that "Totito" died from because he beat him up. I'm just going give him to my boyfriend, he'll take care of him. thanks. <Sorry to read/realize your loss. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Siamese Fighting Fish - 10/28/05 Hi me again... <<Hello, you again.>> I just have a question that I hope you can kindly answer for me :) <<I promise to answer as kindly as possible.>> I came home last night and discovered my fish seemed to be in a trance and had been blowing bubbles from the surface of the water. I understand that he is making a nest however I haven't been able to get any info on the trance like state he was in. <<May have been dreaming of filling that nest.>> Normally when I go anywhere near the tank he follows me and seems to go crazy. Last night I even gently tapped on the tank and tried to feed him but he didn't move. <<Hopefully, he was just sleepy. For negative things suspect poor water quality, low temp, or low oxygen.>> I actually thought he was dying so I changed his position and put him in the light where there was more warmth and after about 5mins he was normal again. <<Still may have just been napping.>> Any ideas as to what was going on (i.e. the state he was in)? I am a little worried as I have grown attached to the little thing and would hate for anything to happen to him. <<Funny how fast we bond to creatures we cannot even pet isn't it. I would start with the sleep factor as I see that many times in my breeding stock, then worry about the others listed above.>> Thanks, Prue <<TravisM>>

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

Betta Fighting His Image? - 10/23/2005 I have had my male Siamese Fighting Fish for a month now, he has been fine, living in a 1 gallon tank with a low filtration. Then a couple of days ago, he started flaring his gills, we thought he was angry at something, so we put a dark towel on the back and sides of the tank (in case he could see himself on those sides.) He is still flaring. <This is pretty typical. Make sure there is enough distracting decor (live or soft fake plants, etc.) for him to interact with, as well.> We are also worried because he has not built a bubble nest. <Not uncommon. Do please test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; maintain ammonia and nitrite at zero, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> He is on top of the T.V. <This is a very bad place for him. Please consider moving him far from the T.V., somewhere where there isn't anything that would cause heat or sound that could be harmful to him.> with no mirrors anywhere near there. We are terribly confused, and upset. Please help, we don't want him to die! <He'll probably be fine. Put him in a better location, provide him with some decor, and you should be all set. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

What Do Y'Do With A Drunken Betta? - 10/20/2005 Hi, <Good morning.> My red Betta fish has been pretty happy for the past month. He developed a fungus around his gills but I've been using bottled water for his tank and he seems to be getting better. <Make sure you know what the root cause/s of the fungus is/are.... if water quality, then fix with water changes.> But recently my friend added water to his tank and an hour later he was scratching himself against the gravel, swimming around at the bottom of the tank and breathing heavy. <Yikes> I opened the tank and it smelled funny, like alcohol and I realized that my friend put tequila that was in a water bottle in the tank. <Uhh, not good at all. May I please recommend to you that you store nothing in water bottles but water??> I immediately changed the water threw out the gravel and the plant. He was still breathing heavy at first, but then he started to relax. Will he survive? <Maybe. Time will tell.> What can I do to make it up to him? <Make sure his system is adequate, and keep his water quality pristine. Read here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> Thanks in advance, -Sad <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Listless Betta - 10/20/2005 Greetings and Salutations, <Good morning.> I've had my male Betta for about a year now and about a month ago, I bought him a larger filtered home. <Ahh, good.> He seemed very happy (loves the vibration of the filter tube) and everything was fine. Last week I foolishly introduced a tiny Pleco to help keep things clean. <Uhh, how large is this new home? Please keep in mind the ultimate sizes of animals you seek to keep....> The first half-hour or so, the Betta flared and chased him around, but since then has mostly ignored him. Yesterday he looked perfectly normal, but tonight I noticed that he was very listless, lying sort of on his side on the bottom of the tank, plus he's covered with white fuzzy stuff and his gills are black. It looks like he's struggling to breathe. Help, please!!! <Could be pathogenic, could be environmental.... Without more information, there's not a whole lot I can tell you. I recommend you test his water immediately for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and do a water change.... Maintain ammonia and nitrite at zero, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.... And read here regarding disease: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm . Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Male Betta Attacking female Betta 10/13/05 We have a fish tank with a male Betta and a female Betta. The male Betta is constantly attacking and biting the female Betta's fins. Is this normal? Should we separate them? <It is normal behavior. Male Bettas often kill females. Males are typically trying to stake out a territory or defend their eggs. You should separate them immediately. The female will probably die. For more information on Bettas, read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm.> Thank you, Javier <Anytime, Catherine.>

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

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

Fish Training, Bettas... not the sharpest osteichthyans in the tank 9/26/05 I was wondering how come my Betta (Belen, named after his Latin name) doesnt do any neat stuff like other Betta, like allow himself to be petted? The only trick he knows is to come up for food when I gently tap on the glass. <I think it really depends on the individual personality of the fish; I have never had a fish that allowed me to pet it, although I have heard of others who have. You might be able to get your Betta to perform through positive reinforcement with food. I trained my Betta to jump out of the water when I dangled my finger over the bowl. It started when I noticed how aggressive he was towards my finger, when I touched the surface of the water he would swim up and nip my finger. After he bit my finger I would feed him, he quickly related biting my finger to getting fed. After a while I raised my finger a couple millimeters from the surface, when he jumped for it he was rewarded with food. Eventually I got him to leap about a half an inch out of the water (his body never fully left the water). Not exactly the Dolphin show at Marine World but I was proud. A quick Google search found the site below, it looks promising. http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/trick.htm Best of Luck, Gage>

Shrinking-finned betta 8/26/05 Hi, my name is Caroline. My friend has a small male blue betta. She says that it's fins are shrinking and that it's turning purple. (She also says it looks like it's half dead) Do you have any suggestions? Sincerely concerned, Caroline <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above.... could be environmental, nutritional... Bob Fenner>

Betta Color Change, Lack Of Input - 08/25/2005 Why is my male Betta's top fin turning white? Thank you in advance for your reply. <Many possibilities.... genetics, disease, just a natural color change.... not enough information to go off, here. Please try here, and the linked pages at the top: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm . -Sabrina>

Divided Bettas - 08/19/2005 I recently bought two Betta fish: one blue and one red. I just bought today a special tank that can hold both fish because there is a divider. <I hope this is one of the "larger" divided betta systems, on the order of a couple or a few gallons?> I noticed, though, that the divider has two small slits towards the bottom and the fish have noticed as well. They frequently swim to the bottom and stare at each other with flaring gills and fins spread out. I know this is normal when one Betta sees another (at least I hope so!), <You're correct.> but can it be harmful if they continue to do this frequently? <Occasionally, this is not a problem. It can become a problem (stress, damaged fins, etc.) if it is frequent or constant.> What should I do?? <I would put numerous plants (either live, or very soft, non-abrasive, fake ones) around near the divider, so there's a bit of a break in line-of-sight for them.> The other question I have is concerning feeding. I have been giving them the Betta pellets and they have taken well to them. The package says to feed them 3-4 pellets twice a day and that's what I have been doing for the past few days. After reading your website, I went out and bought freeze dried blood worms for the Bettas as well. Now, can I feed them the worms and pellets at the same time or is that harmful? <Not harmful.... just keep in mind that it is VERY easy to overfeed a betta. I tend to recommend feeding every other day or every third day, and have had excellent results with this myself.> Can I or should I alternate with worms and pellets? <You can. No problem.> And how many times a day should they eat they worms if daily? <Just once.... again, perhaps every other day or so.> Sorry for all the questions but the package for the worms doesn't indicate and I don't want to overfeed them. Please respond to my email. I just got my Bettas on Sunday and I am fond of these beautiful fish and I don't want them to die on me! <Sounds like you're doing good so far.... I would like to recommend that you read this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and look at the FAQs and other related articles, linked in blue, at the top of that page. Much info to be had here!> Thanks! <You bet.> Monica <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Droopy Betta? - 08/09/2005 Dear WWM Crew, <Hi!> I have a male Betta, who is about six months old. He is healthy and happy, however, in the past few days I have noticed his tail has become droopy. His color is vibrant and he swims around perfectly. What could be the cause of his droopy tail? <Possibly environmental conditions.... be sure to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It is also possible that, with time, his tail has grown larger, and therefore heavier.... could be no problem at all, really.> Thank you for your time and help. <You bet. See here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm . Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

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

Female Betta attacking a Male 7/17/05 Hi, <Hallo.> We recently purchased a Male Betta for our community tank, which contains among other fish two female bettas. <Mm, a bit late for it now, but a word of caution - unless you specifically plan to breed, and only place the male and female together for spawning, it is not generally a good idea to put a male in a tank containing females. He can and will hurt himself or others - and there are certainly other risks, one which you detail quite clearly below....> Until the introduction of the male no aggression from either female whatsoever was observed toward any of the fish. However, the female (two years old) began attacking the male, ripping its tail in two, soon after he was introduced to the tank, and then began chasing the younger female. <Humm.... I suppose it's a bit late also to mention that there are occasionally females that are utterly vicious? My own female, aptly named "EvilPsychoB____Fish" is one such animal. She would probably kill a male, if I tried to breed her (which I would not do, as I do not wish her weirdly vicious genes to make it back into the gene pool).> We separated the fish. Is this behaviour at all normal? <Yes. Bettas have an amazingly wide variety of personalities, tolerances, aggression, etc....> Can we place the male back into the main tank? <Only if you choose to remove the females, or section off a small area of the tank for the male alone.> Many thanks, A.W.Pierrson <Wishing you and your Bettas all well, -Sabrina>

My Betta, Color Hi when I got my Betta it was blue but now it is grey. What did I do wrong? <Perhaps nothing... it may be your fish is just not being lit with light that shows its colors off... it might be genetically disposed to change to something less colorful... Or it could be that the fish is malnourished... that its water quality is off, that its environment is too cold... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta eating his tail :(( Hi my name is Roxanne and I just bought my male (Comet) from the pet store just over a week ago and he seemed fine. I have him in the Betta starter container (1/2 gal) until I am able to get him a bigger tank. I have been changing his water every two days and adding the chlorine treatment. <A good idea to set the new water out a few days ahead of use as well> I thought he might have the beginning of fin rot. It didn't seem to get any worse and I really didn't know for sure if he had rot because his fins didn't look like any of the pictures I have seen. Then yesterday at water change he fell in the sink, but I quickly picked him up and put him back. He was pissed for a bit but then fine or so I thought. Just before I went to bed I noticed him chasing his tail. I didn't think much of it and turned off his light and went to bed. I woke up this morning and his tail is in pieces. His top fin is also ripped. It looks like he chewed on it till he couldn't reach any more of it. I don't know if this would mean anything but I have a stapler beside his tank and only recently noticed that he could see himself in it. Maybe he stressing himself out and that is making him eat his tail? <Maybe... and Bettas are quite "autistic", and will chase their own tails... but much more likely what you're seeing is damage consequent from the dropping incident> I am very worried any advice you could give would be great. lol sorry for the long story but just want you to have as much facts as possible. P.S I have another male in a big bowl (1 gal) using the same water and temp and everything and he is doing great. I also added a bit more aquarium salt to both. <Ah, good. This is the best treatment. You might benefit from reading through the WWM Betta Disease and System articles, FAQs files> Any help you could give would be much appreciated. Roxanne and Comet...and Charlie :) <Bob Fenner>

Female Betta in Heat: Does this explain the mood swings? Hello. My name is Marie and I have recently bought a female beta. <Hello, Mike G with you tonight.> We have her in a tank with several other fish and seems to be fine, other than a little shy. <To be expected.> We caught her having problems with only one fish, which she chased around and, we think, nibbled on her tail. The fish that she was chasing around died and she seems to be fine with the others, even ones of the same breed that, we believe, she might have killed. <I don't quite follow you. She seems fine with the others, including the ones of the same breed that she killed (or might have)? In any case, she sounds like a rowdy one. I'd separate her if it were up to me.> Is that normal? <Bettas are unpredictable fish in terms of temperament. Yes, it is normal, but only in certain individual fish.> Also, do female bettas secrete a cloudy discharge when in heat? <No.> It is all over the bottom of the tank and I have no idea what it is. <Could be one of many things.> I'm an amateur when it comes to fish and it would help a lot if you could tell me. Thank you very much. <I am glad I could assist. Best of luck, Mike G.> Marie.

FW Fish Odd Behaviour Dear Crew. I have read all articles concerning Betta Fish behaviour from your websites. Very interesting and I believe you can help me to solve my problem with my Betta fish as well. Here goes ... I have this pinkish-white female Betta fish. She's very active swimming around always and swim towards me when I'm about to give them food. However, recently she seems to in a very "timid" mood and scares at times when I approach her. When I approached her, she will swim to the other end with her back facing me instead and she's like banging against the container's wall in no sense of directions! She bangs everywhere and at times she jumps up and hit the cover. I' m worry that she might get hurt by those banging against the sides and jumping up hitting the cover. 2 possible causes I can think of now are: A couple of days ago my bro plays the hi-fi in my room in a very loud volume. Might this scare my fish? <Might> I have 4 Betta fishes. Only 2 seem to have problem (two females). The other female only show mild symptoms (as mentioned above). Whereas the remaining 2 males are ok. Few days before this loud music, while changing their water (95% changed), <I would not change this much water at once if possible, practical... half maximum> this pinkish-white female fish struggles and jumps up. I managed to catch her in mid-air (something like that) and when I drop her back to water, she was breathing heavily for a while. Then everything goes back to normal. After this incident, she started to become very scared at things approaching her. She still eats regularly until yesterday (23.05.05), the food doesn't seems to tempt her. And i have been very worried. Today (24.05.05), I try to feed her. She swims around and look at the food as if she's going to eat them. But in the end, she swims away. What could probably goes wrong? It makes me really worry when a fish doesn't wanna eat its food. <Me too. I would try switching foods here... to something live if you can, fresh/frozen/defrosted if not. Do cut down on the massive water changes and loud music as well. Bob Fenner>

Lethargic Betta Hey Everyone! <Hi there> I've valued your advice in the past, so here's something new. I've had a new Betta for about 3 months. He's been very lively and energetic. (in a 3 1/2 gallon tank with a charcoal filter and heater-temp usually is around 80 degrees). <Good> Recently he seemed kind of lethargic, so we did a full water change, scrubbing out the gravel, his plants, his little cave. We refilled the tank with drinking water from the store, as we always do. This was a week ago. Ever since, his behavior has gotten even more sluggish-he hides a lot in his cave or lies on the gravel. What can I do to pep him up? Thanks for the help! ~jay <Not to worry re periodic "slumps" in Betta behavior... these happen... for some "instant peppiness" you can add a small hand mirror outside the fish's tank (not permanently)... Bob Fenner>

Strange Behaviour - Male Betta Splendens Hi All, <Howdy> Firstly - great site - A great source of information.. <Thanks> On Saturday my wife bought our first Male Siamese fighter to put into our community tank (minnows, guppies, platies) - the shop said that these would be fine together - there are about 20 fish in total - mainly males. <In how large a tank... what sort of minnows?> The Betta is showing some very strange behaviour - some of which have been mentioned in other posts. Firstly - he seems to try and hide - we have a fake coral "bridge" which is hollow - he's managed to dig under the edge of this so that he is inside the ornament!! once in there - I don't think he knows how to get out. <Mmm, maybe because he's just new...> Other times, he sits on top of a plant leaf at the top of the tank. <Not atypical> The most worrying (if the above weren't worrying enough) is that he sticks himself to the inlet of the tank filter - he seems to do this deliberately - and only releases when I switch of the pump. <I would screen this area, block it off> We've been keeping an eye on the tank closely - we've seen no evidence of him being bullied - or him bullying the others. <Good> He doesn't seem to want to eat. We've tried flake food and also pellets -non seem to have tempted him yet - it'll be the weekend before we're able to try some live food. <Please see WWM re... need meatier foods... not just dried> Our tank setup is as follows - 54 litre (11.88gals) tank with 4 stage filter (Poly, Carbon, course & fine sponge), 50W heater, 15W tube light (with reflector), small piece of Tufa rock. Water is slightly brackish (approx 1 teaspoon per 10litres), latest measurements (just before last weekly water change) No3: 9ppm, No2: 0, pH: 7.2, NH3/NH4: 0.25 <Sounds a bit crowded... by about twice. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance Phil Yardley
Re: Strange Behaviour - Male Betta Splendens
Thanks Bob, <Welcome> After writing the mail - I watched him closely again. He does seem to be VERY nervous - which would explain some of the behaviour. <Yes> I'm going to try some live food today - just realized there is a pet shop near my workplace!! - I'll see if they've got some small heated tanks which would mean we can put him on his own instead of in the main tank - hopefully he just doesn't like too many friends :) <You are correct here> I''ll keep you posted... <Real good> Thanks for the prompt reply <Again, you're welcome. BobF> Phil
Re: Betta Problems
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm Bob, I read the link that you sent but the Betta got injured when I renetted him. He is lying on one side and is trying to swim but can't. He hasn't eaten at all. I do keep the bowl very clean that's why I change the water when I do. My big question though is how do I help my injured fish because he was fine before the netting accident. Please let me know about that. Thanks <Read... again... re Betta Disease, the FAQs... Bob Fenner>

Mopey Betta Hello, I've searched your site and can't find any problem similar to this... My Betta who I've had for about 6 months now has never exhibited any problems before except for this morning I noticed that he keeps floating to the top. Seemingly against his own will because he keeps flapping his little side fins to stay downstairs. It's a tallish tank with about 3.5 litres of water in it. I use the water conditioner and everything. I don't know whether this is normal and I just haven't noticed it before??? Any advice/help you can give is much appreciated!! Jess <Mmm maybe the fish is "just old"... perhaps the root cause is nutritional (you feed more than just pellets?), otherwise water quality related (the tank is heated, filtered?) Please read over the Betta articles and FAQs (again). Bob Fenner>

Betta Contortionist Hi! I have my Eclipse 3 gallon tank set up, it is cycled and I have a new Betta...okay, everything is great, I am really enjoying this fish but...I have a couple of questions please. Tonight I came home from work and my new Betta had swam into the outflow tube (located below the bio wheel) which has 2 ports, his tail was hanging out one side, his head out the other! <Yikes!> I opened the lid of the tank and he popped himself out. He looks okay, he is eating fine, but why on earth would he do this? <Betta splendens are "not the sharpest fish-tool in the world"> Is there anything at all I can do to prevent this from happening again? Your opinion of his actions and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Sue <Screen over all such openings, or make a space twixt them and the water surface... Bob Fenner>

Female Betta body color Hi Chuck, I have a question about by female Betta. She is active (swims fine), eats well, but her body is mostly a gray with black strips most of the time, her true body color is blue. Her fins seem normal (red with some blue). I tried to maintain a water temperature of 70, and add some salt for tropical/goldfish fishes. The water is heated with a lamp, and the water is not filtered, I am not sure of the PH count. One morning when I went to check up on her she was a pale color (body and fins) and motionless, usually when she see me she will come to the front waiting to be feed. But this time she stayed motionless for some time, I put some food, but she would not move. I left the room, and when I returned she was at the top and had eaten your food. Now she seems fine (swimming/eating), but her body color concerns me. Is the body color change a sign of sickness, should I get some medication ? If so can I mix the medication with the salt. I started using salt just recently ? Is the salt good enough to kill any bacteria ? < Bettas prefer a water temp of around 80 F not 70. The striped pattern is normal for young Bettas or Bettas not ready to breed. Medications are not needed at this time.-Chuck> Thanks, Mario D.

The Ouroboros Betta Hi there! I got my Betta fish about 6 months ago and everything was fine until recently. His large tail kept getting shorter and shorter! After watching him for awhile it became very clear what was happening. He gets hyper and chases his tail around in quick circles. then when he catches it, he eats it! I've been mystified on how I should deal with this. Everything else looks clean and healthy and he eats well once a day (pellets) and his water is clean. Should he be on fishy Prozac or am I missing something? Poor little man! Please let me know. Thanks a lot Shannon <This species IS so "autistic" that it will indeed chase its own tail... adding a few ditherfish may help. Please read on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

New Betta Hey crew! I have just recently purchased a male Betta from a local animal store. He is currently located in a 1 gallon aquarium with filter, light, plants, etc. It seems as though everything is in good condition except the Betta seems unhappy. He does not swim around the tank, instead he lays in the corner on top of the gravel or lays underneath the fake plant. Also, he refuses to eat. I've been feeding him BettaMin Tropical Medley flakes. After the food is dropped in he still does not move, and other times, when the food falls near him, he just looks at it and does not attempt to consume it. Is my Betta just lazy or is there a problem that needs to be corrected? <This would all be normal in the first few days. Not only do fish spook for a few days after a move, but they also need time to adjust to their new water conditions. Stop feeding for a day or two. Do a partial water change to remove any old food or waste. Could also be that he is being kept too cool. Bettas are tropical fish and do best when they have a steady temp in the high 70's. Don>

New Betta/cats in house I bought a Betta today & I think I set him up well with a MiniBow 2.5. He seems very happy as of now--I think he's happy to be out of that little cup he was sitting in at the pet store. He's swimming all over the tank--quite energetic. My concern is my cats. I have two--one is still rather young and curious/playful. She has noticed the Betta and is very curious. It is up high, and when she acted like she might try to jump up there we sprayed her with water. Any other suggestions? <Not likely a problem... unless the cat/s actually get into the tank. Betta's are pretty oblivious to what goes on outside their tanks> The tank is covered, so I'm hoping there is no way she can get in. The only other time I had fish it was goldfish & they only lasted 3 days (15 years ago). I want to make sure nothing happens to this little guy. <I do hope this 2.5 gallon system is heated... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm Bob Fenner>

Territoriality in small tank Hi Bob and crew, <David> Four days ago I added a pair of Colisa dwarf gouramis to my 12g, well-planted tank, which is also home to a male Betta and an SAE. Betta doesn't even seem to notice the SAE, and was very tolerant of some rasboras I had in there before. However (as I might have expected had I read your FAQs before buying the gouramis) the Betta is being quite aggressive towards the gouramis. <Happens> For the first 2 days this was just occasional displaying behavior, but over the past couple of days, as the gouramis have started swimming around more, Betta has been hounding them regularly. No outright fighting yet-- in fact, if the gourami is resting in the brush and refuses to budge when the Betta approaches, the Betta will simply park himself very close and keep an eye on the gourami. If gourami is in open water, Betta will display, flick his tail, give chase. <I see> So this is just intimidation so far, but I am concerned it will escalate, plus it is obviously stressful to all parties. Gouramis are starting to peck at each other now too. <Also typical behavior> Before I return the gouramis, or (sigh) get another tank to isolate the Betta, I am wondering... if Betta's behavior is likely to mellow over time, or to escalate? <Good question... have seen both... But I am inclined to suggest you wait/see here... If the animals are not actually physically damaging each other... likely no real problem> ... if controlled overcrowding might help (prevent Betta from trying to establish territory)? <Good question too... I would not do this... overcrowd that is... as too likely your Betta will retreat into oblivion... look to getting some small "ditherfish" though... Maybe some Endler's or Platies (livebearers) or small danios or my three fave tiny barbs (Oligolepsis, Golds, Cherries)... a trio of any of these ought to do the trick. Bob Fenner>

Re: Territoriality in small tank "Ditherfish"... I like that. <Not original... don't know if anything I know is...> You say that barring physical damage this aggression isn't overly harmful, but isn't this stressful, for the Betta as well as his victims? <Mmm, not really... stress up to a point is natural, desirable...> One of the gouramis seems to have a mild case of HLLD-- probably came with it, though I didn't notice, but seems like stress isn't going to help him heal... thoughts? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and beyond... Bob Fenner>

Old Betta? Hi! <Hi...this is Jorie> I just had a quick question about my Betta. I've had him for a little over two years, and I just noticed this morning that he's kind of struggling to get around. He can't stay floating at the top for air or food, and he's going pretty slowly although it looks like he's trying pretty hard to get there... There aren't any physical changes, it just seems like he can't swim anymore? <Two years is a pretty good lifetime for captive bettas...in my experience, this is about the time they start to slow down. As long as your little friend is eating, breathing normally and still able to swim, chances are he's just in his "golden years" and enjoying some more R&R! If he stops eating (the all-time favorite Betta activity...what little piggies they are!) and moving altogether, it may be time to consider euthanasia, but it doesn't sound as though you are ready for that by any means. Good luck!>

Listless Fighter I bought my fighter about 3months ago. I keep him in a 3L bowl and feed him Wardley Betta Food. <Mmm, would be better to enlarge the "menu" of this diet. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm Up until now things have been fine. I was doing regular water changes about 50% every week, but the inside of the bowl was starting to grow algae and there was a lot of sediment in the gravel. I took him out to do a 100% water change yesterday and cleaned the bowl (only using water). I conditioned the water and when I returned him to his bowl he looks like he's dead. He just lies on the bottom until he comes up for air, and then he swims up to the top and swims straight back down. <Too much water quality change... I would never "totally" clean the system... at least save and replace the water if you need/want to rinse the gravel> I did a 50% water change today being careful not to disturb him, thinking that there might have been something in the water. But he's still lying on the bottom. What can I do? Cara <Study: See the links (in blue, above where you were referred to?) Read there and in turn where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Betta Color Change Hi, I was just wondering if you could help me with my Betta. I've been trying to find out if it's normal for the scales around his face and above his head to be a darker color than the rest of him? He's a very vibrant blue and green fish, but those scales are darker and seem different. He's been sulking a lot also, just sitting in one corner of the tank. I did some reading (I'm new at this) and I think I may have been feeding him too much. I changed that starting yesterday. Do you think that will help him swim around and be active like he was before? Thank you so much! Katrina <The biggest problem with overfeeding is the effect it has on water quality. Have you done a water change since you corrected his feeding? If not, a few 50% water changes will correct the problem. Many causes of color change in fish including some that are normal, like age. However, tied to his lack of energy I think you may have a water quality issue going on. You do not mention his living quarters, but if he is housed in an unheated, unfiltered bowl you may want to consider a new set up for him. A 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater and sponge filter is ideal for a Betta. Make it a 10 and you could add a few Corys. If you do need to upgrade his tank please read the link below on establishing bio filtration in freshwater systems. And of course every fish keeper should be able to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Testing for the first three would tell the tale. Don> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm

Question about Betta behavior and velvet Hi, I just bought my Betta about two weeks ago. He is very colorful and active. Lately, however, I've spotted several small areas on him that look a little discolored. There wouldn't be a whole spot, just like two scales. I did shine a flashlight on him and thought that perhaps he had velvet, so I treated him with Maracyn-Two (given to me by the pet store). <Mmm, Minocycline? Antibiotics are useful here only for secondary effects http://groups.msn.com/TheBettaObsession/bettaillnessandtreatment.msnw > I followed the instructions as well as given him a salt bath. The spots disappeared, but he sometimes starts swimming up and down in the corner of the tank and kind of jerks about and I don't see him scratching against the decorations. I change the water very often, so I don't think it's the water or poisoning. He doesn't stay on the bottom neither nor is there a lack of appetite and he acts pretty normal. Sometimes he does open his mouth wide, but that is rare. Is this behavior normal? or is he sick? Thanks for the help! LST <Hard to say... is the fish's tank/container heated? Lethargy is pretty much a normal state with Bettas... more so at lower temperatures. Bob Fenner>

Aggressive Female Bettas I thought that female bettas were supposed to be able to live together harmoniously. I just bought two female bettas and they keep chasing each other around and flaring their gills. I think they're both females. They were both labeled that way and are small with short fins. I've quarantined them so they don't hurt each other but what now? Will they be ok or work it out if I set them back together? Josie <Good move in separating them... It may well be that one is a developing male... otherwise females do sometimes become agonistic toward others. Bob Fenner>

My Betta Hates Me Hi. I got a new male Betta fish several weeks ago. For the first couple of weeks things were fine. He came to the side of the tank when I approached and we watched each other. He made an enormous bubble nest almost immediately. He seemed very happy. Out of nowhere he started getting aggressive when I approach the tank. He spreads his fins and flares his gills at me. I'm not sure why he's doing this all of a sudden. Nothing has changed so I'm confused. I'm not wearing any bright colors and I'm not doing anything different. Does he hate me now? <Mmm, "not much else to do" most likely... Betta's as far as fishy intelligence goes, are more toward the end of autistic... likely this one perceives you as another male Betta... No worries, don't take it personally. Bob Fenner>

Psycho Betta?? Hi crew!! My friend gave me this website, its pretty cool ^^. <I sense a new stanza in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" coming on> Anyway, he bought me a Betta recently, and its a male. He seemed pretty happy at first, but then I thought he wanted a bigger tank, so I bought him one. At first he seemed really scared in his new tank, but then he started going psycho after a while. He started swimming really fast and banging into the side of the tank, and then he would just stop complete and float at the top as if he were dead. <Yikes... I take it you did treat the water for sanitizer? And that the system was "cycled"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm> I was really shocked the first time he did this because I thought he died or something, but when I tapped on the tank he started moving again. He also did this the same night when I was about to sleep (I already turned off the light and 5 minutes later he banged against the tank.) I kept him in that tank for about three days, and then I thought that maybe he could see his own reflection or something and was getting really stressed, so I fixed up his small tank again and put him back inside there. He seemed a bit scared again or something, but he seemed a lot more calm this time. After I washed out the other tank and I put him back into my room, I just watched him for a while. He seemed really calm, so I decided to do my homework. After a short while, he did the same thing again!! This time it was worse though, he banged himself against the side and then jumped up and hit the cover and then he just started swimming around like normal or something. Is this suppose to be normal? And if its not, what do I do? Thanks, Angie <I have seen this sort of whacky behavior in Bettas before... but is disturbing. All should calm down in a few days. Bob Fenner>

Another Bottom of Bowl Betta Hi. One of my bettas just stays at the bottom of his bowl and only comes up for air and to eat. It seems like his fins are to heavy for him. He just lays in marbles like they are his chair. Is there a reason for this? Also, I wanted to know if he would be okay with zebra fish in the warmer water and with the actual fish? Thank you for your time. Angelia <Hi Angelia, Don here. Have you been changing his water? Cleaning the waste out of the gravel? Conditions can get foul pretty quickly in a bowl. He would do much better in a small tank with a heater and a small filter. But not with the Zebras. Good chance they will nip his fins>

Female Betta Hello, I have never owned a fish before, and I bought my first, a betta fish, approximately two months ago. When I purchased the fish, the container noted that it was a female. She is active and eats well. But SHE is blowing bubbles....I have searched the web and found numerous sites noting that male betas blow bubbles to create a nest and that it's a sign that they are content. Is it normal for female betas to blow bubbles as well or is it more likely that my beta's container was labeled incorrectly? My fish does not have the large fins that male betas typically have though....it looks like a female. Please clarify as I want to be sure that my beta is ok. < Most male Bettas do indeed have longer fins. But these fins are a result of years of breeding. It is possible that you could have purchased an incorrectly labeled fish. Most likely you have a female that is probably bored and has learned to blow a bubble nest. Either one is possible.-Chuck> Thank you very much, Beth

My Poor, Listless Betta Hello. I have a male Betta and two rainbow tetra's in a 3 gallon, filtrated bio wheel tank. I also have a tiny catfish cleaning up after the three. They have all lived well together for months. I left work Friday and when I came in on Monday, my poor Betta was floating in the top corner, not moving. I thought he was dead, until I touched him, where he swam to the bottom and "flopped" on the gravel again motionless. He eventually floated back up to his corner, unmoving. He has always been active and all over the tank. His appetite has been healthy, though I suspect that he has trouble seeing. He will not eat now. This is the first day, but it is such a dramatic change in behavior for him, that I am nervous. My other fish are fine and normal. The water was recently changed. My pH is 7.2 and my ammonia and nitrite levels are normal. I keep a very stable tank (learned the hard way after ick killed my other fish 6 months ago). Only the Betta's health has changed, and he looks like he is dying. I moved him into a small bowl. I wish I had something bigger, but I wanted to isolate him. He has no scars, marks, etc. His color has faded slightly, but otherwise he looks fine. is he just getting old? Is there anything I can try to see if it is not old age? he literally DOES NOT MOVE from the surface. He acts the same in the bowl as he did in the tank. The only way I know he is alive other than poking him is the occasional air bubbles that he blows. Help please. < Make sure that the water is warm (80 F.) and try to give him a little live food to get his interest. If he has a buoyancy problem then he probably has come down with an internal bacterial infection and needs to be treated with Metronidazole. It could be caused by diet stress or old age.-Chuck> Thanks Joe

Betta fish Hi, I'm kinda new to this new e-mail thing and I also have a few questions I just recently bought a tropical tank for my females bettas. It has a heater in it, stones and some fake plants inside. I also have put in some other fish, like 2 diamond tetra just to start the tank off. In the tank there is 2 female Bettas and 2 diamond tetras, the two diamond tetras was getting chased by the two females and was killed few hours later. Why is this? < Bettas by nature are territorial and don't always respond favorably to other tankmates.> aren't the female Betta's a community fish? < If the tank is large and the other fish are quick swimming fish then the Betta cannot catch them and they will give up after awhile.> And I was also wondering can the female Betta's be put into cold water tanks? or can they only be put into tropical tanks? < Tropical tanks only please.> Also, before I chucked in my male Betta that I've got, and then he started to become very aggressive towards the females and all the other fishes that are inside, is it to happy? or something else? < Once again bettas are territorial and he is looking to establish himself as the big boss to all the other fish.> because the male have been biting the females tail. But after that I saw the female went to bite the males tails, and I took the male out of the tank quickly, because the males tail looks very feral, so I really need some suggestions here, please help < Male and female bettas really should not be kept together except when the are being bred in special aquariums set up specifically for that purpose.-Chuck> Thank you

Betta's right gill does not close properly like its left one Hi Chuck, I am babysitting my friends male Betta, I observed him for a few minutes, he is generally a quit fish hardly swims, usually hangs around the top or bottom of his jar, he did not shadow dance or make any bubble nests during my observation, but in general looked quite healthy. I changed his water (100%), I used untreated tip water that I have sitting for a couple of days to remove the chlorine in the water (in Montreal, Canada I was told, the water is only treated with chlorine) and added some aquarium salt, at a water temperature just above 70. I put him next to my other Bettas (a male and a female) all in separate jars, his activity level increased, and flaring with a passion. Later in the day I went in to check on them, and I notice that my friends Betta right gill does not close (stays open slightly) than his left side (completely close). It was not noticeable when I brought him home or after I changed his water, nor during my observation before I left the room, since his upper body and face is a red color, I do not notice any unusual redness near the open gill (slightly). He seems to be eating all that I feed him, and he seems to be swimming around some what, and he still seems to flare. I put a piece of paper to block their vision, but at times he still flares in their directions and my female or male will do the same if they see him. How can I tell, if the open gill is cause him any pain? Is it causing him any pain or discomfort? Could all that flaring inflamed one side of his gill? Is it inflammation? Should I treat it now or take a wait and see approach? What medication should I use? < Sounds like the male may have overextended one of his gill flaps during a display ritual. Look at him closely and see if there is anything that is physically causing the gill from completely closing. If you don't see anything then I would wait and see if it gets worse before I would use any medication.-Chuck> Thanks, Mario D.

Betta's right gill does not close properly like its left one Thanks Chuck. I appreciate you sharing your time and knowledge. Can you further explain what you mean by "... see if there is anything that is physically causing the gill from completely closing ...", < The gill cover is basically liker a valve or gasket. If the gasket does not seal completely it may be caused by something in the way that prevents it from closing completely. There may be a parasite like a gill fluke that extends beyond the gill opening and prevents it from closing all the way.> and what signs should I look for when you say "... wait and see if it gets worse ..." < If it is a parasite then they will be breeding and the gill opening may be getting bigger instead of getting smaller If it is damaged then it may heal on its own and require no treatment at all.> Could his gill have gotten inquired while I was changing his water, his head could of hit the glass when I poured him into a temporary jar. I remember, he was move quite a bit inside the net (his gill could have tangled with the net) or when he fell out of the net and hit his head/body on the sink, I had to scoop him back into the net and placed him into the clean water, this process could have caused his gill to bruise or inflame. <Any sort of physical trauma that you describe may have caused the damage. No treatment is needed unless it gets infected.-Chuck> Thanks again, Mario D.

Betta's right gill does not flare properly Hi Chuck, I kept monitoring his condition since my last email to you, and his right gill seem to have gone back into place, when I compare with his left side (Read below for some background). But, I recently started noticing that when I flares, he has trouble opening his right gill. He left side will completely open, but right side won't or will open just a little. < Once again this may be caused by trauma to the area. If there are no other symptoms then I would suggest that it be left alone for awhile.> There does not seem to be any blockage or discoloration on his gill, he looks fine, eating well, building a nest, and swimming fine. What is Methylene Blue? < This is a dye often used to stain microscopic organisms before they are viewed under a microscope. It does have some antifungal and anti bacterial properties.> Can it be used after each water change to keep the Betta healthy? < I do not recommend any medication to be used as a preventative because the disease organisms end up becoming immune to the medication over time.> I do a 100% water change every 3 days. Use Tip water that has been sitting for at least 3 days (In Montréal, Canada) I was told our water only contains Chlorine, and by adding a drop (Methylene Blue) would it keep the water clean and healthy. < A drop won't hurt but it won't help much either.> I already add some aquarium salt after each change is that enough? < I little salt is a good idea because it makes the fish create a slime coat that keeps organisms off the skin and gills.> Can you provide me with some advice. < Try a good water conditioner instead like Amquel by Kordon or Ultimate. These will do a better job of removing harmful agents in the water.-Chuck> Thanks Again, Mario D.

Is my Betta acting normal? <I've had a Betta for close to 2 years now. I've kept him in a tank about 1-1.5 gallons, feeding him about 8 pellets (Hikari bio-gold) twice a day, and I change the water once a week with tap water treated with "splendid Betta Water Conditioner".> This all sounds pretty good. 8 pellets 2x per day seems a bit much to me, however; I'd suggest maybe cutting back to 4-5 pellets 2x per day. <I read some where that it is healthy to have them flare once in a while. I tried holding a mirror to the tank, but instead of flaring, like he used to, he will run and hide. Is this normal?> I've found that Bettas truly do each have a unique personality. This behavior reminds me of my 2nd Betta, Mo - he was extremely shy and pretty much afraid of absolutely everything, including mirrors. I think that you just may have a timid little Betta...as long as this isn't new and different behavior for him, but rather this just seems to go with his overall personality, I wouldn't worry about it. If you are just noticing this for the first time, chances are something in his environment has changed and he is reacting poorly to it. <Also, I don't know if this has anything to do with it or not, but I noticed a month ago his fins were rotting, and he was pale. I recently started to treat this. This is when I started to feed him the Hikari pellets, and once a day for the past week I've been giving him 1/8 of a teaspoon of "Melafix". He appears to have made an almost full recovery.> What were you feeding him prior to the Hikari pellets? Also, were you regularly changing the water prior to this new regimen? Fin and/or tail rot is almost always caused by poor water conditions, so do keep up on the good husbandry. MelaFix definitely can't hurt, but even more importantly is pure, clean water. Consider increasing water changes to 2x per week instead of just 1x. <His fins are almost back to normal, and he is now back to the deep blue and green he used to be.> Both are good signs of improved health. <He now tends to hang out near the bottom of the tank, or in the artificial plant I have in there, but he will have short quick bursts of energy and swim rapidly around the tank, kicking up gravel everywhere. Is this normal?> It's really hard to say what is "normal" Betta behavior, as I mentioned above each one seems to be pretty unique with his personality. I would, for good measure, suggest you take a couple of water parameters readings, just to make sure there isn't a build up of ammonia, nitrite and/or nitrate. If you do find any of these present, do a water change immediately and consider stepping up the frequency of the weekly water change. <he also will rest in the plant at odd angles, sometimes sideways, sometimes strait down, some times sideways curled in a circle. Is that normal too?> This does sound a little strange. Do check for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate just in case he is reacting to some sort of toxin in the water. Also, when you do water changes, are you being careful to match temperature and pH of old and new water? You don't want to shock the Betta's system by letting these parameters swing wildly. <Thanks! ,Jeremy> You're welcome, Jeremy. Follow up on the water testing and keep up the good work. Do write back if you notice any newly developed strange behavior - I think the most important thing to watch for is your Betta acting wildly different that he did in the past. Good luck, Jorie
Re: Is my Betta acting normal?
I just used the "jungle" quick dip and it said I had high Nitrite levels, so like you said, I changed the water, cleaned out the tank, and treated it. <Great job, Jeremy. Just be sure to keep testing the water regularly and keep allow those readings as close to zero as possible.> I used Aquafina and treated it with "splendid Betta water conditioner". <Bottled water isn't really the best thing for fish - there are essential trace elements missing. Do you know of a problem with your tap water? If you want to use purified water, I'd recommend getting a product called the "Tap Water Filter" by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. This will produce de-ionized water (DI), to which you will have to add back some trace elements and probably adjust the pH (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals sells two products to do just that - ElectroRight and pH Adjust). But, this isn't necessary, and again, unless you know of a problem with your tap water, I'd suggest you use that. Do switch back gradually, though, so you don't shock the Betta's system.> I then tested it again and the results were: Nitrate:0, Nitrate:0, Total hardness:25, :Alkalinity:0, and pH level is 6.2. <Excellent job getting the nitrite and nitrates under control! That's very important. I'm afraid to put him back in the tank because the instructions said that 6.2 as a pH level is "acidic", and Alkalinity should be 120-300, and the hardness should be between 50-150. What should I do here? <What's really most important is stability rather than precision, with regards to pH and hardness for the Betta. I don't think those readings are so out of line as to cause worry. It's great that you are reading lots of information and doing your research, but be warned, you can just about drive yourself crazy trying to meet everybody's "exact" specifications. What's the most important thing is to keep the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates at zero, which you've done. I think your Betta should be fine in the conditions you've listed.> Oh and before I fed him the Hikari pellets, I was giving him "Wardley" premium Betta food. <Hikari is generally considered a much higher quality food - your Betta is likely quite happy with the switch!> Thanks again!, Jeremy <You are most welcome. Glad to help. Jorie>

Moody Betta I have a Betta who has a mostly electric blue body with red coloring everywhere else and a head which varies according to his emotions from navy to dark red. Questions 1) I know you have this up somewhere on your site, but I couldn't find it, how do you treat velvet. I'm having trouble telling if my Betta has it or not his head area has greyish, yellowish, brownish patches that are only visible when he's not upset, I can't tell if that's just his natural body color. if you could send a pic of velvet on a fish, I would be sooo grateful. < Bettas go through a wide variety of mood swings and it is reflected in their color patterns. Velvet is pretty rare on bettas but it could happen. If the fish are not showing any symptoms then I would leave it alone , make sure the water is up around 80 degrees F and make sure the water is clean. If there is velvet then reduce the lighting and treat with acriflavine. Velvet is usually a problem on certain killie fish. If you have an external bacteria infection then I would treat with a Nitrofurazone type drug.> 2) can you kill a Betta with 95 degree water, a last one died mysteriously sitting on the window ledge where my roommate put him to be admired then left him while I was out. I came back to a mysteriously dead Betta and hot water from the sun. < That's pretty darn hot for a Betta. At around 90 degrees the water cannot carry oxygen any longer. Even though they can take oxygen from the air it sound like it was just too much for him.> 3) I saw on one FAQ that a breeder had said Betta's taking and spitting out food repeatedly means they can't eat hard food well anymore. I think mine is an older Betta ( I only got him a week ago to replace the dead one) if this is so, what should I feed him instead? he has resorted to spitting out the food until it's a formless, squishy mass, then watching it sink to the bottom, then sucking it up . thank You. Katy and Tattoo < Try soaking the food to soften it up for him before feeding.-Chuck>

Male Betta makes bubbles on top container Hi, Thanks for your feedback, the information has been valuable. My male Betta, has made a bubble nest that covers the top of the container. If you look from above you can barely see him. What can I do to isolate the nest to just one part of the top of the container (i.e. put a small cup). < You can try and skim the nest to one part of the container but he will just make more bubbles wherever he feels like it.> Will he only make the nest in the cup. < You can try it but the bottom line is he will build his nest where ever and when ever he feels like it. Not all bettas are the same. What works for one may not work for another.> Is it OK to remove the bubbles that are currently there. < He will just make more in a short period of time if he is ready.> When I makes this nest is it safe to release the female into the same container as the male, for breeding. How do I know the female is ready. < The male should have a pretty good nest and be flaring at the female. The female should be very heavy with eggs and flaring back at the male.> Is it true when the male makes the nest he is ready. < The bubble nest is usually a indication that the male is ready to spawn.-Chuck> Thanks, Mario D

Concerned about the new Betta - sick or tank issues? Also, truth or myth? Hi, Thank you for the reply. Before reading this I had already divided them up into their own tanks but what is frustrating is how divided the different sources are on these fish. No offense, I'm sure this website is a good source for me to go but it's hard as a novice to know who is truly an expert and who isn't. Some experts say that some interaction (not in same tanks but near each other) can be beneficial to them to keep them somewhat active (exercise...) and mentally alert. < Just like raising kids, it is hard to find two opinions exactly alike.> The "mellow" one had a golden algae eater as tank partner and he tormented him but now in a 5 gallon tank, he leaves him alone or rather, the algae eater has a place to go and 'hide'. He's been much more active since then but like you said, he has his mellow moments. I'm enjoying them but my mellow guy I did move to see the other ones because if he couldn't see them, he would hit the corners in the tank constantly like he was trying to get out. Now he does his occasional show, and then he just hangs out. I guess it all depends on the fish and the environment. My other active guys have mellowed out two. The flare at times but hang out more and get excited when they see me. They now have their own space and seem to take to that very well. < In the wild bettas come from shallow little pools that males need to defend from other males to establish a breeding territory. These battles are often terminal for the losers so don't feel to lonely for them . That's the way they like it.-Chuck> Thanks for the update and I'll be checking the website. A new-found Betta lover Heleen

Betta, not for breeding Hey, crew how is it going. Besides that I have a few questions to ask you. First, I have one female and one male Betta a pleco and one snail. Now, the male seems to flare up a lot and chase the female around is that good for ether one of the Betta's ? < The additional stress of the male continually chasing the female around to spawn may eventually wear her down to the point to where she may become weak or diseased.> Also, my female changes colors do the different colors symbol a mood (like a mood ring :) or is it just because of the time of day? < Probably the change in lifting but some of it may be to display the mood she is in.> Finally, is it possible for my betta's to sense each others territory range (including the pleco)? Becuase the male stays away from the ornament cave (that the female seems to "own") and the female stay's away from the fake tree roots that has a hole in it that acts like a den to the male. < I think your female is making a last stand and letting the male and all the other fish know that this is her territory and she is willing to defend it.-Chuck> P.S. the betta's are not for breeding

Siamese Fighting Fish 10 Aug 2004 Just wondering if you can help me. I have a male Siamese fighting fish that I have had for a year. He has gone off his food and just sits upright in his tank. It is like he is sitting on his tail actually. I thought it might be because it is cold with the temperature getting down to 5 degrees. <You don't say whether that's Celsius or Fahrenheit but my thoughts on this are pretty simple though, if you thinks he's cold he probably is.> Do I need a heater or anything like that? Hoping you can help my little fella. <He may be showing signs of being elderly.> Helen

Siamese Fighters 8/2/04 Hi Robert, <<Or Gwen :)>> Some advice please!. My son has recently had to return Simon the Siamese fighter from whence he came as he was slowly devouring (haranguing to death to be totally accurate!) all of my daughters much, much loved and named guppies ( male). However he did so with head hung low and with a sad heart as he and Simon had grown close this last ten months. I was so proud of him as he offered to do the deed to save his 7 yr old sisters feelings, he is though himself disabled and though money is tight I am thinking of re-claiming Simon as a surprise for my son. Do I have to go to the expense of acquiring another tank to home him, or can he be cured of his psychopathic tendencies? I look forward to receiving your pearls of wisdom! Many thanks and kindest regards, Louise. <<Louise; I doubt Simon can be cured of his "tendencies"...:P Unfortunately, fish can be quite aggressive and territorial, and Simon appears to be both. You can keep Simon in his own small bowl, however, as long as you change his water frequently. The smaller the bowl, the more often you will need to change the water. Bettas do not require filtration, but he will require clean water, good food, and the occasional bout of interesting conversation with his owner :P -Gwen>>

Odd Betta behavior Hi - I have a male Betta that is about 3-4 years old. He's in a 1-gallon tank by himself, with a mirrored backing & filter & all that. Recently I have noticed that he has uprooted his plastic tree & is pushing it across his tank. At first he would position himself between the side of the tank & the tree & push, but now I'm not sure how he is doing it. He has almost made it to the far side & is now moving it forward past the filter tube. Is this normal? Is there something I should be worried about, or is he just bored? This is something new & I'm not sure what to think about it. < Male bettas move plants around to prepare to make a bubble nest. The plants help hold the nest together. This is normal behavior for a Betta in the wild. Eventually they hope to entice a female Betta that is ready to spawn in to the nest to breed. After a while he will give up.-Chuck> Thanks for any help! Susan Whitmarsh

Hiding Betta (5/11/04) Hi. Great site. My roommate and I recently introduced a fairly hyperactive molly into our male Betta fish's tank (it's a 2.5 gallon tank). <This is a one-fish only size of tank.> They pretty much keep to themselves but what I've noticed is that the Betta is constantly trying to hide and his personality has definitely changed. Is he annoyed? <Yes> Uncomfortable? <Yes> Would the Betta be "happier" alone? <Yes> I know they're supposed to be compatible but could the Betta be unhappy now? <Yes> thanks for your help in advance! <Although they may be "compatible" as in they won't attack each other, Bettas are a slow-moving fish and will not tolerate very active tankmates, especially in such small quarters. Most fast-moving, active fish do not make good Betta tankmates. If you want a healthy, happy Betta, I'd suggest leaving him alone in this tank. It makes a very nice home for a single male Betta that by nature prefers to be alone in such a small space. Hope this helps, Steve Allen>
Hiding Betta 2 (5/11/04) - Please Punctuate!
hi, steve. <For future reference, please capitalize the first letter of sentences and the proper noun "I." We post all queries and replies on our site permanently an want them as readable as possible. Our volunteer crew will have a lot more time to answer queries if they don't have to proofread them. Thanks.> thanks for your help! i took the molly out of the tank but the Betta is still acting a bit strange. he continued acting timid, even burying his face in-between rocks in the corner of the tank <It may take time for him to feel normal again.>, and now he's sitting on a leaf at the top of the tank with his nose just slightly above water. is he struggling to breathe? <Possibly needs more O2, but Bettas are native to relatively low oxygen water. There's no harm in adding a small airstone to circulate/aerate. It may help.> the water has been changed and is treated. i didn't notice any of this until we added the new fish (which are now gone) and a couple of plants we got from the pet store. please help!! <Try the airstone. If that does not help, you will have to consider the possibility that you added some disease when you added unquarantined fish. Do read and learn about the value of this step. Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>
Hiding Betta 3 (5/14/04)
I discovered the problem. I did some tests and discovered the following: Ammonia 6.0, NO2 10, NO3 2.0. So I'm assuming I suffocated my Betta (who's now dead). <Sorry to hear. Certainly ammonia is a strong suspect here.> By the time I could quarantine him it was too late. Oddly enough the molly is still alive but i don't have a filtered tank. I replaced 50% of the water with bottled, conditioned water and treated the 2.5g bowl with Melaleuca for what I'm assuming is fin rot on the molly. I'm also going to stop feeding it until the levels go down. I keep doing research but I'm not sure if I'm doing the right things because everything I read seems to contradict what I've read somewhere else. What other steps should I be taking? Thanks in advance. You guys rock - even though I've managed to kill three fish in less than a week! <Your biggest problem is that 2.5 gallons is a very difficult tank to maintain because it is so small. "Dilution is the solution to pollution." You may want to add some Bio-Spira if you can get it. This bacteria should get your ammonia/nitrite under control. Frequent water changes are needed in such a small tank. It's no big deal to change 1/2 gallon twice per week. If I were you, I'd stick to a single male Betta. This will be a good tank for it. If you can nurse the molly back to health, you ought to be able to give it back to the LFS and replace it with a Betta. Steve Allen>

Alpha Betta Hi - I've been searching online this morning for help with my new beta, and just came across your great site - I hope you can help me! I'm very new to all this, so sorry in advance if this is a dumb question:-). I just got my first beta from Petco last week, and he's living in a 1-gallon tank w/a bottom filter, a plastic plant, and a rock with a hole that he can swim through. The aquarium also came with an air filtration system, but I've kept that off because the bubbles seemed to scare him after a while (at first he was playing in them!). He'd only been in his new home for a day or so when I started getting a little worried - his color is still gorgeous (bright blue) and he doesn't have any spots/discoloration that I can see, but he's acting *crazy*! He'll swim to the top of the tank then 'divebomb' down to the rocks and just avoid smashing his head in...he wriggles around a lot near and through the rock (almost like he's scratching?!)...he'll rapidly 'pace' back and forth along the back of the aquarium . I know bettas are supposed to have lots of personality, but is this normal?:-) At first I thought it was just him adjusting to the new environment, but it hasn't really gotten any better. Am I overreacting? I just want to be sure and catch anything that comes up rather than waiting too long. THANKS! < Bettas come from slow moving shallow water in southeast Asia. They have a breathing organ that allows them to take oxygen straight from the air. They really don't like fast aerated water so it won't hurt to turn off the air. In doing so however it will disable the filtration system, so I would do away with the undergravel filter plate. If you ever decide to change to a different fish then you may need this system again. Without a filter the fishes waste will build up on the bottom so be prepared to change some water. Probably 1/2 a gallon a couple times a week should be fine. Bettas do like heat so make sure you keep the light on or at least get a small heater. I would also add some floating plants to give him a refuge. Live plants like hornwort would be worth a try. Even plastic plants would work. Your Betta should calm down with the plants. If not try moving the tank away to an area with not too much foot traffic and out of direct sunlight. Make sure not to over feed. Your Betta is not that active and only requires a small amount of food.-Chuck>

Betta Chasing Tail Any thoughts on ways to curb it? Right now I'm keeping his tank as dark as possible so he is not seeing reflections or anything that might spook him. And I have a little aquarium salt, Betta fix, and stress coat in his water (too much?). Thanks! <<Hello. You can try adding a white cloud minnow to his tank. He won't be able to fight with it, and maybe it will give him something of a distraction. <shrug> Keep up with the water changes, though. -Gwen>

On your FAQ page for Bettas, you mention that they sometimes chase their tails. <It's a weird trait, that a few bettas seem to have every once and a while.> Mine is doing that - and tearing his tail to shreds! He is on a good diet, has clean water. Any thoughts or ideas on ways I can curb this? <I had one years back that did this. I was told to add a drop of Maracide to the tank for 5 days (he was in a small tank). it seemed to stop the action after a week or so. I assumed that the fish had some sort of skin parasite, but the person that gave me the tip never specified... Since I was a newbie I just did it. It did work, at least on mine. Though now I think back and not sure if there really was any sort of parasite bothering it. Wish I could give you a scientific reason why that would stop this behavior but I'm at a loss. It worked on mine, and it surely can't harm the fish. I would try that and see if it makes a difference. If not, then I would look online at some of the Betta forums and chat rooms.> Is there such a thing as fishy anxiety disorders? <not that I know of... but you never know. If birds and dogs can have them, why not fish.> Thanks! <good luck. -Magnus>

Morning or Evening Betta ... going blind reading - 02/16/2006 MY DAUGHTER IS INTERESTED IN DOING A SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT ON HER BETTA AND HER QUESTION IS = IS MY FISH MORE ACTIVE IN THE MORNING OR THE EVENING? WE REALLY CAN'T FIND ANY INFORMATION ON THAT IF POSSIBLE COULD YOU HELP GET US TO SOME RELATED LINKS OR GIVE US INFORMATION ON WHERE WE CAN FIND THAT TYPE OF INFO. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME < Nocturnal fish like catfish are active hunters at night. Diurnal fish like your betta are active during the lighted hours. They sleep at night and are hungry in the morning like everybody else when they wake up. To prove this out you could set up a video camera in front of the tank. Set it up with a timer and video the betta for the first 2 hours when the lights are on and then again 2 hours before you turn out the lights. You could then compare the tapes and see if I a right.-Chuck>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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