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FAQs on Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish Behavior 2

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta -- near-complete color loss      12/11/18
Hello, please help with male pet shop Betta, Milo, whom we have had 1 year.
Over about 2-3 weeks he has become lethargic, mostly sitting on bottom and only swimming vigorously a moment or two if disturbed. Not eating for past 5 days. His body color has changed dramatically from purple-blue to very pale, nearly silver or white, with fins still purple-blue as usual.
<Is this fish in a heated, filtered system? This time of year the weather turns colder; and Bettas are tropical fishes. Very common for them to lose color, energy/activity w/ chilling>
There are no visible sores, wounds, external parasites, frayed fins, Ich, Velvet, or any other visible outward marks. We thought it might be old age because although we've had him only a year he was full grown or nearly so when he came home with us. After reading online we treated him empirically with kanamycin and nitrofurazone per package directions for four days. No improvement. Changed water. He's been hanging on quite tenaciously but seems to be breathing fast and/or breathing hard... from desperation we started metronidazole according to package instructions 2 days ago, just in case it might help -- perhaps internal flukes -- no improvement.
He is sole occupant of a 5-gallon heated tank, usually 78-80 degrees F, increased to 80-82 degrees F since he became symptomatic, unfiltered, with plants and gravel. 2/3 tank water change once a week pretty religiously. pH 7.8-8.0, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates about 10 ppm, GH and KH in upper ranges (not zero).
<All these values are good...>
The curious thing is, the previous Betta who died about 4 months before we got Milo, lived with us about 3 years in the sane cycled tank but died after an almost identical course.
<Am wondering now if there is something poisoning this fish... What sort of ornaments are in the tank? Any geodes, odd rocks, driftwood, plastic plants from other than an aquarium-use source?>
We assumed it was old age but with 2 fish in a row, and with how Milo is hanging on stubbornly *and* with labored breathing, can you suggest anything else, please?
<Yes; the use of some activated carbon in the filter you're going to get (likely a small hang on the back or internal power filter); to remove possible toxin/s here>
Time is so critical with these little dudes I'm going to start Praziquantel (Prazi Pond Pro) 5 gm/gallon now in case it's something external we can't see, like gill flukes...
<Mmm; where would the flukes come from? Do you have other fish present?
Feed live foods, use plants you've collected from the wild?>
apparently these can be a bane of Goldfish, which we used to keep. As far as I know there was no contamination with Betta gear but one never knows.
Thank you for anything you can suggest! And thank you for all the great info on WWM.
Kind regards, Milo's family.
<Am so glad for your concern. Please do answer the above questions, have your water tested by your local fish store (to check against your test results, gear). Bob Fenner>
Betta -- near-complete color loss /Neale       12/12/18

<<BobF far more expert here than me, but would wonder if a toxin might be to blame here. Bettas are very sensitive to airborne toxins for obvious reasons, including paint fumes, solvents, etc. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Betta -- near-complete color loss      12/12/18

Dear Bob and WWM Crew,
Thank you for the quick reply and for all the info.
<Certainly welcome Steve>
1. The tank -- actually 7 1/2 gallon capacity -- has always been heated with two 25-watt Eheim/Jaeger heaters. Temp. has been measured with 2 different thermometers (just in case!) and measures 80-82 degrees F depending which thermometer is accurate. Before illness it was 78-80 degrees. Forgot to mention, when we noticed Milo was ailing we started aquarium salt @ 0.10 ppm.
<I see; and would remove the salt through regular water changes>
2. The tank is unfiltered. We were worried that the filter current would be stressful because we found it tough to get a filter with low enough flow to be gentle for the Betta's fins. We will start a small Fluval
hang-on-back filter immediately, that we already have.
3. Should we add activated charcoal now, or continue with the Praziquantel? Believing optimistically that the Prazi or something will help little Milo will pull through. By the way, mis-type earlier, it's Prazi Pond Plus and the dose used is 9.5 mg/gallon.
<I'd start now and skip the Prazi... only effective for worm/vermes complaints; and I greatly discount that these are at play here. Again, where's the vector?>
4. Water tests are API droplet test kits. We will take a sample to a local reef store -- the nearest shop serious about fishkeeping -- today, ask them to test, and report back.
<Thank you>
5. Only decoration is an aquarium-specific silk plant which I'll remove at once. Bottom is aquarium gravel, about 1/2 inch. Live plants are small Anubias and some kind of aquatic ferns, 3-4 total, bought packaged commercially and individually from local pet store, treated with KMnO4,
<Ahh; a fave! Olde timey, but very effective if not a bit harsh oxidation wise>
then rinsed before introduction. Nothing else in tank except heaters, thermometer, and an airstone we put in when Milo became ill.
Thank you very much again. Here's hoping the answers above address everything. Please do re-confirm whether to go ahead and add charcoal now... just want to be sure we understand, as this will remove the
Praziquantel; but if your recommendation is charcoal instead of Prazi, thank you and that's what we'll do!
<Yes to the carbon (not charcoal..., see WWM if you don't know the diff.) and no to the Prazi>
Steve C. (Milo's adoptive dad)
<And you, BobF>
Re: Betta -- near-complete color loss        12/13/18

Hello Neale, Bob, and everyone,
<Hello Steve,>
Thank you so much again for your kind assistance.
Sadly, little Milo died while we were away getting the water tested professionally. The aquarium shop's only comments were that they found trace ammonia and that "everything else looks good."
<Good to hear. I'm old school about ammonia, and treat any non-zero level as potentially dangerous. Yes, the toxicity of ammonia varies with pH, so at acidic pH levels it's supposedly less dangerous. But still, if there's any ammonia detected above whatever levels in your tap water (neutralised by commercial water conditioners) then there's evidently a lag between the ammonia produced by your fish and the filter's removal of that ammonia via nitrification.>
Toxins worry me, too, and with further online searching I'm thinking I caused Milo's illness and death, and that of the Betta before him, by making the water much, much too hard. In trying to prevent a pH crash it seems I kept KH and GH extremely high over a long time, although pH remained about 7.8-8.0... water so hard that it must have been toxic to the poor little Bettas?
<Possibly. No real problems up to about 15-20 degrees dH, but above that, probably not a good idea.>
If this makes sense and seems reasonable as a cause, I'll feel confident to replace everything in the tank and start again after cycling, perhaps now able to give another Betta a happy and this time *safe* home.
<Definitely worth a shot, yes.>
Again, many thanks,
<Good luck, Neale.>

Amazing Website!     11/18/18
Wow, I am learning so much from your website.
Mostly, I am learning that I've been doing everything wrong!
<Oh dear. Well, I guess this is what they call a learning curve...>
I have a Betta who has been behaving very sluggishly. He's actually been "holing up" at the bottom of the tank, in a little "cave" made by the stones on the bottom.
For the past 2 days he didn't come out and I was sure he'd died. But no, today he's been swimming around and I was able to feed him. But this can't be normal behavior?
<Not really, no. Fish will often be reclusive for a few hours to a couple days after being introduced to a new tank. But if they're persistently shy, beyond what they should normally be like, then there may be something frightening them. Sometimes, it's bright light or unnaturally coloured substrates (such as white gravel) that alarms them. But other times it's the water chemistry. Fish will respond to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels by behaving as if they're scared. It's kind of like when cats are sick and they hide. They don't "know" they're sick, they just feel pain,
and their instinct when scared is to hide. Fish do the same thing.>
I've been speaking with Petco, who recommended bringing the water in for testing, and they said it was just fine.
<I would suggest letting us have the numbers. Get a water test kit, at minimum, a nitrite test kit. Non-zero nitrite (or ammonia) levels are dangerous, potentially lethal after a few days.>
But now I'm reading on your blog that "just fine" isn't good enough, you need me to tell you the actual numbers.
So I need to get my own test kit. What do you recommend?
<They're all much the same chemicals, so doesn't really matter.>
I've also been told to do a 50% water change once/week, but what about what has settled in the stones at the bottom? Doesn't that need to be cleaned?
<Not beyond stirring gently before a water change, and then using that water change to siphon out any muck.>
I don't have a filter. Should I have one?
If so, what brand to you recommend?
<Again, doesn't really matter. Small internal canister filters from the likes of Eheim, Fluval and other well-known brands all do the job well. The Eheim ones are probably the best in terms of long-term reliability, easily running 20+ years if cared for, while the generic Chinese ones will do the job, but seem to fail after a few years. So it's really down to personal preference and budget.>
I do have a small pump which creates air flow, and of course a heater.
<A simple box filter or sponge filter can be connected to the air pump.
These would be perfectly adequate for a Betta, which actually prefers little water current, so an internal canister might not be the perfect choice if you can't tone down the water flow rate.>
Two heaters, actually, since my house is quite cold. It sits at about 74 degrees in the fish tank (which is 2.5 gallons). Is that warm enough?
<Long term, no; Bettas really need a consistent 25 C/77 F, and more to the point, cold air kills them -- they're air breathers. So make sure the tank has some sort of hood to trap warm air. I can't imagine why you need two filters unless they're really poor quality. Assuming this is a 5 gallon tank -- the absolute minimum for "easy" Betta keeping -- then something like a 50 W heater should be more than adequate.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Amazing Website!     11/19/18

Wow, thanks for the lightning-quick response Neale!
<Most welcome.>
For me, it all started with this:
https://backtotheroots.com/collections/top-sellers/products/watergarden So I guess my first problem is that the tank is only 3 gallons. So this is really not sufficient?
<It's tight. Here's the deal. While Bettas *can* certainly live in tanks this size, the margin for error is much less. The water cools down faster if the heater fails, the water quality worsens faster between water changes
(let alone if the filter dies) and there's less volume to dilute overfeeding if you have someone look after this fish in your absence (something almost never worth bothering with -- fish can go weeks without food). Given that a 5 gallon tank is still tiny, and won't take up much shelf space, but offers up nearly twice as much water as you've got now, it's still a worthy upgrade for the future. I'd also observe that 'hiding' a heater and a filter in a 5 gallon tank is much easier too, because you'll have more space for plants, rocks, etc.>
I quit trying to grow the seeds because they leaked into the tank and made a huge mess, so now I am just enjoying my Betta fish!
<Seeds? What seeds? For what it's worth, it's not worth bothering growing aquarium plants from seed.>
He's been in that tank for about two years, so there is nothing new that could be scaring him.
So it's back to water quality. I will get a test kit today. In the meantime, I just did a 50% water change.
I keep a lid on the tank to retain the heat, but the temp is never 77 degrees as you suggest below. It's more like 74. I live in Colorado and my house is pretty darn cold! So I will get a new heater today too.
<Assuming you've got central heating in this room, the air temperature in the room shouldn't really be much colder than, say, 20 C/68 F. If you look on the back of many brands of aquarium heater, there are tables describing
what wattage you'll need to elevate the water temperature 5 or 10 degrees above ambient room temperature. You can find these tables on line, too.
Anyway, something around 50 W should be ample for a 5 gallon tank, even if you need to raise the temperature a full 10 degrees above ambient room temperature. Don't go overboard though, and get a really high wattage, as
these may heat the water immediately around them much too quickly.>
I read about gravel siphoning devices somewhere on your website. Do you like those, or just a regular filter? Or both?
<I'd skip the gravel siphon. It's a device to facilitate water changes, sluicing the gravel through the water being sucked out. While quite useful, they'd be much too big for a tank the size of yours. A simple turkey baster
(new, or at least well cleaned!) can do much the same thing if jetted into the gravel at a few places, and any muck that emerges can then be sucked out with your standard issue hose pipe of the sort (I assume) you use for
water changes. Note that water changes complement filtration. They're not an either/or. Yes, Betta breeders keep their fish in jars without heaters or filters. But those jars are emptied each day, and the fish room is heated to keep the water at upwards of 25 C/77 F all day long. Much too expensive and labour intensive for a hobbyist!>
Thanks for the info about Betta's not liking a strong water flow. Thanks
for all the info!

Betta; investigation re hlth., beh.       9/11/18
My male Betta is about a year old with long flowing fins. At least he did, he keeps eating them. So I started him in a bowl about 9 months ago, and noticed he was sad.
<Yes; Bettas need a heated, filtered world of a few gallons volume>
I put him in a 10 gallon tank by himself at first after 3 months. Then, I added 3 ADFs. All was well until 2 of them died in June, one from malnutrition I think and the other because the tank water got dirty as the other decomposed (I was on vacation for 3 days). The last frog survived and once I cleaned the tank and water I put them together in the tank. The frog started chasing my Betta around, nipping his tail. Then I noticed the Betta biting his own tail. I was told by a friend to put more frogs in the tank, so the remaining frog would leave my Betta alone.
Well his tail bites got so severe from his own stressful biting I decided to get a tank separator. The frog is on one third side, the Betta has two thirds to himself. It's been about a week and a half and I'm noticing more bite rips in his tail. The water parameters are safe for both of them, no ammonia.
<Nor nitrite... how much nitrate? Water hardness, pH? Temperature... steady, high? What foods are you using?>
The two are separated. There are plenty of plants and huts for my Betta to hide in.
<Ah, good>
I cant understand why he'd still be stressed! All of these events happened over months, not all in one week. There are no back to back factors of stress to cause this. I just really don't want my Betta to eat his tail away. Please help me if you can!
Sincerely, Savannah
<Please respond to my questions above, and send along a cropped pic of all.
Bob Fenner>

Re Betta <39 megs!>     9/13/18
<You've crashed our ISP server... PLEASE see our file size requirements... hundreds of Kbytes... B>
Re: Betta     9/13/18
Are these okay? Does the whole email have to be less than 500kb or just each picture? I'm sorry for the inconvenience, I wasn't clear on the instructions.
<Ah, yes; these are fine; thank you>
I'm responding with all the answers to your questions. The temperature stays steady usually, give or take one or two degrees.
Their tank is heated
and filtered.
<Very good>
The nitrate is up, but it is time to do my weekly water change which I am about to do. The nitrate is usually steady, but I admit I haven't seen it like before.
<Do strive to keep below 20 ppm>
The pH is 7.6, ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is 20. The picture makes it look darker. I have attached pictures of the food, the water tests as of now, the tank, my Betta, and the temp.
The tank looks more roomy than it actually is.
Thank you, Savannah
<I would add a bit of fresh, or frozen food to the diet; perhaps just frozen/defrosted brine shrimp every other day. Otherwise, time going by should find improvement here Sav. BobF>

My Betta; /Sav     9/19/18
I emailed a few days ago about my Betta and followed it up with pictures after asked to. I haven't received any word back yet and I was wondering if you found any answers. My Betta ripped his tail yet again. I'm really worried about his safety. The rips are getting close to his body.
Thank you, Savannah
<Yes Savannah; I did respond... Our corr. is archived here:
Scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Betta Erratic Behavior     3/22/18
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have a beautiful Pure White Dumbo Ear HMPK Betta, that I plan to breed soon. I have had him for 3 months, he swam calmly until now. Now he dashes around the tank when he wants to air and
then he dashes back to the bottom or into the java moss just to hide there until he needs air again. I have been feeding him medicated food now. I have recently changed his diet to frozen bloodworms from pellets to
condition him.
<I am not a fan of bloodworms, sewer fly larvae. There are a few companies that do a good job of cleaning (e.g. Hikari), but there have been many reports of troubles with their use. I'd switch to another food; perhaps Tubificid worms>
I do have the female in a breeder box, but I had her in it since I got them 3 months ago and he had normal behavior until now. I have had her in there for that long due to failed breeding attempt about a month ago. The nitrogen levels are fine, pH level is fine and temp is at 80. The temp did spike to 83 in a period of 2 weeks, but I was able to lower it back to 80 overnight. I don't know what is wrong, it might be the female in the breeder box? Or the temp?
<I don't suspect either the female, nor this small upward change in temperature are at play here. Again, all I'd do is switch the food. Use the search tool on WWM re "Bloodworms" for more>
Please help and thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior     3/23/18

Ok, it is Omega One Blood Worms, but I will switch as he does have trouble eating it.
Will Frozen Black worms work?
<Yes; when I was much younger, I worked at a Betta (splendens) breeding, rearing facility. We fed black worms extensively; including for bringing breeders into conditioning>
I heard they're great as long they're not live. Are there any other frozen foods you would recommend to condition Bettas for breeding?
<Yes; Brine Shrimp/Artemia, Daphnia, Cyclops...>
I just have bloodworms because I use it to feed my Butterflyfish and Moorish idol. Works great for them, but didn't
know it was bad for Bettas.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior      3/24/18

So my Betta seems to be getting worse. He just stays at the bottom. He dashes to the surface to breathe and then drifts to the bottom. His fins are clamped, nothing wrong with scales. He won't eat anymore, not even live black worms nor medicated flakes. What is going on? I think this happened ever since I fed blood worms, which I just started feeding last week, but I am not sure. Do you have an idea what's going on?
<Perhaps something awry with the fish's nervous system; could be a parasite at play... Only time can tell. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior      3/24/18

What can I do for now?
<Perhaps raise the water temp. to the mid 80's>
I do really care for him as he is certainly special.
He did eat a black worm. I plan to starve him for like 5 days to make sure he clears his digestive system, is that ok?
<I'd only go w/o feeding for three days>
Thank you for replying.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help? Beh. f'      1/17/18
hey bob!
hope you're having a great day.
<Thank you; yes>
I noticed my fish keeps burping or puffs his gills out, I think there really is something internally wrong with him.
<Mmm; these are natural behaviors for Labyrinth fishes... not to be concerned>
do you have any idea why fish might burp or make small air bubbles come out from their gill (not bubble nests) ?
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>
Esther Lee
Re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help?     1/17/18

Oh I see. Maybe I should quit worrying too much, & think "less is more" with this new tank rescape. Haha! Thanks for your input! Appreciate it.
<Certainly welcome. Many Labyrinth fishes are also called "Bubblenest Builders"...>
*Have a wonderful day! *
Esther Lee
<Trying to! BobF>

Normal Coloring or a sign of sickness? (Bettas)   4/8/14
decide to come straight back with a few questions! I recently came into possession of two male Bettas. Thanatos, or just Natos is a lovely black dragonscale crowntail with gorgeous red fins. His dorsal fin however, does not look like his others, whereas his ventral, anal, and caudal fins are red with black tips and silver streaks on the rays his dorsal is entirely silver with a bit of black on the rays. While it looks like normal coloration, it was something I did not notice when I bought him. But the thing I am actually worried about is this fine "dust" that I worry may be velvet.
<Mmm; not likely this Dinoflagellate... simply on the basis that it would have killed the fish. See WWM re Velvet and FW fishes>
Under a flashlight he has this fine dust kinda light brown in color only behind his head along his spine to his dorsal fin. He is active, eats well and when shown a mirror, flashes aggressively much like my steel blue bicolor, Mako.
I have not treated for velvet yet because I recently added API First Layer Pure Laterite substrate so that I could add in some Amazon Compactas. Both tanks are clouded due to adding it and I hope that the laterite dust is the "dust" that I'm seeing on Natos. The box says that the cloud will clear but it has been around 18 hours since adding the substrate. If it is velvet, I have a 1.5 gallon tank on hand to treat him in.
Mako is another story. I believe him to be a giant crowntail as when placed next to Thanatos, he dwarfs my poor little tough guy. However, his coloring makes me worry. Mako was a Wal-Mart rescue submersed in icky brown water.
Though he is inquisitive and lively, there are so many diseases in Bettas that I worry for the slightest thing though I try not to jump the gun. When I bought Mako, I had him housed in a 1.5 hexagonal tank with several fake plants, a bubbler set to very low(so that I would not damage his fins) and a small filter. I performed 20-40% changes when his water clouded, rinsing excess food and debris from the gravel (until I can get a gravel vac) and then slowly acclimated him back to the water by bagging him (I know this can be stressful to him, but I'd prefer that evil over a shock related death) and floating him in the water for an hour, the slowly adding new water (about 10-15%) every thirty minutes until the water is mostly the tank water, then released him.
He was rather pale when I got him, so much so I couldn't tell if the poor boy was supposed to be steel, black, white, or copper! After getting him in his tank he began to brighten up and I was able to identify his as a steel blue. He is very iridescent, and even his red fins pale out to a metallic pink due to a silver wash color that makes him very flashy to watch.
However, recently when I bagged him to add the Laterite substrate without harming him, I saw that the very ends of his fins were clear. Should I be worried or is that a sign of fin regrowth?
<Not a worry; either genetics or new growth likely>
His fins were tattered (beyond crowntail appearance) so I was curious if the clear fins was a good sign. He also has two large golden metallic spots on his gill covers that I wonder if it is disease or his normal scales.
Both Bettas are currently set up in cycled tanks, Mako's being a 5.5 gal and Thanatos' being a 5 gal. They both have Amazon compactas to rest on.
Mako has a sunken ship and a small forest of silken plants to hide himself in while Thanatos has a rock outcropping with silk plants surrounding it to hide in though they never use them. They're too busy trying to meet me at the front or attack their reflection... Both tanks received a layer of the API First Layer mentioned above. Mako has a small heater holding his tank at a beautiful 80-82 degrees while Thanatos is in a warmer part of the house that stays about 80-85 degrees year round therefore I did not see a reason for a heater. Thanatos has an Aqueon Quietflow that came with his Bow Front aquarium. Mako has a Top Fin 5.5 gallon with the power filter that came with it, which I need to replace. It is far too powerful for Mako and buffets him about like a ragdoll. To keep water moving I reinstalled his bubbler, but I'd like to find a less powerful filter that won't harm Mako or his delicate fins. Do you have any suggestions?
<Just the usual reading>
I still have the air powered filter from my 1.5 gal should I try to reinstall it just as a means of filtration until I can find a less powerful filter? Are there any Betta specific filters?
<Not that I know of; but any low volume one/s will do>
Both tanks operate at a often stable 0 nitrite and ammonia level that only minorly raises before I deign to clean. I have hard water that hovers around a pH of 7.5-7.6. My house operates on a 40-year old-country well. So I worry less about the chlorine, but treat the water anyway to err on the side of caution. Never know what nasties end up in the water.
<If you drink it... I wouldn't be concerned>
I want to be sure I am doing this right. I want my pretty boys do have long happy lives of comfort.
Thanks for your time guys!
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>

extremely frightened Betta     3/2/13
First off, thank you in advance for any information you can provide. So here's a little  background; I have been keeping Betta fish for about 4 years now, out of Mercy,  because I hated seeing them in filthy , tiny boring cups. Anyway, I have a 40 gallon SeaClear which is moderately planted and contains several hiding places, it houses 1 male Betta and 2 females and snails'. I also have 2- 7 gallon bookshelf tanks which are also lightly planted ( 3-5 plants).  I do partial weekly water changes, using SeaChem prime and tetra SafeStart bacterial additive. Each tank is filtered and I am careful not to throw out good bacteria with filter changes. I feed about 3 times a day small amounts of New Life Spectrum, HGH and Blood worms. Now, here is my concern; the most recent addition to my Betta family was temporarily kept in a 1.5 gallon tank  for about 2 months until I set up his 7 gallon bookshelf tank. In the 1.5 gallon, he loved to eat , was friendly and seemed happy, then unfortunately, while doing water change I stirred up the bottom of his 'tank' with a straw  a couple of times, to get the gunk that was settled between the river rocks-he now has gravel in his permanent tank- this really frightened him. Now he is petrified of me! I was so ready for him to have his new tank so he wouldn't suffer such disturbances. Well, despite the move to his new tank, he is still absolutely petrified OF ME! (He still has a healthy appetite and has been in his new place for about 3 weeks now) and I feel awful. He lays curled looking up at the  top of the water and watches with that sad puppy dog face. He is most definitely cowering. He swims around when he can't see me but when I go to check on him he'll hide and cower. I love the little guy and hate knowing I am the cause of his fear. What can I do to calm him? Thanks again.
<Really just a matter of time going by... the addition of a "dither fish" (or invertebrate, like your snails) might hasten this calming. Bob Fenner>

My Betta is scared of me   2/28/13
Dear Crew,
Hi, I have a Betta fish that is approx 1 year old. He is in a 10 gal tank by himself.
The tank is heated to a constant 78 degrees. I have a filter that I have slowed the flow down by roughly 40% so it still circulates the water, but does not pull him all around.
I don't usually change the filter media, I just rinse it out in the bucket of water that I get from vacuuming the gravel in his tank. I use the gravel vac to remove about a quarter of the water (2-3 gallons) I try to do this once a week, but occasionally 9-10 days may go by (but NEVER more). I match the temp of the new water and I add DeChlor before slowly adding the new water.
<Very conscientious of you>
I feed him Betta pellets sometimes I'll give him 2 or 3 in the morning and one or two at night and then every couple of days I just give him one in the morning and one at night.
When I noticed his behavior change I checked his heater and filter system and started to change 20 % of his water every 2-3 days.
The problem is he quite suddenly started acting absolutely terrified of me.
He hardly even comes out of his jungle to eat. (he has 4 silk plants that reach the top of his tank)  When he sees me he swims so fast that he hits the side of his tank! He was not like this before, he used to be like a typical Betta, kind of a flirt and always happy to see me as he was busily building his bubble nest.
I make sure that no one creates any kind fumes around him and I never let anyone put their hands or anything else in his tank. The only thing I can think of is I caught my cat drinking out of the opening by his filter, but I don't let her in my room anymore.
Do you think he got so scared of the cat that he wont come out of hiding anymore?
<Could be>
I don't want him to be depressed and scared anymore. What should I do? I wonder if he is lonely?
<Not likely lonely, and should "get over" the scare in time (weeks). I'd add a "sprig" of live plant for general purposes (Water Sprite, Anacharis, Myriophyllum) that will serve many purposes; including adding decor/hiding space.>
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Stacey
<Patience. Bob Fenner>

New Betta hiding - 05/11/2012
WWM: Hello,
I have a new Betta I bought yesterday in a 10 gallon. There are quite a few decorations in there and he is either behind the filter or elsewhere. I only see him moving from hiding place to hiding place, and my question is: Since I will have to feed him and they normally head to the surface how long will it take for hunger to take over?
WWM: Not long. But do check there's adequate shade and only a gentle water current. Obviously, no aggressive tankmates (and ideally none at all). Leave the lights off for a day (or longer, if there aren't any live plants) -- that often helps.
The guy that owns the shop where I bought him said that the store buys Bettas from a breeder in Kentucky with a warehouse sized building. Could the Betta be freaked out in his new surroundings that much?
WWM: Indeed, as any other fish.
Thank you!!
WWM: Cheers, Neale.

Re: New Betta Hiding – 05/13/12
Me again, with the new Betta I got a few days ago. He is in a 10 gallon alone,  80F, soft water, cycled tank, nothing toxic, the works. I tired to feed him this morning and he makes no move toward the food. I do not know if he ate it or not. He is floating facing the back of the tank. There are no lights on this tank but it gets light from the window. When I called the fish store the guy who runs the place said that Bettas are "slow moving fish" I realize that, but this guy acts like he is waiting to die.
<Could well be. Or at least, when animals are too sick or too stressed to "work" normally, they can certainly give the impression of waiting to die.
Animals of course don't have suicidal thoughts, but weakness will remove the energy they need to do all their usual behaviours.>
I had many Bettas in the past and within 20 minutes after taking them home they are acting lively. I have also had a few who acted like this guy who lived about two weeks before passing on. I am starting to wander if it is caused by serious inbreeding. This Betta and all the other Bettas that died were black crowntails. There may be something about the black crowntail that is messed up genetically.
<Well, yes, could be. The thing with all the fancy Bettas in the trade is that they're inbred, and the more unusual the variety (the more different to the wild-type fish) the more inbreeding was needed to produce it. Check out the health of pedigree dogs compared to mutts, and you'll see the precise same thing. If you want to buy fancy Bettas, then the risk you take is poor genes and a weak immune system (and quite likely psychological differences to the wild-type, too).>
I guess I just wish he would pass on or come to life. I was even thinking of getting another Betta and putting in the divider to see if that would help.
<Not a good idea. Basically, all you'd do is add yet another stress factor.
He isn't "bored" or anything like that, and doesn't need company. He's clearly sick and/or stressed, and your job is to find out why.>
Anyway thanks for reading!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.> 


Re: Betta losing colour? - 5/8/2012
Hi again I've attached another photo, hopefully that is a little clearer. I've read about Betta's colours changing as they age but Pedro isn't that old I wouldn't have said. We only got him around September last year although there's no telling how long he'd been for sale.
WWM: They're about a year old when you buy them, plus or minus a few months. In the wild they only live for a year or two, but in captivity anything up to 4-5 years seems possible with good care. So while your fish isn't old-old, he's certainly mature.
It is a sudden change, only over the past couple of days, possibly even since yesterday. He does seem fine though - he's eating and active so I'll just keep an eye on him just now, was just concerning me as we're going on holiday on Wednesday.
Thanks again
WWM: For now, I'd just watch the fish. Do a water quality test, of course, to see everything is good in the tank. But otherwise assume that this is just one of those things that happens, and keep an eye on the Betta in terms of swimming and feeding.
Cheers, Neale.
Re: Betta losing colour? - 5/7/2012 
Hi Neale
WWM: Denise,
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. The colour on his dorsal fin has changed. It was the same colour as his tail but it now has mainly turned white, it may be hard to see from the photo I attached.
WWM: Looked turquoise blue to me.
There are other smaller patches of white on his body under his pectoral fins too. It doesn't appear cottony or raised, its like the colour has been bleached out, can't think of how else to describe it.
WWM: What you say is likely what's happened. Solid colour Bettas are like pedigree cats -- expensive! The ones sold in pet shops are basically mongrels, and while they may be more or less red or blue in colour, as they age, this often changes. If the fin looks healthy, and the fish is happy, it's very likely you're seeing a plain vanilla colour change. Could be caused by genes, could be caused by physical damage causing the colour cells to change somehow. Hard to say. Did this appear overnight? If it did, that's odd. But if it's a gradual think over weeks or months, then it's likely harmless.
I'm just concerned as this is new, any idea what might have caused this? We have done a 25% water change since I sent the first email. Thanks Denise
WWM: Welcome, Neale.

Re: Betta losing colour?    5/28/12
Hi Neale
just thought I'd give you an update, my parents checked on Pedro the next day and his colour was back to normal and has been the same ever since! Bit of an oddity but just thought you'd like to know what happened in the end.
<Thanks for the update. Hope all continues to be well with your fish!

Betta Sitting At Bottom of Tank    4/21/12
<Greetings Kel>
I've had my male Betta for one or two months now. Originally, I had him in a 3.5 gallon tank with heater and filter. The water temperature was around 76-78 degrees. However, on Tuesday I had to replace the tank because I found a crack in it.
The new tank is 10 gallons, heated to about 78 degrees and filtered.
Tuesday night, I slowly acclimated him to the tank by floating him in a bag, and adding a small amount of tank water at a time. He was doing fine Tuesday night, but Wednesday morning I found him resting on the bottom of the tank. Usually he will be resting upright on the bottom, but every once and while he will be on his side. He does swim to the top occasionally for air but usually goes immediately back down to the bottom. I was able to get him to come to the top for a bit to eat last night, and he seemed to perk up after that and spent some time swimming around looking for more food, but after about 10 minutes or less he swam back down to the bottom.
<Mmm, did you (hopefully) move the old filter to the new tank?>
He otherwise appears fine, no injuries or anything else abnormal that I can see. He was very active before I switched tanks.
What could be wrong with him and what can I do to treat it?
<Could just be a bit depressed w/ the moving... But I'd monitor ammonia,  nitrite... Do please read here re:
and the mentioned FAQs re Amm., NO2 linked above.>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Male Betta Behaviour, no data of use 2/20/12
I have just gotten a new male Betta, he is blue with red fins and his name is Pascal. I have only had him a few days and am hoping he will get used to his new home
<Heated and filtered... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm>
but I just wanted to ask a few questions. Firstly he won’t eat his pellets at all he won’t even touch them and spit them out he just swims right by them and looks very disgusted at them. I have tried him with live blackworms and he loves these but I want him to like the pellets also for some variety and when I am unable to have live blackworms. Do you know what might be causing this?
<Some possibilities. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm
He was fed on pellets and worms in the store I got him from. Also he spends most of his time sitting at the top of the water, he hardly swims and he keeps trying to jump out of the corner of the bowl. The only time he really moves is when he swims around the top jumping like a dolphin for air. He does not react to me at all and doesn’t seem very friendly but I would like him to be happy around me. I had a red Betta who was extremely friendly he swam around all day and made splashes and would come over to the glass when he knew he was getting fed and this was all in the few days I had him. I would like Pascal to do the same. Is there anything I can do to make him happier and/or will he become accustomed to me and be friendlier after I have had him a bit longer? thank you for your help =)
<Read and write back if/when you have data, questions. Bob Fenner>

Betta attacking decoration   1/6/12
About four days ago we got a new (larger) tank for my daughter's beta fish.
It is a five gallon tank with a filter, heater, and a couple plastic plants and simple decorations.  One of the decorations is a cave with a very cartoonish turtle on it. The fish has been attacking the fake cartoon
turtle off and on since we put him in there. He never attacks any of the other decorations only this one. Is this normal?
<Mmm, yes... is taking this graphic for another male Betta>
Will he eventually stop?
<Should; yes>
 Should we remove the decoration?
<If easily done, I would do so, yes. Bob Fenner>

Betta changing colors and ghost shrimp  12/21/11
<Hello Judy,>
I bought a black Halfmoon Betta for a 20 gallon long. He looked black in the cup in the store. As we drove home he turned a light grey, and when he was placed in the tank his body was yellowish with black stripes and a clear tail. The next day he became active and is now back to black (like the song) :)
Anyway he has dots along his side in rows. I notice some Bettas have these dots when they are not truly solid in color. I guess the color change was all stress, but it was a really huge color change. I was wondering why some have the dots?
<Genes; stress; attempts to blend in better with its surroundings; or even trying to communicate something with any other fish in the tank. As you say, Bettas can change their colours. Humans have bred them to largely overrule this, so the farmed "fancy" Bettas have relatively solid and consistent colours. But under certain circumstances some specimens will change their colours to some degree. Not much you can do about it, except to say that fish have their most intense colours (usually) under subdued or shaded lighting and when fed a diet rich in algae and crustaceans. So, don't use brightly coloured substrates or unnatural decor, do use dark gravel and bogwood, do provide floating plants for shade, and do feed a variety of foods ideally including algae-based flake as well as crustaceans like daphnia and brine shrimp.>
Also I bought three ghost shrimp  and he is chasing them. I am thinking he may catch and eat them as he seems more aggressive than most Bettas. Maybe I should put them in the five gallon with the other Betta which is docile??
<Bettas can, do eat small shrimp. Not a safe combo.>
Thank you!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Strange behaviour from female Siamese fighter -- 10/22/11
Okay so I bought three female Siamese fighters and some males. I have all of them separated except the females. The one female has a bulging belly and I'm not sure if its the eggs or because she ate too much. I bought her like that and this morning I fed them blood worms and she wasn't interested at all. But now she is constantly swimming to the box where the male is in and hangs out there for most of the day. The thing is that there's bubbles all around the box but not from the male or any other fish and she's constantly swimming under it to where the most bubbles are. Or she hangs out at the side watching the male. Once or twice I've seen her dip her head and the male went berserk. Like I said her belly is bulging and the white thing is slightly sticking out. She's a small female and quite a young one too. She also bullies the other females. Why does she do this?
<Dominance play>
Also I specifically ordered her in a pet shop but I suspect that the breeder had conditioned her. Is this possible?
<... yes>
Is her behaving like this toward that male and bullying those females a sign that she's ready to mate ? And with him?
<Possibly; yes. Bob Fenner>

Really calm Betta or he is sick?    10/1/11
I managed to give away all my female Platies due to not wanting them in with the males and keeping the large tank on the counter. At the store where I dropped them off, I found an actual rare black crowntail Betta and bought it. I never see these around and I was thinking of getting one for a long time. I have an old five gallon and he is now in warm soft water with a hiding place. The Betta moves really slow and is now hiding in a plant, really still, like he is meditating :) Could the Betta be sick?? Freaked out by a five gallon after being in a small cup?? or just really laid back?? Crowntails tend to be feisty, but this guy is the most Zen Betta I've met. Thank you!!!
<Hello Judy. Bettas aren't very active anyway, and a day or two after purchase, they may well be spooked. So give it time. Subdued lighting and gentle filtration (as opposed to bright light and turbulent water) will both help him feel at home. So long as he's feeding and breathing normally, I wouldn't worry too much just yet. After a couple days, bring a mirror close to the tank and see if he reacts. He should get interested. Don't tease him with the mirror, but as a way of checking a male Betta is healthy, it's as good a way as any. Cheers, Neale.>

Red hanging growth in-between pelvic fin and blackening fins   9/11.5/11
Please help. My Betta Fish started getting black on the edge of his fins.
I took him to the pet store and they said it was not fin rot but looked like something was wrong. They told me to treat him with Bettafix.
Normally he lives in a 10 gallon BiOrb filtered tank, by himself. They tested the water and said it looked fine. (Although I must admit I was negligent in my care of the water apparently as I was told with the
filtering system I did not need to do anything for a while.) I took him back home, transferred him to a regular non filtered fish bowl to treat him with the Bettafix. So as not to stress him out, I used the water from the filtered tank, (as they said I should) however, I removed some of it with new treated water. I added the Bettafix. The next morning I woke up and found this red growth hanging in between his pelvic fin. A picture is attached. However if fell off after a little bit and I immediately scooped it out of the tank. Pout Pout seems to be acting fine, however I think he is a little mad/stressed because I took him from his 10 gallon tank and put him in a travel cup to get him to the store and then put him in 1 or so gallon fish bowl with no plants. He has flared at me a lot in the last 24 hours, and I have never seem him flare before. Also, his pelvic fins also appear to be turning black where they attach to his body, where the other fins are
turning black at the edges. Instead of continuing to use the Bettafix I am planning on getting antibiotics, as I think there is something seriously wrong. Can you tell me anything about what is going on? I have searched hi and low and can't find anything to help me. Thank you so much for any help. I am worried about him.
<Greetings. The "red growth" looks like faeces to me. Try treating as per constipation. Read here, the section on Epsom salt: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Feeding live daphnia or brine shrimp will provide a laxative effect, but the best food, if he'll eat them, is cooked or canned peas. Don't feed any dried foods of any sort for at least a week, ideally two, and just stick to these laxative foods. Constipation in Bettas is very common. For what it's worth, Bettafix is not a product I rate terribly highly. At best, it's a preventative you'd use if your fish has been damaged during transport or by a fin-nipping companion. Once a fish is actually sick, these tea-tree oil and pepper-tree oil medications are at best very unreliable, and at worst wasting time you should spend using proper medications. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta males, sys.  - 2/23/2011
I'm puzzled as to why y'all
<You all? Not me.>
recommend using an opaque divider in a tank with male Bettas.
<I don't recommend keeping two Betta splendens on one tank at all.>
My two males, Whirly and Zi, flared at each other for exactly 5 days after Zi was added. On the sixth day they basically could care less if the other was in sight.
<Hmm'¦ there's something called "dear enemy theory" in biology that might explain this. Animals need to spend their energy carefully, and that means learning to ignore things that don't matter. Experiments show that territorial males ignore males in adjacent territories that they see all the time, but will attack males they've never seen before that happen to come close to their territory. In this situation, it may be that males ignore one another once they've established they hold different territories, but attack stranger males because the territory-holding male doesn't know if this new male is a threat or not.>
And other than a random flaring contest they are quite content to just swim around their section of the tank or even odder they at times "snuggle" with the divider between them.
<They sure aren't snuggling! That's pure anthropomorphism. Fun to do, and we all think like that from time to time, but dangerous if you want to understand what's actually going on. Male Betta splendens are strictly solitary animals.>
They seem to be quite happy.
<I dare say.>
I get the feed me dance.
<Perhaps. These animals may well have trained you to offer food when they do certain things. Many pets do this, and we wrongly assume we've trained them to do something cute in return for being given food afterwards. It's much more common that animals discover if they do something, like wiggle their bodies, the humans around them dump food in their aquarium or food bowl.>
They are building bubble nests. Just very interested in the world around them.
<Sounds nice.>
Yes, I have a tendency to have oddball animals.
<Ah, well if you want oddball, do consider the other Betta species, like the mouthbrooding Betta pugnax, or the charming Betta imbellis, a species sufficiently tolerant that groups can be kept together, in large tanks, where the aggression between males will be limited to ritual displays. Here in England at least, these other Betta species aren't very commonly traded, but they are available regularly from the better aquarium shops, as well as through aquarium clubs. That may be the case in your own country, too; I'd encourage you look up some of these other Betta species and try them out.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Lethargic Betta, env.    2/15/11
I have a Betta in a 4-gallon bowl with a filter and heater (78 degrees), gravel and fake plants. I do about 50% water change every week; ammonia level and nitrate levels are good.
<Non detectable and under 20 ppm?>
I've only had him about a month and he was quite active until a couple days ago. He is now very lethargic, sits at the bottom of the bowl coming up for air every 10-15 minutes. He is still eating (Omega One Betta pellets and freeze dried blood worms). No signs of Ich or anything that I can see. I've just spent about 2 hours reading your site (love it!) but feel a bit confused. Add some salt?
Is he just "going through a phase"?
The only thing that has changed is the heater I had died, so I replaced it. He may have gone for a few days without his water being warmed. Is this enough to warrant his listlessness?
<Oh yes>
Thanks for any help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Betta Fish Behaviour Question!   1/22/11
I have a question concerning my current Betta's behaviour. My PREVIOUS Betta died suddenly after 10 days of exhibiting similar behaviour but in a smaller tank (2.5G). They would swim around the tank normally, then suddenly have a huge burst of energy and suddenly swim very quickly, as if they saw a ghost.
<Not uncommon. Despite mythology to the contrary, Bettas don't live in hoof-prints and puddles. They live in ponds and streams. So they're "wired" to explore quite large habitats, interacting with all kinds of other animals. Kept in tiny tanks, there's nothing for them to do, so they sometimes get bored, and this sort of displacement activity is the result, much like you see with cats kept indoors.>
He also tends to nosedive into the corner closest to me, after zigzagging at the side of the tank. I also noticed he tends to calm down when it's dark...I hope I don't have a vampire Betta that hates light.
<Well, certainly they don't like bright light, that's true. Floating plants are a plus.>
My current Betta is in a 5 Gallon, heated to 80°F, filter is set to low as to not disturb the water too much. I am using TopFin Water treatment, my tank was cycled sing NutraCycle and I followed the directions carefully. I acclimated him over the duration of 30 minutes, adding a little bit of tank water into his cup every 5 minutes.
He's been with me for 5 days now, 2 of which were in a 1 Gallon quarantine tank. At first I thought he was just excited to be out of the small cup, but considering my previous experience with my first Betta I am just a little worried. I tested his water and right now it is as follows:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrate: somewhere between 0 and 10ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Hardness: 150 GH
Chlorine: 0ppm
Total Alkalinity: 80 ppm
pH: 8.3
I've been making 25-50% daily water changes with the exact same temperature (I have a spare heater) and I treat it and leave it to age for about an hour, while the spare heater gets it to the right temperature.
Once again I'm just being extra cautious because I cried a lot when my first Betta died, and I don't want to lose another life again!
<Provided the fish settles down, and it otherwise swims and feeds normally, there's nothing seriously wrong. Think about shading the tank better, and perhaps some sort of enrichment, even a few Cherry Shrimps can provide some distraction.>
Thank you so much for your help and your time!
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Couple very interesting fish science reports 12/4/10
Hi Bob,
> The first is about male Bettas being observed to watch fights between other males, and with the information they gather, choosing not to fight against males they determine to be good fighters. This type of behaviour has hitherto only been reported from advanced mammals and birds, but reveals that fish may have far more complex social behaviour than scientists thought -- something I doubt surprises you or I very much!
> http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/siamese-fighting-fish-keeping-score/
> The second is about water temperature and fish behaviour, damselfish becoming bolder and more aggressive as temperature rises. Obvious relevance here for marine aquarists as well as, perhaps, conservationists given global sea temperature rises.
> http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/fish-personalities-why-water-temperature-matters/
> Cheers, Neale
Thank you for this Neale. BobF

Betta acting strangely- 11/2/10
Hello, My male Betta is acting strangely, and I am not sure what to do or what I did. I have had him for about eight months, so he is not that old. Today I noticed that he remained at the bottom of his tank, tipping over slightly whenever he lay down too long. Occasionally he will swim quickly to the surface for a breath, but then will nestle back down in the gravel. He also has refused to eat, and he usually has a large appetite. He has never done this before, and when he was feeling ill in the past he usually floated in his plant at the surface. He does have fin rot at the ends of his fins, which I have already tried treating twice with a combination of Maracyn I and Maracyn II. I keep my Betta in a one gallon tank, and change his water twice a week. The water here is hard, and I treat it with BettaBowl Plus as well as a small amount of aquarium salt. I feed him two pellets twice a day daily. I did change his water yesterday, and he seemed fine, but today he has been acting oddly. I'm not sure what I did, since I did not do anything differently than before when I changed his water, and I'm not really sure how to help him now. Would the fin rot be causing this behavior, or maybe a change in temperature? I do not have a heater for his tank. Thank you so much for your help! Sincerely, Anna
<Hello Anna. Bettas are tropical fish and cannot be kept without a heater. As you're observing, while they may survive summer without a heater, winter will kill them. They need to be maintained steadily at 25-30 C/77-86 F. Furthermore, their lifespan in tanks below 4-5 gallons is much reduced. Do please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bettasysart.htm
It's almost certain that improper care is slowly killing your Betta; the good news is that by upgrading the aquarium and adding a heater you should be able to save this fish without any further fuss, though the Finrot will need treating. Without warmth and good water quality, all the medications in the world won't save him, any more than penicillin won't help me if someone holds be underwater! Lifespan of Bettas in captivity -- when kept properly -- can be anything up to 4 years. Cheers, Neale.>

Lethargic Betta  9/26/10
I bought a crowntail Betta almost two weeks ago. He is in a 2.5 gallon tank
<Really is a bit small. Despite the "jam jar" idea that Bettas can be kept in tiny containers of water, they're fish just like any other, and are best kept in sensible amounts of water. Five gallons will do the trick nicely.>
with gentle filtration,
<Good. Now your problem here is that the filter takes about a month to mature, assuming it's a sponge of some sort (you don't need or want carbon, Zeolite, or any "chemical" filtration -- these are pointless in this
a heater (which keeps the water at a constant 78%),
<I assume you mean 78 F!>
and an overhead light. I turn the overhead light off at night to let him get some rest.
<Good. In fact plants need a fixed 10-12 hours per day, and anything more than that won't really help them much.>
He also has some live plants in there with him, all of which appear to be healthy and have no rotting leaves.
<So far! Plants take a while to die. Ever stuck a cabbage in the fridge?
It'll be "healthy" and without rotting leaves for some weeks! My point is that about 25% of the plants sold in the average aquarium shop aren't aquatic plants at all, and won't live long. For your basic set-up, there
are three plants to look at: Floating Indian Fern for the top, and two epiphytes called Java Fern and Anubias that you buy attacked to bogwood or small rocks. I would not recommend any other type of plant because only these three, and perhaps Java Moss as well, have any chance of surviving in your tank.>
Within the last 48 hours I've noticed that my Betta has become very lethargic (although he is still eating normally). He sits at the bottom of the tank for long periods of time (5 minutes or so). When he does move around it's basically to swim up to the top, rest there, and then swim back down to rest at the bottom. I researched the behavior and became worried about ammonia levels in the tank.
<Quite right. For the next 2-3 weeks, do this: change 25% of the water every day or two, and only feed every SECOND day. This should keep ammonia and nitrite below lethal levels. After the aquarium has been running for about a month you should find ammonia is zero and nitrite either zero or very close. You SHOULD own a NITRITE (with an "I") test kit because this is an extremely reliable indicator as to water quality. It should be zero, and anything above 0.25 mg/l is stressful, and above 1 mg/l potentially lethal.>
I did a 50% water change and added drops to neutralize chlorine and create a protective slime.
<Do understand that no potion you can add to your tank will magically make things better. Your aquarium is cycling, and as it does so ONLY frequent water changes will help. The only thing you should add is water conditioner, preferably one that neutralises Chloramine and ammonia and heavy metals along with chlorine. Such water conditioners neutralise ammonia in tap water ONLY -- they aren't going to fix ammonia produced by your fish as its waste product.>
However, my Betta is still acting lethargic.
<It will be so long as water quality is poor, as will be the case while the filter is maturing. Do as I say above, and you should find he perks up within two or three weeks. Resist the temptation to overfeed him before then! Emergency rations only!>
What else can I do?
Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale>

Betta fish behaviour  8/1/10
I recently bought a red Betta fish (about a month ago). I keep it in a bowl with some gravel and a fake plant. From the time I've bought I noticed that it doesn't swim around too much, very minimal. Sometimes when I tap the bowl it doesn't react at all while at other times it swims a little further away rapidly.
<First of all, please don't tap the bowl. Secondly, please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bettasysart.htm, as well as linked pages on Betta systems. Your fish needs more than you're offering it, and is succumbing to illness as a result of your lack of understanding of its
needs. If you read, and fix environment accordingly, you'll likely find your fish "recovers" very quickly.>
When I bought it at first it wouldn't eat. It still doesn't eat immediately when I feed it but the food disappears after a few hours, so I guess its eating (I feed it frozen worms).
<Please do read here on Betta diets:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/betfdgfaqs.htm. The ultimate diet, in my opinion, is a mixture of a good-quality pelleted food as a staple (I like Hikari Micro Wafers), along with wet-frozen (NOT freeze-dried) brine shrimp, bloodworms, Spirulina, and other small foods.
This provides a good-quality diet and lessens chances of issues with digestion.>
I keep changing the water regularly. My friend has a blue Betta and that seems pretty active.. (also kept in a bowl n fed the same frozen worms).
<Some fish are simply more hardy than others to start with. This would explain the random stories one hears of fish being kept in sub-optimal conditions and managing to survive (please note I did not say "thriving," because they're not). They're simply managing to not die. Treat your fish well, provide what he needs, and reap the benefits.>
My fish is small though. and so are its fins.
<Could be a female Betta, or else just a very young male.>
Please advice.. I'm a first time fish keeper.
<I think everything you need to know, plus a little more, can be found in those links above. Please do write back if you have any questions after reading.>
<You're welcome.
Hello again
Since this evening I also noticed that my fighter goes to the bottom and lays on its side on the gravel. I had changed the water yesterday. do I need to worry?
Please advice.
<Is all included in my response to your first e-mail.>

Betta acting weird  7/31/10
My Betta has been acting odd lately. I added new live plants yesterday and now he hides under the filter mostly. I used the Top Fin plants that come in no water plastic containers.
<Mmm, am wondering, and it seems you are as well, if these plants had/have summat to do w/ your Bettas beh. chg.?>
When I was planting them some of the fertilizer got into the water, though I believe I caught all off the pieces and through <threw> them away. Today I'm going to do a partial water change. Why do you think he's acting like this?
<Don't know given the data presented, but I do agree with the water change.
I take it this system is otherwise large enough, heated, filtered. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Dante G.

Betta attacks his thermometer   6/16/10
<Hi, Sandra. Melinda here tonight.>
My male Betta is acting strangely. In the past, he behaved calmly and built bubble nests.
For the past month or so, he has been spending a lot of time resting at the bottom of his 2 gallon bowl.
<Not a good sign. Let's start at the beginning: Bettas are animals, and the food they eat turns into waste. That waste, when left untreated, is toxic to them. In fishkeeping, we solve this problem by using good, strong filters, which move water over media. This media provides surface area on which bacteria grow. Those various bacteria eat that waste and eventually convert it into a much less-toxic substance, which we then remove with water changes. That bacteria has to have a chance to grow and thrive, which isn't accomplished in a bowl, due to lack of filtration and frequent cleanings. You see, Bettas breathe air, which makes it POSSIBLE for them to live in non-aerated, non-circulating water. They just go to the top and take a gulp. However, this doesn't solve for the other problem, which is management of waste. Please read here on Bettas:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above.>
For the past two days, when not resting, he has been swimming around his bowl in quick, jerking movements.
I see him attacking his water thermometer as if it were another fish. He also attacks his plants now and then before sleeping under them. Why the angry, aggressive behavior? Is his skin itchy?
<It definitely could be. The first byproduct of his waste is called Ammonia, and it burns and causes itching in his skin, eyes, and gills. In addition, when fish are in less-than-optimal conditions, they start to get sick. There are bacteria and fungi within his environment which wouldn't normally affect a healthy fish, but since he's having to fight harder to live than a fish in perfect conditions, he's more susceptible to them. I recommend you read, read, read what we have here on WWM about Bettas, and also read here, about the nitrogen cycle:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm. Bettas can live a long time, even up to four years or so, but many don't see them survive that long at all. The problem is twofold: Stores sell Betta bowls, and consumers believe everything they hear. What you're ultimately looking for is a system which is at least five gallons, with a heater that keeps it around 82 degrees or so, and a filter of some kind. Sponge filters are often recommended, because they keep the water more still, but I employ a small hang-on-back filter at its lowest flow setting with no problems. I like this filter because it takes up less room, and I'm crazy, crazy, crazy about media! In any case, what this fish needs is more than what you're offering. Testing his water would likely prove that water conditions are below optimal. What you're looking for in a cycled aquarium are Ammonia and Nitrite levels of 0, and Nitrate levels under 20. Information on what these are and what they mean are included in the link above. In short, you've got a lot of learning and some work to do to keep this guy healthy for the duration, and I hope that you take the time and make the effort to do so. Please write back if you have any questions after reading.>

Oily water in my female Betta tank 4/27/10
My boyfriend and I have five Bettas. Four males and one female. The most recent ones we bought were our small female Betta, and a yellowish male Betta. He is blowing yellowish bubbles in the top corner of his tank, and the female tank, regardless of how many times we've cleaned her water, still oily film accumulates at the top. We were both wondering if that is part of the mating ritual since the two tanks are sitting rather closely to each other, they can always see each other, if this oily film is not a result of them mating then what can be some of the other causes. Please e-mail me back as I am worried about my fish. oh yeah, and she's very lively and actively and eats like a hog. Thank you for your time Michelle and Jeremiah
<Greetings. The bubblenest he's building is what they do when breeding.
Mucous helps bind the bubbles together, so the nest can seem slimy or oily.
In itself it's nothing to worry about, provided the aquarium is big enough, properly heated, and adequately filtered. Most genuine problems with Bettas come down to poor housing and cold air. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Sad Betta   3/12/10
I have had my little Betta, Kenneth, for 2 years and a few months.
<Mmm, starting at a few months of age... this is about the lifespan of Betta splendens>
He was a not very well thought out present and came in a cramped vase.
<A poor environment>
I decided that was far too cruel so the very next day rushed out to buy a 9 litre tank (despite being told by the aquarium shop employee that Bettas should be kept only in tiny tanks). I also have some pebbles, a garishly purple plastic plant, a plastic ship's wheel and a small heater in with him, but no other fish.
<And no filter?>
After a sad night in the vase he perked up immediately in his new environment and became a rambunctious little bloke. Kenneth lives next to a window so he can have plenty of natural light though no direct light on the tank as I didn't want it to overheat. He's been fed on freeze dried blood worms (Tetra brand) and pellets (Penn-Plax Pro Balance Betta Food). The water has been regularly changed, about 1/4 every week. After reading up on this site I have added a small filter and a thermometer. His tank stays between 25c and 28c (it's just coming out of summer here and the flat we live in can heat up after 3 40c days in a row but hasn't seemed to have had an effect on his water temperature). I have tested the ph and it seems to be 7.4 and so then I tested our tap water and that is between 7.3 and 7.4 so I would assume that his levels have never really changed much in the years I've had him. After quite a lot of reading I have had some very conflicting views on ph levels. Some sites say that the level should be brought down immediately to 7.0 and others that I should gradually lower it and others still that say if it's been maintained at one level since the beginning then it is best to leave it alone.
<A pH in the low sevens is fine. Best not to try adjust>
The water is treated with Aquamaster Betta Bio Clean and Aquamaster Water Ready.
There are a number of things that have become increasingly odd about Kenneth in the last few months that have caused me to run all these tests...
1. Kenneth is now incredibly lethargic. The normally frisky guy has stopped swimming about. He spends all of his time just lying on the bottom of the tank and is having trouble getting to the top.
2. His love of blood worms has stopped completely. And he was never really keen on the pellets. I have added Tetra BettaMin Tropical Medley flakes to his diet with no effect. It was suggested that maybe feeding him every second day would pick up his appetite but this hasn't helped. He leaves it at the top of the tank to turn soggy and has even less interest in that mush so I'm guessing pre-soaking his dried worms and pellets won't help if he doesn't seem to like it?
<Worth trying>
But I don't know what else to do as he seems to be having trouble with the bigger pieces.
3. I have found the large fin under his belly is turning white at the point
where it meets his body. It doesn't have a furry appearance. I am keeping a close eye on him for Ich, but the white patch he has doesn't look like anything posted on the web.
4. And the most bizarre trait of all... he has a huge freak-out when he manages to catch a bit of food. Erratically swimming at blazing speed, repeatedly smacking his face quite hard into the glass! This is quite disturbing. Could he be going blind?
<Yes; a possibility>
I'm really hoping that this is just old age and not something more sinister. I would hate to think that all this is something I have caused by not looking after him properly.
Cheers for your help,
<Thank you for writing... I do suspect that age is a/the larger/est factor here. While having a filter, maintaining better water quality (e.g. lower metabolite levels) in this fish's water would have likely extended its happiness, life, I suspect there is not much that can be done at this point. Trying other food types, read here:
may help, even cure the blindness if this is due to a nutritional deficiency... Bob Fenner>

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

Betta beh., following water changes...    1/23/10
Dear Crew,
My brother has a red Betta splendens. Every time he changes the water he appears to float at the top as if he has swim bladder disorder (S.B.D.). I don't think he has this disease and why does this happen every time we change the water??!!
Thank You
<Make sure you're doing water changes the right way. New water should have the same temperature and water chemistry as the old water. You shouldn't change more than 25% at a time (assuming this is an aquarium 5 gallons or larger, and equipped with a biological filter). New water should be treated with a water conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, and copper. If you're using well water, it's a good idea to let the water stand for 24 hours before use. Don't use softened water (e.g., from a domestic water softener) or RO water. If your tap water is very hard, either use it as it is, or else mix 50/50 with RO water (or rainwater). But if you use RO water all by itself, there will be nothing to buffer against pH changes, and every time you do a water change the pH will dramatically rise, and the fish will be stressed. Generally, review the basic needs for Bettas: a 5 gallon or larger aquarium, a biological filter, and a heater that keeps the water around 28 C/82 F. Water chemistry isn't critical, but water quality must be good: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Bettas will NOT last long in unheated and unfiltered bowls, under angle-poise lamps, and other such numbskull ideas. It's a sad fact many (perhaps most) Bettas are killed through ignorance. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Colour Beh.  -- 1/22/10
Excuse me,
but is it bad for a Betta too switch its color of fins from dark blue to red?
<Farmed Fancy Bettas (like those bought in pet stores) can't change their colours, any more than a Brown Burmese cat can suddenly turn into a Lilac Burmese. It's all genetic rather than (as with some cichlids) the fish "thinking" about what colour he wants to be. But some farmed Bettas are a mix of blue and red, and as they grow, the proportions of each may change, so you can find red and blue streaks of varying amounts. However, you should be careful not to mistake colour changes in the fins with Finrot, which is a disease. Fish with Finrot often have red streaks on their fins, typically accompanied with loss of fin membranes and a distinctively ragged edge to the fin. Cheers, Neale.>
Thank you,
I don`t think he does. Is it alright for him to have his fin almost all red? Though he doesn't have any streaks.
<I can't answer this any better than my last e-mail, unless you send a photo. Bettas do not normally change their colours, though they can of course be a mix of two different colours, and as the fins get bigger, patches of either colour may form. But if the fins have hitherto been just one colour, but now have red patches, be alert to Finrot, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Our Mr. Betta is behaving strangely  1/5/10
Hi there --
We have a one-year old Betta. Since we got him last year he's been in a heated (81 degrees or so) five - gallon tank with a bubbler filter. He's got three plants, gravel and we're religious about half-tank water changes every ten days or so.
<So far so good>
We've only fed him the little pellets the whole year.
There is always algae in the tank, but nothing that appears to be more than normal.
Over the last week we've noticed he seems to be hanging around the bottom of the tank a lot and seeming less frisky than usual.
We also think the color on his body has faded. Yesterday we noticed a little bit of fuzzy, cottony stuff around the bottom of one portion of his tail. I took a sample of his water in to the fish store; they checked for everything and said everything the water was perfect.
<What values do you have to share? That is, what specific tests were done, numbers?>
The fish store has been out of the bubbler filter cartridges and so he's been without a filter for several weeks.
<? Run the unit with the old cartridge>
Last week I purchased a different filter; it drains a little bit of water into the side of the tank. At the same time I installed the new filter I did a really thorough cleaning of his tank, including trimming and cleaning off the plants. As a result, the plants are much smaller. Thinking he was looking for something more to hide in, I bought a little plastic (very ugly) plastic tank decoration that has a completely smooth surface. We boiled it and completely cooled it before putting it in.
The fish store suggested our fish could have Ick or Tail Rot
<? From?>
and so I purchased and did one treatment of Biospheres Maracide (active ingredients Malachite Green and Chitosan).
<All right...>
We would very much appreciate your input and suggestions.
Thank you,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Our Mr. Betta is behaving strangely   1/5/10
Hi there --
I wish I knew what tests they did. I just watched them dip two different sticks into the tank water and they said everything was pristine. We used our pool stuff to test the pH -- that was 7.2. Do you want me to go back and do the tests again?
<Mmm, no... but next time... I'd record what was tested, for what... and with what gear>
From what I read in your article, it looks like we should get some live food, do a water change (complete? Do I wash the gravel?
<I would only "swish" it not too clean...>
Get rid of the plants?),
<I would keep these>
add salt (1 tsp.),
and maybe up his temp to 83?
<Definitely yes>
We took the filter out and I'll see if I can find new cartridges elsewhere.
<Even running it with the old is okay>
He was really doing poorly this morning -- barely swimming up to us when we turned on the light, the cottonish stuff seems to have increased in the one place and started in another. The Ick medicine calls for another treatment
tomorrow. Should we do it?
<I would not... This fish doesn't appear infested...>
We are all prepared to find a dead fish when we get home today. Not a happy day.
<Do sustain hope here. Betta splendens are very tough fish. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Our Mr. Betta is behaving strangely 1/6/2010
Hi Bob --
<Big C>
No dead fish when we got home yesterday! We did a 50% water change with 2 tsp. of the water conditioner stuff (Top Coat? the stuff we put in to neutralize the gunk in the tap water), added quarter tsp. of salt (didn't do the full 1 tsp. since you weren't completely on board with it), turned up the heat to 83, switched back to old bubbler filter with a new filter, gave him some blood worms and today he is looking better.
<Ah, good>
Added bonus, that weird cottony-looking stuff on his fins is also gone; he looked like he was rubbing it off at one point. He is loving the ugly plastic hiding place too.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help. You saved another little fish life (and the potentially broken hearts of my 8- and 9-year-old)!
<A pleasure to serve, aid your efforts. Cheers, BobF>

Betta behavior  11/6/09
my beautiful bright blue Betta (McSteamy) seems to like burrowing in the marbles and smooth glass "pebbles" on the bottom of his tank.
<Maybe hungry and looking for food? But more probably, he's annoyed by the reflections in the glass pebbles and marbles. It should go without saying that the best (most humane) substrates are natural substrates such as pea gravel and smooth silica sand. Anything brightly coloured and/or reflective might seem amusing to us, but fish hate them. Pet shops will happily sell inexperienced aquarists overpriced glass baubles, but you'll notice that experienced aquarists don't go anywhere near them. There's a reason for
He comes to me when I "call" him by putting the tip of my clean finger in the water. He actually rests against it and responds every time. eats well.
He is very small so I assume young. Is the burrowing worrisome?
<May well be an issue if he's disturbed by his reflection. Remember, male Bettas are territorial, and they will attempt to drive off anything they consider a rival. If they can't do that, because it's a reflection not another animal, the continual stress can lead to physical problems. While there's some debate about how animals respond to behavioural stress, aquarists agree that a stressed fish is likely to become a sick fish.>
I appreciate your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Male Crowntails or Girls with Attitude?  11/05/09
Hi there! I'm having some Crowntail confusion. I recently came across a batch of Crowntails that look like females but act like males.
<There are fairly aggressive, territorial animals.>
They are very aggressive (as both male and female Crowntails are) and they are displaying their opercula (I've seen females do this as well).
They are not brightly colored (not pastels), but dark rich, red, blues, purples, etc. Very striking colors.
<Sound charming.>
Anyway, I'm very confused because they are very energetic with their displays, yet they have the shorter Crowntail caudal fin.<I see.>
Even the ones who seem rounder like females are also vigourously displaying. They are full adults, so they are done maturing.
<Since males are sent out to pet shops individually bagged, it seems to be rather unlikely they'd mix up males and females. I will make the observation here that mature females tend to show their white genital
papillae, even when not actively spawning, so a batch of female fish would have at least some fish with this obvious feature visible.>
Is there a male short fin Crowntail type that is out now?
<I'd expect so. I'm not an expert on these fancy Bettas, but my understanding is that some breeders do produce shorter-finned versions.
Cheers, Neale.>

Betta... beh...  10/8/09
Dear Crew,
My brother has a Betta splendens and almost every time he changes the water, it looks as if he has SBD. But he recovers after the next day.
<Have no idea what "SBD" is. Is this regional slang for something? Doesn't mean anything to me. But do review Bob's article on Betta systems:
Most problems with Bettas come down to a tank that it too small (less than 5 gallons), a tank that isn't heated (must have a heater), and/or a tank that isn't filtered (must have a filter). We get messages here from people with Bettas that are four years old, and yet the vast majority seem to die within a few months of purchase. Most of those dead Bettas were kept in small, unheated, unfiltered bowls. You can figure out the rest yourself,
I'm sure.>
Why is this.....
D. Gulla
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta... beh....    8/22/09
Dear Crew,
My friends, i have seen on other websites that Bettas can remember faces.
Is this true??
<Possibly, but there's little/no scientific proof that this is the case. So why not do your own experiments and find out!>
Thank you,
D. Gulla
<Cheers, Neale.>

HELP my Bettas are going crazy 6/17/09
Hello Crew,
I need help and I need it fast! Earlier today one of my female Bettas was acting weird. She looked as if she was squeezing her-self, the she would swim extremely fast jumping out the water (in the tank, past the surface) and blowing bubbles. Now my Crowntail Betta is acting weird. He keeps lying at the bottom of the tank for long periods of time then racing to the top, jumping out the water, and not eating. This is out of character for both of them and my male Betta usually eats way more then my other five Bettas combined! Please help me. I'm desperate for advice
Thank you in advance
<Something reads as being very wrong here... I suspect some source of poisoning... perhaps a nearby kitty litter pan... or household cleaner has wafted ammonia or other material into your Betta systems' water... Too late to counter the present circumstance, but I'd be looking for a root cause here, and fixing it. Bob Fenner>

Re: HELP my Bettas are going crazy 6/17/09
Thanks for responding Bob but shortly after i e-mailed you guys last night my Crowntail died. I switched out the water in both tanks, the female started acting normal right away but the male laid on the bottom still. I
even brought him out of the tank to get a gulp of air and put him back immediately but i couldn't help him. Thank-you so much for your help
<... Mmm, but what of the real cause here? Perhaps some sort of cover over the tanks would be of help? BobF>

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

Betta fish lethargic/floating  11/30/08 Dear Wet Web Media crew, I have a Betta fish that I have had for about three weeks. When I got him, he was very energetic, swimming around his tank and hardly stopping to rest, but for the last week or so, he has been primarily sitting on the bottom and only occasionally coming up to swim around. His fins have been very clamped and most of the color on his head has disappeared. Other than this, I have not been able to see any external symptoms of disease. (However, I also had noticed him "breathing" heavily, as his gills protrude out past his gill coverings most of the time as he breathes; they are a dark red, almost black). After searching on the Internet I decided that the most likely problem was constipation/swim bladder problems, and have been feeding him small amounts of pea and softened Betta pellet pieces twice daily. (He is only about an inch and a half and I was concerned I may have been overfeeding him initially). This has been going on for a week with almost no change. However, this morning he was floating at the top of the tank, with his nose on the surface and his body almost vertical. He will respond slightly to stimulus but basically just hangs there. Up until last night, he would come up and eat when I opened the tank lid, but this morning he won't even respond to food right in front of him. He is in a fully cycled 2.5 gallon aquarium set at 79 degrees, with ammonia and nitrites at 0 ppm and nitrates at ~5 ppm, and pH at ~7.8-7.9. I had also added some aquarium salt because he had some mild fin rot about a week after I got him. Is there anything I can do for him? At this point, I have no idea what might be wrong with him, and appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you for your time, -C <Hello Christie. Your Betta is still quite young, so I doubt old age is a factor here. Therefore I'd be looking at the environment. In theory at least everything sounds fine -- you have the tank nice and warm, and water quality is fine. Water chemistry isn't normally an issue with Bettas, provided you avoid keeping them in water from domestic water softeners. Hard water (such as well water) is just fine. But here's the thing: Finrot is almost always triggered by environmental or physical damage issues. If the fish is by itself, you can cross off fin nipping, so we're down to environmental issues. How stable is water chemistry? How stable is water quality? These are things to check. Soft water is notoriously prone to pH drops, and that stresses fish. In general, you want moderately hard water when keeping tropical fish because by default that gives you the best balance between hardness and pH stability. A lot of aquarists misunderstand pH, and assume fish care about it; they don't! What matters is the pH is stable. Next up, water quality may be good now, but is it always good, e.g., shortly after feeding? Check the nitrite level three or four times across a normal day, and see if it's consistently low. Aquarium salt doesn't treat Finrot and I have no idea why someone recommended that to you. You need to use a reliable medication, such as Maracyn (in the US) or eSHa 2000 (in Europe) to name some examples. Avoid being tricked into buying Melafix or Pimafix; these don't work reliably, despite being "new age" and cheap. Do understand that if Finrot isn't treated promptly the bacteria spread into the body of the fish, inevitably leading to a painful and miserable death. So long as he's still moving about and eating, you have a chance to fix him. I'd also make the point 2.5 gallons isn't really adequate, no matter what people sometimes suggest. That's hardly any water, and unless you're an expert fishkeeper who fully understands water chemistry and quality issues, all you're doing is making life difficult for yourself. A tank twice this size would be infinitely better. Do look over this month's Conscientious Fishkeeper Magazine; we have a couple of articles right up your street. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/betta.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Betta, beh.   10/1/08
Hi I have a half moon Betta what my concern is that it will go to the center of the tank and start chasing its tail.
<Very common... some folks consider that male Betta splendens are "autistic"... they don't recognize their tails are their own>
Then the next thing I noticed was a lot of pieces of its tail was gone.
<Mmm, this is a bit odd... are there other animals present?>
It does this a lot. What do I do?
<Perhaps a "dither" fish or other animal... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettabehfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta, beh. ... reading, not still...  8/18/08 Hi I have a half moon Betta what my concern is that it will go to the center of the tank and start chasing its tail. <Very common... some folks consider that male Betta splendens are "autistic"... they don't recognize their tails are their own> Then the next thing I noticed was a lot of pieces of its tail was gone. <Mmm, this is a bit odd... are there other animals present?> It does this a lot. What do I do? <Perhaps a "dither" fish or other animal... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettabehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>" Hi, Bob no their are no other fish or any other animals present. I have him in a hex 5 gallon. So now what do I do any answers for this one? Thank you Irene <? A good idea to add some other "dither" fish... see WWM re... and their Compatibility with Betta splendens (the search tool, indices). BobF>

crown fighting fish... beh./hlth.  9/26/08
I have a crown fighting fish and have had it for about a year now, recently it has been doing unusual things like floating to the top on its side like its playing dead but its actually still alive & eating. I never see him at the bottom of the fish bowl anymore, and if he tries to swim down , its with much effort, its like there's a magnet at the top of the water and he's stuck to it, on it's side...why?
<Can't answer this without information on the environment. Bettas never do well in "bowls" without heaters or filters, so my first questions are how warm is this bowl and what is the ammonia or nitrite concentration of the water. Bettas are fish, and like any tropical fish need warm, filtered water to stay healthy. Sticking them in bowl at room temperature is sure way to send one to a speedy death. It's a shame people get persuaded by retailers that they can be kept in bowls; they can't. Let's show respect to the Betta, and ensure that these fish are always kept in aquaria at least 5 gallons in size and with a filter and a heater keeping the water at not less than 25C/77F. If you aren't doing these things, then that's what's caused your fish to get ill. Cheers, Neale.>

Article submission   9/14/08
Hello Mr. Fenner,
My name is Lonnie Lindberg, I had sent an email on Sept. 10 regarding an article I had written concerning Betta behavior and some research that I had done while in college.
I was wondering if it had gone through and if you had a chance to review (the file attached was in .doc format).
Thank you,
<Mmm, I know naught re... Am sending to our two editors for resp. Cheers, BobF>

Hello Lonnie,
Your Betta article arrived a few days ago, but I hadn't got around to reading it until today. It looks sound, but I do have a few ideas that might improve the piece and so make it especially useful to our readership:
1. Try dividing the article up into sections with subheadings of their own. It's a fact that reading on screen is different to reading from books. Short paragraphs (3-4 lines) work best. Ideally put just a few paragraphs in each section, so that people can easily track where they are in the article as they scroll the page.
2. Images! These make a big difference to any article. How about a photo of a perfect Betta aquarium? We get messages from people with Bettas in pint pots with angle-poise lamps over them for heat. Obviously no way to keep any fish. So how about your ideas, plus some recommendations of what's essential and what's optional.
3. Since your piece is somewhat focused on behaviour, I'd suggest opening with an introduction to the species, a summary of how you maintain and feed your lab animals, and then a succession of sections describing clearly distinguished behaviours. (In this case, I think each of your experiments would qualify as a single, clearly titled section.) An additional section would describe the "further work" aspect you discuss; essentially the Discussion section of an academic paper.
4. Round off the article with a section on how your (academic) investigation of Betta behaviour helps the (practical) fishkeeper keep their livestock well. I think a table of "good" and "bad" tankmates would make sense here.
Please do get in touch if you want to discuss any of this further.
Cheers, Neale
<Outstanding... and worth archiving for the edification of other submitters, writers. BobF>

Re: Attention Mr. Bob Fenner-Article Submission   9/16/08 Yes, I see Betta problems right now on the dailies.....*bangs head off wall* <Indeed.> This is the first time I've received an email with 'cheers' at the end...so....I guess it IS a British thing :) <Ah, perhaps so. It's just an informal way to say "bye bye" in an e-mail. It's used in spoken British English in all kinds of ways, including when saying thank-you for some minor service or interaction. I think it's spreading across the Atlantic: some of my American friends use it as well.> Yey! Thanks again :) I'll contact you if I have anymore questions. <By all means do so! Learning to switch from academic to general interest writing is a key skill for any scientist, any yet very few have that skill. The result is that the public tend to get their information from people who aren't scientists, and that surely is one reason Western society has such a poor understanding of science, despite being completely dependent on it.> Even though cheers is different here I raise another glass to you ;) Lonnie <Thanks! Look forward to reading your updated submission, Neale.>

Betta Question (Behaviour)   9/11/08
Dear WWM crew,
Hi, I recently purchased a Betta whom I named Opey. I would say he is approximately 6 - 12 months old; not sure. I put him in a 6.6 gallon tank with a heater, filter, air pump, some decorations and hiding places for him.
<All sounds lovely.>
The temperature of the tank is reading 77.6. All readings are normal: pH - 7.0, Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - 10. Opey's colors are vibrant and there is no evidence of torn fins or any problems with his body. He is also eating very well and there appears to be no signs of any diseases. He is swimming around his tank a lot.
<Water chemistry/quality sounds spot on.>
My previous Betta named Bartholomew who lived for 2-1/2 years would never swim away from me; in fact when I approached his tank he would swim towards me and do his dance. Opey darts away from me, it seems like he is scared or something is wrong. My question is: is this normal, since I only had him for two days?
<Yes; do also think about things from the perspective of your fish. They are very sensitive to vibrations, so putting the tank somewhere close to noises will disturb them. Hard tables on hard floors can let footsteps echo through the tank, for example. But given time, your Betta should settle down, all else being equal. Resist the temptation to keep dumping food in the tank; he can "live off his hump" (as we say in England) for a while. Better to let him just settle in, get a feel for his new home. Some floating plants will make a big difference, if you don't already have some.>
Please give advice. Thanks ahead of time for your help - Jean
<Good luck, Neale.>

Two red lines on Betta's gills...   8/23/08 Hi, I have had my Betta, Theo Philas, for about a good three months now. He's extremely active and eats very well. Lately, I have noticed that each of his gills have two red vertical lines on them. I think the scales are missing. <Are these markings symmetrical? That is, appear the same on/with either gill?> Not sure. His condition has not worsened though. By that I mean that he's not become lethargic or stopped eating. He still eats the same amount of food that I always give him and he even follows my fingers around until I drop the pellets in the bowl. Normal behavior. Everything seems fine except these red lines. I'm a little worried so I felt that I should ask about them. Could you tell me what they are? Thanks, Taylor <As you state this animal appears in good health and the marks may be bisymmetrical, I suspect that this is a genetic matter... That is, a natural, perhaps scale-less condition on this animal that results in some part of the gill/branchiostegals showing through in these areas. Please so send along images of both sides if you can... and consider looking into breeding this fish to "fix" this trait. Bob Fenner>

Quirky personality?  Betta beh.  -- 07/28/08 Greetings again WetWeb crew, I apologize for my earlier very short e-mail, I accidently hit a wrong button and sent it away before I had actually composed! Whoops! My name is Angela, and I have two new Bettas. A male "Beast", and a female "Harlot". Before I ask my questions, some background. I read all night long (until 4 a.m.) a few nights before I purchased my babies. <Commendable> I am aware that it is not smart to place my babies together except limitedly, when courting and spawning. However, I came across many, many testaments to the theory that all Bettas have unique personalities, and that in some cases a male and female have cohabitated peacefully. <Exceedingly few> I decided to see if my two would be able to get along, fully prepared to separate if they cite irreconcilable differences. I prepared my tank with the proper cycling, they have a small heater set to 79 degrees, a ten gallon, <A good size...> filtered tank, a large variety of large to medium sized leaved silks, tree stump cave, roman columns fixture, and a small archway rock. I tested all my levels in the water (avoiding the strip tests as advised by a WWM crew member in a FAQ). Everything tested perfectly. This afternoon I introduced them to the tank. Following advice from another source, I introduced Harlot first, (due to the fact that prior observation showed her to be the least aggressive of the two) I let her acclimate and explore for about fifteen minutes and she settled nicely after avid exploring. Then I introduced Beast. He followed the same routine she did, flitting to and fro and ducking in and out of hiding spaces. But after several hours of observation, (I am watching them VERY closely) I started noticing some unusual displaying from Beast. Therein lies my question. I am wondering if the displays I am seeing in him are typical, and if they are, would they be classified as courting displays? <Likely so> Or displays of aggression? <And a bit of this> He showed interest in Harlot after about ten minutes of exploring on his own, he proceeded to initiate a curious game of chase. He did not flare at all for a while, not even when first noticing her. During this game of chase, he gave her plenty room and always followed no more or less than apprx. 2.5 inches behind her. Not a very aggressive game of chase. She did flare at him and let him know that his close proximity was not desired. He gave her some space then "ambushed" her. Not with maliciousness, more like "Boo! I see you!". He then proceeded to flare his fins all about with no gill plate flaring, and circled her a few times, stopping to her side and curving himself like a fishhook (sorry bout that comparison) in front of her. She flared at him and darted away to hide. Jump ahead one hour, with no incidents. I decided to go ahead and give them their first meal, giving them a small helping of Hikari Gold Betta pellets. Then Beast did something that really made me think he was un-balanced. He sucked up a pellet, found Harlot, spit it at her?! Flew around the tank with glee, pausing at the top of the tank to spit some bubbles, throw his gill plates out, and swam to the tree stump cave and rested. What on Earth, Mars, and Pluto is he on?? <Life?> I have looked and looked for another account of such odd Betta behaviour and found none that compares. Is he hormone crazed and committing acts similar to pulling a girls pigtails for attention? <Of a kind, yes> Or is he so ticked at not having his own space that he has gone off the abyss at the deep end? Please, if u <... careful here> can give me your insight or opinions it would be much appreciated. <You have them> I would be very upset if my beautiful Beast is psychotic, I'm not sure I could locate a padded Betta tank in my rural part of Texas.. I love this website! I find it the most comprehensive and vast resource on the web. You guys are fabulous and I find that your responses to a lot of the questions you receive are hilarious at times as well as informative. Howdy! from Texas. ~Angela <And a big how-do to you Angela. BobF in Kailua> P.S. please feel free to animate an imaginary voice in your head while reading my mail that has our charming Texan sound...as much as I abhor it! We sound hilarious and its fun! Much affection! <Ah my friend...> My Betta is laying on its side all of a sudden at he top of the aquarium   6/27/08 Hello again, My Betta is laying on its side all of a sudden at he top of the aquarium. He seems to have a problem diving and staying underwater and is staying at the surface on his side. He looks like if he gets any worse he could die. I've cut his food down to 4 pellets a day a couple weeks ago so this doesn't make sense to me. <May need more nutrition than this> I have Maracyn which I've used twice before for fin rot. The aquarium pH is 7.8 <A bit high> and the ammonia reads 0.1mg/L. <Toxic... should be zero, zip, nada> Its a Heated(80'f) 10gal. tank with filter and I'm using Prime to condition water. Their are plants rotting which I'm going to remove with the water change. He may have eaten fruit fly but I highly doubt it. Help its floating on its side! <... what sort of filtration? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta color and behavior   6/23/08 Dear Crew, <Hello,> I have three Bettas (one male and two females) in a 100 liter community tank with guppies and algae-eaters. They all seem to get along fine, the Bettas mostly ignore the other fish, unless they get in the way, in which case they simply display, and there are no biting issues between the Bettas. The male will display and sometimes chase the females, but not excessively and there is no fin nipping involved. Since the females have established their hierarchy, there is also no fighting between them. <Sounds nice.> I feed them a mix of flakes, dried mosquito larvae, Betta flakes (which aren't popular) as well as tablets for the bottom feeders, which the Bettas will also nip at. Water temperature is kept consistent with a heater at 77 Fahrenheit, there are lots of live plants and hiding places. The tank has been running for slightly over a week. Yesterday I noticed that many of the fish were bomb diving and rubbing the side of their body against plants and sand, which I've read to be a sign of a parasite infection, even though their fins and scales show nothing out of the ordinary. I am planning on buying anti-parasite medicine today. <Very good. "Scratching" now and again is normal, just as with any other pet animal. But if repeated and frequent, can be a sign of trouble. Sudden changes in pH and water quality can be one factor. Whitespot (Ick) is another common cause. So do a water chemistry/quality test, and then look the fish over for signs of Ick parasites.> I have two questions: The male will sometimes do what I can only describe as yawning, widely opening his mouth, and then closing it. It's not all the time, but I was wondering what it is, and if I should be concerned about it or not. <Pretty normal. Fish "yawn" to exercise their jaws, to threaten other fish, perhaps even when they're bored or sleepy! Unless coupled with something like heavy breathing or gasping at the surface, not normally a problem.> Secondly, the females will change color often and rapidly. Sometimes they have a very dark, vibrant, iridescent tone that goes between purple, blue, and green, and sometimes they turn white/gray, with three black horizontal bars across their bodies. I read that horizontal bars are a sign of stress, however all fish seem to get along, and no one is overly shy/hiding all the time. They are all very active and curious, they all are eating normally, they swim around the entire tank, besides the male occasionally flaring and pursuing the female there is no aggressiveness. In fact, within two days of filling the tank, the male fish made a nest, and successfully paired with the dominant female (though unfortunately the guppies ate the hatchlings), which I take as a sign that they feel safe in this tank. <In groups, it is indeed common for Betta spp. to vary their colours to communicate social status, sexual availability, threats, and so on. Again, in itself not a problem unless coupled with aberrant behaviour or alarming physical symptoms.> Why do my females go through such dramatic and rapid color changes, and if the black horizontal lines are from stress, what can I do to calm them? Could the possible parasite infection be causing physical stress? <Unlikely. If fish are feeding and otherwise interacting normally with their environment, then accept the colour changes for what they are, the way Bettas "speak" to each other. Experienced aquarists certainly do use fish behaviour to detect problems, but in conjunction with other observable things such as physical damage, loss of appetite, gasping, nervousness, shyness, and so on.> Thank you so much for you time, if possible I would appreciate a direct reply. Concerned Betta Mama <Cheers, Neale.>

If only I didn't have so many questions! Betta beh.  4/22/08 I have ANOTHER question! I have 2 actually. I've heard things about Bettas making bubble nests. Bubble nests are where they make bubbles and they pile up at the top of the tank, right? <Pretty much bubbles of saliva and air, yes. In many species there's some bits of plant material included as well.> My other question is my fish have been jittery and jumpy lately. Does that mean anything, like I should give special  treatment to? <Certainly a warning sign that experienced fishkeepers learn to recognise. Check all the usual things: sudden changes in pH, drop in water quality, fish that have started to breed or become territorial, and so on.> Sorry to ask so many questions, Brogan <Not a prob. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Appearance Changing  04/14/2008 Dear WWM, <Jean> I have a Betta for almost 2 1/2 years now. <Getting old/er...> I noticed his scales had changed, they seemed to be more defined and they seemed to be sticking out a little. <Good observation. You are not "seeing things"... this is actually happening> I know he has been constipated, can this cause the scales to stick out a little? <Mmm, yes> Or is this old age? <Very likely so> Or is this Dropsy? <Not likely directly> He does not show any other symptoms of Dropsy; he is still eating and sometimes recognizes our presents. <Heee!> I do notice that he has been sleeping a lot. Also, I read that when a Betta gets older they become less active and their scales appearance can change a little. Please give advice. Thanks ahead of time. Jean <I do think your Betta is... just getting old. Happens in happy circumstances. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Betta chasing his tail... what they do   04/14/2008 Hey WWM crew, Thank you so much this wonderful resource. You've really helped me a lot before. <Ah, good> I have a 2.5 gallon rectangular tank with the following specs: Resident: 1 Blue male Betta Temp: 80F - 81.5F (heated with a 25W heater) pH: ~7.2 Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0ppm (no detectable quantities anyway) Planted with a Betta Bulb (some sort of Aponogeton I understand) and a bit of pygmy chain sword in Eco-Complete gravel. The filter is a Whisper 3i bubble driven filter, but I replaced the carbon cartridge with a Biomax insert for an Aquaclear filter, and macgyvered a foam cover for the intake for the filter from and Aquaclear foam insert. <Ahh!> I did this after reading on your site that there was little use for carbon filtration in a freshwater aquarium under typical conditions, and that surface area for bio-filtration should be prioritized. My other motivation for the foam was that I wasn't entirely sure the intake hadn't torn my Betta's caudal fin slightly in the first week I owned him (any change was too minor to tell for sure). I've had him for a couple months now and things have gone very well. He's always seemed like a very confidant Betta building bubble nests, eating everything I feed him without hesitation (feed Betta Bio-Gold and couple frozen blood worms), often prancing around his tank with his fins flared to show who's boss. He was always remarkably unintimidated by my hand in his tank, really not the least bit skittish. He did have the odd habit of tearing little pieces out of the Aponogetons leaves (which I've never caught him doing, but who else could it be). Since things were going so well I made a point of trying not to change anything, or at least only small gradual changes. <You are wise here> His caudal fin always seemed a little short at the top and of and perhaps twice as long at the bottom, which I didn't think too much of since it always had that shape (he was in good condition when I got him. Previously he was in a little condo in a big 60 gallon tank, from a real aquarium only store that seemed to know what they were doing). I woke up about a week ago to find him chasing his tail, which to be honest didn't strike me as a problem, since he gave up ten seconds later and it just seemed silly. It occurs to me now that he may always have been doing this and succeeding in catching his own tail (caudal fin rather). Then just this morning I woke to a little "plunk!" noise. Then tank is covered (nearly flush with a glass plate with a bit of a gap for airflow) so he didn't get out, but he must have leapt clear of the water. This was new, and although I let it go at first, I've heard it about five times today (and never before). I went out to lunch and came back to find his dorsal fin almost completely torn off, the majority of it lying on the bottom of the tank in one big piece. I've been trying to find any source of stress or what he might have torn his dorsal fin on, but I've found no clues. The room he's in is my bedroom, no one in here but me and only for brief parts of the day. The view out the windows is mostly covered by a fence which is across the room from him anyway. There are no big changes in light or noise (it's quiet and his little lamp is on from 10am to 10pm plus a dim bit of light from outside). The most noise he hears is probably from his filter and the tiny air pump that drives it (the pump I wrapped in a towel to dampen the noise for my sake as much as his). You could hear a pin drop at any time of day in my room (I use headphones with my computer). I doubt he managed to bite his own dorsal fin so my only guesses are leapt out of the water and caught on some edge at the top of the tank where the little plastic frame meets the glass cover, or perhaps in the gaps where either the filter or the heater suction cup onto the side (though they don't look like anything that would catch a fin). Now he's been sitting on the bottom of the tank 90% of the time, occasionally coming out to frantically swim around the tank as if being chased by ghosts (maybe his torn fin hurts when he moves?). Several times today I've seen him viciously chasing his tail with his mouth open swimming in a tight circle. Though he can't seem to grab his fin, I can see that he probably would if it were even a bit longer. He ate his bloodworm snack as if there were no problem at all. There have been few recent changes. A bit of increased light from outside (seasonal) and a small amount of algae growth I assume to be associated with it. I added the pygmy sword recently (two weeks ago or so). Other than that I'm at a loss for any changes at all (water changes are every 5 days or so, chloramine treated tap water heated to within two degrees of tank temp, maybe 15%). Actually, should I change the water less since I never find nitrates (or ammonia or nitrite). I assume the plants are soaking it up and I regularly pull out pieces of Aponogeton that have been shredded. My Betta is showing no visible symptoms of disease, I've checked quite thoroughly. I imagine there's nothing I can do about his fins but let them grow back on their own, but is there anything I can do to prevent/discourage him from beating himself up? Thanks so much for any advice you can provide me about his unusual behavior or anything else I can improve. -Mouse <Mmm, the behaviors you list and detail so well are part of all Bettas natural repertoire... the better part of the origination may well be due to internal reflection inside the tank (the fish seeing itself and overtly reacting). I would try darkening one end of the tank (affixing a piece of dark paper). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Question About My Betta Fish, beh.  -- 4/12/08 Hello, I have a 6 month old Betta fish (believed to be a male) <!? Easy to discern at this age> who has always been very healthy and happy. About 3 weeks ago I went out of town for a week and left him with a friend (who also has a Betta fish - first time owner, fish is only 3 months old) and while I was away my friend decided she would put the two fish together in the same tank. <!!!> YES I KNOW! Bad idea!!! But she believed her fish was a girl and thought they would mate. Obviously my friend knows nothing about the mating rituals of Betta's, or how aggressive they can be, so needless to say my Betta attacked hers and did some damage to her tail fins before my friend was able to separate them again. Anyway, a week later I get home to find that my Betta is now incredibly listless. Normally he is quite active and happy, and he just seemed ... sad and depressed. I noticed that he started to show white coloration around his face and fins, so I immediately went to my pet store and they recommended I use a product called "PIMAFIX", which is an antifungal remedy for fish, all natural, extracted from West Indian Bay Trees and supposed to be gentle enough for little Betta's. <And of very limited value> I used a tiny drop of this product in a 2 gallon mini aquarium - which by the way I bought the same day, originally I had be Betta in a vase... I bought him at a Farmer's Market where the lady was selling them in the vase with peace lily style which I just recently learned was cruel to Betta's, as they need more room to thrive - which is why I purchased the larger 2 gallon mini tank. SO, I let the new tank, with the "medicated" water in it sit over night while my fish was hold up in his bowl, seemingly on the verge of death. He was so incredibly listless I felt for sure he was on his way out and worried he wouldn't make it through the night. Luckily he did!! And Now I have him in his new tank, perched on a book shelf up against a wall. He seems to be 100 x's better than he was. The white discoloration fades more and more every day (its only been 2 days that he has been in his new tank) and he is most definitely more active. However, I notice now that he seems to always be on the attack. <Is the species/sex nature> I'll watch him sometimes throughout the day and he will have his faced puffed out and it is as if he is skittish and constantly waiting for his new tank to be invaded. I understand that it is a new tank and will take some getting used to, but is it good for him to be so worked up all the time? <Will pass in time... likely is reacting to his own reflection...> I don't want him to be under anymore stress than he already is! I should also note that I do live in an apartment building with elephants living above me, could the vibrations from the wall the tank is up against me causing his anxiety? <Not likely> OR is he traumatized from his fight? haha, can that happen to "fighting fish?" I wondered if I should move him... But I'm also wondering if it is all that bad for him? He is more active now after all? And I do notice that there are times throughout the day where he is resting so it's not as if he is constantly on the look-out. Is it just a matter of getting used to the new tank? Or should I try and find a new place for him? Thank-You so much for your time, Christina <I would not be concerned here. Am sure this fish is much better, happier in its new circumstances. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Betta's tail fins lost colour, no data  - 3/21/08 Hi. I have had this red Betta for a year. Just today, the end part of my Betta's tail fin decolourised from a red to a translucent gray. Overall, my fish's pretty fine, all robust and active and blowing bubbles and all, but the end part of he's fins are still translucent grey!!!! Could it be due to stress that's causing this??? Pls reply asap at <Done>...THANK YOU. <Likely simply "old age"... perhaps with a bit of environmental stress tossed in... Please read here re proper Betta Care: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta's tail fins lost colour... idiocy , 3/22/08 R u <... no net-speak, please> serious,,,,old age???? I wont think it is a problem since i had him for just eight months..... <Actually... if you had read re Betta splendens... you'd know something re their lifespans> anyway...my Betta's fins has regained colour. Also, another Betta EXPERT told me my fish had the marble gene in him, <Like the ones loose in tu cabeza?> that it was nothing to worry about. How can it be old age??? <Uhh, time going by... Stop feeling, start reading... B>

My Betta goes white while flaring   2/27/08 Hi, I hope this hasn't been asked before, I did look around first :-) . I have had a Betta for nearly 6 months now. He lives in a 6.6 US gallon tank (5.5 imperial gallons, for those who work in old money!). It is filtered and heated to ~25c. I do big water changes about every fortnight, and clean any food left on the sand when it appears with a gravel cleaner, (so small water change every few days). The tank has a sand substrate, 1 potted plant (I never remember what type), and a plastic cave. There are also 4 Corydorus habrosus (sp?) and some trumpet snails to keep it clean. I feed once one day then twice the next, (Its what he seems to prefer without letting him get bloated). I feed a mixture of Hikari pellets, dried blood worm, flakes, and food I made out of vegetables and raw shrimp, which sinks to the bottom. (All my fish rush to eat this, even my Betta that never eats anything, unless it floats and seems to move!!!) <Neat!> I have never seemed to have a problem with nitrates and nitrites. My pH is 7.5. The GH and KH always reach the max value on the tests I do (is hardness bad for Bettas?). <Not necessarily, no> I use a Betta water additive which adds various tannins and some salts to the water (Labeled as Attison's Betta SPA). I am wary of using the recommended dose of this as I read Corys don't like salts in their water, so I use about half dose. He has had a tumor for about 3 months now, but it isn't causing him any problems / difficulties. <All sounds/reads as very well> What I wanted to ask about is, a while ago, when I put a mirror near his tank he flared up beautifully as usual, but he went white on his gills, his mouth, and around the top of his head. It had never happened when I held the mirror to him before. The whiteness faded after a few weeks, but happened again when I tried the mirror again. I have never heard of anything like this before on all the forums etc. that I lurk on. <Me neither> Has I done something wrong, am I causing him any discomfort, maybe his tumor has spread (but it doesn't seem that this is the case), or is this so normal that no one ever asks / talks about it? or maybe I am just paranoid! <Seems like this fish was simply stimulated to such an extent... that the usually most nearly all neural effect/response was complemented with a hormonal (longer lasting) one> Also, sometimes he seems to pretend that he is a leaf. He will put his tail on the plant, and suspend himself as is he were a leaf, and stay like that for many minutes. Is this normal, or just that my Betta has decide that he wants to become a spy on behalf of fishy nation? <Is normal... a ploy as you state likely> Hope that I have given you enough info to help. Thanks in advance, Beki. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

About my Female Betta... beh., comp....  2/25/08 To a mind more experienced then my own, <Perhaps> I have a large tank with 2 Angel Fish, 2 Cory Cats, 1 Pleco, 2 Shark Catfish, <Mmm, incompatible. Actually a brackish to marine animal> 2 male Platies, 1 male, and 1 female Betta. All levels are with-in the standard. All in slightly brackish water. <Oh! The Angels, Corydoras and Loricariid don't care for salt...> I also have a second tank (brackish water) with 1 male Platy and 7 female Platies with their fry. All of my fish are doing well with the exception of my female Betta. I have observed her from the time I got her 2 weeks ago. She has always been at the bottom of the tank rarely surfaces. <Likely too harassed by the Angels, perhaps the fast-moving catfish here> Rarely ever moves. The male Betta leaves her alone, <Oh! And should not be placed in constant association with a male... See WWM re...> I guess she wouldn't be a threat to him. I'm just not sure what to do. Finally today I separated her in a breeding tank. <Good> She is still acting in the same fashion. Any tips or suggestions would be helpful. Thank you for your time, Cal <Needs to be kept with slow moving, easy going fishes... and not a male Betta. Bob Fenner>

Fading Betta -- 1/28/08 Hi to whoever answers. Thanks to your help in the past, everyone is happy . I do have a question about my Betta. He started out a dark orange about 8 months ago. He keeps fading and is white under his chin. It looks like an old dog chin. <An apt comparison> It looks smooth and normal as far as the scales go. He is active and eating well but slowly turning white. Do I have a problem? <Mmm, likely not... some individual Betta splendens do "hold" their color better, longer than others... and better care (low metabolites, good nutrition, consistent, warm water...) do "help"... The whitening is mostly an artifact of age/aging and genetics. Bob Fenner>

Male Betta tail so long it impedes his ability to swim to surface - 1/17/08 Hello Crew: <Hello,> I have a 2.5 year old male Betta. <Pretty good going! These fish don't often live that long.> His tail is so long that he has trouble swimming to the surface and essentially can't swim more than an inch up. I have put him in a wider shallower, 2 - 21/2 inches of water, tank so he is doing fine, but do you have any advise? <Nope. What you're doing is the best thing. Floating plants and leaves at various levels will doubtless help as "resting places". But the problem with Fancy Bettas is that they are bred for looks, not viability. Moreover, they're bred to sell when they're small, without much thought to how they'd look after a year or two. So what you're dealing with is the inevitable result of over-breeding. One of the more welcome trends in the hobby has been from the long-fin Fancy Betta style towards the short-fin "Plakat" style. Whatever else can be said about them, these short-fin Bettas can at least swim about normally.> He is otherwise quite healthy. Is trimming cruel, dangerous and out of the question? <Out of the question, unless you're a vet with access to anaesthetics and sterile operating tools. Fin membrane is essentially skin, so cutting away fin membrane will obviously hurt the fish and open up a route for secondary infections.> Sincerely, Mara <Take care, Neale.>

Lazy female Betta's?  01/14/2008 Hi <Hello!> I have recently bought three Betta females. They were imported by the pet shop about a week before (I'm not sure from where). I'm a bit worried because all of them lie on the bottom of the tank all the time. They swim up occasionally for air and food, and the one sometimes chases the others and they swim very fast, but otherwise they just lie there, sort of on their sides. Sometimes they will lie on a plant/on the heater. The one seems to be constipated, I'm not sure, but the others are fine (I think). The pet shop guy told me not to worry, they tend to be lazy, but I'm not sure if this is normal behaviour. One of my theories is that they might've been transported in very small bowls. Should I be worried? <Provided the fish are feeding normally (but not overfed!) and otherwise look healthy (good fins, normal gill movements, no white spots on the body, etc.) I'd not over overly concerned.> Two of the females flare at each other now and then, and seem to have a kind of stand off for a few seconds, then they go and lie down again. (very interesting to watch:) I make sure they don't nip, and it seems they just bluff:) I really want to start breeding with them. I put one of my males (the most docile one) in the tank in a chimney, just to see if there would be a change in behaviour, and none of them took any notice. So I let him out, and there was still no reaction from either male or female. The two girls still danced now and then though, but that was it. I think I'm going to fast them for a day or two. <Does no harm. Do also take care not to overfeed the rest of the time though. Bettas need tiny amounts of food per day, e.g., 3-4 bloodworms or a couple of small pieces of flake. Bettas, and indeed most other fish, should never look fat or as if the belly is filled with a ball! Rather, the body should be slender, and the abdomen only very slightly rounded outwards. Most people massively overfeed their feed fish, and this causes problems with their health (just as in people!).> If the one still looks bloaty, I'll add some Epsom salt and feed her a pea, then start on brine shrimp and then bloodworms. <Do bloodworms last. As a laxative, Daphnia and Brine Shrimps are both very good. Not sure Bettas will eat peas, but if yours do, then great.> Does this sound like a good idea or is there something else I should do? (I'm feeding 1-2 pellets in the morning and 2-4 mosquito larvae/blood worms at night to the other Betta's, should I start the "healthy" females on this diet as well?) <Sure.> I'll try to send some photos a bit later:) <Okey dokey.> Thank you! Regards Yvette <You're welcome, Neale.>

Odd Behaving Betta   1/3/08 Hello, My name is Katelynn and I have some concerns about a new Betta I bought on December 29th, because he does not eat and he will spend hours curled up on a plant, hiding at the top of the tank in between the heater and the filter, or laying (almost on his side) at the bottom of the tank. <Hello Katelynn... Betta malaise can be caused by a variety of things. Lack of warmth, cold air above the aquarium, and poor water quality are particularly important.> And when I mentioned that he curls up, he actually will be in an upside down, motionless, summersault position. <Not normal.> Sometimes I have to watch him for a couple of minutes to see if he is breathing. Then I get scared, so I take a net and give him a little nudge and then he will move to a different spot and continue his odd behavior. <Touching fish certainly doesn't help. They are easily damaged and your dry skin can cause removal of the mucous on their bodies, allowing secondary infections. Basically, look but don't touch!> I have only seen him swim around twice since I have brought him home and one of those times was because I gave him a nudge. I have never seen anything like this before with Bettas I have had in the past. <Ah, so you have experience with this fish? That's good. Do review the basic requirements of the fish and check you have them all covered. Use test kits to check pH, hardness as well as water quality.> His color has not changed and there is no other physical signs of sickness. Now I will fill you in on my set-up. I have an Eclipse System, 3 gallon tank. <Too small. Three gallons -- especially 3 US gallons -- is a bucket, not an aquarium. I KNOW people keep Bettas in tiny jars and the like, but this hardly makes them easier to maintain. Small tanks are unstable and quickly go bad.> It has a BIO-Wheel 3-stage filtration and a heater that keeps the water between 72-78 degrees. <This is too much temperature change. You want at steady 77F/25C. Humidity above the tank is CRITICAL; use a pane of glass or similar to the top of the tank if is open to the air. You want just a crack to let in fresh air, but enough humidity that water droplets collect on the pane of glass.> I got the tank as an early Christmas gift and I set it up the night I got it and put in three fake plants, (soft so they wont hurt the Bettas' fins) a house and a cave and covered the bottom with gravel and some decorative, polished stones. <Hmm... filter likely immature. Have you checked nitrite or ammonia?> After setting up the tank, I let it run without any fish for a week to establish the nitrogen cycle and after testing the water, I went out fish shopping. <Doesn't work this way. Tanks cycle when they contain fish OR some other source of ammonia, e.g., a piece of decaying seafood. Just sitting there empty achieves precisely nothing.> On that first outing I did not find the perfect Betta, but I did find an active Cory and so I brought him home. He adapted well and then I added two small neon tetras that were in need of a home after my sister decided she did not want her tank anymore and could not find a home for them. <All these in 3 gallons...? NO NO NO. Corydoras and Neons are schooling fish, and Neons especially need to be kept in groups of 6 or more in a 10+ gallon tank. Corydoras also need to be kept in groups of at least 3-4 specimens, and most common species need a 20 gallon tank.> They also adapted great and I waited a week to make sure none of the fish showed any signs of disease. When the fish proved to be healthy and the water quality did not deteriorate, I went out and found that perfect Betta. <Oh...?> I found a small, teal, crown tail Betta and brought him home. At first he swam a bit and then started hiding. He wont even come out to eat. <Neons have been reported to nip Betta fins. The two species cannot be kept together.> I have tried flake food, pellets, and freeze dried bloodworms, but none of these seem to interest him. <Don't worry about food just now.> I test the water daily and the nitrate level is 0, the nitrite level is 0, the water is soft (75GH), the alkalinity is between 120-180KH, and the pH is neutral (between 6.8-7.2). The other fish are fine and seem to be doing great. <Hmm... seriously, I'm not convinced this tank will work in the long term.> If you could please give me any idea of what may be wrong with my new fishy friend, I would be very grateful. Thank you <Difficult to say precisely what's wrong. Check the ammonia and nitrite levels. I'd assuming a tank this young will still be cycling, so don't feed more than 1 times per 2 days, and do 50% water changes at least every other day, and ideally every day. After 3-6 weeks, things should settle down some and you'll find ammonia and nitrite are both zero. Please think seriously about a bigger tank: 3 gallons isn't an aquarium, it's a bucket, and no better suited to keeping fish in the long term. Cheers, Neale.>

My brother's Betta... Spots under eyes... beh.  12/30/07 Hello, Bob. Thanks for all of your insight on the webpage. I gave my brother a Betta for Christmas because I have enjoyed having the simple company of my Betta, Alexander, since I moved into a smaller apartment downtown. <Very good.> They certainly make for lovely pets. <Yes indeed.> I am writing because my brother is chronically ill and loves pets but is not able to take care of something like a cat or a dog which requires more maintenance. He is so pleased to have Mr. B, as he calls him, and his cleaning lady feeds him when my brother can't. My only concern is that (Mr. B is a red/orange Betta) he has white spots under his eyes. <These could be a variety of things. As Bettas age, they sometimes get grey or white patches. But equally these things can be whitespot/ick, velvet, Finrot, fungus, etc. So you need to identify the problem and then act accordingly.> I would hate for my brother to get attached to Mr. B if he is sick. Is this something we should worry about? Best Regards, Brett Christine Holaday <Quite possibly. Do review this handy dandy disease ID chart, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Bubblenests? 12/4/07 I managed to get a picture of Reno's bubbly tank! :)? Thought I would attach it here.? I tried to get one of Robyn's foot but it came out way too blurry.? My fiancé looked at her and he said it just looked clamped and curled back, not actually detached.? When I looked really closely, I could sort of see the webbing that goes in-between the toes, it was along the end of the leg, but I couldn't see any toes.? Maybe she just hurt it?? Or I was thinking maybe a nutrient deficiency... anyway, I'll insert this picture as well, though I don't think you will be able to tell anything from it :( Sincerely sorry to be such a pest, just thought these might help! -Valerie * View full size * View full size Robyn, her hurt foot is facing to the outside, closest to the camera.? All she's been doing lately is swimming up and down, up and down, in that little corner. She will go all the way to the water's surface, and then back down. <Hello Valerie. Nothing came through. Pasting pictures into e-mails doesn't always work between different browsers and e-mail readers. If you can, send them as attachments. Like Bob, I'm concerned you aren't giving these animals the right conditions they need. Please understand that animals have fundamental, non-negotiable needs below which they will not survive. When it comes to small species of frog, your main problems are water quality and temperature. Poor water quality brings on something called Red Leg, essentially the same infection as Finrot on fish. It's an opportunistic bacterial infection. Early signs of infection have to be noted, because once severe it is very difficult (usually impossible) to cure. At a minimum, an African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus spp.) needs about 20 litres of water, heated to 25 C, kept clean with something like an air-powered sponge filter. Attempts to keep them with any of these things missing will be doomed to failure. Please please please understand that this frog did not ask to be bought; you chose to bring it into your home. As such, you also took on the responsibility to care for it, with all the fuss and expense that might involve. I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African Dwarf Frog acting strangely/manic, Betta bubblenests 12/5/07 Dear Bob, <Valerie> Thank you so much for the prompt reply, sorry I couldn't get back sooner! (Final Exams).? I have read a lot of the articles on your site, but I wasn't able to find the specific link on nitrogen cycling... and I am still sort of confused on what tank 'cycling' involves exactly, though I understand the general idea.? <Yes... and I've seen your response further on, where you state you have read re> Reno the Betta seems much more like his normal self these past two days, although he started spitting his food back out when I gave it to him, then re- swallowing. It stayed down for a couple more minutes before he spit all of the pellets back out. I watched a while and he eventually ate them and kept them down. Not sure what that's about... I bought some frozen bloodworms today, am going to try varying his diet with those, but I am confused as to how to serve them and the portion amount? <Just a few at a setting, defrosted... held near the surface to get his attention> My ADF freaked me out a lot yesterday because I saw transparent, filmy stuff clinging to her underside, but after looking it up online it seems she was just shedding her skin. <Likely so> In a few more minutes it was off completely so I didn't worry anymore about it. She's learned to come to her food plate to eat, and is now eating consistently. Her weird behavior also seems to have subsided, but her tank looks cloudy... I am going to do another 25% water change today, even though I just did one on Saturday. If I turn on the air stones now (all of the sudden) will it alarm/stress my animals? <Should be fine to do so> Should I perhaps move them to a separate tank, turn them on, and then reintroduce them? <Mmm, I'd leave all in place> I want to get my undergravel filter system working, as I feel this will help with the tank changes. I am leaving their lights on about 12 hours a day, in order to keep the water warm enough, but I am going to get a thermometer tomorrow so I can see what the temp actually is... I am afraid it is dropping too much at night even though I keep my apartment around 75 degrees F. Now the problem... today I just got home from school and I see my ADF is missing his right foot entirely!?!? He still has his leg, with a stump. <Happens... perhaps the Betta...> I have no idea how this happened... he seems to be swimming alright without it but I am so worried it will get infected. <Possibly> It doesn't look like there's anything on it right now but what are the procedures I need to take in order to get him to grow it back? (I heard they can do that..)? <Mmm, a possibility, but not likely> Also, what might of caused this to happen? I am afraid his little plastic coral reef may of caused him to catch his foot and tear it.. but the thing said it was approved for aquariums and when I felt around the edges prior to buying none of them seemed excessively sharp. <What other life is present?> Please let me know ASAP what treatment I should apply for Robyn, as many of the different FAQ's prescribe different things and I am unsure where to start. Thank you! -Valerie <No specific treatment is suggested... as your system is not established... this will very likely cause more trouble than fix...> P.S.? What does a Betta "bubblenest" look like? <Like a floating mass of small bubbles...> I Googled it without much success on an actual picture. His tank has a large accumulation of bubbles all concentrated on one area on the side of the tank, I was wondering if this was a bubblenest, or an indicator of some type of water quality problem. it looks crystal clear the moment... I will try purchasing some of those test stripes for nitrogen, ammonia, etc.. anyway if you could provide a picture or a verbal description of what a bubblenest looks like, that would be great, thanks! <Do try to set some time aside to visit a local library and check to see if they have books on Bettas... these will have photos... Bob Fenner>

My boy's gills are flared... Betta beh.   11/15/07 Hi :) My name is Kat and I have a beautiful blue boy named Kira. <A Betta I'll take it> He was rescued from a very bad situation and I've been impressed the last week with his activity and hardiness. He currently lives in a 2.5-gallon minibow, a light for heat (I ordered a heater, it's on the way, so I don't screw up his diurnal cycle any more!) <Ah, good... and well conceived> and I have only had him six days so I haven't even had a chance to do a water change yet (left water standing last night, will change it in the morning, plus a dose of Stress Coat). I feed Betta Bites (I didn't know Hikari Bio-Gold existed till after I bought this stuff :( sorry.) My question is about his gills: he seems to be flaring them an awful lot. <Mmm, a "happy" behavior> They are not prolapsed, as the black liner does retract once the gills close, but sometimes he will just flare them open and stare at me (no fin-flaring at all). It's creepy, heh! Is there a reason he does this? <I do think this animal is interacting both with you and its reflection> It doesn't mean anything's wrong, does it? If so, how do I fix it? <Mmm, no need. Will subside with time> I did read that they "burp" like that, but he never expels bubbles or anything when he flares the gills. Sorry to bother you, I'm sure it's just that I'm not reading everything well (tired, you know heh). Thanks in advance, ~~~>Kat <Welcome. Bob Fenner> -- And the science gets done and you make a neat gun for the people who are still alive ?Kitty? <Prophetic... I would add... and hopefully they're smart enough to not use it>

Have you ever seen this happen with a male Betta? Beh.   11/4/07 Hi, I am a big Betta lover I have had my fish for about a year and he has his own 5 gallon tank. Today my husband brought home two Bettas which we placed next to our other fish's tank so they could all look at each other... <Not on a permanent basis...> Our old fish swam up to look at the other fish and sat very quietly looking at them. then he began dropping these little dots of red almost the color of blood out of his gills.. <... strange> it dropped on the floor of his tank.. it was so weird... Have you guys ever seen a male Betta do that? <No> Is it a dominance thing? or is my poor fish bleeding? please write back... Thank you, Jordan <I hope it is not bleeding... such leads to death in almost all cases... but what could the material be otherwise? Indeed strange. Bob Fenner>

Betta Color Change 10/1/07 Hi Chris, <Hello> Since emailing you last, my fish has developed red in his tail and under his chin. Do fighting fish change colour. I had not noticed this till my husband pointed it out. He was aqua and now he has red in two places and it appears to have come quite suddenly. Pam Zweck Silcock <They sometimes have subtle color changes over time, but in this case I am more inclined to think something environmental is driving it. Is it more like red streaks or red scales?> <Chris>

Re: Betta Color Change 10/2/07 Hi Chris, <Hello> Thanks for your reply. The colour is like streaks. The beard is completely red. I am now wondering if we just did not notice it before as the lighting in the room is adequate but he does not have a direct light above him. I think perhaps my husband just caught him at a certain angle, with the light also just at a certain angle. I have now shone a torch at his tank and the colour is very evident. I have since read your site and have noticed that some replies to questions relating to colour suggest that bettas often have red as part of their colouring. Of course, I am interested if it could be the environment and would attempt to rectify this. Thanks again. Pam <Red is a very common color for bettas, to the extent that "show quality" bettas are carefully bred to avoid it. However red streaks makes me think there is a water quality issue here, watch the water quality closely and do extra water changes.> <Chris>

Re: Betta Color Change 10/3/07 Hi Chris, <Hello> I bought Strauss (that's my blue betta) a heat pad today, but now I think I will need a different bowl - one that sits directly onto the pad as my present bowl has a stem which means the heat does not get to the water direct, or at least that is what it seems like. <Most likely.> It has been on about 5 hours and the sides of the bowl seem as cool as before. I will leave it on all night and turn it off in the am, especially if the day is warm. <A consistent temp is important here too.> Our nights are still falling below 18 degrees, but days are over 20. It is a 5 watt heat pad. Thanks for your assistance. Pam <Welcome> <Chris>

Betta hanging out at bottom of tank  -- 09/29/07 <<Hello, Robert. Tom with you.>> I have a Betta that is approximately 1 year old. He was active, exploring his tank and would often build bubble nests. He appeared to be very healthy. <<I sense this is no longer the case?>> Recently, he has been spending a lot of time on the bottom of the tank only leaving to make a fast dash to the top of the tank for air and then return just as quickly to whatever location he left from. Sometimes it is in the front of the tank and sometimes it is under the filtration system in the back of the tank. <<Something's stressing your pet, Robert. Bettas will 'lounge' from time to time but this is out of the ordinary.>> He is not interested in eating although I cannot see any bloating, damage or disease. I did notice him eating an algae wafer about 4 weeks ago and then noticed one day he regurgitated a brown substance like vomiting? When on the bottom he seems to be breathing hard. I have also noticed an oily film on the top of the water which I skim-off. <<All right. Now we've got something. The 'oily film' -- soapy feeling? -- is due to dissolves solids (TDS) in the tank water. In a nutshell, your filter, if any, isn't doing the job adequately or your water changes are too infrequent.>> The tank chemistry is: Ammonia level = Safe according to the pet store, but my quick dip testing shows a level of 0.5 which indicates stress? <<Worse than that, Robert. It indicates a lethal level of ammonia. So much for 'safe', I'm afraid.>> Nitrite = 0 Hardness = 150, considered hard but normal for this area <<This could be dealt with but I doubt this is a significant problem given that your Betta's a year old.>> Chlorine = 0 <<Good.>> Total Alkalinity = 40, on the high side of Low moving towards Moderate pH = 6 - 6.2 <<Wow. You've got quite a combination going on, don't you? High hardness levels with low-moderate buffering capacity and very low pH. Not what I would call 'everyday' readings.>> Temp = 75 - 76 degrees Fahrenheit <<Should be upped to 80-82 degrees F., Robert.>> Food - 3 Betta bit flakes once per day <<Okay.>> Water changes are from 25% to 50% on a biweekly schedule never going over 3 weeks between changes. <<Not nearly often enough, particularly with what you've shared with us. Bettas need their water changed very frequently, on the order of every 4-5 days. That said, you're going to have to get busy immediately due to the ammonia readings you've found. You must get these down to zero'¦now!>> The tank size is 5 gallons and it contains a carbon bio-bag filtration system. <<Nothing 'wrong' with the use of activated carbon in the filter as long as you're aware that it loses its efficacy in three-four weeks. My Emperor 280 employs packaged carbon/floss filter elements and I love the filter but these get 'pitched' every two weeks. (I get Christmas and birthday cards from Marineland! :) )>> Tank Mate is a golden apple snail. We feed the snail 1 algae thin wafer every other day. They have been mates for the entire time. I am going to invest in a small wattage heater to raise the tank temperature. <<Excellent.>> Do you have any suggestions as to why he is acting this way? <<Water conditions/quality, period. In this case, Robert, this is virtually guaranteed to be a matter of increasing the water changes dramatically in order to get your fish back to good health. The ammonia levels alone mandate this right now but you also need to increase the regimen on a very regular basis. You might look into a different source of water down the road, as well.>> Thank you for any help or guidance. <<Happy to be of assistance, Robert. Best of luck.>> Robert D. Mercer, Jr. <<Tom>>

Re: Betta hanging out at bottom of tank   9/30/07 Tom. <<Hello, Robert.>> Thanks for the quick reply. <<Not a problem.>> Leaving now to get the heater and look for a new filtering system. What percentage of water do you suggest I change daily to get the ammonia back under control? <<This will depend on test readings, of course, but don't be shy about it. When ammonia/nitrites are an issue, 90%+ is in order. If it takes more than one change in a day to get the ammonia to zero, by all means, do it.>> You mentioned changing the water source. This is a public water system and we are going to move in the next month to another system and town. I would like to change the source only once? What do you recommend? <<Since you're moving, I'd hold off on spending any additional monies right now. What I was alluding to is a RO (reverse osmosis) filtering system for your source water, as an example. An excellent idea that I picked up from one of my fellow Crew members, Neale Monks, is using rain water for your tank. Some experimentation with blending portions of your source water with rain, or bottled, water could also yield results which can get your water parameters more in line. Again, though, I'd wait to see what the new town has for you. Might just take care of itself. Tom>>

Re: Betta hanging out at bottom of tank message 3.   9/30/07 Hello Tom, <<Hi, Robert. Long time'¦since a couple of minutes ago. :) >> I have bought a Marineland Penguin 100 and could immediately tell the difference in water flow and debris movement towards the filter. <<Amazing what good equipment will do for you.>> I have placed plants (artificial) to break-up some of the water turbulence and moved my Betta to a 1 1/2 gallon tank 77F and climbing, for observation while I work on the 5 gallon tank chemistry. I have also bought a Hydro 7.5 watt mini heater for the 5 gallon tank. <<Good on all counts, Robert. Temperature is one of the most overlooked factors with Bettas. I, personally, don't find it necessary but there are a number of folks that run their Betta tanks in the mid-80's with success.>> I have recorded the following numbers from the tank after 5 hours under the new filtration and a 1.25 gallon water change. This is the first time I have used the Red Sea Fresh Test. So if I have not explained my findings please do not hesitate to question them. pH at time of testing was 6.6 <<A fine improvement provided you can keep it stable.>> Temperature at time of testing was 76F. <<Okay.>> According to the table provided the toxic ammonia level at this pH and Temp is 0.2%. Total ammonia level measured at time of testing was 0.5ppm. If I have calculated this correctly the level of toxic ammonia is 0.2% of 0.5ppm or 0.0001ppm. <<Much, much better. Without belaboring this point, 'total ammonia' is a combined reading of ammonia and ammonium. Toxic ammonia converts to less toxic ammonium at low pH levels. (Plants actually prefer ammonium to nitrates, for what it's worth.) The trick is maintaining stability. If, for example, your pH should suddenly rise, the ammonium would re-convert to ammonia and you'd have your hands full.>> Nitrite level at time of measurement was 0 <<Very good.>> Chlorine at testing measured 0 Hardness is now between 75 --150 <<Both of the above are good, as well. Sounds like things are doing well, Robert. Hopefully, these improvements will translate over to your Betta. I read a while back that if we think of ourselves more along the lines of being 'water keepers' than 'fish keepers', a great number of our problems would disappear. I don't find any fault with this reasoning. Continued good luck to you, Robert. Keep 'stability' at the forefront of your efforts and you'll be just fine. Tom>>

Re: Betta hanging out at bottom of tank message 3.  -- 10/01/07 Tom, believe my math was incorrect on the toxic ammonia should be 0.001ppm not 0.0001ppm. <<Yep, and I failed to correct it. Guess we both get an, 'Oops!' Still better than what we 'thought' we were dealing with, Robert.>> Thanks for all the help. Great site, very helpful, very responsive and very knowledgeable. <<You're welcome and, thank you for the compliments. I hope that you're seeing some improvement in your Betta's condition/behavior, by the way. My best. Tom>>

Lethargic Betta, Env. 9/28/07 Could you please advise me regarding my Siamese fighting fish. I have had him for two weeks and have been looking after his water as advised by the pet shop owner. He seems ok - his fins are fine and he swims around and is eating one pellet twice a day. He comes to the top when he hears my voice. Often though I find him sitting at the bottom of the bowl. I thought he was sleeping or resting, but am wondering if he is ill. There are no other symptoms. Thank you for any help you can give. Pam <Is this tank heated? If not he is probably cold, and being a cold blooded animal will be less active.> <Chris>

Re: Lethargic Betta, Env. 9/29/07 Hi Chris, <Hello> I have been keeping the room at 70 degrees and last night changed his water and bravely added more drops than before. <Drops?> When I read the directions on the container I realized that the shop owner told the wrong amount of drops to add to the water. Today he seems more active. The room is not usually cold but I am now monitoring the temp.. I do not have a heater in the tank, but now feel more confident that keeping the room temp right or at least even, might do the trick? What do you think? Pam <70 is not warm enough for bettas, they prefer the low 80s, so unless you plan on keeping the room very warm all the time I think a heater will help here. Please read here for more on optimal conditions. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm> <Chris> Re: betta fish Thanks Chris, I will look into this further. Cheers Pam <Very Good.> <Chris>

Betta, beh...   9/1/07 Hi, I hope you can help. I bought a Betta from Thailand and have had him for about three weeks. He has turned lethargic today, hanging at the bottom of the tank with his fins held close to the body. He is a pale green/ blue color and he has a darker splotch on his side which in less than a day spread to ( separate splotches) to his back and another on the side. I have several books and looked on the Internet but can find nothing that sounds like this. The spots appear smooth. They are a dark brown. He did eat today. History: He is in a three gallon tank with a small filter. Temperature is about 75 to 77 degrees. <Needs to be warmer> He gets fed once a day with either flakes, frozen brine shrimp or pellets. He has eaten fine with any of them. He has never been as active as my pet store Betta. I have a couple very fine plastic plants near the filter to break the pull of the water. Thank you for your time. <Could be the system is not cycled... but the temp. is a major issue here. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Making bubbles? Bettas... females?    8/22/07 Hello, i have a sorority of female bettas that recently have begun making bubbles which look like the bubble nests that male bettas make when ready to breed. I am sure they are all female, so i do not understand why these large numbers of bubbles have begun appearing, could you help? <Mmm, I strongly suspect that you have at least one male mixed in here... do isolate the larger/est ones in turn... and be observant. Bob Fenner>

Need advice for Cellophane Betta 8/20/07 Hi--- <Hello> I won my Cellophane Betta on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore a few days ago. When I got home he was very listless just hanging at the top of bowl. <I hate live animal prizes, but more on topic, a bowl is a terrible home for a betta, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm for more.> I changed the water put conditioning drops in and he perked up a bit. He will swim a little and eats maybe one pellet of food that I can see. Also I noticed the water got cloudy so I changed it again. He is very small I presume a baby, are there problems with the albino fish ? Does he have a disease? Please help---- Thanks, Jennifer <Chances are that this fish was not well cared for while waiting to be won, our betta section should give you a good idea about what is going on and how to care for them. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm .> <Chris>

When white fins turn pink? 7/21/07 Hi, I have a male Betta with a white butterfly pattern (a white band on the outer edges of all the fins). When I got him, the white parts were perfectly white. Over time, all the white has become a peachy pink. I am afraid my water has some compound or heavy metal in it that is causing his fins to become stained! What could this be? <Likely mostly "just" genetic expression... though diet is likely playing a role to an extent... and maybe a much smaller influence of water quality> I doubt it is his natural coloration changing -- I breed Bettas and am pretty sure that he's genetically supposed to have a white band, not peach. <The "red" is quite persistent in this species...> I've looked everywhere on your site for the answer to this, and the closest answer I could find is that blood veins in the fins sometimes become visible due to irritation of some sort, causing a white fin to look pink. <Mmm, this is not the case here> I doubt this is what is happening in my fish. I don't see any veins if I look closely. It simply looks like a color change, and there is no irritation. Also, it is a peachy pink, not the red/pink that red micro-capillaries would produce on a white fin. <Agreed> I am tending towards the idea of a contaminant in the water, but I don't know what would do this. Any ideas? There must be fish people out there who have encountered this before! Thanks so much, Eryn P.S. I've attached before and after pictures of the fish. <I do believe this color is "natural", but you could experiment (esp. if you have multiple specimens) with keeping them in different waters, feeding foods with more/less propensity for color change... Look for Astaxanthin, Carotenoids in what you're offering... Bob Fenner>

Betta Acting Lethargic    7/2/07 Dear WWM Crew, I have a Crowntail Splendid Betta; named Bartholomew, who I have for 1½ years now. I keep him in a 5 gallon tank with a filter, heater set at 73 degrees, <This is a little cold for a betta. The water should be kept at about 80-82F> and an air pump. I premix my water one day before I do my 20% water change, which is every week. The pre-mixture consists of stress coat and ½ teaspoon of aquarium salt. After changing the water and cleaning his tank by light vacuuming; I check the temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. They are now reading: temperature -- 80, pH -- 72, ammonia -- 0, nitrite -- 0 and nitrate -- 10. Sometimes I have to add pH down, which consists of a total of six -- ten drops during the course of two days. <So, the temp is 80F, but the heater is set at 73F? Is the temperature usually constant or does it drop to 73F very often? If it's dropping, I'd try to make sure the temp stays more constant at 80 to 82F.> Everyday I feed him live black worms, dried blood worms and once a week presoaked pellets and occasional brine shrimp. Bartholomew was a very active Betta, swimming and flaring at everything -- the filter, the heater and even his owners. Also, he would get excited by your presence and most of all getting his food. Although, Bartholomew is still swimming around and eating a well-balanced diet; <These are good signs. You do spoil the little guy quite well. :-)> I have noticed a change in the little guy's personality; he seems to be lying at the bottom of the tank most of the time and acting very lethargic. His colors are still vibrant; fins are free of any tears, no signs of any parasites, bacterial or fungal infection. I do notice a few little white dots; but they are not raised. Could it still be ick? <Doubt it... but if he starts getting the spots on his fins, then I'd be more concerned.> To be on the safe side I started treating him with Melafix and Pimafix. I spoke to Aquarium Adventure, a fish store and they stated that he is just getting old. Could this be true? <Unfortunately, yes. Sadly, Bettas only live 2 to 3 years and they're already several months old by the time they're sold.> Can he be acting this way so quickly -- just lying at the bottom of the tank; being lethargic? Is there a possibility that he has contracted a parasite or some type of infection that could be making him act this way without visual signs? Also, could I have possibly fed him bad food? <All possibilities, but I doubt it. In all likelihood, he's just getting old.> Do you recommend that I give him a Methylene Blue dip bath? <I wouldn't. It might just stress him out. For more info on Betta problems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm> Please give advice? Thanks in advance for your help; I think your staff is great. Jean <Thank you. Happy to help. :-) Sara M.>

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

Query from a vet - urgent please. Male Betta beh., comp.     5/14/07 Hi I am a vet student with a query on a Siamese fighter fish.  I am awaiting a response from an exotics vet, however I thought you guys may be better equipped to answer please. <Okay> I have had my new tank set up for almost 2 months.  I purchased a male fighter, but within days the tank became infested with flukes, <How determined?> therefore 100% water change was carried out, followed by a weeks water treatment. <With?> The fish recovered, the flukes were gone, so over a period of 3-4 weeks I stocked up with 3 guppies and 2 Corys.  All was well for a few weeks.  All fish were happy with each other. Yesterday I awoke to find my fighter "spoiling for a fight" (although he is NOT flaring his gills).  He has managed to nip the tail of one guppy.   <What they do> His behaviour is one of general agitation.  I can only describe the behaviour as similar to one of my male dogs who is territorially aggressive.  He normally eats 6 pellets a day, and now will only eat 2. Now I know that some people don't advise keeping guppies and Siamese together, <I am one of these> however I have a larger established tank where I have kept them together for a long time with no problems. <Can work, but can be trouble...> I am also perplexed as to why this has happened literally over night.  Even when he's not after the guppies, he is swimming in a very agitated way anyway. <Perhaps the chemical/medication exposure...> My tank seems to be VERY reflective compared to my very established tank ( I can't seem to stop this).  He seems to be obsessed with one side of it at the moment and keeps settling in a position with his head up, tail end down (in a diagonal).   <Ahh! A clue here> Although I cannot see a bubble nest, I am wondering if he is wanting to breed.  I cannot find a resource to tell me their breeding times etc. <A matter of age, conditioning, environmental and social cues...> I am not interested in breeding with him - I just need to know how fast this phase will pass if this is indeed the problem. <May be... as you state, this fish is likely "spoiling for a fight", perhaps warmed up by responding to its own reflection. Happens> The final point to note in his behaviour, is that he won't "settle" at all and rest in his favourite hiding place. <Another clue> If you believe my fighter has just decided that my guppies are a threat after all (slow decision!) - I can move them to my other tank (with an older fighter who is fine with guppies & other fish), however I am loath to do this in the first instance, because as I said - he just appears cross with the world generally! Thanks Anouska Simpson <I would either move one or the other, or try covering the reflective side/s with dark paper to see if this makes a difference. Bob Fenner>

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

Betta flaring...advice?  4/26/07 Hi, WWM, <<Hi, Marissa. Tom with you this evening.>> First my tank:   25gal, water temp 80, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10; livestock - 7 cherry barbs. <<Sounds fine, Marissa.>> Next, I have cardboard around my tank to minimize reflection and I've had Bettas in this tank in the past with no problems. All were lively, interactive fellows who never bothered with reflections in the glass. <<Okay.>> I purchased a new Betta about three days ago, and from the moment I put him in the tank he's been flaring at even the barest reflection of himself.  He'll do this almost non-stop, even feeding time won't distract him. When he's not fighting, he's resting in the leaves of a sword plant. The poor thing is exhausting himself. <<For all of the advice we give, Marissa, we recognize that each fish is actually going to behave somewhat differently from another. It's not all 'cut and dried' by any means. Case in point? I've had mine in a 20 gallon tank for about a year. Not once have I seen him 'flare'. Only once have I seen him build a 'bubble nest'. Yet, he swims around contentedly and rushes to the front of the tank whenever I check in on him. He sits on the gravel and on the plants regularly. Go figure.>> I've tried adjusting the cardboard, adjusting the lighting, trying no lighting, anything to cut the reflection down even more. Any advice? <<Let him be himself. He may tire or it or, he may never tire of it. There's only so much you can do. You might have a 'super-Alpha' Betta, i.e. looking, and willing, to do battle with anything that appears inviting.>> Is it possible this behavior will lessen over time, or will he die from stress and exhaustion?     <<My guess is that he'll tire of his own behavior. If he doesn't, there's nothing that you'll probably be able to do for him.>> I feel terrible--I think the poor guy was happier in the little jar he came in.    <<Not in the least! 'Predisposition', Marissa. He's 'built' the way that he's built. Let's not forget the transporting and acclimating process and recognizing what he's been through just to be with you. It's still a bit early to be overly concerned. Give him and yourself a bit more time.>> Thanks! Marissa <<My best to you. Tom>>

Betta eats his tail   4/12/07 Hi crew, <Rebekka> I'm very concerned about Rokko, my beta. He lives in a 2-gallon tank on my desk. I change his water once a week and add dechlorinator, pH-neutralizer and aquarium salt and I keep the water temperature at 80 degrees. <How? And is this small volume filtered? Constantly?> I've had him for about four months now and so far he's been a happy healthy fish. Yesterday I noticed that his tail fin looked a little ragged. This morning it was very ragged and had a big chuck missing in the middle. <... trouble> He wouldn't eat when I fed him and he's generally a very hungry fish. I suspected fin rot although I couldn't see any discoloration at the edges and it's only the tail and the back end of the anal fin, so I scrubbed the tank down with hot water, did a water change and took the plant out. (It's plastic and doesn't have sharp edges. So far it has never been a problem but I figured "You never know.") I also added a more generous amount of salt. <... this "system" is not cycled... some microbes living in the fish and uneaten food waste are "eating" your Betta...> However while I was busy finding an online source for Kanamycin (we don't have any pet stores around here) I noticed that he's eating his tail. <This is not atypical behavior... Bettas' are rather "autistic"... don't recognize that the tail is theirs... akin to young dogs... will "chase" it for hours on end> I watched him for a while and it's always the same procedure: He swims around as usual and then suddenly starts to rapidly swim in circles trying to catch and bite his tail. Sometimes he catches it and holds on to it until it tears or he has to let go. I'm at a complete loss as to why he does this. I'm wondering whether he might be itching somehow or if this is a psychological thing. (Maybe he's bored?) <Mmm...> I don't want to medicate him unless I know it's a problem medication can fix. And I don't want him to be unhappy! Especially since I have no idea what would make him unhappy all of a sudden. He was such a happy active fish and he had gorgeous fins. I wanted to take a picture but my camera's not working. Do you have any idea what's the matter with him? Thanks, Rebekka <Mostly, the vast majority... environment... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta, sluggish beh., no useful data  3/16/2007 Hi. I have had my betta, Jules, for a week now. He used to be very lively. Now he's just hanging near the bottom, or on the plants. He doesn't seem to be eating, ever. He acts like he doesn't like the food. It also looks as if he has a bulge on both sides near his tail. On top of this, he keeps on flaring up his gills, then putting them down. He does this whenever he swims toward the front of the tank. What could be wrong with him?? *~Amanda~* <Mmmm, is this fish in a filtered, heated setting? This reads like its environmental. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta -- 03/18/07 Yes, he's in a filtered & heated 5 gallon tank. I'm doing a partial water changes today, so hopefully he'll liven up after that. Thanks *~Amanda~* <I do hope so. Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Betta help needed!  -- 03/09/07 Crew, Help! I have a sweet little crowntail named Mr. Wiggles who used to interact with me all the time. He would sit and stare at me, follow my finger, come up when I feed him, etc. A few weeks ago he got sick. I treated him with meds and a bright lamp for heat for about 10 days. He's better, but he's not the same. He's deathly afraid of me, always hides at the back of his bowl and is extremely skittish. He's been like this for over a week now. What could have caused this change and what can I do? Thanks so much! <<Bettas should not be in bowls.  They should be in a filtered, heated aquarium. They are tropical fish.  They should be in tropical temperatures all of the time, not just when sick.  I seem to say this until I am blue in the face. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm.>> Tara <<Good luck with Mr. Wiggles.  I hope/trust the improved environment will help him. Lisa.>>

Betta fins developing clear spots  3/6/07 Hello, <Hi there Bill> I have been "fish-sitting" my daughter's Betta, Wally, since Christmas break at college.  She realized that her dorm wasn't the best place to care for him (irregular feeding, temp changes, etc.)  Since we have had him, we have made sure that he has regular water changes and is kept at a nice temperature (75-78 degrees). <How?>   He is doing well as far as eating, bubble nesting, swimming, flaring, etc. <Good signs> but lately I have noticed that his lower and upper fins are beginning to lose color in a few spots and becoming transparent.  The spots aren't near the ends of the fins, but in the middle of them. I have looked through your website and many others and can't really find anything that describes this condition. He is about 1 year old and lives in a 1 gallon tank (small enough to fit in her dorm.)  Heat is provided by an overhead 7 watt light and at night we turn on a nearby 60 watt desk lamp which keeps his temp pretty stable.  Is there a problem with too much light? <Possibly> From what I have read, it might be that he is just aging, <This too> but I would like to be sure.  He seems to be a happy fish - he comes over to greet me when I walk into the room (like a puppy.)  I just want to make sure that he lives a good full life since my daughter is very attached to him. Thanks, William L. Cotter <Do know that this sort of "discoloration" is not atypical, developmental in many Bettas... this trait has even been selected for by breeders to produce "Cellophane" et al. named/finned Bettas. I would not be overly concerned here... as the more-important good behavior you list indicates this animal to be in good health. Bob Fenner> Re: Betta fins developing clear spots   3/7/07 Hello, <William> Interesting that you mentioned the term "Cellophane finned" since his 2 small side fins have been almost completely clear since my daughter bought him.  They look like little dark "fingers" in a clear "mitten" of a fin. <Ahh, a good description> I am also looking for a heater to better regulate the temp and allow light cycles.   <Yes, this is best> I think I've found one but I will go check it out tomorrow to see if it fits the tank. <Look for the "Hydor" brand... they make some very nice small, low wattage units of good quality> Is there any problem with adding a little Betta fix or Mela fix to his tank as a precaution? <Mmm, is of little actual value... and possibly some harm... in disallowing efficient biological conversion... nitrification> I just want to take the best care of the little guy - I guess I'm his honorary grandpa! <Oh yes> Thanks for the help, Bill Cotter <Welcome. BobF>

Re: Betta fins developing clear spots   3/8/07 Hello, <Howdy> Actually I have a bit more info for you on Wally's condition.  After using a flashlight to look more closely at him, it looks like the spots are a very pale powder blue and only look transparent when lighted from above or behind.  The scales on top of his body are also starting to turn the same light blue (his normal color is very dark blue)  Does this give you any new ideas? Thanks, Bill Cotter <No new ones, no... Is an apt description of chromatophore and iridophore reflection in fish coloration, Bettas. BobF>

Betta, beh. Hello - <Hi there> The reason I am contacting you is because I have noticed some very strange pooping behavior with my Betta.  Bernie has always been a very personable fish.  He loves company and he likes to show off.  Every morning and evening I go to the front of his bowl and chat with him.  He responds back by flaring up.  When he is mad at me he doesn't like to play that game.  Well lately when he flares up at me he poops!  At first I thought it was just a coincidence.  Well now it seems like a ritual for him.  He has done it each time I have gone to visit with him.  Sometimes it's just a pebble, but is this normal? <Mmm, not abnormal> Is he mad at me?  Is he pushing one out just for me? <Heeeeeeee! Can't say. But not to worry... Likely he is just "over-excited". BobF> Thanks,   Jennifer

Skittles Is A Butt-Biter?!   1/20/07 Hello WWM Crew! <<Hello, Tara. Tom with you this afternoon.>> Your site has been informative and now I need help! <<Glad for the former and happy to help with the latter.>> See, I've had Skittles the Siamese fighting fish for maybe a half a year now. Already he has tried sky-diving, digging and plenty of jumping for his food, which lead to the sky-diving incident. <<Active little devil, I'll give him that! :) >> Now an even more annoying habit has come up, he's been BITING his OWN TAIL! For about a month I thought it was tail rot of some kind that wouldn't go away, until I looked into his tank recently and saw him in a ball chewing on his own tail! <<This one does pop up from time to time. A symptom of stress, Tara. A Betta won't go 'airborne' unless he feels the need for a different environment. Likewise, the tail-biting. Something in, or about, the tank has him agitated/over-active.>> I am pretty sure he is not hungry since I feed him about 3 hikari Betta bio-gold pellets 2 times a day except those days when I force him to eat blood worms (he hates them compared to the pellets). He has been by far the most troublesome Betta I've ever owned. <<Some fish 'resign' themselves and others just won't have it. This one is displaying intense 'alpha-like' characteristics. The tank's too small, the water parameters/conditions are 'off' or something of this sort. Might just be him or, it might be a matter of taking a second look at his living conditions.>> Do you got any information for this bad habit, it seems that not many people have had this problem. <<Not many have, Tara, but it's certainly not unheard of.>> I'm going to keep the tank pristine but after that I'm at a loss. <<Consider adding some aquarium salt if you don't already. Some dispute its use for Bettas, however, I'm heavily in favor of it.>> Also, all my Bettas now know how to yawn, learned it from each other. They will be swimming and randomly open their mouths wide like they are yawning, and a even more strange behaviour, sometimes they will "bend" their heads back like they are stretching, though I've only seen it three or four times, they immediately go back to swimming happily though. <<Mimicking a 'display' such as 'flaring' most likely. Fish are extreme creatures-of-habit. If there is, or has been, a positive result to an action, whether real or perceived, they're up for it and will repeat it. A case in point? Add a new fish to a tank. Likely it will run off for parts unknown (for the fish, anyway) when you approach the tank. Once it associates you with 'supper' though, it will all but jump into your lap looking for food. Since Bettas aren't predisposed to being 'outdone' by the others, the 'yawning' is, most probably, a way of saying, 'I can do that, too!'. The same goes for the 'neck stretching'. Nothing physiologically 'natural' about either behavior, that I know of.>> Thanks, Tara <<You're welcome, Tara. Add the aquarium salt and I'm confident that your Betta will stop the tail-biting habit. Additionally, if he's in a small bowl, consider giving him larger living quarters. A tank of 2.5 gallons (about 9.5 L) is really the minimal size that a Betta should be housed in. Good luck and feel free to ask more questions if you have them. Tom>>

Passive Betta  12/9/06 Hello: <Hi> I recently got a blue veil tail betta. He was noticeably smaller than the other bettas and was not flaring back at the others flaring at him. I took him home and put him in his own five gallon heated tank. He does not even flare when I show him the mirror and likes to hide. I am wondering if he is a juvenile and still needs to do some growing or are some male bettas just small and passive?? <Each are individuals, some are less aggressive than others, although passive is going a little too far.> Also do some people see these fish as fashion statements? I was reading a site that stated that Crowntails are "in" at the moment as if the person was speaking of shoes or purses. Also the writer called veil tails "mutts" like it was a putdown   <Much like other pets, certain types become more popular over time. Such is the way of human fancy.> <Chris>

Betta Questions  - 10/15/06 Hello Crew, <<Good afternoon, Rebecca. Tom with you.>> Tis a great site!! <<Glad you like it and, thank you.>> Seeing as you get so many questions I will keep them brief. I moved my new Betta I call him "Fish" (very original I know) from a tiny bowl with no filtration, no gravel, no plant and no heating to a 20litre tank with filtration, heater, gravel and some live plants ....Fish was creating bubbles in the tiny bowl... but not in the aquarium? Is this a good or bad thing? <<Kind of a 'neither' thing, Rebecca. Male Bettas build 'bubble nests' for the purpose of breeding. He's probably not yet accustomed to his new surroundings enough yet to feel comfortable about'¦'interacting' with a potential lady friend, if you get my meaning.>> I have reduced the water movement to as little as possible. Fish seems very energetic, well at times almost frantic/aggressive, is this a problem? <<Not initially, it isn't, though I would have expected a more 'retired' type of behavior at the onset. If the filter is still causing too much movement in the water, this might be a little disconcerting to him but I think it's probably just the change in his environment that's got him going.>> I read on a website that you can entertain the bettas by giving them toys, i.e. tube to swim through. Is this correct? <<No. Fish -- not 'Fish', but fish -- don't need to be 'entertained' in the way that we think of it. Not to be a stick-in-the-mud but the need for entertainment suggests a level of intelligence that fish don't possess. (I know that someone will come back and argue that their Discus can recite the value of pi to a gazillion places but'¦) Seriously, though, your Betta will be more 'entertained' by your presence around his tank -- thinking he'll be fed -- than he will be by giving him a hamster-tube to swim through'¦which he, most likely, won't do anyway.>> Thanks for the help in advance Cheers Rebecca Australia <<You're welcome, Rebecca. Tom>>

Betta Chasing His Own Tail   10/11/06 Hi, fabulous site, have lost hours of reading to it and learning so incredibly much! (okay, so maybe those hours weren't quite 'lost' :) ).Anyways... I have a quick question regarding my Betta, and after looking it up, noticed there wasn't much on the subject. See, he's been nipping at his tail, fraying the ends. I've only seen him do it once: He sort of lays himself down so that he can fold his body and then he snaps at his tail and chomps the end of it. There isn't much at all missing, it just looks a little worse for wear at the end. For all I know he might have only done that a few times and then stopped, but I'm curious as to why he would do it in the first place. He lives in his own five gallon tank alone. He also has a heater that keeps the temp at 80 F reliably (or else he wouldn't be making it in my dorm room right now, lol). My roommate and I change his water every week, about thirty percent water change. His diet consists of Betta min, a few flakes a day, bloodworms, two or three small worms a day, and we just bought some small dried shrimp in case he was bored with the flakes and worms. I keep an eye on him to make sure that he looks healthy and other than his tail looking slightly frayed he looks great. He's almost always swimming around, checking to see what's going on outside his tank and likes to swim through the holes in his castle and hide occasionally (all dull edges, didn't want him to get hurt). Unfortunately, I don't have any way to check the water parameters, seeing as how none of the places around here carry testing kits. Thanks for any and all advice you might have! Caitie < Wild bettas don't have nearly the finnage than line bred domestic bettas have. I am assuming that he catches a few fin rays out of the corner of his eye and thinks that are something to eat. There really isn't any other explanation that I can think of.-Chuck>

Betta Flaring 10/11/2006 Dear WWM crew, I have a Betta who recently started to flare at his filter extension tube, which is part of the Whisper Power Filter System I have.  How can I prevent this from happening?  I am concerned that this is stressing him out.  Do you have any suggestions or reasons why this is happening?  Or would he eventually overcome this? <<So long as the tube is not a reflective material, there's nothing you can really do. Maybe try hiding it with a plant.  Not to worry too much my friend.>>   Thanks again for your assistance. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Re: Betta Flaring  - 10/13/06 Dear WWM crew, <<Tom with you.>> I just want to thank you for a great website. Again, thank you for your quick response in getting back to me regarding my previous questions; dated 10/11/06. I have attached my previous questions for review with your answers in brackets. [[I have a Betta who recently started to flaring at his filter extension tube, which is part of the Whisper Power Filter System I have. How can I prevent this from happening? I am concerned that this is stressing him out. Do you have any suggestions or reasons why this is happening? Or would he eventually overcome this? (So long as the tube is not a reflective material, there's nothing you can really do. Maybe try hiding it with a plant. Not to worry too much my friend.) Thanks again for your assistance. (Glad to help. Lisa.)]] Unfortunately, due to a stupid mistake I treated my Betta with antibiotics for fin rot and destroyed all my good bacteria, which I will never do again. Next time, my Betta has a problem I will treat him with aquarium salt as per your web site advise. <<I try to kick in a good word for the use of aquarium salt to all Betta owners. I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of aquarium salt for nearly all FW fish but I am for Bettas.>> As of now, I am in the process of establishing good bacteria in a 5 1/2 gallon tank. I prepared ahead of time, one gallon of water (aged premixed water) by adding Splendid Betta Condition and 1/4 teaspoon of aquarium salt.  Everyday I have been removing 20% (one gallon) of the aquarium water and replacing with the aged premixed water. <<Very good'¦>> Also, in the addition to adding the premixed water to the aquarium tank I add 1/2 cap of Cycle. At the Pet Store I purchased a Java Fern because I had heard that Java Ferns live off of a Betta's waste and it keeps the water cleaner by reducing harmful nitrite and ammonia levels. <<Your last sentence requires a little clarifying so that we don't start an uncontrolled stampede of aquarists to pet stores demanding Java Ferns for their fish tanks. First, there's a difference between ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4-). The former is extremely toxic to fish while the latter is less so. These exist in equilibrium based on the pH levels of the water. The higher the pH, the more ammonia is present. At lower pH levels, ammonium is predominant. What does this have to do with anything? Aquarium plants will feed on ammonium, if available, and nitrates. They don't feed on ammonia so, unless pH levels are low enough to enable ammonia to be 'converted' as the existing ammonium is used by the plant(s), it would be a misunderstanding of the process to suggest that your Java Fern is capable of controlling ammonia and nitrites. You weren't 'misinformed', per se, but someone's trying to get more mileage out of this than it's really worth. As an aside, the ammonia levels we typically read in our tanks is, in reality, 'total ammonia' -- a combination of ammonia and ammonium. Without a test kit that reads only 'free' ammonia, you'd have to do further calculations to determine how much of your reading is ammonia and how much is ammonium. Yuck. :)>> My questions is, can an ammonia level of 0.50 be causing his flaring problem? <<As Lisa suggested in your earlier post, flaring isn't a 'problem' but a reaction to whatever is cheesing your Betta off. It could be due to ammonia levels, certainly.>> Also, is there anything you can recommend for me to do to get the ammonia level down further until the cycling is complete? If so, can I use Ammo-Chips? <<The Catch-22 ammonia question! How to reduce ammonia while leaving it alone so the tank can properly cycle. Yes, the Ammo-Chips would be an option here. These would 'hold' the ammonia in the filter canister while not depriving the beneficial bacteria of the nutrients required for population growth.>> Also, is flaring healthy for a Betta? <<It's not 'unhealthy', just a sign that something's 'got his goat'. If he's still doing this after the tank has completely cycled, you might consider 'anger management' therapy for him. :)>> Please advise. Thanks again for your assistance. <<Hope this helps. Good luck with your pet. Tom>>

Betta staying at the bottom of tank  9/25/06 Hi Crew at WWM, This is Bartholomew's caregiver again.  First I want to thank you for answering my previous questions, dated 8/28/06. <Mmm, please always copy/paste prev. corr.. There are several of us here>   As you are already aware, I have Bartholomew set up in a 5 1/2 gallon tank with filter, air pump and heater, which is set at 80 degrees for the colder months ahead.  The temperature in the tank is now reading 83 degrees.  The problem I am experiencing with him now is he seems to be hibernating at the bottom of his tank for two days now.   He does come up to the top of the tank to eat, gets excited and hides again.  Also, I noticed that lately he is darting away from me and hides behind a plant or any object within the tank.  He used to be nosey when I came to the tank. I still feed him an alternating diet of blood worms and betta pellets; one in the morning and one at night.  His color is still bright; but I noticed that his caudal fin seems to be torn a little.  I do not think it is fin rot, or is it?. <Possibly... but from what cause/s?> I change 50 percent of the water once a week and add the correct amount of Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner to regular tap water.   Should I put some Epsom Salt or Non-iodized Sea Salt in the water? <Perhaps a bit of the latter> Can Epsom or Sea Salt be added with the Betta Water Conditioner I am using?   <Yes> If so, how much Epsom or Sea Salt for a 5 ½ gallon tank? <Posted on WWM> Or can I use iodized sea salt?   I have all natural Mediterranean Salt, is that good to use?   <Is fine> Or should I just leave him alone?  Please advise?  Thanks ahead for your assistance. <And I would allow the water temperature (if possible/practical, to drop back down to the upper seventies F... And pre-mix, store change water... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm BobF>

New Betta Just Chilling   9/11/06 Hi, I just bought a new betta fish.  He was very active the first day I  got him ( swimming around and exploring his tank), but today he is mostly just sitting at the bottom of the tank.  When I fed him this morning he ate a  few pellets and spit out the others.  I have him in a 2 gallon tank with a  little rock cave and some kind of water fern.  I also have an air  pump/filter in his tank. I use filtered tap water and add two drops of AquariSol  to it. The water temperature is 79 degrees F. I had another betta that  lived fine with same water conditions except he didn't have the plant or the air  pump.  So I'm wondering if maybe one of these is causing problems for my  new betta. He is also much younger than my other betta was when I first got him.  he is maybe 9 or 11 weeks old ( he's very small).  Here is a picture of  him. thanks for your help. Rebecca <Bettas in the wild are not very active. Continue to observe for signs of illness. They have a fairly slow metabolism so if he is full, he is not going top be active looking for food.-Chuck>

Poor Sarge, the Betta   8/20/06 Hi, Bob and crew, <<Hello, Ryan. Tom here.>> Now, I suppose that you receive hundreds of emails a day regarding sick fish and how to fix them.... well, this is another one. Please help us. <<I'll do my best.>> My housemate has a male Betta named Sarge and is the love of her life. Three months ago Sarge started to go down hill. <<Three months is quite a bit of time in 'Betta years', Ryan.>> He seems to have no energy and spends most of his day slumped in the curve of his bowl. He spends alot of energy to get to the top of the bowl to feed (and often misses) and once he has the food in his mouth he sinks really quickly. We were joking around saying that his tail seems too heavy for him and is weighing him down. <<How old is Sarge? I ask this because 'farm-bred' Bettas don't have a particularly long life span compared to those captured in the wild. Wild-collected Bettas (properly housed, fed and, generally, cared for) could expect to live for five years, easily. In fact, ten years wasn't at all uncommon. The inbreeding that's connected with farm-raised fish has reduced this span to more like two to three years. Hardly a "news flash" if you think about it. Another point I'd bring up here is Sarge's diet. Specifically, "how much" as opposed to "what". Bettas are very easily over-fed. Look at Sarge's belly (behind the gills and forward of the lower fins). This should be very slightly rounded. More than this and you've got a "fat" Betta, which could explain, in part, the struggling to get to the surface and why he's sinks quickly.>> We added in a ship in to his bowl to cheer him up....and seemed to make things worse. <<Not likely to have had any adverse effect unless the new decoration caused him concern/stress.>> Now we have stuck a postcard of a turtle on the side of his tank and now he lies in the turtle's shadow. His dorsal fin has just started to get a white spot on it. We have cleaned his bowl and changed his water regularly and his turds are now pieces of art as they are spiral in shape. We think he has depression.... or some kind of alien inside. What can we do??? <<The addition of aquarium salt as part of the normal water change regimen is, frankly, a debatable topic among credible sources in the hobby. In the case of Bettas, I don't consider this "debatable", however. I consider it essential. Depending on the size of the bowl Sarge is kept in, I strongly suggest that you try adding some 'aquarium' salt in with the next water change. Slightly less than 1/4 tablespoon per gallon of water should be fine. Also, go with small but frequent changes. No more than about 15%-20% per change but as often as every three or four days. Monitor feeding closely and don't be tempted to put more in than you would if he were eating normally. Either he'll eat it or he won't but you don't want to "pollute" his bowl. He certainly won't starve if he doesn't eat for a day, or three. One thing I haven't touched on until now is the temperature of his water. Bettas need warm, stable temperatures. You don't mention having a heater in the bowl but the water should be 27-29 degrees C. (80-84 F.).>> Please help us help Sarge. Worried Aussies <<Keep a close eye on the "white spot" you've mentioned on the dorsal fin. I don't think this is a sign of Ich but, if it is, the aquarium salt is effective against this, as well. Finally, watch for loss of coloration in Sarge. If his behavior/condition doesn't seem to improve with what I've given you and, his coloration appears to start "fading", I'd suggest that he might simply be getting "old". My best and good luck to all of you. Hopeful Yank (Tom)>>

My Betta is eating his tail!!!   8/17/06 Hello, Crew Members. <<Hi. Tom here.>> I am concerned about my betta, Jinjy, since he has begun to chase his tail and eat parts of it. I have looked through the forum and have read other people's entries that deal with the same issue, but I still find myself at a loss as to how I might better my pet's situation. Here are some details that might help: Jinjy lived in a fishbowl with no filter for the first three months after I got him (This is terrible. I was completely misinformed about how to care for fish. The pet stores where I live sell them in the tiniest, most inappropriate and cruel bowls). <<Most do, Erika, sadly.>> After discovering this site, I changed him to a 20 litre tank with a very simple underground filter and a heater that is always set at 79 degrees. <<Very well done, although I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we didn't recommend the UGF. I'll explain as we go...>> I keep him in treated (dechlorinator, etc.) tap water and there is a small silk plant and a tiny cave in his home. He eats Azoo brand Betta 9 in 1 pellets, tetra BettaMin flakes, Wardley's 'Spirulina with Betta Glucan' food, and brine shrimp 5 times a month; once a day. I have been doing 100% water changes once a week (I found on the site earlier today that this is not recommended). <<All else sounds good, Erika, but the water change is too much. I do about 10%-15% every three to four days with my Betta. Less a matter of 'how often' than it is a matter of 'how much' at one time. Often is good but take this in little steps.>> I did some tests on the water today and the results are fine.  pH : 7.5   Ammonia: 0  nitrate= 0 nitrite = 0.3  <<Actually, a 0.3 nitrite level is not good. When dealing with either ammonia or nitrite, if it can be detected, you've got a concern.>> I read about the possibility of adding a tankmate to calm him down, but I do not think that he'd cope well with one. <<Bettas do perfectly well by themselves. I agree with you. Not a good idea to add another fish to the mix.>> Is it possible that the sound of my sewing machine might be disturbing him? It is about two meters away from him, on a different table. <<Possible? Sure, but not likely. Not to worry. Now, let's get back to your UGF (undergravel filter). Bettas tend to be 'lazy' swimmers inclined to rest on the bottom when the mood strikes. Exactly where all of the bad stuff is being collected and, more importantly, where the bacteria will be growing. The easiest place for bacteria to "collect" is on the fins of the fish. Do you scratch mosquito bites? Most fish can't "reach" but our Bettas can. (You know where I'm going already, don't you?) While Bettas need really good water conditions, the bottom has to be as great a consideration. That said, I recommend adding aquarium salt with your water changes along with vacuuming the bottom and cleaning the filter. Consider a different type of filtration, as well. (Bob doesn't like hang-on filters for Bettas - rightly so - but mine is in a 20-gallon tank (~ 75 liters), so I've got some latitude. :) )>> I thank you very much for any advice at all. This site has been tremendously helpful to me and to my friends who recommended it. <<Anything else I can help with, Erika, just post it. Tom>> Betta not swimming around like he used to.....   7/28/06 Hi! <<Hi, back, Michele. Tom with you this afternoon.>> I have a 2 year old Betta - his name is Phantom.  I saved him from a store that was basically allowing him to rot in his little cup and he's been healthy and doing great ever since. <<Due to your good care, no doubt.>> About a week ago, I noticed that he's struggling to swim.  Every time he stops, his back end sinks and he tries really hard to move it just to get around either to eat or to get back on his leaf (where he's been sitting for the last week).  Since he can't swim well, he sits on this leaf every day.  Is this just age or is there something I can do to help him?? <<Likely age, Michele. Sadly, farm breeding and, in-breeding, have contributed to reducing the life spans of these fish. Phantom was (best guess) about six months old when you "adopted" him so he's probably getting tired, in a manner of speaking. Since he's done well up until now, it's doubtful that anything has changed to affect him adversely. I can't discount it, but it's highly unlikely.>> Thanks for any information you can provide. Michele <<No problem whatsoever, Michele. Tom>>  

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

Your Betta Diseases article on WWM  7/12/06 Dear Mr. Robert, Thank you for your wonderful article on Betta diseases on WWM ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm). I have just one question for you. In the last section of your article titled 'Cloze' you mention interaction with the Betta is needed for it to stay healthy. I would like to know please what kind of interaction is expected of me. I usually call his name (Rory) and talk to him, but of course more needs to be done I believe? <Heeee! Depends on how often you chat...> I read on one site that one can put a finger in the tank as if beckoning the Betta and he will swim right up to you and rub against your finger. Chris from WWM replied, "<Not really, removes slime coating making infections more common.>" Thank you for your time and attention, Kind Regards, Beena A <If there is room, a "Mystery Snail" can make a good companion... If the system is large enough, filtered, heated, a small Corydoras sp. catfish for the bottom might go. If a few gallons, some "dither fish" like Whiteclouds are great... Bob Fenner>

Betta acting strange   7/12/06 Hi <<Hi. Tom>> I have a betta that is I would say at least 2 years and 3 months old. I bought him in March of 2004, so I can only go by that. <<A very ripe age for a Betta!>> It's summer here now and the temperature in his bowl is about 80F. <<Nothing wrong here.>> What he appears to be doing now is sitting at the bottom a lot. And which ever way his top fin falls that's the way his body falls, too. So he sort of sits with his body on to one side but his head up. Or sometime he sits with his bottom half of his body bent and his head up. <<Okay.>> The only time he swims up to the top of his bowl is to get some air every once and a while and to be fed every morning. He doesn't even move too much when I move the tank a bit. He swims a bit but not much, just mostly sits. <<Sounds like he's "tired" due to age.>> When I feed him he eats it but it takes him quite a few tries before he actually gets the food. He misses on his attempts a lot. I feed him Betta bits and sometimes frozen blood worms. He has no signs of outward illness at all. Could this mean he is going to die soon? How do fish act when they get old? What are the signs when they get old and may die? <<What you've already described are signs that your Betta is "getting on". The slowing down in movement, the weak attempts to feed, frequent listlessness are all signs of aging given no other outward appearance of poor health. You might also see a loss or dulling in coloration but this isn't always the case. Unfortunately, Bettas have a life span of only one to two years with proper care. The fact that yours has gone well beyond this point is a testament to the good care you've given him.>> I have another betta who is at least a year younger and although he sits at the bottom, he sits with his body straight up and when I go near the tank he swims. During eating time he has no problem finding the food. So I'm assuming that the lethargy has nothing to do with the temperature in the tank. <<The temperature's fine. Anywhere from 75F to 85F is optimal for Bettas and yours is right in the middle.>> I know the day would come eventually but I'm really not happy about it. Even though he is just a fish he is like part of my family :( Can I be wrong? <<Wish I could tell you otherwise but it doesn't sound like there's a lot of time left. I mean this in the kindest and most sympathetic sense that it's a "luxury" for most of us to hear of a fish that's lived a long, healthy life. It doesn't make it easier when it comes but, compared to so much of what we read, your Betta has done very, very well to have lived so long.>> Thank you HF <<My best to you. Tom>>

Re: Betta acting strange    7/13/06 Hi Tom <<Hello, Heidi.>> That's what I figured :( Thank you so much for your reply. I guess I will make the best of the time he has left for him. <<In truth, Heidi, your post prompted me to dig deeper into longevity of Bettas and, I'm going to retract/amend part of the information I shared with you. Bettas can potentially live for a longer time than what I suggested to you in my original response. In fact, four to five years isn't out of the realm of possibility and I've run across sources that claim they've kept Bettas longer than that. In the case of your pet, I stand by what I said. I feel, however, it would be a disservice to both you and our readers to not correct myself on this point. My apologies for not being "on top of my game" on this one.>> Take Care Heidi <<Warm regards, Heidi. Tom>>

Betta Behaviour - 07/04/2006 I brought a male fighter about a month ago and he was doing fine, so following the advice of a book I went and got 2 females to go with him. <Uhh, what book?  Please verify any information you glean with more than one source....  this was, simply stated, very bad advice, book or no.  Female Betta splendens cannot be housed full-time with male Betta splendens.> 3 days later and they have pecked most of his fins away. Could you tell me what's gone wrong? <Nothing's gone wrong.  This is normal behaviour.  A female should only be housed with a male when both fish are prepared to breed, and even then, only during breeding.> Regards Sarah <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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

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

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

My Lord-- Homosexual Betta Fish   6/13/06 Hello, <Howdy> I have been trying to breed betta fish for the first time. I have one male (isolated) and four females. Two of the females are larger and have been together in the tank for about 2-3 months, and I just got two smaller ones last week. A few days ago, I tried breeding the alpha female with my male, but floating her only produced endless flaring by each, and through-the-plastic attacks. <I strongly suspect this alpha female is another male... happens all the time...> Fearing for their safety, I removed her and put in the "2nd", less dominant, female instead. I'm not sure if she was squeezed--after a few hours I removed her, she was a little beat up. <Was this second female "ready"?... Round, with a "white dot" at her vent?> Today I did a  ~40% water change on the female tank, the first in a while. Just now I was sitting in my room when I saw an odd white burst from my tank, and I started watching them. That's when I noticed then my 2nd female was 'vertical', and then the two mature females embraced, and eggs shot out. I had never seen such a thing, but read about it so I knew what was going on. I'm so confused, almost as if my son had come out on me. (Being 18 though, I have no son. This is as close as it gets.) <... I understand> Is my alpha-female too masculine? Is there hope for her to breed with my male? Should I just accept her for who she is? Eddie <Or rather who "he" is... As stated... often there are some "mis-identified" females in batches of grown-out Bettas... Commercially, males are separated into individual bowls at early age... but some don't get identified, mature till later... and are mis-sold as females. I would separate and keep this alpha fe/male as another male. Bob Fenner> Re: Betta Homosexuality  6/13/06 Thank you for your response. <Welcome> I must, for my own sake, see if your conclusion may be false. My (admittedly inexperienced) eyes do note the 'egged stomach' of--well, Ruth--in comparison to my male, it is bulgy. Secondly, when they squeezed (several times) both of the girls would immediately go to consuming furiously all of the expelled eggs. Isn't that against the male's duty? <... Mmm... perhaps... there is a possibility that these are two females... even that one is not quite "all female"> This is slightly unrelated, but I found it curious as well. My 2nd female, a bit later in the night, took to squeezing herself once. She curled and shot out eggs, and ravenously devoured them. As if she found her own body to be a vending machine. <Yes... will consume...> Eddie (Mailing on Hotmail now as my main client now doesn't believe in your address) <Dang our ISP, my ignorance of computer technology. Cheers, BobF>

Is my Betta dying? No info.  - 05/29/06 I have had my Betta fish for about 8 months now. I woke up this morning to find him at the top of the tank laying on his side. I immediately thought he was dead, but as I tapped on the glass he started to swim around. I was at work for the majority of the day and when I came home he seemed to be swimming around, but he didn't seem like he could keep his balance. And yet again he went to the back corner of the tank and laid on his side. please help!! -Carolyn <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files at top, particularly on Betta Disease, Behavior. Bob Fenner>

Misbehaving Betta 5/16/06 Hello- <Hi>    I have a 29 gallon filtered tank w/ heater (78-82 degrees F).    I recently purchased a male Betta (Skyler). The first couple days he hid near the bottom and around the plants. <Normal>  However, the past couple of days he has been chasing my seven platies around and flaring at them. He stays near the top right corner and mostly chases them when they come near his corner. Is he just protecting his territory? And when should I get worried about his aggressiveness? <Can be normal for Bettas.  I have noticed quite a wide range of "personalities" in these fish.  Some are timid as can be, others are just plain old mean.> I have a huge rock shelter and about six faux plants on one side of the tank and six on the other. Thank you for your insight. Sarah <As long as no physical damage is being done I would give it a few days to see if the aggression subsides.  May be that a new pecking order needs to be established and then all will be fine.  If his behavior does not improve, or the platies become physically damaged the Betta will have to be removed.> <Chris> Fe/Male Betta beh.  - 05/10/2006 Hi, I need some help. I have a cute female Betta. She has been thriving since I got her. About two weeks ago I purchased a male Betta. I let them both see one another but never introduced them. They were in two separate tanks at all times. I've since given the male away. However now the female will not stop laying eggs and making bubble nests. She will not eat because she is preoccupied with protecting her nest. <Mmm, females rarely build bubble nests, nor do they guard them. I suspect you have a less than mature appearing male> I feel so bad for her. I don't know what I should do. IM even worried about changing her water because I will have to discard her eggs. Although I know I must change her water soon. I know she needs the presence of a male to fertilize her eggs, but is there anything I can place in her tank to stop her from laying eggs. She has had three separate episodes of egg laying. A few days will go by where she will eat like crazy. Then she stops and lays her eggs. Do you have any advise for this hopelessly romantic female Betta? <... I would change the water... Bob Fenner> Betta...........?   5/9/06 My Betta is acting really weird. He was fine yesterday and all of a sudden he was floating upright at the top. He would the twitch out of it as if he was dazed. I just did a water change a few days ago. The PH is 7, the Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0 and Nitrite 0, and the Temp is 76. Can you please help me? Thank You, John <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Cellophane Betta - Veins? Hello, I hope you can answer my question. <I will certainly try my best - Jorie here.> I have a Cellophane betta, he's very healthy and has a few blood red markings on his fins (it's his natural coloration, he's always had these splotches.) My question is: Is it normal to see 'veins' in a cellophane Betta's fins? When I shine light on his fins, I can see red stripes down the rays of his fins. Are these markings, veins, or could it be septicemia? <Seems as though you've had your betta for a while - is this a new phenomenon or have the veins always been visible?  In general, it is normal to see veins through a "cellophane" Betta's fins, but my main question is whether the condition has worsened, changed, etc...> I treated him for a week, and have kept his water very clean, levels are at zero, but nothing's changed. I'm beginning to think what I am seeing are just the veins in his fins, because he is eating and seems very healthy. The rest of his body is fairly see-through as well. <I am inclined to think this is your fish's normal coloration, but obviously it doesn't hurt to keep the conditions pristine, etc.  Also, as I said above, if the veins have become more prominent, then that is more cause for concern.> Thank you for your time! -Amber <Hope I've helped! Jorie>

Cranky Betta   4/26/06 Hello WWM Crew. My question is about my Betta's (Oscar) strange behavior. I bought him about 2 1/2 weeks ago and when I brought him home, he was quite happy and remained so up until about about a week ago. I think he has been flaring at me! <That's fine.  One of my male Bettas flares at everything that gets near the tank.  I've only seen another one flare once.  Flaring involves extending the plates of their gills.  Most photos feature flaring Bettas, photographers induce them to flare in order to see their finnage more clearly, Google around.> I have read many websites on correct Betta care, and I am pretty sure that everything is in proper order: he lives in a 1 gallon tank with gravel and a false plant, I change his water every 4 days, I feed him 5 or 6 pellets in the morning and maybe 3 pellets at night (he is <Unrelated to your question, but you are overfeeding at a gross rate.  I feed my males every 2 or 3 days, one feeding of 2 or 3 pellets.  You are feeding your animal 8 to 10 times as much food!  They are not extremely active animals and do not need much food.  Excess feeding can lead to illness by fouling the water or giving your pet intestinal blockage.> usually still pretty full by then) and his tank stays around 70 degrees. I know that Bettas will flare when they see their reflection, but he doesn't do this. He will become aggressive when he sees his reflection, but not flare. He only flares when I come near his tank to watch him. So now I feel terrible and don't know what I did for him to dislike me so much. Can you please help me figure out what is causing him to do this? <Your Betta doesn't like or dislike you!  A common mistake that aquarists make is attributing human qualities to their pets; your Betta's behavior is common behavior that is part of how he defends his territory for other fish.  Excessive flaring can sometimes indicate that your Betta is under stress, and is a bit "jumpy".  In this case, he likely doesn't have enough places to hide in his tank, and you might consider increasing his decor.> Thank you. <Jason N.> Betta questions    4/20/06 Hi crew, I have some Betta questions.  Okay, a lot of Betta questions. About six months ago I rescued my Betta, Terrence, from an environmental science project.  The project was to set up miniature ecosystems inside two-liter bottles.  Many of the teams (not ours!! we thought it would be cruel) decided to put Bettas in their "aquatic chambers."  At the end of the project, I volunteered to take home any unwanted fish.  Terrence was living in a two-liter bottle of algae, more or less.  Literally, the water was an opaque black-green. So obviously he had a rough start.  He recovered in a bowl for a while.  His fins grew back fully in blue and red, and though his body is still brown, it now has a hint of blue iridescence.  He lives in a 2.5 gal tank with a Whisper filter (on the lowest setting) and an incandescent light bulb in the hood.  It all came together as a kit; after reading through the many WWM FAQs I've realized that this is not the best setup, but he doesn't seem to mind the very gentle flow.  The water temperature is consistently 81 during the day and gradually drops to 78 at night (too big a change for him?) <Three degrees is not likely a problem... 4-5 would be...>   He has three small soft plastic plants and a small bunch of live anacharis, plus a little bridge I just got for him to lay on and hide under.  (He loves it.)  He always has a bubble nest going, is fairly active, and seems very happy. A few weeks ago I noticed a white smudge on top of his head and another on his side.  It has not gotten bigger or spread anywhere else and it doesn't look like ich.  It's not raised or fuzzy.  It just looks like some of his scales have begun to turn gray. <Might be just this... a color change... happens with age quite often> (I don't have a picture right now but I can get one if that'd help.)  He's still blowing bubble nests, has a great appetite (he swims right up as soon as I open the food bottle-- Seachem Betta Bites.  I've tried freeze-dried bloodworms on him but he just stares at them).  I added aquarium salt after the white appeared and have always done 25-35% weekly water changes, 0 ammonia, 0.1 ppm nitrite, 30 nitrate. <Mmm, try to keep the nitrate below 20 ppm... More water changes, less feeding...>   I use conditioned tapwater for the water changes, and the alkalinity is 0 and the pH is 6.6.  I'm planning to find something to raise the alkalinity (any suggestions?). <I would not raise it>   Is the pH a problem? <No... more trouble likely in fooling with it here>   And if so, how would you recommend raising it? Thanks in advance--and you have a wonderful site, by the way.  I've been running my mouth about it to everyone I know who has an aquarium. Oh, while I'm writing-- my brother also has a Betta, Edmund, a very feisty and active little guy.  Lately the ends of his fins have started curling. <Also quite natural> They're not torn and don't look damaged, but they're curly and almost textured-looking.  Any thoughts on what's causing it?  He doesn't seem affected by it. Thanks a bunch! ~Terrence's mom <I would not be concerned here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Some Betta Repro./beh. advice needed!    4/20/06 Hello there, I saw your information about Siamese fighting fish on the wet web media website while I was looking for some advice and I thought I would email and ask you as it seems you have lots of experience with these amazing fish! I have a male and a female and they have been spawning and lots of eggs have been released; the trouble is that the male has not created a nest anywhere (at least that I can see) and it seems that when the eggs are released both male and female (after she has recovered) have been eating the eggs. <Happens> The eggs that have survived the adults seem to just float away among the tank. I am worried that the eggs will not survive with the male being so flippant about them.. have you seen anything like this before? <Yes... lack of preparation... need to be raised apart, introduced such that the male is stimulated, makes a bubble nest> I am pretty new to keeping the fighting fish and am desperate for some advice on the matter as it would be very sad to see the eggs go to waste. Thank you very much, Micaela Burr. <Do a bit more reading re spawning Betta splendens... Plenty on the Net, books re this. Bob Fenner>

Betta beh. 4/19/2006 Hello! I got my male Betta, Dorian, two weeks ago.  Not knowing much about them, I bought the little half gallon plastic kit the shop recommended.  I got the optional 7 watt light to help keep him warm.  Anyway, I've been doing a lot of research since, and realized pretty quickly that this was not a good setup. <<Not at all.>> So although he seemed fine (active, building bubble nests, eating Hikari Betta Bio-Gold - 2 pellets, twice a day), I went out and bought the Eclipse Hex 5 and a heater, and set that up over the weekend, letting it run without Dorian for 24 hours. <<I house one of my betas in that tank too :).>> I tested the water last night -- ammonia and nitrites were at zero -- nitrates, ph, hardness, etc. were all the same as his bowl water, and all were in the safe zone, so I moved him to his new home. <<This tank is not cycled.  Please search WWM for fishless cycling.>> He was freaking out all night!  He darted around the whole tank, diving straight down toward the gravel, flaring like crazy, and just acting very stressed!  This morning he seems calmer, and he ate one pellet (I don't want to over feed him, since the tank is new, and I guess not fully cycled). <<Not cycled at all.>> But he still seems unhappy and skittish.  Is this normal adjustment? <<Will likely subside with time, after cycling the tank.  I would worry too much about this now, as there are more important factors at play here.>> I'm concerned the current from the Bio Wheel is too strong, and it's stressing him out. <<The filters in these tanks are really soft.  In fact, I feel they are too weak for most fish.  If you feel it is still too hard on him, you may try adding some filter floss to the intake to reduce the flow.>> Also, his dorsal fin looks a little ragged after the move -- not torn, exactly, but a little frayed on the very edge.  I'm afraid I'm going to kill him with kindness since he was doing okay in the "bad" setup! <<He would have died prematurely and been very unhealthy in the other setup.  I assure you, you are doing the right thing!>> Is there anything I can do to make the transition easier?  Should I move him back to the bowl if he still seems stressed tonight? <<No, please don't put him back in the bowl.  Make sure he has a cycled low-flow environment and he will fare well.>> Many thanks for your help!  -Bridget <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - 04/11/2006 I have had my betta for about 3 months.  He started off very healthy but lately he has started to get lethargic and hang at the top.   <Not a good sign....> It gets worse. He won't really eat or move.   <Could be pure boredom, could be environmental disease....> Bubbles come out from under where his "coif" is (the thing that makes them look like that spitting dinosaur in Jurassic Park), <Excellent description!!  This is a part of his gill plate.... a part of the cover of his gills.> and he is constantly moving it like he can't breathe.   <Hmm....  Moving it rapidly, or just slowly and rhythmically?  It is normal for this to move as they breathe; this may not be of concern.> It is gray under his chin and neck.   <This is quite typical, probably not an issue.  You might want to take a look at other bettas in stores just to compare; many bettas have a silvery, whitish, or grayish patch in this area.> He is constantly at the top - he sticks his mouth out like he's getting air.   <Sticking his mouth out is okay, too; Bettas are able to take the same air that we breathe.> I didn't notice anything specific with his gills but I'll check tomorrow if he's still with us.  Also, once in a while, it's like he spazzes out: he goes real crazy and swims all over like he's epileptic, <Now, this is very telling.  I would urgently check his water quality.  Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm....  if it is not, do an immediate water change (perhaps 50% or so) with water of the same pH and temperature to bring the water back or closer to normal.  Another thing to check is to be sure that the air above his water isn't "trapped" like in a closed, covered tank; his lid must not be air-tight but have some small space at least for air exchange.  It is also important to keep their tank at a constant 78-82 degrees F....  a cold betta will become lethargic as you describe.  A betta that's bored with his surroundings but otherwise in good health will also become lethargic.  In either of these cases, he may refuse food as in your case.  Same all goes for poor water quality.  I would, as a safety precaution, do a good sized water change, make sure you've provided him with a home of at least a gallon in size, preferably heated, not airtight, and change his decor dramatically.  This will hopefully perk him up!> and then goes back to the top and floats and gets air and releases bubbles from his gills. <Ah, the releasing of bubbles is fine.  That's what he does with the "leftover" air he's not using.> Please help! <Well, I hope this has!  Wishing you and your Betta buddy well,  -Sabrina> Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - II - 04/14/2006 Thanks for getting back to me. <You bet!> The "coif" - he moves it slowly while he's at the top, but it remains partly open all the time now - he never used to do this.  He also never used to blow bubbles from under it - now they come out of there all the time. <Disconcerting.  I very, very strongly recommend that you do a significant water change, immediately, and start testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> The spazzing out - he has always done this once in a while, no matter what the water looked like - even if it was just changed. <Once in a while is to be somewhat expected, if he gets startled or something, but it's still indicative of a water quality issue in this case, I fear.> The gray under his chin has not always been there.  It may have been a slightly different color but this now looks unhealthy. <Possibly his "stressed" coloration....  again, water quality may be a/the issue.> When I said he is constantly at the top getting air, I mean he's got his mouth out of the water almost all the time, moving that gill plate - it gives the impression it's hard for him to breathe but I'll take your advice and hope it helps!   <This also is disconcerting, and also indicative of dramatically poor water quality.  Please try to ensure that he has a tank of at LEAST one gallon, a constant temperature of 78-82 degrees F, water tested for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and treated with a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer....  Please also read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> One more thing: this fish is at a desk at work (in a cube) - is it important that they get natural light?  (in which case I'd have to take mine "on vacation" to someone else's cube!) <Nah, he'll be fine with just a tank light or ambient light.  I trust he isn't lit 24x7?  My office Betta Ziggy and I wish yours all the best!  -Sabrina>

Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - III - 04/17/2006 Thanks for the advice.  By the way, his name is Hyman (as in Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy). <Ziggy's actually Ziggy Starfish, after Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie with crazy hair.> When I noticed weird behavior, I did a full water change (which I understand isn't that great either as far as good bacteria buildup), <Correct.> but nothing changed.   <Have you tested ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate yet?  I can't tell you how urgent that is.  Life-and-death urgent.> I always use AquaSafe and aquarium salt.  He's in a 2.5 gallon tank and the water temperature is about 78 degrees - he's not under the light all the time but I use a small bulb ($3 Christmas candle light thing) to give him some heat during the day, otherwise he'd be down to room temperature. <All good.> I'll check him tomorrow and we'll see if he made it. <Ziggy and I will have our fins and fingers crossed!  Wishing you and Hyman well,  -Sabrina>

Betta Behaviour, Boredom, Environment - IV - 04/19/2006 I did what you suggested and checked the water.  It's fine.   <Fine meaning ammonia and nitrite are zero, nitrate less than 20ppm, I hope?> He's still moving that gill plate up and down and "spitting" bubbles.  I'll do partial water changes more often maybe, without cleaning the rocks so the bacteria builds up?  I always did full water changes for bettas because of the sort of tank they're in (more like a bowl and no filtration....) but I'll know now.  Thanks for your help! <Glad to be of service....  please do keep your eyes open for any other symptoms he might exhibit and keep that water ideal - hopefully he'll pull through.  All the best to yah,  -Sabrina> Can't They All Just Get Along  - 03/29/2006 Hi Guys ! <Hello E.K.> Thanx for the help on my earlier fishue I mean Issue ;- ) <That's funny...really.> New dilemma.. <Okay.> I just added a female Siamese fighter to appease the male fighter I have already. <A gambling man huh?> But he attacks her (Open gills and all) continuously...unabated ( no pun intended) Is this normal ? <Quite...either she does not fit his expectations or he is "mating/courting" her to death....re WWM re b. splendens breeding.> Oh yes, I've seen him attempting to build a bubble nest. <They do this even when alone.> But he seems to be confused as to whether he is a lover or a fighter ! <Not confused....normal.> Thanks for your assistance , <Anytime.> Ejaz Khan Johannesburg, South Africa <Adam J, California, US.>

Betta Fish color beh.  3/30/06 I have bought 5 Betta fish for my science fair, And I would  like to know, Can Betta fish change color in the dark? <Mmm, not much. This species has a good deal of its color from non-changing (rapidly) chromatophores.> and What happens if they  are placed in Sunlight? <How will you measure this?> Please, I would like to know or I get 2 failing  grades.                                  From, danghuynh89 <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AqSciSubWebIndex/coloration.htm and the Related FAQs link above. Bob Fenner>

I Already Did My Homework....Do Your Own    3/30/06 Are there any types of fish that can change color if placed in the dark.   <Most fish have the ability to camouflage or alter their pigmentation to fit in with their surroundings, including the change from day to night...a good example would be a Naso lituratus or a Lawnmower Blenny.> Please name all <Far too many, you were the lad with the school project correct? I suggest you continue your research and learn for yourself. WWM is  Adam J.> Betta Acting Like A Betta  3/20/06 My Betta, Juro, is acting really strange. I recently moved him into a nice 5 gallon hexagon tank. It has all three kinds of filter needed for such an aquarium.  It's warm enough. The bio-wheel is not very fast at all, and he doesn't go over there anyway. This tank is decorated much better than the bowl I had him in. I only have four fake plants in there and they are tucked into the corners so as not to get into his way. Anyway, he will be swimming around and suddenly look at me and flares his gills like mad. Sometimes he just goes to the bottom of the aquarium and lies there. At first I thought he was stuck. He wasn't. Other times it seems as if he's confused or in a huff and he seems as if he is mad at me. I'm not even sure if he is eating his food anymore. What should I do? Is he going to be ok? I'm just very worried about him. I have read lots if things about Bettas in general, but nothing really matches what he's been doing. I am very worried. Please tell me anything that might help. < Everything you describe sounds like a normal male Betta. They go around sometimes patrolling their turf. When they don't see another fish they flare at what ever is near. Sometimes they don't care and rest on the bottom. They are not very active so they don't have to eat all the time.-Chuck>

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