Best Friend Isn’t Taking Proper Care Of Bettas, Help!

Sage Exotics

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Ok... so my best friend was fascinated by my tanks and wanted fish. It was going great, I was helping her choose and stuff, she was going to get a 10 gallon with strong filter, no heater, and a few White Cloud Mountain minnows. She asked her mom for a tank, her mom wasn’t sure if she could handle it so on my friends b-day she got one of those horrible betta “tank” sets. They’re two 0.5 gallon filterless, heaterless, square bowls with some gravel and a plant in the middle. She had been very exited about getting fish previous to getting the “tanks”, and she said her cousin had one of these horrible setups and she thought it was cruel to keep them like that, she has anxiety and depression so that probably affected her ability to tell her mom she disagrees with the setup so she has two bettas now. She’s very new to keeping exotics as she only has two cats, and I know everyone makes mistakes when starting out, I did, my mom did, everyone did. The only thing is she got these fish in early March, and she claims she likes the setup and now her step-sister has a betta in the same conditions. Both of her poor fish show obvious signs of stress, one is always farting around and flaring, while the other is lethargic and lifeless. She also over-feeds and doesn’t do water changes. I’ve told her about the feeding and tank maintenance to try to steer her away from this and I’ve been dropping hints that this is not right and trying to get her to research and change this setup. Deep down, she knows it’s wrong, she loves animals including her two fish, but she’s convinced herself that this is ok and is avoiding research and explaining her fishs behaviour as their personalities. At first I was going to just let her discover and resolve this on her own, but it’s just getting word and as an animal lover and someone who wouldn’t keep a betta in anything less than 5 gallons, it’s getting increasingly difficult to stand by and let this happen. I think one of her fish has bloat and maybe dropsy but I haven’t seen him in person yet so I’m thinking I can get her to sign up on here for help with her betta and then she’ll realize the extent of her situation. Has anyone experienced something similar? What should I do?
 

Kylee

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This is definitely a tough situation. It's always hard when friends do things like this, because you don't want to start an argument. I would personally sit down with my friend and tell them how I feel, and that any research that they do will show them that their setup is cruel.
It's a shame that her mom didn't let her get a 10 gallon, small filterless tanks are way harder to take care of.
I made the mistake of putting my betta in the "my fun fish tank" or whatever the one is that "cleans" itself when you pour in water. After watching him and researching that night I dug out my old 10 gallon and set it up for him the next day, and he lived 3 years.
I would emphasize that they shouldn't feel bad for making the mistake, we all do it as the story above shows. But I would stay firm that they are not taking care of their fish correctly, and just because they seem "fine", it doesn't mean they are. One of the best parts of having fish is watching them thrive and exhibit normal behaviors, and they definitely won't in those small "tanks".
I wish you luck, I'm not a confrontational person at all so I would definitely struggle to do it, but I would have to because I wouldn't be able to handle it.
And your typo made me laugh out loud.
 

Fashooga

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Not your problem. It’s her fish and her problem. You should leave it be. If you continue to pester her with it you might end up losing a friend in this process.

Harsh? Yeah it is. Focus on your tanks. When she wants your help she will come to you.
 

GuppyDazzle

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Try not to be judgemental. I know you're worried about the fish, and that's a good thing. But your friend is more important. You've used words like "horrible" and "cruel." Think how she would feel if she knew you were saying those things about her to a bunch of strangers. You said she has anxiety and depression. She needs your kindness most of all. I don't think you're bullying her on purpose, but she will feel like you're bullying her if she finds out what you've said. In my opinion it's not a good thing to have her sign up here and see what you wrote.

Do you have any water testing equipment? Could you test her water? If there's ammonia, maybe you could figure out a way to change a little water once in a while. Perhaps the more you can educate her, and her mom, the better chance there will be that they get a better tank for these fish.

Please don't be too hard on her. She needs your friendship.
 
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Sage Exotics

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I won’t be hard on her, believe me, she’s been my closest friend for 7 years and I don’t feel like we can ruin it now. I am supporting her and helping her as much as I can, and I haven’t told her about how I feel for those reasons. I don’t want to come off as mean to her, she loves her fish to death and losing them would be very hard for her and if she figured out it was her fault she would REALLY take it to heart, which is the absolute last thing she needs right now. I guess I’ll sit back and see what happens... it’s hard though. Also I know SHE isn’t horrible nor cruel, quite the opposite actually, and her mom just didn’t know, like everyone, she made a mistake. My moms first “tank” was a goldfish in a bowl, so I can’t judge. It’s just the setup that isn’t right and I’m feeling so torn about what to do.
Thank you
 

scarface

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Friendships don’t always last. Sometimes they’re ruined over the stupidest things, like letting one borrow $20 which was never paid back, over some hot chick at the club you never knew, he/she stole your favorite cologne/perfume. . . or dare I say it? Simply because of a fish (yeah I said it. Come at me, bros!)

So, what do they all have in common? None of them are worth losing a good friendship over.

Also, please note that the previous said examples are all made up. :emoji_sweat_smile:
 

Gypsy13

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scarface said:
Friendships don’t always last. Sometimes they’re ruined over the stupidest things, like letting one borrow $20 which was never paid back, over some hot chick at the club you never knew, he/she stole your favorite cologne/perfume. . . or dare I say it? Simply because of a fish (yeah I said it. Come at me, bros!)

So, what do they all have in common? None of them are worth losing a good friendship over.

Also, please note that the previous said examples are all made up. :emoji_sweat_smile:
Made up? Hah! And hubby says how dare you bring up that twenty bucks again! Lol.
But, Sir Scar is right. Friends are dear gems that are hard to keep. Your feelings count too. Be gentle. Do what you feel is right. Best wishes.
 
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Sage Exotics

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Ok, will do. She’s very forgiving and would understand if I told her, but I don’t want to stress her out or make her feel bad so I’m gonna just let her continue I guess. I’ll just support her and when she needs help I’ll give it to her, wether it’s about her fish or not. Thanks
 

Lissi Kat

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Sage Exotics said:
*DARTING around, not farting XD
I preferred farting around lol!
Maybe you could get her a test kit and test the water with her once she sees everthing in the red with many exclamation marks,sad faces and warning it might hit home a bit more as she can't explain it away! She might be encouraged to enact change then
 

Lissi Kat

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Sage Exotics said:
Ok, will do. She’s very forgiving and would understand if I told her, but I don’t want to stress her out or make her feel bad so I’m gonna just let her continue I guess. I’ll just support her and when she needs help I’ll give it to her, wether it’s about her fish or not. Thanks
I just read through the other comments and my one concern would be that if she would take it really badly if she found out it was her set up that killed them wouldn't it be a good thing to get ahead of that...rheres a good chance that by the time she asks for your help it'll be too late. Do you have a spare 10g you could give her with a divider in it's be a he'll of a lot betta! And you guys could go pick out some stuff for it together make a nice day of it in sure that would help both the fish and her mental health
 

GuppyDazzle

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Good job Sage Exotics. You didn't say how old you are, but I assume you're a kid. You're adulting better than most adults do. You have a dilemma on your hands. You care deeply about fish and want to keep them safe and healthy, and you care deeply about your friend, who doesn't yet have the knowledge about keeping fish. You came to a good place to put your feelings out there to get feedback from others, and maybe vent just a little.

The bottom line is that your friend's well-being is more important than the fish. That doesn't mean you forget about the well being of the fish. One of the reasons this is stressful for you is because you care so much about your friend and you want her to be successful.

The trick is to help without meddling. It's not a good idea to walk into someone else's home and try to take anything over, no matter how small. Her mom's the queen bee around there and you have to be sensitive to that. All you can do is kindly make suggestions and hope they follow along.

Do you have any fish stores nearby? Maybe just take a fun trip with your friend to go look. You could find someone to ask some questions, such as how to keep water in good shape for a couple of bettas. You have to be careful about what you're told at fish stores, because sometimes the people don't know that much about fish, it's just a job to them. But it might be a fun outing where you can both learn.
 
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Sage Exotics

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Well, we went to Calgary last weekend and we were talking about fish and she had already gone to her fish store for advice and three different people told her the same exact common myths, so when she told me what they said I told her her it was false, so we were looking at common betta myths and she figured out how to properly care for her little fishies and now they have a 4 gallon with a filter each. I’m also gonna give her some mini moss balls and propagate my anubias do she can have some plants in there. It went quite smoothly and everyone is much happier now. Thank you all!
 

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I'm glad she finally listened. My best friend, if she kept fish, knowing her she'd probably get a bichir, or some other oddball (she thinks my bichirs are adorable, lol). I hope the bettas do well.
 
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Sage Exotics

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I’m sure her bettas will be fine!

OMG I loooove bichirs, don’t have the space for the little dragons though
 
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