Betta flaring at aquarium surface!

  • #1
As some of you know, my Betta (still doesn't have a name, because I don't know his personality yet to name him) has been flaring at the surface of the water (which is like a mirror both covered (black tank cover) and uncovered (whatever the color of the cieling/sky is above the water's surface)

Today I woke up at 7:30 to discover the saddest thing. My betta had been swimming against the tank current for hours just to stay under the black piece of plastic where he could not see his reflection. He would move to gulp air, and then scurry back to his 2 inch piece of plastic where he couldn't see his reflection in the ceiling.

Between the hex 5's walls which require an exterior lighting set-up from Hollywood to keep him from seeing his reflection, to his inability to look up without freaking out. I am giving up on the aquarium and putting him back in a bowl.

I am sick of it. No more buying stuff. No more spending time on fish forums. I am ticked-off at this "hobby."

Maybe I am just venting. But I feel badly.

Here he is, back in his bowl. I know that there are more solutions to try, but I am just tired.

I took him out of the hex-5 and you know what, I think he's happy-ish/er
Later, thanks for trying to help.
  • #2
I'm so sorry - for you both! - that the hex isn't working out. Can you return it? This might be one situation where he is better off in his bowl!
  • #3
Have you tried putting substrate in the tank? It looks like it's bare right now. Maybe a covering of a natural river rock will break up the light enough that there isn't a reflection.

This is just a guess, though. I'm not certain at all.
  • #4
I have the 5 gallon eclipse hex, small river rock, live plants (not tall enough yet). Luckily enough Ripley doesn't react. But I can say, without benefit of actually being inside it, the reflection from outside is dramatic. Have you thought about paint?
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I could get a 6 G eclipse bowfront, try putting floating plastic plants on the surface. Painting the interior of the tank, doing substrate on the bottom, but everything I have tried hasn't worked and I am just sick of it.
  • #6
I'm sorry for both of you.

My betta had been swimming against the tank current for hours just to stay under the black piece of plastic where he could not see his reflection.

Poor, poor little guy.

I am ticked-off at this "hobby."

I can understand your frustration. You thought you were doing something good and instead end up with a miserable fish who seemingly cannot be made happy.

Believe me, we've all experienced your emotions, especially when new to the hobby. This is why so many fairly new tanks are being sold in the classfieds.

So he's happy in his bowl? Maybe you could really clean up the tank he's in and try and exchange it for a much bigger bowl, a heater and some plants?
  • #7
Please don't give up :-\ Your betta is a great looking guy! Perhaps the filter current is too strong...can you adjust the flow? I like your idea of getting substrate, that's a simple fix. any of the bettas i've had like a cave or something to sit in, that might help him too.....There's always the chance that he'll jump out of a bowl too...
  • #8
If he's pretty new to the tank scene, it may take him awhile to get used to it. There is a lot more room and lot more for him to discover. I have the hex 5 tank. I had to dismantle it when we put our condo up for sale and downsize to my smaller tanks. I first bought that when I had my very first Betta, Mr Red. I had him living in a little triangular 1 gallon tank for the first 3 mo. I had him. In his 3rd mo. he was showing signs of unhappiness and was biting himself to tell me how frustrated and angry he was. I bought the hex 5 cycled it and moved him in and he was happier, but he did flare a lot in the beginning. I think the different angles drove him nuts, cuz he saw his reflection every direction he looked. I put some dark construction paper on the sides and that helped a lot and he calmed down. After awhile he learned to love his new home and was happy with all the space he had. If the hex 5 isn't going to work for him. maybe consider taking it back and getting him the ecleipse 3 maybe. It's small,but the Bettas seem to love it. If he likes to be all cozy in a smaller unit then that would be your best bet too. Some Bettas don't like big spaces. I guess maybe they feel over whelmed by all the space after be so crammed in those tuny little cups. Others love large spaces. It sounds like your is the kind that doesn't like large spaces. He should still be in a 2 1/2- 3 gallon minimum though. Natalie
  • #9
Out of curiosity, do you have a light on the tank?
I was looking in one of my tanks before the lights were on, and the surface is like a mirror, just like in your video. Once I turned the light on, however, there isn't the mirror effect.

I really hope we can figure something out for the poor guy, and for you.
  • #10
I think your betta is very high-spirited and the best tank for him would be a minibow tank with no aquarium paper, dark marbles and fluorescent lighting.
  • #11
BettaCouple has a point. I've been looking for a way to "fix" this tank, but it's possible that, due to your betta's spirit, there is no fix for this tank.

You could try for a trade on Craigslist, to get a minibow in exchange for a hex.
  • #12
Or - get him the mini-bow and rescue ANOTHER betta for the hex!
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Okay guys, I called Dr. Foster and Smith (I am going to really mess you all up if this doesn't work) I ordered a 6 gallon eclipse (which has a bow front). We'll see if this works.

I'll try some kind of polished river-rock substrate, keep the 50W titanium heater, resin "vase" (with holes in it that he can swim through) and, if he is liking the tank, get some plants (for now 2 plastic ones). I hate this hobby, but I thank you for your support

I can't believe he's buying another tank! What a sucker! LOL
  • #14
You just happened to get the psychotic fish. They're something like one in a million. The next will be better (probably).
My parents bought an absolutely evil cat many years ago. He's long gone, but they keep three cats in the house at all times. Even the evil ones will grow on you.
  • #15
I know exactly how you feel, trust me, but once things have settled down you'll be glad you decided to keep going. It's unfortunate your first betta turned out to be a tough one, but bettas are so rewarding to keep I'm glad you're still trying. You might try a female next time if you're concerned about another flaring issue...some females do flare but they don't go mental like the males sometimes do.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
funny enough, this one was marked "female" on the cup she came in. But it was a guy. He is calm as a cucumber and never flared in a bowl it's just this hex 5 drove him CRAZY. Eclipse System 6 Bowfront on its way and will be here in about 4 days. Time to buy more biospira.
  • #17
I didn't see anyone address this, but if they did just ignore me.

It is not a good idea to paint the interior of a tank as mentioned several posts back. If you are going to paint tank walls it is always suggested to do so on the exterior.
  • #18
You might try a female next time

Good idea! There are many extremely beautiful females, and (JMO) I find them to be more fun than the males, with much personality.

ETA: You're not the only person to have trouble with excessive flaring. As stated, some males are just like that.
  • #19
funny enough, this one was marked "female" on the cup she came in. But it was a guy. He is calm as a cucumber and never flared in a bowl it's just this hex 5 drove him CRAZY. Eclipse System 6 Bowfront on its way and will be here in about 4 days. Time to buy more biospira.

You can tell if it's really a female because females have a white spot like a grain of salt on their belly (the ovipostor, for depositing eggs I think). Males won't have one. That's funny, this is the second time recently someone on this forum bought a female that turned out to be a male.
  • #20
There is a fix for both of the problems with the Hex5 tank and they are not hard, but the Eclipse 6 is a great tank too and probably will need the same work. You need to take some filter floss or a big piece of some type of plastic (like cut from a 2 liter pop bottle) and make a small baffle for the flow of water out of the filter opening. It is easy to do and you just attach it temporarily as the REAL problem is VERY temporary. You need to give him time to build up his swimming muscles. He has never been where there is water current to deal with before and it is new to him. Bettas are curious creatures and for some reason will swim into the current even though they are not strong enough right away to handle it. It is good for them to have the exercise but at first it needs to be controlled a bit so they do not hurt themselves. THEN you are going to want to remove the baffle so when he is strong he will be able to play in the water current, he will get to enjoy it. The problem now is that he needs your help to cut down on the flow. Just put a large paperclip over the edge of the housing to hold the plastic in place. I will look but I think I have a picture of the way I set mine up when I did mine. They are now totally removed from my tanks as my fish have long ago gotten their swimming muscles built up and really enjoy current dipping.
The walls of the tank are going to make him believe he has another fish in there with him for a while but he will get to find out that this is not the case and go on about his way eventually if you let him get used to it by not having the tank lights on when the room is dark and by placing plants and other things in his tank to keep him occupied with examining instead of finding fault with the "other fish". This is an adjustment period for both of you and it does take time for a little fish who has never had a light or current to go to the "big time" and get used to it, but I am here to tell you that I have had many bettas do it and it can be done and is done every day. Please do give him the time and patience to do it. It is worth it. You sound very impatient and it is a big mistake to give up this soon on the hobby. It can be hard some days but some times it is the greatest thing in the world to spend time with your fish and it is worth a bit of frustration now and again to see that happen.
Patience is the key to the whole thing and sometimes it does take a while.
Good luck and I do hope that you are able to get this worked out.


In the picture, I used plastic craft canvas for the baffle as that is what I had but the plastic from a soda bottle would be better since it is not so bulky.
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
thanks chickadee! Very helpful.
  • #22
How is the new tank working out?

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