Betta Is Home How To Tell If He's Happy

  1. O

    Ondrea Culp New Member Member

    Just brought a half moon male Betta home yesterday. Pretty sure we did everything correct after talking to knowledgeable aquarium personnel at our Aquatic Store & at PetSmart. Also brought another snail (Nerite) and a new live plant El Nino Fern to place in front of the filter to hopefully decrease the current. Questions: I he suppose to spend almost ALL his time at the top of the tank?
    Do they see their reflection & act agitated - he seems to? What are some good names? We are coming up with NOTHING! He needs a name )-:
     
  2. Kameron

    Kameron Valued Member Member

    Congrats on the betta! They mostly stay towards the top but swim everywhere in the tank. What size tank do you have? It may take some time to get him settled in. What does he look like. Any photos?
     
  3. OP
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    Ondrea Culp New Member Member

    He's in a 10 gallon tank with 5 live plants and 2 - 4 snails (one doesn't stay in the tank much & one is a little baby) I don't actually count them.
    Here's an update though: He IS swimming all around the tank, comes up to me when I'm feeding him and even came up this morning when I gently placed my "clean" finger tip into the top of his tank :). I do believe his color has already become somewhat more vibrant. Funny how attached I've already become to him. We still don't have a name for him :-( SAD.

    Oh & sorry but I don't know how to post photos.
     


  4. Kameron

    Kameron Valued Member Member

    So he is getting comfortable for sure! That’s great. Seems like he will be happy. What colors is he? Can you post a picture?
     
  5. Iverg1

    Iverg1 Well Known Member Member

    Hello! Welcome to Fishlore! Sounds like you researched! May I ask. Is it heated? Filtered? Do you know about the nitrogen cycle (if not click cycle) Next to the post reply button it says upload file click on it and select your option of uploading.
     
  6. Dch48

    Dch48 Well Known Member Member

    Mine used to stay near the top when I first got him but he has learned in the 5 months I have had him that not all food floats on the surface. He loves scrounging the gravel and trying to steal food I put in for the snails and now 2 Ghost shrimp. Now he sometimes hangs out on the bottom underneath a plant leaf watching what's going on. He always comes to the front when he sees me and looks up at where the feeding hatch is to see if maybe a pellet or 2 suddenly drop in. He's like a puppy sometimes. He loves his treats. I have never had a more personable fish.

    I wanted a name that started with a B and sounded friendly so he is called Benny. In the beginning he hid a lot and was sometimes hard to find so his first name was Waldo. :) He's Benny now . Some people like names that fit their fighting nature, other's like more friendly names. Every Betta has a different personality and that's part of what makes them so interesting.
     


  7. OP
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    Ondrea Culp New Member Member

    Really enjoy all your replies.
    Yes my 10 gallon tank is heated, filtered, I have a thermometer in it & yes I'm learning about Nitrogen/Nitrite .
    My husband finally came up with a name "Flash" ( not very original) but he seems to like it.
    I agree Flash is also like a puppy. He makes me laugh & I am already way too fond of him. He's absolutely no problem, but I CAN'T say the same thing about the snails. :-( All but one -Sheldon - are making me crazy! The newest one that I named Ross already seems like he's on his way out, Spock has been missing for almost 48 hrs. now (he's one of the original Nerites I bought w/the tank) & I've had to rid the tank of 2 extremely tiny new babies. I still have the original pond juveniles that showed up soon after I set up my tank.
    I've had Flash in the tank now for a week I had let the tank cycle for 2 weeks and took a sample of the water to an aquatic store to test before we got Flash they said it was ready. I'm thinking now that I should try to clean it tomorrow.What are all your thoughts on this subject please.
     
  8. K

    Kalyke Valued Member Member

    I have known of people who have kept bettas in non-filtered small bowls (about 5-gallon size). I do not support it, (I think a 10 is the smallest a betta should have) but still, their betta lived about 8 years according to what they said. I saw it a few times, it looked healthy. One must is always dechlorinator. There is "sufficient" and there is "ideal." A beloved pet "deserves" the best possible care.

    How to tell it is happy? It is healthy looking. It is bright, and active, curious, interactive (not afraid of you).

    I've had a few bettas, and what kills them the most is those hard food pellets. I only feed my bettas soft "flakes" or frozen food (mysis shrimp, bloodworms). Overfeeding them is also a killer. Since I have another larger tank, when I thaw a cube of frozen bloodworms or shrimp, I feed the betta just a tiny (one grain of rice size) amount and give the rest to the other fish.

    Also, remember to feed the nerite snail. If the tank is super clean (not a lot of algae) they need to be fed. I use bottom sinking wafers (remove after a while so it does not pollute the tank) and also slices of zucchini weighted down with a fork. Since the snail is a snail, it takes some time for them to find the food and get to it. If you do not feed the snail or have algae, they will start eating your plants.
     
  9. Dch48

    Dch48 Well Known Member Member

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with most of this. If the pellets are small and only given no more than 4 at a time, they shouldn't cause any problems. I also do not think that Nerites need to be fed. Mysteries yes but Nerites seem to survive just fine on only biofilm and occasional bits of algae they might find. A lot of them will actually ignore any kind of supplemental food that is put in. Oh, and, Nerites do not eat plants. They may eat dying and decaying plant matter but not healthy plants. One of mine will munch on Pleco wafers and eat small bits of broccoli but the other one will ignore everything you put in. One is a Tiger and the other a Zebra but I don't know if that makes any difference. The one that ignores the added food is the Zebra. He actually lived through the fish in cycling of my Betta tank and I had no idea what was keeping him going since there obviously was no algae and probably only a limited amount of biofilm. I saw him pass black feces a couple of times so he was obviously eating something.
     
  10. OP
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    Ondrea Culp New Member Member

    Thank you Kalyke I blanched some slices of cucumber the other day but nothing was interested in the 2 pieces I put in the tank even after quite awhile. I felt it was not good for the water environment. I will get some sinking wafers though at least for Sheldon. My tank is quiet clean , but I have had it set up now for 3 weeks. As mentioned in my last post I feel like I should clean it tomorrow, but VERY nervous. We knew from the beginning that nothing less than a 10 gallon aquarium was what we preferred.
    I"m also a tad bit worried about ammonia levels. Not sure about that potential problem.

    Dch48 thank you for your response. Sheldon is my Mystery snail & he's/she's a great worker - always cleaning. I don't believe I'll get any more Nerites since one died immediately, one is totally missing & the newest one seems to be presently dying. I think Sheldon & Flash will be just fine with just the 2 pond babies at present.
     
  11. Dch48

    Dch48 Well Known Member Member

    Once the tank is cycled, you should never have to worry about ammonia levels again. The only thing to keep in check is nitrates. I think you're wanting to clean the tank too soon. Mine has been running for 5 months now and I have only rinsed out the filter cartridges once and I never vacuum the gravel. In my opinion, the less you do that disturbs the system, the better off you are. To me cleaning the substrate is purely a cosmetic thing since the detritus that you see, if any, (I never see anything), has been rendered inert a long time ago. You can kill pets with kindness.
     
  12. K

    Kalyke Valued Member Member

    I understand that you have a different opinion. Pellets have killed 4 bettas so far and I no longer feed them those pellets. My issue, my decision. Also, My nerite snails hoard around a slice of zucchini and eat like they have never eaten before. My experience. They also ate all the roots of my Bolbitis heudelotii, then the tops, and also ate most of my Java fern. That is in the 75 gallon I have had for 5 years, not the new tank.
     
  13. Dch48

    Dch48 Well Known Member Member

    I have tried zucchini and even the Mystery snail won't eat it and he eats everything. The only thing my Zebra Nerite has ever touched was a piece of blanched spinach and he only ate a little of it.

    The only time I had had an issue with a snail eating my plants was right after I put in some broccoli. The next day, I saw my Mystery munching on my Java Fern. I went back to only using shrimp pellets and the occasional piece of Pleco wafer and the plants have not been touched since. I honestly am now of the opinion that by giving them fresh veggies you are teaching them to look for that kind of food and then they will start eating your plants. They don't eat the plants because of a lack of vegetables but actually because of them. They have very short memories that seem to only extend to what they ate the last time and that is what they look for. I use no kind of vegetable now at all.
     
  14. Fanatic

    Fanatic Fishlore VIP Member

    Nerite snails should be supplemented occasionally with a blanched vegetable, but will survive mainly on biofilm and algae without problems. I don’t recommend nerites unless your tank is at least three months old.
     
  15. Dch48

    Dch48 Well Known Member Member

    Like I said, my Nerite went in the tank 2 days after it was first set up and has done fine. Maybe he's just a supersnail but that is what I've seen.
     
  16. Fizzfrog

    Fizzfrog Well Known Member Member

    Not butting into the argument here, but there are a few points that I haven't seen addressed yet.

    OP, you said you cycled your tank for 2 weeks? It usually takes 4-8 weeks for a tank to cycle properly. I know you said you've been reading up on the cycle, but just to reiterate: you know your tank has cycled when you are able to introduce a source of ammonia and within 24 hours see 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and an increase in nitrate. The most accurate way of knowing this is with a liquid testing kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test kit. If you don't have it already, I would really get one asap; many pet stores use strips which are much less accurate, and I'm afraid to say that many people at chain pet stores such as PetSmart and Petco don't really know what they're doing and will tell you your tank is ready when in fact the opposite is true. (Even if you tested at a LFS, I'd test your water yourself just so you know for sure.) Ammonia and nitrite are both very toxic to fish (nitrate as well, but less so). You want ammonia and nitrite to always be 0 ppm, you only want to keep nitrate below 20 ppm at all times, so let nitrates be your guiding point as you figure out your personal water change schedule. I usually do a 25% change every week, and a light gravel vac every few weeks.

    If once you get your test kit and you see ammonia or nitrite readings above 0 ppm, your tank is not cycled. In that case, I would do 25% water changes every day and dose with an ammonia-neutralizing dechlorinator such as Seachem Prime every 24 hours. The combination of water changes and Prime will keep your fish safe from the toxic ammonia and nitrite in the water until the tank is cycled.

    If, on the other hand, you test your water and you see 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and some nitrate (test your tap water too to make sure your readings are coming from the tank system itself and not just the tap), then congrats, you're cycled! It's not unheard of to have a tank cycled in so short a time, it just doesn't usually happen which is why I'd like to make sure, just to be safe.

    I personally have never had issues with betta pellets, but some individual bettas are prone to bloating. I recommend the Omega One betta buffet pellets as they have more protein and less "filler" than most other brands and I only feed 2 pellets at a time, twice a day, with fasting once a week. Frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp (make sure to thaw them!) do also work. Avoid freeze-dried foods unless as an occasional treat. I and many others follow this feeding schedule with these foods, but all fish are different. I'm not going to say that my experiences generalize to everyone, and I really am not in the mood (nor do I have the energy) to get into an argument about this right now.

    Never had a snail, so I can't say much about them, sorry! I will say, however, that it wouldn't surprise me if the disagreement going on above is just because of individual snail differences. For example, plenty of people say their plecos enjoy fresh veggies, and yet the one I have at home doesn't. Nothing wrong with it, it just doesn't like veggies. But who am I to say.

    Best of luck with your betta! Based on the descriptions above he seems to be happy and settling in - it does sometimes take a week or two for them to become comfortable but the curiosity and vibrancy of his colors are a very good sign. They are indeed incredibly personable, and you can even teach them tricks! Mine knows how to jump, but that's about it. I'm planning on teaching him how to swim through a hoop when I have some time. Let us know if you have any more questions!
     
  17. OP
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    Ondrea Culp New Member Member

    Again thank you ALL for your comments/advice.
    Update: I boug ht the snails (now all 4 are back in the tank) some Algae wafers at Petco & Sheldon went wild over it, but of course my Nerites act dead no movement, no interest same w/baby pond snails. I did change the tank water (50%) last night -BOY was I stressed! Everybody seems happy & ok this morning, but I tested the water with a very basic test strip I got from PetSmart API 5 in 1 & I'm not happy with the results. Nitrite & Nitrate were 0, KH & GH were in "danger" zone as was the pH. I'm taking a water sample in to the local Aquarium shop today for them to test. Boy I didn't think this new hobby would be so worrisome, but I'm not a quitter & am so darn attached already to Flash & Sheldon I will trudge on. Hope you all do not mind the continuous questions.
    Thanks again
     
  18. Fizzfrog

    Fizzfrog Well Known Member Member

    Would it be possible for you to get the API liquid test kit? Liquid tests are more accurate than strip tests. Also, do you know the pH of your water (in numbers)? Fish, especially store-bought, domestically bred fish such as bettas usually have a pretty high tolerance of pH range, so as long as the pH is stable they should be okay. Fluctuating pH is what you want to look out for, as that can really stress the fish out and can even kill them.

    I think the most important thing right now is for you to test for ammonia. Nitrite won't be produced until there are enough BB to process ammonia, and nitrate won't be produced until there are enough BB to process nitrite. Do you have live plants in the tank? If not, since both nitrite and nitrate are 0 ppm, you don't have those BB established yet so there is still have ammonia in the tank which is harmful for the fish and snails. If you do have live plants in the tank, it's possible that you're cycled very quickly and the plants are just taking up the nitrate produced at the end of the cycle. Either way I'd test for ammonia, because ammonia is the most toxic compound of the three and you really want to make sure that the concentration is as close to 0 ppm as possible, and ideally at 0 ppm. I can't recommend enough the API liquid test kit, it's accurate (or at least, the most accurate and affordable test kit in the hobby) and lasts a long time so you won't need to get another for several lifetimes of fish, and it's invaluable when cycling a tank especially with fish already in the tank.

    I definitely get you with the new hobby thing! I rushed into it too, getting a betta without knowing what cycling or acclimation was, and a week later getting a 10 gallon with guppies and ADFs (still not knowing about cycling or acclimation. Hence from personal experience I can say that many PetSmart and Petco employees really do not know anything, no matter how well-intentioned they may be). Fortunately I learned very quickly after that and somehow was able to get my tanks cycled pretty quickly, and the fish survived. (Lost two ADFs because of my own initial irresponsibility in not knowing how to acclimate properly.) It's indeed quite worrisome when you're first getting started and just getting the hang of things, especially if you do really get attached to your fish! But once you get into it, it's not too bad, and once your tanks are established it's much more enjoyable than stressful. I know it can be overwhelming at first, but Fishlore is a great community to get started with, and of course we do not mind the questions :)
     
  19. OP
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    Ondrea Culp New Member Member

    Sorry it's taken so long to reply to this question, but I'm having A LOT of trouble navigating this Forum. I have not purchased the liquid test kit yet, but did get a more complete test strip set that tests for everything. Tank environment looks good except for pH which is testing just a tad acidic. I have purchased 2 different products to correct this issue but so far no success. I've practically been living at 3 of our Aquatic stores & Pet-smart. I have now had the tank for about 3+ weeks & only done a 50% water change once. Last night I topped the tank off b/c the water level had gotten unattractively too low. I think the aquarium sides & the - substrate look dirty, but all water samples I take to the Aquatic stores indicate everything except pH is fine & they tell me to leave everything alone. Also I'm down to only 2 snails now. Two of the original three a Nerite & a Mystery are still alive. Sheldon the mystery is terrific -busy cleaning all the time. Spock the nerite continues to constantly escape doesn't clean at all :-( My live plants are ok, but I did have to replace a drawf sword. Again the people that "know" say it's due to my pH.
    Might you guys have any suggestions?