Betta sees reflection against backdrop

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Goldilocks, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. GoldilocksNew MemberMember

    Hey guys! So I just got a new Betta 2 days ago. I won him from my biology lab very last minute so I had to scramble and get a tank ready with only 2 days notice! I ended up getting a 10 gallon with a filter and heater and bought all the testing kits and conditioner and bacteria starter. I set up the tank with tap water and used conditioner, and then bacteria about half an hour later, then brought the tank up to 81-82 degrees and had it running (with no media in the filter however) for 20 hours before I had to pick up my Betta from school. I put his bag in the tank to adjust the temperature for 20 minutes, then mixed some of the tank water into the bag to adjust him to the pH for about 10 minutes, then poured the bag in the tank. He seemed very happy!

    Then the next day I bought new substrate (fluval stratum) and 4 live plants and some new decorations. I put him in a large vase with some of his water and a hiding rock for the next 20 hours as I was setting up the 10 gallon and it took a very long time for the fluval stratum to settle to the bottom. Immediately after I put him in his nice, clean 10 gallon he began to flare up his fins every time he neared the back of the tank. I realized this was because the picture I had against the back was casting his reflection so he thought it was another male Betta!

    My problem is that I really liked the look of the tank much better with the image there, but I don't want to stress out and potentially kill Hakuna (my Betta) from all his aggressive agonistic behavior. I have now removed the picture and he is fine.

    What do you suggest I do? Will he adjust to it, or will he constantly stay aggressive and potentially die from the stress? Maybe I could put up a lighter colored picture as the black parts are casting the clearest reflection... but this may not help much.

    Also, does it sound like I set the tank up properly? Did I miss anything?

    Thanks so much for your help! (Sorry about the long message)
  2. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    welcome to the forum

    There's a product called seaview that will solve that problem - it eliminates the air gaps between the glass and the background. I don't think you have to worry about the fish killing itself from stress.
  3. bassbonediva

    bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    I'm not sure about the background (have honestly never had a betta that flared at his reflection more than once or twice and then proceeded to ignore it).

    However, I think you're going to have problems with the way you set up your tank.

    First off, what "bacterial starter" did you use? The only one worth the money is Tetra SafeStart. All the others don't contain the correct type of bacteria (they contain land-based bacteria instead of aquatic bacteria, which is why you have to add them all the time as per the bottle instructions).

    Secondly, your bacteria lives mainly on your filter media (which is why you have a filter). An additional percentage lives on your substrate and decor, but the majority of it lives on the filter media. By running the filter with the bacterial starter in the tank, but without substrate, media or decor, you left only the bare bottom of the tank for the bacteria to colonize on. Then you covered it up with the substrate after it started to become established, effectively killing the bacteria. The waste produced by your betta cannot penetrate the substrate and it is the waste that the bacteria feeds on (ammonia converted into nitrite, converted into nitrate).

  4. OP

    GoldilocksNew MemberMember

    Sorry I have not given you all the information. (I JUST updated my aquarium info so you can see the brands that I use for my supplements, etc).

    I did have decor (castle, rock, 4 fake plants) as well as 2 cm of substrate that the person who sold me the tank had left over. The water was quite cloudy for a few hours after the bacteria starter went in, which was probably due to the lack of media in the filter (however there was the thin layer of carbon filter in there that is never supposed to be changed out - just rinsed). The only reason there was no media in there at first was because the person who sold me the tank forgot it at home and all the stores were closed. As soon as I got out of school the next day, I tried to buy some, but all I could get was an activated carbon sac which I've stuffed into the filter. The fluval dust actually cleared up much faster with that carbon sac in there so I know it's working. I will be ordering the correct media online though.

  5. bassbonediva

    bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    Hate to tell you, but Top Fin Bacteria Supplement is rubbish. :-( It's a land-based bacteria that needs to be added weekly (or when you do a water change) because it dies out and you lose your cycle.
  6. OP

    GoldilocksNew MemberMember

    Great.. thanks for telling me! I will order tetra safestart from amazon along with my media replacements. Specifically which type do you suggest? There seems to be several options.
  7. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Your fish will experince a cycle, it will probably be rough and it can kill him. Theres the simple truth unfortunetly. The bacterial starter, no matter which product, takes a bare minimum of 7-10days to cycle a tank reasonably, and thats with an amonia source and filter media to cling too. Id advise you get a bottle of Prime Asap. While the tank cycles, i do advise you use the bacerial starter, Tetra safe start, to help it along. If you can get filter media from a friend with a cycled tank that would greatly reduce the time of cycle. During the cycle you will need daily testings of the Amonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels. Dose prime to temporaily negate amonia, then daily waterchanges of around 50% will remove a good deal of it.

    As far as the flaring at self, he will get over it in a week or two, they always do :p. It will come down to the occasionaly flare. Not to mention he cant see im self when he looks at the glass at certain angles.
  8. bassbonediva

    bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    I didn't know there were different kinds of SafeStart, to be honest. I've never used it, but have heard stellar reviews on here for it. Thankfully, I have my 55gal set up with a canister filter and when I need to start a new tank (and jump-start my cycle), I just snatch some media out of the canister and stuff it into the filter on the new tank. Ta-da! Instant cycle! I thought the different "options" for SafeStart were just the different bottle sizes.

    Edit: Just took a gander at Amazon. Yeah, the different "options" are just different bottle sizes for bigger or smaller tanks. I'd just go with the 50ml one. It treats up to a 15gal tank, so you should be good.

    ETA: Prime is great for water changes or if you aren't going to use Tetra SafeStart, however, SafeStart and Prime CANNOT be used simultaneously. The Prime will lock away too much of the ammonia that the bacteria in the SafeStart needs to feed on and the bacteria will starve. Once your cycle is established (with SafeStart, after the 7-10 day waiting period), then you can use Prime with every water change.

    Also, solitarianknight is correct, either way (using SafeStart or doing daily 50% water changes with Prime), your fish is going to experience the effects of the cycling process. The benefit of SafeStart is that it GREATLY reduces the amount of time that the fish is exposed to the effects of the cycling process. Doing a fish-in cycle with Prime can take 4-6 weeks.
  9. OP

    GoldilocksNew MemberMember

    Well there is safestart with "Proprietary Bio-Spira Bacteria" or with "Live Bacteria". I'm assuming the live is better so that is what I will order.

    @ soltarianknight: I just noticed that I do have Prime! When exactly do I use it? Just when my ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels are up?
  10. bassbonediva

    bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, the live is better. Never heard of the other one. But then again, I've never used it.

    As for Prime...use it when you do water changes. It will condition the water (removing chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals) and makes the ammonia/nitrite harmless for your fish but still available for your bacteria to feed on.
  11. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    You mean AND. It was a both, not a either or XP. In this case, prime needs to be dosed once a day, and with each water change(so basicly, add it to the tank for 10gals worth of dose once a day. THEN use it to dechlorinate any water during water changes). Now prime is temporary and the product of it is similar to amonium. In a sense amonium can be compared to nitrate, its not as deadly as amonia but in high concentrations it can kill. Thats where youll be doing the large water changes daily to remove a portion of it. The catch is this, theres a pattern to how the amonium will build up, pretend you fish puts out 1ppm of amonia(converted to amonium via prime) a day and you are doing 50% water changes. You get 1-.5=.5 +1= 1.5 -.5= 1 +1= 2-.5= 1.5

    And so on. You must get the tank cycled before that amonium gets too high, luckily it will drop when the nitrite form and then rise one more time. You should have roughly 2-3 weeks to cycle. Using TSS, you should do fine.

    Keep us posted.
  12. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Maybe I'm confused on the advice being given but...

    If you are not going to use SafeStart you need to do daily partial water changes with Prime until the tank cycles (4-6 weeks usually.

    If cycling with SafeStart add the entire bottle of SafeStart and do not do any water changes for 14 days. On day 14, test your water and you should be cycled .

    Also, if you put Prime in your tank, wait 24 hours before adding SafeStart. Prime will cause the SafeStart to fail. Doing any water changes before SafeStart cycles the tank will also cause the SafeStart to fail.

    If after 14 days you are not cycled, the SafeStart probably failed and you will need to start doing daily water changes unless it looks like you may be real close to being cycled.
  13. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Ive never heard of safestart failing because you did a water change or added prime, its bacteria, shouldnt be effected. The water changes will delay it yes, but they are nesseccary to keep the fish alive. The product of prime and amonia can still be absorbed by nitrafying bacteria, thats what it was made for.
  14. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Somewhere on this site there is a post where someone wrote to Tetra about the proper use of SafeStart and that is what the Tetra representive said.

    But really, if you were going to be doing daily partial water changes with Prime, why would you even use SafeStart? SafeStart is a replacement for daily water changes.
  15. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I agree, doing a water change while using TSS is counter productive. It's very important to follow the directions. There are many cases of TSS not working, and most if not all that I've seen were a result of user error - not following the directions.
  16. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Ok, Safestart is bacteria in a bottle(please tell me i have the right product -_-). Where does that replace a waterchange, it may eliminate some amonia as it grows but until the tanks cycled there will be amonia which is bottom line dangerous for the fish.

    Then my advice is to skip the TSS. Daily waterchanges and prime to keep the amonia and such in check so the fish is ok. Alternativley if you have a 2-5gal container you can move the fish into it and just clean it completley out 2-3 times a week while the tank is cycling, which shouldnt take too long with just TSS. You will want the container to be heated though, whats the Watt rating on your current heater?
  17. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    TSS has a proven track record, so long as the directions are exactly followed. One of the instructions is to not change the water for a period of time, and the obvious reason for this is it will interfere with the successful use of the product. I'm not sure how dangerous it is when all the fish are fine and you end up with a cycled tank. You can't argue with results. I don't think I've heard the use of TSS described as dangerous before.

    I don't think the size of the tank has anything to do with how fast TSS works, since the dosage is proportional to the size of the tank.

    Either do daily water changes, or use TSS. Don't do both.
  18. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    What? I think we have reached a misunderstanding? I didnt say anything about the size of the tank having to do with the TSS. I said move the fish while it cycles the tank. So the fish doesnt have to go through a cycle. TSS will not protect the fish from the cycle effects. Its not made for it nor can it be exspected to. All it does is speed up the cycle.
  19. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I misunderstood what you meant then.

    If you don't have fish in the tank, TSS does not work.... Where are you getting this information from? TSS saves the fish during the cycling process. If it weren't FOR the TSS, the fish would die.
  20. Lexi03Well Known MemberMember

    Niether option is optimal, that would be a fishless cycle.

    While water changes with prime will help protect the fish during cycling they are still exposed to the effects somewhat for many weeks since the fish need the water changes to keep them safer, it drags the cycle out even longer.

    TSS cycles atank in 10 to 14 days. It is designed to be added with fish, so Ideally the fish would be starting in a tank with no ammonia or nitrite, and waste should build gradually while the tank cycles quickly. I have used it with success and recommend it. I also have used Prime and water changes either way works.

    Neither option is perfect. But either is better than doing nothing.

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