Crazy Betta Eats Self!

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LZ Floyd

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It's housecleaning day at Gainsborough's residence.  While moving in and out of the rooms being cleaned, I see GB with his ventral fin in his mouth.  (At least that's what I think that fin is called.)  On closer inspection, I see that he has actually swallowed it.  Uh. Oh.

So, it's off to the bathroom, me and GB in his 2-liter fishbowl to see what can be done about this.  I rinsed off as well, but as quickly as possible and dove into the bowl to gently capture and cradle him in my hand.  Unable to see anything like a fin, I gently brushed the area between his mouth and where the fin attaches to his body and then released him.  Unbelievably, the fin was free.

GB was a bit stressed about this and showed it by gasping for air.  Within a few seconds he settled down, at which point he got a 50% water change to help him overcome this ordeal.

There's another topic on fishlore.com regarding another Betta doing something similar. I hope this is not some common behavior of Bettas. 
 

chickadee

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It is a sign of some stress. He may just be reacting to being confined but you are working on that so do not worry. He will quit as soon as he is in a nice cycled tank and has a lot to occupy his time. They are basically like small children and can get depressed if they are bored and upset. He WILL settle down in a bit when you get him moved. Thank you on behalf of the little GB for being such a great parent and an observant one at that. Give him a good talking to.... You would be surprised what some attention and a good conversation one or two times a day can do. He is obviously trying to get your attention and it worked.

They do know how to be naughty, don't they?? :

As he is getting more attention, he is going to develop a personality and the more attention he gets it will become more developed. It is a toss-up whether you will have a little lamb or a bit of a stinker. The only thing I can promise is he will be lovable and you will not regret the time allowing him to develop whatever personality it is that shines through. They can be enormously entertaining and cute and very maddening but always SOOOOO darling. Take the time while you are feeding him (one piece at a time and make him chew up each piece or the chances of constipation increase about 100%) to talk to him and tell him how pretty he is and what a good boy he has been and how much you like him. They respond to that and make sure that both of you feed him or soon he will only eat for one of you and then the problems begin. If the feeder is busy, he will be petulant.

Oh, I could tell you stories, as I am sure could nearly every betta owner on the Forum. It will NOT be long and you will be telling us a lot of your own and we do look forward to them. One of my favorite things about moderating the Betta forum is being able to get in on the betta stories and hijinks.

Rose
 
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LZ Floyd

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Hope he didn't sustain any injuries from this.  He's acting okay and doing all of his antics, pretty much baseline from what I know of him.  But, the end of the fin he was chewing on seems to be showing a bit of wear and both fins now occasionally trail behind him on his left side (he was chewing on the right one), which is something I've not seen before (when trailing him, each fin was on it's own side).  One good sign is that he can flare both fins when he decides to do that.  Nonetheless, my gut feel is to keep his excitement level down as I wouldn't want to see him get too active and turn a small tear or pulled muscle into a worse condition.

Though his new tank is around 73 degrees and could be further heated with the light, I don't want to put him in there until the heater is actually put in, and the heater still hasn't arrived.
 

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Good choice, that is not warm enough and he is not in danger at this point. Just keep an eye on the fin and see that it is not getting shorter (either from him gnawing on it or from finrot) and just talk to him a few times a day and see if you can get his attention on something other than his naughty little self. GB, you listen to your daddy!!

It is a really good sign that he will still go on about his business. When you feed him you will know if he is feeling any different. It will definitely show up in his appetite.

Rose
 
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Just fed him and he ate like usual.  We'll keep a good eye on him, though; it may take a few days for the effects of this fin-gnawing behavior to show its full colors. 
 
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Well, a segment of GB's gnawed-upon fin has fallen off (about 1/2 inch of it); and the heater has not yet arrived.  So, it's off to PetSmart tomorrow to get a heater (according to their site, they carry the Visi-Therm Stealth) and some other stuff (like an aerator).

He's eating fine, behaving like usual, and blew a good sized bubble nest overnight, so I don't think he's feeling bad.  I'm a bit concerned about his injury turning into something worse, though.  Of what I've read from the site, getting his tank temperature elevated will be the first step in his recovery.  But I'm not sure whether medication would help, or even what medication would help.  My first inclination is to hold off on meds until they are absolutely necessary.  Any thoughts?
 

chickadee

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Clean, clean, clean water in a warm cycled tank is the best medicine.  Now I realize you have not had time to cycle a tank, but I believe you said that you intend to use Bio-spira.  Bio-spira will make a tank safe for fish right away but you have to hold off on the water changes for 7 days.  It really would be best to hold off on putting the Bio-spira into the tank until he has had a little healing time and do daily water changes with nothing but dechlorinator like StressCoat or something like that. (no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate changers)  It is going to mean changing about 30% to 50% of the water every day and keeping his temperature at 82 degrees (in that range).  Then in a little while (when we can tell if he is having a bacterial problem or if he has just gnawed the fins to bits) you can add the Bio-spira.  Should not be more than a week.  I am so sorry, I know that this is not what you want to hear but the medications will destroy the Bio-spira and to leave him in a tank that cannot have a water change for a week even though it is cycling with Bio-spira may not be the best either but he needs the heat.  So the best alternative is give him the heat in the big tank and just do water changes manually and leave the filter uncycled without the Bio-spira for a week and do manual water changes to keep the ammonia down to 0.  If at the end of a week the fin is not worse, then go ahead and add the Bio-spira and then wait 7 days to allow the tank to cycle.  It will be okay.  If the fin is having a problem then we will have to see about adding a medication but I really do not want you to have to do that unless it is absolutely necessary.  I still really believe that clean water is the best medicine. 

I hope this is helpful and please feel free to ask any questions I may have left hanging.  Please keep us informed of his progress.

Rose
 
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Thanks Rose for all of your help.  Gainsborough is now in the Hex 5. ;D  He's checking things out, but it'll likely be a day or two before he feels at home.

The tank is not yet cycled; we'll have to keep up with water changes until GB shows he's okay after his fin-gnawing incident.  I also think there might be a problem with the pump.  So, until that is resolved, it makes sense to wait (re: Bio-Spira).  I thought I'd share this with others to see if they, too, have had the same experience.

After getting the Hex 5, I tested the pump before it was to be put into service.  The test was simple.  Assemble the parts (insert the impeller into the housing, snap the housing to it's mate on the pump, put the strainer on the intake tube and fit that assembly onto the impeller housing), lower the intake tube into a glass full of water, then plug in the pump.  Upon doing this, though, and with the impeller whirring away, the assembly would not move water.

On inspection, it was realized that there was nothing to prevent leakage at the point where the impeller housing snaps onto the pump.  To verify that this was what was preventing water from being drawn through the intake tube, the intake tube was removed and the housing was submerged into the water.  Voila!  It moved water.  But this struck me as wrong; the Aqua Clear HOB I had years ago didn't work like that.  So, I contacted Marineland.  The CSR told me that, for the pump to work, the whole assembly (intake tube and impeller housing) needed to be submerged.  That he also told me that the Hex 5 pump moves 90 GPH (it's advertised to move 35 GPH) and that an impeller either works or does not (something I know to be false) made me wonder if he was talking about some other kind of pump or just handing me a line.

Regardless, that the pump moves water only when the unit is completely submerged does not provide evidence that the pump is taking water through the intake.  If the pump is taking any percentage of water through the seam where the impeller housing meets the pump, it seems it is not working to move water the way the aquarium was designed.  My question, then, has anyone had this experience; and, if so, has this been a problem?

Two more quick questions.  While shopping at PetSmart for the heater, I also wanted to get an aeration system and some Betta pellets.  They did not have Atison's Betta pellets, so I settled for Top Fin Betta Bits.  Anyone have any experience with Top Fin Betta food?

And, finally, the air pump I ended up getting is pretty noisy.  Does anyone know of a quiet air pump?

Thanks everyone.
 

chickadee

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Sorry, Top Fin Betta Pellets are probably going to be too big for his mouth and you may have to break them up and hope he will eat them before they sink. The only two brands that I know of that are really small enough for their mouths are Hikari Betta Bio-gold and the Ocean Nutriton Atison's Betta Formula or Ocean Nutrition Atison's Betta Pro (really for baby bettas). Almost every fish store I have ever been in or heard of carries the Hikari foods, so I cannot imagine one that doesn't and I have never heard of a betta that did not like them. The Hikari freeze-dried bloodworms are the same way. Mine are nuts about them. They are All that Marty will eat. (other than a little daphnia for constipation but that is not recommended if you can get him to eat peas which are far superior) (Marty won't touch peas ~ ARGHHH!!)

The Hex 5 pump is indeed a bit different than most. You DO have to have it engaged into the slot that it is meant to sit into for it to work as it needs to be able to bring water up into the area ahead of the bio-wheel. The impeller is working and the unit will work with the intake tube in place but it needs to be seater properly in the aquarium to work. I know that it is different than you are used to but that is just the way that it works. it is not a HOB or powerfilter and operates a bit differently than any other type of bio-wheel even. But it is a good filter and will perform with a great deal of efficiency for you when it is properly maintained. If it stops for you just clean the intake tube with a brush and the impeller area and impeller with a brush and it will start right up for you again. The reason that the water moved when you took the intake tube off, I believe, was because it allowed the filter housing to sit further down into the water which is what it needs to do, but the intake tube still needs to be there to bring the water from the bottom up from the bottom of the tank. If you ever doubt that this is working just wait until you have a plant that sheds leaves or something and you will have to constantly be cleaning the strainer. LOL

I went through many a hassle with LOUD air pumps before I found the Rena air pumps and you can hardly hear them run. I have 4 of them running right behind me right now and can still have the televison on and work on this and not be disturbed in the least. I also have 1 running right by my bed in the bedroom and sleep with no problems. I use the smallest ones and use the air valve kits to control the amount of bubbling that comes through. I am not saying you have to buy from the source that i am sending the link for but they are the cheapest and it is mostly to show you what I am talking about. There is no need to spend a fortune on these things as they all work the same. The airpump is not necessarily cheap but the lack of sound is by all means worth the extra cost.

I will also give you PetSmarts page for the pump as the page is going to give you a price and PetSmart will honor online prices if you copy the online page and take it to the store. The online price is almost always cheaper by quite a bit. They should also have the valves and check valves you will need (check valves are needed to prevent water back-up in case of power failure)

Rose

Rena Air Pumps - the smallest size is big enough

Airline control valve set:

(the $1.49 one is the one I use only I buy the 6 pack)

This is the only one that PetSmart offers:

Check Valves: (you don't need this if you place the pump on a shelf above the level of the water)

(too expensive you can find them cheaper at the store)

Check for your PM.

Hope this helps a bit.

Rose
 
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Thank you lots, Chickadee!

I asked about the Atison's at PetSmart, but forgot to ask about the Hikari.  They had no Atison's products, which is how I ended up with "clerk's choice."  GB still has enough for at least two weeks, so we'll find a source for the food, even if it's the Internet.

As for the Hex 5 filter pump, I'm glad to know that it's operation is similar to your Hex 5s and that it's working okay.  If it needed to be silicone-sealed, I wanted to do that before introducing the Bio-Spira to the aquarium.  So, we'll keep up with the water changes and if nothing shows up as a problem for GB, we'll toss in the Bio-Spira next Monday.  It'll be his Christmas present.   

I'll check out the Rena air pumps.  We used to have a good air pump with the last aquarium setup we had, but that was a long time ago and that stuff is long gone. 

I suspect there have been a lot of changes in the aquarium hobby over the years since our involvement.  Combine that with our having not kept Bettas until now and it's a recipe for confusion on what to get to keep the little fella alive and happy.  With all of the advice we've gotten here and reading through some of the threads, I think GB has the best chance at living a good life, if we follow up on doing the legwork.

Speaking of Gainsborough, he seems content in his new home.  He certainly knows that his food will come where the door is in the light hood.  He does have trouble fighting the current, especially at feeding time.  Yesterday, I shut off the filter so he could eat with a little peace.  Hopefully he'll start to develop what he needs to get around in the moving water. 

Thanks again!

Mike
 

0morrokh

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Let us know how he is doing and how the fin is recovering.
By the way Rose is completely serious when she says talk to him. Fish love attention and you'll find they listen a lot better than most people do...
 
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LZ Floyd

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0morrokh said:
Let us know how he is doing and how the fin is recovering.
By the way Rose is completely serious when she says talk to him. Fish love attention and you'll find they listen a lot better than most people do...
We do talk to him and, though I'm pretty sure he hears, I'm not convinced that he listens very well.
 
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