He won't stop flaring - HELP

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Phloxface

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My newest fish Lava will not settle down and flares and fights with himself non-stop!  I don't see how he could see his reflection... I've tried turning out the lights, blocking his view with various colors of paper and he won't stop. I bought him a new 10 gallon tank and put him in there (from the smaller 2 gallon) hoping the extra space would settle him and he'd focus on exploring. He's just as bad in there and is really fighting hard with the imaginary enemy, biting at the glass. I'm worried he'll have a heart attack! Just how long can this go on before he kills himself?  What can I do to calm him?  I'm really concerned!
 

poefox

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I'm not sure. He might have got slightly neurotic. He must see SOMETHING or he wouldn't do it. You might want to try taking him out briefly, putting him in a small and totally transparent or actuallyl opaque container and then putting him back in, with all the adjustments you mentioned.
 
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Phloxface

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After a long evening of watching him savagely try to break through the glass in full attack mode, I turned out the lights and went to bed. I got up and checked on him several times (without turning the lights on) and he had settled down and was sleeping. This morning he was at it again, although not as bad. He was only attacking from the right side of his tank. Phlox's tank is right across the room (about 10 feet away) and Lava must be able to see him. I blocked his view with a piece of cardboard and he slowed down but he still knew Phlox was there and kept trying. His tank is covered with a piece of cardboard too and is kind of dark so I put a small lamp next to the tank to light it. For some reason this really calmed him down... Maybe it prevented the reflections he was seeing or just distracted him, I don't know. He's finally getting used to his new surroundings and I spent the morning, coffee in hand, watching him explore his new home peacefully. Aside from the occasional momentary flare in Phlox's direction he was much calmer. He still won't come to the top when I fed him (he's not afraid, he just ignores me) but I threw a couple pellets in and left them floating. He eventually found them and ate, although he spit them out a dozen times first. He's not used to hard crunchy pellets I guess. I spoke to the girl at Petsmart yesterday to find out what they had been feeding the Bettas. She said they feed only frozen bloodworms. I guess he had gotten a little spoiled. He won't eat the freeze-dried bloodworms I fed him until they've soaked for awhile and softened up. Phlox didn't eat well the first few days either but he takes pellets from my fingers now. I guess Lava will get used to the new food.
I've put in some soft silk plants and some greek pillars for now so he has something to explore. I've caught him swimming through the pillars and rubbing against the soft plants. I think planting some thick bushy plants (like hornwort) all along the right side of his tank should block his view of the other tank and he's getting a large smooth cave type thing so he can hide and explore.

Here's some pics of Lava in his new tank. The color of the fish is WAAY off from what he really looks like. I think it's a combination of my camera settings and the blue light and blue gravel that is making his irridescent silvery body look so turquoise.
He has no filter or heater yet. I have only $25 left for groceries until friday so he'll have to wait until I get paid friday to get a heater and filter for him. I think I can take Phlox's filter out once per day and let it run in Lava's tank for an hour or two to keep it clean for the next few days. The room is warm and his water temp is not too bad. He's not complaining. ;D I've also got to get both these guys lighted hoods (they have cardboard covering the top to keep them from jumping)
 

sasha

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nice looking tank, i like tanks that you can clearly see the fish as this demonstrates the point of FISHtanks, im not a fan of heavily planted or decorated tanks as sometimes its difficult to see if there is actually fish in them, A lot of people like heavily planted tanks etc, apparently its close to their natural enviroment as possible which is true if they were wild caught but most are bred from breeders so the fish have never seen where they naturally come from,
Well maybe i like both ive seen some of the members tanks on here that are imaginative and amazing, guess my preference is lightly decoratied tanks lol lol
 
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Phloxface

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Yeah, I don't like tanks too heavily planted either. I think both my tanks do need a little more in the way of plants (especially live plants) but not so much that my fish can hide from me all the time.  I like to watch them play and they do need "some" toys and landscaping to keep them interested and stimulated. The trick is knowing how much and then properly arranging them. Right now I have so few things I just plopped them anywhere to fill out the tank a bit. It will be properly arranged later.
 

gammerus

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I like adding different levels rather than more shrubbery. Slopes and rock piles seem to keep my betta occupied more than a flat terrain.
 
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Phloxface

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Yes I agree. I will be adding a cave or things that reach higher as well as smaller things. Right now I just took the few things I have and spread them around to fill out the space a little. It's not the look I'm going for. I'm just trying to keep him from feeling like he's in a big empty space.
He's calmed down considerably now that he's gotten used to the place and even comes to the top now for feeding. He sleeps inside that little flowery thing on the right side or sometimes right on a flower.  ;D
I'd love to get some type of large piece of driftwood for his tank too.
 

poefox

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Some bettas just get freaked out by strange surroundings; it is not enough for you to disguise the fish that he thought he saw; he's sure he saw a fish there and would suspiciously attack anything resembling it perhaps.

Rusty used to flare up a fair bit (not as much as yours...) now he only does it on occasion when the reflective surface is well lit up.
 
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Phloxface

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Lava seems to have lost all interest in finding/attacking Phlox. Maybe he's feeling more secure that this other fish will not enter his territory now. It took him a day to get used to the big tank. I'm thinking all the commotion he was causing at first was partly due to nervousness being in new surroundings and such a big space. Maybe he felt vulnerable. Once he had a good nights sleep he settled down. He's now gliding slowly around the tank very majestically like a king! Today he's even built himself quite a bubblenest and spends a lot of time hanging underneath it watching/guarding it. Maybe he really wants to be a father... ;D He's a gorgeous fish and would make beautiful babies but I wouldn't want to give any away and don't have room for hundreds of tanks so that's out of the question! LOL
Phlox never makes bubbles. He's just to busy playing and being goofy. ;D

Below is a pic of Lava tending to his nest.
 

chickadee

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Part of what you are going through has to do with the culture of the Betta. Remember he has been alone in a very small container that could not have reflections for most of his life. Now he is in a bigger world than he knew existed and he thinks there is something else in there with him!! He is not really sure he has any friends yet and he doesn't really trust you just yet. He will settle down as soon as he gets over his nerves and finds that he is not threatened. They have long memories, contrary to popular opinion, and he is going to remember that Phlox is over there but it won't bother him when he gets used to his house as long as you don't put anyone in with him. I think from the way you describe the personality of this fish, he should not have tankmates. It would be a hard adjustment and he has obviously been traumatized from his prior treatment. He may be able to handle a snail but no other fish would be accepted by him, I am nearly positive.

Good luck with him and let us know how he is doing.

Rose
 
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