Ideas on how to block the mirroring in my tank?

vividarling

Hi everyone!

I brought home a new female betta a few days ago for my 9 gallon fluval flex. From the moment i let her go into the tank she was surfing up and down the sides of the tank. I thought maybe she was sick but shes not, and then i thought she might just be getting used to the tank and swimming all around because of that. But its been a few days now, and this morning i saw her flaring towards the side of the tank!! Then i realized that the right and left sides of the tank are mirrored. I tried to block the sides of the tank using the fake plants i already had in there, and although maybe 50% or more of the sides can no longer be seen, shes still surfing up and down the parts of the sides where the plants did not reach :(. Any ideas on how i can completely block the mirrored sides? The poor girl must be so stressed.

i attached the best picture i could get of her seeing her reflection on the sides. For now ive turned the lights off in the tank, but im not so sure if that even helps :(
 

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pagoda

Takes weeks for a fish to get used to a new home...some take months....its quite normal behaviour to glass surf and try to find out who that other fish is that keeps following them everywhere. Eventually they figure out its themselves and they calm down.

There really is no set pattern or time limit and no two fish behave the same way....looks worse to us humans but really nothing to be alarmed about. She will settle in her own time and any furniture moving that you do or changes to lighting up routine just makes matters worse tbh.

Get her into a proper routine and she will settle eventually.
 
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Jillybean215

I agree with pagoda that too much change initially will stress her and it’s best to take it slowly, but I have had several bettas that never stopped flaring at their reflections so I had to try other things. Initially I would try covering the sides with aquarium background or card stock, especially since that won’t be as invasive for her. That unfortunately didn’t work for me in several cases and I had to resort to inserting pieces of plastic mesh on the inside which was hideous and I hoped to one day cover completely with moss. The lighting plays a big role, and the reflection is most apparent when the tank lights are on and the room itself is darker. But yeah the lighting is huge because one of my bettas who needed the mesh got moved to a different tank with a different light he was just fine and never needed the mesh in the new tank, but once it starts to get darker he notices the reflection so I’ve coordinated turning off the light at that time and all is well. I wish you the best of luck and like pagoda said take it slow because they take time to settle and too much stress is dangerous!
 
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A201

You might add a group of very small, non fin nipper, dither fish such as Zebra Danios. That might be enough to distract the Betta. Plus the Danios will likely greedily consume any excess food.
 
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Jillybean215

You might add a group of very small, non fin nipper, dither fish such as Zebra Danios. That might be enough to distract the Betta. Plus the Danios will likely greedily consume any excess food.
This is a good idea! If you decide to go this route just keep a close eye because not all bettas appreciate tank mates and if she’s one of those the addition of more fish will also be stressful so it’s a good idea, just something to monitor closely. I tried this one of my bettas and at first it was good but after a few days he turned on the other fish . Fortunately no one was harmed though!
 
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A201

That's why I suggested Danios. They are much too quick for a Betta to catch & they pose no threat to the Betta.
 
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Jillybean215

That's why I suggested Danios. They are much too quick for a Betta to catch & they pose no threat to the Betta.
Well it could be harmful if their presence stresses her. My betta was very long tailed and definitely couldn’t catch the pgmy corys, but he would swim around flaring and trying and was clearly very unhappy
Well it could be harmful if their presence stresses her. My betta was very long tailed and definitely couldn’t catch the pgmy corys, but he would swim around flaring and trying and was clearly very unhappy
Danios might be a better choice in the sense that the pgmy corys seem to have no fear and no regard for territory, poor things might not be the smartest but they are so dang cute
 
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vividarling

That's why I suggested Danios. They are much too quick for a Betta to catch & they pose no threat to the Betta.
Thanks for the suggestion! If i were to introduce some zebra danios to the tank, how many would you say i should put in the tank, since its 9 gallons?
I agree with pagoda that too much change initially will stress her and it’s best to take it slowly, but I have had several bettas that never stopped flaring at their reflections so I had to try other things. Initially I would try covering the sides with aquarium background or card stock, especially since that won’t be as invasive for her. That unfortunately didn’t work for me in several cases and I had to resort to inserting pieces of plastic mesh on the inside which was hideous and I hoped to one day cover completely with moss. The lighting plays a big role, and the reflection is most apparent when the tank lights are on and the room itself is darker. But yeah the lighting is huge because one of my bettas who needed the mesh got moved to a different tank with a different light he was just fine and never needed the mesh in the new tank, but once it starts to get darker he notices the reflection so I’ve coordinated turning off the light at that time and all is well. I wish you the best of luck and like pagoda said take it slow because they take time to settle and too much stress is dangerous!
thanks for the reply! I’m hoping that she’ll realize shes only seeing herself and that she settles down without having to add any mesh… because youre right, it would be really ugly lol especially with where and how i have my tank placed.
 
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A201

Even adult Zebra Danios remain small. A group of five or six should do. They will add plenty of movement to your Betta tank.
 
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philly27

i have a 6 gallon divided tank with 2 bettas. my female never surfs she's really chill, but my male does surf and gets excited or flustered. so i put multiple Indian leaves on the back and the side he flares up and surfs up and down...and now hes chill he absolutely loves the leaves and builds his nest on each leaf. it could be that enough time went by to where he figured it out its his own reflection and not another betta, but i think the leaves helped immensely. and with danios you want at least 6 so they can feel comfortable and school properly
 
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Papasmerf73

My zebra danios are very annoying to their tankmates, always nipping at my cories and Rummynose. I would note put them with the betta. I have Rasboras with my Betta and he chases them but never catches them. Plus the Rasboras never go near the betta. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Noroomforshoe

Danios are extremely active fish that never stop chasing each other. If the are in a small school. or a small tank, they will also chase and fin nip the other species in the tank. Adult danios are 2.5 inches each and a proper school is 8+. I would NEVER put them in a tank that is shorter then 30 inches long, and I would NEVER put them in a tank with already shy top dwelling fish.

Lamb chop rasbora could work, mayby endlers, maybey galaxy rasbora.

I
 
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awilkinson871

I recommend add some plants that float or grow and cover some of the top. Too much light in the tank can stress out a betta. Imagine a spotlight over your head for hours. Please don't do zebra danios. They can fin nip and a 9 gallon is too small for such an active fish.
 
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vividarling

Hi everyone, thanks for the suggestions! I gave her a few days and it seems like she isnt really flaring at herself anymore. I dont really see her surfing the sides of the tank the way she used to when her reflection was stressing her out. Despite that, I am still going to buy some tall plants for my tank and i added an indian almond leaf to float around on the top of my tank! I wont be getting any tank mates for her either, because i’ve only ever had experience with betta fish. Especially if having a tank mate might not be the best for her given potential fin nipping and tank size, it would be best to keep her alone. Thanks again!
 
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