My betta nipping his tail

nmwierman1977

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Hi! I'm pretty new to this site. I have had a Betta for about 3 months now. He has been a joy to have, however, withing the last 2 weeks he has been nipping at his tail a lot. I don't know why. Is it because he's bored? Or is it because he wants more space to swim around? I have been looking at a 5 gallon tank that I might get him soon. Right now he lives in a 1 gallon tank. I also have been researching tank mates for him. I have read that African Dwarf Frogs and Betta's get along well. They have a lot certain similarities that would make it real easy to take care of them both. However I am worried how Mr. red would react to it. He has never had a tank mate before. My question about the tank mate is if there is anyone that has an African Dwarf frog and Betta living together in the same tank can you please tell me how they get along. or if there is anyone who might know someone that has them together in the same tank. The same question. How do they get along? I am very conflicted about it. I just want my Betta to be happy and injure himself. ??? Thanks. Natalie
 

chickadee

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If he is nervous enough to be nipping at himself he is unhappy. I would say a change in his environment is going to be necessary and soon as the nipped fins are open to infection and finrot. This can be very serious and sometimes even fatal if it gets out of hand so do watch for transparency or thinning of the webbing of the fins. If the fins look like they are getting shorter or thinner, he is probably getting finrot and needs treatment immediately. The best treatment is very clean tanks and very clean water and a cycled and medicated tank with Pimafix and Melafix. It should also be a tank that can be heated. You really need to get him into a tank that is bigger if at all possible. Until he is over his nerves, I would NOT try to add any new tankmates. I have heard that the frogs will get along with Bettas but I have also heard that they do not. It will depend on Mr. Red. Unfortunately, it is so hard to tell with another person's betta as every betta is so different. Some of them are so docile that they get along with tank mates so beautifully and others will kill almost anything that goes in with them. I do know that the odds for a good outcome goes down when the betta is in the tank first and especially when he is a little hyper like Mr. Red seems to be. You may have to give him a long time in the new tank to see if he will settle down and then if you decide to add a tank mate be sure you have a back-up plan to remove the tank mate if things get too aggressive in the tank and it looks like their may be bloodshed or terrorizing going on. You will also need to make sure that the tank is not crowded as the bettas get more aggressive the more crowded they feel.

Welcome to the Board and I do hope this has helped a little. You are always welcome to ask any questions or make any comments you wish and please let us know how things are going. You may want to read the Betta Care Guide at the beginning of the Betta Board, it may some information in it that may help a bit.

Rose
 
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nmwierman1977

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Thanks for the input Rose. I am definitely planning on upgrading his tank to a 5 gallon tank. I actually do have 2 e-book's about Betta's that have helped me. I will take your advice and consider getting some meds and small heater for the new tank when I get it. I actually do keep his water pretty clean. I change it once a week. I unfortunately won't be able to upgrade his tank until next week though because I am a little short on cash. When I do I will let you know how he is doing. Thanks again. Natalie
 

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If you are going to be starting a pharmacy for him, please do consider Melafix and Pimafix as the core ingredients of this pharmacy. They are herbal and can be used for a LOT of things and he will not build up an immunity to them the way he will to many of the other medications. They can be pricey in the bigger bottles but in a tank of 5 gallons the smaller bottles will last for several rounds of medication so do not feel you need to buy a large one unless you feel you can afford it. Another one I would suggest since it seems to be used quite often and is quite inexpensive is Quick Cure but not if you intend to get the frog. Otherwise you may want the Jungle Labs Fungus Clear Buddies. They are fizzy tablets and come in packs of 8 and you use 1/2 tablet a day for 4 days so they last a while. These are used for serious fungal infections and can save you many an uneasy night when you cannot get to the fishstore. If you have these three things, they should cover most of what you need for a beginners pharmacy. The Betta meds that are on the market are generally meant for the tiny tanks and you could use a whole bottle for a 5 gallon tank and they are quite expensive compared to the others and how far they will go in medicating your fish. They see betta owners coming and jack up the price as they realize most betta owners really love their fish and will pay a premium to keep them healthy.

This is just from my own personal experience and having bought a LOT of medications and having a pharmacy the size of Texas most of which I have never used and some of which I wish I had never used, I can honestly say this is all I would have if I had it to do over again.

Good luck and I shall say a couple of prayers for Mr. Red and hope that your new home and heater ( you will need at least a 25 watt) will help. If you get one be sure that it is one that will let you set the temperature and does not just have a high and low setting set by the factory. The best ones are the Marineland Visi-therm Stealth heaters and you can use up to a 50 watt. The reason I say this is that they come with a lifetime warranty and most heaters come with a lifespan of about a year. If you are having to buy one every year (no matter if they say that they will last 2 or 3 years) you are going to pay as much as one of the Visi-therm will cost. I buy mine from the place below and they do not cost that much more.



Just be sure you keep the box and receipt if you buy the above to show the company you got one. I have had really good luck with this company honoring their warranties. They replaced the light on my aquarium with no questions asked and were so good about it that I would recommend them and their products to anyone.

Rose
 

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Natalie,

I had a similar issue with InarI my betta, I also had a female and attempted to breed them with bad information.  I put the male and female together and they attempted to kill each other, pretty normal behavior for bettas in my opion.  My female eventually died so I decided to get InarI a 10 gallon.  With some tanks mates.  Anyway if you do a 5 gallon I would be cautious about adding a tankmate due to the small size, and like Rose said it really depends on the Betta.  InarI tends to leave the cories alone for the most part (except for their food) anway.  If you start to see signs of fin rot, and Mr. Red is still in an unfiltered 1 gallon go to ur Local Fish Store (LFS) and pick up what's called "BettaFix" Basically it is very diluted Melafix.  I used that on InarI when he was in the 1 gallon and his fins came back in about a week or so and his fins were torn up pretty bad.  

Also on your tank.  Make sure that you cycle it.  Get some Bio-spira or feed the empty tank until your ammonias drop pretty low other wise your betta won't be too happy about it.  if you have any questions anyone on this site for the most part can help.  Good luck with your betta.  

~Inari
 
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nmwierman1977

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I appreciate all of the suggestions. I might end up having to get the Bettafix because I'm not going to be able to upgrade the tank right away as much as I want. The tank that Mr. Red is in actually has an underground filter with an aerator. And it actually does a pretty decent job keeping the tank clean, but I know he needs a bigger tank to be happier. So, as soon as I can get one I will get everything that was suggested to me. Rose, I too shop on Dr's. Foster and smith a lot. I love their products. So I will definitely get the heater from them. Thank you so much for your help. This is my first Betta and I want to make sure he lives a long and healthy happy life. Natalie
 

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Once you get a larger tank the BettaFix will be pretty useless one bottle treates like 5 or 10 gallons so just keep that in mind. Anway good luck and keep us informed

~Inari
 

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Please go ahead and get the Melafix and just dilute it. You just use much less and then when you get your large tank you still have a med you can use for it. It will not cost that much more than the Bettafix and will last SO much longer. You will be paying for something that is 3/4 water. I am not trying to boss you, just save you some money. Get a small bottle of Melafix and use a medicine dropper and use 16 drops of Melafix in the tank per day which would be the correct dosage for a tank your size. The bottle will last forever and then be good for the big tank as well when you get it. Correct usage is 16 drops per day for 7 days then do a 25% water change and then repeat with 16 drops per day for 7 more days if necessary with another 25% water change afterwards.

You are working with a real handicap with an undergravel filter. They basically just pull all the dirt and junk down through the gravel and make it stay and build up under the surface. It can make a serious germ factory under the surface. They also never really cycle as they do not filter in the 3 ways, with chemical, mechanical and biological filtration. They are basically a mechanical filter. They do not have much in the way of chemical filtration and the only biological filtration is the gravel and unless it is kept pretty clean and the betta is not wasting any food it can be more problem than good. This may also be a part of your problem. I did not realize that this was what we were dealing with as far as filters was concerned. It does complicate things. When you get a new tank, please do consider getting a different type of filter that will do all the 3 types of filtration or if possible get a kit that will provide a good filter with it like a bio-wheel. Marineland kits come with good filters and then there are tanks that come with Tetra filters that are not quite as good but will at least provide all three types of filtration. Undergravel filters are not considered to be good filters.

Rose
 
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nmwierman1977

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Well like I said I'm pretty new at this. I know that you are not trying to boss me around. I know that you are only looking out for Mr.Red and myself and trying to give me good advice on how to keep Mr. Red happy and healthy. The tank that I plan on getting is the Eclipse Hexagon 5 Aquarium by Marineland. I've done a lot of research on it and I've read reviews on it and it's supposed to be one of the best tanks you can get. It has the bio-wheel flitration system and what's even better is it attached to the top to the tank. So, Mr Red will have plenty of room to swim around and not have to worry about going around anything. I also intend on getting that heater that you suggested. Don't worry I have Mr. Red's best interest at heart. I take a lot of pride in my pets and love them very much. Natalie
 
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nmwierman1977

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I was just looking at my bank account for our upcoming bills. I had a pretty long week at work and was paid about 50 dollars in over time so that means that I will have plenty of money left over to get everything I need to get to set up a new tank for Mr. Red. I do have a few questions though. First, once I set the new tank up I have to have that cycle for at least 24 hours before I can put Mr. Red in their, correct? Second, Should I put the milafix in there while it's cycling or just put it in there when I put Mr. Red in there? I am so excited that I fix this situation for Mr. Red right away and won't have to wait a week or 2 to do it. He needs to have this done now, so that his tail can grow back and stronger. He doesn't have any diseases yet, but I want to prevent that from happening.
 

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Oh, yes I am WELL acquainted with that particular tank as ALL of my bettas are in that same tank!! It is a wonderful tank. I made the modification in mine to sponge filters but I was having a temperature problem that is uncommon and will not affect you I am sure. The Bio-wheel is a great filter and will cycle very well but it is going to take about 4 weeks for the complete cycle so although Mr. Red can go in there after 24 hours of the tank running to get the new off the tank (although make sure that you rinse everything first) and be sure to use a dechlorinator in the water you put in the tank. It will come with a packet of some but you are going to need to get a bottle of some as you are going to need to use some every time you change the water and since the tank is uncycled you will be doing frequent water changes. (at least every other day probably in a tank that size) You will need to take out a couple of gallons and put in a couple gallons of freshly dechlorinated water about 3 times a week until the tank is cycled. You should also get the Master Test Kit and be testing the water every day to make sure he is not suffering from too much ammonia before a water change. It will also tell you when the cycle is getting into its next step or close to over.

I wish I had better news but cycling a tank is work and would be less so if you did not already have Mr. Red but he has to be worked around and since he is already in a somewhat tender state we want to keep him a clean and comfy as possible. I do congratulate you so much on the wonderful way you are treating your little one. It is so obvious that you love him and I wish you all the best. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.

Rose
 
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nmwierman1977

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Well my new tank I set up for Mr. Red is surprisingly near perfect as far as all of the chemicals are concerned. Ammonia and Nitrite and Nitrate are all at zero. The Ph is still pretty high. It's at 7.6. I put some Ph decrease in it last night and I checked it this morning and it hasn't gone down. So I put more in this morning and I will check it again tonight before I put Mr. Red in there.I set the tank temp to 80. Is that OK? I know it should be between 76-80. His 1 gallon tank was always at 76, but I didn't have a heater in it. I just hope he'll be much happier in this tank. He should be. as soon as I put him in it I'll put the melafix in and do that until his tail heals.I'm just Glad that everything is good and I don't have to work so hard to get everything to normal. I just hope that Ph goes down soon.
 

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Oh, dear, well.....  I would not use any agent to change the ph of the water.  It is much harder on a fish to get used to fluctuations in ph because of these agents than to get used to the ph of 7.6 which is really not bad.  A betta can get along quite nicely in a ph of 7.6 or even a little higher.  He needs to get used to the ph as it comes from the tap and not have to deal with the problem of a new chemical.  I would stop using it at once. 

The problem with them is that they do not last and soon what was 7.0 becomes 5.4 or 7.9.  They are unstable and then you have a sick fish or a dead one.  Do a large water change and go back to using plain water.  He is going to be fine in a 7.6.

The other readings sound perfect and it sounds like it is ready for him to go "home" as soon as you remove the ph adjuster. 

Bettas are happiest at a temperature of 80-82 so 80 is perfect.  The medication works the best at 82 degrees.  Be sure to remove the carbon from your filter before you put the medication in the tank or it will take it right back out again and you will be wasting your time and medication.

Please keep us informed of your progress and how Mr. Red loves his new home.

Rose
 
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Well M. Red has bee in his tank for almost 24 hours. At first he was pretty stressed out and he nippied his tail a little bit more, but that's only because he was moved into a new environment and didn't know what to make of it. But now as I was watching him this morning he starting to really like the roominess that he has and seems to be a lot happier. I did discover last night, however, that he does not like the light on. I turned it on last night and he was going crazy after the first hour that it was on because he saw his reflection in the glass a lot more. he went crazy and was flaring all over the place, so I turned it off because I didn't want him to get anymore stressed out then he already was having being moved into a foreign area.SO, I don't think I will using the light at all. I don't thing he really needs it anyway. He seems to be a lot happier w/o it. As soon as I turned it off last night he calmed right down. I took the carbon filter out this morning and started over with the medicine. I completely forgot that it completely wipes out anything that you put in the water. So, everything is going pretty good so far. I will keep everyone posted about his tail progress. Thanks for all your help. Natalie
 

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It is so normal to have a betta flare his little head off until they get used to the mirror effect from the light. Unfortunately, yes, he will be needing light for at least a while every day and the way to avoid a lot of it is to make sure that the room is lighter than the tank. If you only have the light on during the day when the room is light or at night when the lamps are all on, it may help. Some people put paper on the outside of the walls of the tank to cut the reflective issue. I find that they just need to slowly get used to it. Try just for short periods of time and then distract him by feeding or tapping the glass SOFTLY or some sort of distraction. Another person to check with may be poefox, as I believe Rusty was a little stinker this way when he got him. He found a way around it.

Rose
 
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I tried putting dark paper around the backside of the half of the tank. He still flares at himself a little because he can still see a little bit of his reflection even with the paper around it. I'm sure he just needs to get used to it. I had it on for a few hours yesterday afternoon and then turned it off for a couple of hours. Then at night I turned it back on until I went to bed and he did a little bit better with it. I didn't use the light in his one gallon because I didn't have an extra outlet and at that time he was in my bedroom. So, I guess he's just going to have to get used to it. Thanks for the suggestion. He is really starting to like his new tank. I have a barrel tunnel in there now and he loves it. He loves going in and out of it. He hasn't been eating a whole lot. He's just been kind of picking at his food, but I know that's only because he needs to get to know his new home. So, I'm sure he'll start eating more regularly soon. Natalie
 

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He sounds like he is doing fine and loving his new home. He is going to be a very busy little boy for a while and ignoring everything else because the world has just gotten so BIG. It is kind of fun watching him though isn't it? They just cannot believe that the world is really this big and then to have a BARREL to play in OMG.

Have fun, you will remember these days for a long time.

Enjoy your baby. He will eat when he is hungry and he can get along with very little food. When he is hungry he will stop playing and pay attention.

Rose
 
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nmwierman1977

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It is fun watching him explore all of the new things in his tank. ;D I couldn't put much in his other tank because of that stupid aerating system in the middle of his tank. Now he has plenty of room to play. I'm so glad I decided to get his tank now rather then later. I don't know what would have happened if I didn't. He really was miserable in that little thing. Natalie
 

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I do love my little ones and the very best memories were when they were getting used to their first homes and how surprised they were that the world was theirs and they had a kingdom to lord over. It takes no time at all for them to get very foxy and smart. Then they really start to develop their personality. I do envy you this period of time with your little one. It is so special.

Rose
 

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they are a blast to watch when you put them into something larger. I remeber InarI was so happy when I got hiI'm a 10 gallon especially since it was kinda foggy when he got in there. he had so much fun hiding from the plants lol

~inari
 

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