My Betta Swims In A Straight Line Back And Forth All Day

blissfulbunny
  • #1
29 gallon freshwater, planted tank with black sand - ammonia 0 - nitrites 0 - nitrates 0-5. 8.0 pH, KH9. 80 F temp. Peaceful community tank: 7 bloodfin tetras, 6 bronze corys, 7 amano shrimp, 7 . Build is over six months old.

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Hi, is this normal? My new Betta Splendens swims back and forth at the bottom front of my 29 gallon day and night. He lightly brushes up against plants and on the sand here and there as he goes. He takes a break every couple of times to swim up for a gulp of air.

Back and forth. All day, all night. Is this normal? Does he think the front of my fish tank is like the front of his little cup, where he would swim to get food from the roving food god? Searching for the edge of the next rice paddy puddle? He seems very determined. He isn't going very fast, but he isn't ambling either. He does a tight 180 and goes all the way back, then another tight 180. He seems to have his nose against the glass. He always turns toward his reflection. I think he's courting himself. If so, he is the very soul of determination.

Polu ("blue" in Hawaiian) is soo happy with his new home. At first he was too weak from no exercise. I placed a rock on edge for him to hide behind until he got used to the current. He zips back and forth and around, now! His scales and fins are improving from good food.

He ignores all my livestock, luckily. Even my small male amanos.

Polu has explored and obviously likes all of my aquarium, and LOVES discovering so much room, with wonderful plants to swim through and hide in and rest on for a few moments. Wow! Quite a change from a little plastic cup. Can you imagine how that would feel if you had never been able to even scratch an itch in your tiny cup? My opinion: just because a fish has evolved to be able to live and procreate in a little puddle in a rice field, doesn't mean you should make the poor fish live that way at your house.

Polu is figuring out how to eat. How to find his food in a tank instead of a cup. I feed him freeze-dried blood worms and sometimes frozen blood worms. He seems to be learning that he has to hurry up or those pesky Tetras will get every bite. So far he ignores pellet food. I don't know why, he obviously got that at the LFS since there were a couple of them in his cup. He also ignores both wafers and flakes for omnivores. Any advice on feeding? I'm checking out the stickies here re: Betta food. I've watched to make sure he gets at least 1 or 2 morsels of the day's catch each day.

UPDATE: I see I need to get better food, should have researched already.

Thanks for reading.
 
r5n8xaw00
  • #2
Bettas have great personality and everyone is different, sounds to me like he is doing great, enjoying his new found freedom.
 
junebug
  • #3
Glass surfing is a sign of stress. Probably from being in a tank with so many fish. Some bettas don't like tankmates.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Bettas have great personality and everyone is different, sounds to me like he is doing great, enjoying his new found freedom.

Yes, I do think he is very happy with his new found freedom. It's funny how he never gets tired of surfing the current.

Glass surfing is a sign of stress. Probably from being in a tank with so many fish. Some bettas don't like tankmates.
Well, I may need to defer to those with more experiece than me since I've just started this hobby in the last six months, and this is my first Betta. But I have talked with people here who have successfully added betas to their community tanks. I knew it was a risk. But so far he has completely, 100 percent ignored the other fish in the tank. They are all very small fish in a 29 gallon. If he runs into a Cory or etc., he just goes around them like they're a plant. He might as well be in there by himself. The shrimp layed low at first, but now even my small male amanos can swim right by him and he doesn't even see them.

If the glass surfing is a sign of stress than it isn't because of the other fish. I can't figure out what else could be causing him stress, since he so clearly loved and explored his new home when I added him. He had to practice swimming in the current, and build up his muscles. Now he is very strong and swim up current with gusto. I think perhaps he's just not the sharpest tool in the shed, and is endlessly courting his fascinating reflection. "Ooooo baby." The imperious urge to procreate is best not underestimated.
 
SegiDream
  • #5
Just wanted to note that Betta aggression towards other fish isn't always the issue with keeping them in community tanks. Sometimes it is the other way around. Also wanted to note that it's not a good thing for him if he constantly sees his reflection... Flaring at his reflection etc means he is constantly on high alert and ready to battle the other Betta he sees. I don't own a bowfront, is seeing his reflection possible?
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
My tank is not a bowfront, but he definitely can see his reflection, almost mirror quality, all four sides. He started swimming back and forth on one of the sides, now, then back to the front.

Note that he does not flare, not at all, ever. Just swimming peacefully back and forth, head near or against the glass, doing a 180 towards the mirror to change direction. Except when he swims up for air, or smells food, or takes an occasional wander through the plants.

He completely ignores the other fish, and the other fish completely ignore him. At first they were scared of him, of course. But they got over that within a couple of days and he doesn't concern them at all. They don't swim towards him, or away from him. If they encounter each other, again they go around like it was a plant or etc. There is no "fish to fish" interaction at all.

Sometimes my badge shows me as an OP. I am not an OP. Weird.

PS I tried to make a video but my new smart phone is smarter than me.
 
david1978
  • #7
You are the op of this thread. Original poster.
 
SegiDream
  • #8
Sorry I thought I saw bowfront somewhere. So the question was is this normal? You said he is determined and follows his nose against the glass all the way down and back again. All the time? No this doesn't sound normal to me.

I think as junebug said it is probably from stress. Prescribing personalities to fish is ok but sometimes we need to look at their behavior a little objectively in order to provide for their needs. Have you considered giving him his own tank?
 
Laina
  • #9
make sure the current from the filter isn't too strong. They hate any current at all. That could be your stressor.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Sorry I thought I saw bowfront somewhere. So the question was is this normal? You said he is determined and follows his nose against the glass all the way down and back again. All the time? No this doesn't sound normal to me.

I think as junebug said it is probably from stress. Prescribing personalities to fish is ok but sometimes we need to look at their behavior a little objectively in order to provide for their needs. Have you considered giving him his own tank?

I'm disabled so it does give me pause both financially and added maintenance. On the other hand, I have taken on the care of this guy. But if seeing his reflection is the problem, I think it will be exactly the same with a smaller tank.

make sure the current from the filter isn't too strong. They hate any current at all. That could be your stressor.

My filter is on the low adjustment for current. The place where he chooses to swim is where the current is strongest, the lowest part of the tank next to the glass. Sometimes he swims up through the current, then coasts quickly back again without looking at or touching the glass, then repeat. He seems to enjoy the current.

It does seem really strange to do the same thing all day. I'm baffled. Maybe he has brain damage or etc.
 
Laina
  • #12
Sounds like you have done everything. I had a loss of a betta due to current issues. He seemed to be tolerating it for a time and then he got fin rot. Keep an eye out for that and maybe he just likes to patrol his space. As long as he seems healthy maybe he is just an active guy.
 
Mcasella
  • #13
It is a sign of stress, however it can be simply from the betta not enjoying being around other fish (which doesn't always show in the betta attacking or fleeing from other fish), but it sounds like he trying to find a way out, so he may be getting stressed from the company of other fish even if they are not doing anything - I guarantee they are not ignoring each other, it is more along the lines of neither knows what the other is and it causes disinterest.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
It is a sign of stress, however it can be simply from the betta not enjoying being around other fish (which doesn't always show in the betta attacking or fleeing from other fish), but it sounds like he trying to find a way out, so he may be getting stressed from the company of other fish even if they are not doing anything - I guarantee they are not ignoring each other, it is more along the lines of neither knows what the other is and it causes disinterest.

oh, I think I understand this possibility. I am trying to make a video.

PS I remember CindyL had a betta "Sugar" that I think might have been in her community tank, if I remember correctly. But she's not on anymore, darn.
 
Mcasella
  • #15
oh, I think I understand this possibility. I am trying to make a video.

PS I remember CindyL had a betta "Sugar" that I think might have been in her community tank, if I remember correctly. But she's not on anymore, darn.
I've had several in community settings, some did great, others had to be taken out for their own good.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I've been really sick, sorry no reply yet
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
NOTE: Right at the end of the video at 3:29 is a good closeup of Palu rubbing his fins against the gravel.

======================

HI I made quite a long video of Palu. The current goes from left to right.

One thing I've noticed before is that he likes his fins to touch things slightly. I was hoping he just likes the sensation after being in a cup where he can't even scratch an itch.

Now he only rubs in one spot that I can detect. That's at the left of the tank, where he sometimes seems to dip sideways and rub his fins lightly on the gravel. Maybe being itchy is his stressor?

I have all sorts of treatments, if it might be a good idea to try one for him. I would consider trying something that is an antiseptic and anti-inflammation, that heals damaged skin and fins. I imagine that would be something like API Stress Coat, Tetra Aquasafe Plus, or Seachem Stressguard. But I don't know. And I have EVERYTHING. You name it. But I don't just start using stuff. I don't know about the meds, so I'll only use them if suggested by someone who knows, and with a treatment plan, if it's any more complicated than just try this one thing this many times for this many days. Then I'll know if it helped, what helped. You know what I mean.


I made three caps of the "rubbing moment." Are his fins really touching?
 
Danjamesdixon
  • #18
I'd put him in his own tank first, that way you can eliminate the possibility of tank mate induced stress, as other members have mentioned.

Then, if you do need to medicate, he is already isolated.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Should I even look at all-in-ones? Should I just build a ten? I want to get a twenty but we know where that leads to. MORE FISH. I'm disabled and could barely afford the fish. This is so classic.

PS It's NOT possible I did this to get more fish. NOT. At least I think not.
 
Sakana魚
  • #19
He looks like hes being blown around by the current to me
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Then why does he spend all his time in the front of the tank where the strong current is ? Also, I turned the filter off for a couple of days when I first got him, and he still swam back and forth in the front. Then when I turned the current back on, I stood a rock up for him to rest behind, and he would rest behind it, then swim back and forth in the lower front, then rest behind it, then back again. I'm going to turn the filter off again for awhile and see what he does.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Hmmmmm.... I think maybe you're right, maybe all of this is a maladaptive attempt to deal with current, which of course he doesn't like. The filter is off, let's see what happens.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Turned the filter off for a couple of hours. No difference.

I don't think he is rubbing on the gravel. I think it's just how he turns around when he's close to the bottom. He does it on both ends (i.e. the filter current coming down on the left and the non-filter end on the right).

Whether or not current is the issue, the filter is a 70 so that's extra strong for a 29. It's an AC70 so I have it on the lower setting. If the current turns out to be part of the problem, I can put a baffle on it.

The theory that he knows he isn't alone and needs to escape seems possible. If so I'll need to get it together and make another tank for him. I only added him because I knw of very experienced people (e.g. CindyL) had had success with betta in a community, but it's a gamble, mabye I lost.

I took this video after the filter had been off a couple of hours (and was still off).
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
I kept meaning to come back and followup. After about a month, my Betta stopped pacing like this and swam around normally ever since. I have kept a baffle on my filter for him so he doesn't get blown around.
 
blissfulbunny
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Follow up. After years of no aggression, my Betta "Mr. Badxxx" started chasing other fish, especially when it was dark. I assume when it was dark he thought they were other Bettas. I have him separated in the tank and I am setting up a separate tank for him now.
 
jaysurf7
  • #25
I would say it depends on the betta ,some bettas are more solitary then others,maybe this particular betta is a lil stressed buy other fish,some can be the opposite ,I had a betta that used to swim with sliver dollars back and forth,I think some bettas are just more active then others, just as humans can.
 

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