New Betta fish owner needing some advice!


Hi everyone! I recently got a male mermaid betta fish! woohoo! Ive been having some trouble with him though. I have a 1.5 gallon tank for him with lots of decorations and places to hide and sleep in. I have a water filter and a heater. I have checked and rechecked the levels in the water and they are all normal (going to get the water tested again at Petsmart since im not too familiar with pH strip tests or what im really looking for). He just seems very lethargic, he's not eating, and I can always find him behind the water filter. Is this normal? When doing my research before purchasing him, every website or forum says that betta fish are really energetic, but they also like to relax and take naps. I suspected ick and got him medicine for it. He had little white spots near his face, so I thought that could be the answer. I've just now started the treatment. Am I doing things the right way? Does anyone have any advice? I had a betta fish when I was younger, but don't really remember having any issues with it. I just want to make sure my betta is safe, and happy. Any advice and tips are greatly appreciated!


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have some advice. betta fish require a minimum of 2.5 gallons, heated and filtered water (although 5 gallons is ideal). many people on this forum get really triggered when they see bettas in small tanks like these. consider upgrading him to a 5 gallon. also, the filter on the tank may be a bit too strong for your betta, so you will need to baffle the flow. the problem with the betta being lethargic may be because the water is too cold. do you have a heater in your tank? betta fish are tropical fish, so if your climate is not tropical, they will need an aquarium heater. Also, cycling your aquarium is very important. there are several threads on this forum about this. So, to sum it up, get your betta a 5 gallon and get a heater for your tank. this may seem like a rant, but if you follow this advice you will enjoy your fish and your fish will live a long, happy life.


He needs a 5 or ten-gallon tank, "larger tanks can work too! decorations should be functional hiding or resting places like a betta hammock, betta log, live plants... too many decorations just take up swimming space, and risk tearing fins, Never block easy access to the water surface, not even with live plants. Get an adjustable heater like a marineland brand and keep the temp at 78-82. Consider bug bites pellets for him as a staple diet. and or new life spectra thera + A pellets. Many fish foods, even ones labeled "betta food" consist of grains and vegitables that are nothing but fiber to a carnivore like a betta.

One spot is not ich. you would see many white spots. Please do not medicate fish without a clearer diagnosis, as medications are very hard on fish. What medicine did you use? unless the spots have multiplied, I recommend stopping the treatment and removeing the meds with fresh carbon. Next time, you can raise the water temperature slowly, over 48-72 hours to 86 degrees. The heat treatment can be enough to treat ich all by itself. Ich x is the next safest treatment but only use it if there are many white spots.

Good luck! Happy fishing!

Rose of Sharon


So sorry that you fin baby is having issues!

I would start doing some daily water changes since the tank is a 1.5 gallon tank. You could easily change 40 to 50% of that daily, and it wouldn't take a lot of time or effort to do so. You mentioned test strips, so you are learning how to test your water parameters, which is great! If you don't know about the nitrogen cycle, then you can read about it and find out how the cycle will progress. It's important to understand this as ammonia and nitrite (and to some extent, nitrates) are toxic to fish. If you already know this, then great!

His fins do look a little clamped in the pic, but sometimes when they swim, their fins look like that. I agree with airfix2 about the flow of the filter. If it is too strong, then you betta boy will not be happy at all, which will lead to stress which leads to sickness. I have actually baffled my filters by putting some betta hammocks under the outflow, if that helps any. I don't know what kind of filter you have, so knowing that info would help.

I would also recommend getting some Prime conditioner when you go to Petsmart. That particular conditioner can hold the toxicity of low level amounts of ammonia and nitrite.

I also agree with Noroomforshoe about the ich. If you don't see white spots all over the betta like grains of salt, then he doesn't have ich. No need to medicate.

Petsmart is great at pushing the botanical meds that have "fix" in the title. Please don't waste your money on those. Melafix and bettafix (a weaker form of melafix) have tea tree oil in them, and that could negatively affect your betta's labyrinth organ (an organ that he uses to breathe water from the surface).

If you can afford it, and Petsmart has some, you could pick up some Indian almond leaves (catappa leaves) and put one or two in his tank. The leaves will produce tannins, which will tint the water brown. The tannins contain some low level antibacterial and antifungal properties, and bettas just love the stuff. It helps with fish stress, too.

Clean water will stave off a multitude of illnesses, so the daily water changes should help a lot, along with baffleing the filter outflow. Check to make sure that the decor isn't sharp or rough, as either of those can cut up a betta's delicate fins. Better to have a live or silk plant, or only a few things, then to have a lot of things that reduce his swimming area, too.

Please post again if you have any questions. I know that this is a lot of info to digest.

I hope this helps!!!! :)

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