New Betta Won't Stop Fighting Reflection!

Megaanemp

Hello all,

I have a new male betta in a 5 gallon tank.
I started a thread yesterday because I was worried he was glass surfing.
However today he is clearly flaring as well so I guess he’s just trying to fight his reflection.
He is doing this obsessively for hours.
I have tried putting different coloured card stock as back drops and it isn’t helping much.
I’m going to try moving the tank today and see if that helps.
Will he eventually give up and get used to his reflection?
I’m a little worried he’ll exhaust himself or damage his fins if this keeps going.
temp 79
ammonia 0ppm
nitrites 0ppm
nitrates 0ppm
ph 7.0

Hoping someone with more experience can share
 

FishGirl38

Is the light on? Will he do it with the light turned off on the aquarium?

My FT long oscar does this whenever I turn his tank light on. He swims at the glass as fast as he can. It's actually quite the spectacle...he's chill one sec, then the light goes on and he's attacking the back of the tank - every time.

My light is a white/blue led - so I keep his blue light on most of the time and oscar is fine with this.

I don't have a background on my tank - maybe having a background in that area will help? - I know you said card-stock, but having something that is patterned and right up against the glass (glued/oil connected to it) might help block the moving reflection.
 

Sputnik

Agree- dimming the light over rhe tank helps, as does heavily planting the areas where he sees his reflection so that there is a visual barrier
 

Megaanemp

Thanks for the replies!
The tank doesn’t have a light, and its actually pretty dark.
 

californiascape

I had this issue with one of my past bettas. I found that they need light-colored backgrounds or else they can see their refection (ex. no black paper as a tank background). I had to put a white paper to block the dark HOB so he wouldn't see his reflection as well.

Mine would also flare when the tank light was on and the room lights were off, so any time the tank inside was brighter than its surroundings.
 

tnrsmomma

Oh that's frustrating! I see in the comments that there isnt a light on the tank. I was going to comment to adjust the light but... lol Hmmm have you tried papering 3 sides of the tank to eliminate light from other areas? What about putting tallish plants at the sides of the tank so it blocks the glass a bit? What all is in the tank with him? Plants? Cave? Tunnel? If the tank is relatively bare, I would try adding in some live or silk plants, a hide/cave/ tunnel of some sort, things like that to give him places to hide and explore. The glaring and glass surfing can indicate boredom as well as stress. Is he doing it in your direction when you are near by, on one specific side of the tank or just all over any side of the tank, any time? Is there anything in the room that could be causing light to bounce into the tank? This might seem nuts and unconnected but I have a dog who looses his mind if there are light reflections or moving shadows on the wall or the floor. I have seen comments where people mention they use a cat laser pointer toy to "exercise" or "play" with their betta so apparently some do respond to moving light. Might be a stretch but worth watching thentank from different angles to see if something like that might be happening. Hopefully he settles down soon, whether you are able to figure out the reason for his behavior or not!
 

Megaanemp

Oh that's frustrating! I see in the comments that there isnt a light on the tank. I was going to comment to adjust the light but... lol Hmmm have you tried papering 3 sides of the tank to eliminate light from other areas? What about putting tallish plants at the sides of the tank so it blocks the glass a bit? What all is in the tank with him? Plants? Cave? Tunnel? If the tank is relatively bare, I would try adding in some live or silk plants, a hide/cave/ tunnel of some sort, things like that to give him places to hide and explore. The glaring and glass surfing can indicate boredom as well as stress. Is he doing it in your direction when you are near by, on one specific side of the tank or just all over any side of the tank, any time? Is there anything in the room that could be causing light to bounce into the tank? This might seem nuts and unconnected but I have a dog who looses his mind if there are light reflections or moving shadows on the wall or the floor. I have seen comments where people mention they use a cat laser pointer toy to "exercise" or "play" with their betta so apparently some do respond to moving light. Might be a stretch but worth watching thentank from different angles to see if something like that might be happening. Hopefully he settles down soon, whether you are able to figure out the reason for his behavior or not!
Thank you for your reply! I really appreciate it I’ve moved the tank onto a low table and the light is hitting in less now. I can’t tell if this has helped yet as he's a bit stressed from the move still! I will try card stock on all sides if he starts again. I’m also gluing some java fern to some rocks and will put them near glass to see if that helps.
 

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philam

Try putting tannins in the water. It helps them to calm down. Too much brightness from the light may also stress them out.
 

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