New with a sick Betta!

cherryrose

Member
Please help me with my sick betta.  Barney has been sick for a few days even though I have been treating him with BettaFix.  I had him in a ten gallon tank with 5 danios, 4 platies, and a cory cat fish.  I was told the danios would get along with the Betta, but they turned out to be fin nippers.  By the time I discovered it my poor betta's fins were ragged and had some kind of fungus on them.  I put BettaFix and Betta Complete Water Conditioner in a gallon jar with 3 quarts of water in it and put poor Barney in it hoping that he would get well.  He no longer has fungus on his fins, (the parts with fungus on them fell off), but he has what looks like fungus around his mouth and on his head. The spots are white but don't look like they're as fuzzy as the fungus on his fins was.  Barney is not eating and is lethargically hanging out at the top of his jar.  I know this is a holiday, but if there is anyone out there reading this, please give me some advice as soon as possible.  I bought some Melafix, but have not put any of it in his jar as the directions are for a ten gallon tank.  What should I do to heal poor Barney Betta?  The ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all at 0 in his jar.  The PH is a little low at 6.0.

CherryRose, A newbie in trouble
 

Stradius011

Member
How long was the jar set up? It could be that the jar hasn't even cycled yet. A 1 gallon jar is too small for a betta. Use Melafix and Pinafix for your betta because the betta's tail could get a infection and get finrot. I used Melafix and it only took 4 days to heal my guppy's tail.
 

Richard

Member
Sounds like Barney has Mouth-Fungus, which is completely different from normal Fungus in that Fungus medicine won't neccessarily treat it.. medication that contains Phenoxyethanol has proven effective, so if any of your anti-fungal medications has that antibiotic, you can try it.. if you have to go to your LFS for medication, specify that it's to treat Mouth-Fungus.. and you may want to get a 5 gallon tank for Barney at the same time, which can serve as both his treatment tank and his home after he recovers.. shouldn't be too expensive.. good luck.
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Thanks people! I will put some of my Melafix in his jar. It says to use 5 ml for a 10 gallon tank. I have a dropper that holds 3 ml all together. It is marked off in 1/10 of a ml amounts. I will try adding 3/10 of a ml and see if that helps. The jar says it treats open sores, fin & tail rot, eye cloud, pop eye,body slime, mouth fungus, and open wounds. The active ingredient is melaleuca. The bottle also says to repeated the dose every day for 7 days and not to change the water until the 8th day. Since I only have him in the one gallon hospital jar, I am hoping that I can wait that long. What do you think? I hope it works as I can't get to the pet store until tomorrow at the very earliest!
 
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cherryrose

Member
I read in an article on treating sick fish that adding salt to the water would help the meds be more effective.  How much salt would I put in Barney's 1 gal hospital jar?  I can't find the article again.  Does anyone know? ???
 

Stradius011

Member
That is not true. Salt helps the fish resist diseases though. You should only put in Aquarium Salt from the pet store.
 

chickadee

Member
Please do not use salt for this particular affliction. It is okay for skin lesions and such as it increases the slime coat but is not going to help much with fungal infection and fin rot. I am afraid having your little friend in an unheated environment with no filter and not much water is going to be much help. He will not need much water but he does need to have at least 2.5 gallons as he needs at least a 25 watt heater to keep him warm. The meds work best at a temp of 82 degrees F or 28 degrees C. He should also be getting Pimafix for the finrot as it kills the bacterial infection and Melafix is what helps the fins regenerate. For the mouth fungus you are going to need something a little stronger, like Jungle Tank Buddies Fungus Clear. They are fizzy tablets and are a tablet that you use for 4 days and then do a partial water change then if necessary do another dose. Your betta is VERY ill and needs immediate care so if you can get him the meds I would do so as soon as possible.

He probably will not eat until he feels a little better so I would hold his food for 24 hours until he has been on medication as if he has mouth fungus his mouth is sore and will not allow him to eat properly. Then only feed a piece or two of food and if he still shows no sign of trying to eat do not push it. You do not want to have left over food fouling his water, as the cleanliness of the water is going to be of major concern. Just try a little a couple of times a day until he can eat on his own and remove any that he won't eat immediately.

Welcome to Fishlore.com. Please do not hesitate to post any questions you may have or comments you may need to make and please let us know how things are going. I worry about the little ones we deal with here. Also if he has a name would you please introduce him to us.

Rose
 

0morrokh

Member
You have gotten good advise about the Betta...however, the 10 gallon is WAY overstocked, with or without Barney in it. The danios, platys, and cory should be ok together, however they need much more room than a 10g. Also, Cories need to be kept in small groups. What kind of Cory is he? For the sake of the cory I would recommend getting at least two more, however certainly do not add any more fish to the 10g. Also do you know what kind of danio you have?
I would advise getting a bigger tank for the Platys and Danios, and then you could keep the Betta and Cories in the 10g. You could probably keep the Platys and danios in a 20 gallon. One last question, how many of the Platys are male and how many are female? If you don't know how to sex them there is a stickied post in the Breeding section of the forum called Sexing Livebearers.

Oh also, you said the pH is 6.0...is this the natural pH of your tap water, or did you add any chemicals to alter it?
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions/advice.  I have Barney's jar sitting on a heating pad for the time being.  It keeps the temperature at a constant 74 degrees when on low. I put the heating pad on medium for a few hours until the water heated up to 80 degrees, but have turned it back on low for the night as I really don't want to cook him.   I won't put any salt in his water as per the advice given here.  I will try to get him the meds he needs tomorrow, but we only have a small pet store where I live.  Maybe I can talk my husband into going to Petsmart or Petco with me tomorrow.  The pet store here does have a few used tanks for sale.  The only one they kept fish in is a 20 gallon tank and it costs $25.  Would it be okay to buy it and disinfect it or should I find a new one?  After reading the information here I realize that my 10 gal tank is way overstocked. I wish someone in the pet store had let me know that I was overstocking it.
    My water has a natural ph of 6.0.  I have 3 female platies and one male. I have two zebra danios and 3 pearl danios.  I don't know what kind of cory I have, but, if the store is open I will find out tomorrow.  Thanks for all your help! I am so worried about my poor Barney.
 

Stradius011

Member
The used 20 gallon aquarium should be okay, and yes, you should disinfect the aquarium using the vinegar or salt solution.
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Good news this morning! Barney is much better today. He is actually swimming around! He is also now in a two gallon critter keeper and the temperature is 78 degrees. The temperature in his jar was 76 degrees this morning. I turned the heating pad temperature up to medium and will watch it carefully as I try to get the temp. up to 82 degrees. I know 2 gallons isn't big enough for him once he gets well. I am going to get him a 5 gallon later. Or maybe I will put him back in the 10 gallon when I move the danios out to the twenty gallon.
 

Stradius011

Member
Glad to hear that! ;D
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Hello again,

I now have Pimafix in Barney's tank. He is looking good and seemed to be curious about what I was doing when I put the med in. I am a little worried about the PH being only 6.0. Do I need to put PH up in the tank or is it fine the way it is? Are my other fish okay with the PH being low?

CherryRose, a new fish mommy
 

chickadee

Member
I am so glad that you are having better luck with Barney today.  It makes me feel better that he is curious.  That is always a good sign.   

Now, it does sound like he is okay where he is for the time being until you can get everyone else settled; but please for the sake of ALL your fish do not ever try to change the pH of the water.  They are much more capable of adapting to the pH the way it is than to having to deal with the chemicals used to try to adjust the pH.  It is much too dangerous to try to change pH at any time and I am surprised that the chemicals used for this purpose are even sold.  Fish are much better off being allowed to adjust to nature than us trying to adjust nature artificially to them.  What happens is the chemicals are unstable and will not hold a steady pH and then it starts to fluctuate.  It can go up and down wildly on its own and kill the fish.  It is also very difficult to get just the same exact mixture all the time and cause fluctuations that way.  It is dangerous for the pH to fluctuate more than 0.2 in any 24 hour period for the fish so let Mother Nature take care of the water pH and your fish will acclimate when you bring him home from the store and get him slowly used to the water by slowly adding water to his bag.  Then just allow him to live in the water as it flows naturally.  (with only dechlorinator and whatever medications they need)

Just as a side note. Are you quite certain that the heating pad method is safe to heat the Critter Keeper. I would hate for the surface to get wet or the surface under to overheat and cause a fire. I know it is necessary to have him warm but I would rather have you be safe and him wait a couple of days for the tank with the heater to open up. Please do not put yourselves at risk. People are important, and as much as I love them, Bettas come next.

Rose
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Thank you for your concern Rose, as well as your helpful information.  I will not change the PH in any of my fish tanks due to what you said. 

I also thought about the safety issue.  I have made the heating pad heater as safe as I know how to.  I have a towel on top of the stand, followed by a short cooling rack, about 1/2 inches high.  I then have an acrylic cutting board, the heating pad and another towel.  I am using a dry or moist heat heating pad, so a little moisture shouldn't be a problem.  If I splash a little water I will make sure that the towel is changed if necessary.  Does that sound safe enough to you?

It has taken all day for the temperature in his container to warm up to 80 degrees.  I will again turn the heat down to low when I go to bed.

CherryRose the new fish mommy
 

0morrokh

Member
How come you are turning the heat down? As with pH, a fluctuating temp can be a lot more harmful than aone that is not quite ideal. With a constant temp fish can adapt, while a changing temp is very stressful. And anyway, 80 degrees is the optimal temp for Bettas. It should never go below 78. You should be much more worried about underheating than overheating a Betta. Cold water leaves them susceptible to disease, whilt they can go up into the mid 80s withought harm (not that you should try it or anything, generally 83-5 is max and that is reserved only for treating disease. I'm not sure exactly how the heater you have works, but will it continue to raise the temp overnight? Or will it stay aroung 80?

Ok, as to the other fish. They are hardy and will be just fine in your pH. Definitely get a bigger tank, if the used one is all that you can afford than that's fine, although new is always preferrable. Clean it in a solution of 20 parts water to 20 parts bleach. Be sure to bleach everything, but you can NOT bleach gravel so idk if it is included but if it is you will have to throw it away.

Pearl Danios are the same size as Zebras right? If so, you could put the danios and the Platys in the 20 gallon and the Betta in the 10 gallon with the Cory plus 2 more, unless the species you have is a larger kind. Or you could give the Betta his own tank and figure out how you want to sort out the other fish. But definitely get 2 more Cories at least. Stores (as you have learned) are not the greatest sources for correct info, especially as I have found out with distinguishing between the many species of Cory, so I would try to find your cory on . Or even easier perhaps you could post a pic or even a description and we could help figure out what he is.

And finally, do you know about the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle fishless? Just making sure.
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Hello,

Thank you so very much, Rose, for moving my post to the betta area.  It has really been helpful in taking care of my Barney.  He is looking so much happier now that he is warm and has meds.  I'm sure that he is also happier in the two gallon container than he was in the one gallon jar.  He was such a beautiful fish when I got him.  He is still beautiful but his fins are so much shorter than they were before the danios amputated them.  Three quarters of his fins were red, next to his body they are blue.  His body itself is a pinkish purple and his head is red.

0morrokh, thank you for your concern.  First of all, yes I have cycled my 10 gallon tank.  I did read up about cycling before I got my tank.  I know that this is a major concern with any new tank.

The reason I turn the heat down at night is because I'm afraid that if I don't my heating pad may cook my betta, although from what I have experienced with it so far, that is seeming less likely.  I don't turn it off at night, only put it on low so, hopefully, the heat will remain stable without dropping down too far.  Last night I turned it on low before I went to bed and it only fell from 80 to 76.  I turned it back up today and it is now 82 degrees.  The temperature change seems to be minor and very gradual.

I am still uncertain about how I am going to set up my fish, but I was unable to figure out where to put a 20 gallon tank, so did not get it.  I called the pet store and the owner allowed me store credit for returning the danios.  I felt bad about taking them back, but know that it is in their best interest, and the best interest of my other fish, to remove them.  I used the store credit, plus a little extra to get the Pimafix for my betta.  I am still planning on getting a 5 gallon tank for Barney, as soon as I am able.
I will check out the website you gave me and try to find my cory.

CherryRose
 

0morrokh

Member
Sorry you couldn't get the tank and had to take back the danios. :'(

Hopefully Barney will recover, keep us updated on how he is doing. Also let us know if you figure out what kind of Cory you have. Would it be at all possible to get Barney a 10 gallon? Then you could keep the Cories with him and the Platys in the 10 gallon. A 5 gallon would be too small for a Betta plus 3 Cories, and the 4 Platys don't leave any room for 3 Cories in that tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Hi,
Barney is doing okay, but is still not as active as he was.  When he was fed this morning, he only ate one bite. I removed the rest of his food after 5 minutes.  He is still curious and swimming around some, but I am worried about the amount he is eating.  I think I will feed him again right now and see how he does.

I just crumbled up a small piece of shrimp for him and he did eat a very little bit.  I will take the excess out in a few minutes.  His water is pretty cloudy.  All the medications say not to change the water for seven days, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea.  It seems to me he has enough problems without having to worry about high ammonia and nitrites.  He has only been in the water he is in now for a couple of days, but I feel like I should give him a partial water change.  What do you think?  I have some Java Moss in my ten gallon tank.  Should I put some of it into his two gallon Critter Keeper?

From the pictures of corydoras on the website I was given, I would say that my cory is a corydoras garbei.  If I had a digital camera I would post a picture on here but I don't have one.  I am calling him Freckles because that is what his spots look like.  There doesn't appear to be a pattern, just scattered freckles of different sizes. When I get more cories, do I need to get the same kind or could I get a few different kinds so that I can tell them apart?

CherryRose
 

0morrokh

Member
Do you have a test kit for ammonia an nitrites? If so if the levels start to get high you need to do a water change no matter what because these chemicals will kill fish faster than a disease. I assume that means the tank he is in is not cycled yet? Normally you would never do a water change in the middle of medicating, however an exception must be made if the tank is uncycled.
Live plants are always great. The only problem with java moss is that I've heard of it getting tangled up in a Betta's fins and getting dragged everywhere and making a mess. But I think that is only if it was left floating--you would probably be ok if it was anchored onto something.
I am not familiar with Corydoras garbei...do they have a common name? To answer your question, you do need to get at least two more C. garbeis because Cories need the company of their same species. that's not to say you couldn't also get some of another species though, although it doesn't sound like you'll have room.
Well, hopefully Barney will get better, remember you can't force him to eat and he will eat when he wants to...but it is good that he is eating some. Keep us updated.
 

chickadee

Member
I know the meds say to leave them for 7 days before changing any of the water but they are supposing that you are using them in a cycled tank.  You are not.  He is going to have to have at least a 25% to 50% water change every other day in the Critter Keeper to keep the ammonia levels down.  The meds can still help him but the ammonia will kill him.  It will still be okay to just add the meds as before in spite of the water changes.  They will not work quite as well as if he were in a cycled tank but they will still work.  Don't double up on them just use the normal amount.  He just has to have artificial filtration by water changes until he can get back into a cycled tank. 

If you happen to get to PetSmart, when you get a new tank if you want an instant cycle I believe they are beginning to carry Bio-spira for tanks.  It is the ONLY product that will cycle your tank faster.  Please do not fall into the hype about the other products (i.e. Cycle, TheraP, and any of the others that promise a quick cycle) as they use a different strain of bacteria which must be constantly fed by continual use of that product or it fails.  Even if it seems like it has helped to cycle, the "cycle" is unstable and will fail if the product is not used continually and involves an entirely different strain of bacteria.  When that bacteria dies the cycle has to begin all over again.  Bio-spira is the correct bacteria needed and is kept in a refrigerated form until it is SHAKEN and poured into the tank then the fish should be added immediately.  Generally about a third of the tank's load is added at a time to avoid overloading the filter.

I believe the shrimp may be a bit rich for him at this point too.  I would recommend a diet of either HikarI Betta Bio-Gold pellets or Freeze-dried Bloodworms.  He should be getting either 2-3 pellets twice a day OR 6-7 bloodworms twice a day.  I would only drop one piece of food into the water at a time and not give another until he had CHEWED the first one up.  Bettas are very prone to constipation and if they have their food just put in the water for them tend to gulp instead of chewing.  I know he is not eating much and that is all the more reason to feed him by hand one piece at a time so you can keep track of just what is going into him and how much he ISN'T eating.  It also gives you some quality time with him and he needs to have the company of his human parents right now.  He is hurt and he doesn't understand why he feels sick (ammonia).  If at all possible when you need to take care of him spend some time cooing over him and making him feel loved.  Another little problem that Bettas tend toward is depression and they do not heal well if they are mopey and depressed.  Just talk to him when you feed him and change his water and maybe a couple times a day for a minute if you can. 

If we can be of help please let us know and keep in touch and let us know how you and Barney are doing.  You may also want to check this out if you haven't already.



It is just a little guide for those just getting started with their betta babies.

Rose
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Thank you again, Omorrokh and Rose. 

Barney is much more active today.  When I leaned over his tank to talk to him he swam up to me as if he was listening closely.  He also ate a little better.  I foolishly listened to the LFS people and have been feeding him TetraMin and the freeze dried shrimp.  I just hope I can find some Betta Bio-Gold pellets here, because it is impossible for me to get to town right now.  I did try to buy some here, when I bought Barney, but the store was out.   I do have some frog bites that the store owner gave me to try.  Are they okay to give to Barney? I am putting a little java moss into the bottom of his tank to see what he thinks of it.  I was told it would automatically settle to the bottom, but as I certainly don't want to damage his fins more I will place it there in person.

I checked his water last night after I posted and it was both ammonia and nitrite free.  It must be the Meds that are making his water cloudy. I checked it again a few minutes ago and the nitrite is still at zero and the ammonia is 0.25.  I will give him a small water change, about 3 quarts and see how it tests later today.

I have read the Betta Care Guide you mentioned.  It is very helpful.  I really, really, really do appreciate the fact that you are here for me.  I am very fond of Barney and am really hoping for for him to have a speedy recovery.

CherryRose, appreciative fish mommy
 

chickadee

Member
Cherryrose, PLEASE read Melafix Alert at the head of Betta Subject listing...NEW information on medication. Barney needs water change immediately. Please return to Bettafix. Sorry I just got this information.

Thank you.

Rose
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
OH NO!!!
Thanks for letting me know. My poor Barney! I am changing water right now.

CherryRose
 

0morrokh

Member
Hopefully he will be ok, let us know how he is doing. Putting carbon in the filter adsorbs medications. (sorry if I'm telling you things you already know again.
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Hello! Good news is here. Barney was actually EAGER to eat this morning and ate all of his breakfast! (I was working today so could not post earlier.) I also just fed him this evening and he ate all his dinner. I am wondering if the Melifix was keeping him from having an appetite. At any rate he is doing fine! I don't know if he will ever be as beautiful as he was. (Barney looked a lot like Phloxface's betta, Lava) At least he is alive and seems to be doing well. I will continue keeping him in his hospital tank, under emergency watch, until other arrangements can be made. Thanks again!

CherryRose--- Happy fish mommy!
 

chickadee

Member
I am so glad to hear it. It is always a good sign when they decide to eat. What is he eating? It must really agree with him.

It is possible that he will regain his glory but sometimes they are not quite the same. Generally darker colored bettas do better than the lighter colors. But the thing is it just doesn't seem to change the love we have for them a bit.

If he looked like Lava then he was indeed a handsome boy.

Keeping him in the hospital tank for the time being is good, just keep the water parameters good and he should be fine. Again I am so happy for you and Barney!!!!!

Rose
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
You are right, Rose.  I couldn't love Barney more than I do now, no matter what he looks like.  I probably even love him more after the ordeal  we just went through.  Before I loved him because he was beautiful.  Now I love him because he is MY Barney, and he is a survivor, just like me.

He is eating TetraMin tropical flakes.  I break each flake into a number of small flakes for him to eat.  Hopefully he will soon be eating out of my hand.  That would be so cool! 8)

:-* As far as I'm concerned you wonderful people on this site saved my Barney's life.  Thank you. :-*
 

0morrokh

Member
That's so great he's doing better. Keep us updated.

That's pretty unusual--most Bettas won't eat flakes. Actually, flakes aren't the best food for Bettas. Rose can tell you everything you need to know about Betta nutrition and feeding. ;D Actually, I believe there is a stickied post on betta feeding that you might want to read. Bettas have special diet requirements, and it is better to feed them special betta food or freeze dried stuff. tropical flakes are made for fish with different diets. However, Bettas tend to be horribly picky eaters and I don't know you could even get Barney to eat anything else now. :

Have fun teaching him to hand-feed. I had Guppies and Platys who would eat out of my hand. Only problem was when I stuck my hand in to do a water change--they all went "yay, that's that weird person's hand, and that hand contains food...so lets go get the food!!!" and proceeded to bite my hand and arm to bits looking for flakes. : oh but they were such cute fishies I didn't even mind ;D
 

Stradius011

Member
cherryrose said:
You are right, Rose.  I couldn't love Barney more than I do now, no matter what he looks like.  I probably even love him more after the ordeal  we just went through.  Before I loved him because he was beautiful.  Now I love him because he is MY Barney, and he is a survivor, just like me.

He is eating TetraMin tropical flakes.  I break each flake into a number of small flakes for him to eat.  Hopefully he will soon be eating out of my hand.  That would be so cool! 8)

:-* As far as I'm concerned you wonderful people on this site saved my Barney's life.  Thank you. :-*
It eats flake foods? That is rare. Bettas are carnivores and need to be fed frozen or freeze-dried foods. Glad to hear your bettas is doing better.
 

chickadee

Member
Yes, they are right, he is going to need a food that has more protein in it. It is VERY unusual for a betta to eat flake foods because their mouths are just not the right shape to handle them. He is probably only able to deal with them because you are breaking them up. It is good for him to have some veggie type food a couple times a week but he has to have food more nutritious for him at least two times a day. There are several kinds I have found that my bettas can manage: HikarI Betta Bio-gold pellets are probably the most widely found good betta food and they have the added advantage of making the colors of the bettas more vivid 2-3 pellets two times a day is the limit; Freeze-dried bloodworms of any brand are very good for them but get a small container as they should only have 6-7 two times a day and they need to be replaced after about 7 or 8 months and you will waste them unless you have MANY bettas eating them; Ocean Nutrition Atison's Betta Pro or Betta Formula are both good foods especially for young bettas with tiny mouths (not full grown) it has krill in it and stinks so be prepared but the fish love it since the pellets are very small unless you are feeding a baby betta (less than 4 months) you can give 6 -7 pellets two times a day. Now each of these food is a ONE only thing. You can give pellets one meal and worms the next (2-3 pellets in the morning and 6-7 worms at night) but not both in one meal. Believe me, overfeeding a betta is a SERIOUS thing and can lead to constipation and even death. It would be a very good idea to read the Betta Care Guide at the top of the Betta Board if you have not already. It explains Betta nutrition and digestion pretty well.

Rose
 
  • Thread Starter

cherryrose

Member
Thanks again.  Barney is doing great.  I bought him while ignorant but will try to do much better by him in the future.  Apparently he doesn't know that he isn't supposed to like flake food either.  Probably he has been given it all along and doesn't know there are foods that taste better and are better for him out there.  I know there weren't any Betta foods available for him at the pet store where I bought him.  The pet store gave me a sample of "frog bites", to try, but they just fell to the bottom of the tank and were ignored.  He doesn't really seem to like the dried shrimp.

I am going to PetSmart tomorrow and will get him a 5 gallon tank (the biggest I have room for), bloodworms, and HikarI Betta Bio-Gold pellets.  He is going to be one very spoiled fish.  Since he is already in an uncycled container, can I go ahead and put him in the new one?  I can put gravel in it from my cycled tank.  It has more than it needs anyhow.

What can I put in the five gallon tank with him?  I heard you can put African dwarf frogs in with bettas, but I also heard that they can be fin nippers.  I don't even want to go there.  For now he will be by himself, at least until I am positive that he is well.  Then I only want to put SAFE fish or snails in with him.

CherryRose
 

chickadee

Member
After having had snails with my bettas, I would not do it in my tanks again I do not believe.  I loved them very much and they were beautiful but they are all gone.  They do produce a lot of waste and bettas are really a pretty clean fish.  It adds a lot to the bio load for a snail to be in the tank.  I did not realize how much until I tore the tanks down and WOW.  Otocinclus catfish (Otos) are good companions but you need to quarantine them for a month as they are kind of fragile and if they make it 30 days are yours for a long time but the first 30 days are sometimes rough.  They do clean algae if you do not overfeed them on algae wafers (spoil them )  They like to be in groups of 3 or so but I have one who was by himself for a while and now does not want to have anything to do with any of the others.  Corydoras catfish (cories) are another good choice as they, like the Otos, are very sweet little fish who will not bother your betta a bit.  I would not get cories, however, unless you are prepared to have a second plan in case the Betta is naughty and terrorizes them.  Otos will run away and then settle down in a bit but for some reason cories are very nervous and I had a couple that Emma just literally scared to death.  Before you buy Otos, you also do need to read the website about their treatment to make it clear why they are so fragile at first.  (they trap them by using cyanide to slow them down)  There are a few tips to buying healthy otos that make it much more likely that you will get healthy fish that we can share with you if you decide you want to try.  I have only lost 3 out of 8 and one of them was due to an accident.  My other 5 are the oldest fish I have and are going great guns.  (1 year old already for Tuck ~ PetSmart just sent him his birthday present).    I had a friend who tried with the frog and the betta killed it but if they are nippers that is disaster (infection).  I know that guppies, tetras, platies, mollies, danios, and white clouds have that reputation according to other members and magazine articles I have read.

I love the fact that Barney is going to be spoiled and he deserves a good mommy like you.  Just remember that no matter how much he begs and he will, do not overfeed him.  It is so serious to do that.  I misspoke about the pellets he can have 3-4 twice a day if he is full grown or 2-3 if he is still a young one. 

Yes you may put him in the tank right away but be prepared to do frequent water changes unless you are going to use the gravel and it works quickly.  It will be the fastest method of the fishless cycles so I see no reason why it will not work quickly here.  You can either put it in a small mesh bag or just put it in the tank as the substrat.  Just be careful not to rinse it first.  All the bacteria will go with the rinse.  You could also take a small piece of your filter media from the other filter and put on the top of the filter media of the new filter and it would seed probably in a week or 10 days.  Just don't take it off the old filter until you are ready to turn on the new one and get it wet as if it dries out for more than 30 minutes the bacteria are gone.  The temperature the bacteria grow at the best is 82 degrees (what I read) so that would give you the fastest cycle.  It works in my tank and I just finished cycling a tank in 7 days.  (I cheated with ammonia and a water change and then Bio-spira

Now for one word of advice.  It is okay to start with him by himself as he is used to it.  He is going to settle that tank and think he is in a mansion.  You are going to be so Happy watching him and please take the time to watch.  It will warm your heart.  For a while he will probably just float because he won't believe it.  Then he will start to investigate and the more there is in there the longer it will take.  He will spend days inspecting every nook and cranny over and over, but all this time he is setting up HIS territory.  When you add more tankmates, expect a little trouble.  They are invading his territory and please remember that he has been alone in a cup since a little after his birth and does not know that others have the right to be with him.  This is why I really suggest Otos in spite of their need for the long quarantine and the good water quality (but so does the betta).  They get ruffled up when they are chased and you will want to do something to help them.  They can take care of themselves.  They are very quick and they need a lot of hiding places, plants and little caves and rocks or decorations of some kind .... plants are best.  Even silk ones to start.  Then they settle right down.  In a way thumbing their little noses at the betta.  They also usually feed at night while the betta is sleeping and so the betta feels that he has the tank by himself all day.  Cories are up all day and they get in the Bettas way.  Also you really need 10 gallons to keep cories unless you can find PYGMY cories and believe me you cannot trust what you are told so be sure to find a PICTURE of pygmy cories before you shop.  I did not and my one remaining corie is bigger than Marty (my biggest betta)

I really did not intend for this to be a book .  I do apologize.  Best wishes to you both.

Rose

Link to Otos: otocinclus
 

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