Successfully Pellet Trained! Finally!

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Contraptionated

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After a month of futile chasing, I have finally outsmarted my fish.
You see, my Betta is crazy smart - we're talking about a fish who spits out food he doesn't like, and then hides it behind a clump of gravel or some decorations so you won't find out. We're talking about a fish who is all kisses and joy when the tank lid is open, but pretends you don't exist when it's closed because he knows he won't get food. We're talking about a fish who navigated a tube on the first try, and pretty much trick-trained himself. He might not make a great scholar, but he has some serious street smarts that never fail to amaze me.

So, pellet training him was a terrible endeavour. He began by accepting the pellets, and then throwing them up almost immediately after I walked away. Then, he got sneaky and started hiding his vomit, until his hunger senses kicked in and he started destroying his tail because he wasn't getting enough to eat. Soon, he wouldn't even so much as sniff at the pellet, and would give the dirty look known to many Betta keepers every time he saw the food pouch.
So, I ended up switching to soft foods to appease his appetite and get him to eat. Frozen bloodworms were an immediate hit, and, after only a day or two, he was begging and dancing for his food, chasing and nipping at my fingers whenever I did parameter tests or changed the water. On the third day, he learned how to successfully swim through a tube with barely any effort on my part.
But, knowing that bloodworms are mostly water and wouldn't be able to totally sustain my fish, I was still faced with the terrible task of converting him to pellets. So I got a little smart myself - since I always feed out of my hand, I started off by feeding him a pellet soaked in bloodworm juices and covered in the skin. He took it, no sign of vomit in the tank all day. Then, a couple of days later (today), I stuck a pellet to my finger tip and put my hand in the water, knowing he'd come nip at me and whine about how he wanted more food. Sure enough, I managed to trick him into putting the pellet in his mouth, and he reluctantly swallowed. No sign of vomit yet, though I know better than to call victory too soon.
 
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bgclarke

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Clever.
What pellets are you feeding?
Our Betta absolutely loves HikarI Betta Bio-Gold pellets.
 
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Yep, I'm also feeding HikarI Bio-Gold! At first I thought he was having trouble swallowing, but soon realized he just didn't want to eat.
 
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bgclarke

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I've had a few pellets that seemed a bit too big for ours.
He tried to eat them, spit them back out to soften, then eats them.
 
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Contraptionated

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the pellet fits very comfortably in his mouth, so he probably just doesn't like the taste (after making my fish eat a pellet this morning, he's been less responsive to my finger and keeps giving me dirty looks lol)
 
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Have you tried any other brands of pellets, new life spectrum is apparently a great brand (I'm planning on getting it to replace messy flakes, hopefully I can convert my betta) and they have a healthier ingredient list than hikari!
 
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justinmo said:
Have you tried any other brands of pellets, new life spectrum is apparently a great brand (I'm planning on getting it to replace messy flakes, hopefully I can convert my betta) and they have a healthier ingredient list than hikarI with no fish meal!
I might go give it a try, thank you for the suggestion!
 
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bgclarke

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I picked up the New Life Spectrum betta pellets yesterday.
They are a bit larger than the HikarI pellets, but Marius ate them no problem.
 
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I haven't been able to find them in my fish store, so I'll see if I can order some online. He's started eating the HikarI pellets, and, while he isn't as enthusiastic with them as he is with bloodworms, he still readily snaps at my fingers and eats like a little aqua pig.

Also, does anyone know where the like button went?
 
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bizaliz3

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Contraptionated said:
Also, does anyone know where the like button went?
The like button is now the "thumbs up" And you have other options as reactions now too! Like Agree, funny, informational etc
 
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Clever, I may have to try that with my new one, he won't eat food unless it sinks right in front of his nose, and he spits it out half the time, also he won't follow my fingers and that makes it a bit harder too
 
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Nevabird said:
Clever, I may have to try that with my new one, he won't eat food unless it sinks right in front of his nose, and he spits it out half the time, also he won't follow my fingers and that makes it a bit harder too
I'd definitely do the bloodworms, you'll notice an immediately change. If your fish is like mine, he'll go from sticking his nose up to practically jumping at you for more.
 
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Contraptionated said:
I'd definitely do the bloodworms, you'll notice an immediately change. If your fish is like mine, he'll go from sticking his nose up to practically jumping at you for more.
Thank you, I'll try that
 
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bgclarke

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Definitely try bloodworms. Marius knows when the white spoon appears in his tank that he's getting a treat.

He'll actually hit the spoon trying to get the worms off of it.
 
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They have small grabbing teeth at the front, and rows of throat (pharyngeal) teeth, so spitting isn't vomiting, it's chewing. They drag the hard to digest pellet across the throat teeth, trying to break it up. An insect shreds immediately. Pellets don't.
He'll be better fed with bloodworms. Yes, there is a lot of water, but he's an insectivore, and frozen bloodworms are so much better for him than pellets - there's no comparison between processed foods and insect larvae. He'll have better digestion, no bloat problems and will grow faster.
This summer when you swat mosquitoes, offer them. He will be happier than you can imagine. That's their natural food.
 
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I'll definitely try that! I've noticed I've become a lot less squeamish since I started keeping fish, I've stopped looking at bugs as little terrors on legs and more as fish food
 
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Hello! Just wanted to add: my choice of pellet is omega one for the same reasons as new spectrum: good ingredients (salmon, halibut, whole herring, cod...), and analysis (protein - 42%, Crude fiber - 2%. max moisture - 8.5%).

I've also fed mine flightless fruit flies. They LOVED those, but I did find they were difficult to dump into the tank. I had to keep an eye on them. It was really cool for enrichment purposes as well. They had to hunt, and seemed to do so with relish. Maybe your smarty-pants would benefit from the stimulation?

He sounds hilariously temperamental
 
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justinmo

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I wouldn't suggest swatting mosquitos as you could be transmitting potentially harmful things to your betta. But I'd suggest doing a flightless fruit fly culture as well!
 
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River fish

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Hi, I'm sorry I'm adding on to this post but I don't know how to start a new one and my new betta hasn't eaten since I got him which is now over a week, I've tried two brands of food, and freeze-dried blood worms, his tank is 2.5 gallons and he has a nice hiding place he has no stress lines and made a bubble nest his first day. He is in a aquaponics tank if that makes a difference. I will run to the fish store in a few days to get frozen bloodworms and some more test strips. I'm starting to worry, any ideas on what might be wrong, or how to help him?
 
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Contraptionated

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I'm a beginner myself, but I'd recommend you use a liquid test kit rather than test strips, test strips have a reputation for being inaccurate. Your tank is definitely on the small side, are you cycled? Check your pH (I'm having a little pH problem myself, this is super important) and ensure that your temperature is stable and Betta-friendly.
And definitely get those frozen bloodworms! Tell us how it goes.
 
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Bettatude

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Contraptionated will you explain how to start a thread? I just realized I don't either since the changes were made.
 
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Sure. This is how I do it, there's probably a more efficient way that I have yet to discover.
So on the desktop site, open up the forum you wish to post to (in this case, the Betta Fish forum). There's a small, black button called "Post New Thread" at the top right side, right below the "Latest" bubble and adjacent to the page navigation. On the app, go to the desired forum and select the "..." at the top right. You'll see a button with a pencil on it.
 
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Bettatude

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Thank you! That's not easy to find right away.

Nevabird, you could try soaking the smallest tropical fish pellets you can find, it doesn't have to be Betta pellets at this point, in Seachem's garlicguard and I know some members here make their own garlic juice too. Fish love garlic.

If or when you don't use garlic juice, make sure you soak his pellets for about 15 minutes in a cup with his tank water before feeding.
 
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River fish

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Contraptionated said:
I'm a beginner myself, but I'd recommend you use a liquid test kit rather than test strips, test strips have a reputation for being inaccurate. Your tank is definitely on the small side, are you cycled? Check your pH (I'm having a little pH problem myself, this is super important) and ensure that your temperature is stable and Betta-friendly.
And definitely get those frozen bloodworms! Tell us how it goes.
Yep it is cycled
Thank you, I'll try

Bettatude said:
Thank you! That's not easy to find right away.

Nevabird, you could try soaking the smallest tropical fish pellets you can find, it doesn't have to be Betta pellets at this point, in Seachem's garlicguard and I know some members here make their own garlic juice too. Fish love garlic.

If or when you don't use garlic juice, make sure you soak his pellets for about 15 minutes in a cup with his tank water before feeding.
I will se if it is at the pet store when I go but I may have to order it. Thank you

And also thank you contraptionated and Bettatude
 
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always happy to help!
 
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