Suddenly angry Betta

MedicBiker
  • #1
I have had my betta, Clyde, for just over two weeks. Just today he began flaring all the time at his reflection in the glass. I feel horrible because I think I actually caused this behavior. Yesterday, I wanted to try to identify his sub-species (delta, crown, etc.) so I held a mirror in front of him so that he would spread his fins so I could distinguish. Today, he is just hanging aroud a certain part of the tank where he can see his reflection and has been constanly flaring. I don't want him stressing out to the point of declining health. Will he get used to his reflection and chill back out? Is there something that I can do to keep him calm? I have tried using a dark background outside the tank, but it hasn't worked. Could putting an aerator in that area help to keep him away from it?

If I am overreacting, please let me know - I wan thI'm to be happy, and I can't imagine that being PO'ed and head-butting the glass can be al that good for him.
 
manjil
  • #2
He can see his in the glass because the inner part of the tank has more light than outside the tank.

So if anyhow u can make the light dI'm inside or bright outside it may work.

It's my logic though may b I could b wrong but it's worth giving a try...
 
capekate
  • #3
hI MedicBiker
Is there a lamp or light in the room that is giving the glass its reflection? If it is, is it something you can move? In the evening with our lamp lights and computer screens lit up, it can leave a spot of strong reflection like a mirror and could be causing his flaring. Maybe leaving the hood light off during the day may help as well.
I hope he calms down for you.... My guess is, I don't think you caused any harm in using the mirror or that it caused his change in behavior.

~ kate
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I will try removing the background and see if that helps. It is just puzzling because the lighting has not changed at all. I tried putting bubbles in the area that he was seeing his reflections, it just makes him flare sideways because the bubbles push him up to the surface.

He has stopped banging his head against the glass, but is still flaring - is flaring itself harmful/stressful??
 
capekate
  • #5
I think that a prolonged stress in fish is not good for them. Flaring is mostly an aggressive posture and will result in stress.

Maybe put a plant in that corner to really hide the glass from him?

~ kate
 
Barbrella
  • #6
I think we all give our bettas very brief mirror time, so I too doubt very much if what you did caused this problem.

Constant flaring is very stressful and can be detrimental to a betta's health, not to mention causing split fins.

Could you put a large-leaved silk or real plant in front of the spot that's bugging him? If that doesn't work, try getting a piece of plastic craft canvas and cutting it to fit that tank wall so he can no longer really see himself.

ETA: Should have read capkate's post first. GMTA!
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
There is a plant there. He squeezes himself in there just to flare! I put an airhose in the same area to keep him away and he still goes in. Then I turned the air on, now he flares, gets blown to the surface, and goes right back to it! I will have to see if he has settled down in the morning.
 
GKat250000
  • #8
Man, Medic, do I ever relate! I had a calm purple betta, so nice. He was in a 1/2 gallon fishbowl, so as a treat I bought him a new aquarium (a marineland eclipse hex-5) he caught he reflection in many of the 5 sides and corners and became a stressed out flare-monster. It was intense.

I moved him back into his bowl, and finally, about a week later, he is starting to calm down. The plastic-craft canvas that someone above mentione (I don't know what it is, but I want some!) inside the tank sounds like a good idea to me. I also had some luck pointing a light at the adjacent wall outside his tank so it was really bright outside, but in the end I had to move him.

Good luck. But there is something a little obsessive in all of this, and he wants to attack that fish, and until he forgets about that fish, he's gonna keep at it. Good luck and let us all know how it goes.

I myself am curious about ways to cut down on reflection, or, to get betta's to stop fighting their, or paying attention to, their reflection. It would be cool to de a sticky post called "betta's and reflection"

Good luck medic!
 
COBettaCouple
  • #9
He sounds like our first Betta, Super Mario. He'd see his reflection in the 1 side of his 10 gallon tank and kept going over to that side to flare at the 'other betta'. We put a small desktop lamp with a low light bulb in it beside that side of the tank and when it was on, he'd be ok and not flare. The tank lighting was turning that one side into a mirror inside the tank. Background paper can sometimes get the more fiery bettas going with it's glossy-ness. Aslan used to flare at his filter box and we had to keep a folded piece of blank paper in front of it. They'll do ANYTHING to get to that spot, so using lighting to cancel out the tank lighting's effects is the best way to help him.
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Well, here's the update - I think Clyde totally stressed himself out. When I checked on him this morning, he was still flaring at the corner of the tank. I shooed him away from the area while I was vacuuming and doing a 25% WC. Water changed, parameters were good (temp was equal, pH was equal) post-WC readings showed everything at 0 (except pH).

Clyde has been in hiding all day. Going from the caves to under the fake anemone, under the plants, etc. He usually roams all around the tank (until he started flaring at the one spot w/ his reflection). He looks a little pale compared to normal. My tank is in my office at work, and this is a tree-day weekend (Civil Rights Day on Monday). I really hope he survives the weekend! Any suggestions on what I should do before I leave for the weekend??
 
Drea
  • #11
Well, he sure is a hard fish to figure out. When I had a Betta in my office, every Friday when I left at 5, I would leave a small lamp on with a 25 watt bulb in it. I hope he's gonna be okay, too ...I'll keep my fingers crossed
 
COBettaCouple
  • #12
I'm not sure, but has anyone asked if he's red? They can be the most fiesty and quickest to go pale at stress. I think his behavior today is the result of his flaring and I hope that a quiet weekend will help him out.
 
GKat250000
  • #13
good luck Medic (and clyde!)
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Thanks for the support all! COBC - Clyde is red. The change to pale was pretty obvious, even to a newbie. I will let you know tomorrow how he fared the weekend (insert crossed-fingers smiley here)
 
COBettaCouple
  • #15
That would account for some of his behavior. Often the reds will behave like that. I remember when we took our red betta Mickey out of tank once for cleaning (not something we do now, but this was a while ago) ... he started turning white so fast! Hope to hear good on Clyde!
Thanks for the support all! COBC - Clyde is red. The change to pale was pretty obvious, even to a newbie. I will let you know tomorrow how he fared the weekend (insert crossed-fingers smiley here)
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Well, Clyde survived the weekend! His color is back, but he is still just hanging out and doing a lot of hiding. At least he is not flaring and head-butting the sides of the tank anymore.

My return to the office was not without its share of surprises, though. When I walked in, the water was cloudy. My first thought was that Clyde was dead and decomposing. I looked fo rhim, but could not find him. After further inspection, he was in one of the caves, huddled against the side of the cave.

I have all zeroes for my ammonia, nitrites and nitrates???? If the cloudy water is from a bacterial bloom, wouldn't I see SOMETHING on ammonia, Ites or Ates?? This water chemistry thing really has me baffled. One of my co-workers keeps telling me that I "mess with that fish tank too much, just leave it alone". Easy for someone with a 55 gal + established tank to say, but I am starting to steer in that direction. I just can't figure these chemistries out. Please help (I'll also post this in the water testing forum)
 
susitna-flower
  • #17
Poor Baby, I think the fact that his color has returned is good. The water on the other hand sounds like you indeed have things going on. Usually cloudy water like you describe is an indication of bacterial bloom......so that leads me to ask, what are you using to test the chemistry???

I would do another 25% water change, and do that every day until he starts acting normal. If you have any stress coat, prime, or vitachem, use it....make sure you are feeding a small piece of green pea every couple of days to keep his digestion flowing....

If you want to be sure on the cycle get some bio-spira, it will help de-stress you and your tank...
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
I am using the API tests - not the "Master test kit" since I bought the ammonia and pH, then bought the Nitrate and Nitrite test kits. They are all API, so essentially I have the MTK minus the high range pH. They are all liquid regents, not strips.

Thanks for the advice on the PWCs daily. I will start those tomorrow, if the water is still cloudy.
 
chickadee
  • #19
Just be sure to stop the water changes for a period of 7 days if you add the Bio-spira as it will need time to do its work fully. The ammonia will spike but that is NORMAL and will not hurt your fish. It is only the Bio-spira establishing itself. That is what happens during a cycle and will go back down in 7 days. It has happened in every one of my Bio-spira cycles and none of my fish has been hurt one bit. This form of cycle is the easiest and healthiest on both you and the fish but is a bit pricey. Just do not do the constant testing or you will worry yourself unnecessarily and the fish will be fine. Just do a good partial water change and then shake the pouch of Bio-spira good and tear it open and dump the whole thing in. Then just let it be for 7 whole days. You cannot medicate or change the water for that 7 days but at the end of that time your tank should be totally cycled.

Good luck and Bless You and Your little Fish.

Rose
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
May I ask what is "pricey", and is there somewhere online I can get it? My LFS, and local Petco and Petsmart don't have it. What does this stuff cost (ballpark).

Thanks again for the support.
 
voiceless_kat
  • #21
May I ask what is "pricey", and is there somewhere online I can get it? My LFS, and local Petco and Petsmart don't have it. What does this stuff cost (ballpark).

Thanks again for the support.


I pay $13.99 at the LFS in Minnesota () plus tax). I know Foster and Smith sell it , perhaps around $15 but you MUST have it shipped overnight, cost is $19.00.

However, I have been using it for about 10 months, and have to drive 2.5 hours to get it, so figure, gas and lunch and it prob costs me that. And personally, I think it is worth every penny.

I just had my sister bring me up 3 packs of it, one for Poppet; one for Neptune, whose cycle I lost from medication, and one in the fridge for my next rescue.

I am kind of a worry wart, and it takes all the stress out of getting a new fish, setting up a new tank, or even starting a Q tank. But for sure, as Rose says, don't be testing the water every day and make yourself nuts ( I was guilty of that the first few times, for no reason).

Good luck, let us know what you do.

Val
 
janoue
  • #22
I had this problem with the overactive flaring. I ended up taping two brown filefolders to the sides of the tank where he was catching the reflection. Worked like a charm. I can still see him great from the front, but now when i'm in my office working late at night and turn the lamp on, he isn't getting the glare.
 
Blub
  • #23
Hi!

I don't think a mirror caused any harm. Try adjusting the lighting effects in the room.

 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Thanks all. He has since calmed down. I don't know what it was, but he is getting back to normal.
 
chickadee
  • #25
Just for a hint on the use of mirrors with bettas....they use them to make the bettas flare for nice pictures when they are trying to take nice pictures to advertise them. The problem is that they should only be used for a very short time IF AT ALL. They put a lot of stress on the heart and nervous system of the betta if they are allowed to flare at themselves in a mirror for more than just a few minutes. I accidently left a mirror by my tank for about 10 minutes one day and I nearly had a betta in cardiac arrest. So it is definitely my recommendation that mirrors not be used on bettas unless you need them just for a few seconds to get a quick picture and then REMOVE them. It is like asking a poor little fish to think he is constantly under attack. When they flare, they do so because they think they are threatened and this is cruel if it is done for no reason. When they are getting used to their tanks a certain amount of it cannot be helped as they will see their reflections in the tank walls but this they will be getting used to. It is the purposeful use of Mirrors that I think is unnecessary.

Please be considerate of your little buddy.

Rose
:
 
MedicBiker
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
I may not have mentioned it here, but I was using the mirror to try to identify the species of betta that he is (crowntail, delta, etc.) I haven't been able to find a comprehensive listing of species with pictures to compare him to, though. The mirror was not for my own amusement - I just wanted to try to identify my betta. It was used for about 10 seconds and then removed.
 
chickadee
  • #27
Please do not think I was scolding you. I was just explaining in case you were unaware that this happens. So many of the members lately are new and it has been a long time since the use of mirrors has come up and I thought a reminder was in order. It was in no way meant to be a scold. I am sorry if you took it as one.

I can give you some examples of Combtails, Halfmoons, Rosetails in flare below that are textbook and show quality examples of the above and if I still have it the fourth picture will be of a Crowntail but it may be small as it was a thumbnail and I lost most of my pictures when the computer I had them on had a meltdown. I owned every one of these bettas but the Lavender Combtail and so am quite sure of their type.

Here goes:

Some of the pictures may not be the most professional but you should get the idea.

The first picture is of Alexander (Dark Blue) and he was a Rosetail Halfmoon. His fins were so heavy that he could not flare like a regular betta. They would just not lift for him.

Then comes Marty (Pale blue and white) who was a Crowntail and a Cambodian to boot. He was feisty and never looked like he WASN'T flaring. (Sorry this is the little picture clear at the bottom, the pictures came out in funny order)

Then comes Blaze (Orange) who was a Halfmoon and a beauty. The fins have to be a complete half circle when they flare to qualify as a halfmoon.

Then comes Damon (RED) who was also a Halfmoon but who had the thickest fins for a Halfmoon I had ever seen.

Now comes the Combtail (Lavender), and I could not find my good picture of Noel my Combtail so this one that I almost bought will have to do. It shows the perfect type of a Combtail.

The other types of tail that I am aware of are the Delta which is similar to the Halfmoon but does not meet the half circle requirment but is over a quarter circle. And the Super Delta that is technically a Delta with super finnage close to a Halfmoon.

There is also a Halfmoon that is over a full half circle that carries a special classification when sold but does not carry the class when displayed so I do not have much information on it now, but you might see it specified if you choose to check out the fish on eBay or aquabid. It is Halfmoon OHM.

Rose
 
voiceless_kat
  • #28
Rose, every time I see these pictures of your bettas, I start to salivate. They really are just awesome!!
Val
 
chickadee
  • #29
Yes, they were lovely, but unfortunately every one of those particular bettas is no longer with me. They were some of my favorites though. I have not got good pictures of the little ones I have now. Ariel is currently going through a tough time not with fin rot but with a reddening of his fins for some reason (he is white all over) and they look like they have small hemorrhages in them. For a while it looked like he had been beaten up and he had bruising on his body but I moved him into the hospital tank and started him on Maracyn2 in case of a major problem and he is losing that part of it. The redness in his fins comes and goes though. They are not disintegrating though so I know it is not fin rot. I actually was afraid that it was Septecemia for a while but I do keep their tanks clean and water changed and all and while the Yo-Yos that he was in with are messy, the tank was not filthy. I may leave him in the smaller tank as he does appear very happy in there and I put 2 new real plants in there with him and 1 artificial one and he seems to love them.

Rose
 

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