What Having A Very Special Betta Has Taught Me

Starburst03

Member
I’ve had my boy Starburst since last July, even though I’m not entirely sure how old he is. (I’m thinking about a year and a half).
Anyway, a few months ago, he got some pretty bad fin rot (no fault of his own.) I laboriously did water changes every day and added salt until the fin rot stopped progressing. Star’s tail isn’t what it was; he’s still got some chunks missing and some scar tissue on the ends. Even if his tail never fully grows back, I love him for it. It gives him even more character.
I thought that’d be it. I was wrong! About a month ago, I noticed Star’s swimming was...off. He’d float on his side and couldn’t seem to manage swimming down to the bottom of the tank. And he was pretty bloated. So I fasted him, no change. I gave him a pea and that seemed to do the trick, but when I fed him again a few days later, the problem resurfaced. I gave him another pea and then later fed him, and the cycle repeated.
He didn’t seem to be in any pain, he just got around a lot slower. If anything, he seemed mad that he couldn’t swim right.
So I got some Betta Buffet flakes and mashed them into almost a kind of powder when I feed him, in tiny amounts twice a day. That didn’t make the problem go away, but it helped. I have to monitor him while he eats to make sure he doesn't scarf his food too fast and that he chews it all up. And then I have to watch to make sure he swims ok afterwards.
Some people have asked why I do all that work for “just a fish,” why I even keep him in a big 5 gal when I could just stick him in a vase.
But it’s so worth it.
Here’s what owning Star has taught me:

1. Betta fish have feelings.
I’ve seen him get lonely waiting for me, mad when he doesn’t get his way, and even sad and sulky when he hasn’t been fed or his decorations haven’t been swapped out for a while.

2. Every Betta has its own unique personality.

3. Bettas need the space. Seriously, Star’s used every inch of his 5 gallon and if I could give him a 10 or 15 I would.

4. Bettas are like miniature water dogs. I’ve seen him come up to me and wiggle around the way a dog would and I’ve actually seen him “wag” his tail a little when he’s really excited.

5. Bettas are intelligent. I’ve taught bettas to swim and jump through a hoop, come when called, and jump for food. I’ve even seen Starburstlook behind him or sneak a glance at me when he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to (like trying to swim into the filter or eat poop.)

6. Don’t discount your special needs Betta because it’s “more work” than the “regular” fish. When you’re working with a fish that needs a little more help, use that time as bonding with him or her. It’s worth it.

So, Star’s a great little guy. I probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but he holds a special place in my heart. He still swims a little funny and his tail is a little mangled but we don’t let it bother us.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own special Betta stories.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

Member
Starburst03 said:
I’ve had my boy Starburst since last July, even though I’m not entirely sure how old he is. (I’m thinking about a year and a half).
Anyway, a few months ago, he got some pretty bad fin rot (no fault of his own.) I laboriously did water changes every day and added salt until the fin rot stopped progressing. Star’s tail isn’t what it was; he’s still got some chunks missing and some scar tissue on the ends. Even if his tail never fully grows back, I love him for it. It gives him even more character.
I thought that’d be it. I was wrong! About a month ago, I noticed Star’s swimming was...off. He’d float on his side and couldn’t seem to manage swimming down to the bottom of the tank. And he was pretty bloated. So I fasted him, no change. I gave him a pea and that seemed to do the trick, but when I fed him again a few days later, the problem resurfaced. I gave him another pea and then later fed him, and the cycle repeated.
He didn’t seem to be in any pain, he just got around a lot slower. If anything, he seemed mad that he couldn’t swim right.
So I got some Betta Buffet flakes and mashed them into almost a kind of powder when I feed him, in tiny amounts twice a day. That didn’t make the problem go away, but it helped. I have to monitor him while he eats to make sure he doesn't scarf his food too fast and that he chews it all up. And then I have to watch to make sure he swims ok afterwards.
Some people have asked why I do all that work for “just a fish,” why I even keep him in a big 5 gal when I could just stick him in a vase.
But it’s so worth it.
Here’s what owning Star has taught me:

1. Betta fish have feelings.
I’ve seen him get lonely waiting for me, mad when he doesn’t get his way, and even sad and sulky when he hasn’t been fed or his decorations haven’t been swapped out for a while.

2. Every Betta has its own unique personality.

3. Bettas need the space. Seriously, Star’s used every inch of his 5 gallon and if I could give him a 10 or 15 I would.

4. Bettas are like miniature water dogs. I’ve seen him come up to me and wiggle around the way a dog would and I’ve actually seen him “wag” his tail a little when he’s really excited.

5. Bettas are intelligent. I’ve taught bettas to swim and jump through a hoop, come when called, and jump for food. I’ve even seen Starburstlook behind him or sneak a glance at me when he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to (like trying to swim into the filter or eat poop.)

6. Don’t discount your special needs Betta because it’s “more work” than the “regular” fish. When you’re working with a fish that needs a little more help, use that time as bonding with him or her. It’s worth it.

So, Star’s a great little guy. I probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but he holds a special place in my heart. He still swims a little funny and his tail is a little mangled but we don’t let it bother us.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own special Betta stories.
This is my absolute favorite post on fishlore.
And I agree, bettas are little water dogs.
Some of ours have "paws" curled spots on their ventrals, super cute. They always wiggle their bodies too super excited to see us! My moms new betta is adorable. He acts like he's giving us kisses almost XD he gets lippy as my mom calls him. Not gasping or anything, just swims around the front of the tank mouthing at us lol! They're amazing.
I think I'll always keep bettas.
It's also such a wonderful feeling to watch them change from being sad and sluggish in the store, to exploring a large tank and being so personable to people.
 

midna

Member
I have a tail-biter that used to drive me crazy but now he's probably my favourite. lately I just accepted he's gonna bite his tail to the nub and there's not much I can do about it lol. it helps that he's on my desk in my room while my other two bettas are in the kitchen, so I see this guy way more often.
 

peachie88

Member
Awww great post.

I feel the same way about all of my past and present betta!

In memory of Mushu, and Rick James. And kiss faces to my darling Mitsi! <3
 

Feohw

Member
Lovely post, bettas are really great - though mine have all had problems at one time or another!

I have a betta that's always had tail problems - water quality is great and he doesn't seem stressed. He was sold as a "longfin", and I'm pretty sure his tail type is halfmoon. It used to look really great but its been raggy for most of the time I've had him. Very personable though - always dashes to the glass when I enter a room and hides behind some anubias and seems to sulk when a strangers comes over.

Then I have a partially blind female that struggles to eat on her own. I have to feed her flakes and position them over her mouth with my finger. She gets my finger almost as much as the flake though she's starting to improve! Very bonding stuff! She used to be in a sorority and she was the dominant female there, she got very sick which led to her partial blindness and she seemed to stop growing as the others were all bigger than her by the end. I really wouldn't be without either of them - though the male is starting to look a bit old.....
 

Victoria99

Member
My goodness, I love this post so much! When I was a kid, I had a betta named Fishy Betta Boo, haha. He was adorable! He got excited when I walked up to the tank. If I danced, so would he. He'd let me pet him, and he'd jump out of the water for blood worms. I loved that little guy! He had a shell from the ocean that he slept in. It was the cutest thing ever! Then I got him some barrels, so he started sleeping in those, and the shell became his litter box. Lol! He even made trips across the country with me. He was an amazing little guy!
 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

Member
Starburst03 said:
I’ve had my boy Starburst since last July, even though I’m not entirely sure how old he is. (I’m thinking about a year and a half).
Anyway, a few months ago, he got some pretty bad fin rot (no fault of his own.) I laboriously did water changes every day and added salt until the fin rot stopped progressing. Star’s tail isn’t what it was; he’s still got some chunks missing and some scar tissue on the ends. Even if his tail never fully grows back, I love him for it. It gives him even more character.
I thought that’d be it. I was wrong! About a month ago, I noticed Star’s swimming was...off. He’d float on his side and couldn’t seem to manage swimming down to the bottom of the tank. And he was pretty bloated. So I fasted him, no change. I gave him a pea and that seemed to do the trick, but when I fed him again a few days later, the problem resurfaced. I gave him another pea and then later fed him, and the cycle repeated.
He didn’t seem to be in any pain, he just got around a lot slower. If anything, he seemed mad that he couldn’t swim right.
So I got some Betta Buffet flakes and mashed them into almost a kind of powder when I feed him, in tiny amounts twice a day. That didn’t make the problem go away, but it helped. I have to monitor him while he eats to make sure he doesn't scarf his food too fast and that he chews it all up. And then I have to watch to make sure he swims ok afterwards.
Some people have asked why I do all that work for “just a fish,” why I even keep him in a big 5 gal when I could just stick him in a vase.
But it’s so worth it.
Here’s what owning Star has taught me:

1. Betta fish have feelings.
I’ve seen him get lonely waiting for me, mad when he doesn’t get his way, and even sad and sulky when he hasn’t been fed or his decorations haven’t been swapped out for a while.

2. Every Betta has its own unique personality.

3. Bettas need the space. Seriously, Star’s used every inch of his 5 gallon and if I could give him a 10 or 15 I would.

4. Bettas are like miniature water dogs. I’ve seen him come up to me and wiggle around the way a dog would and I’ve actually seen him “wag” his tail a little when he’s really excited.

5. Bettas are intelligent. I’ve taught bettas to swim and jump through a hoop, come when called, and jump for food. I’ve even seen Starburstlook behind him or sneak a glance at me when he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to (like trying to swim into the filter or eat poop.)

6. Don’t discount your special needs Betta because it’s “more work” than the “regular” fish. When you’re working with a fish that needs a little more help, use that time as bonding with him or her. It’s worth it.

So, Star’s a great little guy. I probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but he holds a special place in my heart. He still swims a little funny and his tail is a little mangled but we don’t let it bother us.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own special Betta stories.
Indian almond leaves would help alot. They have antiseptic and soothing properties. They are amazing for betta. Just in my experience.
 

Jenna Aston

Member
What a sweet post I have eight Betta Fish at the moment and can attest that every betta is different and unique. So glad to read everyone else’s experiences - thanks
 

TheNaturalWay

Member
I’m coming out of Fishlore retirement(I still have fish though), just to say how awesome this post is.

Makes me want a Betta now. Lol
 

Ruturaj

Member
Here's my buddy
 

gheps

Member
Starburst03 said:
I’ve had my boy Starburst since last July, even though I’m not entirely sure how old he is. (I’m thinking about a year and a half).
Anyway, a few months ago, he got some pretty bad fin rot (no fault of his own.) I laboriously did water changes every day and added salt until the fin rot stopped progressing. Star’s tail isn’t what it was; he’s still got some chunks missing and some scar tissue on the ends. Even if his tail never fully grows back, I love him for it. It gives him even more character.
I thought that’d be it. I was wrong! About a month ago, I noticed Star’s swimming was...off. He’d float on his side and couldn’t seem to manage swimming down to the bottom of the tank. And he was pretty bloated. So I fasted him, no change. I gave him a pea and that seemed to do the trick, but when I fed him again a few days later, the problem resurfaced. I gave him another pea and then later fed him, and the cycle repeated.
He didn’t seem to be in any pain, he just got around a lot slower. If anything, he seemed mad that he couldn’t swim right.
So I got some Betta Buffet flakes and mashed them into almost a kind of powder when I feed him, in tiny amounts twice a day. That didn’t make the problem go away, but it helped. I have to monitor him while he eats to make sure he doesn't scarf his food too fast and that he chews it all up. And then I have to watch to make sure he swims ok afterwards.
Some people have asked why I do all that work for “just a fish,” why I even keep him in a big 5 gal when I could just stick him in a vase.
But it’s so worth it.
Here’s what owning Star has taught me:

1. Betta fish have feelings.
I’ve seen him get lonely waiting for me, mad when he doesn’t get his way, and even sad and sulky when he hasn’t been fed or his decorations haven’t been swapped out for a while.

2. Every Betta has its own unique personality.

3. Bettas need the space. Seriously, Star’s used every inch of his 5 gallon and if I could give him a 10 or 15 I would.

4. Bettas are like miniature water dogs. I’ve seen him come up to me and wiggle around the way a dog would and I’ve actually seen him “wag” his tail a little when he’s really excited.

5. Bettas are intelligent. I’ve taught bettas to swim and jump through a hoop, come when called, and jump for food. I’ve even seen Starburstlook behind him or sneak a glance at me when he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to (like trying to swim into the filter or eat poop.)

6. Don’t discount your special needs Betta because it’s “more work” than the “regular” fish. When you’re working with a fish that needs a little more help, use that time as bonding with him or her. It’s worth it.

So, Star’s a great little guy. I probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but he holds a special place in my heart. He still swims a little funny and his tail is a little mangled but we don’t let it bother us.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own special Betta stories.
Groove it!
 

Bibi

Member
Lovely... thank you. Each and every Betta have their own incredible personality. Special
Needs always bonds one closer. Thank you for reminding me how special they are and how lucky I am to have three.
 

Ulu

Member
Thank you Starburst03

I have probably owned 50 bettas since 1975. They are very special fish.

They do realize things that "grazing" fish do not.

By the time you buy a betta he has been in a tiny bag and a cup for a week or two and is as dejected as any innocent prisoner of despotism.

The joy in that tiny creature, once he is released to swim free, is probably more than you or I can ever feel. It is absolutely heartwarming to watch.

I recently lost a prized betta who was the victI'm of my mishandling.

You don't ever want to see a 65 year old bald guy cry over a fish. ops:
 

Bettaish

Member
Woo! Glad to hear someone say it
 

Victoria99

Member
Ulu said:
Thank you Starburst03

I have probably owned 50 bettas since 1975. They are very special fish.

They do realize things that "grazing" fish do not.

By the time you buy a betta he has been in a tiny bag and a cup for a week or two and is as dejected as any innocent prisoner of despotism.

The joy in that tiny creature, once he is released to swim free, is probably more than you or I can ever feel. It is absolutely heartwarming to watch.

I recently lost a prized betta who was the victI'm of my mishandling.

You don't ever want to see a 65 year old bald guy cry over a fish. ops:
You must be the nicest 65 year old bald guy!
 

Dch48

Member
Very good post. I agree with it all and then some. I have had my Benny for 13 1/2 months now and his fins and tail have gone through changes. He started out looking like a halfmoon. Then his fins got longer and he looked like a Rosetail. About 2 months ago, his tail started getting ragged and I thought it was because he always rests under the filter up against the intake. I put a Fluval prefilter sponge over the intake and used Kanaplex two times. The deterioration has stopped but I don't think he will ever look like he did before it started. It's okay though, he's loved just as much.

He is very personable and always swims rapidly towards me when I go near the tank. He knows that when the lights go on, food will soon follow so he stations himself under the feeding hatch and stares at the surface waiting. He eats everything I give him. He has a rotation of HikarI pellets, Bug Bites, frozen bloodworms, Omega One flakes and TetraMin flakes with the HikarI and Bug Bites given twice a week. He likes all of it but his favorites are the Bloodworms and the Bug Bites. He eats the flakes but is not as enthusiastic as with the other things. He has not had any swimming issues at all and I feed him more heavily than what many recommend. He gets 5 or 6 pellets or Bug Bites pieces and then maybe a couple more 6-8 hours later. He hasn't fasted in months. The other day, I dropped in a shrimp stick intended for the Mystery snail and Benny grabbed it and had it halfway in his mouth. I figured he would realize it was too big and spit it out but instead he forced it the rest of the way down his throat. It was as big as his head in length and he went into hiding under the plants for a few hours and then came out and was none the worse for wear.

He is a lot bigger and heavier bodied than when I first got him from PetSmart. I floated the cup he was in in the tank for about 20 minutes and he saw the larger area and was excited about getting out into it. He enthusiastically explored his new home for 3 days until he established it as his domain. Another thing he does is pretty funny. If he sees me looking into the lower parts of the tank searching for the snails to make sure they haven't died, he will swim down and get right in front of my face and look me straight in the eyes like he's saying "Hey, I'm the center of attention here. Look at me !".

He has 3 tankmates, all snails. A Zebra Nerite, a small Horned Nerite, and a small (for now) Black Mystery. He tolerates them all and even seems to like the Mystery who he follows around and tries to steal food from. My last Mystery died a few months ago and Benny seemed to miss him. He became less active and hung out in his resting place a lot more. I just got the new Mystery about 10 days ago and Benny has perked up and has gotten back almost to his old behavior.

People say, "Fish are fish. They're nice to look at but that's it". I say "You think that because you have never had a Betta in the proper surroundings". They are more than just a fish. It's almost like having a dog except that you can't put a collar and leash on them and take them for a walk.
 

glo

Member
Very sweet post. I can't wait to have another Betta again.
 

Joyceheatherington

Member
I've had my Betta for 3 days now. Along with 3 blue (white skirt) Tetra glofish.

This betta came from a sorority tank the store guy called it. Very knowledgable then most. At these types of stores.

So my Betta (not named yet) has been excited in my tank and been zooming around the fishtank. And if one of the Tetras gets in the way she stops for them to let them go first. She's a very fast swimmer. Not even sure I've seen her sleep but maybe rest sum under a bridge I have in the tank. One of the nicknames I have for her is Miss Zoomer. Because its hard to get a clear photo of this georgeous female Crowntail Betta. It's a cobolt blue Betta but in some shades it looks black and even purple!

I keep hearing about Almond leaves definitely something I want to get now!
 

Victoria99

Member
Joyceheatherington said:
I've had my Betta for 3 days now. Along with 3 blue (white skirt) Tetra glofish.

This betta came from a sorority tank the store guy called it. Very knowledgable then most. At these types of stores.

So my Betta (not named yet) has been excited in my tank and been zooming around the fishtank. And if one of the Tetras gets in the way she stops for them to let them go first. She's a very fast swimmer. Not even sure I've seen her sleep but maybe rest sum under a bridge I have in the tank. One of the nicknames I have for her is Miss Zoomer. Because its hard to get a clear photo of this georgeous female Crowntail Betta. It's a cobolt blue Betta but in some shades it looks black and even purple!

I keep hearing about Almond leaves definitely something I want to get now!
Wow! What a pretty little girl!
 

lucy.hotdog

Member
I’d like to second the Indian almond leaf thing! My guy was a ferocious tail biter and to help him heal, I just added IAL to his tank. His tail is growing back great and I’ve had no issues with secondary infections etc. I also really like the tannins in the water.

And I totally agree with all the points about Betta personalities. This guy I have now is the meanest little fish I’ve ever had, but the little guy I had before was so gentle and placid... love Bettas.
 

SpasmaticAA

Member
My mom has a Betta that's going through some of his own issues. Still trying find a fix. However he is such a sweet guy. His name's Midnight Blue, Midnight for short. I remember a awhile ago he flared his pills at her because she had her hair dyed. Funniest thing I've seen him do.
 

Ildiko

Member
Lovely post,exactly how I feel...I agree with the person before me,Indian almond leaves are awesome. So are live plants,anubias are easy to take care of and bettas love lounging and resting on the leaves. Marino balls are also good to absorb toxins in the water.
 

Sabrina Iannone

Member
Nice post. My dragonscale betta Ryuu (who's blind) gets excited when I enter the room. I think he can tell because of the vibrations, and he'll just swim like crazy from side to side at the front of his tank, exactly like a dog. Although sometimes he does that at the back instead of the front,lol. Bettas are awesome.
 

kadena

Member
Starburst03 said:
I’ve had my boy Starburst since last July, even though I’m not entirely sure how old he is. (I’m thinking about a year and a half).
Anyway, a few months ago, he got some pretty bad fin rot (no fault of his own.) I laboriously did water changes every day and added salt until the fin rot stopped progressing. Star’s tail isn’t what it was; he’s still got some chunks missing and some scar tissue on the ends. Even if his tail never fully grows back, I love him for it. It gives him even more character.
I thought that’d be it. I was wrong! About a month ago, I noticed Star’s swimming was...off. He’d float on his side and couldn’t seem to manage swimming down to the bottom of the tank. And he was pretty bloated. So I fasted him, no change. I gave him a pea and that seemed to do the trick, but when I fed him again a few days later, the problem resurfaced. I gave him another pea and then later fed him, and the cycle repeated.
He didn’t seem to be in any pain, he just got around a lot slower. If anything, he seemed mad that he couldn’t swim right.
So I got some Betta Buffet flakes and mashed them into almost a kind of powder when I feed him, in tiny amounts twice a day. That didn’t make the problem go away, but it helped. I have to monitor him while he eats to make sure he doesn't scarf his food too fast and that he chews it all up. And then I have to watch to make sure he swims ok afterwards.
Some people have asked why I do all that work for “just a fish,” why I even keep him in a big 5 gal when I could just stick him in a vase.
But it’s so worth it.
Here’s what owning Star has taught me:

1. Betta fish have feelings.
I’ve seen him get lonely waiting for me, mad when he doesn’t get his way, and even sad and sulky when he hasn’t been fed or his decorations haven’t been swapped out for a while.

2. Every Betta has its own unique personality.

3. Bettas need the space. Seriously, Star’s used every inch of his 5 gallon and if I could give him a 10 or 15 I would.

4. Bettas are like miniature water dogs. I’ve seen him come up to me and wiggle around the way a dog would and I’ve actually seen him “wag” his tail a little when he’s really excited.

5. Bettas are intelligent. I’ve taught bettas to swim and jump through a hoop, come when called, and jump for food. I’ve even seen Starburstlook behind him or sneak a glance at me when he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to (like trying to swim into the filter or eat poop.)

6. Don’t discount your special needs Betta because it’s “more work” than the “regular” fish. When you’re working with a fish that needs a little more help, use that time as bonding with him or her. It’s worth it.

So, Star’s a great little guy. I probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but he holds a special place in my heart. He still swims a little funny and his tail is a little mangled but we don’t let it bother us.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own special Betta stories.
I can't believe I read this. I have cats and dogs. I always have all my life. But I have never felt the kind of loyality, love and sacrifice I have seen and felt from any pet as I have from my fish ( mostly from my Betta's). I had 3 tanks for years. I have so many stories of the lenghts my female betta's went to, to keep other community fish safe from water impurities, and to nurturing other fish's fry to adulthood, sometimes staying awake all day and night to protect them !, often wearing themselves out in the process. My beta's also tried getting my attention. My favorite would sulk and swim away when I paid a bit too much attention to her tank mate. I am crying . I haven't had my wonderful friends in quite a while. My heart years for them. I have watched so many tender and kind things they have done for each other over the years. No one can ever tell me " Its just a fish" . <3 thank you for reminding me of how much they gave me.
 

GlassBeach

Member
Great post!
Having similar issues. SwI'm bladder that won't heal despite all the treatment. Even medicated food. So that leads me to believe I damaged his SB physically Omg the guilt.
Tell, anyone, is it true that bettas are sensitive to salt? I stopped using it when I read that, but like anything I read online, I take with a grain of....
Indian Almond Leaves instead?
Also, since their mouths are upturned so they get air if they eat from the surface, so we must make sure to use sinking pellets or food that won't float, because of the getting air, this in turn messes with the SB. Is that also true?
My girl’s fins took months to grow back! I didnt put salt or antibiotic in her water, just used Dr Tims vitamins. But its beyond me how fish get vitamins from the water. However, Ill admit her fins came back thicker and prettier than ever! And all the fish in her tank showed great colors.
Here’s to loving and learning about these little stinkers.
 

Dch48

Member
No, it is not true that they should eat stuff that sinks. Some Bettas won't eat from the bottom. Mine does but he's a pig. Mine sometimes gets air when he attacks a floating piece of food but he immediately expels a bubble. I have never had a fish with swim bladder problems so I have no idea what causes it or cures it. Some say you need to pre-soak a Betta's pellets so they don't swell up in his stomach. I have never pre-soaked anything my guy has eaten and he's fine.
 
  • Thread Starter

Starburst03

Member
Thank you guys so much for your WONDERFUL replies!! I so enjoyed reading them and hearing that so many others have had similar experiences with bettas. Bettas really are pretty amazing aren’t they?
 

Dch48

Member
My guy sometimes shows snake like behavior. He gets under the rock tunnel or under a plant and just his head is sticking out. He will slowly move it from side to side and his eyes will move as well. It's like a snake waiting for prey. Their heads do look a little snake like.
 

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