Will My Petsmart Betta Live?

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Georgie Girl

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Meet Boris Karloff, aka Fishy Fish. I bought him yesterday at Petsmart. I'd gone there just to get a backing for the betta tank I'm about to put together, and I saw this fish and my heart opened (or fell out, you tell me) and I brought him home. I have nowhere ideal to keep him, but his little cup was filthy, so I treated some water, let it stand a day, and got him out of that mess.

Now I have a new fish and a tank to build and cycle. How am I going to keep him healthy until it's cycled?

And about his health: is he on death's door? It looks like it to me. What is wrong with him? And why are his eyes solid black?

I'm not an idiot, but I've never had a betta before, and I've never cycled a tank. Suggestions welcome - especially about his health. (Is he in pain? Please say no.)

Boris Karloff.jpg
 

Demeter

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Body condition doesn't look bad, its just his fins that need some TLC. I think he will recover fully if cared for properly. He's a double tail BTW, judging by the extended dorsal.

His tail fin is actually growing back already. The clear see through edges are new tissue, it takes a while for color to return once the fin had healed.

He needs a proper tank, 5gal is ideal. Add a heater and a sponge filter along with some silk plants and driftwood and he's good to go. Just do every other day 50% water changes till the tank cycles and make sure the filter flow doesn't cause too much trouble for him to swim.
 
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Georgie Girl

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Demeter said:
He needs a proper tank, 5gal is ideal. Add a heater and a sponge filter along with some silk plants and driftwood and he's good to go. Just do every other day 50% water changes till the tank cycles and make sure the filter flow doesn't cause too much trouble for him to swim.
Thank you, Demeter. I'm glad to hear he's not on death's door.

I have a five-gallon tank and a sponge filter. The filter that came with the aquarium (a package thing) is useless, based on what I've been reading about filters. I didn't know about driftwood. Where does one get it, and how can one tell it won't emit toxic chemicals? I'd planned on live plants - an amazon sword and one other (whose name escapes me). Are silk better at this point?
 

david1978

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For the bio load of a betta the filter that comes with the kit are adequate. You may have to baffle the flow but it will work. Driftwood is nice but isnt a necessity. Silk plants and real plants are better than plastic as they dont have sharp edges to snag fins. Best bet is get him out of the cup and into the tank and do a fish in cycle as it will be better than keeping him in the cup.
 
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Georgie Girl

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david1978 said:
For the bio load of a betta the filter that comes with the kit are adequate. You may have to baffle the flow but it will work. Driftwood is nice but isnt a necessity. Silk plants and real plants are better than plastic as they dont have sharp edges to snag fins. Best bet is get him out of the cup and into the tank and do a fish in cycle as it will be better than keeping him in the cup.
Hi, David. He's now in a plastic terrarium, which holds about a gallon. He'll be there until I get his tank assembled.
 

SFGiantsGuy

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And feed him high quality food, as that will also help accelerate in his healing process.: Omega One Betta buffet or Hikari Bio-Gold pellets, as will good water quality. Bettas are much tougher/hardier than most people think--hence their other sur name: Siamese Fighting fish, which not only goes for their disposition, but also their survivalibility. (w-wait...is that even a word...? lol...) Err ability to survive. There, heh...maybe acquire a moss ball or two, and a Java fern as well to keep him, alert, stimulated and comfortable as well while he heals up. And do please keep a close eye out for infection etc.
 
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Georgie Girl

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SFGiantsGuy said:
. . . not only goes for their disposition, but also their survivalibility. (w-wait...is that even a word...? lol...) Err ability to survive.
I've been wondering: why moss balls, and what size should I get? And can I put one in his temporary home (terrarium)?
 

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Georgie Girl said:
I've been wondering: why moss balls, and what size should I get? And can I put one in his temporary home (terrarium)?
You can get them, and any sizes you'd like.
I personally go for larger balls, it looks like a giant green boulder next to the fish.
 

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Driftwood can be bought at most decent pet stores. Mopani, Malaysian, and spider wood are all examples of safe to use wood. All wood releases tannin into the water creating a natural tea color which may be ugly to some people but I quite like it, plus it's beneficial to the fish's health.

Live plants are always better but they need proper lighting and substrate to grow. If you don't want to bother with live plants then silk plants are just fine too.

Make sure your boy is eating proper foods. Betta specific pellets and then perhaps some frozen brine shrimp every few days will make a happy fish. I suggest Omega One mini pellets or Aqueon betta pellets. Both are smaller and easier to eat than most other betta pellets.

Please pay extra attention to water quality. Keeping him is a small container while you get his new tank means daily water changes. Good water quality promotes fin healing and general well being.
 
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Georgie Girl

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Demeter said:
Live plants are always better but they need proper lighting and substrate to grow. If you don't want to bother with live plants then silk plants are just fine too.

Keeping him is a small container while you get his new tank means daily water changes.
Demeter, thank you for all.

The substrate I have is a very fine gravel. It looks like sand but is coarser. Will this work for live plants?

Do you have any tips on how to keep him calm during a water change? Poor thing is so stressed already. He's had nothing but calm since I brought him home (except for when I put him into the terrarium) so he's ok right now, but still, I worry.
 

Demeter

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Coarse sand is actually pretty great for most plants, just keep in mind that heavy root feeders (swords, crypts) need root tabs and stem plants need liquid fertilizers. With higher lighting they need more nutrients but with lower lighting they will do alright with minimal nutrients.

As for water changes and stress, do you use a siphon or the scoop and dump method? The siphon method can be used both for draining and refilling tanks and is the least stressful. Air line tubing with an air stone can be used to refill the tank, so long as the bucket with the fresh water is kept higher than the tank. It takes longer but causes less stress. I'd only use this method for very fragile fish and for young fry. Otherwise I simply drain with a gravel vac and then refill with a bucket.
 

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If you do go for live plants, learn from my mistake & quarantine them first. I got a pest snail infestation from a live plant I bought & it caused me so much grief because they were getting out of control.
Silk plants are really nice. Aside from moss balls, I'm sticking to those for my Betta tank!
 

SFGiantsGuy

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Yeah, and if they're pond snails, Bettas can and will munch on those, although quarantining IS better in the long run.
 

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I'm not a huge fan of moss balls, and I have quite few of them. They remind me of pet rocks. They don't grow fast enough to see a difference and even when they do, they don't change shape. Unlike other plants where the fish can swim between the leaves, with a moss ball the fish swims around it, like a rock. They suggest you take it out to squeeze it out and there is always poop on it which is just gross and I'm not sure if it's just mine or what but mine always stink. Get something that gives the tank some character.
 

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For an easy starter plant, try getting an Anubias. They are widely available, don't require any special lighting, and don't need to be 'planted' in the gravel - you can just tie it to a rock or driftwood to keep it from floating. Easy Peasy! You can plant it if you like, just be sure to keep the rhizome (the bottom 'root' that all the stems grow out of) above the gravel or it will rot. Bettas love to lay on the broad leaves of this plant. Good luck with him! He looks like once he heals up a bit and gets in that nice 5 gallon tank he'll be a beauty!
 
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Georgie Girl

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I got him at Petsmart, and I thought he wasn't long for this world. But I got him in some good water, with lots of space (five gallon), and have been feeding him well. He's perking up. See?

Well, I guess it's hard to tell from this picture. But let me tell you, Fishy Fish is all over his new home, weaving in and out of the plants, hanging out in his coconut, even surfing in the bubbles from the sponge filter. He seems to be one happy fish.
 

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yukondog

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I don't know anything about Betta's, but I do know Boris Karloff, as a matter of fact, I have one of his old movies, black and white of course, I'm about to watch.
 
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yukondog said:
I don't know anything about Betta's, but I do know Boris Karloff, as a matter of fact, I have one of his old movies, black and white of course, I'm about to watch.
You'd be amazed at the number of people who haven't heard of Boris Karloff. Kinda makes me feel old.
 

yukondog

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I would not be surprised at how many have not, and I am getting old, I think I have a long way to go but the wife does not agree.
 
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