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Anyone know about caring for beta fish?

Cactus Flower
May 6th, 2005, 04:39 PM
My son won a beta fish at the prom.

Huge surprise that now I have the beta fish :rolleyes: and am caring for it.

I immediately went out and bought a BIG vase for him (call it a fishbowl and the price goes up, looked in the vases and got the same size for a third of the price).

He seems to sleep on his side (not kidding) on the bottom of the tank. Been doing this for the week that we've had him. When he's "awake", he swims around, rubs himself all over the roots of the bamboo plant that's in there, and seems normal and fine. But this sleeping-on-the-side thing....worries me. Is this a bad sign?

Also, I bought the beta food for him, and was surprised that they are tiny pellots. They float for a while, then sink to the bottom. He does NOT seem interested in them at all. The first night we got him we borrowed some goldfish flakes, and he ate those (when you "win" a fish, they don't come with food- and good luck finding fish food at midnight).
Would it be ok to just feed him the goldfish flakes? The ingredients are a bit different, and I know that betas are carnivores. The flakes have "fish meal" in them. Is that enough for this beta?

May 6th, 2005, 04:56 PM
I don't know a whole lot about bettas but I know a little. They tend to be slow moving and for lack of a better word lazy. I have one in my 40 gal tank. You should feed him food for bettas, it has the neutrients he needs. but i'v never seen betta food in pellet form, only flake form. The stuff I used is I think called bettamin and is a red flake with yellow peices of something. also watch out for excessive scratching. I recently had an outbrake of ick in my tank, luckly it's all cleared up now since the medication. Signs of sickness are excessive scratching, white or black spots appearing where they weren't previously, constipation, and lack of appitite. Bettas are (i know this isn't spelled right) lybrinth fish, this means they can breath from their gills or a special organ on their head by comming to the surface. I know someone on here used to breed bettas, so they porbably know a whole lot more. I think it was GSDimond, sorry if the name is off. I know she has a GSD named dimond. (sorry if i butchered, or forgot the name, or have the wrong person)

May 6th, 2005, 05:02 PM
I've owned different kinds of fish, but never any betas. I googled Beta Fish and came up with a website that had this:

Recommended Diet. Floating Food and Freeze Dried Blood Worms both available in most places that pet fish are sold. Bettas are not an active fish, so they don't require as much oxygen or as much food as energetic active fish do.

Feed your Betta twice each day. I feed my Bettas in the morning and in the evening.

Be careful not to feed your Bettas more than they will eat. Remove uneaten food with a small net after 10 minutes. Click here for more about feeding fish.

I feed all my Bettas a few Black Worms every other day. Click here for more about Black Worms.

Here's the website itself so that you can do the 'click here' thingys if you want:

Hope that helps - and Good luck with your new addition! :D

May 6th, 2005, 05:49 PM
I used to have a betta -- it was a long time ago, but I remember I used to feed it special betta food (they have different dietary needs than most fish) and freeze dried bloodworms (he LOVED those). Bettas are prone to fin-rott (I don't know the technical term, but it's a little white poof -- kinda like fungus-- that eats away at the fins)

Other than that I don't remember much about bettas, only that you can't put two males in a tank -- unless you want Raja to have some delicious betta snacks!! :p

Cactus Flower
May 6th, 2005, 07:02 PM
Wow, I had no idea that they were inactive by nature. That was worrying me.

And it looks as though I have to buy WORMS, ewwwww! I think my son should be in charge of the dried-worm-feeding, don't you?

Ok, no golfish food, only beta food. Maybe I'll grind it up a little, and he'll be more interested in that.

THANK YOU everyone for your advice, and for the link!

May 6th, 2005, 07:08 PM
If you are cooking hamburger for dinner, then take a tiny speck raw and give it to the beta. They love it. I had a beta for 4 years and he was very friendly. They like the feel of a human finger and will curl around it if you put your finger in the bowl just barely. I fed mine some type of shrimp that I got at a tropical place, you kept it in the freezer.

Cactus Flower
May 6th, 2005, 07:11 PM
No kidding? I will try both the hamburger and the finger!

May 6th, 2005, 07:25 PM
I had two for a while, while my friend was gone. Fish don't particularly like me much... But yes, you should feed the worms. If you didn't know they were worms, you probably wouldn't notice. As for water maintenance, I won't answer because my fishies never survived long... I did everything people told me to do but I swear, the just didn't like to be alive with me around. I'll stick to doggies. :o

May 6th, 2005, 07:39 PM
I used to have a couple of aquariums a few years back. I've never owned betas before but I do know about the bloodworms. I used to have an elephant nose and it loved bloodworms. The ones that I got were frozen and you would just break off a little bit and put it in the tank. They don't look like worms at all. My fish used to go crazy for them!

About him sleeping on his side. Fish do lean more to one side if there is more light on that side than the other. My fish used to do it every once in a while when the sun would shine in one of the windows. My Jumbo Pacus used to do it because one side of their tank was against a wall and the other side faced a window.

May 6th, 2005, 08:18 PM
don't worry the dried worms don't really look like worms...they're really small and...well...dry. I also fed somekind of shrimp-type freeze dried thingies, but I don't remember they're'll find them at a fish store...

May 6th, 2005, 08:34 PM
I used to have an elephant nose and it loved bloodworms.
LOL For a minute there I thought you were sarcastic with low self esteem... :D

Cactus Flower
May 6th, 2005, 10:09 PM
Yaaaaaaay! Glad to know the sleeping on his side isn't a sign of impending doom for the lil fella. I was thinking it was the first step to.....belly-up.

Funny, he leans against the glass on one side of the vase, and just stays there. I will have to keep an eye on the sunlight and see where it falls in his vase. He's either trying to catch it, or is avoiding it entirely. But again, I've never seen a fish act this way, so it's nice to know that it's nothing to worry about.

These betas really ARE different, aren't they? Very mellow (to the point it worried me), sleep on their sides, lean, picky eaters, etc.

I'm getting to like him more, for his sheer uniqueness alone.

I will go to the pet store this weekend and try to find him some bloodworms.

May 6th, 2005, 10:20 PM
wow.. i didn't know Betas needed "care".

mine's well behaved :D

we play and make faces at each other. One time i had my Maryjane near the tank LOL he got all huffy and flared.

Daisy's Owner
May 7th, 2005, 06:18 AM
Betta's are beautiful fishies.

They need to be kept alone though. No other fishies in the tank.

May 7th, 2005, 09:12 AM
Check out this site that I found.

I have had many bettas, they are great fish. I actually have one now named George.

Definitely go with the worm thing and only feed once a day. The container says to feed twice but they don't need that much. Also make sure that you treat the water before putting the fish in. There is a water treatment specific to bettas.

They like the water to be warm and you have to make sure that if you have a plant in the water that they can still get to the top to breathe. Bettas do not have gills and need to breathe from the top. If you notice that they are blowing sticky bubbles, then that is a good thing, means that they are happy.

May 7th, 2005, 10:13 AM
we play and make faces at each other. One time i had my Maryjane near the tank LOL he got all huffy and flared.

One of my co-workers in the library went on vacation and we fed the betta on her desk while she was gone. I thought it might be lonely (I know nothing about bettas or fish, for that matter) and found a book with pictures of fish. I propped it open next to his "vase" with a beautiful color picture of another betta facing him. I could actually see it excited him! Probably wanting to fight and the picture betta was bigger than him. I hope he wasn't stressed out! :sad:

May 7th, 2005, 10:53 AM
Mine used to see his own reflection at the other end of the tank and he would freak out. He would fluff himself up, they have this neck thing (I don't know the technical term) that poofs out --kinda like the dinosaur inJurassic Park.
He would swim really fast to the end of the tank where he thought the other fish was, bump his head on the glass, and start all over!!!

May 7th, 2005, 11:29 AM
I love Bettas, they seem to be pretty "interactive" for fish!
I think everything that needs t be said has already been said...if you keep his tank clean and feed him those bloodworms he will be happy and live for a long time. I think i read that they can live up to 7 years !

It's also good for him to get excited every once in a while by using a mirror or a picture of a fish to make him think he needs to "fight", it gets their hormones and bodies all pumped up kind of like exercise. But, too much will stress them out because they don't know when to stop!

Another neat thing is that if you see bubbles on the top of the tank, your fish is building a nest!

When they are ready to spawn, the pair will display intense coloration and begin circling each other under the bubblenest. The male will wrap himself around the female who has turned on her back. As she expels the eggs, they are fertilized and begin to sink. The male will scoop up the eggs and spit them into the nest. From this point on the male will tend the brood. It is advisable to remove the female, as the male may become aggressive towards her as he tends his young.

May 7th, 2005, 12:33 PM
I've kept betta's for years, and the single most important thing is doing regular water changes (for any fish, for that matter). If you allow the water to get dirty the fish will definitely get sick and likely die. I recommend using no less than a 1 gallon bowl, with this size you need to perform a total water change once per week. If you have a 1/2 gallon, you need to do it twice a week, and so on. When you change the water, cup him out into a smaller container, rinse out the bowl completely (no soap or cleaners) and refill it with water the same temperature or very slightly warmer (never colder, this could put the fish into shock). Treat the water with a dechlorinator (assuming you don't have untreated well water) and add one tsp of aquarium salt per gallon, mix it well (this prevents lots of diseases and makes for a healthier fish). Pour the fish out through a net and then dip him back into his bowl, getting none of the old water into the bowl. If you do this regularly, feed correctly (I fed regular flakes for a while and mine started losing their fins...I don't recommend it), and keep him in warmer temperatures if possible (80 degrees would be perfect, or as close as you can get it), you should never have a sick fish! I'm so happy you cared enough to ask for help!

Cactus Flower
May 7th, 2005, 12:45 PM
Meb999 that is too funny!

The vase I have him in holds about a gallon and a half of water. I bought water treatment and used it when I changed the water. I do plan to change it once a week.
He only has the bamboo plant in there because the water lilies at the pet shop literally STANK and were sort of slimy, so I didn't think they were healthy enough to put in with him. At any rate he's got plenty of room for the "air breathing" that they do.
Puppup, do you think I should get a water heater to put in with him? I can almost guarantee that his water will not be 80 degrees. I also did not know about the aquarium salt! I will get some today when I pick up the bloodworms.
I am actually thinking about getting another beta (really am warming up to this lil fella). If they need to get "excited" now and then, maybe I should put their vases next to each other once in a while? What do you all think?
Grover, thank you for the link- I will check it out as soon as I'm done with this reply.

Also- no bubbles yet :D . But I wonder how they mate if they can't ever be with another beta?????

Again, I really appreciate everyone's guidance and advice.

May 8th, 2005, 08:38 AM
Males can be with females but not with other males. The ones with the nice fins are the males, females look like minnows.

Cactus Flower
May 8th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Thanks! Maybe I'll buy him a companion!

May 8th, 2005, 01:26 PM
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with Grover4. A male and female put together will likely kill each other too, because the male will constantly be trying to mate with her. In fact it is difficult to breed them because both of them must be well conditioned with live foods etc., especially the female, to survive the mating process and battering that it tends to involve. The female is always removed directly after egg laying occurs in order to save her life and protect the eggs. A male or female betta (one or the other) can usually be put with other fish in an aquarium as long as the other fish don't resemble bettas. Females can be kept together as long as they have been together from the start or introduce them at the same time into an aquarium, if you isolate one for a while it will establish a territory and if you bring another one into the same aquarium later they will likely fight unless it's a very large aquarium. If you're planning on just sticking to bowls, one fish per bowl would be best and healthiest. And yes you can put them next to each other for a little while, I would only do this after you're sure both are healthy and settled in as extra stress could increase the likelihood of disease.

Females, although lacking the long fins, in my experience are healthier and just as pretty - in fact when they get excited you see vertical stripes appear on their body, and if they are stressed you see horizontal stripes appear. Because of the male's bright coloration you usually can't see this phenomenon.

I'm glad you have a large bowl, this will make it much easier to keep clean and healthy!

As far as the heater goes, you can't use a regular aquarium heater in a small bowl like that. But what you can do is get one of those little reptile heaters that are meant to put under an aquarium to provide a hot spot, and put it instead under the bowl. If you decide to do this, keep the bowl out of direct sunlight and put a thermometer in the bowl as these heaters are not thermostatically controlled and could overheat the water, watch the temperature for the first day or so to be sure it doesn't get too hot. On hot summer days you may want to unplug it. A betta will do ok at regular temps (68 degrees minimum) but will be less active, more prone to disease and believe it or not, constipation. But lots of bettas are kept and do just fine at room temperature.

Cactus Flower
May 8th, 2005, 02:19 PM
Gosh! Thank you very much for that information!

I was worried about the water temperature, because in the summer my son likes to run the cooler constantly. If his water gets too cool, I might try the reptile heater (we happen to have one), or maybe have a light bulb close enough to the vase to provide a bit of warmth? What do you think?

I haven't seen a female betta- sounds fascinating, those stripes. I'm glad I didn't put one in danger, though. I'm learning so much here. Maybe I'll get a female instead of another male, giving her her own living quarters, of course ;) .

May 8th, 2005, 05:30 PM
Here's a Healthy Betta/Sick Betta table that I found interesting and helpful.

Cactus Flower
May 8th, 2005, 07:22 PM
Thank you, Levi......could you please post the link? lol :D

May 8th, 2005, 07:52 PM
Haha, sorry about that. :D

May 8th, 2005, 08:34 PM
bettas can be kept in a community tank. but they are fin nippers so if you have any other fish with long flowing fins they will nip at them. I think they are great fish. My betta does great in my community tank, but I don't have any other long finned fish and plenty of hiding places for stressed fish.

May 9th, 2005, 07:58 AM
No kidding? I will try both the hamburger and the finger!

As long as he doesn't get confused about which one is which :eek:

June 10th, 2005, 08:55 PM
Hi There,
I know you posted this awhile ago, but I have some information for you assuming the betta is still alive and well.
Some basic things you should know.
Bettas come from Thailand, and are a tropical fish. This means in order for them to be healthy and active they need heater water. At least 76F- with 80F being preferred.
Bettas need filtered water. I would recommend you go down to petcetera and pick up either a 10g tank kit- They cost only 39.96 and come with tank, hood, filter, and food.
Bettas need Water Changes once every 2 days in a small unfiltered tank. This means putting the betta into a cup gently, emptying and rinsing the bowl, and refilling with water the exact temperature it was before, within 1 degree or it can shock the fish to death, and adding a good quality water conditioner to the water so it doesnt die from chlorine poisoning.
A really good site to go and get information is Fish Profiles.
Bettas are easy to keep ONLY if given what they need.
You shouldnt feed hamburger as this will spoil the water very quickly and cause ammonia levels to rise and your fish will die of ammonia toxicity.
You should purchase a good quality flake food, and supplement your bettas diet with some bloodworms, either frozen or freeze dried.
I hope this helps you some. Good luck to you!

June 10th, 2005, 08:58 PM
Oh I forgot to say:
Bettas only need to be kept away from other male bettas.
They can be kept quite easily with a variety of other fishes.
What the faces they make is called "Flaring". It is to make themselves appear larger than other males.
2 male bettas in 1 tank will fight to the death.
I have kept a betta in a 10g tank with Guppys and Platys,
and I have kept a betta in my 75g tank with community fish including Discus and Angelfish and Gouramis, and various loaches, catfish, and tetras, etc.
They are usually pretty peaceful with other fish.

Cactus Flower
June 10th, 2005, 09:09 PM
Thank you very much, sneakypete!

My little guy is alive and well.

I appreciate all of that info, and the time you took to write it. I've definitely taken notes.