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Introducing ....


viking_snail

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Hello all :D Yesterday, after receiving lots of great advice from the wonderful people at koko's, I bought my very first betta! :D He's about an inch (maybe a touch over) long, and he's white with red fins. He's gorgeous :D And I've decided to name him Rupert :)

He's in a lovely 25l tank, with a little heater and filter. I've got 3 plants - two of which are live - and a nice big ornament to provide hiding places for him. I think he's settling in well, but having no experience with bettas it's hard to tell!

At the moment, he seems to enjoy swimming backwards and forwards at the back of the tank. He's had a little explore round his tank but I don't think he's quite discovered everything yet!

I've got a few pics - not that great because he's so small and doesn't appear to like staying still! I've also got a video but I have no idea how well that will work as I've never uploaded any videos before.

Video:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v673/help_im_a_snail/?action=view?t=rupert007001.mp4

ruperttank.jpg

rupert1.jpg

rupert2.jpg

rupert3.jpg

He seems to always swim quite quickly - he slowed down a little after a while to settle in yesterday, but I've just done a water change so maybe that's why he's doing it at the moment. Also, it's dinnertime! I think he's ok with the current, there's plenty in there to break it up and provide spaces to hide, and the current is pretty low anyway, but his pectoral fins always seem on the move. Are they very active fish? I just don't know what to look for in him, what's normal etc, so I'm constantly panicking!

Also, I think I might have to change the colour of the elastic band on the tube I was vaccuming with - it's red and he kinda flared at it .. :P

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Thanks! :D

Wow hes awesome!!! any chance he's a dragon he reminds me of my Hannibal when i got him ;) Love his tank as well!!!! And yes they are pretty active fish too :)

I honesty have no idea what kind he is - the lfs didn't specify, just 'betta'! I'd love to know what kind he is though :)

He's definetely an active chap! He's starting to explore a little more, swimming backwards and forwards around the tank, then he'll come and wiggle at me, then rest on the gravel or just behind the filter, then off to explore again .. :) It's gonna take a while getting used to his behaviour though as all I know is goldfish!

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Hi Viking! Rupert is beautiful. ^_^ I am also new to bettas, having had only experience with goldies in the past, but after about a month I am finally starting to get comfortable with what is normal behavior. As far as what is "normal", it really seems to depend on the fish, but any healthy happy betta should be fairly active for the majority of the day. I used to think that bettas just floated at the surface of the water all day and rarely swam. Little did I know the bettas I was looking at (all in vases) were just miserable and probably ill. You will be amazed how interactive and intelligent these guys are, and will probably get hooked on them. :P I currently have three bettas, two in their own filtered 10 gallon tanks and one in a filtered five gallon. The two veil tails are very active and really enjoy "surfing" back and forth along the glass edges of their tanks. My halfmoon is nowhere near as fast (maybe because of the large fins) but is still explores very consistently. All of them come to the front of the tank when they see me, but your little guy may take a few days to associate you with treats. :P From what I can tell, the sort of behavior you want is mainly curiosity and a moderate to high activity level. Bettas are very inquisitive little fish. They enjoy investigating new decorations, so to help with boredom change up your decorations' placement once every 1-2 weeks. Some keepers even put different object outside the tank for their fish to see. My half-moon takes frequent breaks during which he will rest on the bottom of the tank, in a plant, or on his heater's suction cups, but he never stays for long. After 1-2 minutes he goes back to patrolling the tank. From what I can tell this is what is normal for him. Claude, on the other hand, does not usually rest during the day. Axol does, but not with as much regularity as Ryuu. Just observe your little guy for a week or so and see what sort of activity level is normal for him, any diversion from that is cause for investigation.

Most of the health warning signs I can think of with bettas are very similar to those you would find in goldfish. If he is bottom sitting, or staying at the surface of the water for too long, or if he moves to swim when you come by but immediately sinks back down, there may be something going on. Like I mentioned before, bettas are naturally very curious, so if he ever appears to lack interest in his surroundings I would consider that a warning sign. Of course, he may be less active until he settles in. Since bettas are labyrinth fish, meaning they are able to breath air directly as well as through their gills, you will occasionally see them swim to the top and gulp air. This is perfectly normal for a betta and does not indicate a water problem, however I would be concerned if he were doing it excessively (like every 5-10 seconds). If he does ever seem overly active/agitated, try unplugging your filter for a few minutes and see if his behavior changes. If you find that he is more calm and comfortable without the filter, you can use a clean soda bottle to make a great (and free!) baffle. I have these on all of mine just to ensure that there is as little current as possible. Keep in mind that some bettas actually seem to enjoy currents and will swim into them on purpose. If you notice your fish doing this, go ahead and play with the current strength a bit. It can be great exercise for them as long as they are not knocked around in other areas of the tank. Another thing some suggest is to exercise them by allowing them to flare for five minutes a day. This can be accomplished by turning on the hood light for some fish, others seem not to care about their reflection in the tank glass. You can use a mirror to get them to flare, but be careful because excessive flaring can lead to blown fins and excess stress. If you do see his flaring at his reflection in the tank when the light is on and it continues for more than 5-10 minutes, consider turning off the light or putting up a background to prevent him from seeing himself in the glass. Another sign of illness or stress is pinched fins. For bettas, fin clamping doesn't so much look like the fish holding his fins to his body as pinching the ends of them tight. Their fins go from looking draped like loose fabric, to looking like a sword blade. Stress lines are perhaps the one thing bettas get that goldies don't. When bettas are stressed, their color will sometimes fade and dark stripes will appear on their body. I saw a little female at the store recently that had just been chased by a male (males and females should not be housed together) and she had the darkest lines on her body. She was a pale beige with black stripes. Not two minutes after the male returned to his side of the tank she was blue, not a line on her. :o Stress lines can appear and disappear very quickly!

Unhealthy bettas will not usually flare, so if your little guy is flaring at food and reflections, this is a good sign. However, not all bettas flare and it doesn't always indicate a problem. They all have their own personalities and some are much more aggressive than others. If your little guy doesn't like to flare, and there appears to be nothing else wrong, he is probably just more peaceful. Once again, it will probably take a little while before he starts flaring in his new tank because he will need to establish it as his territory. Blowing bubble nests is another thing bettas do. I have heard of sick bettas doing this and healthy bettas not doing it, so don't worry too much whether he does or doesn't. Do know that if you ever notice a bubble foam at the top of the water, usually in a corner or around an object, it is nothing to worry about. Bettas are known to bite their own fins, so if you do ever notice fin damage be sure to upload some images for help diagnosing. It is easy when you are used to goldies to see fin damage and immediately assume fin rot. With bettas, it is wise to hold off on medication until you are sure there is something else causing it. Fin nipping can result from stress, boredom, and even just habit. Added decorations and stable water quality/temperature are the best ways to prevent fin nipping. Often the only treatment needed for nipped fins is salt and clean water to prevent secondary infections. Last but not least, know that bettas sometimes get a parasite called velvet, which looks like a velvety layer of gold dust all over the fish's body. This is easiest to see by shining a flashlight on the fish in the dark. Consider keeping one on hand just in case he ever begins to act sick but has no visible symptoms. It is nice to be able to quickly rule at least that one out. :) Good luck with him, they are awesome fish! :Congrats:

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Wow lots of info! Thanks! :D

I've seen him swim right infront of the filter, and while it does cause him to drift a little he seems to be able to cope with it well, so I figure if he can deal with that then any other area of the tank should be ok - especially with things to hide behind. I've already played around with the filter loads and I think it's good how it is right now, but I'll keep a close eye on things - time will tell :)

I've seen him flare a couple of times - once at me! hehe, and at the siphon when I was changing some water. I saw him flare at the side of the tank and I couldn't figure out why he was doing it - but maybe it was at his own reflection like you said! I've only seen him do that once though, so so far I think that's ok :)

I have noticed him taking air from the water's surface. I have to remember not to worry when I see him do this like I would the goldies! But he's not up there all the time so again I think that's ok!

I think he's still a little unsure of me at the moment. Yesterday when I put my finger to the glass he'd just swim away, now he backs away a little but stays around to watch me. But I'm sure he'll get used to me being the person who brings the food! :D Afterall, I've only had him just over 24 hours, and you're right - I'm already in love! :P

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Wow lots of info! Thanks! :D

I've seen him swim right infront of the filter, and while it does cause him to drift a little he seems to be able to cope with it well, so I figure if he can deal with that then any other area of the tank should be ok - especially with things to hide behind. I've already played around with the filter loads and I think it's good how it is right now, but I'll keep a close eye on things - time will tell :)

I've seen him flare a couple of times - once at me! hehe, and at the siphon when I was changing some water. I saw him flare at the side of the tank and I couldn't figure out why he was doing it - but maybe it was at his own reflection like you said! I've only seen him do that once though, so so far I think that's ok :)

I have noticed him taking air from the water's surface. I have to remember not to worry when I see him do this like I would the goldies! But he's not up there all the time so again I think that's ok!

I think he's still a little unsure of me at the moment. Yesterday when I put my finger to the glass he'd just swim away, now he backs away a little but stays around to watch me. But I'm sure he'll get used to me being the person who brings the food! :D Afterall, I've only had him just over 24 hours, and you're right - I'm already in love! :P

Sounds like the is settling in wonderfully, and it is great that you are a good enough betta parent to make sure you have all the info! ^_^ I have been so amazed by what charming fish they are. It does take a while to get used to them though. For the first week every time I saw Claude gulp air my first thought was "Oh no! Ammonia!" and I would have to calm myself down and remember he is a betta lol. I love about goldies how goofy and playful they are, which is one reason I never looked into other fish. That puppy personality just isn't common in anything but goldies from what I have seen. It is just so cool having the contrast of the bettas though. I have actually caught Claude and Axol watching me when I wake up in the morning. Their tank is only a couple feet from my bed. Claude also has the cutest habit of swimming around his tank and every few inches stopping dead in his tracks to stare down a piece of gravel or a plant. I guess I am just so used to the goldies that nibble everything they are interested in, it is so weird to see him just looking intently and then swimming off. My poor husband, for the first few days after I noticed Claude doing that I was elbowing him every ten minutes "Look he is doing it again, isn't he cute!".

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Haha I can definetely associate with that! I think I'm driving my parents mad - every minute I'm like 'look! Rupert is looking at his plant!' or, 'look! Rupert is looking at us' or even just 'look! Rupert is swimming!' haha :P

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He's very pretty and I love your tank! I bet when he moved in and saw that tank he thought, "Jackpot!" I just got a new betta without having one for a while so now I am remembering how different bettas can be from goldfish. I think the most terrifying thing was when I walked in on him sound asleep on the bottom and I thought he was dead. My last goldie was always at least kind of conscious at night, but when the lights go out my betta lies down and he's dead to the world. When morning comes he's always there waiting for me to wake up and feed him though!

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Rupert slept pretty much on top of the filter lastnight - and right now he's tucked into one of the anubias. It is pretty freaky - I can only see his tail and I'm so paranoid that I can't see the rest of him! But trying to remain calm as I've read about the various odd ways bettas sleep :P

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Thanks everyone :)

I'm getting a little bit concerned about him now though.. :( When he first came home with me he was very active, swimming about. But yesterday and today he seems to spend the majority of his time under his ornament or in his plant. He's still eating (well, when he actually notices I've fed him..!) and does swim about occaisionally, but he's mostly hiding and doesn't really react to me approaching the tank.

Physically he looks fine, just like he did when he came here. And I thought the current was ok as he was swimming about before. Any ideas? Could he just be chilling out after a big couple of days, or is there something wrong? :(

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A little update - he's behaving much the same, just had a little swim and something to eat, but has gone back to hiding.

I tested the water after my last post, all was well apart from the nitrates were a little high (20 ish). I've got nitrates in the tap of 10, and as I've been getting 0.1 nitrite readings out the tap too, I guess that contributed to high nitrates already. Did a 40% water change - I didn't want to change too much more because of the nitrites in the tap water - they're reading 0 in the tank at the moment but it's a new delicate cycle so I don't want to overload it. I'll keep on testing and changing water each day until the nitrates are lower - hopefully the live plants I've got will kick in soon - they keep my goldie tank under 5 for nitrates.

I've noticed I *think* he's erm.. pooping to put it politely! At least that's what I assume it is - I guess because of all the fins the poop comes out a little further forward than a goldfish's .. ? :unsure: Anyway, it looks kind of pale and a bit stringy. It's not that long right now.. but I've read that can be caused by parasites. Can that also be caused by stress? I only bought him on wednesday so he's had to cope with a move and a new environment, plus the nitrite/nitrate issues that have been going on.

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