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 Caring for your Betta

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Dieses Madchen

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Posts : 33
Join date : 2012-02-04
Age : 35
Location : St. Louis

PostSubject: Caring for your Betta    Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:57 am

I will start by telling a little about Bettas. They are small tropical fish originating in southeastern Asia, and are related to the climbing perch and grouramis of the fish family, Anabantidae. Natively, Bettas are not the long-finned, colorful specimens we commonly see, but a drab-colored small finned fish. Years of selective breeding and cultivation have produced the colorful fish we commonly see in our petstores and aquariums in peoples' homes.

So lets get down to the nitty-gritty on setting up the perfect home for your Betta.

Things You'll Need:
Tank (5-10+ gallons recommended)
Filter
Heater
Water conditioner (chlorine/chloramine remover)
Fish net
Betta fish food (high in protein)
Smooth stones or gravel to cover the bottom.
Some ornament to decorate your tank, doubling as structure for your betta to rest upon. Dragging fins make your betta prone to bacteria on the floor of the tank which can lead to fin rot.

Just like with any fish, the larger the home the better. I know there is a lot of common misconception that bettas can live in a tiny, unfiltered, unheated tank. Well, yes they can, but they aren't happy. To get the most personality out of your betta, a larger home is definately better. I personally keep mine in nothing less that 3g. I even have a 10g tank that is divided and housing 2 bettas. One thing to consider is the filter, though. Bettas are not strong swimmers, so you want to choose a filter that is not going to create a current that is going to blow your betta all over the tank. If you betta seems to be struggling with the filter, attaching a filter sponge to the output is a good way to slow it down and not alter filtration. Other things to consider when setting up a home is decorations. Bettas will get bored in a bare tank with nothing but gravel. Spruce it up a bit! Add a coconut cave! Or even some plants! When choosing plants though, be wary of plastic plants, as betta fins are about as delicate as a pair of panty hose. Silk plants or real plants are a good way to go. Also, be careful with the gravel. Try using smooth pebbles or sand as a substrate as jagged gravel can also injure the fins of a betta. Injured fins can leave a betta prone to fin rot. Once you have decorated your tank, fill it up, dechlorinate, and cycle your tank! (see the Cycling section for information if you do not know how to cycle your tank)

Now, lets choose a betta for your habitat!
Things you want to look for when you are choosing a betta are Color, Receptiveness, and Overall health. Are the color bright and vivid? Or are they dull and washed out? Does the betta respond to you when you move around him, or sit at the bottom of the sup and sulk? Are his fins in good shape? Any abnormal lumps? Bettas will also sometimes choose you. I have had this happen twice. The bettas chose me by flaring at me, dancing for me, and just putting on a show! So I had to bring them home. If you look at a betta and move on, but keep getting drawn back to that fish, there is a good chance he is the one for you! Even if he isn't the healthiest looking one, a few days in a clean warm tank will heal him right up!

Also, don't be skeptical of purchasing a lady betta! While you cannot keep males together, or males and females together, do not be put down by the thought of a sorority! In a well plants 20-30g tank, you can house 6-10 female bettas in harmony! They come in just as many colors, and even though their fins aren't as big, their personalities are! I also find that female bettas make a nice addition to a community tank. I personally have a lady with my swordtails and platys! And she is a show stealer!

Once you have chosen your betta:
Float the bag with the betta inside it as you purchased it in the tank water for 5 minutes. This allows for the temperature to adjust. Then pour some of the aquarium's water into the bag every 5 minutes. Finally, with a net, put the betta fish in his new home. Don't pour the pet store's water into the tank, as it could contaminate your water. Be careful not to damage your betta's fins when using a net. Be gentle!

Feeding:
Your bettas diet should be mostly pellets or flakes that are high in protein. Frozen or freeze dried treats like brine shrimp and bloodworms are good a weekly treat. Be sure to clean up any extra food that your betta does not eat. Similarly, be sure to watch your betta fish to see if he spits up any food. A diet high in protein yet varied is important. Flakes, live food, freeze dried, pellets, whatever works best for you, but keep it varied. If you don't keep your fish's diet varied, it may become constipated. Constipation in a betta resembles swim bladder disease in which they are unable to maintain their balance. All is not lost. Feed him a bit of a cooked, peeled pea, then no food for a day or two he will be fine. Though live food may be more exciting to watch, freeze dried products still work great. They are also safer and free from potential parasites. Don't overfeed your betta, no matter how hungry or cute he or she seems! Your betta's stomach is about the size of its eyeball, so keep that in mind.

Be sure to do weekly water changes on your betta tank, just like other aquariums. 25-30% weekly is good.

A few warnings!
1. Male bettas cannot live with other male bettas. They are called fighting fish for a reason and will kill other male bettas to protect their tank space. This also pertains to males and females. They cannot co-exist with a divider to keep them from getting to each other.
2.If you have a relatively large tank, you might consider having another fish to coexist with your betta. Bettas prefer to be alone and do just fine alone. If you choose to have a betta in a community setting, go for some bottom dwellers, like cories, or loaches. Avoid fish with brightly colored fins as they can easily be mistaken for another betta.
3. Bettas are sensitive to changes in temperature. Even a 2 degree change can lower a bettas immune system. Please give them a heated home!
4. Do not used distilled water. None of the healthy minerals are in distilled water. This can have bad long term affects on your betta.
5. No matter what the pet store staff or anybody else may say, don't put your betta in a tiny bowl, vase, or cup!

Some of this information is based on my own experience, but other information can be credited to http://betta-fish-care.info/caring-for-betta-fish.html

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