Betta Help!

necessaryJune 21, 2006

I have an important question. I recieved a betta fish as a present. He seems to be a very happy fish and plays and swims alot, but he has very little color to him. He has been this way since I recieved him. Is there anything I can do to help this?? One more question. My aunt recently purchased a betta to keep her company, so she bought him a 2 gallon tank, but he hides all the time!! He never comes out and seems to be irratated in his new surroundings!? Any help is greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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Bettas come in many colors, from vibrant fire engine red to a pastel-y white. A photo would help a lot, but if he seems active and happy, he probably is.

All new fish will be scared at first, some more than others. Your aunt's betta is probably not used to all that space (kudos to her on an appropriately sized tank). Does she have plants and ornaments in the tank to make it feel more secure? Did she dechlorinate the water?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Any info you can give us will help us help you. Tank size, type of filtration, water change schedule, toxin readings, and plants and decorations are the things that come to mind. Tell us about both tanks. A photo would also help, as Hippy said. You can use a site like to upload a picture from you computer. Everyone loves pictures of bettas anyway. :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 12:38PM
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I agree not enough information, but would like to add this. Bettas love plants, to hide in (or cave) to sit and sleep in/on and to make them feel more secure. Low light Anubias are great. Hard to kill, low light broad range of temperatures and don't need gravel.. Also check diet. But watch out for the blood worms, frozen or live, (I never used live) but my bettas always got sick after eating frozen. (they were rescue and at end of rope so hard to say but other fish got sick as well, so I don't use anymore)

Bettas get constipated, so I found that although some use a pea once a week, (inside softer part) I found in an emergancy one night when a betta couldn't sink, I gave him some (itty bitty portion, almost a couple pin head size) brocalee (sp). Both vegetables were slightly steamed in spring water.

Next morning still couldn't sink, so repeated but with a bit of odorless castor oil, which was left over from other use. (dipped brocc bit in then dabbed it on my hand to rid it of excess oil, harmless though) It is a strong laxative and I gave it to him at around 9 am, and then while working on computer saw movement out of the corner of my eye at around 11:45. He was swimming down into his little cave - wahoo! (that is because I was so relived, it was only constipation (brine shrimp two days in a row, oops overfed rich fatty food) and not swim bladder (one of my rescues is a beautiful red 'slidder' due to swim bladder and they were going to flush him)... or bacteria.

Best Sherry

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 8:39PM
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My last Betta was basically red & white when I bought him due to small container and transporting. About 10 days later he has totally changed to very similar colours to Cardinal Tetras the exact colourations I was looking for. I put this down to a good tank 11G, & excellent food varieties.
Not to step on too many toes I am totally opposed to Bettas in those small jars/tanks this is nothing like there origional home life even though they are specially breed for this trpe of trade.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 12:02AM
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I know what you mean Keith. I have a male and a female living in harmony in a kiddiepool I picked up at walmart. They are so much happier being able to sprint about in all that space. Also worthy of note is that if he decides he wants to bully her she can outmaneuver him with ease.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 9:44PM
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I have a female betta that is shiny white with only red color on its fins (a little lavender is on the back fin now). So some betta fish don't have a lot of color on them. Some are irridescent white or pale colored. What matters is if they are happy, eating, and swimming around properly. Also, about your aunt's betta, some betta are just more nervous around people than others. I had a purple colored male betta that loved having other fish in a bowl next to him but every time a person came by, he would flare his fins at them and swim away in an irritated way. He loved his betta girlfriend and my orange male cat but only slightly liked me a week or two before he died. Sounds like your betta is doing good and it couldn't hurt to add a few water plants to your aunt's betta's tank or pass on the advice of adding some plants to its tank.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 9:15PM
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I have a beta that is kept in an aprox. 1/2 gallon tank. We have had him for a little over a year and has done very well. When we first got him, his fins were beautiful but for some reason, they fell off about two months after we had him and they haven't grown back. :(

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 9:23PM
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His fins fell of because of elevated ammonia levels. It's likely that the ammonia in his tank is still very high and causing him stress. Just because he's alive doesn't mean he's doing well, which is the main misconception that has led to the torture of these poor creatures. Now, I'm not blaming you; you clearly don't know any better. But let's educate you, shall we? :)

First off, a betta shouldn't be kept in anything under 2 gallons because anything smaller can't be cycled with any stability. Cycling is the process of your fish producing highly toxic ammonia, and bacteria consuming it and turning it into much less toxic substances. It takes a month or two for bacteria to initially set up home in your tank. A filter is usually necessary for this, but I've cycled a female in an unfiltered 2g tupperware by allowing the bacteria to live in the gravel. A filter is best though (I would have one were it not for the fact that I'm dirt poor, hence her tupperware home), and the Red Sea Nano is great for bettas, once set to its lowest setting. It's silent as well. :) (I use one for another betta.) If you can't get a filter, I wouldn't attempt to cycle a male's tank with less than 3-4 gallons (my female is very small; I could almost think she was a sparkling gourami). The way I cycled my female's tank was by doing ~50% water changes weekly while closely monitoring the water. Now that it's done, ~30% weekly changes have been maintaining it well. The main key to this is to not wash the gravel or let any excess food rot in the tank. For detailed information on what goes on with cycling a tank, read this link:

Also, a betta's water should never be under 70*F. Something like 78-82 is best, but lower will do if necessary. That's another reason for a larger tank: you can't put a heater on a tiny cup.

Bettas are very curious and intelligent, so they should have plants and caves to explore/sleep in. They needn't be real; silk plants (from the fish store) and a ceramic mug will keep most very happy. Pond snails can also be added to spice up their lives. Many bettas like to eat them. I wouldn't add pond snails to a tank with real plants though, as their population would likely increase as they ate the plants. Best to leave them to feed off algae and fishy poo.

If you *really* want your betta to be happy, you could get a 10-gallon tank with an otto and live plants. Various community fish will also make good tank mates for most bettas (the tricky thing with bettas is their various personalities). Fish you should avoid though, are tetras and guppies. Tetras, while often kept with bettas, will usually nip at a male's long fins, stressing him. Guppies will usually be mistaken for smaller male bettas and attacked. The minimum 2 gallons will likely make any betta happy as can be though. The larger tank is only if you'd like to get more into aquaria.

Oh, and remember to *always* have a lid on your tank. Most bettas will jump out of their tank at least once in their lives, and they seem to plan it when you're not home. Plastic canvas from a craft store can be used to fashion a functional lid that breathes. You don't want an airtight lid because bettas breathe both air and water. A complete lack of either can kill them.

If you'd like to upgrade to a 2+ gallon tank, but don't have the money, Sterilite containers are awesome for keeping bettas in. The 20qt (5g) one Wal-Marts here are currently carrying are particularly clear, though the clarity of the entire brand is what draws me to it. Keep in mind, though, that the amount the tupperware claims to contain is when it's filled all the way to the brim, and you won't be filling it all the way if you don't want it to spill.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 2:23AM
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    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 1:21PM
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Blown up?

This might be a sign of Dropsy, a serious fish illness.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 11:01PM
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I have two bettas, one male and one female. Both are very happy, and alert. They come to the side of the glass where they are kept closest to me, because I give them attention and more importantly I feed them.

When you buy bettas, observe them. Pay close attention to the ones that pay attention to you. Those that get excited to see you are the healthy ones. Put your hands to the top of their container and see if they don't look up as if they think you're feeding them. When they do this, they are healthy. Those are the kinds of bettas to buy.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 2:40AM
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