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Hi, from Pascoe Vale


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My name's Sal, and I live in Pascoe Vale, Victoria.

I am new to betta-keeping, bought my first one a bit over a month ago now. I have two male bettas, a red veiltail named Sid and a blue/turquoise halfmoon named Demyx, who properly belongs to my teenaged daughter - though I am doing most of the water changes...

I knew nothing at all about bettas (or you know, thought I knew stuff but really didn't) when I bought Sid, and have learned so much in the past few weeks just from reading on the net. I really love these fish and want to do my best for them. I have a disability which makes it quite hard for me get around sometimes, or some days even lift things (severe, systemic lymph failure - it's not very fun). This is why I have opted for light acrylic and plastic tanks of around 12 litres each. I'm keeping up with water changes and cleaning tanks really well, even on a bad day, but am a bit timid about upsizing and glass tanks, as much I'd like bigger ones.

Sid had glued-together looking, curly fins when I got him, which I gather was probably a consequence of crappy pet shop water conditions. Then he got some fuzzy-looking blobs on his fin-ends which ate away the clumped bits of fin and freed them up. As soon as the clumped bits fell off, the fuzzy stuff went away. This all happened in a matter of two days, and it vanished before I could figure out what it was and how to treat it. Then all was well for a time - and then Sid got a mild case of ich which I treated promptly with Protozin. One course of treatment cleared that right up. He's been fine for a while but now his fins aren't looking good, they seem to be deteriorating very slowly. I put him in a smaller treatment tank with some aquarium salt today hoping that might slow it down a bit, until I figure out what the best treatment is. He's such a trooper, and has taken all this in his stride (so to speak) - he's not easily stressed, it seems, and is adored by whole household for his huge personality. I hope I can bring him back to health and keep him there.

Demyx is a much gentler fish, and on the whole healthier. He has a tiny bit of fin damage that was there when we bought him (I will -never- buy fish from these people again.. but I'll keep that rant to myself) and this isn't getting any worse, so I gave him a few days in salt water in case it's tearing, and will assume for now it's not rot. He's a lot more stressy than Sid, so I have to be more careful all round when handling any changes, etc.

Sid lives in an IQ5 cube, filtered and heated, with java fern, two potted crytpos, some sort of macro-algae stuff I've forgotten the name of (looks like seaweed but isn't) and some floating wisteria which he loves to bits.

Demyx is in a 12-litre Kritter Keeper type of thing, heated but not filtered (he loathes the filter even on the very lowest setting and baffled, reducing it to almost nil - like I said, he's stressy, ha) with java fern and a small, potted anubias.

I'm a bit confused regarding water changes, as well as tank size and cycling, as I have read so, so many different opinions on whether a 3-gallon tank will cycle or not. Right now, I change 25% of both tanks twice a week, with one 100% on the unfiltered tank (wash gravel, etc) and a 50% once a week on the IQ5 with thorough gravel vac. The ammonia levels have never got past 0.25 and are usually well below that or at 0. As the local aquarium wants $80.00 for a liquid test kit, I am forced to wait until I can get somewhere else to buy one (they are much cheaper elsewhere, I just have to get there). For now, I use ammonia liquid test twice a week, and have some pretty useless strips for nitrites/nitrates.

I feed a variety of foods, mainly pellets with occasional betta flakes (which Demyx loves) as treats, mozzie larvae (I have run out, got the bucket out back though) and brine shrimp.

I'm a writer (published poet and short fiction) and an artist (specialty, Lovecraft monsters) and the mother of a 13-year-old girl. And so - that's me and my fish.

Nice to find an another Betta forum - and thanks for the all the information here, it's awesome. Sorry if this is too long. ><

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Thank you, Hazell. And I'm not sure if you're serious with the question of breeding - in any case, I haven't considered it at all. Right now, I'm just focussed on learning to keep my bettas alive and healthy.

I have, however, fallen in love with Macrostomas. It's a bit of a pipe dream currently, but if I were ever to breed bettas, those'd be the ones I'd go for. I don't think I'll be anywhere near ready to try keeping them for a while yet, though.

Other than those I am really fond of veiltails, which I think puts me firmly on the pet-only rung of the betta-owners scale.

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Hi Sal,

Welcome to the fold, err I mean Forum.... heh... yeahh...

This whole thing has ended up as quite the obsession for little ol' me, and I'm sure there are plenty of other members here that can attest to the addictive nature of fishkeeping.

My introduction to this forum was a quiet one until I learnt about the perils of fin rot, however with the Aus Aqua brains trust I was able to identify and treat it, and in-turn - became more au-fait with rot that I'd like to be!

There's a pretty steep learning curve with the betta, and working out water chemistry is actually kind of tricky... I still only just get how a tank cycles - on principal.

It sounds like you'll need to wrap yourself around a few water principals, and you should be right after that....

Fortunately there's a few things you can do to ensure betta happiness in a tank, even if it's a smaller tank.

The water parameters are the key to everything, and while there is a bit of room to move with these - Betta really like stability.

- Firstly temperature, ideally between 24-28 degrees. (mine are stable at 26 at all times, 28 if I'm breeding)

- Ph from either 6.5 - 7.5 but the key is stability (water out of the tap swings in PH as it oxidises - therefore having a KZ buffer really helps)

- De chlorinated / conditioned water (water that is out of the tap and left will actually de-chlorinate naturally as it oxidises, but if you want to use water instantly, you can use a dechlorinator, which is a good idea, as it primes the water and often has minerals and goodies to keep fish healthy)

- Carbonate Hardness (this is my faaaaaaavourite thing in the world as it was such an epiphany when I learnt about it)

It's a good thing to get your water tested for - you might have a nice PH but if your carbonate hardess is out, fin rot and the rest will follow.

I buy a slightly pricey powder from Aquapix called Carbonate hardness buffer and it keeps my PH at 7 always, and my hardness is perfecto. Haven't had rot since = WIN

As for things you can add to the water....

- You can put a little bit of Aquarium salt in to help with minerals, fish that are in mineral rich water keep their minerals in, those in mineral poor water tend to leach their own minerals and loose condition and run down their immune systems.

- Shell grit - also handy

- Indian Almond Leaves - have a read about those on this forum and online - I swear by them.

While you're just over in the Vale - next time you're mobile, you might consider going into Subscape Aquarium, one of their services are (and maybe, free? I can't remember....?)

Say Ness sent you and they might do it for nothin'


We offer a comprehensive water analysis service that will help take the mystery out of water issues you might be having.

Bring in just 100ml of water and we will test for Nitrites, PH, Ammonia, GH & KH."

They also have some nice Halfmoons, CT, Veil tails and Plakats (some Aussie bred too!)

Hmmm... what else?

I don't cycle my betta tanks.... I just chuck in Decholinator and hardness powder, and a few of the extras like IAL/Salt/Grit and they're good to go.

Anyhoo - i'm rambling... nice to meetcha.

Get a photobucket account and take LOTS OF PICS... we might even be able to help with diagnosing what's going on with them fins - sounds like rot or melt - might not be.

- Ness

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Cheers, Ness.

I think I'm already addicted to bettas. Mainly for their personalities - my two are are completely opposite in temperament - as well as just the interesting nature of the species.

... I've never even heard of carbon hardness. >< But if it's a factor in fin rot, I soon shall find out what mine is! :D Thanks for the tips about additives, too. I'm actually hoping to find someone here to help with the purchase of IAL via paypal-and-mail, but that's another post, lol. Another Melbournian betta person has suggested a visit to Subscape and recommended it highly, so it's deffo on the cards as soon as I can get there. I'm also all for buying locally-bred fish. I'll tell 'em you sent me. ;)

Now.. photos. I have no idea how to post them. Bear with me if I stuff it up. and please forgive the quality of the pics, I only have an iPhone working atm (my poor camera is having technical difficulties). Also, sorry for a lot of pics, I won't do it too often..

This is Sid, when I first got him home:


This is what his manky fin-tips looked liked:


This is him getting used to clean, warm water:


and this is him after some decent food and water, and after the fuzzy stuff chewed off all the 'knots' in his fins:


The ends of his tail actually looked like were healing nicely, at that point. He's a much happier fish now, even in the hospital tank.

I also suspected he had worms, as he was getting a lot of poo that looked like nothing was inside it - just the white tubing of it? If that makes sense. It's slowly come to look a lot more normal now, so I'm wondering if it was a gut infection that maybe cleared up, but I'm willing to dose him with the bird-wormer recommended here if it comes back to its former degree.

Sorry no recent pics of how bad his fins are now - I'll try and get some tonight.

And this is little Demyx, who I think is a pretty young fish as he's grown a bit since we got him:


He doesn't live in the plastic bag. =P It's just the best pic of him. And here he is, stressing out on his first day in his former 6 litre tank:


He's a happy, bright little fish in his 12L now.

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Thanks Shadoh, Hazell and 2littlerevheads.

Hazell, I just adore how 'slinky' they are, and quick off the mark at the same time. Sid's an absolute ninja, that way. :D We get a lot of laughs from his antics.

I'm rather worried about his fins, the salt appears not to be helping at all. 'Nother thread.. I just can't think of him in terms of, "Oh well, move on, next fish". He's part of my household, now. /worrywart. Going to get some sulfa-stuff tomorrow. Dodgy legs or not.

Thanks, Ness, Demyx is a lovely little fish. Extremely gentle and friendly, not like Sid a bit (who only loves me for my brine shrimp, but I don't mind..) - I'm really glad he's my daughter's first betta. She very fond of him and exceedingly proud of his pretty fins, lol.

Yes, I got him at Coburg. After I'd weeded through the sick and the dead. :X He was the liveliest one there (we'd gone to 'rescue' one, on my daughter's insistence - she's only 13, and spent half her time there weeping over a tiny dead female, really tiny, it was awful).. :X It was a toss up between him, a rather miserable-looking but very pretty green/blue veiltail, and an enormous, very handsome plakat-type (part giant? it was -huge-) but we chose little Demyx on the basis of health and the fact he wiggles very cutely.

Anyhow, I'm really glad I bought him for her. Now she wants a second one! Not likely, until I stop being chief water changer...

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