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Is this normal?


urunimi
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I just got a male betta a week ago and he's my first fish. Unfortunately he came with a 0.5 US gallon plastic bowl, which I've read is too small for bettas. I've been changing ~75% of the water every 3-4 days.

The first five days he would swim around in his bowl slowly, occasionally attacking his reflection on the inside of the bowl. Then on the 6th & 7th day he alternated between swimming around very fast and vigorously attacking his reflection (it made sounds when he hit the walls of the bowl) and then resting listlessly at the bottom of the bowl. I was afraid that he might hurt himself when doing that. Today he's been swimming around slowly and not attacking his reflection as much, but he also spends a lot of time at the bottom of the bowl, occasionally coming up for air. His appetite is good and he responds to stimuli.

Is this kind of behavior generally normal for males, or is there something wrong with him?

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it seems pretty normal so far, I've no idea how much half a gallon is though i'd probably change the water every 2-3 days for something that sounds that small.

Just keep an eye on him, he could just be settling into his new home. as long as he's eating etc. he may just need a bigger home...

Or he might have a parasite (might not be attacking himself at all) and trying to scratch himself on the walls.

Can you get us any pictures of him?

Sometimes if we see a pic we can tell exactly what's wrong

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Shine a direct light on him (torch or naked bulb) and look for these things

* Whit dots/eggs that look like sprinklings of salt on him

*copper looking dust on him

*laboured breathing from the gills

*Clamped fins

*cottony looking stuff on him

Sounds like it could be a parasite, or could be the amonia is high.

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my bet is ammonia poisoning or exhaustion (or both).

1/2 gallon is about 2L, and i'd be doing 100% water changes every 2 days in a tank that size to avoid ammonia poisoning. by only changing 75% of the water you allow the ammonia to build up even more quickly in a smaller container.

also is the tank heated??

as for exhaustion, i'd say that flaring at himself all day is wearing him out, and stressing him out. really they only need an hour of flaring a day to stay healthy and avoid stressing, so you need to find some way to get rid of the reflection (maybe give him one of those tank backgrounds that you put against the glass?) so you can control the exercise.

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Bowls create more reflection than square/rectangular tanks in my opinion. 2L isn't too bad, it's a lot bigger than what a lot of bettas have to live in, but the bigger the better. But yeah, what everyone else said, do 100% water changes.

You could try getitng one of those small 5-10L aquariums and putting him in that. He'll love you for the space and you could even put a small low flow filter in if you wanted. And you'll get more visibility compared to the bowl and he won't look so warped.

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1/2gal is tolerable, but I'd be changing 100% every 4-7 days, and look at using Prime or Ammolock2 as your dechlorinator as that will help keep his environment more comfortable for a longer period.

It sounds like a gill issue, more specifically like damaged or burnt gills. The fish waste can build up to the point where it burns and irritates the skin and gills, and you end up with the whole stop/go behaviour you are seeing. It could be parasites also, but my first port of call would be to fix the water up. Do check with a torch though, there is nothing to say that it couldn't be both or that I could be wrong. The time frame does seem right though, as it takes about 4-6 days for fish to show ammonia-related discomfort in a 1/2gal container.

What sort of 1/2 gal tank is it? does it have gravel? any plant? how much and what do you feed?

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He doesn't seem to be scratching himself on the walls since only his mouth comes in contact with it. The alternating between vigorously attacking and resting listlessly seemed to have stopped after I changed his water. The thing that confuses me is that it started the day after I first changed his water, which had been there for 4 days. Perhaps I left too much old water in that time. I think I shall change all of it more often.

It was hard for me to get a good photo of him. I'm worried that he is in the early stages of fin rot. I'm wondering what the white thing at the tip of his right ventral fin is. Could it be a parasite?

IMG_2761.jpg

Some more info:

The bowl that he's in is unheated. I'm thinking it's too cold. There is gravel at the bottom and a silk plant in the center.

I've been feeding him 3 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets once a day. I'm really not sure how much to feed him because everywhere I've read says different amounts.

Please let me know if anything looks wrong with him.

Thanks!

Edited by urunimi
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a heater would be a good idea :)

the tips of ventrals are often white, so it could be that yours is just curled up. but it could also be a mild fungal infection or as you said, a touch of fin rot. i'd dose him with melafix for a week just to be on the safe side, and the more frequent 100% water changes will also help if it's fin rot.

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