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Old 10-26-2014, 03:05 AM   #1
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Help: Betta rubs against stuff

Hi all,

I have a male half moon betta, Fishy, in a 3G Marineland crescent tank. I have a heater (constant around 81-83 F) and a filter. He has a cave and a plastic plant to play in, as well as a "betta hammock". I have had him for a little over 2 weeks now. I do 20-30% water changes weekly and use treated tap water (API QuickStart and API stress coat, some aquarium salt) and I use a gravel vac. I feed him Omega One betta flakes, a small pinch in the morning and another before bed, as well as omega one beta treats freeze dried bloodworms once in awhile.

He he seems very active with a good appetite, and likes to flare at me when I come see him. However, today I noticed he has a few reddish streaks on his fins and then I saw him swimming towards the gravel or the cave and rubbing against it. I don't see any signs of ich or velvet, and his scales look smooth. Could it be something internal? I tested water tonight and the PH is about 7-7.5 and the nitrites/nitrates are very very low. I just did a partial water change 2 days ago.

Please help me figure out why he is doing this, I don't want him injuring himself! I will include pictures of him and my tank below. (I took out the pink plant because I don't think he liked it and might have hurt his fins, but he is always in the green plant. My heater is in the back left corner, filter on back right corner, and inside thermometer in the right front.)

1) tank when first set up, filter and heater added/arranged after photo as specified above
2) Fishy today
3) Fishy when I first got him

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Old 10-26-2014, 01:08 PM   #2
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Well I don't know why he does that but he looks really nice


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Old 10-26-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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Thank you


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Old 10-26-2014, 02:55 PM   #4
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Help: Betta rubs against stuff

I have a betta in that exact tank. Good job changing water and not putting him in a gallon; you will get some responses that he needs at least 5.

Do you have ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings? My guess is they are high.

Since it's a new tank you need to be changing more water a lot more often. Probably 50% a day until it is fully cycled. Again, I've had a betta in the exact same tank. It only took a few days to cycle because I used a big chunk from an older filter pad, but while it did I had enough ammonia to need daily water changes.

A pinch of flakes sounds like too much. Betta pellets keep the tank cleaner.

The opinions vary on salt but I do like using it in a small betta tank, per the directions on the carton.

The Stress Coat is good in my opinion but the stress zyme is possibly not doing anything. They say it helps get the tank cycled but in my experience it doesn't help at all.

Look up "fish in cycling". I'm pretty sure you only feed every few days in that situation.

Having been through it several times before I think you might be in the early stage of fin rot or something similar. In the photos it seems the edges of his fins were smooth and are now jagged.

The temp doesn't need to be so high either, it just makes the ammonia more toxic. Try dropping it a degree or less a day till it's 76-78. Bettas need stable temps more than warmth.

I lost a few bettas learning about water quality, the pet store had a million recommendations but the problem was really water quality. I currently have one who is happy and healthy, whose fins were a little worse than what you're seeing, back in February. They recover quickly.

I'd recommend you look into Melafix. Some say it's bad for bettas but my experience is good.

You absolutely need a test kit if you don't have one.

After the tank is established with good bacteria in it's filter, you'll need a minimum of 50% weekly water changes. Probably more. I'm at 50% but I have a lot of live plants.

Make sure the filter flow is set to low and you add water very gently.


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:01 PM   #5
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I have the all in one test strips but will be purchasing a liquid test kit soon since I have been advised they aren't very accurate. And he refuses pellets, which is what I tried to start him with... I think he was fed flakes at the petstore I bought him at. And will do on the more frequent water changes! Thanks


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:04 PM   #6
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What do your test strips say?


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:09 PM   #7
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He's a beautiful fish and has only a tiny bit of damage. I had one that looked almost exactly the same who had some fin rot.

But I'd do two 50% water changes today, and one every day for a week and watch closely. Try melafix if the fins look more jagged.

You can do a gentle water change by getting a few feet of airline tubing and a gallon jug ... Put the jug of new water up higher than the tank and start a siphon, it will slowly fill the tank.

The tank is probably only holding about 2 1/4 gallons of actual water.


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:10 PM   #8
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The nitrites always show no color (0) and the nitrates would be just a tiny bit above 0, ph 7.0 and I forget the gh and kh but I know they were in range according to the directions. And I have an ammonia "constant reader" that suction cups inside the tank but I don't think it works because I never see it change


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:13 PM   #9
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I just set out a bucket of new tap that is being treated so I can change his water tomorrow, and I heard that melafix is not good for Bettas because of the labyrinth organ? Or is that something else?


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:23 PM   #10
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Why do you feel you need to let his water sit a day? It's very unlikely that you do since you treat it with quick start.

Some do believe melafix is bad for the labyrinth organ. So it's up to you if you instead try to treat just with water changes.

Sounds like the test strips are way off. The fish is showing symptoms of water quality issues and the situation lends itself to water quality issues. The stick on thing doesn't work in certain parameters either (I had one read clean when the water was 4ppm ammonia).

Ammonia burns. I'd get the water changed ASAP.


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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Oh I just thought the water needs to sit for 24 hours to get rid of all the harmful chemicals.. I will do it as soon as I get home!


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:31 PM   #12
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The API stress coat removes the bad stuff Immediately.

The stress coat bottle has a higher dosing level for certain situations, I think ... Use that. It's so early that may be all you need, along with cleaner water.

Good catch! I lost 3 bettas in 1 gallon tanks before I moved up to a 3 and learned all this stuff. My toddler thought for quite awhile that it's normal for fish to not live long.


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:34 PM   #13
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Thanks! And I know I had a Betta when I was younger (8-9) and of course my mom was the main caretaker of the tank and didn't know all of the proper care, just put plain tap and changed the tank once a month! That one lived for 2 years which was amazing considering what I know of fish care now... Because of that I want to make sure I treat this Betta a hundred times better!


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:40 PM   #14
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Yeah ... What we believe about fish care has changed a lot since we were kids!

My brother had a carnival goldfish live in a gallon bowl that almost never for cleaned, for 4 years.

Watch out ... Learning to keep a betta healthy for my toddler led very quickly to a 29 gallon tank for me!


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:43 PM   #15
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Funny, pretty much same here. I've been thinking about getting a Betta but since my toddler loves the fish at his daycare, it was the last push to finally get one. I'm already planning to upgrade fishy's tank to a 5gal in a few months


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Old 10-26-2014, 04:14 PM   #16
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your betta sounds like it is in good hands.
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Old 10-26-2014, 09:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ladykt24 View Post
I just set out a bucket of new tap that is being treated so I can change his water tomorrow, and I heard that melafix is not good for Bettas because of the labyrinth organ? Or is that something else?


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My thoughts to date on this:

Both melafix and pimafix have been linked with causing problems for labyrinth fish. Particularly in older threads. Product testing was done on gourami's but not Siamese fighting fish.

It's possible the product has been improved since then to mix better in the water. The posts I saw from API were also quite convinced there shouldn't be an issue.

The conclusion I've reached is that there is nothing to support these products being more dangerous for labyrinth fish compared to others. However I find now I take a fair bit of care with their use. Far more so than with the dyes MG and MB.

A light dose seems to work as well as a normal dose and you definitely don't want to overdose. Which is easy to do in small tanks. Also I believe it should be mixed in change water before adding to the tank - basically so the fish doesn't get a chemical cloud.

Rapid movement of the gills or otherwise not coping after dosing, - I'd do a water change.
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Old 10-26-2014, 10:01 PM   #18
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My thoughts to date on this:

Both melafix and pimafix have been linked with causing problems for labyrinth fish. Particularly in older threads. Product testing was done on gourami's but not Siamese fighting fish.

It's possible the product has been improved since then to mix better in the water. The posts I saw from API were also quite convinced there shouldn't be an issue.

The conclusion I've reached is that there is nothing to support these products being more dangerous for labyrinth fish compared to others. However I find now I take a fair bit of care with their use. Far more so than with the dyes MG and MB.

A light dose seems to work as well as a normal dose and you definitely don't want to overdose. Which is easy to do in small tanks. Also I believe it should be mixed in change water before adding to the tank - basically so the fish doesn't get a chemical cloud.

Rapid movement of the gills or otherwise not coping after dosing, - I'd do a water change.

How fascinating.

My curiosity has been whether problems usually arise from people dosing by what the tank was advertised as, not the actual water capacity. Since bettas are in very small tanks, that can go very wrong very quickly.

When I set up my 3 I paid attention to how much actual water went in after all the ornaments. It was just 9 quarts. It'd be easy to accidentally dose almost 50% too much.

To the OP ... Since I have the same tank, my recommendation would be dosing melafix for 2 gallons after changing all the water out.

But if you're showing nitrates on your test, you want to preserve beneficial filter bacteria. I don't know what melafix does there ... It's tea tree oil (melaleuca) which is a broad antibiotic and antifungal.




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Old 10-27-2014, 06:46 AM   #19
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How fascinating.

My curiosity has been whether problems usually arise from people dosing by what the tank was advertised as, not the actual water capacity. Since bettas are in very small tanks, that can go very wrong very quickly.

When I set up my 3 I paid attention to how much actual water went in after all the ornaments. It was just 9 quarts. It'd be easy to accidentally dose almost 50% too much.

To the OP ... Since I have the same tank, my recommendation would be dosing melafix for 2 gallons after changing all the water out.

But if you're showing nitrates on your test, you want to preserve beneficial filter bacteria. I don't know what melafix does there ... It's tea tree oil (melaleuca) which is a broad antibiotic and antifungal.




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It's possible. Convulsions and panic in the fish were mentioned and linked to melafix dosing which all sounded pretty serious. But reading through posts and threads it doesn't seem to be repeated. At least not that I can find. People have treated, some fish have lived and some have died without a good pattern. Overdosing could maybe explain this. Open to ideas here.

My only other thought has been wondering if a certain set of water conditions or infections makes melafix dosing worse. To date I've found nothing on this.

It's a puzzle.
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:54 AM   #20
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I've used melafix with a blue gourami and it lived


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