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Old 04-26-2004, 04:18 PM   #1
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Do Fish get Bored?

I know... I'm like some sort of fishtank Hypochondriac... but I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can for my Betta... I mean he's already at a disadvantage only having a 2 Gallon Tank.

I'm worried that he might get bored just swimming around the same 2 gallon tank with the same 3 plants, and the same green gravel... day in and day out. I've tried putting something different outside his tank each day... for a change of secanery... but... I'm worried the poor dear is getting bored... I took this Animal Enrichment course last semester about how captive animals can go compleatly stir crazy if you don't give them enough to do... no matter what they are... heck we gave cat jingle balls to hissing cocroaches, cause even roaches need enrichment.

I'm thinking maybe of trying live food... I've wanted to get sea monkies but I was always afraid I'd get an oversized population of them... however if I was using them as treats for the Betta... sucking one or two out now and then to give to my fish... I'd probably be able to keep the population under control... can you feed the Amazing Sea Monkies to Betas? Or are they different from regular brine shrimp?

Maybe if I give him a clean marble that he could push around on the bottom or something? Perhaps more plants... what percentage of the tank should be full of plants?

Also I'm not sure my UGF is working... I can see the current... but I can see it in tinny little flecks in the water... should there be flecks? Is there some way to increase the filtering capacity of the UGF? I've been doing weekly water changes... someplace between 15 and 20% eyeballing it... but... I worry that if the filter isn't working like it should that might not be enough...

8^S
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Old 04-26-2004, 04:23 PM   #2
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Of course. In the Wild their "tank" is almost limitless.
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Old 04-26-2004, 04:28 PM   #3
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How are the ammonia and nitrite readings?
If you want to provide environmental enrichment, you can place a mirror on the outside of his tank everyday--give him a chance to stretch. I would not feed the betta sea moneys that are not packages specifically as fish food. Plus, when you hatch brine shrimp, they are hatched in a salt water mix--they will not survive in the FW. When I had a bettas, they took frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp. You can also feed a peeled pea once a week to make sure he gets his fiber
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Old 04-26-2004, 05:00 PM   #4
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"Environmental enrichment is the provision of stimuli which promote the expression of species- appropriate behavioral and mental activities." Viktor and Annie Reinhardt, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, DC

Enrichment for hisssing cockroaches, huh? Even I would not have thought of that. I work in a medical research lab and I have attended many workshops on animal husbandry. I always believed in providing as many creature comfort as possible to the animals in my care - be they pets or research subjects. My mice enjoy their paper egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, and ping pong balls.

IMO, the best enrichment for fish comes from tankmates. That may be difficult in a 2 gal, but maybe you could add a ghost shrimp or a snail for your betta to investigate from time to time. You could also locate the tank in a spot like your desk where the betta can observe you going about your daily activities. Whenever I gravel vac, I inevitably move some plants and rocks around - these inadvertent changes probably prevent some fish boredom. I have read that some cichlids enjoy floating toys such as ping pong balls. Maybe a betta would too? Bettas like to lounge on a soft bed of plants a few inches below the water surface. I purchased a few aquarium suctioncups to tie down some java moss for this purpose.

I would avoid plastic plants that may snag the betta's fins and I would make sure there is plenty of free space for him to swin unobstructed. I only feed my bettas floating pellets, so really can't comment on seamonkeys as food. Regarding your UGF, perhaps you just need to vac the gravel. HTH
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Old 04-26-2004, 05:01 PM   #5
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I don't think I have an Amonia or Nitrate testing kit... I have a pH testing kit though... is there any way to tell from that?

Will the mirror Betta thing really make him unbored? Or will it just make him pissed off and stressed out... can fish even BE happy? Or just... not stressed, and not bored, and not angry...

I was told that as long as I could run the plastic plants through pantyhose a few times without snagging them, that they would be ok with the Beta. I've got about 0 experiance with live plants and was advised against trying them in a small tank if I didn't know what I was doing.

I do intend on getting him a Ghost Shrimp for a friend when I get home, but since I'm going to have to move the tank home from College sometime between saturday and the saturday after that, I don't want to add any poor little fellow who's liable to get traumatized from the move, or wind up eaten if the Betta Panicks.

It's nice to meet another person interested in Animal Enrichment. I'm an ex-bio major (I couldn't hack the Chem) now an art student, and my advisor thought that Animal Enrichment, which is half art, half bio, might be a good transitional class for me to take as I made the switch to an Electronic Art Major. It was a realy nifty class. This semester I'm taking Vivo-Arts... which is also art and Biology... we made lip gloss out of DNA we extracted from daphodills using the realy cheep tecnique of diswashing detergent to lyce the cells, and chilled alchohol to sepearate it out... it was nifty.

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Old 04-26-2004, 07:30 PM   #6
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Your pH test will not help with nitrites or ammonia. You should pick up those tests soon.
As for the mirror--I have read about it in various places. I also know one of the members here has multiple bettas in separate tanks. On occasion, the tanks are placed near enough that the bettas can see each other and flare--a natural response in the wild
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I couldn't hack the Chem
That's too bad. I can say as someone continuing on in the biology field--once chem was done in undergrad, I find people to help me if I need it now. Too much to remember!
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:45 PM   #7
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Well tomorow is my last day of classes... and I have work on wends... but I've been planning to just get on a buss Thursday and go to the mall, alone and not care. Cuz I'm pretty sick of being cooped up and told I can't go anyplace without friends cause I might get mugged. Screw that. It's the Mall. There's people everyplace and I'm NOt getting Mugged... but apprently now I'm stopping into the petshop and getting an amonia and nitrate testy thinger *Nods.*

As for Bio... I'm ok with it. I realized afterward that I'm much happier as an Art Student. I only picked bio because it was the most artistic science... and my parents are both scientists, and have spent most of thier time compleatly devaluing my art. I wasn't doing it for me I was doing it for them. But... now I'm doing this for me *Nods.*

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Old 04-26-2004, 09:48 PM   #8
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You could try java moss with the betta. Someone told me that you have to go out of your way to kill it. I'm hoping to pick some up at my next aquarium club meeting. The mirror would work for until your betta figures out that his reflection is not in the same tank with him. I would just move the tank to a new location every so often - bettas do seem to observe what goes on outside their tanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayonnaise
As for Bio... I'm ok with it. I realized afterward that I'm much happier as an Art Student. I only picked bio because it was the most artistic science... and my parents are both scientists, and have spent most of thier time compleatly devaluing my art. I wasn't doing it for me I was doing it for them. But... now I'm doing this for me
Good for you! you have to be happy doing what you do.
I got a B.S in biology and I absolutely detested the required calculus, chemistry, and physics courses. Somehow, I survived it all. It also so ironic that I went on to get a PhD in biochemistry and that I now work in mass spectrometry - a field chock-full of chemistry and physics! It just goes to show how inane and irrelevant most undergrad science courses are. I'm just glad I wasn't completely turned off science then, because I love what I'm doing now.

FYI, you should look into careers in medical or scientific illustration. Publishers, pharmaceutical companies, and scientific instrument manufacturers need people with artistic talent AND a working knowledge of basic science to prepare textbook illustrations and sales/marketing tools.
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Old 04-27-2004, 06:49 AM   #9
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I once tried to think like a fish. It gave me a headache

QTOFFER, I can't recall if you were at the GCAS meeting where the speaker gave a talk on traveling through Thailand looking for as many betta species as he could find. Two things I remember from that. They congregate near the shore line and seek the protection of plants, and their natural water is extremely soft.

OK, so here's my take on thinking like a betta *chuckle*. They're bubble nest builders which means their natural environment has imperceptable water movement. The way the fish is built (not for speed), a lot of water movement could become stressful.

Expecting lots of flack from the traditionalists here, this is what I'd do to keep your betta the happiest Mayonaisse. Nix the UGF altogether . Nix the ammonia and nitrate kits also. Take your tap water to the pet store and have them test for GH. Hopefully it's on the soft side, if not buy some distilled water to do your water changes. I'd be changing 25% daily. The frequent water changes will keep the ammonia and nitrates from becoming a prob, and you'll be providing the best possible environment for your fish. NO filtering is needed for a 2g set up with just 1 fish. HTH
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