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Old 11-05-2003, 01:16 AM   #1
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New Betta owner with cats

Please forgive my ignorance. I know nothing about fish-I'm trying to learn quickly. My wife bought a male betta which she put in a 1 gallon bowl. For food she bought HBH Betta Bites and freeze-dried blood worms. I've read a lot of contradictory information, so I'm soliciting advice. I'd like to take care of the fish as best I can.

Problem #1: We have two CATS. Only one is a threat to the fish (one is all it takes, huh?) We don't really have a place where we can put the fish where the cats can't get. Does anyone out there have any creative ways of discouraging cats from a 1 gallon bowl?

Also, the water in the bowl has bubbles on the surface. The fish has been in the bowl for 3 days. Is this a problem?

Finally, is there a good resource I can use to learn more about what I should be doing? I've been surfing around and haven't found a whole lot until I found this site.

Thanks for any help you can give.

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Old 11-05-2003, 01:49 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to Aquarium Advice! I have a betta!

What you're feeding the betta is great! That's what I feed my betta. I also have Bio-Blend Betta. My betta likes them, but they are heavy and sink too quickly. I break those pellets in half for him. Live brine shrimp is good as an occasional treat. Think of them like "betta potato chips"! You don't want to offer them every day, but once in a while.

You're noticing some bubbles in the water already! That's good! The betta is building a bubble nest. If he would mate with a female betta, he would put the eggs into the bubble nest. My betta did this too, and he never saw a female betta. Building the bubble nest means he's happy and content.

Sorry, can't help much on the cat issue. You could put a cover over the bowl, but bettas need to come to the surface of the water to breathe air too, so you can't make a cover airtight. The cat may just paw the cover off anyway. Maybe you could just close the door of the room that the betta is in when you're not home? Maybe someone with a cat will have a better idea!

Here are some betta-specific web sites:

http://www.bettastarz.com/home.htm

http://www.bettatalk.com/

Here is my betta's set-up: He's in a 5.5 gallon tank with lid, a 25-watt heater, and a sponge filter, run through a gang valve (so there is no current in the tank). Bettas hate current. Plus, it breaks apart their bubble nests! I had my betta in a 1 gallon bowl also, and many people do this and their betta is happy. But I couldn't keep the temperature stable. The room temp. fluctuated too much for him from day to night, and he got sick. So I set up the tank with the heater, and now he's fine. The water temperature for a betta should be 80 or 82 degrees. Also, if you had a tank set-up, the betta would be better protected against the cat!

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-05-2003, 06:58 AM   #3
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I would say that bettas hate constant current with no escape, personally. My betta generally hangs out on the side of the tank (5 gallon) with the bubble stream and eveb likes playing in the bubbles. But if he needs to escape the otherside of the tank is fine.

That being said a 1 gallon setup is fine without any bubbles or filtration. Just make sure to change some of the water every couple of days and never fully clean out the tank.

If your betta likes eating the food you have chosen then he will be very healthy just eating that.

Perhaps you can buy some plastic mesh. They generally sell it at hardware stores for things like porches and such. Place a small amount over the top of the tank and fasten it down with maybe an elastic band. This will allow lots of air flow, easy access and keep little paws and hands out of th etank.
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Old 11-05-2003, 07:22 AM   #4
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Hiya Homer and welcome to Aquariumadvice

I like tkos' suggestion of mesh or netting over the top of the tank. However, I know how clever curious kitties can be. Try a spray bottle filled with plain water; when the cat gets near the lil tank spritz him (her?). As you probably know, they HATE that, and will most likely start to associate that nasty occurrance with the tank, avoiding it in the future. I think the combo of the 2 should keep your lil betta safe.

I checked An's sites (thanx An!) and really like the second one! I do notice both really don't discuss one area of fishcare; the nitrogen cycle. While most folks do not "cycle" a betta tank, one needs to understand the cycle and the importance of keeping his tank free from nitrogenous wastes which can stress or kill him. Do take a peek here if you don't have a handle on the nitrogen cycle yet: http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html . While most of it won't be totally relevant as you are likely not going to cycle the tank, it will make clear why testing the water and changing it is SO important for his health.

Heh and yeah, a bubble nest is a good thing. Sign of a happy betta. Means he feels good enough to think he might get a lil nookie
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:27 AM   #5
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Oh just because he is making a bubble nest though, don't run out and get him a girlfriend. More than likely this will just lead to the death of one of them if you don't know how to properly breed the bettas.

Good luck, and do read about the cycle as Allivymar mentioned. It is important to know. It is also a good idea if you haven't already to get a fake plant for the tank. Make sure to get a silk or nylon one though as the plastic plants can rip the bettas fins easily. The plant is good as bettas often like to rest on them, also it provides a surface for more bacteria to grow on, whichis a good thing.

If you want to get a real plant I would suggest sticking with only Java Fern in a tank that size. It has very little care needs and doesn't need high light or even planting in soil as it can easily grow floating. A live plant will also help by using the ammonia and nitrites in the water as a food source.
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Old 11-05-2003, 02:17 PM   #6
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Wow ! I'm overwhelmed with the number and speed of the replies ! All of this info has really helped a lot. Thanks.

An t-iasg, you mention that your betta got sick. I guess since mine is making the bubbles, he's ok for now, but how can you tell if/when they are doing poorly. I thought he might already be, because his fins droop a lot of the time (and we got him from a chain pet store - who knows how he was treated).

I'll have to check the temp of his water, I'm guessing its less than 80 degrees (just room temp for now).

I have a plastic plant and a "sunken ship" for him to hang out in. That's about all I have room for. I'll have to go get a silk plant, I guess, I don;t want to hurt his fins.

Also, His fins already seem to be tattered a little, will they grow back, is that a sign of poor health?

Thanks again. I'm learning a lot and appreaciate the time you spent writing back.

Best Regards.
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Old 11-05-2003, 02:32 PM   #7
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Thanks a bunch for the quick reply. It's great to get some reassuring info from people with experience. I'm very grateful.

I may try that plastic mesh idea. I know the key is to make sure that air gets into the bowl.

Best Regards,
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Old 11-05-2003, 03:35 PM   #8
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You can buy a betta medicine that is supposed to speed the healing of the fins. They will grow back fine. They do get small tears in them quite often. The fins are supposed to droop. When they get aggitated they will flair their fins up but it takes a lot of energy so they don't do that all of the time. If you want to see it just hold a mirror to the side of the tank for a few minutes.

Your betta will go through periods of bubble nests and no bubble nests. Just because there isn't one doesn't mean poor health. White spots, bloated belly, and fin rot are the main sign of disease in a betta. they will rest on the bottom sometimes but if he is doing it all the time then that is probably also a bad sign. There are lots of pages of betta illnesses on the web, do a google search for betta disease and you will get lots of hits.
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Old 11-05-2003, 05:15 PM   #9
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Like Allivymar suggested about your problem #1, when you notice the one cat is being a little bit too curious near the fish bowl you could spray the cat with some water. I also did that with my cat when she was a kitten. She slowly learned (I think) and after a while, kept her distance. However, now I have a tank for my betta- which my cats don't bother (except when I do water changes- then they have to see what all the excitement is!! LOL)

If your cat continues her behavior, maybe you could consider getting a small tank for your betta. I know there are some nice, simple, 2.5 gal tanks that are perfect for one betta. That way there's an actual lid to the tank and you wont have to worry about watching the cats every move. Just a suggestion.
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Old 11-05-2003, 06:00 PM   #10
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Hi Homer,
I had two bettas. One died a month or so ago. They were both in bowls, and one got sick all the time (the one that I still have) and the one that died a little bit ago was fine in the bowl. My temperature fluctuated too much, and that wasn't good, althought the one seemed to handle it better than the other. I set up the tank with a heater and a divider, and put them both in it. When the one betta died, I removed the divider and let the remaining betta have the whole tank. Your betta could possibly be ok at room temp, but I really don't think he'd be happy at any temp lower than 78. It's the fluctuation that is bad, though.

My betta does like to play in the bubble stream sometimes, but overall, bettas don't like tanks with a big current, like other freshwater tanks. I have 4 7-inch tall silk plants and 3 small foreground silk plants in my tank. Sometimes I have to look for him for a few seconds before I find him!! His favorite hangout is the suction cup on the heater!

My betta got fin rot when the bowl was too unstable/cold for him. It looks like the fins and tail are very tattered. Some small tattering, especially just coming from the pet shop, is "normal" but you'll be able to tell when they are sick. My betta lost almost his whole tail once. It grew back in slowly, but ok. Your betta's small tears will hopefully heal since he's not in that little cup anymore (and the ammonia level may have been high in the cup) but just keep an eye on him. When I get a new betta, I think I'll put him in BettaMax for a few days, but that's just my opinion! I know that a lfs near here has all their bettas in cups in the BettaMax.

I've used Jungle Fungus Eliminator, BettaMax, and Kanacyn successfully on my betta. I would use BettaFix cautiously. The main ingredient, Melaleuca, may harm the betta's labyrinth organ (the small organ that they use to breathe air). Other fish don't seem adversely affected by melaleuca. I'm not saying don't use it, but be prepared to do a large water change if he appears stressed. Here's a link that one of the advisors (TankGirl maybe?) first posted:

http://fishgeeks.com/index.php?name=...wtopic&t=17002

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-05-2003, 07:48 PM   #11
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Just to add to An's post, some folks use Melafix in their tanks for minor finrot/wounds. Its got the same stuff as Bettamax (melaleuca aka tea tree oil) but at a higher dosage. Do NOT use the Melafix with bettas; you may hear it recommended at some places for the fin probs, but that higher dose of tea tree oil is just about guaranteed to cause probs. As you can see, even the lower dosage can be an issue. For other fish without labryinthian organs it's fine (like angelfish and neons).
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:26 PM   #12
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There area couple of things you can do with the cat(s) you can buy a water gun and spray the cat everytime it gets near the tank to teach it causing it to have an aversion to the bowl. but that would require someone being home for a while.. like for a week so that EVERY time the cat did this you could squirt it.
You can get some double sided tape stuff at the pet store that discourages cats from jumping up on stuff cause they don't like walking on the sticky stuff. I'll see if I can think of some other stuff. I have two cats and I had to be pretty carefull when I first set up the tanks tanks I have now since one cat had a history of eating my non cat pets. Which included a frog I raised from a tadpole, two turtles, and a fish.

Those two things I did above helped and I now have a tank that is within reach of the cats and they ignore the tank.
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Old 11-05-2003, 11:23 PM   #13
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Allivymar wrote:

Quote:
some folks use Melafix in their tanks for minor finrot/wounds. Its got the same stuff as Bettamax (melaleuca aka tea tree oil) but at a higher dosage.
You meant BettaFix, instead of BettaMax, right?

BettaMax is a capsule that you add to the water (break open the capsule and add the powder) that turns the water green. The main ingredients are Nitrofurazone, Methylene Blue, sulfas, and vitamins.
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Old 11-05-2003, 11:28 PM   #14
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Duh yes LOL this is what I get for posting on not enough sleep. BettaFIX!!

Thanx for catching that An! Have a coupla kudos for keeping me out of trouble LOL
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Old 11-06-2003, 12:15 AM   #15
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My brother's cat and my goldfish were able to co-exist....somewhat.

His cat was soooo not phased by getting squirted with water, or getting double sided tape stuck all over her...if anything, it made her more determined LOL. She mostly left the fish alone, though.

As a kid we had some kinda fish in a small bowl that the family cat was absolutely ga-ga over....we used a upside down colander over the top of the bowl to keep curious paws away, and a floating plant (hornwort i think) to provide a little place to hide.
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:40 AM   #16
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Thanks again for all of the replies. I'm keeping them all in mind and will probably try them all at some point.

I especially value the medicinal advice as I know nothing about this stuff.

I'm glad to know the my fish seems to be in general good health and happy in his new home.

Thanks again.

Homer
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Old 11-06-2003, 05:00 PM   #17
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hi there,
the water spray idea with your cat is a great idea but cats can be sly & theyre certainly not stupid!!! theyre very liable to behave when youre there with the spray bottle & go 'fishing' for a quick snack when youre not around. a small tank with a lid or some sort of mesh cover for your bowl really is needed. i love cats but wouldnt like to see any of my fish turn into a meal! 8O
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