Male Betta Fish

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Mar 24, 2023
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Hi. I have a new male betta fish. I swear I’ve done everything possible. He is the only fish, in a suitable size tank. He has a million hiding places, he has live plants. I am on constant temperature watch and he is between 25.5 and 26.5 c.

There is a filter - and I have it on low flow to keep it nice and gentle for him. Suitable low lighting - switched off at night so he can rest.

All the water parameters are perfect. All perfectly cycled and tested etc etc.

He is spending 99% of the time curled up in a corner of the tank. When he is swimming he looks perfect. No fin curling, no fin rot. Swims straight - no imbalance.

What in the hell am I doing wrong?
Hi! Welcome to the forum! So first of all, sounds like you're doing a great job. And everything could be 100% ok. If he is one of those bettas that are bred to have massive fins, they may be making swimming difficult. Sometimes that happens which is a bummer and the best you can do is keep him comfortable.
He also might just be nervous to be in a new environment--how long have you had him? If this is the case, he'll grow into the space and really start to show his personality soon.

Some other questions that I'm sure you'll get asked anyways--
How big is the tank?
What are the water parameters? (what does 'perfect' mean?)
What is your water change schedule? (what percentage of the water do you change and how often)
Can we see a picture of him?
What does he eat?
The betta I have prefers to sit at the top of the tank under floater plants but will swim around and be social usually when someone is at the tank looking.
hi. Thanks for the answers. I hope the photos have attached. I’ve only had him about 4 days? He seemed happier in the first 48 hours than the last 48 though. He’s not gasping for air - and is blowing the odd bubble - which apparently is good? He looks fine - fin wise.

But in the first couple of days he seemed happy pottering about in the plants - he wasn’t hugely active - but just resting on and in the leaves. It’s because he looks almost like a scared dog cowering in a corner that I’m concerned. It just seems strange wedging himself in a glass corner rather than chilling in plants etc that’s worrying me. Plus he’s not really eating whereas he was the first couple of days. Have been feeding him on betta granules.

The tank was cycled with water previously used by other fish (all perfectly happy and healthy). No tap water - all fresh spring water 🙄 originally.


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I'd be a bit concerned about the no eating. But maybe it's just getting used to the new tank. Did the betta come from a smaller enclosure and now in a larger one? Betta naturally go to the surface to get air as they have an organ that allow them to breath at the surface, in addition to breathing through gills under water.
Yep. He was in an absolutely tiny divided tank where I got him from. I knew they had to surface often for air but didn’t think they’d just stay there. But you’re right. Maybe he’s not used to having a lot of room and feels comfortable in a corner for now. I’ll be happy if he starts eating a bit better.
Ooh he's a stunner 😍

My advice would be to ditch the plastic plants and add more live plants. It's doesn't have to be a huge deal, nothing expensive or fancy. Low light plants are perfect for Betta as they don't like bright light, anubias, crypts and vallisineria would work really well. You could even pop in a couple of floating plants like salvinia or frogbit. Catappa leaves are really beneficial for Betta as well, I used to roll them into tunnel shapes and float them just under the surface, my Betta used to chill inside until they sunk.

As for feeding...try some frozen brine shrimp or daphnia? Might entice him enough to start eating
He thanks you all for the compliments - and yep. He certainly is stunning. So far today he’s spent a little bit more time pottering about. He’s mainly on the surface still - but not pushing himself into the corner so looks more relaxed. As for the plastic plant advice - you read my mind as there is a Java fern on its way. I’m a 100% newbie to live plants and had a mini panic last night that maybe he didn’t like the plant that’s in there and ordered the fern.
He'll appreciate the fern, just remember not to plant it into the substrate! It's epiphite, which means it grows and absorbs its nutrients from the water column 👍🏻
Awesome. I’m usually a pretty good plant killer to be honest. Am definitely not green fingered so I just picked a plant that was in the top 10 for betta and that said to just plonk it in the tank and it’d be fine ;)
Yup sounds about right! If you want to be really posh, you can tie or glue it to a rock or bit of wood so that it doesnt move around the tank
Don’t want to get too ahead of myself and all posh. I reckon Fluffy can have fun pushing it about a bit until he gets it where he wants it. Unless it floats somewhere annoying. Then I’ll have to get creative and tie it down
Just another update. He’s had a little bit of food - so all fingers crossed that he was just being dramatic or protesting my taste in music or something.

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