acclimating your betta 

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good things come to those who wait! :)  

 

So you just got a new betta. You purchased it at the pet store, or ordered it from a breeder, 
and now you are taking it home with you, in a small bag (or a cup).

Did you know that your betta's first day at home is the most critical one? And that you can easily kill your fish by initially mishandling him?

That is why I decided to create this page. Read, learn and kill bettas no more...


u Transporting your bettas. 

Try to take with you a small box (small coolers work great!!) to place the bagged betta(s) in. Some newspapers can be used to keep the bag(s) from moving around inside the box. Once the bags are secured, place the box or cooler in your car on the floor, or have your passenger keep them on their lap. Keep away from direct sunlight or A/C vents. The big NONO is to stop along the way and run some errands while you are at it. You just can't do that. The temperature in a car fluctuates greatly and rapidly. Park it in the sun for a miserable few minutes and your bettas might turn into fish soup >:(( . Park it in the cold and they might get hypothermia. So for God's sake, just drive home, straight home, you'll do your Christmas shopping later!!! LOL


u
Control your impulse!! 

Of course, if you are as impatient as I am, you probably are dying to see your new bettas swimming in their new tanks/jar. You would just looOOooove to just dump them right in there. Behold! Impatience can kill. So control your impulses, don't be selfish and think about your betta's well being first. After all, you will have months and hopefully a couple of years to admire him in his new tank/jar, but only 24 hrs to acclimate him properly. So do the job right :). TAKE THE TIME NECESSARY to do the transition smoothly. Don't rush it. Fish are EXTREMELY sensitive to  water temperature  or water quality changes and any abrupt changes will cause dramatic stress for the fishes. Stress will in terms lowers their immune system which results in your bettas getting sick and possibly dying. Get the picture? This is serious business so deal with it accordingly. I have often taken up to 24hrs to ease a betta into my water. This is truly time well spent :).

 

u   Float the bags first. 

Do not open them up yet. Float each bag in the tank/jar that will house that specific betta. Floating the bags will allow the temperature inside the bag to slowly even out with the temp in your tank. Remember that during transport, the water inside those bags could have gotten a lot hotter, or colder. Bettas can't take off their jackets or put on a coat. They basically are (if you had not noticed) pretty naked. So float their bags for about an hour first, to avoid a shock when they are transferred.
 



fish transport.JPG (146658 bytes)
whether packed in bags or in small cups, 
bettas are best kept in a box for transport.

 

  LABS meeting 2 007.jpg (109477 bytes)
so... what do I do with that? :)

 

u Do the mixing game.

OK, so now the temperatures have evened out. What next? Open the bags, don't pop them!! Just gently cut the top off and add a tiny little bit of your water to the betta's bag's water. Mr. Betta is to be gently marinated in his bag this way for the next few hours, so it is not time to release him yet!! I mean it!!  I usually first add about 10% of my water. Let the bag float (be careful that it doesn't sink!) again for about 30 min. You can use a clothe pin to attach the bag to the side of your tank, or close the tank lid on the edge of the top of the bag, that works OK too. Anyways, you have to keep adding small amounts of your water (10% is good) every 30 min, VERY gradually, to the bag. I cannot stress enough just how IMPORTANT this is. Especially if the water the betta came in is radically different (PH value and hardness) from yours!!  Do it again, and again. I have sometimes taken as long as 24 hrs to acclimate bettas! I have learned over the years that being impatient really doesn't pay off with bettas, so I really take my time. The more the difference between my water quality and the original water the betta was kept in, the more time I take. Say that betta was raised in water with a PH of 6.2 and your city water has a PH that tends to always bounce back up to 7.8, that is a HUGE difference for any fish and by mixing water gradually you are basically slowly raising the PH value from 6.2 to 7.8. Now you see why you should listen to mother? LOL.  More often though, about 2 to 6 hours will suffice. It always helps to either ask the breeder what water PH and hardness the betta was raised in, or to test the water yourself. Then compare results with your water and the more the difference the longer you should take. Anyway, when you feel that the water in the bag is now mostly yours and that the betta has marinated for at least 30 min since you last added water, THEN and only then can you proceed to the next step. 

 

u Good things come to those who wait. 

Yes!!! You have done it!! You have successfully repressed your evil impatience and gave your betta a chance to smoothly acclimate to his new water (for more on water chemistry and how it affects bettas, and how to provide the best water possible for your betta see water requirements). Now go for it, you have my blessings (and gained my unconditional respect ;) ). Let the betta out of his bag and gently release him into his new home. And notice the look of gratitude on his face!! :))

I hope this will save many of your future bettas!