TOPIC: overfeeding, feeding bettas

Q: Hey - I have 2 questions.  I recently got a Male Betta and gave him a tank to live in (2 gallons).  Why does he spend like 85% of the day swimming up and down a corner of the tank really fast?  Secondly, I try to feed him, but the food falls b4 he gets interested, and i don't ever know if he's eatin...water is cloudy.

above question submitted by Chris, Colonial Heights - Virginia

Sounds like a new mission for Splendenswoman!!! Quick, let me go to the Betta Jar (equivalent of the Bat Cave) and slip into my super hero outfit. Shall I describe it to you? It is sleek, sexy (makes me look a few pounds thinner than I really am hehehehe) and has a cool scale pattern on the rubbery material. I especially like the mask, complete with goggles and a little thing at the top made to look like a betta top fin. Gets a bit in the way when I run, jump and swim but hey, you just can mess with the superhero cool costume look :).

Looks like Chris is in a bit of trouble with his new betta. Shhhhhooosh off I go.

:)

OK, so I am in a good mood today (as opposed to??) sue me :). I am about to take off for 5 days to attend a huge swing event in Vegas. Enough to put anyone in a super good mood!! But I have one last mission before I leave: Saving Chris' betta :). So hang in there Chris here comes Splendenswoman!

Wooooooosh, POAW! BANG! (Guess I really do deserve that vacation after all! LOL) (and need it ;P )

Let's tackle the most important issue here: Feeding your fish.

Fish ownership duties consist basically of two things: Feeding and cleaning your fish. While you own your fish, that is basically all you will be doing: Feeding it and cleaning it. And then feeding it and cleaning it. And then ... Well, you get the point. Cleaning could take a whole page in itself for it is be a pretty exact science with little room for error (or else there goes your betta belly up). However when it comes to feeding, most people feel it is pretty foolproof: Buy any fish food, pop container open, grab food, toss food in tank, close container. Done. Seems easy enough, no? I mean, even your retarded cousin could handle that one, couldn't he?

Well, here is a reality check for all of you. Feeding your betta is not all that simple. As a matter of fact, it is quite a bit more involving than that. It is vital to understand how to do it right because not doing it right can have fast and ever so drastic repercussions on your betta's health (and consequently, your sanity). For there is nothing more stressful than dealing with a sick fish, especially one that does not speak English. So let's do it right, the little once a day feeding ritual, and save ourselves from major disaster.  Here is the 411 on feeding your betta THE RIGHT WAY.

  • rule #1: select the proper food! Bettas are picky eaters and not just anything will do. Feeding cheap food or food that is not liked by bettas will results in your betta not eating or spitting out most of his food, hence food will fall and rot and turn into mush in the water. Next thing you know ammonia and nitrite levels are up the roof (both are very bad for Mr. Betta - they are the great enemies Splendenswoman has to battle on a daily basis). Plus, harmful bacteria blossoms, multiplies and soon becomes a real army ready to devour your fish alive!!! I recommend all betta owners who love their bettas to feed frozen brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms. Take my word for it. 

  • rule #2: don't overfeed! Bettas can be real piglets and can eat as much as their belly can stretch. And I have come to find out that betta bellies can stretch quite a bit!! LOL. Overfeeding your betta is bad. Just because he will eat all you toss in there does not mean you should toss in there all that he can eat. If your betta bares a striking resemblance to Buddha after his meal, then you have a problem. See my betta food page to get a visual reference of what is acceptable in terms of belly size after a meal for a betta, and dose your meals accordingly!! Even if the fish ate all you give him, he will produce so much more waist when overfed and the pollution level of the jar he is in will go beyond safe range. Remember: Everything that goes in his mouth gotta come out somehow, somewhere ;). And in the jar, it sits, and pollutes your betta's home. Also overfed bettas have a bad tendency to develop swimbladder problems, and start floating on their side, which oftentimes is irreversible :(((((.

  • rule #3: don't ever ever ever leave uneaten food in the tank/jar! Once your betta is done eating, you MUST remove ALL uneaten left over food. If you do not remove it, it will promptly rot and cause havoc in the tank. Remember our enemies, Mr. Ammonia, Miss Nitrite and their army of bacteria? They are waiting for a chance like this one to kill kill kill your betta! (YIKES!!). And trust that they will grab the chance, pronto. So once again let me say this to you: YOU CANNOT MUST NOT SHALL NOT LEAVE UNEATEN FOOD IN THE BETTA JAR/TANK. Period. So it only takes a half a brain to figure out that feeding carefully is preferable to having to roll up your sleeves and taking a dip in your tank's water to remove the left over food each time you feed! duh.

The way I go about feeding my fish is I drop a tiny bit of food (the value of 6 frozen brine shrimp), watch the betta eat it ALL and then look at belly, if it looks the same as it did before I fed, I will throw a few morsels more in there and let Mr. Betta go to town hehehehe. But always I watch and make sure to make my second portion smaller than the first. I watch the belly again and if it has that "just ate enough but did not eat too much" look to it, then I move on to the next betta. You cold call it "progressive feeding" :).

Now you said you do not know if the betta is eating. A betta who wants the food will go after it, even if it has sunk. So my first assumption is that your fish does not care for your food. Go get the proper food I recommended and try my above feeding method. Watch the betta and make sure you have his attention before dropping the food in the tank, let him see the food, get it close to his face from the outside (other side of the glass), then let him come up to check out what it is and THEN drop food in front of his nose. He should go for it right away, but if not, watch where the food sinks, and what the betta does. If after 20 min he still has not eaten the food, remove it. (note: If your betta will not eat above recommended food after 1 week of trying it daily, then your betta is sick). With this system, your water shall never become cloudy that way. A water that is cloudy means that our enemies have taken over. YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR BETTA'S WATER THEN! Like, yesterday. And if you now follow Splendenswoman's lead,  this problem will not develop again :)).

Well, before I Wooooooooooosh out of here, let me say that if your betta swims up and down really fast you should COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! A perky, swimming all over the place betta is a happy healthy betta! And that's the only kind of betta we want :)). And yes, bettas tend to stick to a pattern and may do it over and over again, that is fine, they are funny that way, just don't try to understand ;).

I hope that with the help of Splendenswoman, you will defeat your enemies and that Mr. Betta and you will be victorious!

WOOOOoooooooooOOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHHHH

(flying out the window in my oh so hot superbettahero costume)

 

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