My New Betta Fish is Skittish

Q: SB wrote,

I just brought home a new betta last night and he is acting skittish when I approach his bowl. Is there something I can do to keep him calm?

A: Adjusting to a new tank can be stressful for some bettas. To help ease the transition you can place your betta in a quiet, low traffic area of your home while he is getting used to his new set up. Bettas don’t hear the same way you and I do but they are able to feel vibrations so try to avoid the thumping of stereo base or similar low vibrations if your betta appears to be skittish. If his aquarium is in a permanent location and can’t be easily moved you can wrap the glass in a towel for the first day or so until he gets used to things. Bettas also love plants and caves. Not only are they an interesting addition to your tank but they offer your betta a sense of security. Help your betta feel protected in his first few days and soon he will be greeting you at the glass, wiggling his tail and begging for food with the rest of them.

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Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

6 Comments for this entry

  1. mrche says:

    I just got a male betta fish yesterday, and he’s chillin on my desk as we speak. (His name is Ralph.)

    I’ve got a 1/2 gallon bowl, and water about 2 inches from the top. Some gravel at the bottom, hopeing to get a little plastic plant soon.

    He seems to swim around alot, check out the bottom of the bowl, but usually somewhere around the middle, closer to the top. A lot of the times he stares into the glass and kind of wiggles back and forth with his face near the glass (sometimes it appears rather vicious). Is this normal, or is he hurting himself? I’m not sure. There’s some bubbles at the top of the water that the guy at the pet store said was a good sign.

    I was also told that they like to attack their reflections, or objects that they see around them.

    Could you explain this a bit to me?

  2. Crissy says:

    Since the betta is also known as the siamese fighting fish, if he sees another betta (hence his own reflection) he will get in fighting mode.

    Those bubbles do mean he is happy. I heard that means they are nesting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Not so much a comment but a question. My Betta "Flash Gordon" has been in a round bowl for a few weeks (new owner) but I am going on vacation and put him in a hexagon container with filter so hubby wouldn't have to clean tank. Now he is bowed up all the time . Is this harmful for him? He is so beautiful to watch. I don't want to harm him.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had gotten a male betta fish yesterday!!! And I had a female betta for a long time I was hopping to breed them!
    I had gotten all of stuff set up that I need.
    Now I put in the female and the male just go's in to fighting mode. So does the female. I tried to turn of the light but they still go. I even tried to put then in a dark quite room and I came back they were still the same. What should I do?

  5. Julie says:

    Mrche, your betta is fine. The bubbles at the top are called a bubble nest. A bubble nest means that your betta is happy with his envoirment. Is your betta puffing out his cheeks? (otherwise known as flaring.) If so you should buy him freshwater fish stress medicine. Hope I helped, Julie

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