Betta Color Change

Today I noticed that Mr. Moto (my blue veil-tail Betta) seems to change body color/pattern almost instantaneously and I began to wonder why this was happening.
Mr. Moto's bright coloring (left) & stripes and dull coloring (right)
The Analysis
I am pretty certain this change is not due to any drastic water changes since that has not really changed at all and his coloring changes so rapidly depending on him it seems. Sure a Betta or any fish for that matter could change colors due to poor water conditions and such but this does not seem to be Mr. Moto's case.

I also have not changed his diet, he loves to eat the Aqueon Color Enhancing Tropical Flakes and he will really make a pig of himself. He also prefers to eat flakes while they are still floating on top the water, which makes me wonder why Betta pellets are generally what is given to them via pet-store Betta food since they tend to sink to the bottom quickly.

Other people have suggested that these horizontal stripes are "stress stripes" but I really don't see that being the case because he'll change back and forth randomly which seems more mood based than anything. To me signals of fish stress would be...gasping for air, clamped or rapid movement of fins, irregular swim pattern, loss of appetite, pale coloring, etc.

I do wonder if it is either a mating or defense mechanism of camouflage that spikes these color changes. Or perhaps it is just a characteristic only shown in some Betta's as I have read that this is more likely to happen in iridescent colored Betta's. However, I'm not sure Mr. Moto is considered "iridescent". I am not sure why this would be mating related in his case as there are no other Betta's around for him to compete with or for.

The Answer
This color change seems to happen from when he gets excited to when he is in a sleeping stage. He turns a vibrant blue shade when he knows I am paying him attention and he may be getting food (his excited stage). However, when he is in a deep sleep his colors tone down and he develops a dull body color with dark stripes. He also has an in-between color variation of both during these mood changes where the top half of his body will be blue but there will be some dark striping coming through the middle lower half of his body. This would more than likely come in handy during mating courtship where the colors would be bright and vibrant (excitement stage again), and as a defense mechanism to camflouge when he is at a more vulnerable stage (ie. sleeping) and the colors would dull into his stripe stage.


Oscar the Tiger Oscar Cichlid

I recently helped a very good friend of mine start up a tank of his own since he had recently aquired a 10-gallon tank and he knew I was into fish so I could be of assistance. I was quick to learn he had a love for Oscar's, a fish I have yet to own myself...but obviously this is a fish that is said to require much more living space than he currently has in this tank. So...I couldn't sway him toward the smaller line of hearty tetras, guppies, neons, etc and...we decided to push our luck and try our hands at a Oscar regardless.
A few things I have learned and observed about Oscar's...

#1 They apparently grow fast, so his Oscar that is pushing 3 inches may soon get too big for his tank as they can grow over a foot in length.
#2 Their poop looks similar to many turtles I've seen (yes, a bit large) so a good filtration system would really help (however, his 10-20 bio filter probably isn't up for the job).
#3 They are said to be interior decorators...as their size does not stop them from up-rooting plants and moving heavy decor that you strategically placed in your tank.
#4 It's also said Oscar's will jump out of their tank, as for the reasons why...perhaps to see if the water is cleaner on the other side??? or lack their of, heh.
#5 They love to eat and will eat a variety of food however, vitamins B and C are very essential to their health.
#6 They will lay at 45 degree angles, this is mainly to catch prey by acting as if they are a bit dead.
#7 They tend to be more active at night (or perhaps just like dark places in general?).
#8 They can be aggresive and should be placed in a tank with similar sized fish, they will eat small fish.
#9 I have read it could take them a good week or so before they become more active in a new environment.

So, I had to think up some ways for my friends Oscar to survive in such a small environment...of course I'm always up for a little challenge when I'm limited in resources. So...here's the plan for now...

Our Tank Process

We started by cleaning out the old tank and filtration box (dish soap and a scotch brite goes a long way). Dumped out the old clown colored gravel, bought 2 bags of natural looking gravel (rinsed and placed into the clean tank). Had no clue what filter cartridge to buy because I couldn't tell the actual brand of the filter box, however I got lucky and found that the Whisper cartridges fit perfectly as a replacement for the old one we threw out. Also got him to buy some Seachem Prime water conditioner however, Petco did not have the right size of fish net available so...perhaps we need a trip to PetSmart later. We added roughly 8 gallons of luke warm water to the tank, a small amount of Seachem Prime and let the tank run for several hours (this isn't recommended by most aquarist but...the fish has survived thus far) with the Oscar in the bag on top the tank water. We also bought some pellet type cichlid food (recommended by the Petco employee who gave her 2 cents) which Oscar does enjoy eatting.

5 days later, my friend added a few items to the tank...Oscar's laying on the bottom right.
More to do later

Now that we've realized Oscar the Oscar likes to play dead and be inactive I figure we need to get some heavy peices of driftwood (which ugh...takes forever to soak out the tannins from my past experience). The driftwood will help with nitrite levels and such which will probably be a must for a fish like this in such a small environment. I also think this will help Oscar become more active as he'll have some places to hide and feel more secure rather than just a tank with an inch or so of gravel in it. I will also have to show my friend how to do bi-weekly water changes because a messy fish like this is going to need this done to stay healthy (around 2-3 gallons of water changed every other week) and also cleaning/replacing the filter cartridge. A gravel vacuum will also be of use because I'm sure this filter box will not get out everything from the tank so we'll probably need a 5 gallon bucket as well to help move things along. I read that Oscars don't like much water agitation...however I'm hoping that won't be the case because I feel the more water pressure falling from the filter box may be able to keep particles moving and being filtered through (however, that is just my logic whether it's accurate or not). All else fails...we'll go buy some water test strips and try something else.


New Guppies

Pregnant Guppy
The female guppy I bought appears to be a variation of White Tuxedo (correct me if I am perhaps wrong), however when under stress her black tux turns yellow with a black trim. The black appears at the very base of her fins and caudal as well, and her fins also have a bright blue line down the front (which you may not be able to see in the photo). She was pregnant when I bought her (which you can see from her photo above) so it will be interesting to see what her mystery fry will look like (since I don't know her mate) and she has recently given birth in my tank to over a dozen fry that I have found thus far. I had purchased a Blue Tuxedo male guppy at the same time (shown in the background behind the female)I bought the female but he turned out to have a case of fin rot and unfortunately didn't survive the week.
Moto & Marimo Ball
Moto my betta is still doing great and he loves to watch me while I'm laying in bed typing away on Guppy-Guide!