Aquatic: Beta Fish
submitted by Rebecca Neeley of Methodist Healthcare, Skilled Nursing
Facility on February 25, 2002
Size: 1:1 In-Room Therapy
Equipment: Male Beta Fish;clear
glass bowl or vase;colorful flat floral marbles;small artificial
aquarium plant; Stresscoat Water Conditioner;aquarium salt;Aquarisol
drops(guards against ick infection);small cart for transport
of fish; Rubbermaid rubber shelf-lining to put on top of cart
for non-slip surface;small fish net.
Objective: Multiple outcomes
that may be expected: 1) Lowered blood pressure; 2) decrease
in depression 3)reminiscences of animals that patient may have
had in the past
Description: Beta fish are
also called "Siamese Fighting Fish"; for this reason
if you have more than one they MUST be kept in individual containers
or they will fight and kill each other, BUT---they are very
"socially oriented"little fellows with people and
for this reason are perfect to use for animal-assisted therapy.
;I have even taught mine to jump up and take a piece of food
off of my finger,and my patients think that is SOOO GREAT! They
see in color, which sometimes makes it possible to get their
attention with certain colorful objects. They are very inquisitive
and constantly interested in what is going on around them!
The facilitation of the activity is quite simple...once
you have "Beta" in his new home just put him on the
cart and take off for room visitation, but there are a few things
you need to know about putting the bowl together and the care
Always clean bowl with WATER ONLY---NO SOAPS!!!
Just use a soft Handi-Wipeor washcloth to wipe off the residue
on inside of bowl and rinse well. Next, place artificial plant
in bowl, then add marbles. Next, fill bowl with tap water that
is between 70-80 degrees F (it is a good idea to purchase an
aquarium thermometer). Add appropriate amount of Stresscoat
according to package directions---this is CRUCIAL because this
product removes the chlorine from the tap water, and if you
are unsure of using enough, it is OK to use more...it won't
hurt and might even be beneficial since different water supplies
have different chlorination levels. As simple preventatives
I also add a tsp. of Aquarium salt to water...this helps Beta's
gills function more effectively, and I add a few drops of Aquarisol
to guard against ICH. After all has been added to water, place
Beta in bowl. Change water once a week. Wherever you plan to
keep Beta, it should be in a draft-free location and not in
direct sunlight; fish are very sensitive to sudden temperature
changes and will get sick very quickly if subjected to extremes.
I feed my Betas twice a day, 7-8 pellets at a time, but you
might want to start out with less and see how much your individual
fish wants to eat. This may sound like alot of trouble, but
it really isn't!
Good luck and happy aquatic therapy!