Message Forums

faq | etiquette | register | my account | search | mailbox
# Message Forums
L# General
 L# Getting Started
  L# Need advice: Community tank with somewhat aggressive betta
 Post Reply  New Topic
SubscribeNeed advice: Community tank with somewhat aggressive betta
Small Fry
Posts: 2
Kudos: 3
Votes: 0
Registered: 06-Feb-2010
I'm just starting out a new 16 gallon tank. I added my male betta (who was previously in a tiny one gallon), and he's been absolutely thrilled with all the space. I've never seen such a hyperactive fish. But he doesn't seem too happy about sharing the space with the neighbors that I added later in the day. I added in 6 neon tetras, which he chases sometimes but doesn't get too aggressive with, along with an otocinclus catfish that he totally ignores. But I also added two sunset fire platy that he's been tormenting since they entered the tank. The two of them have pretty much resorted to playing dead at the bottom of the tank, seemingly submitting to the betta's dominance. At that point my betta seems to get bored and leave them alone. The two platy appear healthy, just terrified.

I suppose my question is: is it likely my betta will change its behavior towards the two platy, to the point where they'll at least become comfortable enough to move around freely? Or should I just remove the two platy and return them to the store before they die from the stress? I'm not sure if the betta is likely to calm down once he feels he's established his dominance. It seems like he has (since the platys have stopped moving around so much), but will he resume harassment once the platys get comfortable? I haven't noticed him taking his "battle stance" towards the platys after the first couple hours, which makes me somewhat optimistic.

I'm also thinking of adding one more type of fish (and perhaps subtracting the two platy). A few thoughts are:

- bloodfin tetras (3 or 4)
- cherry barbs (3 or 4)
- corydoras (are these best single, or in a small group?)
- dwarf gourami (1)

Any opinions as to what would be preferable with an apparently territorial betta?
Post InfoPosted 07-Feb-2010 05:31Profile PM Edit Report 
Small Fry with Ketchup
Posts: 6833
Kudos: 8324
Votes: 1570
Registered: 17-Apr-2003
female australia us-maryland
Male bettas fight with other male bettas. They will also attack any other fish with long fins.

A one gallon tank that is properly cared for is fine for a betta. Keeping up with water changes of course are imporant for any tank, more so the smaller the tank.

Personally I'd put the betta back in the 1. Then build up the tetra and cory schools (same species don't mix the corys).

You're going to need to keep a close eye on that tank, you're close to being overstocked with such a small tank.

You didn't mention anything about having the tank cycled. What are your water parameters? Ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte?


Post InfoPosted 07-Feb-2010 05:57Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
Small Fry
Posts: 2
Kudos: 3
Votes: 0
Registered: 06-Feb-2010
The water tests out good. I used Microbe-lift Special Blend which the shop said could effectively cycle the tank within a few days. Nitrate, nitrite, chlorine all test out minimal, water is soft with low alkalinity, neutral pH. Ammonia was about 0.5ppm but I put some "Ammonia Clear" in and that level should be lower now. Temperature 80 degrees at the moment, maybe too high? The neon tetras are looking perfectly healthy, quite active, but the two platy are basically sitting just above the gravel and not moving unless another fish disturbs them.

The betta seems pretty excited about having so much space, but I'm not sure if I want to dedicate this 16 gallon to him if he's going to make the lives of all the other fish difficult...

BTW, would bloodfin tetras and neon tetras school together?
Post InfoPosted 07-Feb-2010 06:57Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Mega Fish
Posts: 929
Kudos: 636
Registered: 13-Sep-2007
male usa us-california
when you are getting fish to create schools you have to stick to the same fish. there are some exceptions like cardinals and neon's but fish only swim with fish that look the same. so stick to neon's or you can try cardinals but its a gamble. My suggestion is put the betta back into the 1 gallon until the tank is decorated/planted and you get all the fish in there that you want. put the betta in last so his territory is reset with the addition of the fish. If he keeps up with the aggression then maybe get him a slightly larger tank... 5 gallons can be quite neat when well cared for and decorated well!

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 07-Feb-2010 09:08Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Fish Addict
Posts: 783
Kudos: 434
Votes: 211
Registered: 06-Mar-2004
female usa us-illinois
Some bettas are better off by themselves, because
1) they are bullies
2) they are scaredey cats

I actually have 1 of each- my F is a bully- I can't keep anything with her without her attacking it, my M is scared of his own shadow, snails, shrimp, and pygmy corys

Yours appears to be a bully, and I agree that the betta should move back to the 1 gal.

I'd add a few more neons, leave the platys be, and if you want corys- look at the smaller types, as they prefer a group 6min. Pygmy, hasbrous (sp?), skunk, panda.... the lil guys!
Post InfoPosted 07-Feb-2010 15:27Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
*Ultimate Fish Guru*
Posts: 6371
Kudos: 6918
Votes: 1542
Registered: 26-Apr-2003
male australia au-victoria
When I had a Betta in the 45Lt with the Cardinals he would often chase them but I never saw him make any contact with any of them.

I also believe some varieties can be extremely aggressive.


Near enough is not good enough, therefore good enough is not near enough, and only your best will do.
Post InfoPosted 08-Feb-2010 03:00Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Posts: 166
Kudos: 94
Registered: 03-Apr-2005
male usa us-california
I to would put the Betta back in the 1g tank. Ammonia clear I don't believe removes the ammonia it just turns it into a not so poisonous form, poisonous just the same though. I would do daily water changes to keep the ammonia under .5 ppm to properly cycle the tank. You also mentioned chlorine, there should be no chlorine at all. Did you use a dechorinater?
Post InfoPosted 08-Feb-2010 07:49Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Big Fish
Posts: 475
Kudos: 356
Votes: 4
Registered: 31-Aug-2004
female usa
EditedEdited 08-Feb-2010 21:18
I don't think your betta will "get used" to the other fish... he will get used to the neons although they will probably stay out of his way, and of course doesn't mind oto, but his aggression towards the platys is instinctual and he will probably eventually kill them by biting their fins off, as well as anything else that looks enough like another betta. You could either move him back to 1g (I think you could have oto in there too if you change the water enough), or only stock fish that are radically different looking from the betta, because his instinct is triggered only if he thinks he's got competition. Ever thought about having a school of otos? They are extra cute with buddies around! also I think coolie loaches would be good in there. I think a betta, a school of neons, and a school of otos would be great! I have male wild-type guppies with my betta, although fancy guppies would be a "no." I'm pretty sure you can probably house your betta with african dwarf frogs as well as inverts like shrimp. Never tried it, but I would be willing to bet that you could get away with cherry barbs and your betta would probably think they were too small to bother with. definitely don't try to put a gourami in there, unless you want to witness a fight to the death.
Post InfoPosted 08-Feb-2010 21:16Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
Posts: 50
Kudos: 49
Votes: 1
Registered: 12-Sep-2009
male usa us-california
EditedEdited 09-Feb-2010 04:11
well hes probly more agressive to the platys due to the fact that their colors are bright and showy i would personally put him back in the 1 gallon and try to avoid over stocking it my fish are 4 guppies 2 mollies and 2 platys and 1 male betta it all depends on the persinality of the fish my male is non-agressive and actually seems to play with the other fish but not attack but its probly cuz of your playts bright colors that he does that

>>>>>>a learning experience as an aquarist can be fun but you must be ready to take and obey advice and criticism but most of all be patient<<<<<<<
Post InfoPosted 09-Feb-2010 04:09Profile Homepage AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
Post Reply  New Topic
Jump to: 

The views expressed on this page are the implied opinions of their respective authors.
Under no circumstances do the comments on this page represent the opinions of the staff of Forums, version 11.0
Mazeguy Smilies