Betta attacking Molly - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-06-2012, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Betta attacking Molly

Hello all, I am having an issue I hope you all can help with. I started a tank with some safe start and a male betta. Today I took some water to petco to have it tested and everything looked okay as far as cycling goes so I added a balloon molly

The problem is, my betta is chasing down my molly. I feel terrible! Luckily the molly seems faster than my betta but it's still sad. I just rent a room so getting another tank is not an option. What should I do? Should I just let them tuss it out or take the molly back right away? Will a pet store even take returns? I was thinking maybe try getting a second molly to deter the fighting.

The molly is really dumb, he doesn't want to fight but he keeps swimming right back to the betta after getting chased...
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-06-2012, 08:26 PM
First I would return the molly Betas aren't really community fish for that exact reason. What size tank do you have? If it's larger than 10 gallons another option would be to return the beta and keep the molly. Once you've decided which you want to keep stop buying fish and let the tank cycle. Anymore and it will completely screw up the cycle because there won't be enough bacteria and you'll lose a lot of fish.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-06-2012, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Well as I said in my original post, the tank is cycled. It has been running for a month and before considering the molly I had some of my tank water tested. Does petco take live fish back as returns?

Oh, it's a five gallon to answer your question :P

From what I read before buying my tank bettas usually only fight other male bettas or similar looking fish. Is that not true? Thanks for the help!

Last edited by dburns865; 04-06-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-06-2012, 08:33 PM
Oh ok I misunderstood I thought you meant you just set up the tank with safe start thinking it'd cycle it fast and put a beta in. If the tanks cycled than adding a couple more fish shouldn't be an issue. What size is the tank? I'm also not sure if Petco takes fish back I've never dealt with them before.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-06-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Oh okay, I see where you misunderstood haha sorry about that. I tried to do as much research as possible so I knew about cycling for a month but I am still new to this so I appreciate the help. It is a five gallon, so those two should be within the inch per gallon rule.

Well thank you, he seems to be calming down a bit but I may just bring the betta back. The balloon molly is so sweet, I'd feel terrible throwing him back into the crowded tank at petco.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-06-2012, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Oh! There are also a couple ghost shrimp for cleanup and he never bothers them. That is why I was surprised he attacked the molly. Part of why I put the shrimp in there was to test how aggressive he is.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-07-2012, 01:19 AM
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I would return the molly. Generally it's not a good idea to try to keep betta with any other fish in a tank smaller than 10 gallons. The shrimp will be perfectly fine for him, but the molly is too much. He attacked the molly because he perceived it as invading his space. Also make sure that your betta tank is heated as they like temps between 78F and 82F.


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post #8 of 8 Old 04-07-2012, 10:46 AM
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I agree, please return the molly. For one thing, a 5g tank is much too small for any molly, they need at least a 20g (24-inch length, though 20 long at 30-inch is better) but even that is crowding a molly so a 3-foot tank is best. This is not a small fish--if it is healthy. Check the info in our profile--click the shaded name Common Molly.

And second, as mentioned, a male Betta is really a stand-alone fish, and a 5g is fine for a Betta with some floating plants. In such a small space a male Betta is almost guaranteed to attack other fish.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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