Betta and community tanks
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Betta and community tanks

This is a discussion on Betta and community tanks within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> OK, I know the drill, Bettas do not belong in a community tank for a variety of reasons... their fins being nipped and them ...

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Betta and community tanks
Old 01-15-2013, 10:07 AM   #1
JDM
 
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Betta and community tanks

OK, I know the drill, Bettas do not belong in a community tank for a variety of reasons... their fins being nipped and them being aggressive to other fish being the primary ones. Our Betta, Oscar, predates the aquarium acquisition so he is in the tank with the Barbs and soon the catfish. After many hours of watching the fish interact there has been zero sign of either primary issues. He feeds with the barbs, swims around them and them around him.

Although it is still early in the game, everything looks OK thus far.

I do see Oscar get terribly aggressive with his reflection. When I feed or work in the tank the light gets pushed to the rear of the tank so he sees his reflection as he passes directly under a bulb and he is illuminated intensely... fin display, gills out, he even bumps the glass.

My daughter knows that as long as Oscar works out we will not be getting any other fish other than the barbs and catfish as he would have a problem with anything else that might be a "display" fish. We're probably pushing the limit as to what he will live with at that point and we would rather him stay in the large tank.

So, she has asked about female Bettas. I understand that they are far more docile than a male and a group of them make a decent addition to a tank on their own... but what about a couple of female bettas with a male? For some reason I expect that he may get aggressive with other fish when there are females around, perhaps only sometimes, but sometimes is too often. I think mainly if any spawning takes place.

Has anyone had any experience with female betta additions with males either with or without other fish in the same tank?

Jeff.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
 
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A male will kill females, to breed them the females must be removed as soon as spawning is finished, and even so it is risky.

Females in a 'harem' can work, but it is by no means a guarantee. They are still agressive! I'd never recommend it, but if you do it you must have a means of removal if things don't work out.

Finding reliable information about Bettas is difficult, as there is mountains of incorrect information out there. It is quite scary actually to read some of the stuff people say about them. Like 1 gallon containers being perfectly fine, using salt for anything and everything under the sun as a cure all, not using heaters, etc etc.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
 
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I have seen cases of someone setting up a "sorority" (all female betta tank) and having one of the young females they bought turn out to be a plakat male. Sometimes things work out (because they were all introduced at the same time), and sometimes things work for a bit and then everything goes crazy.

But what you will probably run into if your introduce female bettas to your tank is that the male has already "claimed" it all as his territory. Any new betta he will see as an intruder and try to chase it off. This is why if you're keeping bettas in a community, they should be introduced last. They will see the fish as just parts of the territory and not intruders to be chased off.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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But what you will probably run into if your introduce female bettas to your tank is that the male has already "claimed" it all as his territory. Any new betta he will see as an intruder and try to chase it off. This is why if you're keeping bettas in a community, they should be introduced last. They will see the fish as just parts of the territory and not intruders to be chased off.
Funny, our Betta had the tank for a week before the barbs showed up, now the cats are likely this weekend. Can't do everything right. I suppose the whole fighting fish thing rotates around the fact that in the wild they "show" and the "loser" just moves on whereas in a tank, there is just nowhere else to go.

I think that I will suggest we skip the whole additional female betta idea and just enjoy the larger schools of cats and barbs.

We were considering adding the female bettas only because of the male already in the tank otherwise we would just pick another more appropriate fish.

Jeff.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:29 AM   #5
 
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I did have 5 female bettas and 1 male betta in a community aquarium with congo tetras, neons, rummynose, cherry barbs, rosy tetras, yoyos, a plec and CRS and they were so sedate! Didnt have a problem with any violence at all. Its was a 140ltr corner aquarium that was quite deep and heavily planted. I guess it wasnt to bad as there was plenty of placres for them to make territories. I wouldnt reccomend it tho but i guess you just have to be lucky with the personalities and betta deminas.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
 
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Can't do everything right. I suppose the whole fighting fish thing rotates around the fact that in the wild they "show" and the "loser" just moves on whereas in a tank, there is just nowhere else to go.
Good point that Jeff! And very true, you can't, but god knows your trying! And like you've said previously, first sign of trouble and you'll be whipping the betta out....but into a smaller tank... so IMO at least worth doing as your doing in the bigger one, seeing as its there already, even if there is a decent chance of a fight etc at some point. God knows in the wild etc a fight would happen and the fish would get over it and move on with life! And heck, you might even get lucky and never have the problem.... you wouldn't be the first!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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you might even get lucky and never have the problem.... you wouldn't be the first!
I take heart in the fact that everyone (not necessarily from here) that I talked to said that the betta would "kill everything in the tank" and one person who might actually know what he was talking about said that 95% of the time the betta is fine and 5% were a nightmare.

I happen to not be the kind of person who says "a million people can't be wrong". Yes they can because a million people probably have no experience, no research and no clue.

Jeff.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:07 PM   #8
 
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I agree totally Jeff. In my own fish world I was told by everyone here that max 3 in my puffer tank. Though when I spoke to the supplier, breeder and catcher of these fish from the wild today on the phone, he said 5 in my set up. He's had 30 years experience and I've gone with it. It may work. It may not. Everyone's personal experience will effects what they tell you and every situation is different so really has no experience in your situation. This doesn't make it irrelevant, but it also shouldn't mean don't take any risks. I've taken one today, as you have, and if it bites me in the ass, well I have to live with what I did I suppose, and I'm ok with that....

Last edited by Nilet699; 01-16-2013 at 01:13 PM..
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:26 PM   #9
 
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Hrmm, I think it's very important to realize that all things in life are not absolutes.

So on a question of "Can I put a Betta with..." ... there is no absolute "Yes you can" or "No you can not" answer. It depends 100% on the Betta, its environment, and the other fish. No two tanks are ever the same. No two fish are the same, even of the same species or even the same hatching.

Everything is a probability, just like most everything else in life. Can you have a tank full of male bettas where they all get along with each other? Absolutely. Is it likely to happen? Absolutely not ... but there is still that chance.

So when people ask for advice, I always take the side of caution. I wouldn't want people to take my advice, try it, and find out they have a problem on their hands and no way to correct it. Most people can't afford to rush out and buy a new tank and all the accessories to accommodate a fish that isn't getting along.

I've tried going down the road of mixing a Betta with other fish. Bronze Cory and Oto Catfish. Both relatively plain looking, absolutely peaceful, and completely sedate with the lights on. Yet that didn't stop the Betta from attacking them.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:29 PM   #10
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Hrmm, I think it's very important to realize that all things in life are not absolutes.
That is sort of my point. 95% of the people said absolutely not, they just didn't know that they didn't know. I will admit that given so many negative pieces of advice, whether right, wrong, based on some experience, knowledge or hearsay I probably wouldn't intentionally try to prove them wrong unless I had some "in" that was different... I have been known to do that. In this case, had I been starting with zero fish, I would not have chosen a Betta to put in the tank.

We have the diminutive Betta pitcher, bigger then a bowl, that he started in so as a short term fix that will suffice. My daughter has already looked into what she needs to buy in order to retank Oscar should it be necessary. At this point I think he will be fine but, worst case, he might have up to a week in the old pitcher.

Jeff.
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