Why is my female betta attacking my phantom tetra?
I got a brand-new phantom tetra today, and I put it in a 5-gallon tank with my normally non-aggressive female betta. She had a fish with her up until it died a few days ago. When I put the phantom tetra in, she was abnormally aggressive, chasing it around the tank and biting its fins, to the point of making the phantom tetra literally JUMP OUT THE TANK. I had to save him. I quarantined him for now.
The thing is, my female betta usually only attacks dead/dying fish. Do you think something is wrong with the phantom tetra?
I'm guessing here - but since tetras should be kept in groups, I'm sure the tetra puts off something that is fearful/anxious and the Betta picks up on that and treats it in kind.
I really have no clue, but Betta's are likely pretty territorial and perhaps in a small tank, you're going to see that type of behavior toward schooling fish
I'd be curious what others say.
Yeah, for the most part I agree with Gwen.
That is an aweful small tank to have multiple fish like that in (granted I have done it successfully, and I dont know how experienced you are regarding aquaria so I cant say if you have prior experience with dealing with an overstocked small tank). Not to mention, when her old mate died, she got the whole tank to herself and then you introduced a new fish into her territory. Not to mention bettas are a semi-aggressive fish (even the females). And yes, the tetra should be in a group of 5-6 or more as it feels safe and secure that way, and when it doesnt feel safe or secure it stresses, which weakens the immune system making the fish vulnerable to disease and illness and/or eventual death.
Sounds like your betta has decided she no longer wants to share her space with anyone. I'd either keep her solo or down the road try introducing her (last) to a community set up of a larger tank with non flashy and non flowing tailed fish. She needs her space/territory.
Hope this helps.
I agree with both responses. Tetras are schooling fish, and bettas are at least semi-aggressive, sometimes more than "semi" aggressive. I was wondering if the fish she has shared with before was in the tank before she was? If so, the other fish had the "home field advantage," so to speak. This time the betta does, and she apparently doesn't want to share.
On another website's list of fish who are compatible tankmates for bettas, it says that female bettas are more likely than male bettas to attack neon tetras. Maybe this is true with other types of tetras, also.
Edit: Although this is probably unrelated to why your betta attacked the new fish, it is something to think about. By putting a "brand new" fish in with your betta, you have exposed her to any bacteria, fungus, virus, or parasites that the tetra might have. New fish really should be quarantined before putting them in with other fish. Since the tetra is now in quarantine anyway, I'd keep it separate from other fish not only until it heals, but until you know for sure that the tetra is healthy. Then to keep it healthy, it really needs to be with others of it's kind.
As others have correctly indicated, there is insufficient room in a 5g for any tetra which must be in groups. And I agree that Betta are best as solitary fish; a group of female Betta sometimes works with other fish in larger tanks, but a 5g is limiting this.
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