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FAQs on Betta Compatibility 2

Related Articles: Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting FishBetta Systems, Betta Diseases,

Related FAQs:  Betta Compatibility 1, Bettas in General, Betta Behavior, Betta System, Betta Feeding, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

Mmm, yes, it can be done... up to certain sizes. Betta splendens of both sexes crammed together in one system.

With females?
With small Tetras?
Not always. Not continuously Not continuously
For food or to be chewed by them?
New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

An angel with female Bettas      11/30/15
Would one small angelfish work in a 20 gallon tall. The ones here at the lfs are farm bred and only make it to 4 inches including fins. The tank has 3 female Bettas. Are female Bettas major fin nippers? Thank you
<... these questions are answered, archived on WWM. BobF> 

Re: Tropical/Salt Mix Tank???      3/4/15
I am under the assumption that the female Bettas would definitely live with the angelfish without problems(?) Is this correct?
<"Definitely" isn't a good word to use in biology! There are always exceptions. But yes, more often than not, in a planted tank female Bettas will generally coexist with community fish, including (farmed) Angels. Have done it myself. The female Bettas will expect some floating plants though, to use as places to feed and rest. They're slow-moving and struggle in
sparsely planted tanks when kept alongside active tankmates. A clump of floating Indian Fern would do the job nicely. Otherwise female Bettas tend to get pushed around, hang around in just one corner, and can't rest near the surface easily, which is dangerous for them because they must be able to breathe air periodically.>
Thank you for your help and advice
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Tank mates - Betta with turquoise rainbows?      12/20/14
I know you have "rules" about writing questions, but I didn't find them so hopefully I don't get in trouble!
<You're doing fine>
I have had a 90 gallon tank set up for 2.5 years. I have a nexx API filter that is set up under the tank, with two of the canisters on it (not sure of their size or how else to describe them). The filter has a relatively strong flow i think, and I have an aerator and two heaters. There are a few plastic plants and other decorations. The fish seem happy - bristle nose Pleco (4 years old) and 6 turquoise rainbows (most at 2.5 years old, a couple are older). I like the simple life in my tank. I keep meaning to get a few more adult turquoise rainbows, and I will sometime soon, ensuring equal amounts male and female if possible.
<Better to have a surplus of females>

My question is, could I safely add one Betta splendens? Will it be fine living with the school and the fast flowing water? I feel it could find space away from the flow in this large tank, just not sure if they explore all levels of the tank. I did read the Betta articles on the site, but tank mate info isn't clear.
<Mmm; not a good choice here on the basis of the size of the system... in concert w/ the Rainbows being very eager eaters, I fear that your Betta will go hungry. You could regularly net it, move it to a floating trap of sorts and feed it there... but...
I don't feel particularly inclined to add other fish. Thought about a few live bearers but I honestly just like the rainbows. Any other single fish (or group of 3 or so) that would be a good addition that are interesting or colorful? I prefer happy, safe fish not a stressed community.
Thank you very much
Ontario, Canada
<Do see the Rainbowfish Comp. FAQs for other ideas. There are better choices in the way of Anabantoids here.
Bob Fenner>
re: Tank mates - Betta with turquoise rainbows?      12/20/14

I appreciate it, thanks a bunch.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Platies and Betta fish
Will adult platies bully Betta fish?       12/12/14
<Not normally, but many/most community fish have been reported to peck at Betta's fins at some time or another.>
Will Betta fish kill adult platy fish?
<Unlikely. But Platies like cool water, which Bettas don't, so why would you mix them?>
Thank you.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
re: Platies and Betta fish       12/12/14

Thank you Neale! :) In answer to your question. Well, I had some baby platies born. It was inevitable with so man platies in my other tank. I cannot rehome the babies and I know little about shipping the babies. It would take weeks to develop the babies enough to adopt them out. I have one empty 6 gallon tank, but more than 6 platy fry. And more are sure to come.
I have no one interested in taking them off my hands in my area either presently.
So I tried to place some of the babies in the Betta's tank in hopes Jack, my Betta male, would eat them, as a form of population control. He ate one I gave to him that had accidentally been killed while I was moving it. It got stuck on my hand and I could not see it until it was too late. Jack ate this one. The other 6-7 babies he tried to eat, but they were too fast and
got away. There are also 7 ghost shrimp in Jack's tank. They too tried to catch the babies with no success. Today is day 2 that they are still alive in the tank. I feed the babies micro pellets so they will not starve. But if the babies wind up surviving in the tank, I was just wondering if the 2 species of Betta and platy would get along. You answered that question
<Good to know. In the situation, if these are surplus fry used as much for live food as anything else, then you have nothing to lose. But be aware of the potential risks.>
Other forms of population control I have used with my goldfish in my pond involves using the fry as plant food. Plants evidently love nutrients from dead fish. This is my backup plan for my too numerous to keep platy fry.
<Perhaps rehome the adult males ASAP, and after a while, the females will stop releasing fry.>
These methods seem cruel, but they are the only methods I have available right now to control the platy population.
Also, in my larger tank I got in 4 Otocinclus today to keep my other Otocinclus company. Which brings their number up to 5. I put some parboiled zucchini with the outer skin removed in the tank for them. I also added 2 pieces of Malayan driftwood in the tank for the Otocinclus today. The wood has been cured and does not float. And I rinsed it off before adding it to
the tank. The Otocinclus seem happy, actively swimming about from time to time. Even the Otocinclus I have had for 1 and a half weeks seems more active now.
Anyway, there are all the updates I have to talk about. Thank you again!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

My snail :( (in)comp. w/ Bettas, tropicals      10/27/14
<Hello, Felicia!>
So originally I bought a Betta for my office at work.
<In a filtered, heated aquarium, I trust.
I mention this because a lot of the "executive" aquaria are too small (less than 5 gallons), too cold (need to be heated to 25 C/77 F), and too dirty (need a filter, preferably a biological filter with a gentle current).>
I wanted to give him a mate so I received a golden apple snail.
<Oh dear. Apple Snails aren't good choices for life with aquarium fish
, having somewhat different requirements and in all honesty not living that long kept with fish. Usually what happens is the fish (Bettas included) peck at the antennae and breathing tube (siphon) on the front of the snail.
Since Apple Snails need these organs, damage to them causes stress, and more often than not the poor snail ends up dead. I'm sure there's the odd exception out there, but unless you have another aquarium you can move fish or snail too if things go wrong, it's not worth the gamble.>
My snail (White Shadow) was flourishing and very active, but my Betta (Mr. Limpet) started losing his color and hiding in a plant I later found out was hurting him.
<Does not compute. By which I mean, plants don't hurt Bettas. Quite the reverse. Unless you've got some sort of mutant Venus' Fly Trap, your Betta will appreciate floating plants of all sorts, such as Indian Fern. These
provide shade and shelter, as well as somewhere to rest.>
So I removed all harmful plants and purchased a smaller tank for my snail, as well as another snail to keep him company.
<Can I just state something up front before we get bogged down in anthropomorphising pet fish too much -- Bettas don't want company. They don't need company. They're solitary, territorial fish that view other fish
as either (a) predators, (b) competitors, (c) potential mates, or (d) food. There is no (e) friends on this list because Bettas aren't social. Adding companions is at best pointless and at worse a source of problems, including stress on the poor Betta which physically and psychologically just isn't adapted to living with tankmates. We've bred them with super-long fins that make swimming difficult, so feeding and escaping are
hard, yet they still have this antipathy towards other fish, especially ones that look like Bettas. What Bettas do want are (a) space, (b) heat, and (c) clean, filtered water. Make sense? Virtually all problems with Bettas come down to not doing these. Give them an aquarium 4-5 gallons in size, with a heater than keeps the temperature around 25 C/77 F, and install a small biological filter, and they're quite easy to keep.>
I washed everything really well and set up my tank for my snails (Whiplash and White Shadow) then I went home for the weekend. I came in this morning and found them both floating :( Whiplash smelled horrid and was almost all the way out of his shell, and White shadow was partially exposed.
<Indeed, dead snail is a unique smell!>
When I removed White Shadow he seemed to pull back into his shell but it was very slow, same as with coming back out. So I washed everything again and I removed Whiplash (May he RIP) and I put White Shadow back into it.
<Do a decent water change, check the ammonia or nitrite levels, check the filter is running and not blocked with snail corpse. If ammonia or nitrite aren't zero, be ready to do a succession of daily water changes, 25% each
Now it is still floating, it is coming out of his shell but I don't see any of its antennas moving and he is just floating. Did I make a mistake in thinking he was still alive?
<Dead snails smell... by all means remove to a separate container of dechlorinated water and see what happens. Provided the water isn't too cold (below 18 C/64 F is lethal for Apple Snails) you should be able to tell if he's dead or alive.>
He didn't smell bad when I had him out of the water.
Please help,
<Would have you review Bob F's writing on Bettas generally, here:
And also our general FAQs on Apple Snails, starting here and following the links:
There's a good Apple Snail website too, called AppleSnail.net you may find rewarding. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My snail :(      10/27/14
Hello Neale,
Thanks for the speedy response! My tank is not heated nor is it filtered.
<Yikes! Both essential
. Not negotiable. Bettas are tropical fish, so unless your office happens to be somewhere like Singapore and doesn't have air conditioning, then the water is too cold. North American and Europe for example are not tropical, hence Bettas are sold as "tropical fish" for "tropical fish tanks".>
I have a little heater I have at home I could bring in.
<Good call.>
my single Betta lives in a 2.5 gallon tank (I'm not allowed to have bigger in my office)
<Ah, now things become clearer. Too much livestock in too little water.
Remember, anything smaller than 3 gallons is basically a bucket, and if you understand that, you'll realise adding lots of creatures isn't a good idea.>
and since I removed everything he is doing so much better. I should also clarify that the plant that was harming him was a hard plastic plant that didn't like to stay flared out. Now Mr. Limpet has two little silk plants he can hide in and a castle he loves sleeping in.
And I am still unsure about White Shadow. He has come out further to where I can see his antenna...but he is still floating so I'm not sure if he is coming out on his own, or falling out. He still doesn't smell though.
<Cheers, Neale.>
e: My snail :(      10/27/14
Hello Neale,
I will bring in my heater from home. I can't do anything about the filter, but now that I know I should I will be changing the water diligently.
<Realistically, 10-25% daily if at all possible. Do bear in mind the "Bettas in jars" you hear about are kept in heated fish rooms where the breeder changes almost all the water in each jar every day, perhaps more
often than that. Such fishkeeping is very labour intensive, hence filters being practically essential.>
White Shadow moved so I am no longer worried. Thank you for your information and your site is a huge help :)
<Glad to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Tank stocking     6/14/14
How many Betta fish could I fit into a 3 gallon tank?
<Three-fifths of a Betta, in my opinion. I would not bother keeping a Betta in less an aquarium smaller than 5 gallons. What's the point trying? Ah, can I take a moment here to direct you to the best $6 you're likely to spend this weekend:
Written by WWM site owner Bob Fenner, this is everything you need to know, summarised, and long term, going to save you all kinds of money dealing
with sick Bettas or throwing away useless plastic junk you didn't need.>
Thank you.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: Betta Tank stocking     6/14/14

Thank you Neale.
<And again! Welcome.>
I have decided to take some advice Neale gave to me about stocking my 3
gallon Betta fish tank. I decided to place 3 ghost shrimp in the tank with
my Betta fish.
Will zeolite hurt freshwater shrimp? Will it hurt marine shrimp? (Odd place
to ask about that, but I am curious about that too.)
<Zeolite is not toxic. However, it will release any ammonia it has
previously absorbed as salinity goes up. Hence, zeolite is recharged in
salty water and useless in marine tanks.>
Also, will the shrimp eat those thin little hitchhiker snails found on
aquatic plants and their eggs?
Will the shrimp and the Betta get along?
<Bettas will eat bite-sized shrimps.>
Is my tank overstocked now? It has a Penn Plax sponge/ carbon and zeolite
cartridge mix filter rated for up to 5 gallons. Thank you.
<Sounds good. Cheers, Neale.>

Female Bettas, comp.      2/10/14
Looked thru the site and didn't find the answer, so-o-o-o here's my question:  is it wise to house more than one female Betta per tank?  Got a 20 gal tank.  Also a 10 gal.  Saw some beautiful females on Aquabid and sure would love to have about three to five.  Thanks ~ Linda in GA
<It is fine to do so; makes for a more attractive display and more interaction for all. Bob Fenner>
Re: Female Bettas     2/10/14

Oh my gosh!  THE Bob Fenner?
<Heeee! Or someone w/ the same name>
 I'm not worthy!  Been a fan for years.  Saltwater and fresh.  Thanks for your advice.  ~ Linda in GA
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Betta... tankmates f'      12/18/13
We have had our tank ft or 6/9 months we had a Betta before, he was quite aggressive but he moved on to another tank  and is doing well now. We have since bought another male
<... not for the same tank; to go w/ the other one I take it>
and various  other fish as he is very tolerant of the other fish hes never even flared up once! We were told it was ok to introduce a high fin sword tail
<Mmm, not likely; no>

 we had 1 female and one male, after a few days we noticed the male was dominating the tank and all the others were hiding, we removed him as he was becoming very aggressive towards the Betta and towards our bronze Cory, who later died unexplained?  Now we are left with our Betta hiding behind the filter constantly hes tail fins are bedraggled  and he keeps floating up side down
<... very bad. Something is wrong here>

 or sideways , if u approach him he doesn't move and on touching him ( to check if he was alive!) He moved but was still not bothered!  Im not sure hes going to make it so just need some advice.  Is this a disease or an after shock of some kind? The water is fine and plenty warm enough. Any help would be much appreciated Charlotte w.
<... Can't say from what little information you've supplied. I'd be checking water quality; raising temp., and trying some favorite frozen/defrosted foods. Have you read on WWM re Betta care? Bob Fenner>

Frog and Betta Fish 9/21/12
Can African Dwarf Frogs be placed with Betta fish?
<Sure. This is for your pond, right? Be careful the frog can't get out.
Snail and Betta Fish

Can mystery snails be placed with Betta fish?
<Sure. - Rick>
Frog and Betta Fish 9/21/12
I will be keeping the frog in an indoor aquarium.
It has a sensitivity to temperature changes and intolerance to 80 degree plus temperatures.
Would a sponge filter work in an aquarium containing both a Betta fish and an African Dwarf frog?
<A sponge filter would work well in this situation. - Rick>

Molly's and Betta's    6/18/12
Hi there!  I am a long time fish keeper now, I breed mutt Molly's (mixed breeds) for my local fish store.
<Mmm, mixed species?... am not a fan>
I breed some really neat looking fish!  I have my adults in a 35 gallon tank and the females get moved to a 25 gallon baby tank to have her babies.
  Recently I came across this beautiful crowned Betta and his little female at my local fish store.  I had to get them! (we did a trade).   I was told "they will hunt and eat the babies so don't put them in the baby tank, but they should be fine with the adult molly's." 
<Actually; not really... Betta splendens prefers warmer water than Mollienesia; the latter prefer more hard, alkaline and brackish water>
So I took them.  All seems to be going well but I question if this will last?
<Define your temporal (time) frame... In mine, not long or well, no>
 My tank is very well planted and has lots of hiding spots, they have been in there for 3 days no fighting or signs of nipping.
35 gallon adult tank
-2 silver molly's
-1 Dalmatian molly
-2 gold dust molly's
-2 Betta
-2 baby mutt Molly's (half inch)
(At any given time there are usually at least two fish in the other tank so typically there are only 7 fish in the 35g tank at one time)
Thanks in advance Jacquie.
<Success defines itself. If you're happy... Bob Fenner>

Betta problem, incomp. tankmates 2/18/12
I have read all through the questions and the information on the site. I wanted to know how I would know for sure if my Betta has fin rot or if an algae eater has perhaps "caught a ride" on it? I have a 20 gallon tank, filtered, heated. I have a variety of many different tetras,2 painted tetras, 3 red eye tetras, 5 cardinal tetras. 3 mollies,
<Like very different water than the Tetras...>
one algae eater,
<A Gyrinocheilus? I'd get rid of this>
2 Pictus catfish, 6 platys. Recently I had bought the painted tetras and I noticed that it had some scales that looked like they had been attacked, I went back to the store and we looked at the other fish in the tank and it appeared that all the fish had Ick. I treated my tank â€" used the super ick cure, removed the filter and then replaced the filter and did a partial water change. I am not sure if this is pertinent,
<Might be...>
this was about 10 days ago. But I thought I better include it in case this may be part of the problem. last night I walked in to see the Betta on its side, and it looked as though another fish had eaten all its fins off.
<The CAE or Pictus might have... even small Tetras>
I isolated Betta but I am going to the fish store and I don’t know if I need to get a certain product for him or not?
<Isolation in the tank, w/ access to the surface (to breathe) is what I'd do... a "breeding net", hang-on type, would be ideal>
I have not bought any fish that will fight with him but just learned on your site that the algae eater might not be a great fish to have in with him. I never see them near each other normally. I just bought a new tank and I was planning on getting guppies etc.
<Read re compatibility of all you have on WWM>
but if Betta cant go back in this tank, maybe I need to put him in the new tank.
Please advise.
<Read, then write. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta problem 2/19/12
Thank you so much for your reply! wow you are a wealth of knowledge! After going to a different store last night I learned a lot more about my fish.
For starters, I learned that my Pictus catfish may grow to 6 inches and are considered semi aggressive while the rest of my fish are non aggressive. I purchased a breeder tank and Betta is catching a ride around the tank and seems happy. I never knew that my fish might actually grow and out grow the tank as I learned last night.
<Yes; tis an olde myth that they will grow to some sort of moderate size depending on their system>
And I also learned that depending on what
type of AE I have (pic attached narrowed down to 2), it could grow up to 2 feet long, its either a brittle nosed catfish or a Pleco !
<The latter>
I was appalled!
I am going back to where I purchased today and get the info on it if I can but would love your input if you have any.
<See WWM re Loricariid ID>
I obviously have a lot still to learn. but I couldn't find any information on the tetras liking different water?
<... soft, acidic, tropical... vs. hard, alkaline (even brackish) and cooler for Mollies. This is all gone over and over on WWM. Learn to/use the search tool (on every page) re these species>
can you point me in the way of that or tell me what you mean? do you mean ph and temp?
<In part, yes>
is there a good book I should read?
<Yes. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bksfwbrneale.htm
can you send me
the link for compatibility?
<There are FAQs files for almost all common groups of fishes, posted/archived on the site>
I couldn't find it on the site. thanks again
for all your help!
<See the link I've just referred to... Just the name in the search tool, and then the descriptor. Bob Fenner>

Betta and Corydoras, sys. comp.  -- 12/29/11
I have a male Betta in a 20 gallon long. I put a little marine salt in his tank to prevent fin rot and it seems to work, no more than a tsp/5gallons.
Three Corydoras catfish would probably be a bad idea??
<Mmm, no. Most Corydoras are moderately salt/s tolerant, and unless you have a good deal in your source water in addition to what you've added, they should be fine here>
 The Bettas tank is at 80F, but even at 78F that would be a little high for the Corys I would assume??
<Many species, yes. DO look on the Net re the needs/range of the species you have in mind. I'd lower the set temperature to accommodate all.>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Betta changing colors and ghost shrimp  12/21/11
<Hello Judy,>
I bought a black Halfmoon Betta for a 20 gallon long. He looked black in the cup in the store. As we drove home he turned a light grey, and when he was placed in the tank his body was yellowish with black stripes and a clear tail. The next day he became active and is now back to black (like the song) :)
Anyway he has dots along his side in rows. I notice some Bettas have these dots when they are not truly solid in color. I guess the color change was all stress, but it was a really huge color change. I was wondering why some have the dots?
<Genes; stress; attempts to blend in better with its surroundings; or even trying to communicate something with any other fish in the tank. As you say, Bettas can change their colours. Humans have bred them to largely overrule this, so the farmed "fancy" Bettas have relatively solid and consistent colours. But under certain circumstances some specimens will change their colours to some degree. Not much you can do about it, except to say that fish have their most intense colours (usually) under subdued or shaded lighting and when fed a diet rich in algae and crustaceans. So, don't use brightly coloured substrates or unnatural decor, do use dark gravel and bogwood, do provide floating plants for shade, and do feed a variety of foods ideally including algae-based flake as well as crustaceans like daphnia and brine shrimp.>
Also I bought three ghost shrimp  and he is chasing them. I am thinking he may catch and eat them as he seems more aggressive than most Bettas. Maybe I should put them in the five gallon with the other Betta which is docile??
<Bettas can, do eat small shrimp. Not a safe combo.>
Thank you!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta with Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and Wood Shrimp?   6/21/11
Hi all,
Thanks for an awesome website - my recent re-entry into the hobby has been infinitely more successful than previous attempts thanks to you lot. Not false praise - the truth.
<Kind words indeed.>
I have a question about adding a Betta splendens to my community tank, if that's O.K.?
<Not usually a good idea. The domesticated Betta splendens they sell in shops, at least the male ones, have been handicapped with much longer fins than they have in the wild. This means they can barely swim and certainly can't compete with other fish at feeding time. They also have the problem of not being able to escape from territorial and nippy tankmates. So while you can keep them with bottom feeders such as Cherry Shrimps, Corydoras sterbai (the only Corydoras that appreciates equally warm water to Bettas), Kuhli Loaches and Bristlenose Catfish, I wouldn't mix them with anything in midwater. Even Neons have been known to nip them!>
I have searched your website extensively, and borrowed two library books, but I'm still struggling with some confusion/conflicting information.
First, tank vitals as follows:
- 63 litre (15 Gal?) rectangular tank - 60cmX38cmX30cm (really ~60L after gravel, accessories, etc. take up volume). Would LOVE a bigger tank, but apartment living in Singapore is what it is, especially when you have a family!!
<Understandable. There are options for 10-15 gallon tanks, but Bettas in community systems don't make sense.>
- Plastic plants that reach water surface (i.e. provide some surface cover) plus piece of bogwood that forms a small cave and a lump of granite. Plants are arranged across back of tank, plenty of swimming space in front of tank.
- Livestock: 6 dwarf neon rainbow fish (3 male, 3 female) and 2 wood/Singapore/mountain/rock shrimp.
<Atyopsis spp. shrimps require clean, clear, fast-flowing water. I don't see how you can create conditions that both Bettas need and Atyopsis need in the same tank.>
- Tank 6 weeks old, ph = 7.2, GH = 4, ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, don't measure nitrate but do a 20% water change (incl. gravel vacuum) weekly.
- I live in Singapore, so no heater required. Tank temp varies between 27 and 28 deg C (i.e. room temp here).
I realise the tank size is probably a touch too small for the rainbows, but I have a small internal 300L/h filter with directional outflow which the rainbows seem to 'exercise' against periodically, and they appear to be thriving (really nice colour, go crazy at feeding time, etc.). The filter draws water at substrate-level, and emits the water at the mid-point of the water column diagonally across the tank. There is a slow-moving area of water in the top quarter of the tank, above the filter outlet (decent Betta territory?).
<Would not recommend it.>
So to my question (finally!). Is it reasonable to house a single Betta splendens in this set-up? I would love the Betta size/colour to offset the look of the rest of the inhabitants, but of course the welfare of all animals involved completely trumps this. I've found some references/experienced fish-keepers with conflicting views on whether Bettas are suitable community fish at all, irrespective of their tank-mates.
<Indeed. In the past it was quite common to keep Bettas in community tanks.
I have books from the 70s and 80s that even recommend it! But the more inbred Bettas have become, the less robust they have proven to be, and even under the best circumstances they just about survive in community settings, rather than actually thrive. Oddly enough, mouthbrooding Betta species like Betta pugnax can actually work rather well in medium-sized community tanks with peaceful midwater and bottom swimming tankmates (Rasboras for example).>
If they are, should I go for a female over a male (less potential aggression)?
<Female Bettas do, on the average, rather better in community tanks than the males -- shorter fins help, I'm sure.>
I am aware that Betta splendens can display large variety in temperament from one individual to the next, so I understand there is a certain level of luck/chance no matter what.
Cheers and thanks for your help in advance,
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and Wood Shrimp?    6/22/11

Hey Neale,
<Hello again,>
Thanks so much for your reply and assistance. I actually was only considering short-finned Bettas in the first place - both for their better (sorry!) swimming ability and the fact that I actually dislike the look of the multitude of (I think) ridiculously long-finned varieties.
So, in your estimation, a short-finned Betta (male or female) is basically a no-go in my set-up?
<Well, it isn't something I'd try UNLESS I had a second tank I could move the Betta too if things don't work out. While Bettas do sometimes do okay in community tanks, there are lots of exceptions, too many to be confident about the combination.>
If no-go, are there alternatives? A single Trichogaster labiosus? I'd love a Colisa lalia in there, but I've been completely scared off them by the info about them on WWM, plus by looking in a few dealer's tanks... Any other options you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.
<Colisa labiosa and Colisa fasciata are both robust, quite peaceful gouramis and work well in communities. They're about the right size for 15 gallons. Croaking Gouramis would be a good choice too. If you have soft water, Honey Gouramis can be worth a shot, but they're a bit more delicate than most community fish and rarely do well in hard water. Sparkling Gouramis are excellent fish, but very small and only do well with peaceful tankmates and if they have lots of floating plants to live among.>
Thanks for all you guys do,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and Wood Shrimp?   6/22/11

If it isn't something you'd try, then that's good enough for me!!! I don't have a second contingency tank available.
<Oh dear!>
I'll keep an eye out for the fish you've suggested, in the order you've listed them. Amazing that here in Singapore (where apparently tonnes of tropical aquarium fish for the trade are bred)
<Quite so! Centre of the fish breeding world, I think.>
the only Gouramis I can seem to find are Colisa lalia and Trichogaster leeri, at least where I live (east coast).
<Oh. Well, perhaps you can find healthy Colisa lalia -- they do exist!>
Thanks again for all your help and advice,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Aggressive Betta fish   6/13/2011
Hello. I am sorry if this question has been asked / answered before.
I tried to search the site as much as I could before hand. I have a question about my Betta fish, mostly regarding his personality & safety. I have had a few Betta fish before, they have all been very cute & sweet. Even charming. I got my current Betta, Spanky, about 1 1/2 years ago from a fish store up the street. He is healthy & a pretty dark purple in case you were wondering. However, he sure is grumpy and aggressive. I try to have "cute" things in his aquarium, maybe a little special something for him to rest on or sleep in, and all he does is attack it. Luckily he has never hurt himself, I am very attentive and have removed the hated object right away. He will tolerate some basic Earth colors (brown, black, white) but will jump and ramrod anything that is brightly colored, even if it is just walking by his aquarium. It scares me that he might jump out of the aquarium in one of his conquests one of these days or seriously injure himself. is there anything I can do to protect him or calm him down?
<Mmm, perhaps some live plants... especially "bunch", floating types>
I love him to death, despite his capricious personality but im concerned for his safety. He has *always* been this way and I have always been worried, I stumbled across your site today and any help at all is much appreciate, Thank you! ~Stephanie
<Am wondering now re Spanky and his "gang"... perhaps it's his vision, rather than outlook on life that makes him so ornery...
The live plant material should help ameliorate a good bit of this. Bob Fenner>

ADF/Betta feeding/stocking   3/14/11
Hello to all,. I have been keeping tanks for a few years now and I recently(within the past 9 months) obtained a female Betta splendid who was moved into my 10gal while the 10gal inhabitants were moved into a 30gal tank(gave me an excuse to get one:). As could be assumed she is loving the big tank, heavily planted with java fern forest(half the tank) and a large bed of java moss, a large silk plant and a log cave. My filter is a Aquatech 10-20, I buffered the output with some fake plants and tank silicone.
<Buffered? Output? You mean restricted the discharge flow? Why?>>
Then my mother decides to buy some ADF frogs from our local farmers market.
<Unusual item>
They were in a tiny little unheated un filtered tank with a lucky bamboo as an excuse(not even aquatic). well she promptly gave them to me because she figured id like them. She wouldn't however let me move them into the 10gal for 8 months. so I cleaned the minitank daily. Now they are in my 10gal with my Betta(she makes a great community Betta). I am part of another forum that pertains mainly to Bettas, when I asked if I could add another frog to the mix I got mixed answers about it. Some said I was already overstocked and others said go for it. Then there was the controversy of weather <whether> it should be male or female(mine are both males). They get along great besides the occasional wrapping session, one wraps around the others waist almost like how the mate but without eggs.
<... need to be separated>
Someone says that adding a female will cause aggression between the two males and others say that 3 males wont mix. I'm simply confused, I would like to add another frog and maybe a few more assassin snails(I have two of the same gender, no eggs for me). And on a small side of feeding, will freeze-dried bloodworms do as long as a presoak them?
<No... see WWM (the search tool) re their use>
I feed a staple pellet as well. Also can I continue feeding garlic to my Betta(once or twice a month for all my fish) if the frogs are in there.
<Not worthwhile>
And for stocking purposes, I can handle tads and eggs, I have a tank full of gourami,loach,cory and wcmm that don't mind a snack nor does the Betta.
<... please... run your messages through spelling/grammar checkers before
sending them (at least to us). Bob Fenner>

Betta community tank?  `12/27/10
Hi guys!
I love your site! Its been a great help with all my fish problems/questions.
<Glad to help.>
But there is something I couldn't seem to find. I'm curious about an all Betta communities tank.
<Doable, but not really recommended.>
I mean 1 male and 4/or more females in a 29 gallon tank.
<Mixing male and female Bettas tends not to work well. The males are territorial, and outside of actual spawning, they're almost as aggressive to the females as the males. If you allowed, say, a square foot of surface area per Betta, you might be okay, but there are some factors. Firstly, only still water areas count. Anything with turbulence or water current will be out of the equation, so even in a 55 gallon tank you'll likely only have a couple of square foot "patches" suitable for Bettas to use.
Secondly, any such patches will need floating plants. Open areas without floating plants don't count. In other words, per Betta, you'll need a square foot of still, thickly vegetated water at the TOP of the tank.>
Of course the tank would have a few other inhabitants as well, like maybe some Corys and 1 or 2 Bristlenose Pleco.
<These are fine with Bettas, but choose species that share the same "hothouse" preferences as the Bettas. Your common Corydoras species mostly want cool water, 22-25 C/72-77 F, whereas Bettas prefer 25-30 C/77-86 F.
The best and really only Corydoras that works well with Bettas is Corydoras sterbai, a widely sold warm-water species often kept with Discus. All the other Corydoras in the trade prefer cool water than your Betta needs, though at 25 C/77 F, you might just get away with it.>
But the main point of the tank would be the Bettas. I mean I think it makes sense. I know the males are very aggressive but with 4 females to space out the aggression on you'd think I'd be okay.
<Diluting tension by adding lots of females certainly will help. But the aggressiveness of the males should not be underestimated.>
I've talked to a few other people who've tried this and basically the Bettas establish a hierarchy. and after a few days/week the Bettas really don't fight anymore.
<When female Bettas are kept, yes, a pecking order does more or less develop. But males are unpredictable, in part because they've [a] been originally bred to fight and [b] have not been socialized with females going back hundreds of generations. So the males simply don't know how to handle females because humans have kept them apart for a century or more.
By all means try mixing them -- I certainly did when I kept Bettas -- but only if you have another tank where the male can be moved if needs be.
Assuming nothing more optimistic than a 50/50 chance of success.>
The tank would obviously have to have lots of plants and cover but I think it would really work.
<The plants MUST be floating ones. Anything more than an inch below the surface is basically useless. Bettas live at the top of water column, and plants below the top inch are as worthless as snowshoes in the desert.>
I myself and looking forward to trying it but, I thought it best to ask you guys first. I'd really appreciate your guys' opinion on the matter.
Thanks so much,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

The Right Setup? 10 gal. FW, plants/lgtg., Betta comp.   11/27/10
Love the site! Very informative, and I was wondering if I could get your approval for my tank plan.
<Let's see!>
I have only got the tank, so before I go any further I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing.
The tank is 10 US gallons, (50x30x28cm) and after thinking about what species I could keep in such small quarters, I decided on the Betta Splendens. I also found out about Cherry Shrimp, (Neocaridina heteropoda), and after reading your site, I am quite confident that the Betta and Cherry Shrimp will coexist quite nicely.
<Yes they will>
Also, I was wondering if I could fit in a small school of South-East Asian barbs etc without overstocking?
<Mmm, not barbs... too nippy toward the Betta>
If not barbs, what other schooling species from S.E. Asia?
<Look to some of the small/er Rasbora species... similar in behavior to Barbs, but much easier going>
If I can't fit in any more fish, that's fine.
I wanted to create a small planted tank, but being 50cm long, I couldn't find any lights that would fit the tank. The LFS told me that my best bet would be to go buy a desk lamp for the tank, provided I was going to have low-light plants.
<Mmm, a "real" aquarium hood fitted with a fluorescent lamp or two would be better... discounts jumping, evaporation...>
This is the main question I wanted to ask you, Would a desk lamp with a 15watt globe be alright for me to have plants such as Java Fern, Crypts, and the floating Water Lettuce?
<Could be... but the fitted hood is superior>
Now moving on to my filtration. I was thinking about having a sponge filter and air pump as the only source of filtration. Would this be OK?
Would it provide enough circulation? If not, what would you recommend?
<Likely a small hang on the back filter... more useful... quieter, less obtrusive>
Lastly, but not the least important, would a 50watt heater be alright for my tank?
Thank you in advance, and I hope I am headed for the right direction with my tank. James.
<You are. Thank you for sharing and welcome to our wonderful hobby. Bob Fenner>
Re: The Right Setup? 10 gal. FW, Betta comp.   11/28/10

Thank you so much for your reply Mr. Fenner :)
Taking your advice on the Rasboras, would a small school of 6 Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha) work well with the Betta and Cherry Shrimp? Or would a small school of 6 Dwarf Rasboras (Boraras Maculatus) work better? Thank you in advance again. James.
<Ahh, either one of these should do. Cheers, BobF>

New 23 litre/6 gal tank set-up (male Betta/Siamese Fighter) - catfish additions? 7/28/10
Hello crew,
I recently sent in a query about the endless problems with my tiny 6 gallon Fluval Edge (I'm a beginner, big mistake), and Neale set me straight on a few things. Blunt but fair and very informative, thanks Neale.
<Glad to help.>
My surviving 4 guppies and 2 platys have been re-homed to a new enormous tank, so hopefully they are now much happier and healthier. I spent some time deciding whether or not to sell the Fluval and get something bigger - but I have limited space available, so upgrading to a 90 litre isn't a viable option.
And after 10 months of struggling, I'm hooked anyway! So, with all its design flaws, pathetic size and danger to beginners, I only have the Edge for the time being - I may be able to upgrade to 40 or 50 litres soon.
<Do save your pennies for something larger -- even if that's a couple years down the line. Tanks below, say, 70 litres are really difficult to stock and maintain. Not impossible, but hard.>
In the meantime, after hours of poring over the FAQ's on WWM, I went and carefully selected a male Siamese fighter from my local Maidenhead Aquatics.....Fuzzy (as named by my 5 yr old god-daughter) has a violet and
aqua body, and blood red fins. He's very beautiful and has a strangely expressive face! Based on what I've read so far, a single Betta in a 6 gallon heated, filtered tank is acceptable isn't it?
<Yes, but the problem is that the Edge has a square "slot" at the top rather than the whole top being open. Since Bettas need to breathe air, they have to aim for that small slot each time they want a gulp of air.
Lethal? Probably not. But neither is it ideal, and it's hard to know how successful Bettas will be in these tanks over the long term. It isn't a combination I'd recommend.>
Yes, there is some debate over the effectiveness of gas exchange in this tank, but the design is also very poor in light of the Betta being a surface breather.
So I have left a 5mm gap at the top of the tank, giving the fighter more breathing options (i.e. the whole surface area) rather than just the 7" x 6" open aperture at the back.
With the live plants, air stone and regular water changes, I hope I can minimise the design risk to any inhabitants until I can change the tank.....
<Indeed. Should be viable.>
The Betta is eating well considering he's only been with me 3 days, and he is very active and very curious. I still have two shrimp in the tank (not sure what type, they're about an inch long and colourless),
<Probably an Amano shrimp; I'd have chosen Cherry Shrimps which are smaller and bright red. You can also get blue and orange shrimps, and these are just as hardy as the Cherry Shrimps.>
and I also added a Zebra Snail which is already doing a great job.
<Cool. All nice stock for this tank.>
Maidenhead suggested that I added some Harlequins and Cory catfish, but I'm not convinced;
<Nor am I.>
even if they could all get along with the Betta, I would need several of each to meet their social requirements, and that would be way too many for this tank, right?
<Too many.>
So, what about just a small species of Cory? From what I read, these could be a suitable addition, being armoured bottom dwellers etc....but I do of course have very limited space. I guess 2 would be ok in terms of the tank size, but too few in terms of their preferred group existence? I'm very tempted by the Panda Corys I spotted at the shop, but presumably I cannot support 4 of them?
<Not a chance.>
Even if I could get away with adding only two, is it possible to compromise between their respective preferred temperatures - it seems that the Betta likes 26-28c, but the Corys prefer lower temps of around 22c. Could they all be comfortable at, say, 25c?
<Least of your problems. Do not do this. You have a system now that should work. Accept it for what it is, a Betta aquarium.>
Alternatively, I could go for some different species of shrimp and snails to add variety, if this wouldn't increase the bio-load too much.....any suggestions, as there seem to be a vast number to choose from?
<See above. Shrimps and Nerite Snails would be fine additions.>
Would very much appreciate your advice, thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New 23 litre/6 gal tank set-up (male Betta/Siamese Fighter) - catfish additions? 7/28/10
Hey Neale, thanks as always....I'm happy to keep it as it is, until I can find some more shrimps and snails! I have noticed a microscopic trumpet snail in my
tank which must've hitched a ride on one of the plants....not quite what I had in mind, but good for the gravel I guess. I keep it all fairly clean, so hopefully I won't find a billion of them one morning.
<Indeed. Or do add one or two Clea helena, the Assassin Snail, to keep populations in check. These are very pretty snails that breed very slowly, and eat leftover fish food as well as snails.>
A different rep at the fish shop yesterday told me he kept 25 dwarf barbs in an Edge with no problems'¦'¦.
<So far.>
but that the lights are rubbish for plants.
<Does depend on the plants, but Java fern and Anubias should be okay, Java moss too.>
Jeez, its no wonder I get confused.
<To some extent that happens, but it's also important to go slowly, be conservative, and wait a few months before adding new livestock. If you add 25 Tiger Barbs all at once, I can guarantee most would die within weeks.>
Stay cool, and cheers for all the expertise.
<Glad to help, Neale.>

Question about Bettas and neon tetras, incomp.    7/1/10
I was wondering if it is ok in the long run to keep a Betta in a twenty gallon long with 16 neon tetras?
<No. Neons need cooler water (22-24 C for Neons, versus 26-30 C for Bettas) and in any case Neons view Betta fins as food.>
The Betta has been in there for two weeks now and the Neons are not nipping him,
<So far...>
also the Betta is ignoring the Neons. He is a timid Betta and never flares nor blows bubble nests. I am thinking that the Neons would probably need cooler temps than the Betta
<Indeed. Neons have a notoriously short lifespan when kept either too warm or in water that is too hard, and problems with Neon Tetra Disease seem to be an epidemic among farmed Neons. I've basically given up with them, and I consider myself an expert fishkeeper!>
Also I am wondering if the Betta may freak out one day weeks or months from now and go after them even if he is timid??
<Possibly. You can keep Bettas in community tanks, but it's hard, and requires very careful planning. I'd be concentrating on species that feed from the substrate, such as Kuhli Loaches or Dwarf Corydoras, perhaps Cherry Shrimps or Dwarf African frogs if you want oddballs. Neons and other schooling fish tend to work poorly with Bettas.>
Thank you!!!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy, Betta incomp.    3/27/10
last week I got my first fish, 4 guppies all male I think
<... easy enough to sex...>
and they were fine for a week and the water quality is fine.
<?... need data, not opinions>
then my friend bought me a red Siamese fighting fish
<not compatible>
which the pet store said would be fine with my guppies. after only a few hours of having the new fish in my tank one of my guppies was dead with no visible marks on him so I thought it might just be stress or something but the other guppies were fine, now after about 12 hours the fighting fish has attacked two more guppies so I removed him from the tank. but now the last guppy has become aggressive towards the two injured guppies and I have no idea what to do.
<Uhh, separate them... Please... learn to/use the search tool:
linked on the left shared border of every page on WWM... with terms like "Guppy and Betta compatibility"...
Read on! Bob Fenner>

Community Tank. Betta comp.  -- 03/20/10
Hey :]
<S'for horses?>
I want to start a fish community. I have a male Siamese fighting fish, doesn't seem aggressive towards other fish.
<Can be...>
I plan on getting an Aqua One 510, 75 Liter tank. I want to put my fighting fish in there along with 10 cherry shrimp, 3 pygmy/dwarf Corydoras, about 5 white cloud minnows and about 5 galaxy Rasbora. Are these numbers
<Yes, and good choices for tankmates as well>
I know that Siamese fighting fish are better by themselves but these species of fish tend to be OK with them and each other, just wondering if the numbers of each are fine for the size of the tank and the species themselves (as they're schooling fish) all but the Siamese fighter and the minnow are about 2cm-3mc max size (Siamese fighter about 5.5 cm, white minnows 4 cm max size)
Your help would be immensely appreciated!!
<Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Betta... sys., comp.     3/17/10
I have a Siamese fighting fish in a little 14 litre bowl.
<Yikes! How are you heating such a small bowl? Bettas are tropical fish and soon die kept at room temperature, even with a light on top of the bowl.>
I'm looking into getting another tank most likely a 75-80 litre.
<Very good.>
I want to know what sort of fish I can put in with him.
<Not much. Bettas don't make good companions for other tropical fish.>
He seems fairly placid, doesn't really flair up at other fish that are in other tanks near him.
<Not really the issue. It's more the reverse. Fancy Bettas are deformed fish by the standards of Mother Nature's handiwork, and compared to the wild Bettas, they can barely swim. They also drag around these great long
fins that are so delicious to nibble on that even things like Neons, otherwise non-nippy fish, can't help but have a go!>
I heard you can put in tetras, sometimes guppies, Rasboras, Danios, Corydoras etc. How many of each can I put into a 75-80 L aquarium? I want to get the best variety I can of fish and colour.
<I'd think very, very carefully about this. The best companions for Bettas aren't fish at all, but things like Cherry Shrimps and African Dwarf Frogs.
A 37-litre (10 US gal.) system set up for a Betta, some shrimps and some frogs can be wonderful and not too expensive.
If you must choose fish, select species that stay close to the substrate and aren't likely to become nippy. Dwarf Corydoras (e.g., Corydoras hastatus) are ideal tankmates, and so too are Kuhli Loaches. Tetras (including Neons) and Danios should be avoided because far too often they end up harassing the Betta. White Cloud Mountain Minnows and Dwarf Rasboras (Boraras spp.) are not so likely to nip at the Betta, especially if the tank is spacious and nicely planted, so the Betta and the Minnows/Rasboras can avoid one another. But that's about it. As any experienced Betta will tell you, the males are best kept alone, and if you want a community tank DON'T BUY A BETTA!>
<Cheers, Neale.>  

Re: Betta, sys., shrimp comp.  3/19/10
Thanks for the response Neale.
<My pleasure.>
:S I've never had fish before and I was told that they prefer tropical water but they can do OK in cold water.
<Might be told that -- but it's rubbish.>
I've had him for nearly a year and he's been fine, nice colours and very active but I was going to transfer him to a heated tank.
<Good. The sooner the better. Like any animal, Bettas can put up with a certain amount of abuse, and if you're lucky, they may well survive for long enough for you to realise your mistakes and put things right. If your home is reasonably warm, then the fish might be just warm enough that its immune system hasn't been totally shot to pieces. But still, when we say "tropical fish" we mean fish from the tropics, as opposed to "coldwater fish" which are those fish that do well at room temperature. As it happens, the Betta has a close relative called the Paradisefish (Macropodus opercularis) that does fine at room temperature. It's a beautiful fish, but a bit bigger and a total thug sometimes, and consequently it isn't much kept these days.>
I was looking into a few ghost shrimp but unfortunately I don't think I can get them in the area I'm from, Melbourne Australia, at least I haven't seen them anywhere.
<No great loss. Do ask around for Cherry Shrimps. These breed readily, so once someone gets the hang of keeping them, their offspring will be easily available via fish clubs and the like.>
I've only ever seen Yabbies or some sort of crab but they have pincers so I thought the may not be a good idea for my Betta.
<I'll say! While Yabbies (Crayfish) are primarily herbivores in the wild, they can, will eat anything they can catch.>
Dwarf Corys, minnows and Boraras sound good. If I wanted all 3 with my Betta, how many of each can I keep?
<Corydoras are schooling fish, so keep 6-8 specimens in a 10 gallon/45 litre tank alongside your Betta. Likewise, adding half a dozen Boraras brigittae for example wouldn't add substantially to the filter load provided you were using a decent air-powered sponge filter or an undergravel filter. I wouldn't use anything with an electric pump with
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta
Yayyy I can get Cherry shrimp
Just wondering how many shrimp I should keep in the 75L tank with those fish?
Much appreciated :)
<These shrimps are gregarious, so I'd get half a dozen, at least. The males are smaller and semi-transparent, while mature females are solid red.
Obviously you'll want both if you're going to breed them. Cheers, Neale.>

Fish Compatability. 3/10/10
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Sarah,>
I am wondering about tank mates for Bettas or the best possible tank situation in my 10 gallon and was wondering your opinion on the following (as I have read many varying opinions);
1) a black molly, a balloon molly, and a male or female Betta
<No; Mollies require much more than 10 gallons to do well, and they also require different water chemistry to Bettas. At the very least, Mollies need hard, basic water, and more often than not they're more easily maintained (i.e., less disease-prone) if the tank is slightly saline.
Bettas cannot abide such conditions.>
2) black molly & male or female Betta
3) black molly & Glofish
<Not recommended. Again, Danios don't like saline water, and they also need cooler water than Mollies (22-25 C vs. 28-30 C) so it's hard to create conditions under which both species will do perfectly well.>
4) black molly, platy, male/female Betta
5) a group of female Bettas (3,4,5?)
<In 10 gallons, three would be the best option, perhaps with a few Cherry Shrimp, Nerite Snails, and maybe a Whiptail catfish or some Kuhli Loaches for the bottom. But female Bettas can be feisty, so the tank needs plenty of vegetation at the surface, ideally floating plants. Otherwise, they're apt to bully one another.>
Thank you for your help,
<Do read here for more ideas for stocking small tanks:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fish Compatability., now Bettas, Ick, not pizza in a cup  3/10/10
Thank you for the helpful considerations; as for the female Bettas or any Bettas really, is ich common in the cups you buy them in?
<Ick exists in two stages: the white spots you see on a fish, and a free-living stage that lives in the water. That free-living stage can hitchhike between tanks on wet objects such as nets and buckets, so in theory, anything shared between two tanks or even cups in an aquarium shop could carry free-living Ick parasites. As such, you should always treat anything you buy from a pet store as potentially a source of Ick.>
I read where I should introduce them into the main tank at the same time for a less chance of territory claim, is this true?
<For female Bettas, yes, it's a good idea to introduce them alongside one another, so no one individual gets to stake its claim ahead of time.
Because of this, you'll want to do a "fish-less" cycle first, so the tank is fully matured before you dump all these fish into the tank at once.
That'll take about a month. Try this without cycling the tank, and you'll likely end up with sick fish, so trust me, it's a month well spent.>
What is your opinion on putting them in one at a time? If placing them all at once would I have to quarantine in three separate tanks?
<In theory you could do it either way, but in practise, if you're buying three fish from the same aquarium on the same day, you may as well quarantine them together since they'll all have been exposed to the same things.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Female Betta and neon tetras, incomp.   2/16/10
I have a 10 gallon tank with one female Betta in it at the moment. The Betta is almost totally white, which I guess is rare. She is also very passive and barely even moves around. I was thinking of putting a few neon tetras in there, but I am wondering if she would go after them. Would this set up be safe?? Thank you!!
<Neons and Bettas aren't a good combination. For one thing, Neons prefer cooler water, around 24 C, whereas Bettas need things comparatively warm, around 28-30 C. So anything "just right" for one species would be stressful
for the other. Bettas are also nipped by Neons. Yes, this is normally observed with male Bettas, but why risk it? There are many better choices for female Betta tankmates out there. Cherry shrimps, Kuhli loaches, perhaps even Boraras spp. Dwarf Rasboras. Cheers, Neale.>

Brachydanio; Betta; compat.   1/18/10
Dear Crew,
I have a ten gallon aquarium with 6 zebra Danios in it including a heater and a pretty powerful filter.
<Too small for Danios... this species gets fairly big, around 5 cm/2 inches, and just look at how fast they swim! Anything less than a 20 US gallon tank just isn't fair. Do read here:
Can I acclimate a Betta into my aquarium even though I have a pretty powerful filter, because I have heard they do not like powerful currents. ( I have had this Betta for quite some time in a gallon aquarium {spare me:)}
and I think it's time I move him)
<No; mixing Bettas (which need gentle currents) with Danios (which need strong currents) won't work. Furthermore, Danios need quite cool water, around 22-24 C (72-75 F) to do well, whereas Bettas want it much hotter than that, around 28 C (82 F) being ideal. There's no overlap between the needs of each species. One comes from streams, the other from ponds. On top of that, frustrated Danios will nip at Bettas.>
Thank you
<Do spend some time researching the needs of fish PRIOR to purchase. Pet shop staff often clueless (some aren't, but often Saturday teenage staff hopeless), web pages variable in quality at best. But there are lots of good books out there, as well as us! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Brachydanio; Betta; compat. 19.01.09
Yes, thank you very much
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta splendens tankmates  -- 11/1/09
I am getting a ten gallon tank, and I plant to have my turquoise Veil Tail male Betta in it....What would be good tank mates for him? I have heard about Neon Tetras, catfish, ADFs...are these acceptable? What other species may I consider?
<Neon tetras prone to nipping Bettas, and only certain Corydoras catfish are small enough to work, the "dwarf" species like Corydoras hastatus and Corydoras habrosus. Do see here:
Frogs can work quite well.
Cheers, Neale.>
Also what plants work best in a ten gallon and will they grow with sand substrate?
<Would stick with floating plants (e.g., Indian Fern) since these are helpful for Bettas, giving them secure hiding places and inhibiting their tendency to jump. Since the shallow substrate isn't ideal for plants with
roots, I'd suggest looking at epiphytes, i.e., those species that grow attached to bogwood, for example Java ferns and Anubias and Java moss.
Cheers, Neale.>

Betta stealing food   8/22/09
I have a Betta and Cory catfish together in a tank. Every time I try to feed the catfish, the Betta steals their food. I'm concerned that I am unintentionally overfeeding the Betta. Is there any trick to keeping the
Betta from eating the catfish food? I feed the catfish sinking pellets designed for bottom feeders. I have tried dropping the pellets first and then feeding the Betta while the Corys are given a chance to eat but they never seem to find it fast enough. I have also tried to feed them in the dark while the Betta is sleeping, but have returned to find a very fat bellied Betta! Thanks for all of your help!
<How big is this tank? Since the common Corydoras species need 20 gallons or more, and Corydoras should be kept in groups of 5+ specimens, this problem shouldn't happen. If you aren't keeping your Corydoras in a group of five specimens, and the tank is smaller than 20 gallons, then that's your problem right there. Feeding at night will help too, but of course, you run the problem of overfeeding if you can't see how much your catfish are eating. Cheers, Neale.>

Hello Friends!  Betta comp.    8/12/09
Dear Wet Webbers,
<Hello Elizabeth,>
Thank you for providing the excellence that you do in Betta care via your website.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a one year old female red with the most, I must stress, THE MOST, beautiful blue highlights in her finnage and she has been in her new 10 gallon heated to perfection, lit tank for 11 months. I have the appropriate amount of gravel, a fun background, the best filter and heater I could find and a great lighting system.
<Sounds a nice fish, and an even nicer habitat. I'm so pleased you've made an effort to provide a big, properly created environment. If only every Betta keeper made the same effort.>
Pixy, named because she was less than an inch long at the PetCo purchase, (and see through!) has developed into a Queen Betta. Full fins, attentive, hungry, interactive and occasionally flares at me! I couldn't ask for a more healthy fish, I love her.
My question: I want to put some live plants, a snail and an algae eater in the tank. What will keep the peace in the tank and not upset my red friend?
<In terms of fish, I'd look at two things. One is the Kuhli Loach, a sociable species that gets on great with Bettas and also works nicely in small tanks. Get 4-5 specimens if you want them to settle in and swim
about, because they're very shy. But they are pretty! Alternatively, you might go for 6-8 "pygmy" Corydoras. There are two stand-out species to look for, Corydoras habrosus and Corydoras hastatus. Although very small (around 2.5 cm/1 inch) in length when full grown, they aren't shy, and in groups
will swim about, by day, in MID WATER, almost like tetras. So they make a lovely change to the usual catfish we keep. They are much better suited to a 10 gallon tank than the bigger Corydoras species like Bronze, Panda, or Peppered Corydoras.>
I have heard that a Chinese Algae eater will work, but I desperately need recommendations for live plants. In addition the species of snail and plant.
<Chinese Algae Eater is one of numerous names given to a fish called Gyrinocheilus aymonieri. This would be a disastrous addition to your aquarium. Couldn't think of a worse choice. Your best bets are actually
invertebrates. I'd recommend Nerite snails and Cherry Shrimps. These are colourful, hardy, easy to keep, and superb algae eaters as well as scavengers. They require little care beyond the occasional algae wafer; a
half wafer at night, twice a week, crumbled up a bit, would feed dozens of shrimps and a trio of snails just fine. As for plants, good species to start with are hardy Cryptocoryne (e.g., Cryptocoryne wendtii), Anubias, Java fern and Java moss. These will do well under the somewhat low powered lighting systems supplied with most smaller aquaria. Cryptocoryne need a substrate, but the others are epiphytes that you attach to lava rock or bogwood, making them very easy to install in tanks without digging everything up. You can also try floating plants; I find Amazon Frogbit and Indian Fern work well in small tanks. Floating plants are especially loved by Bettas, and males will of course use them to build nests. Females simply
enjoy resting in them, almost like floating beds.>
Right now, the tank is thriving, should I not upset things by any additions?
<Suspect you'll be fine, if the filter is reasonably robust. Snails and shrimps will have very little impact, so feel free to add them. Fish are more demanding, and place more strain on the filter, so review your
filtration and act accordingly.>
Thank you for your expert and honest opinions.
Thank you,
Elizabeth and Pixy
<Good luck, Neale.>

Betta Question, comp.   5/4/09
Hello All,
I have a 10 gallon tank that has nothing in it. Would it be OK to put two female betas in it or would the betas fight?
<The Bettas (two Ts; it rhymes with "better", not "beater") would likely fight. Even the females are grouchy.>
I was told that it would be fine to put two females together as long as they have enough space for each other at Petsmart.
<Well, two males would get along, given enough space! The tricky bit is deciding what "enough space" might be! Ten gallons per female Betta sounds about right to me, and while two might coexist in a densely planted tank, there's no guarantees, so I'd not do it. If you want a group of labyrinth fish for a 10 gallon tank, consider Trichopsis pumila, and utterly delightful little fish reasonably widely sold if you know where to look for it. It's not especially delicate, and in not-too-hard water and provided you have lots of floating plants, it's a real treat to keep. Do also see here:
I just wanted to check with you first before I do it.
Sarah Grace
<Cheers, Neale.>

Male/Female Betta living together   2/25/09 My kids have a well cycled 2.5 gallon tank that had a dwarf Gourami in it. <Too small for this species. Even 10 gallons would be too small.> Moved him into a community tank and moved a male/female Betta in. <OK.> Put them both in at the same time, they seemed to ignore each other for the most part. After about a week, the female had a huge gut. The next day, no gut, she looked pale and eggs were floating all over the top. Occasionally one of them would go up and eat an egg. It's been about another 10 days and I've read up on the breeding, they seem to be nice companions and I really DON'T want a million Betta babies. Can they stay in the same tank together peacefully as they are now? <Absolutely no guarantees. Male Bettas tend to tolerate females provided those females will spawn with them. Should the female reject him for some reason, he will turn nasty. It's a gamble, and in tank this tiny (ridiculously so, in my opinion/experience) sooner or later there is a good chance she'll be attacked.> When I turn on the light at night they are usually both asleep in the plant, the female on the bottom, he floating above her. <Likely coincidence. Don't make the mistake of putting human feelings onto animals! In a tank this miniscule, the selection of resting sites is likely small, so they're always going to be in close proximity to each other. It's like saying that two guys sharing a prison cell are Best Friends Forever!> During the day they "do their own thing" and have their own areas of their fairly small home. <"Fairly" isn't the word.> I notice she does defer to him on eating, lets him eat first or only eats bits that aren't near him. <A good sign that he has aggressively asserted his dominance.> Other than that, absolutely no aggressive behavior from either of them, will that change? <Could well do.> Melissa <There's a reason male and females Bettas aren't normally kept together. I'd recommend a 5 gallon tank for a single male, and a 20+ gallon tank if you wanted to include a male plus 2 or more females in the same community. They aren't pair-forming, so don't for a moment assume there's romance or affection between them. There isn't. Males build nests, persuade passing females to enter them, and then after spawning aggressive chase the females away. Indeed, after spawning the females are as likely to eat the eggs as anything else, so the male has to defend them. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Male/Female Betta living together 2/25/09 Well I'm sorry to hear a male/female Betta can't live together in harmony. <I'm sorry too, but there you go.> I've had several male Bettas alone but never a male/female together, they seemed ok but I thought I'd check. <A wise move.> What would be appropriate for such a small tank then? I thought a Betta was the only fish who could live in such small quarters. <Cut flowers? Seriously, 2.5 gallons is smaller than a bucket. If I gave you a part-filled bucket and said "that's a fine home for a fish", you'd think me mad. And yet, when the bucket is square and made from glass, it's sometimes supposed that 2.5 gallons is now a dandy little home for a fish. Sure, you could put a single Betta in there, but you'd need a heater and a filter, and that wouldn't leave much space for the fish to swim about. Without a heater or a filter, it's nothing more than Death Row, with the Betta slip-sliding away to its death.> It's in my children's room and it's "their" fish <I've said this before, and I'll say it again, unless your kids are responsible teens, it's not "their" anything. If you bought a dog, you'd not expect a 6-year old child to take care of its needs, to feed it, walk it, or pay for its vet bills. A fish is precisely no different. By all means introduce young kids to pet ownership, but don't for one millisecond imagine that it's their aquarium. It's yours, and it's up to you to make the decision about whether you want to partake of the costs and pleasures of owning fish.> so I thought Bettas would be fun and low maintenance fish for them to have but you think that tank is too small for even one of them? <Agreed. I wouldn't bother. About the only things that might work would be some Cherry Shrimps, particularly if the tank was somewhere it got some sunshine so algae could grow. Let me put things another way: any retailer that sells you a 2.5 gallon tank and a Betta has taken advantage of the fact you didn't really know what you were doing. It's no secret at all in the hobby that such small tanks aren't stable and don't really work out, especially not in the hands of inexperienced hobbyists.> I can't afford a 10 gallon tank for one Betta, can they be community fish? <Bettas are very difficult fish to put in community tanks. There are two issues. Firstly, they can barely swim. Their fins are so long they create lots of drag but little propulsion, so they lose out at feeding time. Sure, you can add too much food and hope he gets some, but then water quality suffers, and the whole tank of fish gets sick. Secondly, they are magnets for fin-nippers. Species like Neons and Guppies that ordinarily behave themselves see Bettas as an "all you can eat" buffet, and simply nip at the fins whenever they're hungry. End result, a messed up Betta with problems like Finrot and Fungus. Most hobbyists would say don't keep Bettas with anything other that fish that feed from the bottom, for example Corydoras, Kuhli loaches, and Cherry Shrimps all work well. Anything in the midwater is a gamble.> Melissa <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male/Female Betta living together-- 02/28/09 Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply. Maybe I didn't mention this before but the 2.5 gallon has a heater, light and a filter, two small plants, gravel. I keep it at 78 degrees. It's well established and has cycled. I have a master test kit and test all my tanks biweekly, I keep the nitrates below 20 ppm which means I have to vacuum gravel and do water changes once a week but that's no problem for me as we have three other tanks. As I said, previously the female was gravid and released the eggs without the male building a bubblenest, then they ate them. But today the male Betta has been building a bubblenest and for the first time seemed aggressive to the female. So, after reading your advice, I guess we will take the female Betta out and put her somewhere else and leave him there alone. Thanks, Melissa <Hello Melissa. Yes, the male will become significantly more aggressive once it makes a nest or begins guarding a batch of eggs. So I think your decision to move the female is wise. As for your 2.5-litre aquarium, if it's warm and filtered, and your Betta seems happy, then maybe you'll be fine. Certainly, you're treating him a lot better than many other Betta keepers. Good luck, Neale.>

Betta (small tank; tankmates)  12/02/08 Here is my setup: 5.5 gallon tank hanging filtration system heated to 80 degrees There is 1 male Crowntail Betta. What else can I put in there? I am dying add some roommates, but don't want to cause any trouble. Thanks, Lauren <You can't add any more fish. End of story. You could add some small shrimps such as Cherry Shrimps though. Do have a read of this article on stocking small freshwater tanks: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Setting up new Betta tank  11/19/08
Hello, Crew!
You've been a great resource and I need your help one more time.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I am setting up a 10 gallon tank at work and plan to get a Betta(s).
<A perfect size for these wonderful fish.>
Someone who had dealt with Bettas before told me that I can get two-three females in addition to the male.
<In theory yes, but in practise, only worth doing if you have another tank you can remove the male to if necessary. Make no mistake: once the male is guarding his nest, he will view any other fish, including female Bettas, as threats. He can/will kill them. Sexually mature males will also harass females that are not "ripe" with eggs, ready to spawn. To be honest, I wouldn't do this. If you want a busy tank, then choose tankmates suitable for this size tank. Cherry shrimps for example. Kuhli loaches are also great with Bettas.>
But, reading about how territorial and aggressive Bettas can be, I have my doubts. Please let me know if there is such thing as big happy Betta family.
<No. Males form their own "families" with the eggs and fry prior the fry becoming free swimming. Otherwise, these fish definitely territorial loners.>
I put about 3 gallons of tap water and one gallon of an established tank's water (from home) and will let it sit until after Thanksgiving, and then plan to add fish. So the 10 gallon tank is about half full ~ should I add more water from the old tank?
<Water carries no filter bacteria, or virtually none anyway. So do what you want with it, it'll have NO affect on cycling the tank (i.e., maturing the filter). If you have an established tank, then take MEDIA from the filter in the established tank and put in the new tank's filter.>
The temperature stays pretty much around 70F and no drifts here - do you think I still need a heater?
<Yes, far too cold. Bettas need 26-28 C (79-82 F). Vast numbers of Bettas die from being kept in unheated tanks. Here's the rule: Do you live in tropical Southeast Asia? If the answer is "yes", then by all means keep your Betta in an unheated tank. If the answer is "No", then you need a heater.>
Is the filter necessary for this size tank?
I do have gravel, decorations and silk plants already and plan to get live plants as well, so there should be enough hiding places.
Thank you for your help.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>  

Betta Compatibility 11-8-08 Hello, This is sort of a stupid question, but it is so personalized I was not able to find it on you site. <Hello! Good morning! There are no stupid questions so ask away!> I have a 2.5 Gal. tank for my Betta fish & was wondering if I could add some glass or cherry shrimp. I thought this might be a bit much for the tank but I thought I'd ask. It's filtered. <Sounds like your Betta is living the great life, keep up the great work!> It's heated to a constant 82°F and the dimensions are 12.5 L x 9 H x 4 W (the front is wavy so these aren't exact.) It has plenty of fake plants and a fake hollowed out log for hiding. (There is still plenty of room for swimming. and all of the plants are safe for the Betta's fins.) And I'm very positive that I can't add a Cory cat but I thought I'd ask anyways. Thanks for any input on the system or my questions. <It sounds like you have a very nice setup for your Betta. I have added glass shrimp to a 5 gallon with a Betta and it worked out well, until the Betta found the shrimp. He attacked them constantly. Regarding your situation, you have a well filtered tank and if your Betta is nicer than mine, I don't see why adding a shrimp could be putting your tank in danger. Just keep a watch on the parameters, like ammonia and nitrates incase your filter can't handle the bioload.> By the way, this is such a nice site. Thanks so much it has been an invaluable resource. Matt <You are welcome! And thanks for the compliments! Merritt A.>

Betta Compatibility 9/26/08
Hello all,
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you all on an excellent, informative site.
I have two questions about my male Betta Splendens. I currently have him in a 106 litre tank which is 36inches long by 15 inches high and 12 niches deep. I have approx. 18 planted plants of all different sizes, a cave, and bogwood to provide bolt-holes for anyone who needs it, is my Betta ok in this size tank? I have read conflicting opinions on different sites and in different books regarding the suitability of the size of my tank for the Betta.
<Your tank is just dandy for this species. I'm not an advocate of keeping them in bowls (as the sheer volume of e-mails we get from people with sick Bettas who keep them that way should justify).>
Also, I have him in with a male and two female Dwarf Gouramis, they occasionally display to each other but give each other a wide berth, he
is also in with Plecs, Corys, Emperor Tetras, Neon Tetras, Bleeding Heart Tetras, Zebra Danios and Harlequin Rasboras. So far he seems to be getting on fine with all his tankmates but I have only had him a few weeks, is he likely to continue being so placid or could he turn into a psycho fish?
<Fish don't "turn psycho". What happens is people ignore their social behaviour, and then wonder why fish X is suddenly territorial or a fin-nipper. While tetras sometimes nip at the long fins of Bettas, if that hasn't happened thus far, I wouldn't be overly concerned.>
He just swims about, nibbling on plants, rooting in the gravel, resting on top of the filter, he will also eat straight from my fingers.
<Sounds lovely. While not every Betta works in every community, some work out fine (perhaps they're less inbred-dumb than others?).>
I feed him a combination of brine shrimp, pellets, tetra flakes and he also enjoys the catfish chips and Plec wafers. Should he be eating the Plec flakes or catfish chips? Will they harm him in any way?
<No harm at all.>
Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks
<Sounds to me you're doing everything right and have a happy little community. Your Plec is going to outgrow the tank before too long, and I'd personally keep adult Bleeding Hearts in larger quarters, but beyond that, I can't see any obvious problems around the corner. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Betta Compatibility  9/29/08
Hello all,
Many thanks for all your help and the wealth of information you provide. This is definitely the most informative site of all (I know because I think I have visited every single one of them!)
<Thanks for saying so!>
Help, my fish have Ich!
<Just grab some anti-Ich medication. In the UK, I happen to recommend eSHa EXIT, a relatively inexpensive (around £4-5) medication that treats this disease very effectively and in my experience without harming sensitive species like Puffers and Catfish.>
My Betta, some of Emperors, Neons and Harlequins have Ich. I noticed a 2-6 spots on each of the infected ones yesterday. The rest of the fish are fine so far, but I know from reading the information on your site that it's inevitable that they have already been exposed.
<Correct; very few fish are seemingly immune to Ick, though some are certainly much more prone than others.>
What is the best treatment bearing in mind the fish I have? Also, should I remove the 18 plants and three algae balls I have before treatment?
<No, the medication -- used as instructed -- will not harm either plants, filter bacteria, or fish. Snails and shrimps are more sensitive though.>
If I keep the plants and algae balls in a bucket or tank with tap safe in will any Ich that is on the plants die? Please help, the fish are the most important thing to save but if it is at all possible I would like to save the plants as well (they've cost a fortune with some of the plants being in excess of £10 and the cheapest being £6).
<The medication will turn the water green or blue or whatever, but don't worry, your plants won't care. The colour vanishes after a few hours.>
Many thanks
<You're going to be fine! Cheers, Neale.>

Newcomer in the aquatic world... Betta and Hymenochirus comp.   8/26/08 I had a quick question about the community my girlfriend and I should build in our fish tank. It's a 10 gal. tank and we've been doing a lot of research on what kind of fish would get along with our African dwarf frog we've had for about a week now. We already have an apple snail, and other than the java moss we have for the frog, it's a pretty empty tank. We've been thinking about a beta <Betta...> fish but most of the websites we've visited have mixed opinions with some saying betas make great tank mates and other saying that the beta would eat or beat up the frog. Would placing a beta in the community be a good idea? Thank you. <Should be fine with an ADF. Bob Fenner>

Glowlight Tetra & Betta Compatibility  7/29/08 Dear Crew, First, I would like to thank the crew for their efforts put forth on the WWM website and to the aquarium hobby/profession in general. I always enjoy reading the articles, FAQs and especially the Conscientious Aquarist Magazine. OK, now that my nose is properly browned, I have a question. <Thanks for the kind words.> I have a 5 Gallon tank set up with at last count 10 Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda). About a week ago my wife's friend moved out of town and I agreed to take their Betta (Betta splendens) . Since they were housing the poor fish in a little reptile carrier (no heater, no filter, maybe held 1 quart of water) I decided to upgrade his living quarters. He's been living happily in my 5 Gallon shrimp tank for the past week. <Sounds ideal really.> He eats well and explores the tank with great interest. Unfortunately he has also taken an interest in the shrimp. They range in size form 1/8 to over 1/2 inch and I'm pretty sure the Betta has been eating the smaller shrimp. <I'd not worry too much about this too much as you can quickly end up with more shrimps than you know what to do with. I started with six, and must have a hundred now.> Now the larger shrimp hide during the day and I never get to enjoy them. <I see. How well planted is the tank? Stacking the thing with Cryptocoryne, Java moss and other low level plants will provide more cover for the shrimps. Mine live with halfbeaks, and these predatory fish only get the odd juvenile shrimp that comes to the surface -- the others seem to survive to sufficiently large size they're fine.> My question is, can I put the Betta into my 10 Gallon tank with 7 Glowlight tetras (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)? <In theory, yes, but even the best tetras sometimes go for Bettas.> I have read on your site that Bettas can get picked on by Neon Tetras, but I didn't know if the Glowlights would pose a similar problem. <Not beyond the realms of possibility.> If so, how long should I wait considering the Betta has not shown any outward signs of disease (I know I should quarantine him, but for how long)? <If the Betta has lived by himself (or with invertebrates only) for 6 weeks or more, he's fine to be moved immediately.> Would it be better to move the shrimp into the 10 Gallon with the Glowlights? <Yep.> Ultimately I would like my shrimp to breed and multiply and I'm not sure that will happen if I house them with the Tetras. <Not much; I kept them with Cardinals and STILL got plenty of babies. Java Moss is, I feel, the key, as it provides ample cover for tiny shrimps.> Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Evan <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Glowlight Tetra & Betta Compatibility  7/29/08 Please forward to Neale, thanks! Neale, Thank you for your quick reply. <Most welcome.> Currently the 5 Gallon is lightly planted with several sprigs of Java Fern, a small sprig of Anubias nana and a small patch of Java moss. There is also a piece of driftwood that had several knots/holes in it and I have a coconut cave that is too narrow for the Betta to enter (but he still noses at it) and the shrimp have made a make shift cave in the space between the bottom of the sponge filter and the substrate (just gravel). <I've noticed female Cherry Shrimps will hide in coconut caves while brooding their eggs.> I imagine that I am providing enough cover for the shrimp to survive, however, since they are constantly hiding I never really see them. <All sounds pretty good for the shrimp rearing business really!> Would I be better off planting the 5 Gallon more densely? In your estimation, if I were to move the shrimp to the 10 Gallon (which is similarly outfitted as to planting, decor, etc.) would they be more outgoing or do you think the Tetras would bother them as much as the Betta currently does? And again, would denser planting in the make the shrimp more bold in the 10 Gallon? <My shrimps certainly didn't hide when combined with Cardinals, and aren't at all reticent with juvenile Limia, Aspidoras and whiptail catfish, or various small gobies. The tanks involved are in the 8-10 gallon bracket, so match yours closely. So my feeling is that what you propose will work well. You could try adding more shrimps: they are "schooling" animals, and perhaps the more you have, the more outgoing they become?> Thank you again, your advice is greatly valued. Evan <Kind of you to say so! Neale.>

bad/good thing, No Info is a bad thing 7/10/08 Ok....the subject said good/bad thing.....That means there is a good and a bad thing. The bad thing is my female fish killed my male fish, and I thought male and female fish won't fight. <What type of fish?> The good thing is I think she is pregnant, but I'm not really sure. Do you know how to determine if she is pregnant or not? Thanks for the help! <What type of fish?> <Chris>

Re: bad/good thing... Bettas  7/10/08 Ok....the subject said good/bad thing.....That means there is a good and a bad thing. The bad thing is my female fish killed my male fish, and I thought male and female fish won't fight. The good thing is I think she is pregnant, but I'm not really sure. Do you know how to determine if she is pregnant or not? Thanks for the help! Oh...sorry, they're both beta. <Right, to start with the fish you have here are called "Bettas", not "betas". From their Latin name, Betta splendens, and that in turn coming from a Thai name for the fish, Bettah. In any case, because Americans often seem to pronounce Betta with the accent on the "e" instead of the "t", there are lot of fishkeepers who call them "Bee-tas" rather than "Bet-ters". Now you can go and show off to your friends how erudite you are by pronouncing the name of your pets properly! Next, Bettas don't get pregnant. They lay eggs. Females can sometimes look a bit swollen before laying their eggs. But it is actually rather more common for them to be plain fat because they are overfed. So review feeding, and make sure you aren't using just pellets or flakes because these cause constipation. Whatever the "guy in the store" might suggest, these fish need a source of fibre, and things like brine shrimp and daphnia, ideally live, will do the trick. Frozen bloodworms are also great. Relegate dried foods (flake, pellet, freeze-dried) to just 2-3 times per week. Next up, Bettas are aggressive. They can, will kill each other if they feel confined. Unless your tank is at least 40 litres/10 gallons in size they are best kept alone. By all means add snails and shrimps, but keep one Betta per system. Also remember fancy male Bettas are "crippled from birth". Those lovely long fins may appeal to you, but they're the equivalent of expecting someone in high-heels and wedding dress to go run a mile -- they can't! The drag caused by the fins makes it impossible for them to avoid aggressive fish or even to feed properly where other fish are snapping up all the food. Again, fancy male Bettas are best kept alone. Because females have normal fins, it's quite easy for them to become bullies. They're great fun in spacious, thickly planted aquaria though. Very outgoing and seemingly quite quick to learn. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: bad/good thing -- 07/11/08 WOW! Thank You! I got a lot of information, learned from it, and learned how to say BETTA right! HAHAHA! Anyway, thanks for the information and with that, I'll be more careful from now on. -Brogan <Very good. Glad we could help and educate all at the same time. Bon chance, Neale.>

African Cichlids, hlth. and Betta comp.  - 7/2/08 Hey everyone! Hope your having a good day. I actually have two questions about two separate cichlid tanks. First, I have a ten gallon with a pair of Kribensis, two Cory cats, two female guppies, and an Oto. I recently got a male Crowntail Betta (I fell in love when he swam over to me as I was looking at all the "dead" Betta in their little cups). Right now he is living in a breeding net (about 6" by 4") hooked on the side of the ten gallon. I was wondering if I could let him out with the cichlids, guppies, and catfish? <In a word, no. Fancy Bettas are not good community fish. They are too slow because of their ridiculous fins, and so can't feed properly. They can't swim away from nippy tankmates, and they can't swim away from defensive cichlids. So they usually end up getting battered and beaten. You could mix a Betta with Corydoras in their own system, but that's about it. Do also bear in mind Otocinclus are schooling fish that feed almost entirely on green algae and need perfect water quality. So unless you're keeping a group of them in a large tank with strong lighting (to encourage green algae) your Otocinclus will very likely be dead soon. Something like 99% of the Otocinclus sold to aquarists die quickly because they are NOT "mini Plecs" despite what the shopkeepers might say. They are extremely demanding fish, and worse, when they get hungry they parasitise other fish by scraping the mucous from their bodies.> I don't want to put him in an unheated, unfiltered bowl, but I worry the net is still too small for him. He doesn't show any interest in the Kribs when they swim by. Would they damage his fins? <Yes.> My second question is in regards to my large show tank. I keep several adult Haplochromis, peacocks, and Labidochromis (yellow morph) together and everyone gets along fine (all male, I don't want any hybrids). <Good stuff! Do bear in mind hybridisation doesn't occur between (most) genera, so you could keep Labidochromis, Aulonocara, and Haplochromis together with zero risk of hybrids.> I just got an adult albino peacock that I'm going to add. My problem is his eye. He was kept in bad water and one of his eyes stared to rot out. It's doing much better, but is there anything I can do to help it along? <The eye will likely fall out if the damage is severe, but beyond that clean water and (repeated) treatment for Finrot should help.> I saw this fish originally for $60 in my local LFS, and couldn't justify that much for a fish. Later that week, when I went back he looked terrible and they had taken down his price tag. <I bet.> A while later, I went back and he looked a million times better and they had him on sale for $15, so I gambled and took him home. All my levels are at 0ppm, the temp is 78F, and I do 30% water changes once a week. Would more frequent water changes help him? I've never dealt with this problem with any of my fish. <The more water changes the better, but realistically, treating for Finrot with something like Maracyn (in the US) or eSHa 2000 (in Europe) will be more important in the short term because you need to reverse the bacterial infection before the fish can heal.> Also, I've had him for two days, and he is not eating. It took me six days to get one of my haps to eat when I first brought him home and I lost sleep worrying about him. Is there anything I can do to encourage the peacock to eat? I've tried flake, pellets, and bloodworms but he doesn't respond to anything. He's not hiding, in fact he's out in front all the time, he just won't eat. I'm a college student, I can't afford to lose sleep! <Likely will take time to settle down. Live brine shrimp is often a good "bribe" even though nutritionally it is worthless. In any case, treat the eye infection first and don't worry about its appetite. Once it is healthy and settled into the hierarchy in the tank, it will feed.> Thanks so much for your time. Jessica <Happy to help, Neale.> \Re: African Cichlids and a Betta Re: African Cichlids and a Betta    - 7/2/08 Thank you so much for a quick response. <You're welcome.> As far as the Betta goes, I will keep him in his breeding net for now until I can think of a better solution. <Very good.> I had no idea about the little Otos. I've had my little guy for several months now. Is there anything I can do to increase his chances of survival? I offer him blanched veggies a couple times a week and there is a lot of algae in my tank. Is there a reliable algae eater for a ten gallon system? <Best algae-eaters for small aquaria are shrimps (e.g., Cherry Shrimps) and snails (specifically Nerites, which don't breed in freshwater tanks). Together they do an outstanding job. I have a ~10 gallon planted tank with four Nerites and dozens of Cherry Shrimps and the thing is spotless.> Sadly, my albino peacock passed away last night. Thanks for all the help in regards to him though. Now I know what to do if I ever encounter this problem again. <OK.> One more quick question though. I keep an electric blue ahli cichlid with the others and I've been told that if there are any female peacocks present he will kill the males and hybridize with the females. He is the main reason there are no females in my tank. Is this true? (I don't have room for any girls, but I'd like to someday down the road). <At least some Mbuna will go for anything the same colour as males of its species. Sciaenochromis ahli is well known for this. Even putting aside the fact males are highly aggressive and territorial, you have to keep them only with similarly tough fish that *aren't* blue. Sciaenochromis ahli is best kept in a single-species set-up, one male, multiple females. You'd get to watch their interesting social behaviour as well as get lots of baby fish you can collect and sell!> Thanks again! Jessica <Cheers, Neale.>

Another problem..... Male/Female Cohabitation... Bettas  6/27/08 I'm having another problem with my fish (beta). I have 2 tanks. I have a male in one, and a male in the other. I also have a Female. When I got the Female, I put her in the tank with the red Male. <These cannot be kept together long term, one of them will end up dead.> Like....a month or 2 later, I realized that she was biting at the Male's fins because he kept chasing her. I thought it was because she was like us other women.....she wants to have her space, and asked the Male if she could have some chocolate, but the male said no, so now she became a little irritable.....but then I forgot she was a fish not a human....BUT ANYWAY! When I saw that she was biting his fins, I thought I would move her to the other tank to see if she would get along with the other Male, but she is also biting at his fins. <They can be every bit as aggressive as the males.> I don't have any money, so I can't go out and buy another tank for her. Do you have any ideas on how to keep her from biting at the Males' fins? <Return her to the store or find someone else who can take care of her, this behavior will continue and probably escalate.> Hope you have an answer, Brogan, 12 years old <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm .> <Chris>

About my Female Betta... beh., comp....  2/25/08 To a mind more experienced then my own, <Perhaps> I have a large tank with 2 Angel Fish, 2 Cory Cats, 1 Pleco, 2 Shark Catfish, <Mmm, incompatible. Actually a brackish to marine animal> 2 male Platies, 1 male, and 1 female Betta. All levels are with-in the standard. All in slightly brackish water. <Oh! The Angels, Corydoras and Loricariid don't care for salt...> I also have a second tank (brackish water) with 1 male Platy and 7 female Platies with their fry. All of my fish are doing well with the exception of my female Betta. I have observed her from the time I got her 2 weeks ago. She has always been at the bottom of the tank rarely surfaces. <Likely too harassed by the Angels, perhaps the fast-moving catfish here> Rarely ever moves. The male Betta leaves her alone, <Oh! And should not be placed in constant association with a male... See WWM re...> I guess she wouldn't be a threat to him. I'm just not sure what to do. Finally today I separated her in a breeding tank. <Good> She is still acting in the same fashion. Any tips or suggestions would be helpful. Thank you for your time, Cal <Needs to be kept with slow moving, easy going fishes... and not a male Betta. Bob Fenner>

Starting from scratch! As in w/ no knowledge... Betta, Goldfish incomp.   2/6/07 Question: Good day, My birthday treat is to start all  over again since my fish died after Christmas. <...> Please give me a list  of EVERYTHING I need to purchase for a 10 gallon tank and how many fish  should I have in it (I had 2 goldfish & 1 beta fish prior). I would like  to get 1 beta fish and 3 gold fish (very small ones). Plus, what should I do  for feeding of the fish when I take a week's vacation which happens twice a  year!! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR ALL OF  YOUR WONDERFUL ASSISTANCE!! Your blessings from heaven comes in  2007! Elfrieda <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm and the linked files as you peruse the index... on FW set-up, Bettas, Goldfish... Bob Fenner>

Thank you for all you do! Betta comp.  1/29/08 I just wanted to say "Thank you". I'm an avid fish lover, and have been through many fish since childhood. I still have questions from time to time. (as my interest in species changes) And I always find the answer to my questions on YOUR site!! Furthermore, I'd like to say I'm so happy, because I read a reply about Bettas in a community tank can be OK. I've always kept one in mine, and have almost never had any problems. (other than the time one ate/attacked some Neons, not a good idea) People tell me all the time that I can't, b/c they are TOO aggressive. As long as I keep floating live plants, they've always laid in them and chilled. No problem. So thank you, all of you for your hard work, and wonderful answers and replies. Keep up the good work!! Nicki <Hello Nicki and thanks for the kind words. As you say, Bettas *can* be kept in community tanks, but this should be viewed in context. It wouldn't be wise to stick Bettas in a tank with fast-flowing water and no hiding places close to the surface. While perfect for Danios, Bettas would find that a miserable place to live. Similarly, Bettas can't be mixed with things that nibble fins, such as Serpae tetras, Black Widow/Petticoat tetras or Synodontis catfish. I like to see Bettas in thickly planted aquaria where they make a nice alternative to Gouramis. Female Bettas especially work well, having nice colours and usually outgoing personalities. Their short fins let them swim about easily, and they can be quite entertaining and hardy fish. So yes, Bettas can be mixed with other fish, but you do need to take a bit of care when doing this. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Thank you for all you do! Betta comp. 1/31/08 Yes, I noticed earlier on that they liked having plants to lay in. I usually keep real mellow fish, I'm not crazy about fin nibblers and the more aggressive ones. Thank you for writing me back. :) <Hello Nicki, We're always glad to receive mail, and writing back isn't a problem - it's something we enjoy. Good luck with your fishkeeping! Neale>

Betta comp.   1/14/08 Hello! I'm new to the whole aquarium thing, so forgive me if this question is dumb. <Only dumb question is the one not asked...> I looked for an answer all over the Internet, but to no avail. Anyway, I have had a male Siamese fighting fish for a few months in a bowl. Yesterday, I bought a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter. In this new tank, I put the Siamese fighting fish with 2 adolescent pot-bellied mollies. <Whoa... just about tolerable for a single Betta (though in my opinion in the same way as putting a lion in a cage is tolerable). But that's it. No more fishes, and certainly not Mollies. Mollies are far too big, active, sensitive to poor water quality. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm Note their size and water chemistry requirements!> I woke up this morning to both my mollies under a bush and my Siamese fighting swimming around the top of the bowl. They're now separated so I can watch how the react. Do mollies and Siamese fighters just not get along? <In a nutshell, even if they emotionally got along, physically they require entirely different systems. So basically NO.> Thanks! Cristall <Please do read some more, and THEN you'll find the hobby rewarding and much easier (both on you and the creatures you buy!). Hope this helps, Neale.>

Millions of questions.. of course. Gourami hlth., Betta comp.  -- 12/6/07 Hey there, I currently have a 10gal tank with 2 three spot gouramis, 1 African frog, 1 CAE and 3 male guppies. I have a couple rocks and plants as you can see. It's set at a constant 78F and when I tested my water at the pet store, everything looked good. My tank has gone through hell to get to this fairly stable state, and there are two original survivors: a fat and happy CAE who didn't seem to be affected and a poor three spot Gourami who has been left slightly mangled. She broke out with terrible Ich and her eyes swollen up on multiple occasions. The rest of them I added a few weeks ago. One Gourami is about 4 inches and a pig and the other (survivor) is about 2 inches and doesn't seem to eat anything anymore. <Might be consequent from the ich treatment/disease, or perhaps its also being bullied by the larger conspecific> My survivor used to eat at the algae wafers I'd put in for my CAE, but now it doesn't look like she eats anything. She's gotten thinner and I'm wondering if she's gone blind because of the eye swelling and just can't see the food? <Maybe> She sits at the top of the tank during feeding and just gulps at air. I'll crush up flakes and put them near her mouth but she only spits them out. Do you think she's blind and if so, can I do anything to help her? <Mmm, if you have another smaller tank, or even a breeding net, or large hand net this fish can be kept in... it may be able to find food easier...> I thought the larger Gourami might be a good companion since it seemed so calm when I saved it, but it's gone crazy since being moved and is terrorizing all the fish. <This is bad... I would remove, trade in this bully> I bet has even hit the tank cover a few times the way she darts around. It was living with the frog and a Betta (in water that smelled like gasoline) in a half-filled 10gal tank. Could it be the fact that it has room and clean water now? <Mmm, no> I know I'll need a bigger tank soon, but do you think it will calm down over time or does she just need a new home? <This behavior is generally persistent with Trichogaster, most gouramis... Once a bully, they keep bullying. I would trade it in> My last question is about a Betta that I got about a month ago. It was in a tank with what I think was a ton of tin-foil barbs? <I wonder how it managed to get any food...> and was fine around all of them. I took him home, kept him in a Betta tank for a few days and then tried to introduce him to the community tank. Of all my fish I thought he'd attack the guppies, but they were so busy darting about that he got bored with them. Upon finding my tiny Gourami he flared and started circling her. <Yes... the Betta considers the similar-looking Gourami as a competitor> I didn't want to stress the poor girl out since she's gone through enough so I immediately took him out. I realize that flaring is normal with Bettas in new community tanks like this but will it eventually calm down or will I just have to see? <I agree with your statement, and your action... I would keep them separated> Do you think he's spent too much time out of a community tank, so that he won't behave in one anymore? <Likely would be fine in a calm, uncrowded community setting... w/o other like-appearing tankmates> Thanks for your time. Sorry it's so long. <No worries. Bob Fenner>

Siamese Algae Eaters as Betta Companions... No   10/22/07 Hey, all! <Tori> My roommate and I are planning our first aquarium, and she really loves the male Betta fish. I'd like to get an Eclipse 5 gallon tank, and I'm looking at getting some algae eaters as well. I know that Corys make good Betta companions, but I've heard positive things about Siamese Algae Eaters, namely that they're not as aggressive as the Chinese ones and are smaller. Would these be all right to get, or should I stick with the Corys or some Cherry Shrimp? <These latter are far better companions/choices... Along with maybe large non-hermaphroditic snails. SAE's require much more pristine, larger conditions...> Also, would it help my fish to get along better if I bought a tank that is longer as opposed to taller, so that bottom feeders would have more space? <Yes... much better for all> (I'm looking at the Eclipse Hexagon versus the Eclipse Corner.) Thank you! ~ Tori <Thank you! I like the way you think! Bob Fenner>

Beat up platy? Betta incomp.   10/12/07 Hello to whoever is answering: <And to you> I have a Betta in with four platys. The Betta was somewhat aggressive when I first got them ( a bit over three months ago) but then calmed down. Two of the platys are very dark orange and almost triangular in shape. The other two are grayish white and orange with a couple of black spots. One of these two kept disappearing except to be fed. The last two days he did not come out at feeding time so I removed a couple decorations and finally found him. I netted him and put him in a smaller tank. His fins are shredded and he looks to my novice eyes like he is malnourished. He swims but mostly hides and with his head down. I had developed a technique of feeding where I got the Betta in on corner and all the platys in another as the Betta lunges at his food. His eyes look normal, no growths, no white fuzz. I have the feeling that the Betta started on him again right after he had a growth spurt. Anything else I can do for the poor fish? Thank you for your help. <I would isolate or remove the Betta here... It is likely the culprit. Bob Fenner>

2 questions concerning my betta... sys., comp.  10/1/07 Hi there, I recently upgraded my Betta's tank size to a 5 1/2 gallon tank from a 1/2 tank. Also I have added two albino Cory catfish as companions. <Nice!> My 1st question is about the filter, I'm not sure if it's good for him or needed, or if he likes it. Since most of the time he's been really happy with out one in his small tank before this one. What should I do about the filtration? <Perhaps a small hang on or in-tank power filter type...> My 2nd questions is about his companions. I'm starting to think giving him companions in the 1st place was a bad idea. I don't know if he likes them, he seems to avoid them and doesn't like them getting close to him. He doesn't fight them or anything he just swims away quickly. Should I remove them from the tank and let him have his peace again in the tank, or just wait it out till he gets to know them better? Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Joe <I think the Corydoras Cats will be fine companions here... Bob Fenner>

Betta Companions and General Tank Questions -- 08/31/07 Hi WWM Crew; My name is Andrea and I have been taking care of a male Betta who's owner couldn't keep it anymore. Currently it's living in a standard sized fish bowl and seems quite happy. I'm going to move him into a 5 gallon hexagonal fish aquarium (has a carbon filter and Bio-wheel filter) that I'm bringing back up. Because of this I was hoping to get a few more fish in the aquarium, and was wondering if a small school of say 3 Neon and 3 Glo-Light Tetra's would work out with him. I am also a fan of Synodontis catfish and was wondering if he would be compatible with one or not (the last Synodontis I had was very mild mannered and left the other fish alone). Your answers to these questions would be much appreciated. Andrea <Hello Andrea. Do not mix your Betta with any of the fish mentioned. Tetras tend to nip their fins, even "good" tetras like Neons. Some people mix them fine, but some people don't, and you don't really want to take the chance unless you have another aquarium ready to house one or other species if things go wrong. As for Synodontis, other than the fact most species will nibble on the fins of Bettas given the chance, a 5 gallon tank is simply nowhere near big enough to house them. Even the dwarf S. nigriventris needs something like a 20 gallon tank, ideally more, because they are social fish that do best when kept in threes or more. If you must mix a Betta with something else, consider some type of small snail or shrimp. They will be fine in a tank your size, and generally cause no problems with Bettas. Cherry shrimps (Neocaridina denticulata sinensis) are tremendous fun, being not only colourful algae eaters, but also quite willing to breed, so before long you'll have lots of baby shrimp scuttling about the tank that you can grow on and share with other fishkeepers. Cheers, Neale>

What can I add? Betta...    8/30/07 Hello, I recently bought a 1.5 Gallon tank for my betta fish. I have not yet placed my fish in this tank because i read on a website that you should put in the less aggressive fish first. What I was wondering was what type(s) of fish would be suitable for this environment? Some of the fish that I would be interested in putting in the tank are: Cherry Shrimp <Maybe> Mollies <Nah> African Dwarf Frog <Maybe> Flying Fox Tetras <Nah and nah> Julii Cory catfish <Need more room, stable env.> Will any of these fish work out with my betta? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm the linked files above, and re the Compatibility, Systems of the life you list, are considering... on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: What can I add? Betta comp.  -- 08/31/07 thank you so much for your help i really am thankful! I think i might go with the cherry shrimp but i haven't decided yet! But thanks again <Welcome! BobF>

Re: What can I add? Shrimp w/ Betta 9/6/07 Hi again! I was wondering if any other kinds of shrimp can be put with my Betta fish such as: Amano Algae Eating Shrimp Tiger Algae Eating Shrimp Rudolph Red-Nosed Shrimp Bumble Bee Shrimp White Spotted Pearl Shrimp Blue Buddha Shrimp I don't know I might just stick with my first idea, the cherry shrimp, but I haven't decided yet <Mmm, do wish I knew more right off-hand and had my in-print references with me... am on the road... I would look for info. on the net re which of these species stays smaller, likes warm, semi-acidic water (like Bettas)... and eats readily the sorts of foods Siamese Fighters do. Bob Fenner>

Re: What can I add? With a Betta   9/7/07 thanks anyway I think ill just stick with the cherry shrimp <A good choice> I don't think my fish is aggressive because i put a picture of the cherry shrimp up to the tank and he flared up for like one sec then was perfectly fine with the picture. What do u think? <Interesting> Is that a good test to see if he is aggressive? <I do think you have something here. BobF>

Large white Spots on Siamese Fighter Fish -- 07/24/07 Hi, <Hello, Elaine> I have a problem with my female Siamese fighter fish. <Betta splendens> Please find an enclosed photo of the problem. <Ack - that's not a well-looking fish!> Around two weeks ago I noticed a few large white spots on the body of the fish, around the size of her scales. <Looks to me as though the scales have actually been torn off - in looking at your stocking list below, I would surmise the flying fox, Epalzeorhynchos kallopterus, is the cause. The latter is NOT a peaceful fish, and doesn't belong together with any species that are... Also, your Betta appears extremely swollen - how long has she appeared like that? It could be constipation, or alternatively, a bacterial infection...worst case scenario, a tumor. How is she eating? Is she regularly pooping? If not, constipation may be the cause; try feeding a frozen, then thawed pea, or, alternatively, fasting her for a couple of days. I'd start there...> At this point I added a Melafix to the tank. <How are the water parameters? Temp., ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.? Melafix can be helpful, but good water quality for healing wounds, scales injuries is much more important...> After a few days this appeared to have no effect. <Not surprised; see above. Also, do keep in mind it takes quite some time for injured/missing scales to heal and regenerate.> After some research online I suspected a slime or bacterial infection so dosed the tank with Methylene blue. <What?! No quarantine/hospital tank? Well, sadly you killed off any of the beneficial bacteria by medicating the entire tank; this is never a good idea. You will need to keep a VERY close eye on the water parameters, as this tank will need to re-cycle... Aside from this, the only "treatment" your Betta really needed was to be immediately separated from the Flying Fox and kept in pristine water conditions so that her scales can heal, re-grow, etc.> This appeared to stop any further progression of the problem and no other fish in the tank were affected, so she was then isolated and dosed with Methylene blue again. <Unfortunately you didn't isolate her to begin with, so as explained above, your main tank's nitrogen cycle is destroyed. Also, I'm not sure why you are treating with Methylene blue - totally unnecessary and likely harmful...> After almost a week in isolation she appears no better so we removed her from isolation and took the attached photo in the hope you may be able to help ( as Methylene blue you can't see her very well). <Yes - all explained above.> She is in a 180 litre tank... <Just about 48 US gallons...> ...with the following other fish (who appear to not be affected) - <Well, they will be affected by the buildup of harmful toxins caused by the re-start of the nitrogen cycle; please keep a very close eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, performing water changes as necessary...> 15 cardinal tetras a Bristlenose catfish a whiptail catfish 4 clown loaches (2 medium 2 small) 4 Corydoras 1 Siamese flying fox 2 Kuhli loaches <Again, the Flying Fox is a very territorial, highly aggressive fish who doesn't belong anywhere near a peaceful Betta. Also, clown loaches - these fish can reach up to 12" or better when full grown - do you have a plan for upgrading? Fish stocking schemes really need to be well-researched, thought out. Do take a look at www.fishbase.org for some extremely useful information on the species you are keeping...> My suggestion for your Betta is to setup a separate 3-5 gallon heated (80-82 degrees F), filtered tank for her to live in by herself. With proper water quality and time, her scales will heal and this problem will resolve itself. As for the stocking in the main tank, well, you've got a lot of bottom dwellers...far too many...start making contingency plans now...> Regards Elaine Bampton <Best regards, Jorie>

Re: Large white Spots on Siamese Fighter Fish - likely cause is bullying by Flying Fox   7/25/07 Thanks for the quick reply, I do however have a few issues with the suggestions that you have given - please don't think I'm being picky, I am merely trying to give my fish the best chance she has! <I do understand, and I'll do my best to respond to your thoughts...>
Subject: Large white Spots on Siamese Fighter Fish
>Hi, ><Hello, Elaine> >I have a problem with my female Siamese fighter fish. ><Betta splendens> >Please find an enclosed photo of the problem. ><Ack - that's not a well-looking fish!> >Around two weeks ago I noticed a few large white spots on the body of the fish, around the size of her scales. ><Looks to me as though the scales have actually been torn off - in looking at your stocking list below, I would surmise the flying fox, Epalzeorhynchos kallopterus, is the cause. The latter is NOT a peaceful fish, and doesn't belong together with any species that are... >Also, your Betta appears extremely swollen - how long has she appeared like that? It could be constipation, or alternatively, a bacterial infection...worst case scenario, a tumor. How is she eating? Is she regularly pooping? If not, constipation may be the cause; try feeding a frozen, then thawed pea, or, alternatively, fasting her for a couple of days. I'd start there...> <<<I've been keeping an eye on the Betta over the past two weeks and I have definitely seen a slow melting of the scales rather than them being torn off here and there. I should point out that we have a 'Siamese flying fox' (Crossocheilus oblongus) rather than a normal 'flying fox' (Epalzeorhynchos kallopterus). <<<<This is the problem with common fish names; it's hard to know exactly what fish someone is talking about with just this name. In any case, please take a look here for some useful info. re: Crossocheilus oblongus and its compatibility with other fish. Basically, this fish has the same aggressive tendencies as the Epalzeorhynchos kallopterus - do see here: http://www.thekrib.com/Fish/Algae-Eaters/ >>>> <<<The former is a peaceful fish, and I can personally vouch for this having had him in the tank with the female for over 4 months now.>>> <<<<All I can do is make general suggestions based on the non-biased articles, information and research I am familiar with. If it were me, I would still advise separating the two (the Betta and the Siamese Flying Fox.>>>> I've been keeping Bettas for a while now, so I am aware of how they can become bloated for one reason or another. I should have perhaps mentioned before that the bloatedness has come back during this week as the condition got worse. In the past it appeared that she was constipated and using the aforementioned pea trick sorted her out. <<<<Ah, am glad you know about how to care for this condition. I do suggest doing so.>>>> <<<So if we could assume for the moment that it was NOT the SFF, what else could this condition be? I'm 100% sure its not another fish causing this issue, as it got worse even when in isolation.>>> <<<<As with almost all fish injury/illness issues, there are usually several things at play. I still believe that the Betta received some type of injury to her scales, but if not, that's support for the environmental conditions being even worse than I first imagined. Also, if the Betta's immune system is compromised due to stress (being around overly aggressive fish can do this), her resistance to less-than-ideal water conditions is lesser than her tankmates'. I honestly think what you've got going on it a fish that was injured, stressed, and then perhaps exposed to poor environmental conditions, thus causing the slime coat and scales to "melt off" as you describe. What are the exact ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings? How often have you been doing water changes, and in what amount?>>>> >At this point I added a Melafix to the tank. ><How are the water parameters? Temp., ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.? Melafix can be helpful, but good water quality for healing wounds, scales injuries is much more important...> <<<Water parameters are all fine, I have a home testing keep and make sure that they are all within acceptable levels>>> <<<<Fine is not a useful term for this purpose. You need to make sure that ammonia and nitrite are at ZERO, and nitrate only as high as 20 ppm.>>>> >After a few days this appeared to have no effect. ><Not surprised; see above. Also, do keep in mind it takes quite some time for injured/missing scales to heal and regenerate.> >After some research online I suspected a slime or bacterial infection so dosed the tank with Methylene blue. ><What?! No quarantine/hospital tank? Well, sadly you killed off any of the beneficial bacteria by medicating the entire tank; this is never a good idea. You will need to keep a VERY close eye on the water parameters, as this tank will need to re-cycle... >Aside from this, the only "treatment" your Betta really needed was to be immediately separated from the Flying Fox and kept in pristine water conditions so that her scales can heal, re-grow, etc.> <<<She was put in a quarantine tank after a few days of staying in the main tank. It looks like an external bacterial infection and we were unsure whether it was contagious. Bearing this in mind, and that methylene blue treats this condition we dosed the entire tank to make sure that none of the other fish caught it. Your statement about killing friendly bacteria worries me though, as I read off your own website that "<Provided you follow the instructions supplied with the medication, Methylene Blue is harmless to filter bacteria. Cheers, Neale.>" <<<<First off, let me say that you are never going to get just one precise answer in this hobby, as so much is, in all honestly, experimental. Many variables/factors come into play when diagnosing fish illness, so you will likely get different answers from people's different perspectives. I personally would have isolated the sick/injured Betta just to be sure, but I do understand it's a bit of a dilemma/decision. And as for the Methylene Blue, this is an oxygenating agent, and there is a school of thought that it's safe to add to the main tank. In any case, Methylene Blue would not have done anything beneficial for your Betta (but probably nothing harmful, either). As to hospital tanks in general, I am personally of the opinion that all sick fish should be isolated ASAP; this is based on my own personal experience of not having done so quickly enough in some circumstances. (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/methbluefaqs.htm). If this really is the case then perhaps that part of the website should be amended? My instructions with the medication didn't mention such a side-effect.>>> <<<<Many medications claim to be non-harmful to the nitrogen cycle, but this just isn't the case. There's competing information out there as to whether Methylene Blue, specifically, will destroy the "beneficial bacteria", and after discussing with the guru Bob Fenner just this morning, it seems as though the cycle should likely be OK. However, there are other people of the same opinion. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's just better practice to quarantine a sick fish prior to using any treatment, that way you don't have to be concerned...>>>> >This appeared to stop any further progression of the problem and no other >fish in the tank were affected, so she was then isolated and dosed with >Methylene blue again. ><Unfortunately you didn't isolate her to begin with, so as explained above, your main tank's nitrogen cycle is destroyed. Also, I'm not sure why you are treating with Methylene blue - totally unnecessary and likely harmful...> <<<see above>>>> >After almost a week in isolation she appears no better so we removed her from isolation and took the attached photo in the hope you may be able to help ( as Methylene blue you can't see her very well). ><Yes - all explained above.> >She is in a 180 litre tank... ><Just about 48 US gallons...> <<<We use litres here in the UK :)>>> <<<<Yes, I understand. Just trying to make the info. more user-friendly to a wider-group of folk!>>>> >...with the following other fish (who appear to not be affected) - ><Well, they will be affected by the buildup of harmful toxins caused by the re-start of the nitrogen cycle; please keep a very close eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, performing water changes as necessary...> <<<see above again>>> >15 cardinal tetras >a Bristlenose catfish >a whiptail catfish >4 clown loaches (2 medium 2 small) >4 Corydoras >1 Siamese flying fox >2 Kuhli loaches ><Again, the Flying Fox is a very territorial, highly aggressive fish who doesn't belong anywhere near a peaceful Betta. Also, clown loaches - these fish can reach up to 12" or better when full grown - do you have a plan for upgrading? Fish stocking schemes really need to be well-researched, thought out. Do take a look at www.fishbase.org for some extremely useful information on the species you are keeping...> <<<see above once again about the flying fox. I am of course aware of what size the clown loaches grow to and will be upgrading when it is required>>> <<<<Again, I refer you to the article on algae eating Cyprinids. And, please do not take offense at my suggestion that a tank upgrade will be neccessary; many folks don't know this and have been shocked when I've previously made such suggestions.>>>> >My suggestion for your Betta is to setup a separate 3-5 gallon heated (80-82 degrees F), filtered tank for her to live in by herself. With proper water quality and time, her scales will heal and this problem will resolve itself. >As for the stocking in the main tank, well, you've got a lot of bottom dwellers...far too many...start making contingency plans now...> <<<they're doing just fine really, so I'm not to concerned at this moment in time - I'm more worried about the ill female Betta!>>> <<<<As for your Betta, I still suggest moving her to isolated quarters (again, a 3-5 filtered, heated aquarium is a great Betta setup. Keep the water quality pristine, and you may want to add MelaFix once again (keep in mind that will just aid in scale regeneration and keeping secondary bacterial infections at bay, but it doesn't work quickly...) Do take a look at the article I've linked you to, plus the many others out there regarding behavior of the Siamese Flying Fox you insist is so "peaceful". Obviously, you can do what you want, but I truly believe this is the likeliest cause. Given clean water and a peaceful environment, the Betta should heal nicely, without any complications.>>>> >Regards Elaine Bampton ><Best regards, Jorie> <<<thanks once again>>> <<<<You're welcome and good luck. Jorie>>>>

Apple snail input for WWM and Betta woes <Incomp.>  7/12/07 Hi Crew! <Greetings.> This email is mostly to relate my experience in the hope that it might help others facing the same issues, especially since there is not a whole lot about Apple snails on WWM yet. <There's plenty. Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinverts.htm and go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and then read the various connected articles as your fancy takes you.> After reading a couple of comments from Neale about Apple snails not faring so well in community tanks, I began to get worried about mine. <Sad but true. They don't really mix, and the reason aquarium shops sell so many of them is because they die quickly and people just go on replacing them.> He's been sharing an Eclipse 3 with our Betta for about 5 months. The temperature is around 80 normally, but in the summer it regularly climbs to 84-86, even with lights off and top door open. <Way, way too hot for an Apple snail. Anything in the 70s is fine, and a bit cooler in winter if possible.> But the main problem is that I recently noticed that the Betta was stealing food from the snail. He'd violently push the snail aside to get at the sinking wafers and then parade around the aquarium shaking his prize until it crumbled enough for him to eat (he ate one of our cherry shrimp too in our other tank, but we don't know if the shrimp was already dead or not). And since the Betta eats about anything (pellets, flakes, peas, Nori, sinking wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimp) and actively hunts for anything that falls to the bottom, I'm afraid the poor snail has not gotten much to eat in a while... <Indeed. The best thing would be to put aside something for the snail the Betta can't eat. Thinly sliced courgette (zucchini) and blanched lettuce (*not iceberg*) would be a good start. The snail will graze this stuff happily.> Not to mention that the snail is now keeping everything permanently tucked in (I used to enjoy the graceful antennae-waving dance, but now he keeps them where they're safe, under the "hood") and his shell very low over his head like a shield because the Betta kept picking at it... It got to the point where the snail was barely moving around the tank, and I became very worried. <Unfortunately what you're describing is all too common. If this persists, the snail will starve and then die.> I've now moved him (actually, if I can believe applesnail.net, it's a *her* because her operculum is concave - I've just referred to it as a *he" for so long I can't get used to thinking of him as a girl) to an unheated, unfiltered bowl that probably contains about a gallon of water - easy to change because there's no substrate yet, just a rock taken from our 10 gallon tank and a few water lentils that the other tanks keep producing in amazing quantity). It's going to be cooler too because there is no motor and no light, and it's uncovered so evaporation will do its job. I gave him plenty of food (found out he likes cucumber, will try other fruits and vegetables along with fish food) and a piece of a vacation feeder for calcium, until I get him either crushed coral or cuttlebone (his shell is very scratched and the new growth is very pale, so I'm trying calcium, iodine and food to see if it will make a difference on the new growth). I'll see how things go. I've wanted a fan shrimp for a long time and this might make a cute companion to my apple snail, if my research proves they're compatible (and be an excuse to get yet another tank!). <This all sounds dandy. Apple snails are terrific fun, and you do want to have a go at breeding them. it's quite something to see the HUGE egg mass, and when the babies hatch, they're a delight to watch.> So... Betta and Apple snail, in my case, didn't work out so well. The Neritina might have fared better because he eats algae (never seen him show interest in anything else) and already scoots around like a little tank with everything tucked in, even if everything in the tank ignores him. <Nerites are generally much more resistant to fish because of their very heavy shells. They evolved in the sea where there are many more snail-eating predators, not just fish, but crabs, mantis shrimps, whelks, etc. Apple snails are a strictly freshwater group, and the diversity of aquatic snail-eating predators is fairly small. In fact the main predator on apple snails is a kind of hawk, the Florida kite if I recall the name correctly. Anyway, be that as it may, Apple snails are not heavily armoured because evolution hasn't driven them that way. When kept in the tight confines of an aquarium, they end up being harassed by fish quite a lot.> Well, thank you for your time and I hope this can help someone! Audrey <It's always good to know when people have furthered their research and made good decisions. I'm sure you're going to have some fun with the Apple snail. There are some books out there about them, including one from TFH called "Apple snails" or something clever like that. A fascinating read, and well worth tracking down. Filled with stuff about their natural history and biology as well as aquarium care. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Apple snail and Betta woes -- 07/18/07 Hello Neale, or other Crewmember, Here are some updates about my snail... and some comments to your email! > there is not a whole lot about Apple snails on WWM yet. > <There's plenty. Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinverts.htm and go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and then read the various connected articles as your fancy takes you.> Yes, I've read those already. But until Neale started commenting on Apple snails, nothing indicated that I might be having a problem with mine. Those pages kind of say the same thing over and over again, which is really not that much when you remove the redundant information. > This all sounds dandy. Apple snails are terrific fun, and you do want to have a go at breeding them. it's quite something to see the HUGE egg mass, and when the babies hatch, they're a delight to watch.> And then they get sold to those people who keep buying them because they keep dying... sad fate :-) My boyfriend would probably frown if I tried to breed them - he wanted to avoid the multiple-tank syndrome, and we're already at 3 permanent wet dwellings... and planning for a 30 gallon brackish system... :-) But it is very tempting. > <It's always good to know when people have furthered their research and made good decisions. I'm sure you're going to have some fun with the Apple snail. Thank you. I certainly try. There's nothing worse than the feeling that I'm not providing an adequate environment for my pets - they're so entirely dependent on us! The snail, by the way, is doing better. He actively moves about the tank looking for food, eats well, has a grip on the bottom of the bowl he hasn't had in a while, and now closes his door entirely shut when we move him (this he hasn't done in months). I will get him a small tank and filter, if only to avoid having to change water daily, which is a real annoyance. How can people stand to keep fish and animals in bowls for any length of time? It's such a hassle! Thank you again (and big thanks also from the much-happier snail!) Audrey <Hello again, Audrey! I'm not sure I get why you think those snail articles say "the same things over and over". They look pretty comprehensive to me. But OK. Anyway, it sounds like you've fixed the snail problem and are enjoying your pet. Please do try and hunt down that Apple Snail book, it really is *that* good, and covers everything from natural history to evolution to breeding. I think you'll get a kick out of learning how cool these animals are. They've very underrated in the hobby, but once you get to play with Apple Snails a while, you appreciate that they're really nice animals. The baby snails, by the way, if you don't keep them make good food for predatory fish like puffers and loaches. In fact a *lot* of fish eat snails, given the chance. So get rid of the babies isn't usually a problem. You can also eat Apple Snails, I'm told. They aren't big here in England (we prefer sea snails of various types, with generally much filthier habits, like whelks) but in their native countries Apple Snails are considered fine fare. So that's another option! You're right about bowls. People buy them thinking they're cheaper and easier, and then find out they're nothing but a hassle as well as a death-trap. The reality is with fishkeeping that the bigger the tank and the better the filter, the easier the hobby becomes. I've certainly had far less problems with 200 gallon tanks than 10 gallon tanks. It's a question of scale, I suppose. Anyway, good luck with it all! Cheers, Neale>

Siamese Fighter n Platy! <Incomp.>  7/12/07 Hi again, <Hello!> Just wanted to e-mail you to say thanks for the advice about my poorly Glowlight tetra, the poorly Glowlight has died L as has another Glowlight but the other glowlights and all my other tetra's are doing fine. I've put anti-Finrot and anti-fungus meds in like you suggested to prevent any spreads of infection. <Sorry about your losses. Please make sure you follow the instructions on the medications and check you removed carbon from the filter.> Also, in my last e-mail I said I had 1 tiger barb and you suggested I change it for a cherry barb. I have since discovered it isn't a tiger barb at all but a clown loach.... the person who bought it for me told me it was a tiger barb! <Ah, now this will be awkward in different ways. Clown loaches are *sociable* for a start and should be kept in not less than trios. But more seriously, they're huge. Expect 20 cm lengths, and in the wild and sometimes in captivity they get much bigger than that. Very delicate in some ways, and many medications stress/kill them, so always check before using any medication that it is clown loach safe. MOST ARE NOT!!! Be sure and read the clown loach FAQ and related articles: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clownloachfaqs.htm .> I've been out n bought some more fish, 3 balloon mollies and 1 platy. The platy is bright red and for some reason my Siamese fighter (Betta) has taken to flaring it's fins at it and chasing it, and a pure white balloon molly, ALL over the tank! <OK, I wouldn't have bought the Molly because they really do better in brackish water. But no-one listens to me on this. As for the Platy, well, that's not good.> I think the platy is getting really stressed because it's constantly getting harassed by the Siamese! <I'm sure he is.> What do I do? Will the Siamese calm down or does he just not like red? <Nope, the Betta will stay cross.> Again thanks for the earlier advice! Sam <Bettas fundamentally aren't reliable community fish. They either get harassed by faster and more aggressive species, or else they are belligerent towards fish they mistake for rivals. There isn't much you can do to fix this. If things don't calm down after a few days, then you'll have to move fish out as required. Please consider reading a book about tropical fish before randomly buying species and hoping for the best. It'll save you much time and worry. Cheers, Neale>

Betta Question, Mmmm, fdg., comp. mostly  -- 06/15/07 Hello <Hello.> First, I would like to thank you for your wonderful site. It has been very helpful to me in the past few months. <Cool.> About four months ago, I was in Wal-Mart picking up some bedding for my bearded dragon. The store I go to has the fish and reptile supplies together, so while I was there I spied the betta shelf. There were only two fish left, a little double-tailed female who was, sadly, already dead, and a medium sized male. He was a dull grayish-white, but he seemed healthy enough and I felt bad for him (just call me a sucker) so I decided to purchase him. <Whilst I am entirely sympathetic to your actions, the downside to buying unhappy animals to "rescue" them is it encourages those retailers to get some more and keep them in similar conditions.> I got a two gallon "bowl" (it is rectangular shaped and has a purple vented lid so it really isn't a bowl) along with some purple glass marbles, a silk plant, some Betta Bio-gold, freeze-dried blood worms, freeze dried brine shrimp, and some sinking carnivore pellets. <What about a heater? Bettas are tropical fish, and need a constant 25 degrees C (77 F) to do well. Much below and they become sickly. Like all labyrinth fish (gouramis, climbing perch, etc.) bettas are very sensitive to cold air, and need warm, moist air above the tank as well. I'm not wild about 2-gallon bowls for bettas, though I accept many people keep them thus.> I had never had a betta before, but I recalled that they are carnivorous. <Yes, they are largely carnivorous. Mostly insect larvae, such as mosquito and midge larvae.> I took him home and set up his aquarium in the reptile room where the temp stays at a steady 78 degrees at all times. <Ah, very good. No problems with the heat and hopefully humidity.> He is fed twice a day from the above list in a semi-random fashion. I make sure he gets some of each item at least once every week. I do, by the way, have to break off small pieces of the sinking carnivore pellets, as they were designed for much larger fish. I do partial water changes every 5 days or so. <All sounds fine.> Riku is now a gorgeous pale orange with red flecks in caudal and anal fins. His fins also have light sky blue streaks (I believe it is called a lace pattern?) that match his eyes depending on how the light hits him. My pity purchase turned out to be quite the little jewel and he has such a personality. He dances for me every time I sit in front of him. He tends to ignore everyone but me, except he flares at my sister (good fishie; wish I could say I taught him to do that). <Ah, how sweet.> Following the advice on your site, I have decided to move him to a 5 gallon system with a live Java Fern. I have read that bettas are compatible with Corydoras, but I have also read that they will eat neons and other small fish. <Mixing Betta spp. with other fish is kind of a dark art. Corydoras should be absolutely fine. Other completely docile, bottom dwellers would also be good, such as kuhli loaches and Ancistrus Suckermouth catfish. Midwater fish are more tricky. I can't imagine a Betta splendens (which is your species) eating neon tetras, though the larger mouthbrooding Betta species can and do eat small fish. Neon tetras have sometimes been reported as fin-nippers when kept with bettas, so approach this combination with caution. I've done it, and had no problems, but others have not been so lucky. I'd actually recommend going for more docile schooling fish, such as marble hatchetfish, which are totally placid animals. Gobies are another option, but finding freshwater gobies is a bit hit and miss. All this said, 5 gallons is too small for very many fishes. Depends a bit on the shape of the aquarium, but realistically half a dozen neons plus the betta is probably about all you can fit in there without the tank looking overcrowded. Water quality is another issue, though neither neons nor bettas are terribly messy fishes, especially if you avoid overfeeding.> I had planned on adding about three Corydoras habrosus or hastatus, but they are smaller even than some neons. Would Riku eat them? <No. Those lovely little catfish will be too spiny. At least, the adults would be. Obviously if you put in teeny-tiny juveniles in with a fully grown betta, there's a risk he might view them as live food! Both those species of Corydoras are nice but not exactly bullet-proof, so water quality is important.> Thanks again for the awesome site, and I apologize for the long email. <No probs.> Regards, Suzanne <Cheers, Neale>

Query from a vet - urgent please. Male Betta beh., comp.     5/14/07 Hi I am a vet student with a query on a Siamese fighter fish.  I am awaiting a response from an exotics vet, however I thought you guys may be better equipped to answer please. <Okay> I have had my new tank set up for almost 2 months.  I purchased a male fighter, but within days the tank became infested with flukes, <How determined?> therefore 100% water change was carried out, followed by a weeks water treatment. <With?> The fish recovered, the flukes were gone, so over a period of 3-4 weeks I stocked up with 3 guppies and 2 Corys.  All was well for a few weeks.  All fish were happy with each other. Yesterday I awoke to find my fighter "spoiling for a fight" (although he is NOT flaring his gills).  He has managed to nip the tail of one guppy.   <What they do> His behaviour is one of general agitation.  I can only describe the behaviour as similar to one of my male dogs who is territorially aggressive.  He normally eats 6 pellets a day, and now will only eat 2. Now I know that some people don't advise keeping guppies and Siamese together, <I am one of these> however I have a larger established tank where I have kept them together for a long time with no problems. <Can work, but can be trouble...> I am also perplexed as to why this has happened literally over night.  Even when he's not after the guppies, he is swimming in a very agitated way anyway. <Perhaps the chemical/medication exposure...> My tank seems to be VERY reflective compared to my very established tank ( I can't seem to stop this).  He seems to be obsessed with one side of it at the moment and keeps settling in a position with his head up, tail end down (in a diagonal).   <Ahh! A clue here> Although I cannot see a bubble nest, I am wondering if he is wanting to breed.  I cannot find a resource to tell me their breeding times etc. <A matter of age, conditioning, environmental and social cues...> I am not interested in breeding with him - I just need to know how fast this phase will pass if this is indeed the problem. <May be... as you state, this fish is likely "spoiling for a fight", perhaps warmed up by responding to its own reflection. Happens> The final point to note in his behaviour, is that he won't "settle" at all and rest in his favourite hiding place. <Another clue> If you believe my fighter has just decided that my guppies are a threat after all (slow decision!) - I can move them to my other tank (with an older fighter who is fine with guppies & other fish), however I am loath to do this in the first instance, because as I said - he just appears cross with the world generally! Thanks Anouska Simpson <I would either move one or the other, or try covering the reflective side/s with dark paper to see if this makes a difference. Bob Fenner>

General advice, FW mix of Bettas, Angels, Pictus Cats...    5/12/07 Hi to all the crew at web media, <Hello.> I have a 47.5 gallon tank and currently have 8 platies (all pairs), One  male Betta splendens, four Angel fish Genders unknown and 3 pictus catfish (Genders also unknown) could you tell me whether or not in your opinion  there could be trouble with the community I have described. <Angelfish have been reported as "fin nippers" with fancy (as opposed to wild-type) bettas. Angels aren't otherwise "nippy" but when kept with fish as unable to swim as fancy bettas, they're certainly happy enough to have a nibble. Angels and Pimelodus pictus, on the other hand, are an old, established combo that generally works well.> I did research and seek advice from veteran fishkeepers but would still  appreciate feedback from your site and will be very grateful. <Very good. I'd not keep the betta in there, and would instead swap it for something like lace gouramis or some type of medium-sized schooling fish, like Australian rainbowfish or bleeding heart tetras. But if the betta is there now, you may as well persevere and just be prepared to remove it if it looks nibbled. Your other problem with bettas of course is they aren't able to compete for food all that well. Hand-feeding the betta (easy enough to do) is one option here.> Thanks in advance Victor   <Hope this helps.>

Snail on its side, Betta comp.    5/2/07 I have a Ramshorn snail (Leisel) that has been laying on "her" side the past two days. I thought she was dead, so I pulled her out and pushed on her foot. She retracted way up into her shell, so I put her back down in the bowl upright, and a few hours later she leaning way over again. I noticed my betta (Seth) has been really "chummy" with Leisel, and is always right up next to her. I'm hoping Seth didn't eat off one of her eyes, and now she won't come out! (do bettas do that?) <Sometimes, yes...> Leisel looked really healthy the other day, trucking around faster than I've ever seen a snail move! Do you think she's dying? <I hope not> If so, what can I do to save her! Thanks, Faith <Do try placing this snail in its own glass jar... with water from the tank (to keep it separated from the Betta)... with a bit/sprig of floating plant if you have this... feeding it a bit of sinking food every few days, dumping the water out and replacing the next day... replacing with water from the Betta tank... and see if its health, behaviour improve. Bob Fenner>

Fin Nipping Betta 4/4/07 Hi! Loved your website but couldn't find an answer to my specific problem. <Hello> I have 1 male Betta, and 3 female Bettas in a large fishbowl.  I am getting very confused with all the different advice on websites and in the shops! I was told that they should live happily together if their temperaments are ok. <Consider yourself very lucky you have not had a bloodbath yet, guessing that will happen when they get ready to breed.  They need to be separated ASAP.>  Well, its been a week and it's not going as well as I'd hoped! One of the females seems to have taken the lead, and has nipped one of the other females badly, but this didn't seem to put the other female off - she kept swimming up to her no problem! So I took out the one who's fin was damaged, thought it might help her heal.  Now it is just 2 females and the male.  The 2 females seem to be getting on ok, one is the dominant one and the other is so calm, but the 'naughty' female seems to be nipping the fins on the male as well - everyday I come back his fins are more shredded! I only caught her doing this once, and that was at feeding time.  <The females can be every bit as aggressive as the males.>  Why does she do this? <It's what Bettas do.>  Will she stop when she gets used to him or will I have to remove her from the tank?  <She will stop when she kills all her tankmates.> Also how long does it take for his fins to grow back? <Depends on their environmental conditions, in an unheated, unfiltered bowl probably never.>  He doesn't seem too bothered, he is still swimming around happily and he occasionally flares at her but never bites her. <War is coming my friend.> Does their colour affect the behavior because I noticed that one of the females seems more red at times? <Health does, stress levels, etc.> The other question is that I have been feeding them 2 bloodworms each - once in the morning and once in the evening.  They won't eat the flake food that I bought. <Flake food is of limited use, pellets are much better, try some good quality pellets along with the bloodworms.> Is this enough food, do I need to vary it. <Variety.>  There are lots of poo's on the gravel so its seems ok! ;) <Not really a good indicator of overall health.> I do a 20% water change every other day, and I clean the whole tank once a week - putting about 20% of the old water back in. <Good, but Bettas really don't belong in bowls any more than other fish, a small 3G tank with a heater and filter is best for their health.> Your advice would be much appreciated. <Need to get reading, much to learn here, please start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > <Chris>

Male Bettas in a divided tank  3/28/07 Your site is wonderful! Thank you! My husband and I just bought two Bettas yesterday and took the advice of the pet store (big mistake!). Needless to say we are off today to buy all the things they actually need. Right now we have them in a divided tank and one is constantly challenging the other. <Yes... till he gets "too pooped"... best not to house in constant view> This is causing one to be cowering in the corner and the other to be constantly flaring. We were thinking of buying a ten gallon and dividing it. Would this be acceptable? <Mmm, if the divider were not transparent...> Will the bigger tank curb the challenging behaviors? <To some extent, yes... but better that there is something more to obscure the appearance...> The most important question is if it doesn't stop will they be healthy or get too stressed out? <Too likely this latter> Will two separate tanks be necessary if it doesn't stop? <Mmm, no... just something with an obscuring effect... like a rounded hurricane lamp cover...> We are new to Bettas but look forward to a lifetime of providing healthy environments, raising healthy fish and reading your site! Thank you, Paul and Mandy Tebb <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words... I do encourage you to consider opaque glass or plastic sheet to temporarily separate these two. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Betta With Other Fish  - 03/20/07   Hi, I recently purchased a 12 gallon Nanocube aquarium for my betta and added two dwarf gouramis (powder blue and red/blushing).  The betta was pretty upset and kept attacking them so I put him back  in his own container.  I then acquired a blue paradise fish which I was told would get along fine with the gouramis but he is acting quite aggressive as well - especially when the gouramis try to eat - he chases them away. Can you give me any suggestions on how I can change the balance of the aquarium so that it is more peaceful (I'm pretty sure all three fish in the tank are male)?  Am I at the max as far as the number of fish I can have?  I was told this by the pet shop. Thanks Sharon Horvat < All of the gourami type fish you tend to like, always hang around the surface of the aquarium. Fish are territorial and you tank is not big enough to allow all these fish to have a territory. Go with one gourami type only, then try other kinds of peaceful fish that hang around other areas of the tank like the bottom or middle area.-Chuck.> Betta Compatibility   3/20/07 Hello, <<Hi, Cori. Tom with you.>> I've read through your questions on bettas but I didn't see the one I was looking for. <<Let's do our own, then. :) >> I have a male crown tail betta in one tank, a very large happy 2 yr old female betta in another tank, and a huge tank with two red eared slider turtles- both 3 yrs. old  and very very large. <<Sounds nice, Cori.>> I am interested in a getting a larger tank to place one of my bettas in with some other fish. I know the basic fish that bettas are compatible with but I was wondering about their compatibility with clown loaches. I absolutely love these little fish and would love to add one or two to my new tank project but I don't want them to get hurt. <<The Loaches won't get hurt, Cori. I'd be more concerned about the Betta, personally. As they mature, Botia, in general, can become somewhat unpredictable in their behavior toward their tank mates. It's not unheard of for them to attack smaller tank mates and, at their mature size, your Betta would be 'dwarfed' not to mention slow, relatively speaking. I wouldn't be concerned while they're juveniles but thought I would toss it out for what it's worth.>> Secondly, if I do set up a new tank with other fish - which of my bettas should make a better tank mate? The young male crown tail? Or the older female? My older female seems more aggressive in her eating patterns than my male. My male betta seems content but sometimes shy and skittish. <<A very good question, Cori. In your shoes, I'd go with the male. The younger fish will be more adaptive, I believe, in the long run. Your female, by Betta standards, is probably a little old to adapt well to the activity of tank mates especially given the information you've shared about feeding. Are either of these reasonings absolute? Nope. In fact I'd bet that most folks would make the opposite choice thinking the female would be more docile. That's not always the case, though. Given the way that female Bettas fashion a hierarchy among themselves, she might stir up some discontent where the male would be more likely to mind his own business.>> Thanks a bunch, Cori <<Happy to help, Cori. Wishing you luck in your venture. Tom>> Betta doing a war dance   3/14/07 Dear Crew, <Hi there- Jorie here this morning.> The little Oto died.  His belly swelled-up and he couldn't move, terrible.  I was about to euthanize him with clove oil, but I found him dead when I returned form the store. <Sorry to hear of your loss, I wasn't the one who assisted you with your previous query(ies). At a minimum, do be sure to do a significant water change in this tank where the Oto died, if there are other inhabitants, aside from doing your best to understand what caused the death...> A new problem:  I also have a 20 gallon tank (planted, heated, filtered) that's been home to 1 male betta (Midas) for several months.  I introduced 3 platy girls yesterday and the betta is harassing them: when they come out from the java moss he flares, does his little war dance, and drives them back into the moss. <You should have quarantined these new fish prior to adding them into a community tank...> One has a white speck I'm fearing is ick (I have a planted tank so CopperSafe isn't an option). <Ack! First off, you don't want to medicate your main tank. You need to isolate the affected fish ASAP. Also, with platies, you don't need super-strong medication to treat ich - these fish are sufficiently salt-tolerant that a gradual increase of salinity (with marine salt, if possible, but aquarium salt will also work) to 1.005, along with a gradual increase of temperature will speed up the parasite's lifecycle; this, coupled with lots of water changes should rid the fish/tank of the parasite. You will need to keep the affected fish isolated for a minimum of three weeks, four being better...> I thought (a) place a divider in the tank and let the betta watch the platys for a week or so, then remove the divider, (b) remove the betta to a 2 gallon bowl for a week or so and then re-introduce him, (c) return the platys to the store (they're quite cute). <Option (d): move the sick platy into its own filtered, heated QT./hospital tank and treat via "hypersalinity" / heat / frequent water change method described above. Keep a very close eye on other platys and the Betta for signs of ich. With regard to the Betta harassing the platy, I think I'd try option (a) (e.g., tank divider) to see if you can get him "used" to his new friends. Putting tankmates with Bettas, especially males, is "iffy", at best, in my opinion/experience; you may have a particularly aggressive species of Betta that needs to be housed alone.  If that's the case, I suggest getting him his own 3-5 gal. filtered/heated tank and keeping the planted 20 gal. for platys/other livebearers.> I actually thought he'd like the distraction of a few fish friends... he is "distracted" but not in a good way. <I tend to think this way also - but sadly, it doesn't always work.  Personally, I keep my male Bettas housed individually - they are perfectly content by themselves, and the two tanks I have are close enough that they can see each other at times, for exercise, stimulation...> Regards, Michelle <Good luck, Jorie>

Betta Tankmates in 5 Gallon   3/11/07 I just bought a beautiful blue & red male betta from Petsmart. I have a 5-gallon tank w/ heater & filter. I would like to get a tankmate for my betta. I asked an associate at the store, and she said guppies. I have read that that is a BAD idea. Every site says something different. What do you suggest as a tankmate? My betta seems very docile, just slowly moves around the tank. <In a tank of this size, I would leave the Betta as the sole inhabitant...due to both size and aggression issues.> *~Amanda~* <Adam J.>

Housing two female Bettas together  3/6/07 Hello, <<Hi, Kaylie. Tom with you.>> I have a question: can two female betta fishes be in the same tank? <<It's not a good idea, Kaylie. Female Bettas don't fight outright over territorial issues, per se, as the males will. Instead, a dominant female will anoint herself 'Queen', in a manner of speaking, and the other females will fall in line in a sort of 'pecking order'. The problem with housing only two females together is that the dominant female is unlikely to stop harassing the subordinate female resulting in an unhappy ending for the 'underling'. I don't personally embrace this type of 'experimentation' but three or more females can be housed together in a large enough tank if you're very careful about it. They'll still establish 'who's who' among them but, with luck, they'll settle into the tank and live peacefully together. Given the fact that we never really know how an individual fish will behave until it happens, I prefer not to rely on 'luck' in situations like this though some folks claim to have developed very nice tanks this way. (Given that breeders are going more and more for coloration in females similar to that of the males, I can see where this might be a very tempting project to attempt.)>> Kaylie <<Tom>>

Re: Housing two female Bettas together ... Thank you  3/10/07 Thank you for all the help, Tom, with the two female bettas together. I will not try it - for the well-being of the fish. I am happy with one for now. Thanks a ton! -- Kaylie <<You're welcome, Kaylie. I'd venture that the majority of Betta owners, myself included, are a little disheartened that these beautiful fish are solitary for the most part. Would be quite a display to have a tank full of males and females together! (Sigh'¦) Tom>>

Cory Cat Addition   2/25/07 Hi, <Hello.> my name is Colleen McCarthy, <My name is Adam J. but my friends just call me Action.> and I have a male betta in a 2.5 gal tank. <Neat.> i was wondering if you think adding a Cory catfish or two would be okay. <Mmm...not in this size tank.> thanks, <Of course.> colleen <Adam J.>

Re: Cory Cat Addition  -- 2/25/07 well what is the minimum size tank for 2 or 3 together? <The ideal setting would be at least a 10 gallon standard tank with some fake or live plant coverage for hiding...5 at a minimum in my experience.> colleen <Adam J.>

Bettas and algae eaters - compatibility  - 02/17/2007 <<Hi, Lynne. Tom here.>> I have a 5-gal (19L) Waterhome5 tank with one betta (named The Terminator after he killed 2 Mickey mouse platys recommended by my LFS).  I had a cloudy water problem and found out I was not allowing the tank to condition - changing the water as soon as it got cloudy.  I was doing a 20% water replacement every few days but it didn't help.   <<The cloudy water was likely the result of a bacterial bloom, Lynne. The bacteria (always present, by the way) feed on excess nutrients and as long as those nutrients remain, the bacteria will simply propagate and the issue remains unresolved.>> I have small smooth rocks as a bottom layer (no gravel).  Last weekend I did another complete change after being told I was probably being TOO clean and was advised to maybe just rinse but NOT scrub the rocks this time (some slime algae on Plexiglas sides needed to be cleaned, too). <<Beneficial bacteria will populate the substrate, whatever it might be. Too thorough a cleaning basically wipes out the population leaving you right back at 'square one'. If you choose to rinse your substrate rather than vacuum it, make sure you rinse the rocks in used aquarium water to prevent damaging the bio-colonies too severely.>> Then I started again, even with new filters, and added 2 live plants.  It clouded up within the first day, but after reading up a bit more decided to leave it alone to see if it would clear itself, and IT DID!  Yippee!   <<Yep. The 'bad' bacteria ate themselves out of house and home!>> Last night I noticed green "stuff" on all the stones at the bottom of the tank.  Here we go again! <<Likely just an algae build-up. The plants will help with this since they'll typically out-compete the algae for nutrients (nitrates) in the tank. Be careful about over-feeding and keep lighting levels minimized.>> Question:  How and what do I clean or not clean to get rid of this stuff?  Can I add an algae eater to the tank to help?   <<Regular water changes are important here. With Bettas, you should be looking at a water change once per week. Nothing extreme, just about 20% will suffice. Now, as to your second question, I'm neither a proponent of placing other fish with Bettas nor am I a proponent of adding 'algae eaters' to a tank to control algae. Regarding the former, I think you had a first-hand look with the Platys as to why I don't recommend mixing Bettas with others. All too often, somebody comes out on the 'short end', either the Betta or the other fish. As to the latter, you'd most probably end up with an algae eater that doesn't have any more algae to feed on after a time. There are other ways to control this nuisance growth without buying a fish that you may not really want beyond its ability/willingness to clean your tank. Your five-gallon tank is a wonderful size for a single Betta. No need to mess with a good thing.>> If so, which species and how many without crowding the tank.   <<See above'¦>> I don't have a water test kit (way too expensive) so I don't know what my chemical levels are.  I'm just afraid the unsightly algae is detrimental to the health of the fish. <<Your local LFS will test a sample of your water for free. Don't settle for 'fine', 'good', 'within limits' or 'safe'. Get the actual readings from them. As far as the algae goes, it's only 'unsightly' to us. The Betta doesn't care. Our concern is if the growth is due to excessive nitrates in the water. Since these can/will be controlled with regular water changes, keep up with these and you should be fine. Good luck. Tom>>

Re: bettas and algae eaters - compatibility  - 02/17/2007 <<Hello, again, Lynne.>> Whew!  Thought I was looking at a lot of money on fish, water test kit, chemical fixatives, etc.  I do a 20% water change every 5 - 7 days, so as long as the algae isn't doing damage to the fish I'll continue as I am and give the plants a chance to do their "thing".  Green isn't my favourite colour but it's soothing to the eyes (so I am told). <<A very positive attitude. :) >> This little $4. fish has cost me a bundle so far!  LOL!  Bigger tank (he looked crowded), vacuum, rocks, plants, tank scrubber, anti-chlorine conditioner, filters, food (he won't eat brine shrimp pellets).  He was chosen of the lot because he looked the most beat-up, sort of like one of Muhammad Ali's early contenders, with tears in his fins and the front two that are supposed to be lengthy and flowing were only about 1/4" long (I always was a sucker for animals in need). <<Technically not the best way to purchase a pet but your heart's certainly in the right place. Bless you for that.>> Since I've had him (about 5 months) his fins have grown back really well with only one slit in the top fin having a small bit of healing left - and his front fins are growing and flowing nicely.   <<Good to hear this, Lynne.>> I'd read that often Bettas with coloured edges on their fins usually don't have the coloured edges grow back, but his did and quite handsomely, too. <<Excellent but a bit unusual, as you suggest.>> He's VERY aggressive, though, even making a rush at the vacuum when I'm cleaning his tank.  (I guess he doesn't realize that the cleaning lady has to visit at least once a week.) What a trooper.  I figured if he had that much will to live, I'd do what I could to help. <<Well, I'd see the aggressiveness as all the more reason to keep him by himself. Bettas don't need companions, other than you, of course. Our 'human nature' sometimes gets in the way of doing what's best and, most natural, for our pets. Hard to overcome but necessary.>> Thanks so much for your quick reply.  Newbies really appreciate that. <<Happy to be of assistance, Lynne. Continued good luck to you.>> LC <<Tom>>

Bi-Polar Betta, CAE incomp.?  2/6/07 My bf and I just got our new addition to the family about a week ago. Our betta (guy) seemed ecstatic when we first got him, put him in the tank and he's already making bubble nests. He has a roommate that's a sucker fish (piggy).   <A CAE? Gyrinocheilus (looks this up)... not compatible> Last night we came home he seemed fine then as we were about to go to sleep he started acting strange. He'll jet back and fourth in the tank, like he's going  crazy, then he'll sink to the bottom and just hang out right against the glass,  he did it couple of times. I know it doesn't sound like much but he lashes and  jerks around and I've never seen that before so I had some cause for concern. <The Chinese Algae Eater is likely sucking the very life out of this fish... read up, and move the CAE, pronto. Bob Fenner> Re: Bi-Polar Betta, lack of WWM use   2/6/07 I apologize maybe I said the wrong fish we got our betta a Plecostomus,  and now three little mollies to go with it. everyone stays at their own end of  the tank, though I think betta is trying to establish dominance. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm  and the linked files above... your mix is not tenable. Bob Fenner>

Final questions: Bettas   1/19/07 These guys are alone, with water plants and aeration, in gallon tanks. Can I placed a few shrimp in their with them to help clean up? <Yes> I know the Bettas will snap at these suckers and mistake them for food - should I worry though? I understand tropical fish like ghost shrimp (if they can catch one), but now, I'm more concerned about the Betta eating something he isn't supposed to (or eating too much and dying). <Likely fine> If, perchance, the Betta doesn't get along with the ghost shrimp, will it be overly stressed? Or should I just let him get use to it and let the ghost shrimp stress about when he will be lunch meat? <Bettas are so "autistic" that they're not likely to notice the Shrimp> Closing question: My girlfriend is clumsy and sheds hair all over the place. Is there any treatment for her? I mean, other than cooking mad desserts, what can be done about her?!!! :-) <Scalp massage (to promote sebum production/distribution), better and changed-up conditioners, and improved diet... Perhaps more assiduous attention paid to hair-trimming... cutting off "dead ends" every few weeks> P.s. I love sleeping to the sound of the waterfall and water bubbles from all the tanks. Final final question: Any pet you suggest would give endless amusement and garnish admiration in addition to my current friends we have? Any suggestions would be much appreciated! <Perhaps a stint working in the trade, volunteering at a public aquarium> Until next the next tetra dies, or my salamander gets eaten by the grub. Thanks. all-knowing creature people. Kris <Do please make these submissions as "one topic"... far easier for others to reference, us to "put away". Bob Fenner> Betta Compatibility with Neon Tetras 1/7/07 Hi, <Hi> Great web site. <Thanks> I am in the process of starting up the first cycle in my 30 litre heated Biorb with 2 neon tetras and 1 algae eating shrimp. <Neon tetras are pretty sensitive to water quality, keep a close eye on it.> So far so good and I am now planning ahead to see which fish I would like to add and when. Could I add a male Betta/fighter in a month's time? (when chemical levels are good etc..) <Not a good mix, have seen Bettas try to eat little Neons, plus their water quality needs are pretty different.> If so and if he is settled could I then add more neon tetras at a later date? Thank you very much in advance, Rob <Chris>

New tanks - what's safe with Siamese fighters?   1/3/07 Hi All, <Hello - Jorie here...> I was advised to use your site, and have a good look around. <It's a good resource - I learned so much from this site.> I only have one question.  I haven't had a tank for about 3 years now, and am now in the process of setting up 2 new tanks, and am hoping that at some point in the future to be able to add a male Siamese Fighter.  I'm worried about the sorts of fish that can go in with him, coz... <because; no e-speak here, please...> I don't want any nipping at him.  I had a problem last time with that, and worked out that it was the Angel fish, so I separated them, and they both thrived.  I don't want to have to do that again; are there any fish I should definitely avoid? <Well, obviously I wouldn't suggest another Betta/angel combination.  In all honesty, I prefer to keep Bettas individually, to minimize risks such as the one you've identified.  Plus, in my opinion, they have such wonderful personalities, that I enjoy seeing each one on his own.  Finally, with their temperature preferences (80-82 degrees F is ideal), it's hard to find other tropical fish that will thrive in those environments. However, it can, and has, been done.  You want to find peaceful community fish that won't harass the Betta's beautiful, flowing fins. Bottom dwellers, such as Corys or loaches, would be fine.  Some livebearers might be OK, but it could be risky, as well; I've got a few mollies that are holy-terrors, and would likely tear a Betta apart. Tetras or danios might work also.  Of course, you need to ensure that space requirements, etc. are met.> Thanks Emma XXXXX Best of luck.  Do consider housing the Betta independently, in a 2-3 gal. filtered tank, and setting up a community tank with other fish - that's my personal recommendation for the best solution. Jorie> Betta with ich; Betta placement in community tank  12/2/06 Hi Crew, <Hello and welcome back!> Once again I find myself returning to your comprehensive website - I have been reading through articles and FAQs, but am a little confused due to contradicting answers etc. <Can happen.  Fish care, illness, etc. is not an exact science, but rather an "art" in the sense that some things can be accomplished differently...> Yesterday I bought an extremely sick Betta from a pretty bad pet store. I know, not meant to buy sick fish - but he was cowering under a plant, and is absolutely covered with ich, and I thought that he would die for sure if left there, since the store was not treating and not even aware that their fish were sick! (There were even goldfish literally piled into a corner and resting on top of one another - very unnatural). <You did a good thing, trying to save this poor Betta! At least now he's got a fighting chance...> I have placed the Betta in a (previously cycled, though I suppose the medication will kill this)... <Yes, generally medication kills a cycle> ...10 gal heated, filtered quarantine tank with a teaspoon of salt per 5 gals and ich medication - formaldehyde and malachite green. <*Very harsh* medications - do keep a close eye on your Betta to make sure he isn't suffering ill effects.> Even fed him some mosquito larvae from our pond, which he ate, and although he is absolutely covered in ich he is fairly active. <Live food can transmit all sorts of parasites, diseases to fish; better to invest in frozen (and purified) bloodworms, or mysis shrimp, or even a quality pellet such as the ones made by Hikari or Spectrum New Life.> Does all sound right so far? <See above.> Before purchasing this Betta I was planning on setting up a new Walstad style 20 gal planted tank. Before buying the Betta I was thinking of having a school of 6 Corydoras, possibly 2 Otocinclus, some fairy shrimp (I think these are native to Australia and grow to an inch long - not sure as I have been unable to find much information on them) and a few male and female guppies, which I wished to breed as I have never done this before. I was thinking of starting with 2 males and 6 females and going from there. Would it be possible to keep the Betta with this combination? I have read in your articles that Bettas are not compatible with guppies, but then in FAQs it was stated that pairing them with fancy guppies would be okay. Also, I was told on another forum that if I kept the Betta with this combination he would eat the baby shrimp and guppies and in effect be population control. What do you think? Am I courting disaster? If so with the guppies, would the Betta be okay with the other fish I mentioned? <Honestly, in keeping Bettas in community tanks, so much depends on the Betta's individual personality.  Some are more aggressive, and may eat the shrimp and/or fry, and some are quite timid, and could be picked on by the sometimes aggressive male livebearers.  I personally choose to keep Bettas individually in 2-3 gal. heated and filtered tanks - provided with adequate decorations and plants, they seem to enjoy they little "fiefdoms".  Another consideration which has led me to the decision to keep Bettas singly is their love of warm tropical waters - 82 degrees F is ideal - and that's on the high-end of acceptable for many other tropical fish (and simply not OK for some species).  All the livestock you mention above should be able to tolerate water that warm, but again, it is on the high-end of the spectrum.  Were it me, I'd invest in a 3 gal. Eclipse for the Betta, and build my community aquarium without him.  You can certainly try what you are proposing, but I cannot promise success... With regard to the Betta and ich, do monitor him closely for signs of medicine toxicity.  So long as he's eating and swimming, and you've said he is, then I wouldn't be concerned and would continue the course of medication according to the directions.  The salt should also help. Be prepared to do a complete water change if the fish starts suffering.  There are several non-medicinal alternatives for treating ich, one of which includes raising the temperature slowly (a degree a day)...this will speed up the lifecycle of the parasite (ich), and when used in conjunction with water changes, can effectively eliminate the problem. Thank you for all your great information and help, Emma <Good luck with your Betta, and kudos to you for helping him! Jorie> Betta with ich; Betta placement in community tank  12/8/06 Hi Crew, <Hello and welcome back!> Once again I find myself returning to your comprehensive website - I have been reading through articles and FAQs, but am a little confused due to contradicting answers etc. <Can happen.  Fish care, illness, etc. is not an exact science, but rather an "art" in the sense that some things can be accomplished differently...> Yesterday I bought an extremely sick Betta from a pretty bad pet store. I know, not meant to buy sick fish - but he was cowering under a plant, and is absolutely covered with ich, and I thought that he would die for sure if left there, since the store was not treating and not even aware that their fish were sick! (There were even goldfish literally piled into a corner and resting on top of one another - very unnatural). <You did a good thing, trying to save this poor Betta! At least now he's got a fighting chance...> I have placed the Betta in a (previously cycled, though I suppose the medication will kill this)... <Yes, generally medication kills a cycle> ...10 gal heated, filtered quarantine tank with a teaspoon of salt per 5 gals and ich medication - formaldehyde and malachite green. <*Very harsh* medications - do keep a close eye on your Betta to make sure he isn't suffering ill effects.> Even fed him some mosquito larvae from our pond, which he ate, and although he is absolutely covered in ich he is fairly active. <Live food can transmit all sorts of parasites, diseases to fish; better to invest in frozen (and purified) bloodworms, or Mysis shrimp, or even a quality pellet such as the ones made by Hikari or Spectrum New Life.> Does all sound right so far? <See above.> Before purchasing this Betta I was planning on setting up a new Walstad style 20 gal planted tank. Before buying the Betta I was thinking of having a school of 6 Corydoras, possibly 2 Otocinclus, some fairy shrimp (I think these are native to Australia and grow to an inch long - not sure as I have been unable to find much information on them) and a few male and female guppies, which I wished to breed as I have never done this before. I was thinking of starting with 2 males and 6 females and going from there. Would it be possible to keep the Betta with this combination? I have read in your articles that Bettas are not compatible with guppies, but then in FAQs it was stated that pairing them with fancy guppies would be okay. Also, I was told on another forum that if I kept the Betta with this combination he would eat the baby shrimp and guppies and in effect be population control. What do you think? Am I courting disaster? If so with the guppies, would the Betta be okay with the other fish I mentioned? <Honestly, in keeping Bettas in community tanks, so much depends on the Betta's individual personality.  Some are more aggressive, and may eat the shrimp and/or fry, and some are quite timid, and could be picked on by the sometimes aggressive male livebearers.  I personally choose to keep Bettas individually in 2-3 gal. heated and filtered tanks - provided with adequate decorations and plants, they seem to enjoy they little "fiefdoms".  Another consideration which has led me to the decision to keep Bettas singly is their love of warm tropical waters - 82 degrees F is ideal - and that's on the high-end of acceptable for many other tropical fish (and simply not OK for some species).  All the livestock you mention above should be able to tolerate water that warm, but again, it is on the high-end of the spectrum.  Were it me, I'd invest in a 3 gal. Eclipse for the Betta, and build my community aquarium without him.  You can certainly try what you are proposing, but I cannot promise success... With regard to the Betta and ich, do monitor him closely for signs of medicine toxicity.  So long as he's eating and swimming, and you've said he is, then I wouldn't be concerned and would continue the course of medication according to the directions.  The salt should also help. Be prepared to do a complete water change if the fish starts suffering.  There are several non-medicinal alternatives for treating ich, one of which includes raising the temperature slowly (a degree a day)...this will speed up the lifecycle of the parasite (ich), and when used in conjunction with water changes, can effectively eliminate the problem. Thank you for all your great information and help, Emma <Good luck with your Betta, and kudos to you for helping him! Jorie> Snails Won't Come Out Of Shells  - 10/13/06 We have two snails from a pet store in a 5 gallon tank with a betta.  The Betta appears to have eaten the two long feelers on both snails, but both continued to thrive or so it appeared.  One has gone into its shell and doesn't seem to come back out to eat. Now the second one seems to being doing the same.  What causes them to do that? < Doesn't sound like they are happy. Their sensors are probably damaged and they need time to regenerate them. They probably come out and move around under the cover of darkness.>  What other info can I give you to try and solve this or is this a common thing that store bought snails tend to die? < They live a long time when well cared for. Your betta has made them into mobile banquet blocks. This will make ir difficult for them to come out during the day time and eat.> I have no clue as to the type of snail, they actually seemed to have a healthy appetite since they would come to the top when my wife was feeding the betta (male). and she seen them funnel the food into their mouth thanks Timothy B. < Isolate the snails in an unheated bucket of treated water and see if they come out without the betta being around.-Chuck>

New filter-will tank cycle again? Hello, <<Hi, Tamera. Tom here.>> Six weeks ago I set up a 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. I had a Whisper Filter and added Bio-Spira to the aquarium. <<Excellent.>> I did what the employees at the pet shop told me to do-including adding 7 fish after the 3rd day of setup. <<This, I'm not so crazy about even with the addition of the Bio-Spira.>> I added 4 more 2 weeks later. I had: 2 Serpae Tetras 2 Rosy Barbs 1 Clown Loach 1 Pictus Catfish 1 Betta and finally 4 Neon Tetras. <<For future reference, Tamera, don't include a Betta in this particular scheme. Not only do these fish require very different conditions, particularly as regards temperature, but the Tetras and Barbs will have a "field day" with the Bettas fins. In my opinion, I would also eliminate the Clown Loach. These tend to grow too large for a 20-gallon tank and are not the cute, little darlings in adulthood that they seem to be as juveniles, behaviorally speaking.>> Unfortunately, due to my ignorance I overfed and my Whisper Filter was only turned up at 50% capacity. <<I'm going to give the folks at the fish shop some of the "credit" here, too, Tamera. The stocking issues I just referred to should have sent up a flag to someone there.>> So, at 4 weeks all my fish died except 1 Rosy Barb. I had my water tested and my Nitrites were 10 ppm and Nitrates were 40 ppm. This is all the Pet Shop employee told me. <<Yep, that would have done it, though I'm sorry nevertheless about your fish.>> I was told to do 20% water changes and add Prime. I bought a kit and started testing the water myself. (An employee told me previously I didn't need to do this.) <<It occurs to me that there's something of an unfortunate pattern developing with the kind of advice, and lack thereof, that you seem to be getting from these folks. I hope, for your sake and for the sakes of your future pets, that this shop isn't the "only game in town.">> Of course, none of this was effective. Finally, in desperation I typed in (How many water changes must I do to get Nitrites down?) on the Google site. Thank God your site came up. After following all the advise on FAQ on Marine/Freshwater Quality involving Nitrites something happened. Today after H20 changes of 25%, 50%, and 75%-10 days in a row, a new Penguin Biowheel 150, Bio-Spira, Prime and aquarium salt my readings are: Nitrate: 0 ppm Nitrite: .5 ppm Total Hardness: 150 Alkalinity: 120-180 P.H. 7.8 Things are much better (many, many thanks to you), but I didn't have room to keep my Whisper Filter. I am afraid that with it gone my tank will cycle again in 4 weeks. Should I add more Bio-Spira to my Biowheel just in case? <<Your tank is already "cycling", Tamera, as evidenced by the detection of the nitrites. How far along it is would be easier to tell if you had included ammonia readings. If these are zero, you're in pretty decent shape, though the nitrites need to come down to zero, as well, as you now understand. As for the BIO-Spira, absolutely add it. Not only is it an excellent product but, frankly, it's too expensive not to utilize it.>> I'll still keep doing water changes until I can get readings to appropriate levels and won't add fish until I am sure it's ok. <<At this point, I would recommend holding off on more water changes, Tamera. Let the BIO-Spira do its work. Continue testing your water regularly. You're in a good position to witness, first-hand, how the cycling process progresses. There's nothing wrong with getting some good, sound advice but it's not a substitute for personal knowledge when dealing with unknowledgeable people.>> I am afraid to trust the employee's at the pet stores- I went to two. <<At this stage, I'd be more than a little reluctant to "trust" what I was being told by these folks, too. Make sure that you research any fish you have your eye on before making a purchase. Behavioral compatibility is, obviously, important but environmental compatibility is just as important. Do yourself another favor, if you haven't already done so, and test your water straight out of the tap. This can give you a big advantage when choosing new fish particularly where pH levels are concerned. Until you've got some experience under your belt, you don't want to play around with altering your pH levels in the aquarium. For instance, Neon Tetras thrive in soft, acidic water. Your's is fairly hard and definitely alkaline (basic). They just won't do well in this. It'll pay, in more ways than one, to keep fish that prefer conditions as close as possible to what you have available at the tap.>> Any help would be appreciated. <<Hopefully, that's what we've done for you, Tamera.>> This web site is so helpful. It's a great source of knowledge-thank you so much! <<And, thank you for being so kind. Best regards and good luck as you continue in the hobby! Tom>>

Betta fish companions? Foods? Reading?   9/5/06 Hello Rob :) <Emily> I've been thinking about buying a betta fish for a while now. One of my friends is giving me a 10 gallon tank, so I was hoping to put a betta and some other fish in there. Any suggestions, or should I just put the betta in my him/herself? Also, do you have favorite brands for betta food and such? Thanks for your time, ~Emily <Mmm, yes and yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta With First Fish Tank   9/2/06 Hi Web Crew! First, I just want to thank you for being such a wonderful resource!!!  We've been reading your site and using your FAQs to set up my daughters first aquarium.  She has a Hex 5 and we've spent the last month getting the water balance just right (we used two Gourami  to start the tank)  The tank also has very fine black sand and Water Sprite in it.  All of this because one of her best friends wants to give her a Betta for her birthday and my daughter wanted to try other fish as well. . . So, which variety of Betta are less aggressive or at least more likely to get along with the two happy Gouramis? < All the bettas you are likely to find in stores are going to be the aggressive ones. Females are not as aggressive but they still are bettas and may be aggressive.> Do you have any other suggestions for introducing a Betta? < Place the beta in the tank at night just before you turn off the lights. As the morning lights slowly come on the Betta will have a chance to gradually get use to the new tank.> <Are there any bottom cleaners (like catfish) you could recommend for this situation? Thanks! <Small fish like clown Plecos, Oto cats or Corys will be OK.-Chuck>

Betta compatibility in 5 gal tank   8/27/06 Hello! <<Hello, Sarah. Tom here.>> First, I would like to thank you for your wonderful site!  I found it three days ago and have spent numerous hours reading it. <<And, I'd like to thank you for the kind words. Glad you've found much to read.>>   I purchased a five gallon hex tank with filtration about a month ago (it has been fishless cycling for the duration).  I've been checking the Ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and after some fluctuation, they've all leveled out to acceptable ranges (7.2, 0,0, and 5ppm as per your FAQ's). <<Very good.>> I don't have a heater, but the water seems to stay between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. <<A heater still wouldn't be a bad idea, Sarah. Temperature swings of more than a couple of degrees can be stressful.>> The tank has a castle ornament with a cave-like opening and a small live fern (which was just introduced two days ago). I would like to get a Betta, and am wondering what I could put in with it. After reading through the Betta compatibility FAQ's, I've tentatively decided on getting a Cory cat (or two, if my tank can support them both), and maybe either three scissortail rasboras (I read that rasboras may be compatible; are they all the same, temperament-wise? <<Not really, Sarah. Your tank is already too warm to house the Rasboras comfortably. The Corys would adapt well enough to what you have now and a Betta would actually prefer it warmer by a couple of degrees.>> If so, these would be my first choice), or three white cloud minnows. <<The White Clouds and Rasboras prefer similar temperatures - cooler than what we normally associate with Tropical fish and certainly cooler than what a Betta will handle.>> I understand that the ability (or willingness) of a Betta to acclimate to community living depends on the individual fish.   <<Quite true. The key is to place them, if at all, in a community where all of the fish share common needs regarding water conditions.>> The only thing that I'm wondering about at this point is the numbers of the other fish I can get.  Would my small tank hold that many fish, or would I be overloading it?   <<The Rasboras would be overloading it terrifically, Sarah. Will grow too large for anything short of a 25-30 gallon tank, perhaps larger. The Cory(s) would do fine in small numbers but I'd like to make a point here with you. Bettas not only prefer but, in my opinion, need aquarium salt in the water. Catfish, including Corys, don't tolerate salt well. For that reason, I don't consider Bettas and Corys "compatible" in the broader sense of the word.>> Additionally, I am planning on adding the fish in stages, starting with the Betta, then the Corys, and last the third species.  Is this a good plan (assuming that the species can cohabitate in the available space)? <<Were it me, Sarah, I'd stick with a Betta alone. (Mine's in a 20-gallon tank by itself.) Your five-gallon tank is a good size for a Betta and, compared to what these fish normally get stuck in, I'd say it's a very good choice. I'm afraid. though, that you'd be pushing it to try to add more fish quantity-wise and, given the specifics of what Bettas need to thrive, I don't know that you have the options that I'm sure you'd like to have.>> This isn't my first tank (although it is the first in several years), but I've never had such a small tank.  Unfortunately, space restrictions do not permit anything larger.  I've previously owned two Bettas, which were both kept in one gallon bowls and both lived for about two years. At the time, I thought that they had to live in bowls and could not have other fish with them (I had no idea that Bettas could be kept in a community until I saw a few in community settings at a fish store). <<I'd be a bit leery of duplicating what you might find in fish stores, Sarah. Obviously, many more fish are typically housed together in display tanks than you or I would ever consider stocking our tanks with. Additionally, there are fish housed together that shouldn't be together in a "home" setting. Puffers are one example of this but there are others. This isn't to say it can't work. There are plenty of folks who'll share that they've kept Bettas in community tanks very nicely. I'm just going with the "high-percentage" call based on my own research and personal experience.>> Thank you, Sarah <<Probably somewhat disappointing advice based on what you were looking to achieve, Sarah, but I'd rather be a bit of a "wet blanket" than suggest giving it a "go" and having things work out poorly. Good luck to you. Tom>>

Re: Betta compatibility in 5 gal tank (Tom)  8/28/06 Hi Tom! <<Hello, Sarah.>> I would like to thank you for your quick response.   <<Not a problem and happy to do so.>> Although I can't say I'm not disappointed by your 'wet blanket', I would rather be disappointed now than later, and would like to think that I'm giving my future pet a good home (which is why I asked in the first place).   <<I appreciate that and, personally, I'd rather think in terms of quality than quantity. If it's any consolation, I've "wet-blanketed" myself far more than I have any of the good folks like you who write in to this site. I really frustrate me, sometimes. :)>> Given that it is such a small tank, I've decided to go ahead and get only the Betta, rather than try to stock it with other types of fish (instead of the Betta) and deal with space/bioload issues. <<I like your thinking, Sarah. For what it's worth, I do a 20% water change every three to four days for my Betta and, as I mentioned, he's in a 20-gallon tank. He loves it but it's probably more than you'd go through with an "average" tropical tank. In fact, too much of a "good thing" for the average tropical aquarium can be more detrimental than beneficial in a lot of cases. You'll be spending plenty of time with your Betta. No need to "invite" potential problems.>> Again, thank you so much for the great info! Sarah <<Any time, Sarah, and thanks for writing back. My best. Tom>> 

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