Adoptee: Can A Female Betta Go In A Divided Tank With A Male Betta?

  • #1
A little backstory: A friend of mine decided to take a female Betta left from a biology project home because the person who bought her was absent. Zetta( Name of the Betta) had been put in a glass bowl with no filter or heater and had been living there for the past couple months. I told her that wouldn't be suitable long term for her and asked if she would consider letting me take her and she said yes. So by NO means is this a rescue, it's more of an adoption. My friend may not have been willing to get her what she needed, but did understand that Zetta deserved better.

So I have several questions:
1) Will she be okay in my male Betta's cycled, heated 12 gallon(divided of course; 6 gallons each) until I can grab her a tank at the dollar per gallon sale, seed her new filter...etc? She'll only be in there at the very most for about a month.

2) Is there any danger of her becoming egg bound or stressed?

3) How long does it take to seed a brand new filter in a cycled tank? I will be using a sponge filter.

4) I'm basically going to be taking her through school in a large clear water bottle to get her home.(I've done it with my male so I know what to do) Is she going to be okay in there overnight or should I move her to a critter keeper? (I don't have the divider made yet) I'm only worried about her being stressed from being moved to much and/or ammonia building up too quickly over the course of the night.

5)I'm not sure if my friend is using dechlorinator so assuming that she isn't, if I bring the bottle from home, will it still detoxify whatever's in her water even while she is IN it and has been in it for a period of time? I use Tetra Aquasafe Plus for my dechlorinator.

6) Is there a particular way I should acclimate her to the main tank because she came from an unheated home and is likely very stressed from the trip? I've thought of drip acclimation but I realized I don't have the means to do it.

Sorry for the long post and all the questions. I just want her to be the least stressed and as comfortable as possible because she's already coming from less then ideal conditions and had been taken on a joyride through a high school. I don't want her to fall ill or even die from something I could've done for her. Especially when my friend is trusting me to take her in and give her the life she couldn't give her. As of now I will be taking her home this Friday so immediate responses are not absolutely necessary. Thank you in advance and ANY help is greatly appreciated
  • #2
I’d just try to do my best to make sure that Zetta can’t slide through the divider and get to your male Betta. Opal, my late female Betta fish, kept getting over to Arson’s side of the tank, and it was very stressful for both fish.

As far as acclimating her goes—you could try floating her in a cup of her old water for about twenty minutes. After that, add some of the new tank water. Continue adding more new tank water every few minutes. Do you have access to a cup that might work for that?

EDIT: I’d also try to make sure that the divider doesn’t mess with filtration and heating too much. You don’t want one side of the tank to have little to no filter flow and/ or heat while the other side ends up with too much heat and/ or current.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I'm bringing her home in a sports water bottle. Do you think I could acclimate her in that so I don't have to move her?

I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear. It's not a plastic water bottle like what you would buy at the grocery store in packs. It's a plastic bottle used for holding liquids that you can tack apart, wash, and reuse. It does not have a long neck like the bottled water bottles and a much larger opening which means more surface aeration.
  • #4
TheTeenFishLover I don’t see why you couldn’t try it. My only concern would be that there’s not enough surface area for adequate aeration.

You could try very carefully pouring some of the water out of the water bottle—enough of it that it gets down to where the neck of the bottle expands and provides more surface area. After that, you could (again, very carefully) cut to a little above where the water is. Wait a little bit, and then continue by floating or holding the bottle in the tank for a few minutes, followed by adding new tank water to the bottle every few minutes in order to acclimate her.

EDIT: I’d suggest hearing what a few more experienced fishkeepers have to say as well, however.
  • #5
TheTeenFishLover That sounds perfect to me!

Again, I’d just be extra careful in making sure that the divider fits well against the tank walls and that it doesn’t mess with heating and filtration on either side too much. You should be okay, though. Glad Zetta’s found a home with a dedicated fishkeeper like yourself!
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
KayBee Thank you so much for your helpful advice and the compliment!! I'll be sure that I don't put my male or Zetta in danger and fit the divider accordingly. Thank you again!
  • #7
I think you would be better off placing her in a bowl by herself for a month, using dechlorinator and doing 100% water changes every other day. You don't know if she has any illness that could spread to your other Betta and second your male Betta will smell her which will cause unnecessary stress.
  • #8
TheTeenFishLover You’re welcome! I hope everything goes well with your Bettas.

Bettatude does make an excellent point as well, though. Arson, my male Betta fish, could smell Opal, and he’d flare a lot and seemed stressed. (He also appeared to want to breed with her, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle all of the fry. Plus, Opal didn’t seem to reciprocate his desires.) The stress was the main reason I moved them to separate tanks.
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  • #9
I have considered the desire to breed to be a problem while they're sharing the tank. But my male Delta hasn't made a bubble nest since October when I got him and doesn't seem to have an interest in building one like other bettas. He had the most impressive size and finnage out of the males when I had bought him so I assumed he was just older then the others.

I'm not really worried about him because from past experience when I had him with other fish, he liked to shoal with them. I'm more worried about Zetta becoming egg bound or being aggressive. Especially because Delta is the wimpiest Betta I've ever seen.

I do however, regardless of who instigated, have a back up plan. I just don't want to take her telling her owner that Zetta needs a bigger tank and then stick her in a smaller unfiltered, unheated bowl. Its just unfair to my friend, my mom(who's letting me take her) and to Zetta.
  • #10
I would make sure the bettas at least can't see each other through the divider. Just because your male isn't making a bubble nest right now doesn't mean he won't once he sees or senses a female.
  • #11
Also make sure the water level is low enough that they cannot jump the divider. I had that happen once when I had a male/female temporarily in a 10g. The female was the jumper. And I had the water lowered an inch.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
clk89 Thank you for the advice! I plan to use two sheets of dark colored mesh and they will each have decorations and plants to block line of sight and to hide in so that shouldn't be a problem.

Katy82 With the way my filter is placed inside my tank, once the divided is placed, there shouldn't be any room to jump through. Do you think I should still lower the water level just to be safe? Thank you!
  • #13
You still haven't considered disease. Most fish keepers quarantine new fish for a month so diseases aren't passed to their establish tanks.

I can't tell you how many posts I've read where members regret breaking the quarantine golden rule and ended up with sick/dying fish.
  • #14
I wouldn't put them together, this would be putting unnecessary stress on both fish, as well as putting them at risk for illness that wouldn't be there otherwise.
Your bettas will be able to "smell" each other, regardless of whether or not they can see each other. Your female could become egg bound, which is when she becomes so full of eggs she becomes bloated and they push against her internal organs because she doesn't have access to the male to spawn. This can result in death if not treated.
If they jump the divider and breed, what would you do with the fry? Do you have the time and space to care for potentially hundreds of bettas that need their own jar, daily water changes, and live food? Are you prepared for both fish to get seriously injured in the spawning process if they end up in the same end of the tank? While your male "doesn't seem interested" in bubblenests, adding a female completely changes the game. Putting males and females in the same tank when not spawning is s recipie for disaster and should never be attempted.
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  • #15
Bettatude Very true. But I have considered disease. That's why I have a backup plan in case anything were to go wrong including disease like if I notice any abnormal behavior, tattered fins, reluctance to eat, fungus..etc. My friend has been changing her water every two days and Zetta has never been in contact with other fish so I don't believe a month is necessary as in this situation, the fish is not coming from the pet store or have been neglected of clean water.

But it might be wiser to keep her in a bowl for a week or so just in case the stress of being in a new environment causes her to get sick.
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  • #16
Flowingfins What's funny is that everything you said is what I told my mom when she suggested I just divide the tank. And I know you're just looking out for them so thank you and don't worry, I'm not interested in breeding whatsoever.

So just to prevent any confusion or misunderstandings, Let me clarify so no one has to go back and read the thread over.

I found an answer to my filter question which was about 2 weeks. This drastically cuts down the time that I originally thought it took to cycle the filter which is the only reason I wanted to divide the tank. I am for SURE getting the female her own tank right away. As in a "couple days" right away. It's only temporary and they won't be able to jump or dig under the gravel with the way my tank is setup.

I'm aware through research that divided tanks with opposite genders are under discussion with no straight answer. I personally would never do it unless I had a very good reason for it. This happens to be a situation where I personally believe a heated, filtered tank is better then the opposing bowl with 100% water changes and no heater.

I really should've been more careful with how I named the thread so I apologize if I confused anyone.
I really do want to do what's best for both of them, so I'm open to any suggestions about how I should keep the female while her new tank is getting ready for her which will take about 2 weeks.

If you truly think its not a good idea to keep her in a divided tank with my current Betta, I would appreciate it if you could advise me on how I could safely keep her in a bowl.
  • #17
Is she not currently living in a bowl with no heater or filter with your friend and is healthy? I don't understand how waiting 2 weeks is such a big deal unless there's something I'm not understanding.
  • #18
My male and female have always lived in a divided tank. Every now and then he flares at her but it's not a constant issue . They are both quite happy. I suppose I might have just gotten lucky and have 2 non-aggressive, independent bettas.
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Of course it's not a big deal! You guys are the experts here. I just want to know how to do it correctly. Like how I should be doing water changes. Should I be doing 50% water changes every two days or 100%?

I also just left Petco now and grabbed her a tank, so she won't be in the bowl for long. Thank you guys for helping me make the right decision
  • #20
I'm no expert, I just believe in not taking any chances if at all possible. You can't turn back time once the damage is done so taking steps to avoid disasters is the safest part of fish keeping. Just the fact that you sought advice and listened shows you want what's best for your fish. I believe you would have felt horrible if anything happened.

I would keep the same routine as your friend has, it seems to working so far.
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Of course, thank you so much Bettatude. You've been a huge help and sorry for the confusion earlier. Besides, you sound like an expert. At least to me.

A big thank you to you too Flowingfins!!
  • #22
Good luck with everything, TheTeenFishLover!
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
UPDATE: So I finally got Zetta today(my friend was having some attachment issues) and let's just say this was not AT ALL what I was expecting and she's not looking too good, better than this morning for sure but still VERY questionable. I've noticed;
•Extremely bloated belly(She looks like a puffer! Likely from over feeding, her water was full of flakes when I received her this morning.)
•Black edges around her ventral and caudal fins. (Possible beginnings of fin rot.)
• Red(what I believe is poop?; her fish flakes were red so I'm not worried )
•Gasping(Had gone away when I changed the water after class; most likely from the food polluting the water.)
•And what I'm most worried about is my hope that my eyes are playing tricks on me. She appears to be pineconeing ever so slightly(Could also be related to her bloated belly)...

Any help would be greatly appreciated. She's such a cutie and she DESERVES to live after everything she's gone through...
  • #24
Fast her for a day or two, if bloating goes away, then it was just from overeating. If no then try feeding a pea and epsom salt bath.
  • #25
That pineconing is pretty bad, I would do the epson salt bath for sure.
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Thanks for the replies, her fins had stopped clamping and her colors had come back this morning so I felt a little better. I didn't have time to check her thoroughly as I was running late, but she already looks much better than yesterday. I have a feeling that the stress of living in a combination of undechlorinated and unheated water made her susceptible to all the sicknesses she has.

Any recommendations for brands of epsom salt and where to find them? How would I go about the bath?

EDIT: I'm at a total loss of words. I came home and immediately checked on her and found this:
I believe she has ick as well... I've never felt so helpless and despondent in my life...

I have ick medication, but I don't want to use it as she's not strong enough to fight off the ick and whatever side effects the meds may cause, I don't have an extra heater on me, her pineconing seems to have stopped but...

I don't know what else to do.
  • #27
Betta Revive. It has malachite green, methylene blue, and neomycin. You can do a search on Hikari's website to look for LFS that sell it.

If you can, I would use Betta Ultimate (dechlorinator) when medicating with Betta Revive as this is recommended by the manufacture. If you can't get Betta Ultimate, just use the dechlorinator that you're using with Betta Revive. I haven't heard anyone having problems using another dechlorinator.

You will need to treat in a hospital tank since the medication is prescribed for small tanks. Remove any carbon in the filter. Methylene blue stains.

Keep us posted
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
Hello everyone, I'm afraid this isn't a good update. Shortly fter my last post, I had rushed to stores to purchase a heater and some epsom salt and had moved her out of the bowl and into the ten gallon to begin treatment. I originally intended to purchase seachem kanamycin but then held it off when she seemed to be getting better.

After about 2 weeks of what I thought was recovery, her condition deteriorated in a matter of hours yesterday and her pineconeing was not going down like it had been before despite numerous bi-daily epsom salt treatments and daily water changes. Last night after she refused to eat a bloodworm, I had said my goodbyes and told her how much I loved her and how she had changed my life with her smart and quirky attitude despite her illness. I woke up to find that she had passed during the night. Although my family and I are heartbroken, she spent the last three weeks with a ten gallon to herself, a good diet, and most importantly clean, heated and dechlorinated water. Hopefully she died knowing that I did everything I did for her and that all those things that she had were bought for her.

Please. If you EVER come across a person who keeps their Betta, (or any fish for that matter) in an unheated, undechlorinated, unfiltered bowl(or inappropriate tank) and claims that they are fine, PLEASE do whatever it takes to convince them otherwise. Consider educating them, recommending an upgrade, asking them if you could adopt the Betta, even rehoming the Betta. Because Zetta had never hurt a soul, yet still had to suffer the consequences of my friend's actions. And that's not fair to her that she had to pay with her life.

I apologize for the long and depressing post, and thank you so much to the people who had taken the time to help me and read her story.

Rest In Peace Zetta, I hope fishy heaven has as many bloodworms as you can eat. (Try to fast once in awhile❤️)
  • #29
TheTeenFishLover: I am so, so sorry for your loss. As intelligent as betta fish are, I’m sure that Zetta at least had some inkling that you were trying to save her. At the very least, I’m certain that she enjoyed her spacious tank. Again—I’m so sorry.

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