Aggressive Betta

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by aaronin, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. aaroninNew MemberMember

    Hi Guys,

    I am new here and my first post. The reason I am here is I just read this post and need some advise on my aggressive betta that is living in a 5 gallon planted tank with Anubias, Christmas Moss tied to driftwood and dwarf sagittaria around the tank with natural light through the window as the light source. The tank is just 1 month old and the plant growth is real slow.

    As there are algae, I was thinking of adding some cherry red shrimps to clean the tank. I wasn't sure how aggressive he would be against the shrimps and hence I tried adding a male guppy with short fins to the tank at night thinking he wouldn't bother much in the night as he generally don't move around much at night.

    The moment the guppy was into the tank, he attacked the guppy to his face - one eye was eaten and the other was protruding. All happened within in 30 to 40 seconds. I was shocked to see how aggressive he is. I immediately moved the guppy out of the tank. I thought the guppy is fast enough to avoid his attack but the guppy was docile and allowed the betta to attack him. May be he was shocked of the new environment and couldn't respond quickly. I felt really bad about this.

    Later while researching on the Internet, I found this wonderful thread and I have let another guppy in a clear cup and it has been nearly an hour, the betta doesn't give up. Still trying to attack from all sides. Kind of prowling round and round the cup to reach the guppy without any rest.

    My ultimate aim is to have some cherry shrimps in the tank to clear the algae without any violence. Please advise.

    Btw, I am from India.

    Thanks in advance,


  2. Viriam KaroWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Aaron, welcome to FishLore!

    Well, bettas have the name "fighter fish" for a reason. They are in general extremely aggressive; some are so aggressive that they allow no other inhabitants in their "territory." The problem with guppies especially, as you and your guppy have found out the hard way, is that they have these lovely flowing fins that look like a challenger's fins.

    Look at this chart:


    You can probably see that there is a stage (about from 6-9 weeks) where a guppy looks very much like some upstart young fellow that's moving in on your betta's territory. Guppies are very docile, generally speaking, and are often not terribly strong swimmers, either.

    Seeing as your betta is an aggressive guy, you probably won't have any luck with shrimp. My betta is amazingly docile---I've never seen him flare, even when shown a mirror, or a picture of another fish. He just kind of looks at it and keeps swimming. All the same, when hungry enough, he will go after adult cherry shrimp (but they get away, because he's too slow). He does, however, manage to catch and eat shrimplets. I don't like keeping mystery snails in there with him because their antennae look too much like wiggling worms and he pecks at them thinking they're food.

    You may have some success with nerite snails, as their shell covers almost their entire body, and their antennae are barely visible. They are also algae-eating machines, though if they run out you'll have to supplement food.

    ETA that natural sunlight is a huge algae producer. Is the sunlight directly on the tank?
  3. alyymarieValued MemberMember

    If the algae is your main problem, my advice is to get a light source other than sunlight, so that you can control it. There may simply be too much light. And once your plants are settled in and start growing, they will help control the algae. Your tank still needs to find its equilibrium since it's so new.

    Shrimp and bettas together is very hit-or-miss. All you can really do is try it, but be prepared that he may snack on them. To improve the chances, you can take him out, add the shrimp in, and then put him back in. And absolutely make sure the shrimp have lots of hiding places.
    Snails would be a better choice in my opinion, though you may have to do water changes more often in such small tank.
  4. aaroninNew MemberMember

    Hi guys,

    Many thanks for your replies...

    Hmm... lesson learnt in a hard way. I placed the guppy in a clear cup everyday for 8 hours. This is the third day, he never gives up, he keeps banging the cup to get to the guppy like a great white banging a boat. The link I read the other day gave me some hope that I could train him not to eat these guys. But I think I will have to give up this idea.

    True, I need to see other options. :(

    The problem with Nerite snails is that they would wander off the tank. Mine is an open tank and I don't think that would be a best idea. These little guys may go for a stroll and I would be having hard time to going after them. ;)

    The tank gets direct sunlight only in the morning for an hour. After this, the tank just gets natural light.

  5. aaroninNew MemberMember

    As this is a small 5 gallon tank, I am trying to find an alternative light source. The tank initially had only Anubias and Christmas moss. I added the sagittaria so that more nutrients would be consumed by plants rather than the algae. Planted tanks are very new to me and I am experimenting - so I would take my chances on the algae to find the equilibrium.

    When the shrimps arrive, I am planning to let them float in his tank with the pack to see how he reacts. If he shows the same attitude, I would move him to another tank and give the tank to shrimps.

    I change the water twice a week, and I can do more if needed, let me see what I can do about the snails.

  6. aaroninNew MemberMember

    Hi guys,

    Quick update... added the shrimps with so much worries of being eaten, but they proved to be too fast for my betta to get eaten. That's a huge relief.

    Now, to control the algae, need a quick help... I just covered the tank on all sides with a dark cloth to avoid the sunlight. The tanks is almost dark all day. Will this kill the algae?

    Please advise.


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