Betta's and angel fish, I am confused

  • #1
HI all,

I recently bought a red betta male and put him in a community tank with mollies and four angel fish.

Advice so far is you should not mix betta with angels as the betta may attack the angels.

However I have noticed the angels fin nipping/attacking the betta whilst the betta does not retaliate!

Are angels fin nippers and what would make them pick on the betta???

These are young angels if it helps.

  • #2
Angels can be very agressive. since you already have nipping behavior, you should remove your betta into his own home.
  • #3
I agree. Angelfish and Gouramis are both aggressive fish and will fight with and kill Bettas. Even smaller fish like neons will nip their fins and cause finrot and stress. Bettas are not good community fish and are really best alone in a tank of 5 gallons or more.
  • #4
Angels can buddy-up and take out all the other fish in the tank if they get in the mood. A betta is territorial also, but won't stand a chance with 4 angels. If they don't kill him outright, infection and stress will. So, i'd agree on taking the Betta out of that tank asap and treating his water with novaqua+ and vitachem if he has fin damage - maybe stave off potential fin rot.

How many mollies do you have? When you take the Betta out, the mollies will likely be the angels new targets so i'd keep an eye on them to see if the angels show any signs of going after the mollies.
  • #5
Bettas are not raised with other fish and do not know how to deal with a community tank and do not recognize some fish as enemies and will be seriously hurt by them. They do recognize some threats and you will lose fish one way or another and the tank you are describing is stacked against the betta. He needs to come out immediately. There is already no gaurantee that he will not come down with a stress illness of some type.

  • Thread Starter
  • #6

Thanks for all replies so far , I have 8 platties all pairs and they don't bother by Betta at all.

The Angels don't seem to continously harrass the Betta but can bully him a little from time to time. However he seems unstressed when it happens and sustains no fin damage.

You will proberly all scream at me but I am due to introduce three Betta females into this community and hope this will negate any further bullying from the angels.

I am monitoring all behaviour closely, there is mixed advice about compatability BUT the first sign of any compatibility issues I will make changes to the tank.

  • #7

You should NEVER put males and female Bettas together except during spawning and even then one sometimes dies shortly after, sometimes even both. I really have to ask you to reconsider this. The 3 females alone will kill each other fast enough but with a male Betta AND Angel fish?  ??? Please think of the poor fish! If you really want more fish why not find compatible fish for your Angelfish instead of putting in fish that are GUARANTEED to die horribly.  :'(
You are experimenting with little creatures that feel pain and have a right to live comfortably.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I am not adding fish willy nilly and am getting advice from two very large aquariams in my area.

I am also independently researching for myself.

Adding 3 Betta females with a male is according to the experts acceptable as this prevents conflicts with the male and the females apparantly sort themselfs out once settled.

However as this post suggest there is a lot of conflicting opinions out there hence my confusion.

Lastly as I said before I will closely monitor them once introduced and separate them if conflict occurs.

The last thing I want is any unhappy fish or harm to come to any of them.

This not my first community tank and I do (although I am no expert have previous experience with freshwater community tanks.

However I will seek further advice just to make sure prior to introducing the female bettas.

Oh heres just a small example of some of the advice out there:-

While they might eventually mate, females may or may not be able to coexist peacefully in the same tank as the male depending on their temperaments.

They are not schooling fish, and are still rather aggressive, but with enough room and many hiding spaces, they can learn to get along.

There should never be exactly two female bettas in a tank together—a pecking order, a hierarchy, is necessary for them to live peacefully. With only two fish, one will be the bully and the other will be picked on. However, with three or more, a hierarchy is established.

ALSO where I buy my fish from all Betta females are kept in the same tank with no fighting at all
  • #9
I have had an all female Betta tank as have several others here. It ALWAYS ends in disaster. They "seem" to get along for a few days and then war breaks loose. Sometimes it is too late to save them after they become so traumatized. Rose, our moderator here lost all but one of her females even AFTER separating them because they were so traumatized they were afraid to eat.
I was lucky to be at home when the fighting broke out in my tank and had to get them all separated FAST! All my females suffered fin damage but survived only because I got them out minutes after the fighting broke out. Had I not been home or watching most of them would have been dead in a matter of hours, so fierce was the fighting! They even attacked me when I put my hand in to stop them. I was bitten all over my hand and wrist.
I don't know what kind of "experts" you were talking to but anyone who suggests putting male and female Bettas in the same tank knows NOTHING about Bettas. I have found that the majority of fish store employees know very little about Bettas except for the common myths such as, they are happiest in tiny cups, they live in mud puddles in the wild and so on. A large number of web sites out there are equally bad in giving out bad information about Betta care.
Since this is such a controversial issue I have to wonder why it is so important that you need to add female Bettas to this already volatile mix? It's like adding fuel to a fire. Why not get a separate tank for the male and maybe a divided tank for the females and enjoy them knowing that they are safe and happy?

Sorry if I'm being a pain about this but I really care about all Bettas and it hurts to think of what will happen in your tank. You say you don't want any harm to come to them so why take chances?

P.S. the store you buy them from may have bought a bunch of females from the same spawn (sisters) who have been living together since birth. They usually do get along while young but even they will eventually turn on each other. Females get more aggressive with age. As someone who has both males and females I can honestly say, the females are FAR more aggressive than my males. The store I bought them from also kept them in the same tank and scooped out the dead ones every morning before the customers come to the store (an employee told me this). They also told me that females can get along as long as you have more than 3 (I had 5) and you have a tank with lots of hiding places (I had a heavily planted tank). Within 5 days I was shopping for more tanks when I had to separate them.
I'm just trying to warn you what you'll be in for. Either you will loose fish and feel bad or will end up having to get more tanks than you ever wanted.
  • #10
if you add the females, then best of luck to you, we read the same advice out there and were so in love with the idea of all these bettas in 1 tank. we had a nice happy little tank until something set off 1 of the females and it was war from then on.. not a pecking order, we've seen the pecking order in the platys, but a biting, tearing, killing thing.
I hope you have better luck, but other than betta sp. mahachai, no betta species seems to do well with more than 1 fish 99% of the time, including betta sp. splendens.

what phloxface said is right and the females from the same spawn do coexist peacefully until they reach the betta equivalent of teen angst and that's it for peace. they're great fish, just they highly value their 'personal space'. please have a h. tank or 2 cycled as a backup plan along with some trisulfa.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Thanks for all replies and I am taking on board what has been said. I will introduce the females with a divider and see what the behaviour is like and yes I will have a tank on standby in case aggression is shown. I may even reconsider and just keep one separate female for breeding. Rest assured I will not let a blood bath ensue in my tank and fingers crossed it looks like the Angels and male Betta are sttarting to get along.

I will monitor the situation (as is) whilst the Angels grow bigger in case they do start attacking the male Betta and am going to research other options for introducing other fish that are compatible with my Angels.

Its a lurning curve and diffrent keepers find diffrent fish (depending on their personalities) can get on when generally they are considered uncompatible.

Rest assured I won't be experimenting as someone suggested earlier but will be carefully and responsibly adding fish whilst monitoring throughout the community as a whole remains healthy and happy.

Once again thanks for your advice it is appreciated.
  • #12
you might want to talk to one of the fishlore members here about the Angels and how they are - Jim. He's had a lot of angels and knows a good bit about them.
  • #13
The comparably small size of aquariums puts these fish too close together for long term peace. They will run into each other too frequently and conflicts develop just like in the 'hood.

Now if your tank was heavily planted and a million gallons...

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