Do you believe me or your eyes?!

eliot feldman
  • #1
I purchased a male betta today ( not April 1st) at PetSmart to put by himself in a little 5 gal tank. There was a really surprisingly knowledgeable fish person there. I told here that I would like in the future on occasion to transfer the betta to my community tank , but I understood that that was a strict no-no. She told me that she does it all that time and not to worry so long as there were no gouramies in the community tank.

I challenged her on it, and she said, " I will show you right now. Choose any male betta and any of our tanks of fish in the store." I did, and she put that betta into that tank full of guppies. There wasn't the slightest problem! I saw it with my own eyes!

So what do you believe: me or your eyes?
  • #2
The Betta was probably so exhausted and lethargic from being in a cup so long it just didn't care. Lol.

  • #3
The person at the store has been lucky and careless, you have been given poor advice. She was an idiot to be completely honest. She's just stressing a fish out by dropping it in another tank from a cup. Of course it's probably not going to attack, it's worried about dying. It is now in a tank with completely different parameters and is stressed and worried about itself. Better yet why don't you go complain to the store manager that their employees are exposing fish to disease, parasites and stress.

Wow i'm actually really angry at that employee
  • #4
What's the deal? Granted its a bad idea to drop fish in different water all the time but bettas are very peaceful community fish as long as you put them with other peaceful fish that doesn't resemble them. My brother has one in his 55 gallon community for over 2 years now
  • #5
Without knowing how assertive (aggressive?) that particular betta is that was a dumb move.

If you know more about the individual fish things like that can be done. Fish do have different personalities, levels of activity, tolerance for other tankmates, and so on, withing a particular species. A buddy had a way laid back oscar, lived long term with a group of angels. I had an oscar that didn't tolerate anything in the tank, and was intolerant of my dog outside the tank. Not a whole lot different with bettas, or many other species.
  • #6
I bet the betta would have shown his personality if he was properly acclimated. He probably got shocked.

Some bettas just don't like company. I had one that hated tank mates. No matter how hard I tried to introduce it to other fish, the betta would get stress lines and hide in a corner, then attack.

I've been lucky with my current bettas so far. They don't really care about what I put in the tank.
  • #7
What's the deal? Granted its a bad idea to drop fish in different water all the time but bettas are very peaceful community fish as long as you put them with other peaceful fish that doesn't resemble them. My brother has one in his 55 gallon community for over 2 years now

Guppys are very colorful and have long fins, which make it a big target for bettas. If the Betta was not super chill it would have gone ham on those guppys.


  • #8
I hope that employee gets disciplined.
  • #9
We got into Bettas, because the kid (now 27) kept bringing them home at the end of the spring semester for four years, and sometimes during the school year.

I was one of those people who ignored all advice against male Bettas in the community tanks, because I believed that my Bettas were true gentlemen. Bettas are very clever. They attack when nobody is watching. They know when you are away, and when you are asleep. I have never had a male Betta that sooner or later did not attack other fish in a community tank.

As to the sales lady's show and tell, even Putin, my super aggressive Golden Gourami, never attacked fish right away. He usually waited for a couple of hours before he started terrorizing fish in the community tank. We tried several, until he ended up in a well earned solitary confinement.

What makes you think that your sales lady is knowledgeable? Not questioning hour judgement, just curious to hear what she was saying. She may very well be knowledgeable.
  • #10
I went to a small local pet store a few days ago ago and saw the same thing, a male betta in a tank full of guppies. He was just swimming back and forth like nothing else was going on. Personally it's not something I would try but it was certainly interesting.
  • #11
I recently watched a video of quiet a few betas of both sexes in a single tank together. Granted is was VERY HEAVILY planted, and I have heard of several members on here who have kept betas in community tanks. Honestly I think it is a combanation of the luck of the draw and a matter of time with betas. Some are more docile then others, while some take some time to get comfortable before attacking.
  • #12
While it may be possible for a betta to be in a community tank, it is certainly a lot more rare then the typical results of the betta eventually attacking other fish. It may be in 1 day or in 1 year, but more often then not that betta will attack.

Adding a betta to a community tank in a fish store by just throwing them in is not a very scientific study, and sure to cause stress on all the fish involved. I would bet that within a month or maybe less if that betta was left in that tank, there would be a lot less guppies around.

It is better to do your research online and get a variety of sources. All the care sheets and info you find will usually point towards bettas not being ideal in community setups.
Sarcasm Included
  • #13
I bought a 40 gallon community tank on craigslist, with fish. The owner had had the fish for over 2 years. Two months after getting it the rainbow shark started killing the other fish off, one every night, tikl I removed him. He is currently with fish that can handle his aggression, as he still attacks fish all the time. Point is that even after years of peaceful behavior the aggressive nature could come out at anytime, set off for whatever reason. A betta may allow other fish for years that it doesn't consider a threat to its territory, but something happens for him to view them differently.
  • #14
Can it work? Yes. is there a risk? Always.

Fish have memories, just as we, and if part of that memory is of aggression or mistreatment, well try it with a pit-bull and see what happens. Imo, I believe that given the right settings, then fish of different species can live and yes, play together. We see it and hear it all the time both here and elsewhere, but the risk is always present. Up near Jasper, there's a doe that every year comes to play and frolic with the family dog, a moose that allows cats near her and other examples of how nature can work together, even if opposite species. Including my cat Holly who plays with the squirrels and mice. She's never harmed one, but has a habit to bring it home to play with later.

For example, in my Candy Cane tetra shoal there is one bully, just like we find in humans, He's greedy, egotistical and just a plain bully with his family. He's not like this with others outside of his group, but a bully all the same. Sometimes I'm very tempted to yes, ugh - cull it, but that's where I step back and let nature take it's place within limits as we must remember, these spaces are created by us, not nature.

In my O2A tank there are species from completely different parts of the world and for me it was finding the happy medium to make it work. I made sure different areas, currents, even average mean temperature between each, meaning not based on one species, but all species. Same goes for feeding, some have dainty small mouths, others, well their more gobblers then fish at times.

When purchasing my fish for this tank I took a great deal of time, right down to each individual fish. I observed for quite some time. The LFS didn't really appreciate this as they stated there all pretty much the same, Ya right! I said it's simple lady, my money, my choice!

Now PLEASE DON'T try this unless you are fully aware, done extensive homework and willing to take the risks.

The O2A tank is not a slice of nature so to speak, it's a fantasy theme that has allowed me to do many things that other type of setups would not be able to do. Trial and error also was key in this build considering if it's a water pond then that's my trip, but an aquarium of this extent was beyond anything that I could of hoped for.

Here's a shot of a feeding swarm of all the different species and the cleanup crew (not seen) just below them waiting for the handouts. When feeding them I don't just dump food, I hand feed them where I first started by using tweezers and now I use the tips of my fingers. I make sure that I put food at various places. I use a variety of foods all from Hikari. Their colors are bright and healthy, there's very little aggression during feeding as well. Other than the mine mine mine of a few, but a little push of the finger and they get the point. I even turn off my main canister pump so as to allow the tank to be calmer during feeding which also avoids a lot of waste.

eliot feldman
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Quite a variety of responses! But the general sense of things seems to point toward leaving the betta by himself. So, not knowing what you guys do, I had better do it that way.

As for the lady in the store, she spoke knowingly about various fish topics that I do know about. Usually, to be frank, I find that the sales people at the larger pet stores tend to be inexperienced. I could see that this one had been around tropical fish for a while.

As for shocking the fish, she assured me that the betta water was the same as the guppy water. I asked about that before she did the experiment. The betta didn't appear to be the least bit stressed.

At any rate, the betta I purchased is doing fine in my little well-planted five gal tank. At least so far.
  • #16
-_- doesn't feel right. It was obviously syressed from beong in a cup and didnt care. Say he was in good hands, he'll have a 75 % chance of disasyer. Only experienced betta keepers with YEARS of doing that without problems can do that. What duz dqt employee know? She just wants to sell more(u know, bigger tank, more fish)

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