My Betta Attacks Everything

phenris
  • #1
Listen. I knew bettas were aggressive fish. I knew they don't typically fit well with other fish. But what I DIDN'T anticipate was my dude attacking literally everything from the tank decorations to the filter to the heater to the thermometer.

I've had him for over 8 or so months now. At the beginning, I tried to add a heater but he kept nipping at it. I decided to just leave it be for the moment, then the next morning I woke up to a bubble nest.

He had tried to mate with himself.

So I removed the heater. A couple weeks ago I tried the same thing, this time with a heater that has a black cover over the reflective glass. Silly me for thinking I had one upped him, because once again, he just kept nipping and nipping and I really don't want his tomb stone to read "death by face smash", so I removed it and I've given up on heaters. My tank maintains a steady temp of 77-78 F anyway, so it's not a concern, but god help us all if anything pops up that needs a higher temp to heal.

Anyway. Today we did our routine water change. I try to ignore him the best I can while he, predictably, nips at the gravel syphon. I added some indian almond leaves for the first time in his tank (because my female has absolutely thrived in them) and, as I suspected he would: He keeps nipping at them and flaring at them.

My questions are: 1. What crawled up my betta's butt? (I'm kidding, but seriously), 2. Are these leaves going to harm him if he eats a bit of them? 3. Is it okay to leave them in there anyway, or is it just going to stress him out?

(Also, he is 100% ALONE in this tank. I wouldn't trust him to leave a freaking pebble alone. Because he doesn't lol)

(Also, I realize this might sound alarming to some people so I want to also clarify that he is perfectly healthy and his aggressive nature hasn't caused any stress-related symptoms or illnesses. His tank is completely cycled and has been since long before I got him. Just a disclaimer!)
 
Bryangar
  • #2
Seems like an over confident betta, put him in with an oscar see what he does. Just kidding!

Most male bettas are pretty aggressive and will nip at anything and flare at their own reflection. He should eventually learn he can't beat it. I would recommend you put the heater back. He can’t actually harm himself from nipping at things.

He can’t “mate with himself” every male betta makes a bubble nest. It just means that they’re ready to breed.
For your questions:
1) probably a demon.
2) The leaves won't hurt him. He’ll probably taste it and not like the taste.
3)The leaves are perfectly fine to leave in there. They’ll probably even calm him down a bit.
 
Zypher023
  • #3
Hello! Do you have photos of your setup so we can take a look and see if there’s any changes that could be made to help the situation?

The IAL shouldn’t hurt if he eats it. My mystery and nerite snails eat them.

Does he still attack decorations that have been in there for a long time or did he eventually start ignoring them?
 
Adriifu
  • #4
Agreed with the above comment. What size is the tank?
 
phenris
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Seems like an over confident betta, put him in with an oscar see what he does. Just kidding!

Most male bettas are pretty aggressive and will nip at anything and flare at their own reflection. He should eventually learn he can't beat it. I would recommend you put the heater back. He can’t actually harm himself from nipping at things.

He can’t “mate with himself” every male betta makes a bubble nest. It just means that they’re ready to breed.
For your questions:
1) probably a demon.
2) The leaves won't hurt him. He’ll probably taste it and not like the taste.
3)The leaves are perfectly fine to leave in there. They’ll probably even calm him down a bit.
He's way too cocky for his own good lol. Thanks for the info and suggestions! And it's good to know the nipping doesn't harm him. I probably should have gathered that myself since that seems to be a pass-time of his that he's been doing since I got him.

Hello! Do you have photos of your setup so we can take a look and see if there’s any changes that could be made to help the situation?

The IAL shouldn’t hurt if he eats it. My mystery and nerite snails eat them.

Does he still attack decorations that have been in there for a long time or did he eventually start ignoring them?
I can get some pictures, yeah! He eventually ignores them. I change things up every now and then to keep him interested. But even after the same ones have been in there for a long time and he's past his bratty phase of "that's an enemy and I have to defend my honor", he'll still occasionally nip at them.

He's in a 7gal.
 
Small Tanks
  • #6
I am going to make what will seem to be a weird suggestion given your situation but I feel like you need put things IN the tank particularly tall plants. Put them around the edges, hopefully when he's got lots of tall flowy things around him (also blocking his line of sight to the walls and thermometer and filter) he'll relax.

I recommend real plants if you can but plastic ones will work too. Java Fern, Vals and Anubus are good betta plants!
 
Zypher023
  • #7
He's way too cocky for his own good lol. Thanks for the info and suggestions! And it's good to know the nipping doesn't harm him. I probably should have gathered that myself since that seems to be a pass-time of his that he's been doing since I got him.


I can get some pictures, yeah! He eventually ignores them. I change things up every now and then to keep him interested. But even after the same ones have been in there for a long time and he's past his bratty phase of "that's an enemy and I have to defend my honor", he'll still occasionally nip at them.

He's in a 7gal.

They really are weird fish aren’t they? lol

I kept hearing how bettas flare at pens. Well I tried it last night and discovered two of mine immediately flared. I talked to a friend and she said it’s normal since it’s a foreign object. I likened it to the cats jumping at cucumbers fad. They’re just surprised by it and suspicious. That’s all I can think for this guy. Maybe short term memory loss? Haha
 
phenris
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Picture, as requested. I know bettas do better in long tanks than tall tanks, but this guy is super active and doesn't have any problems going up and down. Gonna eventually move him to a 10gal long, just waiting for it to finish cycling before making the move. All those plants are silk and yeah, I hate the colored gravel too. That's also a work in progress lol.
 
Zypher023
  • #9
Hmm the photo won’t load for me...
 
phenris
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
They really are weird fish aren’t they? lol

I kept hearing how bettas flare at pens. Well I tried it last night and discovered two of mine immediately flared. I talked to a friend and she said it’s normal since it’s a foreign object. I likened it to the cats jumping at cucumbers fad. They’re just surprised by it and suspicious. That’s all I can think for this guy. Maybe short term memory loss? Haha
It's like he just nips at things every now and then to remind it whose boss lol. Honestly, I never expected this guy to be as out-going and feisty as he is. He was sitting in the back of the shelf floating on his side with clamped, rotted fins when I got him, so I really didn't expect a personality bloom like the one he had. Happy with his glow up, either way!

Hmm the photo won’t load for me...
Might be because I had to send it in an email to myself. One second lol.


tumblr_padyxpUCe01xwysn0o2_1280.jpg
How about now?
 
Adriifu
  • #11
What a beauty
 
phenris
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I am going to make what will seem to be a weird suggestion given your situation but I feel like you need put things IN the tank particularly tall plants. Put them around the edges, hopefully when he's got lots of tall flowy things around him (also blocking his line of sight to the walls and thermometer and filter) he'll relax.

I recommend real plants if you can but plastic ones will work too. Java Fern, Vals and Anubus are good betta plants!
Now there's an idea. I'll have to try that out!

Live plants really intimidate me for some reason. I should try my hand at them in the 10gal I'm eventually moving him to.
 
Zypher023
  • #13
Yep! That worked. So he doesn’t really have many places to hide and feel safe. It’s a really great start with using silk plants and the coconut hut, so you’ve definitely been doing the right thing so far! Ideally though there’d be 2 more plants and another hiding place. That might make him feel more secure and to stop being so aggressive. It’s just a thought. I’ve never dealt with it myself.

Also if this tank is still cycling, putting him in a 10 gallon and cycling would be fine since that’s already what’s happening. I’d suggest it unless you’re planning to cycle the 10 gallon before adding him.

Edit: Here’s Star-Lord’s tank. He could use another plant and/or hiding place. I have some pots and coconut huts in the works. Basically the area in the middle is so heavily “planted” that I can’t even find him sometimes and then he’ll peek out at me.


e422ce85841154d455b19e360062c5d8.jpg
 
phenris
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Yep! That worked. So he doesn’t really have many places to hide and feel safe. It’s a really great start with using silk plants and the coconut hut, so you’ve definitely been doing the right thing so far! Ideally though there’d be 2 more plants and another hiding place. That might make him feel more secure and to stop being so aggressive. It’s just a thought. I’ve never dealt with it myself.

Also if this tank is still cycling, putting him in a 10 gallon and cycling would be fine since that’s already what’s happening. I’d suggest it unless you’re planning to cycle the 10 gallon before adding him.
Thanks! That's always reassuring to hear. I wish I'd have posted this BEFORE the water change. I had almost the whole tank crowded with plants, but then I got worried he might tear his fins on so many fake plants, so I took a couple out.

His 7gal is completely cycled That's why I'm patiently waiting for the 10gal to pull itself together.

Beautiful tank! I almost missed your little guy in there, but he's beautiful too!
 
Zypher023
  • #15
Thanks! That's always reassuring to hear. I wish I'd have posted this BEFORE the water change. I had almost the whole tank crowded with plants, but then I got worried he might tear his fins on so many fake plants, so I took a couple out.

His 7gal is completely cycled That's why I'm patiently waiting for the 10gal to pull itself together.

Beautiful tank! I almost missed your little guy in there, but he's beautiful too!

Thanks! I have 9 now...LOL. He was my first a year ago when I got back into the hobby.

That all sounds good! As long as they’re silk you should be fine.
 
FishWithTim
  • #16
Listen. I knew bettas were aggressive fish. I knew they don't typically fit well with other fish. But what I DIDN'T anticipate was my dude attacking literally everything from the tank decorations to the filter to the heater to the thermometer.

I've had him for over 8 or so months now. At the beginning, I tried to add a heater but he kept nipping at it. I decided to just leave it be for the moment, then the next morning I woke up to a bubble nest.

He had tried to mate with himself.

So I removed the heater. A couple weeks ago I tried the same thing, this time with a heater that has a black cover over the reflective glass. Silly me for thinking I had one upped him, because once again, he just kept nipping and nipping and I really don't want his tomb stone to read "death by face smash", so I removed it and I've given up on heaters. My tank maintains a steady temp of 77-78 F anyway, so it's not a concern, but god help us all if anything pops up that needs a higher temp to heal.

Anyway. Today we did our routine water change. I try to ignore him the best I can while he, predictably, nips at the gravel syphon. I added some indian almond leaves for the first time in his tank (because my female has absolutely thrived in them) and, as I suspected he would: He keeps nipping at them and flaring at them.

My questions are: 1. What crawled up my betta's butt? (I'm kidding, but seriously), 2. Are these leaves going to harm him if he eats a bit of them? 3. Is it okay to leave them in there anyway, or is it just going to stress him out?

(Also, he is 100% ALONE in this tank. I wouldn't trust him to leave a freaking pebble alone. Because he doesn't lol)

(Also, I realize this might sound alarming to some people so I want to also clarify that he is perfectly healthy and his aggressive nature hasn't caused any stress-related symptoms or illnesses. His tank is completely cycled and has been since long before I got him. Just a disclaimer!)
Never heard of a betta being that aggressive.
 
aquarook
  • #17
I love hearing about people's fish with big personalities! Thanks for sharing!
 
Cheesewoman
  • #18
My Betta is in his own 5gal tank with a ton of plants etc. While he's generally ok with the plants, if I even go near the glass he starts flaring at me, and if I put a finger in he'll go to war with it. I have started to hand feed him now, he's so funny. I think it's normal behaviour though, they're just feisty
 
Aquariaddict
  • #19
I had a Betta named Buddy who would do the same thing. He wasn't such as his name suggests, he was more aggressive than my giant pink gourami who is a straight up jerk. He got so bad with nipping that he would attack the filter intake. So I put a sponge over it. That was also relentlessly nipped at. So I put a sponge filter with an air control valve and turned it way down. This seemed to help, almost as if he had been trying to tell me something and I realized it might have had to do with overwhelming water flow? He seemed to get better after that and attacked randoms much much less.

It comes down to individual fish bc I have another male who will swim up to my hand and greet me every morning, if I throw a thawed blood worm in as a snack he will circle around my fingers happily rubbing up on tjem and give me little love nibbles.

So clearly your fish is as evil as my mean one if not worse. What seemed to also help was making sure he had no reflections. He flared a lot less and I saw his anxiety level reach an all time low.

So long story short he's clearly stressed about something. I assume all your params are mint?
 
Dch48
  • #20
My guy thinks anything that comes into his tank might have food attached to it. My fingers, my wood dowel that is used to smooth out gravel and put things back in place that the snails disturb , the siphon tube for his water changes. He follows and rubs up against them all. Sometimes I have to gently nudge him away. He's not afraid of anything and very rarely fully flares. If he can see his reflection, he doesn't care about it. He's very non-aggressive but after having the tank to himself for 10 weeks, I'm sure he would not tolerate the presence of anything else with fins. We'll never know though. My tank is too small for anything else. He never nips at anything in the tank and never has.
 
TwoTonedTanker
  • #21
Um is this a joke?

Nope! Simply a very funny story of an overconfident Betta!
 
phenris
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Ariyan You may want to sit down when I tell you this but betta males are typically very aggressive. All fish have different personalities. I happened to get stuck with one that thinks he's a piranha. Not sure what you're trying to get at with the passive aggression. I'd say you could compete with my fish, but he's a lot more direct!

I had a Betta named Buddy who would do the same thing. He wasn't such as his name suggests, he was more aggressive than my giant pink gourami who is a straight up jerk. He got so bad with nipping that he would attack the filter intake. So I put a sponge over it. That was also relentlessly nipped at. So I put a sponge filter with an air control valve and turned it way down. This seemed to help, almost as if he had been trying to tell me something and I realized it might have had to do with overwhelming water flow? He seemed to get better after that and attacked randoms much much less.

It comes down to individual fish bc I have another male who will swim up to my hand and greet me every morning, if I throw a thawed blood worm in as a snack he will circle around my fingers happily rubbing up on tjem and give me little love nibbles.

So clearly your fish is as evil as my mean one if not worse. What seemed to also help was making sure he had no reflections. He flared a lot less and I saw his anxiety level reach an all time low.

So long story short he's clearly stressed about something. I assume all your params are mint?
Yup, they're all in check. He's a perfectly healthy boy, just has a bone to pick with his reflection, I suppose. In the time since I've posted this I've started putting a cover up over his tank during the day when there's sunlight boosting the reflective tank glass.

Also, on the same note of an update, he stopped attacking the IAL! I think the initial temper tantrums are his way of getting to know the things that go in his tank. Sorry I haven't replied to this thread lately, for some reason I stopped getting notifications.
 
Hegrey
  • #23
Ha, glad he's calmed down on the tantrums! I've got one I named General Koker, because he's super aggressive. The only thing that calmed him down was floating plants. Turned him into a big ol' softy. They accidentally got dislodged during a cleaning and I was too lazy to put them back- but when I came back the next day, he was all snuggly and bubble-nesting.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've got a big ol' King betta who looks super aggro, but is the biggest sissy fish I've ever had. He spends most of his time hiding.
 
Bubba's Mom
  • #24
Hilarous! mating with himself! Glad he is doing better.
 
Cinabar
  • #25
phenris Wow this thread was a rollercoaster. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. May I recommend an exorcism for your fish? (Lol just kidding)

This may seem counterintuitive, but you should add more stuff to the tank. Fish really do have the shortest attention spans. My betta will be flaring at another fish and two seconds later “ooh look! A leaf!”

If you want live plants but can’t keep a cactus alive, I recommend pothos vines. They’re houseplants but they live underwater pretty ok. They’re super cheap and readily available too. Just snip a piece off and plop it into your tank (make sure to cut it under the nub so it’ll grow roots)
 

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