Territorial Betta

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by poefox, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    Right now in my 8 gallon tank I have two corys and a Betta. The Betta seems to resent them swimming near him. Should I just move him to my extra 5 gallon or will things settle down?

  2. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    How long have they been together? and how much cover do you have for teh Corys?

  3. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    Bettas are kept solitary at the pet stores and if the Betta was in the tank first (or sometimes even if he wasn't) he can be very territorial. This will be lessened eventually unless you have a very stubborn Betta. (I am talking a month) Be patient if you can and realize unless you are prepared to leave him by himself forever, you will have this problem with whatever you add to his tank. He will always chase OCCASIONALLY especially if the tank is overcrowded but he won't bite or hurt the fish. (they have bad reputations but they are more chasers and scarers than anything) My bettas chased my otos unmercifully for quite a while but they are now in a stage of mutual ingoring each other. Once in a while the Betta will just ruffle them to let them know he is there, but not chase them.


  4. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    The corys have a thicket of plants that are too low and small for the Betta to comfortably go into as well as a sort of rock cove. They do have their own area to hide in if need be.

    Part of the problem I realized was that I had too much duckweed on the water top, and the Betta thought it was all his, I think. I removed some and noticed that he spents a fair bit of time swimming under it. The corys now and then liked to swim up and down the tank walls and he was getting mad when they swam too close to 'his' duckweed. He doesn't chase them as much now.

    Anyway, I've named a fish for the first time in a while, I'm calling him "Darth Pisces".
  5. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    Please be careful if you have a Betta with things floating on top of the water. They have to have constant access to a clear spot at the water surface to breathe through their labyrinth organ or it can be fatal to them. This is one reason I recommend an airstone just to ruffle the water surface to keep the film on top the water from forming so there is never a barrier to them being able to breathe. They breathe through their gills but they also use this organ that functions and allows them to use air like we do. If they are unable to reach the surface easily and do this it is very serious.

  6. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks...yes it doesn't cover the surface just say maybe a sixth of the surface.
  7. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you. Just the way you mentioned duckweed and the way it spreads, I was afraid your betta may be having trouble and that may be part of the problem.

  8. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    If the Betta is new, he should settle down after a bit. When I first got my Guppies (and already had the Platys) I thought my Guppies wouldn't even get to eat, that is if they weren't chased to death. But after a month or so the Platys seemed to realize that the Guppies weren't taking their food or anything, and now they swim together peacefully.
  9. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    Hm...he's kind of settled down but he seems to be able to see his reflection well on one spot...theproblem is that it is also the place I particularly decorated to present my fish well. So he's constantly passing by and flaring lately. Will this tire him out? Should I move things around?
  10. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    Unless he is staying there in a flaring position and won't come out of it for 10 minutes or more, don't worry about it. It is when they get fixec on a position and don't come out of it that you need to worry. If that happens you will probably have to do some redecorating.

  11. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    I moved things around a little bit...he's not doing it as much. I was getting worried because as you said he was flaring for several minutes at a time. However he also does it more when the lights are on overhead the tank. Actually I'm looking carefully and to my annoyance I can see that when the lights are on the tank sides are almost like mirrors.
  12. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    i doubt if you will ever get him to quit completely, but it is probably going to lessen. it will help if he has some light from outside the tank. the worst of it is when the lights in the room are off and the tank is the only thing lit. unfortunately bettas are the only fish i know of that this bothers and they never really completely get over it.

  13. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks Rose...he seems a little better now...not doing it quite as much. Could it be that he just needed to get used to being in a tank as opposed to a cup?
  14. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    yes it is possible. it is really sad that bettas have no tank companions from the time they start growing until someone buys them. they have no way to get used to a reflective surface, any other fish or anything new. They can react to any new thing in strange ways and we unfortunately have not got any way to know what is going on in their little personalities. i wish we did as it would make them much easier to deal with. they do not know how to act around any other fish and i am sure that the reflection would be interpreted as another fish. all we can do is be patient and try to deal with their little strange habits until they get used to their new lives and hope it won't take them too long. after all we are going to love them anyway, true? :D

  15. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    You are reassuring to discuss with, Rose. Also I'm bearing in mind what you said about time and patience. I suspect there is also an opposite personality thing going on. My corys are sort of playful, friendly and gregarious and he's just not.

    BTW,with me on the other hand he's being quite curious and friendly now, but then I'm in a totally different environment, too huge to be competition and I feed him. ;) But he comes to the top when I move over there and if I open it he comes up. I can practically feed him by hand now.
  16. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    Bettas (and I have heard Angels) are fish that become very close to their owners. They develop great personalities and none of them are the same. If you had 70 bettas each would be different. I know that even with only having 3 I have learned I cannot treat any of them the same as the others. They react to me in entirely different ways and expect me to react to them according to their needs. They just ignore me until I act the way they want me to. I love each one of them for themselves. They are so sweet when they get to know you and you get to know them.

  17. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    Fascinating...I am fond of him, even though it exasperates me when he obsessively chases the corys now and then. I'm not sure what they've done that bugs him so much, though. Most of the time now he just swims down to take a look at them and then swims away, otherwise he minds his own business and they mind theirs. I'm hoping when they grow bigger that he won't charge at them anymore.
  18. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    I really believe he is just "making sure" they understand who is the boss around here and he is VERY curious about what they are and what they are doing. It must be terrible to have been so solitary all their lives and not to even realize other fish were out there. The more fish there are in a tank I believe this behavior will be less but it will take some time (and I stress that the important word with a betta is TIME) for them to find their spot and let the others find one as well. The other fish have known a community since birth. The bettas have not. They don't know how to "play nice". It is a skill they will have to learn by watching and occasionally making mistakes with other fish, so in a sense they are culturally deprived. Just try to be patient and if you see him being a butthead just try to redirect his attention by tapping on the glass or stirring the water or something. I cannot promise you will teach him anything, but at least it will stop him that time. Both of mine have pretty well gotten over the wild chasing of the otos now, but once in a while I will honestly catch either Dopey or Dingbat baiting Marty and it looks like he is doing it on purpose because he will swim right in front of him (which they never do) and the chase is on. So sometimes I think it is becoming a game. :) No one gets hurt ever. If that were the case, I would take action but none of them are even ruffled for more than a few seconds anymore and so I just ignore it for the most part. I am so excited for you and any other betta owner, just beginning to know their friend. It is a really neat and challenging life with a betta and they let you know it!

  19. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    Rose, it almost sounded like you were describing kids! ;D But of course it would, fish have personalities and moods and feelings and learning processes just like kids or other pets. I like that you see that in them, a lot of people just see fish as decorative objects.
    Yes, I also think the Betta is just being curious, but also reminding the other fish who is the boss. I saw a lot of the latter behavior when I put my Guppies into the "Platy's tank". ::) He should soon learn that the Cories are perfectly harmless. Oh, that's another thought, since he has never seen fish before he may be a little scared, and a lot of animals will act aggressively if they are scared.
  20. poefoxWell Known MemberMember

    He's lots better today. He doesn't display as much when the tank light is on. The corys swam by him a number of times while I was watching and at most he would pause, take a look at them, and then move on. Thanks for the advice and reassurance, everyone. I'm very glad I have the little fellow, he's such a treat to watch...though he disturbs me when he goes into a plant and holds perfectly still for a moment.

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