The girls are split up...

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Phloxface

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This morning I woke up to a massacre. No one was killed, but Aenara has almost no tail left, only a crescent shaped piece on top and bottom. Noelle and Angel are looking pretty ragged too. Angel used to be the Alpha but it seems she was knocked down to second last place with Karma and Whisper teaming up to bully the other 3. I witnessed Karma bite Noelle on her body and literally drag her and shake her around like a Pitbull!  She wouldn't let go even with me banging a spoon on the tank! I had to put my hand in the tank to split them up and then ALL FIVE of the fish turned on me and bite my hand! Of course they can't hurt me with their tiny teeth...  This was more than enough to convince me the aggression level was out of control here and I filled up the Kritter Keepers and first took out the worst ones, Karma and Whisper. I watched the other three (Aenara, Angel and Noelle) to see how they were with the bullies removed. They were definately more calm but there was still a hint of aggression between Noelle and Angel. Aenara NEVER bites the other fish. I decided it wasn't safe to even try with these three so I put Noelle in another 1 gallon Kritter Keeper and put my tank divider up to split up Aenara and Angel.

I am picking up another divider tomorrow morning on my way home from work and will split the 10 gallon into 3 parts with Aenara, Angel and Noelle. The other two will have to live in the 4 gallon Kritter Keepers. What a shame that the nice 10 gallon tank is going to be ruined now with all those dividers.    They'll be fine seeing each other as long as they can't hurt each other. Aenara is surprisingly not traumatized and not afraid of any of them even though they picked on her.

I'm not sure how Whisper became SO aggressive! She was such a mellow quiet fish at first. That's why I called her Whisper. I think I'm going to change her name.  :-\  Right now she is thrashing around in the Kritter Keepr like a rabid dog! She seems really angry. In the tank she was getting aggressive even with the plants! She was ripping leaves off the plants and racing around with them. She seems to have totally lost her mind! She's too agressive right now to even live in a divided tank. I think Aenara, Noelle and Angel should be fine in a divided tank. They are also the ones with the shredded tails and they all need medication for finrot. With Aenara's tail almost gone I can't fool around with something as light as BettaFix. I'm going to have to use Maracyn 2 to make sure they are all okay. I see no bite wounds in spite of the pitbull-like hold Karma had on Noelle but I think antibiotics will be a good idea regardless.
I really think one more day and Aenara would have been killed and then Angel. I love them all but right now I'm a little **** off at the two bullies! 

Betta females seem so sweet and innocent when they are all alone but put them together and within a few days you have a tank of pirhanas that will even attack YOU! 
I'm so saddened and disappointed that this didn't work out. For a while they played together so nice. Watching my babies tear each other apart this morning brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully I split them apart before anyone died. Aenara is still eating well and fearless. A good sign I think.

I think I can safely say my experiment was a failure. Don't try this at home kids!
 

LZ Floyd

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Good thing you were able to split 'em up before something worse came of their being together.  And, I sure understand your being mad at the bullies.  I have a great deal of compassion for animals; probably more so than for humans who have the ability to avoid dangers that our non-human animal friends can't.  But, I have a hard time seeing one animal go after another and cause harm - gets me pretty peeved, too!
 

nmwierman1977

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I am so sorry to hear about this. :'( :'( That is very sad. I know that you were really hoping that all of the girls would get along. Even though the females are a lot less aggressive then the males you still need to be very cautious with it, which it seems like you were. I am glad that you caught them in the act because at least then you knew why they were getting so torn up. At the same time though it's very disturbing and heart breaking to witness something like that. Again, I am very sorry. Natalie
 

chickadee

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Oh I am truly very sorry. I was really hoping it would work for you. You have such patience and love for them I thought perhaps your manner would settle them, but it was not to be. I can totally understand your upset and anger. I could hardly contain myself when first one and then another of my little girls died because they were literally scared to death and starved themselves rather than take on the pack (or rather the Alpha female) rather than have to fight for food. I do not think yours had to fight for food but they seemed never to quite get it right as to who was the Alpha female.

As far as Whisper goes, did you say that she is a Cambodian or am I thinking of another one? I should let you know that Cambodians are fighters and very vicious. I thought that the way you described her she had been beaten back at the store so much that perhaps her nature would not expose itself, but evidently her true nature came back with a vengeance. The Cambodian Bettas are as close to the Fighting fish as we will see sold around here unless you specify that you actually want a 5 Star Fighter or something like that. I have not ever seen a female Cambodian for sale though so I thought perhaps they may be tamer. Evidently not. I am so sorry, I should have mentioned this but as I said I thought perhaps she was tamed down.

I do agree that any of the fish that were actually bitten need to have Maracyn at the least. Bettafix would do for prevention of fin rot but will not do a thing to help heal open areas even small ones. Those fish have been beaten up on and need an antibiotic.

Again, I deeply saddens me that this was not successful for you but I am glad that none of the fish was hurt any more than they were. I do agree, I do not believe that we can recommend this procedure for anyone to try again. It just does not seem to work. Thank you for adding your caution to mine.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Yes, Whisper is a Cambodian with a lot of red wash on her body which makes her look solid red in pictures.  She is a VERY angry fish now even hours later. She is still trying to knock through the side of her tank. She really seems to hate me. Hopefully she'll get over it.  She was very mellow and playful for a few days.
All fish are eating and seem okay. Three of them need meds for shredded fins but they should grow back I hope.

They say females are less aggressive than the males, but my boys have never shown the kind of aggression my girls have. Keeping the girls alone will allow them to bond with me more. Together they all banded together and bit me. They were much sweeter when they were alone.

I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from getting a female Betta. Just keep them alone as you would a male. I wouldn't even trust these girls with an Oto or Cory. They are best alone...
 

chickadee

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Yes, once Emma got the taste of bullying her sisters, she also killed 2 of the cories I put in with her. She ended up having to be put in a tank by herself until she jumped out through the hole that night and died. They just do not get the bully complex out of their system.

I would not try them with other fish either, except possibly Aenara as she was never really aggressive was she?

Rose
 

gammerus

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that's nuts! they all turned on you? This deffinetly has me reconsidering a sority tank. :-\
 

chickadee

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After the experience I had and now this experience of Phloxface's tank; I will not recommend anyone having a female betta tank with a grouping of Females in it. It is too risky for the fish and too nerve wracking for the fish owner. It is a devastating thing to have to deal with the type of situation she dealt with in her tank today and it could have ended with her losing every one of those fish.

She acted very quickly and had the proper equipment to seperate them or they would have been bullied and beaten to death by each other. Thank heavens she had not put all of the equipment out of reach.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Phloxface. It may keep someone else from making a terrible mistake.

Rose
 

gammerus

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I am curious tho, did anything seem to trigger the fight?
 

chickadee

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The struggle is almost certain to be the result of them still trying to establish who was going to be "The Boss". Any time there is a grouping of Female Bettas, there is going to be an established Alpha Female who directs life for the others and there is a struggle among them to see who it is going to be and the best female is to win. There can be deaths over this, as there were in my tank and nearly in Phloxface's tank.

This is what is considered a normal occurrence but not a desirable one in my opinion.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Yes, I think it was because several fish were fighting for dominance. They all wanted to be the Alpha fish. (except Aenara)
The first few days they were still settling into their new home so they didn't fight too much. I was so enjoying watching them play. After a while ego's clashed and the fighting began.
It's going to take them a while to settle down. All of them are stressed over being separated, even though they fought. None of them likes their smaller quarters now. Aenara bit me on the wrist while I was putting in the divider. She bit me hard enough that I felt something like a pin scraping me and it left a small red mark. If I can feel it imagine what they can do to each other.
Lava bites me too but with him it's always gentle nibbles of affection that never hurt. An angry Betta can REALLY bite!
They will calm down and become sweet and affectionate just like my boys. Right now all are pumped up with adrenaline and still buzzing.
 

chickadee

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I would feed them early tonight and turn off the lights early and let them have a dark night. Darkness will calm them down as they will not be able to see anything that will upset them. Maybe by tomorrow they will be more reasonable. I hope so.

Rose
 

Timesdragonfly

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I'm soooo sorry to hear about this. I was really hoping that this would work out for you. You had such a beautiful tank set up too! ~J~
 

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Oh, No!  I got Belle a friend 2 days ago.  She is a beautiful red-orange, and her name is Bessie.  Whenever the two girls get close to one another, Bessie chases Belle away.  They are both doing fine, and there is no biting or agressive behovior except the chasing.  They are in a 10-gallon tank with 4 live plants and decorations.  Maybe with just the two of them there will be enough room that there won't be any major problems.  I will watch them closely and if the agression gets worse I will have to get a divider for the tank.  Thanks for sharing your experience, Phloxface.  I will keep you guys posted as to how it goes with my 2 girls..

CherryRose
 
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Phloxface

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The girls have calmed down this morning. Even Whisper is swimming slowly through her boring tank with one plastic plant. (the best I can do for her right now. When I get paid I can fix it up nicer for her) Everyone is eating and no one's fins are any worse this morning. I picked up some Maracyn 2 for the assault victims and another tank divider. I'm going to put Karma in with Phlox. She already has a proven ability to live peacefully in a divided tank (she was with Lava) and Phlox is far less sensitive to change than Lava. He will probably even enjoy it. He lost his snail buddy on Christmas day. I think he's ready for a new friend. With the divider there they can play without hurting each other. Even Lava did enjoy having Karma there to watch. She's very active and playful. It will keep Phlox from being bored.
Whisper is so aggressive with other fish she is best all alone in a large 4 gallon Kritter Keeper. She would probably drive Phlox and herself nuts if they were together. I bought her some new gravel and a better filter. There was a disposable bubble filter in there before but since this will be her permanent home she needed a better one.
This is the best solution I could come up with. Four tanks is already more than I can handle. I am running out of electrical outlets and space. I am surrounded by fish tanks and have even been having crazy dreams of living in a fishtank myself!  ;D
 

chickadee

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I know how you feel, I am up to 5 right now and it does seem to be a bit of a stretch to keep up with them especially as small tanks do take more maintenance than the larger 20+ gallon ones. They are just more fragile ecologically.

The set-up you are planning sounds really good and they only time that you may have a thing to watch is if the little ones in Phlox/Karma tank decide it is time to spawn. They can go over a divider pretty easily and you may have to watch them. You should have some notice on this though as they will start to eat protein foods like crazy (killing them) and there will be a subtle color change in the female and vertical stripe in the fish.

They will be fine. I totally think you are wise to keep your little Cambodian by herself. She will be happier too.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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I fixed up Whisper's little 4 gallon tank. She's got a java fern, cabomba and a rock cave. I'll get some very small foreground type plants to fill it in more at some point. It may not be as big as the 10 gallon, but she seems happy. She's swimming around and exploring without being all stressed out worrying about defending her territory. She's even bonding with me more.
I got her a "Whisper In-Tank filter" by Tetra. It's a tiny filter for tanks less than 5 gallons. I really like it. It's very quiet and creates almost no current. Great for a small quarantine tank or any small tank where you don't want a lot of water turbulence. Keeps the water very clean.
Here's a pic of her tank. Next to it is her flakes. She's the only one of my Bettas that will NOT eat pellets at all. She loves the flakes so she may as well eat the flakes I bought when I got Phlox and that none of the others will touch.
 

chickadee

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It is a very nice tank and she does look happy!! The filter and all sound fine..I had seen those small Whispers but did not know how they would be, I am glad to get a report on them. I may get one for the q tank as the one I have now is really "busy" and okay for the Cories or Loaches but too strong for the Bettas. Since my q tank is now an inhabited tank, I need to have something that contains a carbon filter in case of needing to filter out meds.


Rose
 

cherryrose

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Whisper looks very happy in her new tank.  I like your setup.  How do you light up the critter keeper?  My girl Bessie, who looks like Whisper (maybe she is Cambodian too), is now living in my five gallon critter keeper.  I haven't figured out how to light it up yet.

CherryRose
 

0morrokh

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I am very sorry your experiment didn't work. I would like some more specifics though, just out of curiosity...tank size, age of Bettas, about Bettas etc...or maybe you already have talked about it on another post, I haven't been on here awhile and need to catch up.
I think now I will can my idea of having 3 or 4 females in my 20 gallon. I would like to someday try keeping some girls together but not until I have a lot more betta experience. 1 will do for now.
Are you sure your Bettas are actually biting you? I remember my Platys used to eat me alive whenever I stuck my hand in the tank, looking for food or playing or whatever. I bet they just nip you because they know you bring them food.
A thought on bonding with Whisper. Sometimes if an animal ignores you (or even dislikes you, though I doubt Whisper does...she's probably just stressed out from the move) the best thing to do is to ignore them back. Suddenly she'll realize she's all alone and will beg for attention. I'd be curious to know if this technique works on fish...
 
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