This behavior kinda baffles me

  • #1
I've had a single male betta alone in a 120 gallon high tech planted tank for a while now. We've been holding off stocking the tank until the plants are totally established. They finally are established and I've finally gotten the brown hair algae (or filamentous diatoms, I'm not sure) issue under control.

To help clean up the leftover algae and because I wanted them, I introduced 4 dwarf gourami this past Saturday. I knew there was a chance that the 4 gourami and single betta could possibly be rather incompatible. We've been keeping a close eye on them and ready to swoop the betta out if needed, but the DG are very peaceful. They play mostly with each other (two males and two females) and seem mostly curious about the betta.

The betta behavior is just strange to me. He'll be puttering along, doing what a betta in a massive tank does, enjoying his relative "freedom." The gourami will notice him and swim up and just look - they don't chase or harass him, they just kinda want to hang around with him. He panics. He speeds away to hide, and sometimes the gourami follow him...they don't chase him, but they follow him. There's no intentional bullying or territorial issues at play, at least so far.

I don't know if my betta is irritated, sad, terrified, or just miserable. He tends to hang around in a few different places now - either behind the drop checker, behind one of the heaters, behind the spray nozzle, low in the dense jungle along the back of the tank, or hiding in one of the caves created by my stone terrace. Taking everything at face value, if you weren't watching you'd think he was being bullied. But that's not the case at all. I know it's a little unusual to have a betta with such a large environment, but do you all think he has enough space to feel safe, or is the little guy miserable? I don't want a miserable fish, I like happy fish. I'll get another tank (probably a Spec V) if I have to, but I wasn't planning on that purchase just yet. He has so much space to much room for activities! But I'd prefer he get his own house rather than not feel safe in the current one.

FWIW, I have two other tanks as well - a 60 gallon low tech planted community tank with live bearers, angel fish, cory cats, and a single male betta. My other tank is a 29 gallon low tech lightly planted live bearer (platy and guppy) tank with some mystery snails and a single male betta. We've been especially cautious with our betta friends and other tanks...My daughter purchased these three little guys before either of us knew how to properly take care of them, so all three were put in a much more comfortable space. This is why I hate the "absolute" rules that people give out in some places about "never ever put betta with <enter almost every species name here.>" These little guys aren't the brutal savages that people sometimes make them out to be - two out of three of mine are very social fish.
  • #2
How long have the gouramis been in with the betta?
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Today will be day 5.
  • #4
I believe behavior like that would indicate he is scared of/nervous around the DGs, if that is the case he will continue to act like that. He might settle in, but likely chances he will not if he was in the tank before they were.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I was watching this morning - I fed them and he came up to the top. The gourami largely ignored him and he ignored them. Maybe they've settled down into a peaceful coexistence.

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