Two guppies and a male betta in a 5.5 gal? HELP! - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Two guppies and a male betta in a 5.5 gal? HELP!

I've been doing a lot of research on this for a bit now and I'm taring my hair out.

I have a mature male betta (Asterisk) living for almost a year now in less then 1 gal of water--due to the rocks and such. I just bought a 5.5 gal tank for him which will be filtering for the next 24 hours. Unfortunately, my friend has to give away two of her guppies, one male (Loki) and one female (Thor) and I was the only person who could take them.

I have the problem now of housing them. I can't keep the two guppies in less than a gallon of water, and it just kills me to see my betta drift around in the cramped space, so I really want to get him into the 5.5 gal tank.

The first thing I thought of was housing them together with lots of plants for the guppies to hide, but I've never heard of that happening successfully with a tank less than 10 gal. I assume that as soon as Asterisk sees loki's big tail he'll go wild. I've only ever owned one other betta and he always looked half dead, so I don't know what an overly agressive betta looks like, but Asterisk will flare at me if I get within a foot of his tank.

Another option I have is to put a divider in the tank, but it disrupts the flow of the filter and would cramp the guppies.

And then, of course, I could keep my betta in his little bowl and put the two guppies in the 5.5 gal tank. I really don't want to do that though because it feels like wasted space on the two guppies and unfair for Asterisk.

Could I possibly house these three together with or without a divider? Would it possibly go smoother if I had other fish in the community as well, like tetra? I don't want to over fill the community, it's only 5.5 gal. What is my best option?

(sorry if I'm not doing this port-thing right, first timer)

P.S. I can't buy a bigger tank because I will be graduating high school in 2014, leaving my fish to my parents. They have never been very enthusiastic about my fish so whatever solution I come up with needs to be 'curmudgeonly-parents' approved.

Last edited by LittleIggyDog; 12-05-2012 at 02:39 AM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 02:43 AM
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I would get a divider ad a second filter for the other side. It's the best idea in my mind. But I'd wait for someone else to reply =] I'm not the most experienced fish handler.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 07:08 AM
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I would buy a livebearer breeder net, usually about a gallon of space, they float, and you can keep the guppies in there until you find another home.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'filtering for 24 hours'. Do you mean the bacteria cycle? As this takes almost a month to kick in, not the 24-48 hours many petstores would lead you to believe.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, for not responding, I forgot my password. Whoops.
I waited a week before adding him, and then went ahead and put in the guppies and they got along very well. Asterisk completely ignored them. Since then I have set up a larger tank and have moved the guppies into it along with some new fish. Asterisk now shares his tank with calmer tetras. Thank you for your comments!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 02:06 PM
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I'd keep a close eye on them. Usually guppies and bettas are really bad tankmates.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Crowntails View Post
I'd keep a close eye on them. Usually guppies and bettas are really bad tankmates.
+1, betta can turn in a sec; jackyl and hyde IME with Yo the Snail and Fred the VT

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 05:09 PM
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How's he getting along with the Tetra's?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 06:01 PM
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guppies should never be housed with bettas, particularly males. they frequently attack other fish that LOOK like another betta, and with their bright colors and flowy fins, guppies are pretty much the #1 victim of this kind of aggression. if it's just gonna be short term, i'd suggest housing them in the old betta tank, or keeping him there and letting the guppies have the 5g until they have new homes and the betta can have that tank back.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 09:41 PM
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I'm not promoting this as safe tank practice, but there ARE exception to every rule. I have kept two female guppy rescues with a female betta in a 5 gal (and she had a temper that would put most males to shame). It wasn't ideal, but it was manageable. I have also had a friend who kept his male betta in a tank that was crawlin with guppies of both genders and all ages. Just to show that it does very much depend on the betta in question.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Asterisk passed away a week ago from ammonia poisoning. There was an incredible spike and he was almost completely rotted away by morning, I couldn't understand it.

However, before his death, he got along perfectly with the tetras. Just like with the guppies, they each had their own 'space' in the tanks. Asterisk would swim around and rest on his little log and the other fish got the rest of the tank. Unlike the guppies, these guys didn't try to eat all his food and did not continuously try to school with him (silly guppies!).

I realize it was a pretty gutsy move, but he actually seemed to become less agressive with each new tank mate and certainly became much less frantic.

When I started out with the first guppies (Thor and Loki) Asterisk chased them around a bit at first, but quickly lost intrest. Thor tripled in size, but Loki remained tiny, only his fins grew and would wedge himself in between the gravel. Eventually, I decided to add more guppies because they were coexisting well, but the Thor and Loki were clearly uncomfortable. I put in two males (Frigga and Odin) and, much to my surprise, Asterisk had no reaction at all. Thor immediately perked up but tiny Loki still would push himself into the gravel at the bottom of the tank. He wasn't sick, and still exhibits that behavior today. The last addition was Balder, a leopard guppy, who when added didn't want to be with the other guppies, but rather would school with Asterisk and rub against his sides. I always assumed it was because he was so large and maybe thought Asterisk was one of him? Asterisk never attacked him, only moved away when Balder stuck around for too long.

Anyway, despite the tanks success, I don't think I'll be repeating it. I wouldn't want to risk getting an agressive betta and harming my other fish.

RIP Asterisk
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