Neon tetras with betta: A series of warnings - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Neon tetras with betta: A series of warnings

Hi, all. So I decided last week to try seven neon tetras in with my male betta in his 12g Edge. Advice, when I sought it, was incredibly mixed, but most of it came down to the fact that some bettas would be fine with this and some would not. I decided that close watchfulness for several days would be worth the risk. I tried one tetra, then three, and he was utterly uninterested after a full day. I added the remaining four.

FIRST WARNING: Watchfulness is not sufficient.

Despite looking at the fish often, I never once saw my betta chase a tetra, though I did see the tetras fighting among themselves. However, several days later, I couldn't find two of the tetras. I do have some rocks that they can hide in, and I decided they must be there. I didn't see any bodies.

SECOND WARNING: If any tetras go missing, immediately remove remaining tetras.

When I woke up the next morning, I was down to no tetras, and my betta was consuming a dead one at the bottom of the tank. Out of the seven, I only found two bodies. My assumption is that the betta ate the rest, because he now is bloated to to the point of dropsy. I have no idea if he will recover.

THIRD WARNING: If you decide to pursue putting tetras in with your betta, and your betta is one who simply needs to be alone, you are endangering not just the tetras but your betta as well.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 09:06 AM
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The real danger is the other way round! Tetras bite fins...a lot!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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While it might be an additional danger (though not one I witnessed), I can hardly agree that the "real danger" is fin nipping when I have seven dead tetras and a sick betta.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 11:14 AM
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Tetras need to be quarantined, they didn't die because the betta killed them. They were sick. The betta ate sick dead tetras. I hope the betta survives!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 11:34 AM
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Tetras are apparently incredibly delicate. I started with 16, I'm down to 7. Several died within a couple of days of being put in the tank, and the others went MIA over several months. There was usually no body. The seven left are thriving and have grown to twice their original size, so I think they must have been the most robust of them.

In addition to being themselves very delicate, they are often vectors for other ickies since they are typically kept in very crowded tanks. Mine brought a nice bout of Ich with them. It was dealt with, but it took out one tetra, one betta, and my original farlow did not seem to deal with the medication very well - made it through the treatment but was listless and just seemed to fade away

I love my tetras that are left, but I will not be getting anymore. When these ones do age out, I will find something else to replace them with.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 12:21 PM
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Tetras from Petco all died. Bought 8 neon and 5 serape from a LFS and they are all fine after several months now. They are in a 29 gallon with one betta. That one betta is Stumpy, he is unusually sweet tempered for a betta
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Four of the tetras were tetras that I already owned, that had been living in a community tank for more than a year. The other three were new and showed NO signs of ill health--no loss of color, no lumps, no curved spines. Bacterial infections such as neon tetra disease do not simply make fish go from "perfectly healthy" to "dead" with no crossover. I have no doubt my betta killed them.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna01 View Post
I can hardly agree that the "real danger" is fin nipping when I have seven dead tetras and a sick betta.
Well..there you have your answer
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 07:19 PM
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I actually also had seven neons in with my sorority and I never witnessed fin nipping from the neons. I had them in there for about three weeks, no initial deaths either. The girls never bothered them and the neons didn't bother them. They all ate together and everything was fine.

The Neon's however started to fight amongst themselves, sparring every few minutes or so and I could visibly see that it was stressing my girls out so I ended up donating them to my LFS in trade for a few heaters which worked out great!

The girls settled down a little now but they're still on edge a little, chasing each other every chance they get and nipping their fins.
But not once did I ever see a Neon nip my girls, I even sat there for an hour just watching them because I was so mesmerized :D

But like you said, mixed reviews lol I however, would never keep them with my males since they are generally a lot slower and stuff.

Sorry about your boy though :( I hope he gets well soon.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 09:54 PM
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Based on some of the horror stories I've heard from other tetras, I'm a firm believer in Embers. They are tiny (2cm max), very pretty and extremely peaceful. I have never seen them nip other fish or each other, and they are too small and docile to catch a betta's attention (if the betta is community compatible, that is). They don't swim around like loons and stress the betta, but can get out of the way if another fish gets a little too curious. :)

I'm sorry about your neons! I hope your betta gets better.

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