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Old 02-03-2013, 09:49 PM   #1 
jpottle
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Betta with Catfish - should I give it time?

Hi,

So, I thought with Sparkie's bigger tank I could get him some tankmates. I bought two pygmy cories with the thought that I could get a couple more if this works out. The introduction went fine - Sparkie was curious, but didn't seem aggressive. I watched them for about 2 hours and all was peaceful so I was super happy that things were working out.

Then I went out to pick up my parents from the airport. Coming home, things still seemed fine, although the Cories were hiding more. Then at supper time I noticed Sparkie nipping at his tail! And then I noticed that his beautiful tail was all ragged! The catfish are NOT doing this to him - I guess he is just stressed out. We have had him 6 weeks and he never did this before.

I also witnessed him trying to nip at one of the catfish. He just skittered away super fast.

So, my question is, is there any chance that this could work out? Should I get the catfish out of the tank immediately and see if the LFS will take them back, or should I give it a little more time?

I am so sad about his tail - will it heal ok? I thought it might be nice for him to have some more "life" in the tank but now I'm feeling sick to my stomach that I caused this. :(

Janice
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:48 PM   #2 
repru04
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I suppose it depends on the fish and the size of the tank. I have a 55 gal sorority with 5 cories and they all do fine. In a small tank with a single betta, the betta might become too stressed (like yours) by how active the cories are. I hate to recommend returning them to the LFS simply because I love cories and I personally would find a tank just for them. That's not really practical though.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:57 AM   #3 
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Thanks repru04. I really don't want to get another tank going right now, though. It's a reputable fish store I bought the catfish from, so I wouldn't feel bad about them going back there.

This morning things were the same in the tank. The catfish were hiding back behind the plants and if the betta came close they would skitter away. He was chasing and biting at his tail again. At night I snuck down to observe, and they were out and about while he was sleeping. So I think if I keep them that would be the pattern - they would become nocturnal and hide all day.

Anyway, regardless of whether the catfish end up back at LFS or not, my question is - should I give it more time to work out between them and the betta, or is it not likely to resolve? Does anyone have experience with them settling in after a bit? They've been together since about noon yesterday, so 21 hours now. At what point should I consider this a failed experiment? I really don't want Sparkie to remain stressed out.

Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:01 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpottle View Post
Thanks repru04. I really don't want to get another tank going right now, though. It's a reputable fish store I bought the catfish from, so I wouldn't feel bad about them going back there.

This morning things were the same in the tank. The catfish were hiding back behind the plants and if the betta came close they would skitter away. He was chasing and biting at his tail again. At night I snuck down to observe, and they were out and about while he was sleeping. So I think if I keep them that would be the pattern - they would become nocturnal and hide all day.

Anyway, regardless of whether the catfish end up back at LFS or not, my question is - should I give it more time to work out between them and the betta, or is it not likely to resolve? Does anyone have experience with them settling in after a bit? They've been together since about noon yesterday, so 21 hours now. At what point should I consider this a failed experiment? I really don't want Sparkie to remain stressed out.

Thanks!
I'd say it really depends on how invested you are in keeping catfish, how much stress the betta is enduring (physical and mental), and if any information regarding your bettas temperament can be obtained by keeping them in for a while longer.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:20 PM   #5 
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Well put desensitizer.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:04 PM   #6 
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I've been researching cory cats like crazy recently (they're my next purchase after I cycle my new 29 gallon), and from my understanding, they are shoaling fish and should be kept in groups of four or more...that could possibly be another reason they are shy and hiding so much. Don't know for sure though.

Also, he could be super stressed since you introduced them to his tank. Try taking Sparkie out, rearranging the tank, and re-introducing him...maybe that will help? Hope it goes well...cories are awesome little fish.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:05 AM   #7 
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Well, I thought I'd give an update. I have not seen Sparkie bite his tail in the last day or so, and the catfish are getting a little braver. Sparkie will still occasionally chase them, but other times he swims right by without paying them much attention. When he does chase, they skitter off and hide in the plants for a little while, and then slowly make their way out again. Also, Sparkie has made big bubble nests in the last two days.

So, I think they're getting used to each other. The only thing I'm still concerned about is the tail biting. He hasn't done it lately, but he bit it so short on that first day that it doesn't fly in his face when he does a quick turn anymore. So, I think it will start growing back now. But once it grows back to that level, will he bite it again? I guess I won't know that for several weeks, but I would like to decide by this weekend whether to keep the catfish.

Well, I will see how I feel about things by the weekend. If I do want to take the catfish out, I think I might have to completely rip apart the tank to do it (remove plants, etc) because they are SO fast and good at hiding!
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