WHAT HAVE I GOT MYSELF INTO???
OK, about 6 weeks ago I noticed that Petco (groan, I know) was selling "Baby bettas". Chain pet shop bettas are beautiful, but all look half-dead. I have always admired their colors- esp the purple ones. After downloading and reading this site's book, I bought a 2.5 Aqueon betta tank and heater. I found the most adorable baby- she was so frisky, I bought her and brought her home. She is so tame and active. After a few weeks, she seemed bored- the mystery snail I got her was getting nipped. SO I bought a 5-gallon setup. I fell in love with another female- a Cambodian, purple-finned Crowntail who was with the adults, although she's a small fish. I put the 2 girls together. Then I read that they shouldn't be! They have to be in groups of 4-6? These two (so far) get along fine. The Crowntail is naturally more reclusive, while my original "baby" is constantly trying to get my attention (really!!) If they are both young (under 1") could they be buddies? What is betta "fin language"? I noticed that sometime my 1st betta looks at me and flattens her fins. What does that mean? Also, her colors keep changing- is that weird? She was quite purple/dark blue when I bought her, but she turned red-finned with a striped body a few weeks later. Now she is a non-descript color w/ strong black stripes. What's up w/ that? Thanks, all...
...I have to add that the 5 gal tank is planted w/ a fair amount of real plants, and I made a cavern out of a 1" PVC "Y" joint. I glued it to an acrylic base w/ a large rock on top, and plants all around it. Plenty of places to hide. I was also going to get a bristlenose pleco to keep the girls busy. (Bristlenose plecos stay small). Will a pleco or 2 this solve the "sorority" problem? They are algae eaters and pretty chill fish (so their breeder assures me).
If you get a larger tank it's a good idea to get some more females for your sorority.. I guess as long as they are living peacefully together, though, it's not a problem. It probably helps that they are both very young.
It is normal for them to change colors. My newest one has been changing colors since the day I got him. However, are the stripes vertical or horizontal?
Thanks- that would make sense. She's been in the 2.5 gal alone for 6 weeks. I set up the 5 gal this week, cycled it, then transitioned her and the new girl at the same time yesterday. The new one (no names yet!) is fine and relaxed. My original girl is flattening her fins and watching me as I move around the room. I guess the new betta is just happy she's out of the damn cup!!! Older girl is eating, but she must be uncertain.
What can I do to ease her stress? Should I just let her be?
Well, 2 girls together with no divider isn't a real option. It always leads to one dominating the other. There has been a few cases here that people tried to make it work and the good news is that they were like that for a few weeks, but then they started fighting. Out of the blue, lesson learned and so forth...
To have a successful sorority you must have at least 4 females and at least a 10 gallon tank. A sorority is made of females, no other fish can take their place. In a 5 gallon, 2 Bettas are already the limit so all you can really do is divide. No buts or ifs. Separate them for now and you can decide later if you want a 10. Sororities are not for beginners, they hardly work out. I think it's best for you to keep on researching about betta care and then make one. :)
Bettas don't usually express with their fins unless they're flaring. And yes, horizontal stripes mean she's stressed.
I have another 2.5 betta-specific tank. I'll start cycling it and see if I have to remove one of my 2 girls. I've stocked up on small submersible heaters so I can have another warm tank plus (treated) warm tank water ready to go for refills.
Tanks are on sale at this time of year. I think it's a good idea to buy a spare set-up for situations like this that may arise. I got the spare on sale for $20! (Usually $60.)
I haven't mentioned that my original 2.5 gal tank is now occupied by a VERY EXPENSIVE elephant ear planko. He is a beautiful bright purple!!!! I didn't think I liked elephant ears, until I saw how the "ears" moved! Gorgeous!