Two nights ago I added 6 female bettas to my 55 gallon community tank, and the beginning seemed good- they were all swimming around together and displaying dominance/establishing pecking order but without any violence. It was obvious in a short amount of time that my red girl was the alpha. But after that night, it seems like most of the bettas are hiding a lot (including the one I thought was the alpha). My tank is heavily planted on one side, and fairly heavily planted on the opposite side. I have some shorter plants in the middle that I just bought- a few smallish Amazon swords and an aubias. But ever since yesterday, most of the bettas are hiding in the plants at the bottom or under the driftwood (I've even seem them peeking out from some of the holes in the driftwood sometimes). My largest female hasn't been hiding much but she has stress stripes almost all the time. Two of the smallest bettas are always between the leaves of the giant amazon sword at the side of my tank. The red one is hiding a lot, too, on the bottom, in the sword, or under the driftwood. I think it may be because my dwarf gourami is harrassing her
. The gourami isn't getting violent, but he tends to follow her around a lot and touch her with his feelers. At first I thought it was hilarious but now I can tell it stresses her out. Her color fades out when he does it. My little white betta seems to always be out swimming around. she doesn't seem nervous at all. She actually swims around near the largest girl a lot.
Anyway, I was just wondering if this is normal when you add female bettas all together, especially in a big tank like this. It seems like they have no pecking order right now because 3 of them all stay in the same area (mostly hiding), and the white one hangs out with the biggest girl a lot, and the alpha is always hiding. I'm just afraid it's going to end up in disaster because now that they're hiding there's not much interaction, but when they stop hiding they'll start fighting... is that possible?
Also, I'm still going to keep an eye on the gourami to see how much he actually pesters the red girl. I read about someone else who had a dwarf gourami in with a sorority, and the gourami harassed one of the bettas so much that she died within 2 days from stress. I don't want that to happen! I tried to take the gourami out last night and I was going to bring him back to the store, but I tried to catch him for about a half hour and I couldn't! Too many plants! And I ended up uprooting some in the process! Anyone have any tips on how to catch a fish in a large, heavily planted tank?
Thank you! Sorry that was so long.