About a week and a half ago, I went to the local petsmart to 'just look' at fish for some ideas for a planted tank I was going to be setting up - and rather than just looking, I got sucked into buying some tiny blue medicated cups full of girl betta.
I had heard that the girls got along - and, while the tank wasn't ready, I had 2 - 2 - 2.5 gallon bowls/tank - that could be used while the other larger tank was in process.
Well - what a hellish experience that was. I came home with 7 girls, and 5 survived the weekend. - And, I really quickly learned that 2 gallons is not enough space for such territorial fish... although I tried making it work by adding lots of fake plants, and some soaking pothos stems and caves, and bought a third bowl halfway through the first week.
Then, I decided to order a 5 gallon tank to give them some more space, and that arrived on Thursday, which I filled with water, and by Friday, put two of the calmer girls in there, with more fake plants and cave, and lots of floaters. They seemed to get along fine until this morning, when I noticed that the smaller girl is starting to show signs that her tail fin was nipped.
Anyway - Over the weekend, my live plant order arrived, and I set up a natural planted tank attempting to follow the Walstead method with dirt and gravel substrate, and decent light.
Saturday, I put 4 of the 5 fish in there, and then removed one who was being picked on, and put her in with Baby in the 5 gal. again.
The 3 in the tank were loving the 20 gallons with tons of plants... swimming after each other and doing some chasing, but lots of socializing too... The pecking order seemed pretty quickly set between them all - of the largest fish Topaz taking the lead, followed by Pearl, then last, Ruby. (Sapphire was the one who was put in the 5 gal. with Baby).
The following night, I tested the chemical levels, and noticed that ammonia was on the rise, although not by a lot, and decided to move the girls out of there for a bit, until the plants got settled better and could handle the fish load...
I've been testing the tank nightly - and, last night - the ammonia level still hadn't increased any further, the plants all seemed to be growing, and the tank water was becoming a whole lot less cloudy - so, I decided to return the three girls to the tank.
They loved getting out of those 2 gal. bowls! Whoowee! what a party! - but Topaz was pretty agressive with Ruby (her tail fin was torn in half) - and, after giving Topaz a chance to get some exercise in - I decided to separate her from them, this morning - and, put Sapphire in there, instead.
I may have to give Topaz the 5 gal since she doesn't play nicely. And move Baby into the 2 gal. bowl, with the intention to eventually give her a chance inside the big tank (when she grows a bit more).
Anyway - all this, just so that I could post some pictures, of the large tank, and the fishies... :)
From the first night when they were playing nicely: