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Old 01-20-2010, 02:09 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Unhappy Help? - Fighting Females

This past weekend I got a 1 gallon tank with an air pump.
When I went to the petstore (Petsmart) on Sunday, the person that worked there said that I could get 3 female betta fish to put in that size of a tank, which I did. And that 3 would get along. I had a plant in their tank too.

Everything was going fine until Tuesday night when I noticed that my blue girl, the smallest one of course, had her tail fin clamped up and it was ragged. I separated her because I didn't want her to get hurt more or get sick and/or die.
Then I assume the two other girls, a red one and a natural colored one, were fighting last night. I didn't even think of the possibility that they would start fighting so quickly when I was just trying to separate the blue one temporaly for her own safety.

As of right now I have all three of them are separated - I'm really worried about their safety. Both the blue and red one have torn fins, the natural one is defiantly the culprit.

I have been doing some reading online, and it seems most suggest to put a group of females in a bigger tank, but at the moment I don't have the room for that and don't feel like dealing with the setup of a whole aquarium, I have done it in the past and know.

Was the clerk's advice wrong about keeping 3 in a 1 gallon???

What should I do:
I was either thinking about cleaning out, reorganizing the tank, and putting them back together when the 2 hurt ones are looking better and try again?
Or just possibly buying 3 separate bowls or a separated bowl?
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:14 PM   #2 
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If females are together you must have at least a 10 gallon tank and at least 4 females. 1 gallon is not even enough for 1 betta. Separate them immediately or they will kill each other.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:25 PM   #3 
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I agree
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:36 PM   #4 
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So much for taking the advice of a store clerk who I thought knew what they were talking about :(

and yes they are all separated now.
Looks my only option is to get them separate bowls then.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:42 PM   #5 
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Ugh, It never ceases to amaze me what kind of stuff a pet store employee will tell people about fish....and I've heard a LOT of stories and experiences...

Yes, the advice you were given was VERY wrong....unfortunately, 99% of what any pet store employee will tell you is indeed quite the load of crap(which is horrible for those who don't know better, don't worry, its not your fault, I'm sure all of us were there at some point...I know I was.)
A 1 gallon isn't suited for any sort of animal long-term. The space and water volume just isn't large enough for anything to live and trive, let alone three female fighting fish....who can and will fight just as viciously as any male and can do just as much damage, if not more.

To have a sorority, or group of female bettas, you want a 10+ gallon, VERY well planted, tank with TONS of hiding spots and with 4-5 females minimum. Even then they may fight, its a big risk. If you have two females, one will kill the other, if you have three, two will gang up on one and kill her and then the strongest of the two remaining will kill the other....especially in such a confined space, since aggression is heightened by lack of space to create and establish territories....As you are experiencing now. Its a good thing you separated them, keep them separated if you can't or don't want to set up a Sorority.

Your best bet if you don't want to set up one big tank is to head out and get three 2.5 gallon tanks(or medium-sized 'Kritter Keepers'(or some off brand), but be careful with those, some may leach chemicals). For each tank you'll also need a heater(Bettas are tropical fish and need a steady temp of 78-81 degrees F), a couple nice, leafy silk plants, and some sort of cave(you need places for them to hide in to feel secure, the natural environment of the betta is the very thickly planted rice paddy fields in Thailand). Substrate is optional, but if you want it I recommend those large marbles. Much easier to clean. Your going to want to clean these tanks 2-3 times per week, full 100% water changes along with rinsing everything in hot water. Be sure to dechlorinate the fresh water and make sure its as close as possible to the temp of the old water.

For the injured ones, head out and pick up some Aquarium Salt and add 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water(I think thats the right measurement...thats what I've always done, please correct me if I'm wrong here...). Keep the injured females at about 80 degrees, clean their tanks a little more often, and keep the salt in there to offset infection and promote fin-regrowth and healing. Male sure the fully dissolve the salt before adding it in with your fish, the salt crystals can burn them...and that kinda defeats the purpose of using it to promote healing ;)

Hopefully this helps some, best of luck with your girls and feel free to ask if you have any more questions :)
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:07 PM   #6 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
Good advice, DragonFish. I hate when petstore employees tell people that they can keep 3 female bettas in a 1 gallon bowl.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:30 PM   #7 
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Location: Bakersfield California
but- that even goes against the 1 inch of fish per gallon rule they mindlessly follow! i am very confused by this advice- even if they get it wrong and say 1 fish per 1 gallon it's still wacky- hmmm- confused
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:23 PM   #8 
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Location: Middlesex County, NJ
They're a mess. I saw a Petco employee sell a woman three angel fish for a 10 gallon tank the day before yesterday. Before that they'd sold her a cichlid that she returned. I'm no longer amazed by what I see in my Petco.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:42 PM   #9 
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Location: East Tennessee
I would give them an ear full and demand free salt to care for the injured betta, after all, it was their fault, and then proceed to explain to them that a betta, male or female, should never be in a tank that small, let alone 3 of them.. But I'm a (expletive deleted) and very mouthy.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:21 PM   #10 
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Location: Ontario
Oh, wow. I wouldn;t put one female betta in there, much less 3...

DragonFish gave some very good advice. 10 gallon+ tank with at least 4 girls, and well planted. Get at least one plant/hiding spot per girl. A lot of us here (myself included) have sororities, so feel free to ask any questions you have! :)
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