I have a pair of bettas in a tank with other fish, snails and plants, including floating lily pads that are partially submerged, and they have been living in there for several months. For the last week, the female betta has been laying on her side on the biggest lily pad when I get up in the morning - not sure how long she has been there each time. As soon as I see her I flip the lily pad and get her submerged back in the water, but each morning she is back on the lily pad. Otherwise she acts normally and seems healthy...I have never seen a betta or any other fish do this (and survive half out of water for what could be hours at a time). Anyone else ever seen this before or have an idea why she does this?
Welcome to the forum! Your tank sounds beautiful. Is your pair male and female? Males and females should not be housed together - they will fight and wound each other, and eventually kill each other most likely. If they don't kill each other, the stress of being housed together will lower their immune systems and make them more susceptible to illness. My guess is the female is very stressed out and is trying to get away from the male or other fish and either jumps or doesn't realize the plant will be exposed and tries to hide in its "leaves". Bettas are jumpers and have been known to survive for an unusual amount of time out of water. They breathe air unlike other fish, so as long as they don't dry out they have a good chance of living after being exposed to air. How big is the tank? What other types of fish are in there?
The female should be removed ASAP before she kills herself or the male kills her.
Last edited by kuklachica; 07-28-2010 at 03:22 AM.
Thanks for the quick reply! I have had this tank for about 5 years, starting with one betta in a little bowl and winding up with this tank, which is 20 gallons and has both undergravel filtration and a carbon filter system. It has several kinds of plants and rock formations so that there are plenty of hiding places at all levels, and the lily pads on the surface ( half the plants are real and half are fake). The tank now has the betta pair (this is the 2nd betta male and first female), an albino cory catfish, one small algae eater and a a trio of platys (one of them randomly gives birth to 2 or 3 babies every few months and usually they all live, so I have had the family line of platys living in the tank the entire time - if the number reaches more than 5 platys I will give away the fry, but usually the number stays at 5 since the platy seem to only live about a year). There are several trapdoor snails also, so the tank is very clean and has lots of oxygen in the water. I had the male and female betta in different tanks, and put her in when the male began to make bubble nests and the signs said he was looking for love. I put her in and nothing happened, but they seemed much calmer together so I left her in there. They swim around together in the tank and never show aggression toward each other or the other fish. I know they shouldn't be together, but they don't fight and don't seem to be interested in breeding, and they really seem happier together.The female has been in the tank for the last 4 months ( the male was there for almost a year), and this sunbathing on the lily pad behavior has just started. There are lots of plants for hiding at the bottom and middle of the tank under the lily pads, and the lily pads themselves are usually home to the baby snails until they get big enough to no longer be food for the fish. It just seems so odd for her to start this behavior after being in the tank for months, and I thought maybe it was a normal behavior that I just had never seen before. She does not seem to be trying to get out, since I left her on the lily pad this morning and she went back into the tank on her own.
Bettas' making bubble nests is just an instinct, it doesn't mean they are pining for a mate or for company. It's just a sign they are happy, healthy, and ready to breed.
Just because they seem alright doesn't mean they are alright. Because bettas have been bred over hundreds of years based on how agressive they are, they really aren't meant to be housed together. One day they could be fine, the next you could have a dead, or close to it betta. Girls are as agressive as guys, and because of their little fins, they can swim much faster and could actually hurt a male more than the male could hurt her.
The only exception to not keeping bettas would be a sorority, and even then, I've heard some stories of things going wrong.
I advise you make a divider for your tank, and have one on each side.
Any bettas jump if they want to. My VT boy Veles did that only sat on top of his heater. His water was perfect. I don't know why. One day he just.... died. I know this isn't much of a help, but hope that everyone is/stays alright!