Some friends for a betta... could get interesting.
Charging headlong into danger, as ever, it's Norichan.
Mongkut is an easily bored fish, so I bought him some platies today. I gradually gave him more access to them until now, they've been in the tank for about ten minutes without the bag or net.
He seems almost offended? I've kept a careful eye on them- he will flare and intimidate them, but he doesn't actually attack. He kind of nipped at one, only because it didn't take the hint that he's the dominant predator. He'll chase them out of his way, but not all over the tank or anything. Here's hoping they establish the social order and learn to coexist.
So the question is this: when should I be concerned? When do I give up and move the platies to their own tank?
Unfortunately, you introduced your platies incorrectly. Because you introduced them while your betta was in his tank, he is feeling agressive. From his perspective, some strange fish have intruded on his territory, and he feels like he might have to chase them out. The the wild, this would be no biggie; they could get away. In a tank, that is not the case. The proper way to introduce tankmates is either before you get your betta fish (that way there is the mentality that the fish are part of the territory or at least own it more than your betta does), or done by removing your betta, moving things around the tank, introducing your platies, and finally the betta back.
For this to work, you need a tank that is 10 gallons or larger, and has several spotts stuffed with hiding spots, silk/fake/real plants, etc for your platies (or your betta) to hide if need be. Also, and quite possibly most importantly, your tank must be cycled. If not, move them to their own cycled ten gallon tank, or return them.
Also, next time you buy fish, it is always a good idea to quarentine for at least a couple of weeks before introducing them to the main tank. New fish might not show outwards symptoms of illness, but could potentially be carrying parasites, illnesses, etc, that might be spotted during the quarentine time before being let out into the main tank.
You should always add the least aggressive fish (in this case, the platies) first. You also need a minimum of a 10 gallon tank, cycled.
ALWAYS Quarentine your fish before adding them with any other fish. Fish may not appear sick, but can pass on many diseases. I had a guppy tank, then added a new guppy and they all died within a few days because the one I added appeared fine, but ended up giving parasites to my entire tank. Its not fun. THe minimum reccomended QT time is at least 2 weeks. More the better.
So, I've done my best with what I have. I pulled Mongkut out, rearranged the thing, added a metric ton of *stuff* so everyone has plenty of hiding spots, and added Mongkut back in. Doing all this is a 5g, because that's what I have to bring with me to college. If they can't learn to coexist in there, I do have another tank I can house the platies in, but they'll have to stay home when I go to school. They will be well cared-for even if that turns out to be the case. I would never buy a pet if I wasn't 100% sure I could provide for it.
In my honest opinion, five gallons is too small. It'd be suitable to share with snails, shrimps, etc, but a bit too small for other fish tankmates. Think of it as a smallish room, in which three or four toddlers to tweens are locked along with a angsty teenager who just wants to watch tv, facebook, etc. It could work, maybe as a temporary housing situation, but in the long run it's not a good idea.
Also If you have 3 or so platies, and one betta, that's possibly too stocked for a 5 gallon, so you'll have to be doing large water changes to keep up with the bioload. I'm not sure how large your college will let you go as far as fish tanks are concerned, but from what I've heard, most approve of 10 gallons and under. If you just so happen to have a 10 gallon (or something extremely close), you could bring everything over from the 5 gallon to the ten gallon, and use that to house your betta and platies. :)
Ahaha, my college is a little ambiguous on its pet policy. One version of the handbook says 'none,' another says 'small, contained' pets are allowed. It's a small community college- I know a girl who kept her three hermit crabs there for an entire year with no problems (she was only there for a year- lives off-campus now). But I'm trying not to push the envelope too much. If it turns out that a 10g is okay, I may well do that. Or I may simply let Mongkut have his 5g back and I'll move the platies into the 16g (which is due to house many more of their ilk soon. Giving away goldfish, need a heater, then gradually building up the number of fish). If they can't stand each other, the platies will live in the 10g until the 16g is ready. But I won't let them stay in a risky situation- they'll be cared for.
I only bought two platies, figuring that they could keep each other company, and Mongkut would have something to interact with.
Now that there's this huge jumble of stuff in the tank, they seem to be getting along decently- Mongkut seems more curious than anything, and the platies are having the good sense to back away. Will keep updating- thank you, guys, for your patience.
Are both those platys female or male. Platys should only be kept with a ratio of 2 to 1 females to males. If both females its ok or if both males ok, but never one on one female to male or the male will chase the female to death. Just trying to help and Im not sure what you have. Also you may not want to mix males and females in a 5 gallon cause your bound to have babies.
source - http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/profiles/platy/
Following the 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of fish rule"
Platies grow to 2.5 inches. x2 = 5 gallons
Betta grow to approx 2.5 inches= 2.5 gallons
Total= 7.5 gallons.
Really you need a total of 7.5 gallons to house these together, but honestly, even that isn't enough, when you add gravel and decor. Besides the space, the bioload of too many fish in a small tank is not healthy for your fish.
5 gallons just isn't enough room for them. They may get along, but
SURVIVING IS NOT THRIVING.
It isn't fair to jam 3 fish of 2.5 inches into a small 5 gallon tank.
Only appropriate tank mates in a 5 gallon tank is shrimp, snails or 1 african dwarf frog.
I don't mean to be rude, but its in the best interest of the fish to either get a bigger tank, or take the platies back.
I understand that your college has certain rules, but its not fair letting the fish suffer. As well, I am curious as to why you are saying you can put the platies in a 16gallon tank if it doesn't work. Why can't you just move them and the betta now? And then you mention a 10 gallon as well. Why don't you just use the 10 gallon now? If your college has rules where is the 16 gallon supposed to go?
Sorry, posted at late o'clock, thoughts weren't very organized.
Fish have become kind of a new passion for me. It's way more fulfilling than my other two money-eating hobbies, pretty clothes and videogames. I bought Mongkut when my traumatizing attempt at shubunkins was over, and now he's my pride and joy. I really, REALLY want to bring him to college with me, no way around it. If I thought he'd settle nicely in a 2.5 or something, I'd do it. As it is, he went ballistic within two weeks of living in a 1.8, so I didn't want to take any chances- I bought the 5g. The betta comes to school, period. That's the fact I'm working around, and he has to be in the 5g so I have enough desk. If that means the platies come out, fine.
I'd heard platies were compatible. I heard they got depressed if left alone. I got two. They're in the heated, well-established 5g right now with His Majesty, and apparently they've worked out their differences overnight.
I have a 10g. It's unoccupied, unequipped, and unfilled. Long-term it was intended to be a sorority, but not until Christmas break, so putting the platies in there would be kind of a last-ditch thing. I also have a 16g, unheated, established, with two non-platy-compatible goldfish in it, but they're on their way out anyway- eventually they'll get too big for that tank, but they were a rescue from a fountain in walmart, and they're on their way to a huge 55g at a friend's house. After they leave, that tank is intended for platies anyway. That's just going to happen sooner than I'd expected now.
So why do I have this tank if it can't come to college? My college is 45 minutes away, my bf and I both attend. We come home on weekends, and I can do water changes/cleanings/etc then. During the week, his father, to whom the apartment belongs, said that he wouldn't mind coming into the room and feeding them. I'm a compulsive ammonia tester- I wouldn't leave a tank that would poison itself to death in less than a week knowing I wouldn't be around to help.
So the new plan seems to be this: move the goldfish out today, clean up, put in *some* warmer water (don't want to undo all my establishment stuff), leave it one gallon short of full, then add the heater (5-15g heater). Mongkut has gotten by just fine without it so far, and the dorms have an adjustable heating system in every room. The platies will live in the 16g (with 15g in it), and my next purchase will be an appropriately-sized heater so I can top the tank off.
Or is there some OTHER problem with this arrangement that I don't know about?
Footnote- both my platies are male. I made sure, I don't want babies.
Norichan, please don't get irritated, we're trying to help.
In my opinion, as stated above, they should be fine for the time being. since it seems they're getting along, then they can wait for you to assemble what you need for the ten or sixteen gallon tank.
As for your plans, it sounds good to eventually move the platies to the 16 or the ten gallon. In my opinion, it'd be smarter to move them to the 10 gallon, and save the 16 for a sorority, simply because sororities typically do better in tanks larger than 10 due to the fact that the girls will be less cramped together and cleanliness is eaiser to up keep. (From my own experience as well as others on the forum, 10 gallon sororites typically don't work well in the long run) However, that is just my opinion, and in the end, whatever you plan on doing should be fine.
You're good, don't stress too much. :) I'm glad to know that they are all getting along well.