I have 2 ten gallon tanks, both are tropical community tanks. I have 1 female betta in 1 of the tanks. She's kind of a snotty brat but has mostly been ok - it's been about 3 months. She lives in a 10 gallon tank with 3 peppered cories, 2 female red wag platies and 1 male sunburst platy. She has seemed reasonably happy in her home, she has plenty of hiding places, lots of plants and caves, floating plants, I keep it nice and warm (around 78 degrees - can't go higher because of the other fish), clean water, etc. The other fish are absolutely great in the tank, they've been in about 5 months.
I've noticed that during platy mating time (which happens for a few days every month or so), my poor betta takes a bit of abuse from the male platy. No biting or anything really aggressive, just some chasing and I can tell it stresses her out.
I got her a 2 gallon kritter keeper, black sand substrate, a bunch of great low-light plants, some fake plants to fill it out while I'm waiting for the real plants to grow bigger, a large cave for her to hide it. All in all, it's a pretty great setup. The problem? I don't have a heater for it. It's been warm, so I put her in anyway. She was pissed at first, not surprisingly, but I figured it would just take her a few days to get used to the reduced space and then she'd be happy to be all alone in it. I came home from work the next day to discover a still pissed betta, completely pale, sitting at the surface in the back corner not moving. She wouldn't eat, didn't want to move, clearly clearly a miserable fish. The water had dropped to 66 degrees.
I moved her into my other 10 gallon tank, thinking it might be better (also heated, filtered, etc). That one has 4 cories and 4 zebra danios. She hated that one too, and I soon discovered that the danios were chasing her all over the place and nipping her tails. I finally put her back in the tank she started in since it seemed to be the least of all the evils.
I'm horrible. I've stressed this poor fish out beyond belief, her fins are ragged, she's pale and hasn't eaten in 3 days, and she's been hiding all day long. I've ordered a heater for her 2 gallon tank, but it will be several days before it gets here. What can I do for her in the meantime? Just let her hide? I don't want to add salt to the tank because of the cories, but I feel bad about her ragged fins. I don't want to isolate her, because it's cold out and she'll eventually end up in water around 64 degrees (which is what the water in her 2 gallon is currently sitting at).
This is very long. I feel terrible. Any temporary suggestions until the heater gets here?