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Discussion Starter #1
I finally took the plunge today, bought a new betta (our former betta died about a month ago, and was not community temperament) and added him to my 20g community tank.

I'm. So. Nervous.

It also has celestial pearl danios, Microdevario kubotai, various snails and red cherry shrimp.

So far, he's gone for a couple shrimp unsuccessfully, and doesn't seem at all dedicated to the pursuit. He hasn't seemed to interact with the other fish. I'm hopeful.

I'll be observing him carefully as I know things can turn around unexpectedly. I'd really hate for him to kill the fish. But it looks like I'm taking the risk.

His fins are not healthy looking- was a "discounted" guy from my small, owner talks to me, ethically focused LFS. I'm hoping it's just fin rot.

So far, I'd like to get the center of the tank more heavily planted to encourage peace. Trying to think what plant will work- my Crypt wendtii will grow too slowly, I think...

Thanks for all the info from this forum! Wish me luck.
 

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Post a photo. All of my Betta are in community tanks. With proper cover you shouldn't have a problem. Off the top of my head I can only think of three or so in 40 years of Betta-based communities that weren't suited.
 

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It may or may not work, Depends on the Betta, My Crown tail is basically a killer,
Nothing in the tank is safe from him other than the plants , He hunts and eats shrimp, He attacks the snails, I cant even have a glass thermometer in the tank, Yes you guessed it he attacks that too, He attacks the siphon hose, He attacks my hand when I put it in the tank, He flares at friends who put their faces too close to the glass, he even flares at my finger. This is one cool betta a real killer.

See here
http://www.bettafish.com/7493450-post33.html
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It may or may not work, Depends on the Betta, My Crown tail is basically a killer,
Nothing in the tank is safe from him other than the plants , He hunts and eats shrimp, He attacks the snails
That's exactly how my last betta was. I tried putting a nerite with him in the 5.5 gallon, and I wound up lowering the water level bc the snail would never come into the tank water during daylight. I moved the snail once it was clear they weren't going to get used to each-other, of course. This guy seems really different. I've never seen him flare. So far.
 

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Post a photo. All of my Betta are in community tanks. With proper cover you shouldn't have a problem. Off the top of my head I can only think of three or so in 40 years of Betta-based communities that weren't suited.
Pardon my short novel here, but you give great advice so I’m giving you the full scoop->
Photo-> Tank really needs a cleaning, which is scheduled for later today, so I'm really embarrassed to post it on the web in this shape, pretend it’s good please ;)

Three questions for you:
1. The CPDs seem quite concerned. They normally only come out of the jungle val to feed. The betta is often swooping through the val in his tank rounds, though, so they're out and chasing each-other. Do you think they'll get calmed down if this works out (and I get more plants as below)? Or should I move them bc they're stressed?

2. I need plant ideas for this middle area to break up lines of sight; I’m going to buy something today, I think. It’s a two-sided tank so ‘left’ and ‘right’ don’t mean much. I need some to leave an open area for the kubotai, but not this much. The side without a lot of Val was just planted with val and they'll quickly spread. It’s hard to change things bc it’s a soil tank so I’m trying not to get plants that I’ll need to remove from the roots to keep in check.

--I tried Hygrophila- a wide-leaved stem plant- and stem plants are just generally not happy in the tank; it's not doing great- you see a few stems. I tried java fern tied onto the driftwood- it turned black and died. I tried Anubias tied to the driftwood, it turned yellow and died.

In general, this tank runs 0 nitrates (yes, I'm sure I'm doing it correctly, I've confirmed with a separate test, and my other tanks do not run 0 nitrates with the same test kit) - so water column feeders don't do well. Stem plants have mostly died (even pennywort), except Ludwigia. It's low tech, Stingray light, soil/sand substrate.

I added the Crypt two days ago, but it looked bigger in the store.
Q: Will the crypt grow enough to fill in the space? Will Aponogeton with the wavy margins (?crispus) take over the tank too much?

3. Can you see how his fin is kinda half gone? (Again he was in the discount bin for this)- it doesn't look like fin rot somehow. Hoping just clean water will heal it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update: I still need to figure out more plants to break up lines of sight, and I'm afraid to jinx this by saying it, but I can't believe how well it's going!!!

The CPDs seem to be getting less stressed, and the betta continues not to notice them- OR the adult red cherry shrimp.

Yesterday I thought he was stalking/facing down a small male cherry shrimp, but he was actually ignoring the shrimp and going for a teensy something else in the substrate. I have heard so very many horror stories of bettas with red cherry shrimp. If we somehow got an adult-shrimp-safe betta, that would be so awesome. I watched him carefully stalk a teeny juvenile shrimp yesterday without catching it (there is plenty of java moss and Subwassertang -and I'm growing flame moss in a couple of places- to give the babies some cover so the population can self-sustain with some baby shrimplets eaten, I hope).

Don't see any improvement in his fins or new growth yet, but he definitely seems happy and active. Fingers crossed.
 

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Lovely tank!

Am glad all seems to be going well. But do remember Betta are unpredictable fish. Dexter was in a community tank with no issues for around two years. Then one day I found him "stalking" a particular Chili Rasbora and out he came. By "stalking" I mean as a cat stalks a mouse with fixed concentration that even the other fish swimming around couldn't break. This is entirely different from normal chasing. I've only had three or so Betta change like this in 40 years of Betta-based communities. Usually if they're unsuitable you know from the get-go.
 

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Thanks for the info (and for recommending the Stingray- it's been great). I'll definitely keep a close eye as things can change. I can see he's doing lots of shrimp hunting- more than at first. Still seems to ignore the adults, though.

Still cautiously optimistic this might work- for now. Looks like some white new growth is coming in and fins growing in a bit, too.
 

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My lfs has a bunch of planted freshwater show community tanks, they have bettas in all of them. I was fascinated, I watched them for a long time. They all were so chill, cruising around, encountering other fish like its no big deal. Pretty amazing. Felt sorry for the ones in the cups, those community bettas have it GOOD!

I had one once with a mystery snail and he was out for blood with it, I had to rehome the snail. I wonder if there wasn't trial and error involved in the show tank bettas at the store to find the right personalities for a community setup
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Your lfs sounds awesome. It's gotta be trial and error, plus a heavily planted environment and adding the betta last. Like I said, our last betta wouldn't tolerate a nerite.

I see bettas in large community tanks and they just seem so... Joyful. This guy is really active, wriggling through plants and poking at substrate. I feel sad when I see others with bettas in bowls or bare tanks...I don't want to preach, but I'm excited for my sister in law to come over and see what a happy betta looks like. Hers is in a kitchen table vase ( for three years so far, far longer than mine lived in a heated filtered 5.5g with great maintenance, yargh frustrating). It's great that your lfs is demonstrating that for so many.

This guy is often hunting, and I expect shrimp reproduction will be low- but I'm thrilled that he seems too mostly ignore the shrimp adults...so far. I'm not sure if I think he's good looking ( my daughter choose him, I'll post pictures later), but given how peaceful he is I hope he has a long life.
 
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