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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this but I had a question about a community female tank. I was thinking that this might just be because they're new and still establishing things but I bought three female bettas the other day and put them all in a 5g tank (w/ filter+heater) and everything was going fine. They were chasing each other a bit but everything has already settled but my question is;

The (assuming) alpha female is swimming around fine and energetic while the other two lay on the bottom and by the filter. Is this normal behaviour? Is it just because the alpha female is still showing her dominance? She'll still chase them time to time but then they just settle to the bottom again and she'll start swimming around again.
 

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I think that they should be in a bigger tank, at least 10G.. were they together when you bought them? or did you buy them in separate containers and put them together? are there lots of plants for the less dominant to hide in if they want to? Others will know more but I think that in that space the most dominant might kill the others if she has a mind to unless they have been raised together. its not for nothing that females are called grrrrrrrls sometimes.
 

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I suspect the problem is there's simply not enough room and not enough fish. You want a minimum of a 10 gallon with 6 or 7 females, rather than a 5 gallon with 3. While the 5 gallon can handle the bio load, there's not enough space for them to feel like they can get away from each other. Your alpha female is therefore staking her claim on the whole tank, and not permitting the other two to infringe on her territory.

If this goes on too long, you're likely to see stress-induced illness. If you can find yourself a 10 gallon or larger - maybe at a thrift shop to save you some money - you can give that plenty of cover and move your small sorority over. The girls need to be able to have their own space.

...think of it like telling 3 college girls that they have to share a 5' x 5' bathroom, and they have 10 minutes to get ready. SOMEONE is going to get the shower, and the other two are gonna be going to class stinky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well, it seems that while I was out today, the alpha was nipping more at another and she's missing a few pieces of fins so I've separated all three of them until I figure out what I'm going to do. If I only kept one, would it still be hostile (no matter which female) towards any other fish?
 

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I probably wouldn't try putting the alpha female with any other fish since she's demonstrated high aggression levels, but one of the others could live with a few other small fish in a five gallon.
 

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my suggestion is that if you are going to put one of the others in a 5G with anything else, you should put the new arrivals in the 5G and then put the female betta in so she thinks of the others as already part of the space and not as new arrivals. Looks like your aggressive one needs her own space..
 

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You need to either keep them permanently separated or in a larger tank with larger #s for more room to flee and more fish to spread the aggression around on. Keeping 2 together in a tank will surely result in the non dominant one being killed. The same thing would happen if you get schooling fish but only 2 or 3 instead of 6+; the dominant one will harass and chase the weaker ones to death eventually.
 
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