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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

I have 2 tanks 3.5 gallon and a 35 gallon

In my large Tank I have a dozen female guppies ranging in age from a couple months up to about a year, two male platys and six neon tetras.

I didn't expect to buy a Betta when I went to look but I felt so sorry for this fish I had to "save" him, he's one of the smallest betta I've ever seen, about half grown. He did flare a bit when I put my finger on his cup at the store (probably wasn't the best choice for a community tank but at least he was active, unlike the dead one next to him) I put him in the 3.5 gallon with two male guppies(separated from females, not my first choice to test the betta on but only option atm as I am separating by sex and re-homing some fish). He seems to be okay, he doesn't nip them or chase them much, he will swim after them until they make a turn or go into the plants (he can fit to get at them but chooses to stop). He does flare but only for a couple seconds, and it seems to be more of a half flare, and he will move closer to them very slowly, once they move away even just slightly he stops and ignores them.

Im planning on keeping him in the small tank for a couple more days and was going to move him into the large one if his behavior stays the same or calms down. I'm just wondering if this is a good plan since the only other betta I've put in my community tank never flared in the whole time I had him (was fish sitting for a month, he lived with all the others happily for three weeks).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought that was just a myth? (The other Betta I had in the tank actually seemed more interested in the neons)


He seems to be acting more territorial than aggressive, no nipping or following them once they move away. Seems to be improving, stayed close to them during feeding time, no flaring or chasing them off.
 

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I have actually had a male betta live with young guppies for quite a while, until mysteriously, all the guppies died from a disease that sprang up over night(Literally), but I don't believe the betta had anything to do with it. Mine did nip at some of the longer finned guppies though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Awesome! He's in with the ones with the longest fins now and seems to be doing well, hopefully he won't start to get nippy. Is occasional flaring healthy for the Betta? He's only doing it for a couple seconds at a time, and I've only ever seen him fully flare once, but he is doing it repeditly over the day. No signs of stress, I've just never owned a Betta who flared regularly, if he wasn't puffing up his face I'd think he's perfectly fine with other fish.
 

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It's quite normal for bettas to flare occasionally -- especially if he does it to define his territory, rather than attacking fish that swim too close. They also flare at their reflections, their humans, and some flare at inanimate objects for no obvious reason.

I think three fish in the 3.5 gallon is too many, heck I think 2 guppies alone in the 3.5 gallon is too many, but I suppose it might depend on size and if it has live plants.

In a 35 gallon, I would be concerned that he might end up bullied or stressed, especially by the sheer number of other fish. What kind of betta is he? I would imagine you've got a fairly strong filter current in the 35 gallon, and that can present a problem for bettas, especially the longer-finned varieties. What sort of filter system are you using? How heavily planted are your tanks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The guppys are in there just temporarily, rehomed 5 fish last weekend and trying to find someone else to take a couple. There is only one full grown guppy in the 35 gallon and once the others start to get larger I'm planning on rehoming some of them as well. (Bought one and ended up with 30).

I have an internal Fluval with a setting for planted tanks that lets out a very mild current. with the guppiesI have it set to let off bubbles and it is very strong but that will change when the Betta goes in. I also have a smaller waterfall style one behind the background so it's quite buffered. I have lots of plants(mostly silk and planning more) and hiding places in the tank. also It came with a large 3D background that isn't sealed to the back of the tank and is a few inches too short on the sides so the fish actually go behind there to hide etc as well. (I was going to attach it but they have no difficulty getting in and out and it's easier to clean back there the way it is).

And I believe he is a veiled tail.
 

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You are correct: Bettas attacking male Guppies because they think they're a male Bettas is a myth. It's one people have perpetuated forever. Probably someone was looking for a reason their Betta flared at their Guppies and that was the most logical reason (to them). Mine flare at the colorful and long-finned Endlers hybrids and other fish at first but then ignore them.

I wouldn't have more than one fish in a 3.5. And I wouldn't worry about current from filters. It's actually good to have some current as it strengthens and gives Bettas much-needed exercise.

What I would sorry about is the background as while it may be easy for smaller fish to get from behind it may not be so easy for a Betta and he could drown.

As long as you have the 3.5 for backup you should be fine. All but one of mine have loved a community tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I will definitely be keeping an eye on the background with the betta. It's fairly thin and comes out pretty far in some spots (up to 3.5 inches of room in a couple spots) and actually goes up right to the top of the tank so there is always some air behind it at the top. It also has suction cups to keep the top attached to the tank which means there is a bit of a gap between it and the back of the tank. And there are some large holes in it (for water flow? Not sure but there are quite a few) In different spots so the betta could actually be able to swim through the background. The guppies love it and rest all over it at night, but it will be taken out if it causes any issues.

Will definatly not have more than one fish in the 3.5 gallon soon, didn't mean to jump ahead and buy a Betta but I just couldnt leave him in the store in that tiny lil cup. Good news is he has seemed to calm down a bit more, still flares but not as much, and the chasing has calmed down as well. No nipping at all.
 

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Can you imagine what a shock it must be to go from that tiny cup of dirty water where you can barely turn around to a clean tank which allows you to swim; where you no longer have people poke at you or have your home picked up and giant eyeballs watch you from the other side? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It must be quite the shock for them, can't wait until he goes in the 35 gallon, I just hope it goes well do I don't have to downgrade him back to the small one. 3.5 gallons might feel like a cup after the 35, lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update;

Betta has been in the large tank for awhile now, and doing great. Absolutely no aggression or territorial behavior, in fact the one and only time he has flared in the big tank was when the neighbor was getting part of his driveway done and they were cutting through cement (about 30 feet away and fishies live in the basement) so I'm guessing it was just the vibration. He does like to chase other fish away from "his" plants (which is any plant he is hanging out near) however it's no where near as aggressive as one guppy chasing another or one platy chasing another.

I have a little Betta haven set up for him on the side of the tank opposite of the filter, full of silky plants, however he spends most of his time over on the filtered side, and even playing in the current. He swims really hard into it and then lets it push him across the tank (I can just imagine him screaming "look at how fast I can swim!!").

Background poses no issues whatsoever, he has actually found some of the larger holes and will disappear into the background and pop out from some plants on the other side.

The first hour he was in the tank was the most rewarding experience I've ever had with a fish, he swam around like crazy and within a few minuets he had to stop for a rest. He would rest on a plant for a few seconds then go off exploring again, rest, repeat, rest, repeat. He just wanted to see everything and swim like he's never swam before, but didn't have the strength to. His stamina has built up now, and he's quite the happy little fish.
 
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