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View Full Version : Slowly Including A Betta Into A Community Tank



s72450
01-07-2009, 04:53 AM
Before everyone freaks, I'm not a first time owner and I've done alot of research on this, but I thought I'd get some ideas from those who have done this before.

Basically Aries is a sweet little male. He's not at all aggresive and hardly if ever flares. He enjoys "loving" on my fingers when I feed him and gets so excited whenever I walk past his tank.

I have four males and of them, he is the least aggresive, the other three flare like crazy and one even attacks my hand when I need to get something out of his tank.

I really should have named Aries something different since he's so tame and loving.

But anyways, I got a breeder net and suspended it in my 29g tank and have had him in it for a week with no problem, the other fish see him and vice versa and nobody has been upset.

The other night I let him swim around in the tank with the other fish for an hour. I didn't have any trouble from him, although two of my cherry barbs followed him closely. He's red and I wondered if they thought he was another male barb and competition for the females.

It's going to be awhile before I feel comfortable letting him out longer, but I wanted to get your ideas on doing this hour outside the breeder theory, is this a good way to get him and the other fish used to one another?

I'm trying an hour and a half tonight, sitting here watching him. He really seems so much happier in the big tank with "friends". He's always been curious about other fish and loved to watch the cories I had in a tank with him at one point.

So that's the story, your ideas are greatly appreciated.

Gemini
01-07-2009, 05:01 AM
Hello - before anyone will be able to give much input there are a few q's that pop to mind. What size tank are you trying to introduce him to? What would his tank mates be? What sort of decor do you have? Would he have a hidey spot he could call his own?
I have a Betta in a community tank - it's 30G, planted, and he lives happily with 7 tetras, 7 corys, a RTS and a BN. He was always in the tank in a breeding net and when I gave away my Angel and Gourami thought I'd give him a try. I had tried previously but the gourami picked on him too much. He lives happily - often lying on top of the filter where he can see all in the tank.

s72450
01-07-2009, 05:18 AM
Sorry I forgot to include the information.

I currently have a 29g although I'm upgrading into a 55g in a month or so. His tank makes so far are six neon tetras, three albino cories, five platies, and five cherry barbs, three male, two female.

The decor is natural, it's a planted tank with two plastic "caves" hidden and three pieces of driftwood.

So far the only trouble I'm having are the male cherry barbs, they follow him but don't nip.

lovleeko
01-07-2009, 05:22 AM
Yes tank mates would be helpful but if you have done your homework then you probably know the main requirements for tank mates. No other labyrinth fish and no one who is even a bit aggressive etc. To be honest I just put my Betta's in and stand by ready to get them out if there is a problem. But I would think your way would work too. If all goes well I would let him out on a day that you have a long time to watch and let him out in the morning so you can be on standby all day and hopefully all will go well.

lovleeko
01-07-2009, 05:25 AM
Sorry I forgot to include the information.

I currently have a 29g although I'm upgrading into a 55g in a month or so. His tank makes so far are six neon tetras, three albino cories, five platies, and five cherry barbs, three male, two female.

The decor is natural, it's a planted tank with two plastic "caves" hidden and three pieces of driftwood.

So far the only trouble I'm having are the male cherry barbs, they follow him but don't nip.


The cherry barbs are curious little things. All of the things you named have the potential to be kept great with him and in my own personal experience I have my bettas kept with everything you named except trade the neons for cardinals right at this very moment. They should be fine. Keep an eye on the barbs and you should be smooth sailing.

s72450
01-07-2009, 05:27 AM
I'm just going to do it slowly, Aries is my favorite of the four males I own and I'd be really upset if something happened to him. I just want to do this if he enjoys it, but if not he has his own tank. He seems to enjoy the company, but I'm afraid to let him stay in too long at this point.

I think doing the hourly thing is okay for now. I normally have an hour or so each night where I can fully watch him and make sure nobody is bothering him.

I think you all for your comments and keep em coming, hints and tips are always welcome.

Gemini
01-07-2009, 05:43 AM
Barbs can be nippy but are better when more of their own. I would think only the barbs could cause problems and if you keep an eye on them and watch how they go it should be ok. The only other thing is I noticed my gourami wouldn't pick on him while I was around - so maybe try watching them while they don't know. hahaha if you know what I mean.

lovleeko
01-07-2009, 05:50 AM
Barbs can be nippy but are better when more of their own. I would think only the barbs could cause problems and if you keep an eye on them and watch how they go it should be ok. The only other thing is I noticed my gourami wouldn't pick on him while I was around - so maybe try watching them while they don't know. hahaha if you know what I mean.

That's why I said do it in the morning. Because I have had problems after lights out before. But they do have more fulfilling lives in community set up. Though I have never experienced cherry barbs being nippy. Gouramis just arent a good mix with bettas because they are cousins and is probably 9 chances out of ten doomed to fail. But you never can tell. You have your exceptions I guess. :)

s72450
01-07-2009, 05:56 AM
I have four gouramis in another tank, they're fine to all the other fish but they chase each other all day long. I can only imagine how they'd treat poor Aries.

Poofaye C.
01-07-2009, 06:01 AM
The only other thing is I noticed my gourami wouldn't pick on him while I was around - so maybe try watching them while they don't know. hahaha if you know what I mean.
lol...Just like kids, huh?

To me that hour thing sounds awsome!! I know you'd be upset if something bad happened, but you couldn't say you just dumped him in there tho. Sounds like you're a great fish parent s72450.

Do you have plants that reach the water surface or float to the top?
In my opinion alot of people forget how happy Bettas are with just a few floating plants to nestle in, especially in a community tank. In my community tank w/ betta I have a tall fake plant that reaches to the top. When introduced, he quiclky made it his home.

Gemini
01-07-2009, 06:08 AM
lol...Just like kids, huh?

Do you have plants that reach the water surface or float to the top?
In my opinion alot of people forget how happy Bettas are with just a few floating plants to nestle in, especially in a community tank. In my community tank w/ betta I have a tall fake plant that reaches to the top. When introduced, he quiclky made it his home.

Yep exactly like kids!!! Hahahaha
I agree have a floating plant or a high one - mine hangs in tall leaves too.

And I agree with lovleeko - Bettas are much happier in a community tank then in a little bowl. And yes Gouramis are notoriously bad with other labyrinth fish (but I didn't know that then!!!).
I think cherry barbs are very tame barbs but I haven't had them so didnt' want to say for certain they would be ok.

s72450
01-07-2009, 06:59 AM
I have mid-level plants because my only option for plants around here is PetCo and the largest ones they have are mid-level in height. I have three rows of plants in the tank, mid-level being the highest and then so forth til we get to java moss.

lovleeko
01-07-2009, 07:02 AM
Yep exactly like kids!!! Hahahaha
I agree have a floating plant or a high one - mine hangs in tall leaves too.

And I agree with lovleeko - Bettas are much happier in a community tank then in a little bowl. And yes Gouramis are notoriously bad with other labyrinth fish (but I didn't know that then!!!).
I think cherry barbs are very tame barbs but I haven't had them so didnt' want to say for certain they would be ok.


Oh yeah, I've been there with the not knowing. I had a betta get eaten almost to death by bleeding heart tetras. Before I knew they were notoriously nippy. They were in with a yellow betta the whole time I had them and then I switched that betta out for a blue one. And wow!! They were all great. They did seem a bit interested in her. All went great and I watched for hours on end all day for days. One night after lights out they went crazy on her. When I got up and immediately went to check as it was a new situation they were hunting her down to get her. It was crazy. I was so mad at them. Luckily she is still alive and her fins have almost completely grown back but her color isn't as pretty. So that was totally my fault for not knowing enough about bleeding hearts. I just assumed since they had been with a betta their whole lives it would not be a problem to switch them. Guess I was wrong. But it is a sight to see your betta swimming happily in so much room with all of their tank mates. Like I said currently I have a few taking up residents with platys cherry barbs and cardinals and some bottom feeders. I even have a fancy tailed guppy in the tank with one of my females. They do fine. She is a bit more interested in him than the other fish as I think she thinks he's a betta but she does nothing to him. So it works out great. And there is evidence to show that a betta with a significant amount of room lives longer. And it's nice for them to not have to be cooped up by themselves. As I said before they are not as solitary as everyone thinks. They encounter and live around other fish all the time in the wild. And occasionally take up disputes with other bettas so they get a lot of action. Sorry for the long post.

Northernguy
01-07-2009, 04:07 PM
I have never kept a beta by themselves.I have always had them in with neons or cardinal tetras in a ten gal tank.
I have never had any nipping going on either.:22:

s72450
01-08-2009, 05:43 AM
Well I tried two hours last night and all went well. I think I'm going to do another two hours tonight. I'm not ready to let him go into the tank full time just yet, but it's getting closer.

Gemini
01-08-2009, 05:52 AM
Good work s72450! The only other thing that comes to mind is feeding. My Betta was used to just having his betta balls and blood worms. So when he went into the community tank it took awhile to get him eating as he wasn't used to flakes, and wasn't used to current moving his food. He's fine now but it probably took him maybe 3 weeks to get used to how to catch his pellets when moving, and that flakes are food!

s72450
01-08-2009, 07:21 AM
I've been feeding him in the breeder, still doing pellet food and blood worms, but eventually I know I'll have to get him used to flake food and like you said, the current moving his food, but then again, he's used to having a filter in his tank so he might already be doing okay with that.

Gemini
01-08-2009, 07:26 AM
Maybe try introducing him to flake a bit while he's still in the breeding net. I found the current was a lot stronger in my tank then he was used to - but he picked it up!

s72450
01-08-2009, 09:05 AM
That's a good idea.

He did two hours tonight and seemed to really enjoy it.

Northernguy
01-08-2009, 02:00 PM
I don't think your fish will have any trouble catching the food in the current.When he is hungry he will eat .
Why don't you just put him in the tank and leave him there.Wait at least 24hrs but check on him often.If you see him getting picked at ,get him out!

lovleeko
01-08-2009, 02:56 PM
I don't think your fish will have any trouble catching the food in the current.When he is hungry he will eat .
Why don't you just put him in the tank and leave him there.Wait at least 24hrs but check on him often.If you see him getting picked at ,get him out!


I agree. My bettas have no prob getting food. However like most bettas they hate tropical flakes. I have a couple of bettas who will dabble with the flakes but nothing too serious. I give them their own betta food while everybody else is eating and sometimes a bit after. They only eat their food. Which is funny because even if it is a betta flake they only eat the betta flakes. If the other fish happen to catch a few pellets no big deal I just make sure to throw a few extra if this happens. The bettas expect their food too. It's funny because they ignore the flakes and keep swimming after me waiting ont their food. :)

Gemini
01-08-2009, 11:49 PM
I'm just going by my experience - maybe my Betta is slow.:11: But it took him a good 10-14 days to figure out how to catch and eat his pellets. Now he has it down but he was slow!! Once he figured out how to catch the pellets - he now goes after the flake food. I dont' put them in for him but he eats them.

s72450
01-09-2009, 04:59 AM
We're doing another two hours tonight, he sure was ready to go when I lifted the tank lid up, he nearly jumpped up at me from the breeder. I guess he's excited.

Poofaye C.
01-09-2009, 05:19 AM
I lifted the tank lid up, he nearly jumpped up at me from the breeder. I guess he's excited.
I'll say. He sounds like he's got spunk!!! Got any pics of the little guy?

geminidragn
01-09-2009, 05:36 AM
That's so cool. I guess he's telling you he likes the idea of having friends and enjoys the nightly "outings". LOL.

Can't wait to see some pics after your finished and he's settled in.

s72450
01-09-2009, 07:36 AM
Tonight didn't go so well, he wasn't in the tank more than ten minutes when the female cherry barbs had in in a corner and were taking turns nipping at him. Actually the other fish in the tank started to come over to that spot and gather around. I pulled him out and put him back into the breeder and now the poor guy looks a bit sad, he's just kinda depressed looking.

I don't think they really hurt him, but it would have gotten bad I believe had he been in there longer. I've never had issue with the female barbs, the males like to follow him around, but so far no nipping, but wow were the females ever aggressive towards my poor guy.

I guess we'll try again tommorow night provided he actually wants out. He might not be nearly as excited as he was tonight.

Poofaye C.
01-09-2009, 07:42 AM
Sorry to hear this, seemed like everything was going to work out. Wow, now what???????

lovleeko
01-09-2009, 08:18 AM
I'm just going by my experience - maybe my Betta is slow.:11: But it took him a good 10-14 days to figure out how to catch and eat his pellets. Now he has it down but he was slow!! Once he figured out how to catch the pellets - he now goes after the flake food. I dont' put them in for him but he eats them.



Yeah, my bettas are always toward the front of the aquarium and the pellets just sit there. They dont have to chase them or anything. Everybody's experiences are different and so is our aquariums for that matter so it just depends. I didn't mean to say you were wrong or anything :) I know what you mean though. It has been a while since I have had a new betta in a tank with others but I do remember they had to grow into competing for food. But mine only do when it is a joint meal like brine shrimp otherwise they wait for their food. LOL Their like whatever you can have that stuff!!!:hmm3grin2orange:

lovleeko
01-09-2009, 08:21 AM
Tonight didn't go so well, he wasn't in the tank more than ten minutes when the female cherry barbs had in in a corner and were taking turns nipping at him. Actually the other fish in the tank started to come over to that spot and gather around. I pulled him out and put him back into the breeder and now the poor guy looks a bit sad, he's just kinda depressed looking.

I don't think they really hurt him, but it would have gotten bad I believe had he been in there longer. I've never had issue with the female barbs, the males like to follow him around, but so far no nipping, but wow were the females ever aggressive towards my poor guy.

I guess we'll try again tommorow night provided he actually wants out. He might not be nearly as excited as he was tonight.


I have never experienced cherry barbs being aggressive. Do you maybe have another tank you can move them to if they cause a problem?

s72450
01-09-2009, 10:24 PM
Yes if they continue to cause trouble I can put them in another tank. I'm going to try again tonight and just watch closely because they've never bothered him before and last night they were all over him. It was odd, usually it's the males that were curious about him.