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Old 01-05-2023, 12:24 AM   #1
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Female betta and Platties, looking for some wisdom

Hello all,

I am new here and as you may be able to tell by my name a novice in fish keeping. Though I have had betta fish in the past they have always been solo. I now have an 8 year old daughter who has really enjoyed keeping a small aquarium the last few years. Sadly our neon tetras died last week from what I now believe to be a toxic castle we added to our tank.

Our poor friends were gone within 24 hours after adding it despite me soaking and cleaning it thoroughly beforehand. When I noticed one swimming oddly I took the tank lid off and there was a strong chemical smell. I tried to quarantine and treat them but it was too late

We discussed starting our aquarium over and I suggested a betta fish. They are easy and gorgeous and I have always had great luck with them. We brought our girl home and she seemed very happy in her new tank. My daughter was interested in getting her a tank mate so during a bloodworm run At our local aquarium store we inquired about a possible friend.

The woman suggested either plaities or tetra. I was a little hesitant because we have a five gallon tank but she and several patrons who overheard said 2 or 3 would be just fine with her. So we came home with 2 platies.

I added them to the tank and watched for a while and honestly thought she was excited for the company. They were swimming around together and I saw interest but no nipping or aggression. We ate dinner and before I put my daughter to bed I checked in and noticed that our betta was swimming back and forth in the front along the glass which I recall reading could mean stress.

Once my daughter was asleep I took a seat and observed more closely. Our betta continued to swim back and forth while our platies did their own thing and when they would cross paths there would be some chasing and then they would go their separate ways. I honestly couldn't tell if they were playing or she was stressed so I decided to air on the side of caution and remove the platies for the night.

I have been trying to research and as always there is a lot of contradictory information as to if our setup was right of not. I have seen a lot of things say "10 gallon is proper when keeping platies with a betta, though the number of platies is higher... I can't help but wonder if this still could be the issue. I also know it could downright boil down to personality, maybe she's just not that into company but I wanted to ask here before I return these little platies. I feel like this group will offer some great advice.

Thank you in advance,
Paranoid betta mom

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Old 01-05-2023, 02:54 AM   #2
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Adding any fish to a tank with a betta already in it is always a risk. The betta will have decided the tank is its and will be less likely to accept newcomers. A better way is to introduce a betta last and to make sure that your tank is big enough for the various fish to have enough room for the betta to have its own space. A 5g doesnt do this.

You could try a snail as company. Mystery snails are interesting to look at, nerite snails will clean up the tank a little.

Is your betta a boy or a girl?
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Old 01-05-2023, 08:54 AM   #3
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Thank you so much! My gut was saying the 5 gallon wasn't large enough despite the advice by the fish store. Our betta is a girl and she is very calm which is how I could tell her demeanor wasn't right. She was way too active suddenly. Maybe we will try a snail. I am happy for the tank cleaning assistance for sure.
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Old 01-05-2023, 01:26 PM   #4
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Giving a betta company is more for your benefit than your bettas. They really don't need the company. Females are less territorial and aggressive than males, but its still a risk adding other fish in the mix. Saying that, you probably would have made it work if the tank had been big enough for the platys.

Boredom can be an issue for single fish. Company can give a betta something to do, but without other fish make sure your aquascape has plenty of interest for it to explore.

How about a photo? I always like to see photos of peoples tanks.
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Old 01-05-2023, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfishmama View Post
Hello all,

I am new here and as you may be able to tell by my name a novice in fish keeping. Though I have had betta fish in the past they have always been solo. I now have an 8 year old daughter who has really enjoyed keeping a small aquarium the last few years. Sadly our neon tetras died last week from what I now believe to be a toxic castle we added to our tank.

Our poor friends were gone within 24 hours after adding it despite me soaking and cleaning it thoroughly beforehand. When I noticed one swimming oddly I took the tank lid off and there was a strong chemical smell. I tried to quarantine and treat them but it was too late

We discussed starting our aquarium over and I suggested a betta fish. They are easy and gorgeous and I have always had great luck with them. We brought our girl home and she seemed very happy in her new tank. My daughter was interested in getting her a tank mate so during a bloodworm run At our local aquarium store we inquired about a possible friend.

The woman suggested either plaities or tetra. I was a little hesitant because we have a five gallon tank but she and several patrons who overheard said 2 or 3 would be just fine with her. So we came home with 2 platies.

I added them to the tank and watched for a while and honestly thought she was excited for the company. They were swimming around together and I saw interest but no nipping or aggression. We ate dinner and before I put my daughter to bed I checked in and noticed that our betta was swimming back and forth in the front along the glass which I recall reading could mean stress.

Once my daughter was asleep I took a seat and observed more closely. Our betta continued to swim back and forth while our platies did their own thing and when they would cross paths there would be some chasing and then they would go their separate ways. I honestly couldn't tell if they were playing or she was stressed so I decided to air on the side of caution and remove the platies for the night.

I have been trying to research and as always there is a lot of contradictory information as to if our setup was right of not. I have seen a lot of things say "10 gallon is proper when keeping platies with a betta, though the number of platies is higher... I can't help but wonder if this still could be the issue. I also know it could downright boil down to personality, maybe she's just not that into company but I wanted to ask here before I return these little platies. I feel like this group will offer some great advice.

Thank you in advance,
Paranoid betta mom
Hello, what you are describing is called glass surfing. This is caused by stress. This could be anything like bad water parameters, its own reflection on tank wall, light to bright, bulling or not used to having tank mates & ect.ect.ect.
I would make a check list. My first go to would be to address water. I would do 25% water changes w/conditioned temp matched water every 1.5 - 2hrs. You want to give the fish time to acclimate in between changes & see how she reacts. You should see a change in behavior within 2-3 changes. I would also stress if you don't have a water test kit please get one. I use an API freshwater liquid test kit. A little pricey but for a sm tank it will last a yr or more. You can also use strips but not recommended.
Next if parameters are good. You should consider that your Betta has been in a cup. So she may not be used to bright lights, movement from tank mates or seeing its own reflection in glass. For this I would check her reactions to less lighting(intermittent) adding fake plants or deco she can hide in. This will break line of sight & she may just need time to adjust.
Last I would keep an eye out for bullying from the platies(recommended to be kept in 3+). Depending on temperament of Betta it may be getting harassed. A tank upgrade is recommended. Hopefully this helps!!!!!
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Old 01-05-2023, 04:46 PM   #6
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Angelina and her home

Hi Aiken,

That makes great sense. I pointed out to my daughter this morning how much happier she looks now that she is alone in her space, so I think we will keep her solo. I would love some input on things we can put in her tank to aliviate boredom.

She seems to be a big fan of the log with the heart and of the large plant on the left. She isn't into the hammock which I get. it probably doesn't help that they only had bright unrealistic colors... green would have been nicer. I thought about real plants as well. Whatever makes her happy!

Here is a couple of photos.
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Old 01-05-2023, 05:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfishmama View Post
Hi Aiken,



That makes great sense. I pointed out to my daughter this morning how much happier she looks now that she is alone in her space, so I think we will keep her solo. I would love some input on things we can put in her tank to aliviate boredom.



She seems to be a big fan of the log with the heart and of the large plant on the left. She isn't into the hammock which I get. it probably doesn't help that they only had bright unrealistic colors... green would have been nicer. I thought about real plants as well. Whatever makes her happy!



Here is a couple of photos.
Betta fish take in oxygen threw gills & at waters surface. An organ called a labyrinth allows them to breath air. Sometimes they will rest or sleep near the surface for this reason. They will sit on or wedge themselves between heater or filter intake. To prevent this I would add a couple more tall plants or a Betta floating log.
May I also suggest a decoration that has several holes that they can get in & out of without squeezing.
If I've done this correctly here is a link on how to baffle filter so water flow doesn't blow her around.
https://www.bettaboxx.com/betta-care...-filter-baffle
Attachment 324559
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Old 01-05-2023, 09:58 PM   #8
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If you want a tank mate for her I definitely wouldn't recommend Platty's or other fin nippers. I had a peaceful female Betta before but she became aggressive cause the Platty kept harassing her. I could see her just minding her own business and a Platty would nip her and run away. She began to chase them shortly after.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:24 AM   #9
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Hi and welcome to the forum

Bettas come from soft acid water (GH below 100ppm, pH below 7.0).
Platies come from medium hard water (GH around 200ppm, pH above 7.0).

These fishes come from different environments with different water chemistry. As such they should not be housed together.

Common Bettas are Betta splendens (Siamese fighting fish). It's all in the name. There are two main groups of Bettas, the Betta splendens group and the Betta pugnax group. The B. splendens group are highly territorial towards other Bettas and other fish that are brightly coloured and come into their territory. They are bubblenest builders and should be kept on their own. The Betta pugnax group are mouth brooding Bettas and are fine in groups and with other fishes that don't bully them.

A 5 gallon tank is an issue for livebearing fishes like platies, guppies, mollies & swordtails. These fish regularly (about once a month) produce a batch of babies. They don't need a male in the tank to do it either. If you have 2 females giving birth to 50 young every month, a 5 gallon tank is going to become heavily overstocked, very quickly.

--------------------

You need a picture on the back of the tank to make the fish feel more comfortable. You can buy aquarium backings from any pet shop or online, or use some coloured card or a plastic bin liner. Just tape them to the outside on the back of the tank.

The white gravel is going to reflect light and stress the fish. Bettas naturally occur in shady areas and have lots of floating plants to provide protection from aerial predators and bright light. Some floating plants would help reduce the light reflecting off the substrate and give the female Betta somewhere to sleep. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) is one of the best floating plants. It grows well on the surface but can also be planted in the gravel. It has branches and big leaves that will shade the tank, give the female somewhere to rest, and reduce algae problems. 2 or 3 plants should be ample for that tank.

If you had a male betta splendens, I would suggest removing the plastic plants and any hard or sharp objects in the tank. These items can cut or tear the long fins found on male fish. Live plants are better for male Betta tanks. You have a female or shortfin male, so the plastic can remain.

--------------------

TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly. This is made worse if there are no floating plants or you use a light substrate in the aquarium.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.

If you don't have live plants in the tank, you only need the light on for a few hours in the evening. You might turn them on at 4 or 5pm and off at 9pm.

If you do have live plants in the tank, you can have the lights on for 8-16 hours a day but the fish and plants need 8 hours of darkness to rest. Most people with live plants in their aquarium will have the lights on for 8-12 hours a day.

--------------------

The glass surfing is common in new fish that have just been added to a tank that is clean. They are trying to work out how big the tank is and where everything is. If fish start glass surfing after you do something to the tank (ie: add new ornaments or fish), that is stress related. Your female Betta is stressed out. More plants, in particular floating plants, should help reduce the stress, as should a picture on the back. If it continues after you add more plants and a picture, then the fish is not happy having tank mates.

Did the shop tell you about the filter cycle and how to clean the filter?
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