I've had these girls for baout a month now, and they are sop bought (MHA) where I had 7 for £10, but one died of dropsy before I could get hold of some Epsom Salts , and in the tank they were all very similar colours, all same tails etc so probably from a local breeder and these are his/her surplus stock.
Okay, so now we know there is no male masquerade going on, what shall I do now? I hate seeing them like this because every now and again they individually lose the stripes and look very smart indeed, and that is how I want them.
A water test from the tap reveals no Ammonia, so just as a thought, could it be because we boiled the bogwood half to oblivion? It was boiling for hours on end, changing the water when it became tea-coloured. It is possible that the bogwood somehow soaked up ammonia and is now leeching it back? Or is it decaying from being nuked?
The filters have been checked, no blockages, no debris, no nothing, just a lovely (not!) brown water when the sponges are squeezed in it. I think it's tank mates, but whom, and why?
I apologize if you've mentioned it...
But what's the pH of the water in the tank?
Maybe it has crashed which caused the bacteria to go dormant or die, thus causing the ammonia spike.
How long has the tank been set up?
I think your best bet would be to just continue w/ what you're doing. Try to find the cause of the ammonia spike if the tank is cycled.
Uhm, maybe you have carbon in the filter that is leeching ammonia back in to the water? Or uhm.... as I said, maybe the pH has crashed.... or.. uh *shrugs*
Okay, well, since this discussion went dead, I decided that maybe a few more females might be the answer because no ideas came forward about the cause of the stress stripes (in the long term). They are in quarantine and they will be added when they are deemed clear of illness. Two of them are absolutely gorgeous cambos, a third maybe a damaged male in disguise (watching his/her every move to see, no ventrals see so cannot easily tell) and I am hoping that maybe more of them together (a total of 10 now) will sort it out. The main tank has had a few stocking changes (as sig) so I now have fewer fish in there even with these new quarantiners than before when this problem began.
PS I have noticed that, when a female (any given individual) lays in one particular plant and is not seen by any other female betta, after a few minutes the stress stripes disappear. A few minutes after that (normally after a successful unseen attempt to get air from the surface and return to said plant), they then colour up in their full magnificence. Is this all about competition for that one plant? Or is it that no-one has actually laid claim to a territory yet?
A larger group of females can sometimes help to spread out the aggression more so that it's not always the same one being picked on. It can take weeks for sororities to sort out their pecking order and even then you can sometimes have a very dominant female that causes havoc and ends up having to be removed.
All you can do for now is keep a close eye on them. We had a female last year in our group and she always showed stress stripes. Only occasionally would she colour up properly but she lived quite happyily and never had any nicks out of her fins from the others.
Okay, now I'm confused I gave in and tried a little experiment that has been running in my mind for a few hours now. I broke the quarantine on the new girls and placed all the girls in their tank. It's a 17L/4G cube, unlit, with drifting plants in it (ie plants meant to be planted but their not). And NO-ONE has stress stripes!!!!! Is this all down to them feeling insecure about the tank size, or that there weren't enough of them in the big tank? If they go in the main tank and stripe up again, what is the absolute smallest tank size I can have for 10 females alone in a group? I have a 25L/6G available but not sure if it's big enough once planted.
For 10 females I wouldn't go any smaller than around 16 gallons. I wouldn't leave all those females in that 4g for to long, otherwise you're going to have tattered fins and more problems than you started with.
Being so small with tons of plant roots gobbling everything up, plus the matured filter, I doubt ammonia would build too quick to control. I watch all my tank stats like a hawk anyway, testing almost daily.
Okay, tomorrow I will put them all in the main tank again and see what happens. Incidentally, the ammonia spike has gone and now we can't see through the tank from one side to the other, although from the front it looks perfect. I've cleaned the glass too, it's downright odd atm.
ouch!! far too small for them, an overload can also crash a tank. I too would put them back in the larger tank and leave them for atleast a month to get their order sorted. 10 females in a 25L is also too small. 4 females to a 25L works well.
The 4G with them all in was purely to see if the original 6 would cheer up. And they did, which shows me that there is something in the main tank that they are unhappy about, whether it's not enough females or someone in there that they don't appreciate. It was only an experiment and I have the results I need so will do something about it tomorrow.
Right, an update is due for those that have given their advice/opinions
I have placed all the females in the main tank. The new 4 have still got no stress stripes. The original 6 (does this sound a bit like the TV series 'Lost'? lol) do have their stress stripes. What the heck am I supposed to do? All you betta keepers out there, give me some pointers!!! (PLEASE!!!!) lol