Betta not doing well, what can I do?

Ch4rlie

Moderate Moderating Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
8,219
Reaction score
2,404
Location
Oxfordshire, UK
I would consider keeping him in the 5 gallon for good, scape it up nice for him.

This I agree with. Bettas are not true community fish imho.

Bettas are territorial fish and even if you are not seeing aggression at the moment, this is not guaranteed to stay this way.

The 5 gallon tank set up with a few nice plants, couple of nice easy care for plants, perhaps something like a couple of nice sized anubias, java ferns and java moss maybe.

Decor could be done with some driftwood arches or caves, anything like that for him to explore around and for stimulation around his tank.

And give him a good varied diet, this will help.

Would advise not adding any chemicals to the tank other than tap safe dechlorinator, I always find that good water parameters and a good daily routine of water changes does far more good to any aquatic livestock's health rather than adding meds.
 

wasmewasntit

Fish Crazy
Joined
Aug 21, 2021
Messages
257
Reaction score
353
Location
North Yorks
A Gourami was mentioned....almost as bad as putting two male Betta in the same aquarium. They are related and they will fight...often to the death of one or both. Never ever put Gourami and Betta together.

It has all the hallmarks of the Gourami bullying the Betta or vice versa. I would also never place a Betta (male or female) into a mixed species aquarium since they are genetically wired to fight (they are not called Siamese Fighters for nothing). I would imagine that if you knew what to look for, that the body language of the Betta and Gourami were giving the game away in regard to the change of behaviour......the cowering is often a sure sign of being attacked and bullied.

It is good that you moved the Betta into an aquarium on his own, leave him in that situation permanently. He will not adapt back to community life even if you rehome the Gourami, he will be living on stress and will inevitably take that out on the rest of the aquarium.

A Betta's body language is very important to take notice of as they have a very definite way about them, far more than any other fish. Such as being fine for months with other fish then overnight guarding food with tail/fins, snapping back at fish that pass too closely, other fish cowering even at feed time.....Betta's are not a beginner fish and should not be encouraged to share aquariums...especially with other Betta or Gourami types.
 
OP
P

Paulie B.

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
20
Location
Connecticut
A Gourami was mentioned....almost as bad as putting two male Betta in the same aquarium. They are related and they will fight...often to the death of one or both. Never ever put Gourami and Betta together.

It has all the hallmarks of the Gourami bullying the Betta or vice versa. I would also never place a Betta (male or female) into a mixed species aquarium since they are genetically wired to fight (they are not called Siamese Fighters for nothing). I would imagine that if you knew what to look for, that the body language of the Betta and Gourami were giving the game away in regard to the change of behaviour......the cowering is often a sure sign of being attacked and bullied.

It is good that you moved the Betta into an aquarium on his own, leave him in that situation permanently. He will not adapt back to community life even if you rehome the Gourami, he will be living on stress and will inevitably take that out on the rest of the aquarium.

A Betta's body language is very important to take notice of as they have a very definite way about them, far more than any other fish. Such as being fine for months with other fish then overnight guarding food with tail/fins, snapping back at fish that pass too closely, other fish cowering even at feed time.....Betta's are not a beginner fish and should not be encouraged to share aquariums...especially with other Betta or Gourami types.
Yes he's definitely had his run-ins with the gourami. This particular gourami -- a dwarf red flame -- I describe as a real jerk. That's why he's slated for removal from this otherwise peaceful tank. I just have to figure out what to do with him. Probably just give him away. Thanks for the good advice.
 

wasmewasntit

Fish Crazy
Joined
Aug 21, 2021
Messages
257
Reaction score
353
Location
North Yorks
Another issue here are the Rams.

They are also potentially aggressive and mixing a Betta with those is asking for trouble, especially in an aquarium as small as yours. I say small cos if you are going to have Rams and Betta together, you should try for at least 35 to 40 gallon with extreme planting, sight blocking, caves and other hiding spots.

Tbh I am sat here scratching my head as to how you have such a contraindicated stock in a 20 gallon aquarium.....were you recommended these fish would go together, did you see them and decide thats what you wanted to have?

They are, so completely contraindicated that I am amazed that you have not lost fish by now....I know that sounds harsh and I apologise for that but Rams, Gourami and betta in a 20 gallon is like inviting a group of male lions for tea in a tiny box......inevitably ending in tears.
 

Slaphppy7

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Jan 20, 2021
Messages
4,015
Reaction score
3,015
Location
SE Texas
I agree with the above....in most cases, bettas do not belong in community tanks, period, regardless of what other fish are in the tank.

You need to be testing your water with a proper, good quality test kit, get one of these ASAP: https://apifishcare.com/product/freshwater-master-test-kit

I'd keep the betta in the 5.5G, as others have suggested...be sure the tank is cycled, test the water with the new test kit, and report numbers for ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte here

20 PPM of nitrAte is not particularly harmful for most fish, but we have no way of knowing if that number is accurate or not...paper test strips are unreliable

Also, be sure the temp in the 5.5G is suitable for the betta, 78-80F
 

wasmewasntit

Fish Crazy
Joined
Aug 21, 2021
Messages
257
Reaction score
353
Location
North Yorks
Yes he's definitely had his run-ins with the gourami. This particular gourami -- a dwarf red flame -- I describe as a real jerk. That's why he's slated for removal from this otherwise peaceful tank. I just have to figure out what to do with him. Probably just give him away. Thanks for the good advice.
I can assure you that your Gourami isn't being a jerk at all.

A male Gourami with a male Betta...and potentially male Ram(s).....he is not being a jerk, he is just fighting for his territory as will the Betta and Rams and with an aquarium that small and that crowded with massive fighting ego's....one fish being a jerk is the very least of your problems

I am sorry if this upsets you but the Gourami needs to move out to an aquarium alone, the Betta must stay on his own and your Rams and Barbs should be fine in the 20 gallon as they are and without adding more fish to it. Make sure all aquariums are well scaped with a variety of planting, hides etc.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,940
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
Posts 16-21 have all said the same things, and I completely agree. Keep the betta on his own, he should recover. Do not return him to this tank.

This is not a pH issue (any pH below 7 would not be detrimental to soft acidic water fish like those here). And while nitrates at or above 20 ppm is somewhat dangerous (the higher the more danger), this will tend to weaken any fish and that means they are more susceptible to other issues that they would otherwise be able to handle. But the nitrate itself is unlikely to result in what you have seen from the betta, it just makes it harder to handle for the fish.

You have three species which have a strong sense of territory particularly from the males. Betta males must be on their own. Gourami males are territorial, the degree varies with the species and individual fish within the species, but male gourami have territorial needs and will usually defend them. And since gourami and bettas are anabantids, they should never be kept together. The electric blue ram also is highly territorial, and I'd like to consider this fish for a moment as you may have issues.

If the three are all female, they may get along with nothing more than the odd poke or shove. If one or more is male, he/they will clearly establish their territory, and in a 20g you should only have one male; two or three males will not work for long. Depending how long you have had them, and how they interact now, you may be lucky and have three females, or one male and two females. If I could observe the fish, how they interact, it would be easier to ascertain their gender; behaviours among the three is a good clue. Just keep an eye on them. If you can make a video and post it, we may be able to have more certainty.
 
OP
P

Paulie B.

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
20
Location
Connecticut
Tbh I am sat here scratching my head as to how you have such a contraindicated stock in a 20 gallon aquarium.....were you recommended these fish would go together, did you see them and decide thats what you wanted to have?
Well, cherry barbs go with most fish, and dwarf gouramis are said to be good tankmates for rams. Yes, the betta was my idea. Back in my former hobby days (more than 20 years ago tbh) I had a betta who lived peacefully in my community tank for years. Guess I thought I could have that again.
 
OP
P

Paulie B.

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
20
Location
Connecticut
OP
P

Paulie B.

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
20
Location
Connecticut
I am sorry if this upsets you but the Gourami needs to move out to an aquarium alone, the Betta must stay on his own and your Rams and Barbs should be fine in the 20 gallon as they are and without adding more fish to it. Make sure all aquariums are well scaped with a variety of planting, hides etc.
That is exactly what is happening. The Betta and the Gourami are getting tanks of their own. The Cherry Barbs and Rams get along famously.
 
Last edited:
OP
P

Paulie B.

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
20
Location
Connecticut
You have three species which have a strong sense of territory particularly from the males. Betta males must be on their own. Gourami males are territorial, the degree varies with the species and individual fish within the species, but male gourami have territorial needs and will usually defend them. And since gourami and bettas are anabantids, they should never be kept together. The electric blue ram also is highly territorial, and I'd like to consider this fish for a moment as you may have issues.

If the three are all female, they may get along with nothing more than the odd poke or shove. If one or more is male, he/they will clearly establish their territory, and in a 20g you should only have one male; two or three males will not work for long. Depending how long you have had them, and how they interact now, you may be lucky and have three females, or one male and two females. If I could observe the fish, how they interact, it would be easier to ascertain their gender; behaviours among the three is a good clue. Just keep an eye on them. If you can make a video and post it, we may be able to have more certainty.
Yes I realize that now. I think removing the Betta and the Gourami will work out well, especially for the Betta's health.
It may be difficult getting video of all three Rams together because -- and this may go to your male/female point -- they have separated out. The two smaller ones usually hang out to one side of the tank, the largest to the other.

When they do meet in the middle the largest one, whom I presume is the male, will sometimes start a scuffle, but the "females" are no shrinking violets, they'll put up a fight. Anyway no harm is ever done and everyone goes home happy. I think with just the Rams and Cherry Barbs it'll be a neat tank.
 
Last edited:

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,940
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
Yes I realize that now. I think removing the Betta and the Gourami will work out well, especially for the Betta's health.
It may be difficult getting video of all three Rams together because -- and this may go to your male/female point -- they have separated out. The two smaller ones usually hang out to one side of the tank, the largest to the other.

When they do meet in the middle the largest one, whom I presume is the male, will sometimes start a scuffle, but the "females" are no shrinking violets, they'll put up a fight. Anyway no harm is ever done and everyone goes home happy. I think with just the Rams and Cherry Barbs it'll be a neat tank.

Yes, I agree. Just keep an eye on the rams. If you do have a male and two females, the male may pair up with one of them. If they bond, spawning will occur, and at that point the other female could get killed, by either the male or female. If I were able to see them better, esp a video of them not necessarily together if that is all you can get, I might have a better answer. But as they are not tearing into one another, things may work out.
 
OP
P

Paulie B.

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
20
Location
Connecticut
Yes, I agree. Just keep an eye on the rams. If you do have a male and two females, the male may pair up with one of them. If they bond, spawning will occur, and at that point the other female could get killed, by either the male or female. If I were able to see them better, esp a video of them not necessarily together if that is all you can get, I might have a better answer. But as they are not tearing into one another, things may work out.
I shall endeavor to get some video. Sometimes late at night all three come out to play.
 

a guppy fan

New Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
15
Reaction score
2
Location
singapore
A Gourami was mentioned....almost as bad as putting two male Betta in the same aquarium. They are related and they will fight...often to the death of one or both. Never ever put Gourami and Betta together.

It has all the hallmarks of the Gourami bullying the Betta or vice versa. I would also never place a Betta (male or female) into a mixed species aquarium since they are genetically wired to fight (they are not called Siamese Fighters for nothing). I would imagine that if you knew what to look for, that the body language of the Betta and Gourami were giving the game away in regard to the change of behaviour......the cowering is often a sure sign of being attacked and bullied.

It is good that you moved the Betta into an aquarium on his own, leave him in that situation permanently. He will not adapt back to community life even if you rehome the Gourami, he will be living on stress and will inevitably take that out on the rest of the aquarium.

A Betta's body language is very important to take notice of as they have a very definite way about them, far more than any other fish. Such as being fine for months with other fish then overnight guarding food with tail/fins, snapping back at fish that pass too closely, other fish cowering even at feed time.....Betta's are not a beginner fish and should not be encouraged to share aquariums...especially with other Betta or Gourami types.
Nah! Nowadays the betta are as weak as a sedated baby
 

Most reactions

Top