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Update- Following two very helpful and informative responses, a new and much bigger 150litre tank has been ordered so everyone will be having an upgrade to a tank over double the size of their existing tanks. The bigger the better! I have enough supplies to set up a temporary 60ltr accommodation for one of the the bettas if needed but after eating dinner they’ve both perked up and I’m hopeful that for the next day or two they’ll be fine whilst the new tank is set up. Thankfully I’m fully stocked on water tests and my existing filters are for bigger tanks than I have anyway so it should be a quick and transition.

Hi, I’m relatively new to fish keeping and brand new to this site so I’m hoping to get some advice on two queries please!

I’ve never just bought a fish on a whim, I’ve been to a couple of different aquarium stores and always fully explained the tank situation at that time before I got fish and gone off the advice of the people I’m talking to. Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of conflicting advice and now I’ve got myself in a pickle.

I have one 60ltr tank with 1 bristlenose pleco, 2 female Bettas, 3 male guppies (there were more but I’ll explain) and a banjo catfish. I’ll upgrade the tank size in a couple of months when everyone’s grown a little and I’ve sorted things out with who needs to go where and appropriate tank sizes.

So I did have 4 guppies and one passed which actually stopped some infighting that had been going on and they lived for a month or more in peace till suddenly over the space of a week they started bullying one of the guppies and by weeks end he had less than half his tail from nipping. I sought advice and I ended up getting 3 more male guppies and nothing improved and so I set up an emergency 25ltr tank when one day his entire tail had been bitten off.

That was about a month ago and his tail has since started growing back and is about halfway to how it was before. I decided he needed friends now he was physically better and was advised not to move him back to the main tank but to get him females. Unfortunately because I didn’t want babies I was refused the sale of females and as they didn’t have any males I was advised to get three endlers guppies (this was yesterday) as they are totally docile and it should be completely fine as a tank mate is better than nothing for now. They immediately started nipping at him despite being less than half his size. Today I decided that maybe if I rebalanced it that would help the nipping stop so I decided to temporarily move two of the docile main tank guppies to chill with him. They aren’t bothering each other but they are being bothered by the endlers nipping their (pectoral?) fins. Is this due to the tank size or having too few endlers? Any advice on how to resolve this would be very appreciated!

Also about 3 weeks ago I lost a female betta out of the blue. I put it down to sometimes these things happen as water was all fine and she’d been eating etc no issue. Since then the other two bettas have gone downhill. One is constantly pooping white sometimes stringy but mostly what you would expect to see from a guppy poop even though she eats and I’ve had her for about 3/4 months so this is a new problem. The other one seems a little bloated but I’ve not seen her poop and they are both constantly Hiding aside for dinner time.

Yesterday I gave them a pea thinking it was constipation and nothing has changed so I’m thinking maybe swim bladder or parasites? All the other fish are totally fine and happy and the water has always been totally stable.

So yeah, any advice or guidance would be super appreciated! Despite extensive and constant research and talking to multiple people there’s just so much conflicting advice out there and I’m now totally stumped on what’s right or wrong.

Thank you!
 
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Valkyrie_Lips

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I can't speak on the guppy situation, but I would definitely rehome the bettas. The females sound incredibly stressed out by each other's presence and sororities shouldn't be attempted in anything less than a 20 gallon long with a minimum 5 females imo. Tanks also have to be set up for them in a specific way with tons of plants and cover to break their line of sight. Even with all the right precautions taken they can sometimes still not work out and it's not worth the risk imo.

Female bettas can be just as territorial and aggressive as males and it's never a good idea to keep only two females together, even 3 isn't enough to spread out aggression. Even if they aren't actively biting the crap out of each other, that doesn't mean that the presence of another betta isn't stressful or intimidating in such a small space. Aggression can take many forms, some more passive than others but all result in stress on the fish which weakens their immune systems, making them vulnerable to diseases/infections. Coupled with the small tank size it is just a recipe for disaster imo. That's my 2 cents.

Also, for the future peas are not good for constipation in bettas because they don't digest plant matter well. Daphnia works as a better "laxative" for them as it is much easier for them to digest.
 
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Carmen

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I think your tank is heavily overstocked, the bristlenose pleco only would need a minimum of 75 liters.. the banjo catfish only would require another 70 liters..
The guppies are a school fish so they need to be with more of their kind, and the female bettas, they are indeed agressive fish, they need a school of at least 5 in a large tank with lots of plants and hidings spots..

You would urgently need to rehome some if not most all of your fish I'm afraid.

I wonder also, if you were able to establish the beneficial bacteria before adding the fish? By cycling the tank I mean
 
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I can't speak on the guppy situation, but I would definitely rehome the bettas. The females sound incredibly stressed out by each other's presence and sororities shouldn't be attempted in anything less than a 20 gallon long with a minimum 5 females imo. Tanks also have to be set up for them in a specific way with tons of plants and cover to break their line of sight. Even with all the right precautions taken they can sometimes still not work out and it's not worth the risk imo.

Female bettas can be just as territorial and aggressive as males and it's never a good idea to keep only two females together, even 3 isn't enough to spread out aggression. Even if they aren't actively biting the crap out of each other, that doesn't mean that the presence of another betta isn't stressful or intimidating in such a small space. Aggression can take many forms, some more passive than others but all result in stress on the fish which weakens their immune systems, making them vulnerable to diseases/infections. Coupled with the small tank size it is just a recipe for disaster imo. That's my 2 cents.

Also, for the future peas are not good for constipation in bettas because they don't digest plant matter well. Daphnia works as a better "laxative" for them as it is much easier for them to digest.
Hi! Thank you so much for replying to quickly it’s much appreciated!

I sincerely had no idea that it would be a problem for the females to be housed together because it was something I was really worried about knowing it was a problem with the males and one that I was repeatedly assured would be a non issue by two different “professionals” so I went for it! There’s a lot of vegetation and hiding spots in the tank anyway but for now because I don’t have an immediate solution on the rehoming front at least for a few days.. what should I do? I could move one to the smaller tank on a temporary basis? Or would that be too stressful?

I feel a responsibility to the fish and I’m not a super fan of the idea of rehoming them if I can avoid it. I was looking to get a 100-120ltr tank as an upgrade anyway for the catfish and pleco and their future growth. If I did this sooner rather than later and added a couple more girls what do you think?

Just for my own peace of mind do you think this is solely a territorial/aggression issue rather than anything medical?

Thank you again!
 
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I think your tank is heavily overstocked, the bristlenose pleco only would need a minimum of 75 liters.. the banjo catfish only would require another 70 liters..
The guppies are a school fish so they need to be with more of their kind, and the female bettas, they are indeed agressive fish, they need a school of at least 5 in a large tank with lots of plants and hidings spots..

You would urgently need to rehome some if not most all of your fish I'm afraid.

I wonder also, if you were able to establish the beneficial bacteria before adding the fish? By cycling the tank I mean
Hi! Thank you for your reply! I’m starting to suspect this but because I’ve always explained my tank capacity and who is in it whenever I have bought fish it’s not something I’ve knowingly done so I feel terrible about it!

My plan is to maintain two larger tanks for the bristlenose and the banjo so separate them then they get a bit bigger or have one much much larger tank but for now they small enough and are thriving though a bigger tank is 100% on the cards!

I have 7 (9 if the other two guppies move back in) fish in the 60 litre, how many would you recommend? I read it was 5litre per fish so guidance is very appreciated!

There are 6 inc. 3 endlers (4 of the two guppies end up moving back to the main tank) in the 25ltr.

Somewhere along the line I think I’ve been very misguided!

Also to answer your question the main tank was cycled first and then the “hospital” tank was established using water from the main tank and one of the filter sponges from the main tank so I never had any issues.

Thank you again!
 

Valkyrie_Lips

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Hi! Thank you so much for replying to quickly it’s much appreciated!

I sincerely had no idea that it would be a problem for the females to be housed together because it was something I was really worried about knowing it was a problem with the males and one that I was repeatedly assured would be a non issue by two different “professionals” so I went for it! There’s a lot of vegetation and hiding spots in the tank anyway but for now because I don’t have an immediate solution on the rehoming front at least for a few days.. what should I do? I could move one to the smaller tank on a temporary basis? Or would that be too stressful?

I feel a responsibility to the fish and I’m not a super fan of the idea of rehoming them if I can avoid it. I was looking to get a 100-120ltr tank as an upgrade anyway for the catfish and pleco and their future growth. If I did this sooner rather than later and added a couple more girls what do you think?

Just for my own peace of mind do you think this is solely a territorial/aggression issue rather than anything medical?

Thank you again!

Unfortunately employees at big chain pet stores are rarely educated on proper fish care and just repeat what they are told/hear. Speaking from experience, they are not required to undergo training about animal/fish/reptile care and have to do their own research. Many do not want to put the effort into learning and just try to give customers a convenient answer.

It depends how small the temporary tank you have is. If it is at least 3-5 gallons then I would move the female who seems the most stressed/is hiding the most.

It's possible drastically upgrading their tank and adding more females and plants could help, but sometimes a betta just isn't suited for sorority life and there isn't anything you can do to change that. Even if you upgrade, add more and things seem peaceful, later down the line one female might change her mind and start killing everything in her territory. Due to their inherent nature there is no guarantee with bettas that they will remain peaceful which is why I believe they are best suited to be in their own tanks free from any tankmates.

The white stringy poop could be worms but it is difficult to diagnose from description alone. As for the slightly bloated one, it is hard to control how much a betta eats in a community tank so she could just be getting too much food. I promise even if you haven't seen her pooping she likely is because that food has to go somewhere. Assuming her stomach is just slight bloated and isn't extremely swollen, you could fast the tank for a couple of days and/or try feeding her daphnia.
 

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