Betta fish may be small but the males are very aggressive toward each other. Bettas do not need a reason to act out, such as mating time; all they need is to see another male betta. Nature has programmed the males to fight one another, and thus, simply seeing a fellow male gets their aggressive juices bubbling. Hence the nickname Siamese Fighting Fish! This means that when considering how to keep betta fish together, it is a good idea to place the majority of emphasis on caring for the males.
In the wild, bettas can swim out of harm’s way when attacked by another male, however, captured bettas, harbored in fish tanks, bowls, or other holding containers do not have the luxury to flee. Therefore, fish in captivity must yield the task of keeping them safe to their owners. Here are some tips of how to keep bettas, especially males, together as well as safe.
* Tip number one – Place partitions in fish tanks.
Some fish tanks come with movable partitions that hobbyists may utilize to keep fish separate while they reside in shared aquariums. Hobbyists without partitions could easily make them out of Plexiglas. All necessary is to measure the interior width and height of the aquarium and then to purchase and cut a sheet of Plexiglas down to size. Cuts should be about 1/8 inch wider than the interior of the tank to assure snug crosswise fits. The cut should also be a tad higher than the water level, and in fact, should leave little distance between the water surface and the aquarium cover. Partition heights that reach up to the cover help to prevent bettas from swimming over the dividers.
* Tip number two – Display bettas in individual containers
Setting bettas in individual containers allows them to reside near one another and removes the sense that they are all alone. In addition to looking at one another, the bettas will be able to do what they enjoy best (agitate other male bettas) if they so desire, however, they will not be able to harm one another.
See through betta containers come in various sizes and shapes and the boxed shaped ones can stack up. This allows betta enthusiasts to add vertical as well as horizontal depths to their betta fish setups when keeping them together.
In addition to lending a means for enthusiasts to care fore more than one male betta at a time, individual containers also work wonders in cases where hobbyists acquire fighting females. Although females do not tend to be as aggressive as males, some females do attack one another now and then.
* Tip number three – Let containerized bettas take turns swimming in an aquarium
Allowing bettas to take turns swimming in a larger aquarium prevents the fish from feeling cabin fever they may otherwise endure from living in small containers. Many owners who purchase bettas in small containers often go on to keep them in those same containers indefinitely. Most small containers in which retailers sell bettas often hold less than a half gallon of water. Bettas are bound to be more jovial from swimming together with other fish rather than living in half-gallon containers for weeks or months on end.
* Tip number four – Collect females only or females plus one male
Get all females or get several females and only one male. Females do not tend to fight one another the way the males do. Males do not go after the females the way they hound other males. The only consideration here is what to do should the male decide to mate with one of the females.
It might be best to remove a male seeking to mate and place him in a separate container unless betta breeding would be a welcome event. If wanting the fish to breed, placing them in a separate container would still be ideal unless a partition is available to keep them apart from other fish. Either way, whenever a male breeds with a female, the female must be removed once the male squeezes all the eggs from her body and places them in his bubble nest. Otherwise, the male will kill the female in order to prevent her from eating the babies once the eggs hatch.
* Tip number five – Add fish from another species
Mixing in other types of fish that get along with bettas could help the aquarium look more exciting. Female bettas do not have the long luxurious fins or the vibrant coloration their male counterparts possess. Thus, a bowl full of females or a female and one male might not appear exciting to some people. Mixing in compatible fish such as guppies, goldfish, other types of gourami, or other community fish will add color to the scene. Also, consider algae eaters such as regular catfish or even a plecostomus.
* Tip number six – Cleaning small containers
Clean the water in the small containers at least once or twice a week. When cleaning the container, either empty the container and completely refill it for a fresh overhaul or remove about 10% of the water and replace that amount.
Using water from the fish aquarium to refill the smaller containers will help keep container water temperature and pH level in tune with the aquarium. In turn, transferring bettas from aquarium to small container and vice versa with like water conditions makes transitioning easier for the fish. Alternately, add a good water conditioner for bettas to the container when changing the water. Water may begin to look stale if not cleaned frequently enough.
Whichever fish setup selected, try to maintain water temperatures at around 70º Fahrenheit or just let the water adapt to the room temperature of the house or apartment. Bettas usually do fine in temperatures above 60 and not too far over 80. Ideal temperatures can help make keeping bettas together a more pleasant experience for hobbyists and fish alike.