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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I set up what will eventually become a Southeast-Asian biotope tank. I'm using peat a soil under standard gravel, about 1.8 wpg, no CO2, no ferts or water changes.

The tank is a 50 breeder (36" long by 18" high by 18" wide).

Plants are predominantly Crypts, some Val, Java fern/moss, Rotala.

I already have 10 Barbus rhomboocellatus (a fairly peaceful schooling barb--about 2 inches tops) 5 siamensis. I am planning on adding 3-5 more of the barbs.

My question is, does anyone think that putting a trio of Bettas in here is a bad idea? The Betta I'd like is Betta sp. 'Mahachai'. The trio available apparently is F1 and has been raised together, which would help minimize any aggression. The tank will be densely planted with plenty of room for any harrassed fish to hide.

Anyone have any experience with a setup like this, or with Bettas in a community tank in general?
 

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This will totally work. Wild Bettas, especially in the splendens (imbellis, mahachai, bellica, smaragdina)group will do well in an appropriate community. Rasboras make good companions, some barbs too. I'd stay away from danios and other active fish though. Lots of plants and some floating cover will make them happy, also keep the current to a minimum. Your tank can probably accomodate more than one trio, I keep smaragdina and imbellis in 15 gallons (2 pairs in each) and the males seem to have enough room for their own territories.

Although harder to obtain, many of the mouthbrooding types would also be perfect candidates for such a tank. I actually have a tank with four different sp. (dimidiata, channoides, sp. Kapuas, and livida- not a mouth brooder) in one tank. This was not by choice and it was to be only temporary, but it has been several months and all is well. Even some spawnings! The tank has plants, but not really scaped, but they're happy. Theres a small school of Rasbora pauciperforata to keep everyone out and about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Aaron said:
Rasboras make good companions, some barbs too. I'd stay away from danios and other active fish though.
The Barbus rhomboocellatus seem to be quite shy (they hide even when I come to feed them). They're fast swimmers, but in general they kind of just flit about in a loose group looking for food on the bottom. They're not Danios, but they're not exactly banjo cats either. Since the Barbs and the Mahachai I assume occupy different strata, I was thinking that it would work out even though the barbs are fairly active. I'm glad someone else has tried something similar!

For anyone who wanted to know, below is a pic of Barbus rhomboocellatus. I'm very surprised this fish isn't more common...it's beautiful, small, and peaceful. It also schools and is relatively active.

 

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Im deffinately curious to see how this works out for you. I have always liked the wild type bettas and did not know you could keep them together.
 

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I tried a trio of the regular petshop Bettas in a very heavily planted 90 gallon tank, and it was a disaster. They all ended up shredded. They seemed to take turns being the dominant one, but eventually every one had a go at the others. I'm going to try -one- in the tank again for population control on the Platies.

TW
 

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Normally putting bettas together is not recommended. I do keep 5 females together in a 10 gallon tank but they are spawn siblings and have never been seperated. Even then there is still sibling rivalry. Bettas are lazy, slow moving, inactive creatures by nature.............untill there is competition. If you do try it, I would love to hear your results. If they make it 1 week without much damage (there most likely will be some), then it should work.

Kinda off the subject, do you have any pics? That is one betta I want to breed but cant get any good ones without paying an arm and leg.
 

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I have not had the fortune to maintain any of the wild-type bettas, but I have kept Betta splendens for years (various individuals) in my planted tanks. I have never had a problem with them. Of course, I only kept one male and a couple of females together. Fish they have lived with included angelfish, cardinal tetras, threadfin rainbowfish, corydoras, rummynose tetras, otocinclus, pencilfish, and blue rams.

Many years ago, I even kept a male Betta splendens with a pair of discus. No problems whatsoever, and the Betta appreciated the 82F water.

Carlos
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Simpte 27 said:
Kinda off the subject, do you have any pics? That is one betta I want to breed but cant get any good ones without paying an arm and leg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
John P. said:
Wow! That's a nice one.

Have you considered Sparkling Gouramis instead?
Yes, but I can't get them where I live. They're too small for my taste anyway ;)
 

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I would say that this is simply a bad idea, Bettas should just be
left alone with maby a Compatible fish (Never put them togther).
It all depends on the agression aswell.
But Female bettas do alot better togther, since most of them are less
agressive.With the room that you could provide 2 or 3 female bettas would do great.

But plus since you have all those other schooling fish that might be a problem.
I kept a male betta with 2 neons, and since neons are schooling fish i decided to get 4 more neons, after they schooled togther they started to bug and "attack" the male betta.

So im not sure if a betta would be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just emailed the source that has these available, she says she's keeping the trio with a trio of Betta imbellis (that's 2 male Bettas in the same tank) with no problems. I think this is going to work, I'll keep this thread updated :)
 

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I never got to work with Rhombo barbs but I always did. I have only seen them once years back and they were pretty awesome. I have kept hexazona whish is supposed to be pretty close and they were really shy, retiring fish (I guess like you Rhombos)Where did you find them? Where are getting the Mahachai from? Wild fish? thats another I'd like to keep sometime (the only one of the four I have not kept). It's gotta be the nicest of the splendens group.

The bettas you see in cups in the LFS are so far removed from wild fish, it is incredible. Wild Bettas are social, almost gregarious, and very much territorial. In a group, fish will establish a hierarchy where the alpha male will get the best digs and show the nicest color and finnage. This is not unlike how colonies of Apistos work. Some West African Killies might be a better parallel.
IME, fish brought up in groups will result in very minimal agression. Once cupped and separated, males AND females will tend to get a bit more feisty. A wild fish from this group however will not come close to the aggression of domesticated ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sir_BlackhOle said:
Are you ordering them online from somewhere?
From a breeder in New York, she recently posted some stuff on Aquabid but I think the auctions are gone now. I got quite a deal, as I got a trio of F2 Betta imbellis and a pair of F1 Betta. sp. 'Mahachai' for $30 plus shipping.
 

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Any updates on this one, Brian?

I am especially curious about the Betta imbellis. I plan to keep a low light, maybe non-CO2, densely planted 5g cube as I am getting tired of the hassle of keeping it high light. Plus, I think such a small tank would be a more relaxing item on my desk if it were more subdued.

I thought about keeping a troupe of Betta imbellis, but would really like to keep two males and two females (I really want to see the two males flare at each other and establish territories). However, I suspect my cube might be too small for observing this type of behavior. If that is the case, perhaps a trio of Betta smargdina or Macachai will be more attractive.

Let me know how it is going.

Carlos
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It seems like it's going well so far; I have the B. imbellis in a 50 gallon and the Mahachai in the 46. The imbellis has a bubble nest built and it looks like he wants to spawn. The Mahachai are in a fairly densely-planted tank and encounter each other rarely, but both look like they are in good health. Time will tell.

Edit: A five gallon would probably be to small for even a pair of one of the species in the splendens complex. The males can get really rowdy with the ladies at times, and the females need to be able to get far away.
 

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Would any of the wine red Betta sp work?

Right now, I have a run of the mill Betta splendens swimming around in my 5g cube. He has so much character and seems so happy in there (he has a HUGE bubble nest and always flaring to...well everything). He is alone in there. He provides so much desk top entertainment, that my interest has been peaked in procuring wild Betta species.

I would still love to get Betta smaragdina, Mahachai, and imbellis... but perhaps those would be more appropriate for my larger tanks. However, I would still like to keep some kind of Betta species in the 5g cube. I would build the aquascape/design around them.

The difference between keeping the Betta and the Emerald-eye Rasbora is like night and day. I really think small schooling fish, no matter how small, are inappropriate for these tiny tanks. They were characterless, and the small quarters does not allow them display their only saving grace -- schooling behavior.

Carlos
 

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Carlos,
A pair or trio of the splendens group should give you no problems in a 5g cube. I kept a trio of smaragdina in an eclipse six and got a couple of spawns out of them. just be sure to give them enough refuges when the male gets too rough. (This will happen from time to time when the females are not in the mood.)
I have a little experience with the coccina group (currently keeping coccina, livida and sp. Palangkunbun) and from my observations, seem to be more intolerant of each other in smaller tanks. Both coccina and livida, I found will do well in groups only if kept in a 15g, they just need more space. Males and females are equally territorial and will bully each other to death if not given enough buffer. My sp. Palangkunbun are too very feisty, but it seems they are just nippy and like to tear each others fins rather than bum rush each other in their mid-bodied spots. This group is really secretive, so you might not get the same kind of satisfaction in watching behavior, I have to sneak up on my fish and hide behind a shield to observe them well!

The mouthbrooding types are by far the most gregarious and tame of the genus. They also have the most intriguing spawning rituals I have ever witnessed. I bet a pair or trio of dimidiata could fit in a 5g cube, even a pair or trio of albimarginata or channoides. Be prepared to drop some serious cash though on the latter two.
 

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Betta imbellis can be kept in a mixed group of 4-5. The males, unless B splendens, rarely engage in deadly combat. B. sp. Mahachai (which some authorities believe to be a wild hybrid of splendens and smaragdina) is rather less pugnacious compared to splendens and a sufficiently planted and spacious tank could house maybe 2 sparring males and a few females.

Most of the other wild bettas (pugnax, wine betta group, waseri, etc) can be kept in a small group, with some care.

Note though that all betta species (except the long-fin fancy varieties) are adept at jumping. A secure cover is a must.
 
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