Betta Attacks and Kills Innocent Guppy

I never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. A full grown male betta started to pick on a small male guppy when it was first introduced into the tank. The guppy began hiding behind plants and rocks and I assumed that it would survive the night. I was wrong. The next moring the guppy was found torn to shreads at the bottom of the tank.

I don’t have any other agressive fish in the tank, and the guppy looked healthy when I introduced it, so I’m fairly sure it was the Betta that killed him. Has anyone else ever experienced this before? Could the betta have mistaken the male guppy for another male betta? it hasn’t bothered any of the other fish in the tank… including the femail guppy. The mind boggles…

Gosh, I’d never put my betta in with other fish; he’s really aggressive. But I see from Googling, it’s not unheard of. And from here

So maybe that’s what happened.

You shouldn’t keep any fish that have long, trailing fins with a betta. They’re pretty dumb, even for fish, and can indeed attack them. To be safe, I just keep my betta with two frogs and a snail, which are no problem.

I’ve seen Bettas attack anything that moved in their tank… including small, silvery, fast-moving fish that look absolutely NOTHING like bettas.

I’m no fish expert but I think Bettas do best alone.

They’re called fighting fish for a reason, apparently.

What makes you think the guppy was innocent?
Maybe the first thing he did in the tank was insult the betta’s mother.

Betas are the serial killers of the aquatic kingdom. A co-worker of mine lost quite a few fish before she finally admitted that her beta was Pure Evil and had to be kept in solitary confinement. She reported that he took to attacking his reflection for lack of other victims.

When I was a kid, I would breed bettas specifically for fighting builds (shorter, less fragile fins, stockier, more powerful builds, more aggressive temperaments), so I think I know a bit about their killing habits. Perhaps I’m not the best person to ask about your standard showy-type bettas, but I wouldn’t call this unusual at all.

Among showy bettas, some are pretty placid, but most will kill fish that show fear (like guppies). A small minority (the ones you want if you’re breeding fighters) just don’t care. They have the philosophy that anything bigger is a challenge (which should be attacked to establish pecking order) and anything smaller is worth beating into submission (just to remind it of its place). One of my favorite fish would try to attack peanut butter lids held up to his tank. He didn’t take crap from anyone, fifty times bigger or no.

They’re dumber than gravel. They don’t have a really clear grasp of the “Not a betta; don’t kill that” concept. These things seem to set them off particularly:
1 - Round shapes (anything that looks remotely like another betta’s flared gill plates)
2 - Bright colors, particularly blues and reds.
3 - Long, horizontally flowy shapes. I never noticed any of them beating up on the plants, though.
4 - Quick movement (sometimes). Depends how ornery the betta is feeling at the moment. If it’s feeling angry enough, living is enough to set some of those guys off.

We avoided getting bettas for just this reason. We settled on two swordtails, three guppies, one plecostomus, and one African frog. Two days after we got them home, we noticed the female swordtail bullying the frog. That evening, despite our efforts to help him out, he was dead. She hadn’t actually bitten him, though, as far as we could tell, and we chalked it up to the frog being more sensitive than the fish.

A week later, one of the female guppies mysteriously died. Her body was missing a fin when we found her, but these things happen in the best of tanks.

The next day, the other female guppy went missing. We have yet to find any remains.

For a week or so, the remaining four fish coexisted happily, or so we thought. Then one day, we discovered the male guppy lying on the bottom of the tank with some necessary body parts missing. And the next evening, we found the plecostomus’s head - just the head.

We’re keeping the remaining two killers, but I’ll tell you, we’re leaving the cover on that tank, and we’re going to keep a close eye on the smallest cat. Those fish are devious.

Well, yes, it was the betta. They’re mean little fishies. I think they’re a lot of fun, but you definitely want to keep them alone.

The funniest betta story I have hapened a few years ago, when I still had my big, goofy, loveable Gordon Setter Corey, who loved everyone and everything, and always enjoyed watching the fish in my tanks. One day I bought a small 2 gallon tank, and a pretty male betta. Corey saw the tank and trotted right over, it was right at euye level for him, and he put his nose right up to it, and the betta dashed right over and there they were, nose to nose, with the fish all flared up and attacking this 70 lb, dog! It was absolutely the funniest thing I have ever seen, and it happened regularly.

According to Wiki, there are about 65 different species of fish that are commonly included under the genus betta. The best known classification of betta is also referred to as a Siamese Fighting Fish. For good reason.

I used to have a male betta in a tank with a blackskirted tetra, a catfish and two sunset gourami’s, and I ended up having to get a separate tank for the poor Betta! If anything, he was lowest on the pecking order, constantly chased/nipped by the gourami’s. Even the tetra bossed him around, although the catfish was quite content zipping around the tank madly and ignoring everyone else.

Actually, you totally can keep a betta in with other fish, even with long trailing fish. Honestly, it all depends. I had my betta in with Angels, catfish, tetras, and assorted other ones, and he lived with them for two years. Then I made the stupid mistake of introducing a female betta and within a week he killed the tank.

Now I have a betta living with a catfish and a loach and they are doing fine. It all depends. Are you sure you fed him enough? Sometimes they’re just mean suckers.

I don’t think bettas are dumb (as fish go), I think they just really enjoy fighting and look for any excuse. My betta is the smartest fish I’ve ever had and he knows how to get my attention when he’s bored or hungry. Compared to the cow-like goldfish, he’s an Einstein.

My aunts bought a betta and an itsy bitsy shrimp thing, which they named Cousteau and Jacques, respectively. (Their tank was the Calliope). The guy at the pet store said it was fine to have them both in the same tank. Cousteau disagreed, and within a few days, bits of Jacques were found floating in the tank.

The betta I used to have would get all puffed up and thrashy when confronted with a mirror.

William T. Innes listed “Suggested community tank combinations” in his Exotic Aquarium Fishes including a single male betta with various fish including guppies and neon tetras.

that’s true, there’s nothing a Betta likes…'betta… than an All You Can Eat Buffet!, and Neons and Guppies certainly qualify as “Snack” to a betta, i actually keep guppies in my heavily-planted 20 long with my male Crowntail betta so he can have a steady source of live food (the guppy babies)

Sure, anybody eats anything that will fit in their mouth. It’s been a while since I kept them, but I don’t recall Bettas being agressive. On the other hand, they fell victim to fin rippers.

Innes is no goofball; Neon tetras are named Hyphessobrycon innesi. :slight_smile: