Q: Will bettas attack other fish?

Question submitted by dj, indianapolis - indiana

A: Well guys, we just broke our record for the shortest question to date. But remember, it's not the size, it's how you ask it LOL. Size does not matter (hum... or so they say...) .

So before I tackle this ever so short question and give it an ever so short answer, I wanted to share a little interesting anecdote with you all. It has to do with our last column, which covered medicating bettas and assessing the proper quantities of medication in a jar application.

And this goes to show that when you give, it shall be given back. I helped you and unbeknownst to you, you helped me back. Confused? I'll explain: See over the week end I was cleaning my fishroom (MAJOR fall cleaning, and I mean MAJOR). In the process I was putting away some bottles and Maracide was one of them. I remembered we had just talked about maracide. 

Now let me open a parenthesis here. I have been using (and swearing by) Maracide for over 6 years now. For 6 years I have purchased and used this product with great results. This summer, I ran out of my last bottle (I usually stock up on stuff I like) (too bad there is only one Mr.181, otherwise I wouldn't mind keeping a few extra ones in the closet LOL) (I can't believe I just typed this LOLOL). Hum, anyways, back to bettas now, as I was saying I had just ran out of the last Maracide bottle. Went to my supplier, he was out. (??). He was out for a while, about 6 weeks or so. Annoying as it was to come back empty handed each trip, I was not under any kind of big hurry because none of my bettas had velvet or ich. Finally, I find the beloved product again. But it had changed "looks". The cylinder shaped brownish bottle with white cap had been replaced with a flat bottle of white color with navy blue cap (like you care). Otherwise, same name, same brand. OK, 'whatever' I thought, and took the maracide home. Subsequently I got a fish from an affiliated breeder which arrived with velvet. I was grateful that my ever so sharp eye immediately detected the problem. I figured, since I caught it early and have the maracide she will recover within a week. Cause usually that's how it goes. But not this time. A week went by without any sign of improvement. Then two, soon three... A month later I was about to give up. This female would never recover I thought. I was puzzled. Why would a product that had always worked so well suddenly let me down? Was I dealing with a rare, stubborn form of velvet???? Since I couldn't write Faith at bettatalk to ask her to help me (she usually ignores me LOL), I concluded that answers shall not be found in this life time and that this would remain another betta mystery to be solved in the next one LOL.

That's when you guys step in. By asking your question about dosage, you somehow stimulated some brain cells that must have been collecting dust in there for a while, and finally (it took a while though) it went ZAP! I saw the light (at the end of the velvet tunnel)

So now let me bring you back to the beginning, with me, standing in my fishroom with the (new) bottle of Maracide in my hand. And that's when it hit me. Could those guys not only have changed the "look" of their medication but also changed the CONCENTRATION??. It became obvious after reading the fine print on the back that the old "one drop per gallon" rule no longer applied and after a quick recalculation I found that the new dosage was now about 6 drops per quart !!! Geese, no wonder my female wouldn't get better!! I had put one drop per quart jar, thinking I was already pushing the envelope (overdosing). I immediately did a water change and added 8 drops to her quart jar. Came back 2 days later and to find the velvet was GONE. hehehehehehehehe... 

So my question is: if a manufacturer changes an already established product's concentration, should they not indicate it it big bright letters on the front of the package? How are we, old timers who use their products for years, to know that all of a sudden, we are to put 24 times more of that medication in the jar? Do we read minds? No.. Granted some of you might mumble "yes, but we can read labels". Should one re-read the label of each refill he/she buys? Even when it is the EXACT same medication from the EXACT same manufacturer? I guess the answer is yes. Or at least glance every now and then, especially if the medication has a "new look" and is not giving the proper results LOL. Who would have known? I shared this finding with another fish expert and she was like "THANK YOU for letting me know. I had NO IDEA". She too, would have continued using that product according to the usual prescribed dosage of 1 drop per gallon.

So there you go. Live and learn. You get a prettier bottle but you get a watered down potion and subsequently less for your money. having said that Maracide remains the BEST medication for velvet in my opinion and I still swear by it. So I don't mind paying the same price for a bit less cause it is still a great deal. I just wish they had told me, that's all.

Now back to our short question of the day: "Will bettas attack other fish?". The ever so short answer to this short question is: NO (Two letters, it don't get any shorter than that LOL)


Bettas are very aggressive towards other bettas but seem very lenient with other species. They rarely bother them and are usually very gentle. However, other fish may pick on bettas, so beware! Tiger sharks, and other fast swimming pests are notorious for nipping other fish and bettas are a great target cause their fins are so long and they swim so slow. A bad combination. So beware!