Q: My betta keeps eating the sinking wafers I feed my Emerald Cory Cats!! Is this harmful in any way or should I consider a divider at feeding times? He also guards the leftovers and flares and chases them. He's becoming quite the bully!

Question submitted by Martha, Haymarket - Virginia

A: A betta guard dog huh? Mmmm... I think we could market that LOL. I got a good laugh at your story when reading it, although I am sure your Cory cats have not. Well I guess my primary concern is not so much for the betta (I am sure the food cannot hurt him) but more for the fact that your cats are not able to get to their food. Why cause unnecessary stress on everyone? Perhaps a temporary divider at feeding time would in deed be a good alternative.

You can find dividers at your fish store, which come in a variety of sizes and can be further cut to custom fit your tank size. Of course that will only work if your betta cooperates and ends up on the "other side" of the partition while the Cory cats stay in their corner. Not sure how many Cory Cats you have so that may be hard to achieve. 

A trick: Bettas being very inquisitive and most often not shy, and being that they also are completely addicted to food LOL, you could do this: First feed the betta some food he likes, and always feed him in the same corner (away from the Cats). Bettas are smart (at least when it comes to food they are ;)  ), so in no time he will figure out to return to the same corner at feeding time. Once he is busy devouring his meal in his little corner you can gently slide in the partition making sure the cats are on the other side of it. THEN feed the cats. 

Another trick: If you get a partition that is wider than your tank, you can use this to your advantage. To make it fit in you will bow it (they are pliable) so it will be like a curve. Once inside tank, release your pressure and it will automatically want to straighten out, but the walls of tank will prevent it to do so, in the process the tension will keep partition in place for a short while (10 to 30 min). Long enough to feed your fish. You can of course cut it to size and use the standard clips that come with the partition but it is a bit harder sometimes to insert and remove, and since you will have to do this daily it might get on your nerves fast, so maybe try the other way first and if it doesn't work, cut the partition and use the clips.

Warning: Careful where you store your partition in between feeding. You will want it to be stored in a clean place, away from anything that might hurt bettas. Including house hold products etc... Remember you will be dipping it in your tank daily! So be safe. My advice? Use a clean plastic bag to store it in. Leave bag open at the top to allow water to evaporate. We don't want it to mildew or anything. 

Good luck and I hope this helped you.

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