How to stop Betta from stealing Cory food?

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random18me

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I'm still new to the aquarium hobby, I've had my tank with Harlequin Rasbora's and Panda Cory's for about two months, and my Betta joined the tank about a month ago.

After a few days, my Betta noticed my Cory's eating, and since then he's constantly trying to steal their food.

For context: my Rasbora's and Betta both get the same food, really small floating pellets, which I feed them twice a day. The Cory's get this sinking wafer. It's pretty big, so I usually only give them half a wafer a day, since they're pretty slow eaters.

The problem now is, that as soon as I throw the half wafer in the water, my Betta "attacks" it (for lack of a better word) while it's still sinking, and he tries to rip pieces out of it. He'll keep doing this until he's bloated and looks like one more bite would actually kill him.

After that, I now always soak the wafer in aquarium water first, because it pretty much dubbels in size, so if my Betta eats it, it won't inflate in his stomach.

After that, I tried distracting him while I threw the wafer in, but now he doesn't look for the wafer, he follows the Cory's, because he knows they'll lead him to more food.

I tried breaking the wafer in smaller pieces, but now it's just easier for my Betta to eat it.
I tried pulverizing the wafer, but that was just a mess, and that time the Rasbora's also joined the theft, because the pieces were now small enough for them to eat as well.

I currently feed my Cory's at night, when the aquarium light and the light in the room have been off for at least an hour. I break the (half) wafer in a couple pieces (and soak the pieces in aquarium water), in the hope that, if my Betta does find the food in the dark, at least he won't find all of it.

The problems with this is that my Betta still wakes up when I throw the food in, because I use the light from my phone to be able to see enough to throw the food in, and my Betta has a Pavlovian response to the latch in the lid of the tank opening, and immediately starts searching for food. And, because it's dark and night, I can't actually watch my Cory's eat, so I'm never sure how much food my Cory's got (did they eat enough?), and how much my Betta stole (did he eat too much?).

This doesn't feel like a practical way to go about feeding my fish, but I literally don't know what else I can still try. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I could still try?

(Also, my Betta doesn't attack the Cory's when he's stealing food, he's just a bit rude, but overall quite gentle about it, so at least I don't have to worry about that.)
 

NoodleCats

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Honestly I think it may be a good idea to give the betta his own tank for a couple of reasons.

1. Overeating of other fishes food will not stop and will lead to possible dropsy which is often fatal.

2. Panda cories need much colder temperatures than bettas need, bettas do better 78-80F range while pandas do best below 75F. Keeping fish at the wrong temperature affects their immune system and makes them prone to illness and shorter lifespans.

3. While okay now, bettas can easily turn on tankmates out of the blue and suddenly become aggressive without whim or reason. Its less stressful for everyone for the betta to have his own tank.

Bettas are adorable gluttons lol
 
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Sprinkle

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Bettas are not community fish at any reason. Fish send out pheromones and other species read them as allomones which leads to tension between the fish species in the tank and the betta can snap at his tank mates out of the blue. Bettas do better on their own, go and get a 5 gallon tank for him with a filter and a heater and you will enjoy him more and see his other side better :)
What size the tank is if may I ask?
 

random18me

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Wow, I didn't know Panda Cories needed a lower temperature. When I asked my fish store which fish would go together well with a male Betta, literally the first fish they recommended were Panda Cories. I thought their prefered temperature range was between 68 and 82 °F? So I figured they would be happy with the water at 78°F, but that's too high then?

My tank is a 50 liter (a little over 13 gallons) tank.
Length, width, height are 45cm x 30cm x 40cm (17,7inch x 11,8inch x 15,7inch).

I've had my Betta for about a month now, and he's super sweet and nice. Can he really just become agressive from one day to the next?

Getting a seperate tank for my Betta isn't an easy solution at the moment. I don't really have any place where I could comfortably put a second tank, plus getting a new tank, filter, heater, plants, you know, all that, isn't super cheap, so i'd have to figure that stuff out first. (Plus, I still live with my parents, and they weren't exactly enthousiastic about me getting an aquarium, and they think I already spent too much time "worrying" about my fish ("So what if you think your Betta eats too much, he won't eat himself too death." Yes, he will.)) So yeah, a lot to figure out.

But if it's better for the Cories to be in colder water, then I'll start thinking about getting a second tank.

It might take a bit of time, so any tips to stop my Betta stealing food while they're still in the same tank?
 

Sprinkle

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Overfeeding will lead to dropsy, so I would recommend you cutting down on feeding while you get the spare tank. Leave cories in the 50L tank and move the betta to the spare tank.
You were clearly mislead by your store, no betta should be kept with other fish and panda cories need temperature below 75 F.

Panda cories are nano cories, so they should be fine in the 50L+ tank.
 
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It really depends what source one uses to determine the ideal temp. for pandas. Planetcatfish puts the top temp at 77F as does SeriouslyFish which differentiates between wild v.s. tank raised fish. They state TR fish can do fine up to 77F but wilds need a bit cooler.
https://www.planetcatfish.com/common/species.php?species_id=267
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/corydoras-panda/

I kept twin 2.5 gal planted tanks end to end each with a Betta splendens and 3 panda corys. I gave away the splendens after 10 months and moved the corys to a 5.5 gal.

Also, there are about 70 species of Betta. They are not identical by any means in their needs, behavior and compatibility. Splendens are the most popular species. I am partial towards imbellis.
 
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the loach

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I am extremely doubtful that a fish that is recorded to live in water temperatures of 60 degrees suddenly needs over 72 degrees after being tank bred. People don't even bother to keep goldfish or white clouds at 60 degrees, everything has to be at 75+ cause it is convenient (room temperature) and you "need" a heater. I am sure they did not even bother with pandas as well. Both Planet catfish and Seriously fish are wrong here by just putting a generic tropical range up. Nothing new, they have been doing it for decades in books as well.
 

random18me

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Just wanted to give an update that my Betta now has his own 30 liter (8 gallon) tank, and my Cories can now be fed normally and their water has a lower temperature. They're all happy and healthy, so I just wanted to thank everyone for the help and advice!
 

Sprinkle

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Just wanted to give an update that my Betta now has his own 30 liter (8 gallon) tank, and my Cories can now be fed normally and their water has a lower temperature. They're all happy and healthy, so I just wanted to thank everyone for the help and advice!
That's absolutely great to hear! 😍
 
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