Thanks for the reply @mjwgh2
. I thought they might be breeding stripes but it seems strange.
Long version - last October I picked up a male "Alien" hybrid betta at an Expo called The Aquatic Experiencnce in NJ. I didn't intend on buying fish that day, but you know how it goes.
This male is a bit shy and retiring. In five months he's never built a bubble nest and a mirror doesn't bother him too much. He's perfectly healthy and has practically doubled in size. He lives in a 10 gallon planted tank.
Last month I happened to see a tiny blue female version of my male. I've always wanted a female - not necessarily to breed - at least not now (yes I'm aware it's labor intensive!).
Out of curiosity, I put her in a tank adjacent to his - they could see each other. The little female (she's less than half his size) immediately began pacing up and down the side that faced the male's tank. The male just flared and acted belligerently until he gave up and ignored her.
After a week I put cardboard between the tanks so they couldn't see each other. This didn't stop the female from relentlessly pacing up and down the cardboard side, which she's *still* doing!
The male didn't attempt to build a nest during this time.
One day out of curiosity, I put the little female in the male's tank for about a minute. I was really wondering what he'd do, since these "wild types" are allegedly "peaceful". Or at least not so aggresive.
She started following him around like a little puppy. Pestering him. The male didn't appear to appreciate the attention. He kept flaring at her and chased her off, cornering her behind the filter. That's when I noticed the stripes and removed her (she's as small as ever; if she's gravid I can't see it).
I'm not sure how to interpret what I saw. Since their brief encounter the male has been acting totally different. He spent the rest of the day and the next day out in the open "patrolling" his entire tank (he's never done this). He was calm, but very thorough. Next, HE starts glass surfing on the side blocked by cardboard! WTH? This fish has *never* glass surfed. Does he "know" she's on the other side?
Finally tonight he's mellowing out but still more active than usual. The little female stops pacing long enough to eat live daphnia, but then back to pacing. She's not exploring her tank at all. She can't see him so I don't know why she's fixated on that cardboard divider?
The reason I thought the female's stripes were stress stripes is #1 the incessant pacing (since she was new I left the tank light off for a few days - it didn't help) and then #2 the brief encounter with a big flaring male.
I hope the above clarifies things a bit. You mentioned pre-breeding/aggressive stripes - would you mind elaborating?
I thought breeding stripes signaled readiness to spawn - but if that were the case wouldn't she be obviously gravid? If the stripes were signaling aggression, then why was she shadowing him? (not stalking, more like "playfulness").
And finally, any idea why the male has never built a nest even with an apparently willing female next door?
Thank you much for any insight.
Apologies for crappy photo quality, but if you zoom in on pic #3, you can see them "facing off" behind filter intake and the size difference is readily apparent.
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