I'm a new rat owner, and I've gotten three rats at the moment. As a new rat owner I made the mistake of not getting my first rat in a pair or group and I got the largest one at the pet store. His name is Walter and he was put as the "Jumbo rat." He had healing or healed bite marks and bruises on his tail. I had him for a few days then got all this information about rats needing to be in pairs or groups because of how social they are.
So I got two new "medium rats." Victor and Charles (I've had the babies for five days now). I have a large tank and a carrier at the moment but no barred cages because of money issues. I've been putting the rats in neutral areas and they've been great together. I put them in the carrier for awhile and they did well in there, not fighting but just sniffing and sleeping beside each other.
But, whenever I have them all in the tank it all just goes down. Victor and Walter seem to be the ones fighting for dominance and Charles is the calm one that always gets brought into it. Victor squeaks quite loudly at Walter. I'm not sure if it's because of how he's scared of the larger rat or it's a dominance thing? And it seems to stress Walter out or irritate him. Then a fight happens. I break it up, though. I'm not sure if I should let it go until it gets bad. But I think it's all because I'm introducing them wrong?
I have put the carrier in the tank, so they know each other's smells. I put the lid on at night and when I'm out then when I'm at home I take it off and watch them. As soon as Victor or Charles steps out of the carrier a fight happens. I've been checking the two for any wounds and they have scratches and bites on them. Charles even has a small bite wound on his head which worries me terribly. I don't know what I should do and it's all been putting me in a terrible mental state.
How can I introduce my 3 rats to each other so they won't fight each other?