Starting a sorority - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Starting a sorority

Hi guys,
I'm hoping my mom will let me start a sorority by my birthday and I have read every article on the Internet about having sororities, but I haven't found very much information from people with actual experience. I feel like I keep reading the same thing over and over again.
Anyways, I'm planning on keeping them in a ten gallon tank. I will quarantine them all in their cups with water changes every day or every other day for a week, then float them in the tank for a few hours and then add them all at the same time. The tank will be heated (not filtered) and have lots of cover. Here are my questions:
How many girls can I hold comfortably in this size tank/ how many is recommended?
Should I keep other tank mates in with the girls?
Would it be better to order sisters from the same spawn or is it okay to go with pet store bettas who have been sitting next to each other for days or weeks?
Live plants. Are they necessary/ recommended?
I was planning on doing a fish-in cycle. okay? Not okay? Doable but not recommended?
Any other recommendations and advice for me? Thank you!

One male veiltail named Finnick and hopefully a six girl, ten gallon sorority with four Otos very soon!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 02:31 AM
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Plants and hiding are good, but not entirely essential for successful sorority. 1 fish per gallon or 1 fish per two gallon is just fine. Tanks mates are fine. Cycle or not cycle is fine. With fish or without fish for cycling is also fine. Siblings or not doesn't matter. Eventually, separation for 1 whole day is enough to stir up aggression. When shipping, they are separated. Some people on this forum recommend at least 4 females; I say that is just fine too. Looks like you read more than enough lol. You should be fine :)

, Kevin
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 05:03 AM
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I would be very hesitant to do a fish-in cycle with a sorority.

Bettas are semi-aggressive and territorial fish. Even the females. There is already going to be a constant, low level of stress in even the best of sororities because you are forcing fish of this nature to live in close confines.

I would not want to add further to this stress by trying to cycle the tank while the females are in it. All it can take is one female with a weaker immune system/constitution than the others and an unexpected spike in ammonia/nitrite and you may have problems with sick or diseased fish.

I think in a 10 gallon tank, 5-6 females is fine. You would not be drastically overstocking the tank, but you have a good number of females to spread aggression around. Siblings and young females tend to be the most adaptable to sorority life, but there is no reason a mature female from a pet or fish store can't be added. I had quite a number in my past sorority.

I like live plants in sororities. Live plants can help maintain water quality in between water changes, and if you choose a lot of fast growing stem plants, you can create quite a lot of cover very quickly. Unlike the poster above, I think an ample amount of cover is an essential part of any sorority.

In a 10 gallon tank I would not keep any other fish in the tank. In my personal opinion, I would advise looking at tanks in the 15-20 gallon range if you wanted to keep your sorority in a community setting.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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I was going to be quarantining the girls for a week, so I could start cycling then, burr I don't think I will really have time to do a fishless cycle, as weird as that sounds. As for the live plants, would moss balls and those silly Betta bulb things be sufficient? I'm not sure I want to go head on into the world of love plants just yet. And also, I read that sororities work better in odd numbers. Is this true?

One male veiltail named Finnick and hopefully a six girl, ten gallon sorority with four Otos very soon!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:18 AM
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+1 for LittleBettaFish's post.

Tall plants are best because they help break up the line of sight, preventing too much chasing. I have 7 girls in my 55 gallon community tank, and one side of the tank is densely planted with one enormously tall amazon sword (over 2 feet tall), and a dwarf lily plant with lots of lily pads. The other side of the tank has some tall red ludwigia, but also some short swords (two of which will get taller), an anubias plant, which I believe gets longer but not taller, and some Wisteria, which is short now but will get tall.
Plants are not difficult when you have the right lighting. You can even get some tall silk plants as well as moss balls and betta bulbs. Some of the fake plants can look almost real.

In my sorority I have one female I had for about 8 months, another female who I've had for about 4 months, 4 that I bought from Petsmart in one day, and then I even added one 3 days later because I saw it in the store and I couldn't resist. She's like, pinky-orange with blue iridescent rays in her fins. Anyway, they all get along very well so far. It's been about 3 weeks. I didn't even have much of a problem when I added the new one 3 days later. She asserted herself but wasn't violent or anything, and she didn't get picked on, either.

I'm not sure about the odd-numbers thing.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 05:52 PM
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I've had 2 sororities, the first one failed, but I learned a lot. My current tank has 6 females (16 gallon) and I hand picked them over several weeks time at PetCo. I would put two cups together and see how they react to one another, after a while of examination I would pick the less aggressive one. Although a reaction to my finger at the cup was more desirable (I wanted active bettas). If you pick sisters you'll end up with a tank full of bettas that all look the same (which defeats some of the purpose, the beauty of it). If you can pick all different colors and types.

I usually do fish-in cycles with live plants, but when it came to the sorority I kept the main tank cycled before introducing them. They're under enough stress.

I had 2 standby tanks. A 2.5 gallon and a long 6.6 gallon that was divided. I housed the girls in those tanks until I had gathered all the females I wanted. I then introduced them at the same time into the main tank. I found no help introducing them based on aggression, because you don't truly find out their personalities until they react in the full sorority. To add females I use 2 breeder boxes and house the new females in those so they're in contact with the sorority but can settle down with protection (standby boxes?).

You will eat your finger nails. They will fight. A nip and run is ok. An all out rumble and tumble is not. You may want to keep an eye on them after introduction to break up these fights (with your fingers). After 48 hours you'll probably be able to sit a little easier and go back to work or school. I introduced my girls on a holiday weekend. If you have any overly aggressive females (that just won't settle) I've found that a time-out technique works really well. The aggressive female would go in a breeder box (so she remains in the tank and in contact with the other females). Their aggression seemed to decrease the longer they were kept in the box (they gave up on attacks). My worst female remained in the breeder box for 1 week, and then when she resumed attacks, another 2 weeks. She no longer nips at anyone to this day.

When I introduce new girls I put them in breeder boxes in the tank. They stay there for at least 2 weeks. They learn to be more comunal in the tank without being able to attack the other females. I usually have smooth fight free introductions this way. The worse I usually see is chasing, but it's not often. If you change the sorority in this way or add other fish you can disturb their pecking order. After I added 2 new girls some new chasing started, but it settled after a few days.

FYI: My first sorority failed due to a freak accident. I use a nano tank and 2 girls managed to swim through the filter intake vents to the back of the tank. There one of them got killed by the pump impeller and the other one managed to catch a disease (immune system likely compromised by a great amount of stress). 2 other girls eventually got sick and only one girl survived. The disease was never diagnosed (they died with no visual sign of sickness other than lethargy).

Last edited by Xeek; 06-19-2013 at 05:54 PM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any standby tanks besides a one gallon and possibly a 2.5 gallon if my petco baby turns out to be a girl. I'm thinking I will probably just get them all at the same time, or if I have to, keep them in their cups with daily water changes, would that be horrible?
Thanks for the advice about getting and adding and picking they girls and the plants. It has helped a lot, and even after all that reading I did, I feel more confident about my sorority from your guy's help.
Thank you!!!

One male veiltail named Finnick and hopefully a six girl, ten gallon sorority with four Otos very soon!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 07:32 PM
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I am new to this site but have been keeping bettas for 15 years. I had a 36 Gal sorority with 7 females. It was not a peaceful tank EVER. They got along but one or 2 were always bullied to the point where I never saw them because they hid all the time. They slowly stress each other out till they die. They do not live long in a sorority tank I had my girls for 1.5 years. All were gone around 2 years. I thought that was a short life for a betta. Most my bettas in the past lived 5+ years.

I might have been unlucky but from what I learned its not fun to have a sorority tank. It might work for a few month then things change. As they mature it gets bad. The pecking order changes too over time they are always trying to be the top female.

Maybe a 3 foot tank with lots of plants I mean LOTS OF PLants to the point where it looks like a jungle Could work. That would work maybe. My tank might have been too open.

Last edited by snowflake311; 06-19-2013 at 07:35 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 07:32 PM
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You could probably fit a couple of breeder boxes in your main tank to put 2 of them in. PetCo has a decent cheap transparent breeder box that's pretty cheap, I use 3 of those. They'l either need the covers on or a lid on the tank, they'l jump to get to other water sources (it's their nature) or even to attack. You may even have room to float a couple of those betta cups in the tank too. I quarantined mine 2 at a time. I didn't have room to quarantine them all individually, because I'm anal and wanted them all in warm filtered water, so I used small tanks. Really though having them in very close proximity for a long time will start them learning to be communal, although I would keep the light off more often to reduce stress.

Once you've got 4 together and somewhat stable in the tank you can stick those 2 breeder boxes back in and add 2 more girls in those boxes. Keep them in there for a week or so and then set them free with the group. I probably wouldn't want to do more than 6 in a 10 gallon and I would definitely have real plants in there to help keep the water stable (they'll love some anubias plants, just don't stick anubias in the substrate, I weight mine down with aqua stones).

One thing I didn't mention, is before I would put the 2 new girls in the breeder boxes I would have quaranteed them for an additional week in a seperate divided tank (but you may not have that) so you may have more risk.

Petco Bookshelf Freshwater Fish Aquarium was my 6.6 gallon long divided female quarantine tank. I kept 2 girls in there for 1 - 2 weeks before moving them to breeder boxes in the main sorority tank for an additional amount of time.

Last edited by Xeek; 06-19-2013 at 07:38 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:32 PM
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You can get live plants that are in little pots if you don't want to plant them in your substrate. Mine have done very well.

Boys:Miracle; Pasodoble;Blaze;Girls:Sapphire;Dodie;Queen B;Jewels;Pretty Bird;Sweetheart;Trouble;Blessing;
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