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Old 03-17-2013, 08:14 PM   #1 
kimt
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Help me plan my sorority

I'm going to do this sorority the correct way. Research first,purchase necessary stuff, set up, and buy fish last. Completely opposite of how I did my first betta. Buy betta, plunk in a totally tiny tank, buy cheapest food possible, do research, buy all new stuff and spend twice as much as necessary due to poor planning

My birthday is Thursday and my husband asked me today what I wanted. I asked for a 20g long tank and stand. I don't have the funds to do this all at once so this will be a project over a 2-6 months depending on how much it costs. I haven't priced anything yet. This is strictly the planning phase. I read the sticky on tips for a successful sorority. I want it to be fully planted so I've got lots to read up on that too.

So my first question is how many girls can I do in a 20g long? I'd like to do some other fish too. I was thinking 6-8 female bettas and some other fish. What other fish would you recommend? Can I do more bettas than 8? Any other tips? If you were building a sorority from scratch, what would be important for you to include?

I'm really enjoying my two boys. I want more but I cannot have a gazillion 3-5 gallon tanks around my house and so I thought a sorority might be fun. I've been working my way through the huge thread of aquarium pictures so I have lots of ideas.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:29 PM   #2 
Fishy Mom
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My girls love the tall wisteria plants & it grows so well I'm constantly trimming the tops & making small bushes for the front of the tank. Also, floating anacharis helps to cut the top site line & my girls love lounging or hiding in it.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:08 PM   #3 
Xaltd1
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I would do 9-12 bettas in a 20 gallon. I've just come through a 9 month education in proper betta care (over the years I purchased that "must have" betta, only to have it die within days).
I purchased a 29 gallon. I had 3 girls in a 5 gallon hex; everyone here said it was a bad idea. (My 5 gal is now a little RCS farm). First, I tried a soil substrate and a heavily planted tank. I planted probably $100 worth of top-notch plants, cycled it. then put my 3 girls in. Then I introduced 6 albino corys. 2 of the corys died within 24 hours; hmm. The PetSmart replaced them, and 1 died within 24 hours. I purchased a liquid master kit, and all params were fine except my water is hard.
THEN, I got a case of the gimmee-gimmees. I ordered 10 fish from Aquabid; 6 from Thailand, 4 from the US, EVERYONE told me to QT them for 10+ days. Did I listen? Oh, no. My tank was too awsome (black sand substrate, nice plants). I acclimated my new fish quickly for a total of 13 bettas introduced right away.
Guess what? All the remaining corys died over the next 2 days. After that, I lost one $$ betta. Yikes... then another import became sick. I sprinted down to Walmart & hastily set up a 10 gal (w/plants from the bigger tank fo cycling purposes). And QT'd the remaining bettas. I lost the sick betta, and and 2 more were sinking to the bottom and looking grim. I did a 100% tear down of the 29 gallon: every grain of sand, decor, plant, got tossed. I let it dry, improved the filter & heater. I put new gravel & new ($$live$$$) plants in. I let it cycle for FOREVER. I lost 2 more bettas in the 10 gallon.
Eventually, I got the courage to introduce my remaining 8 girls into the 29 gallon. They've thrived so far; I even added a lovely white girl (who was QT's for 2 weeks!). Plus I have 2 more arriving from Thailand this week! They will also be in QT. I learned my lesson!!!!
As for bottom-feeders, I don't know what to do. I bought 4 tiny juvenile Ocellifer catfish. They've been in QT for a week. I hear that they are hardy! They get large, maybe too large- we'll see..

Last edited by Xaltd1; 03-17-2013 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:18 PM   #4 
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P.S. Since my cory disaster, I've been researching tankmates that will keep my substrate clean in hard water and at 80-82 degrees. The selection is poor. I'm growing the shrimp to have a little herd to have in the girls' tank while raising more babies (baby shrimp=betta food).
The ocellifer catfish is the best algae eater. Unfortunately, they transfer poorly (you lose 50% of what you buy)and hide all the time. They are also all wild caught- so far, they can't breed in captivity.
I have 3 in one of my boy's tanks that had an algae bloom & the 3 little fish cleaned it all up in no time.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:24 PM   #5 
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Good on you for wanting to do it this way around. Don't worry, the planning phase can be just as fun, especially since it doesn't involve the money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimt View Post

So my first question is how many girls can I do in a 20g long? I'd like to do some other fish too. I was thinking 6-8 female bettas and some other fish. What other fish would you recommend? Can I do more bettas than 8? Any other tips? If you were building a sorority from scratch, what would be important for you to include?
It depeds on what other fish you want. I would do anywhere between 6 and 10. I have 6 in my 16 gallon.

As for other fish, that depends on your water. You want fish that will be happy living in your water hardness and pH, so that you don't have to risk chemical adjustments to make them happy. If you have hard, basic water, look at livebearers, hatchetfish or Australian natives. If you have soft, acidic water, then cories, loaches and tetras will all be happy with you :)
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:30 PM   #6 
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I think we have soft water. We don't have a water softener. My parents have really hard water and they have a softener. We don't get water spots on the dishes or rings in the toilet like my parents do. Is it safe to assume our water is soft?
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:49 PM   #7 
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Since you're in the planning stage, buy an API "Master Test Kit". They're cheaper online (check Amazon) $20 vs. up to $40 in the petcosmarts. While you're at it, buy a box of extra vials on line. You can test all your tanks @ 1 sitting, plus the vials tend to break.
Your Ph will determine (IME more than any other factor, assuming your water is clean, heated & filtered) what kind of fish will co-exsist w/ bettas.
Personally, I don't want anything but bettas! I would like help w/ the substrate clean up, though!
I misspoke about the catfish. Ocellifer cats can't breed in captivity; Otos will breed, but everything has to be "just right".

Last edited by Xaltd1; 03-17-2013 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:52 PM   #8 
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+1 on the API Test Kit. API also makes a relatively cheap hardness test kit that includes GH and KH, which you should also be able to find online. :) I wouldn't assume, just in case, though it sounds like you have soft water. Personally, I find it easier because it gives you a lot of readily available options. :)
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:53 PM   #9 
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Duh, what I'm saying is "don't assume anything"! TEST!!!
There is info about water softeners some where on this site, but TEST first!
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:06 PM   #10 
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Xaltd, there's no need for that. I was addressing the OP on the non-assumption thing, anyway.
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