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Old 04-15-2013, 03:11 PM   #1 
bannlow2471
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Ok, help me figure this out ...

Hi, everyone!

Ok, so I could really use the help of some experienced Betta keepers, here, especially those well-versed in sororities.

FWIW, let me just preface by saying I have read all the stickies and posts about sororities. I know the general "rules" - i.e. minimum size is five to six females in a 10 gallon tank, need to make sure the tank is cycled and the water parameters are kept in perfect alignment, provide lots of hidey-spots and plant coverage, and no clear line of sight from one end of tank to the other. That's what I *do* know.

Here's what I don't know:

1) Is it better to have five or six girls in a 10 gallon or should I go up to a 15 or 20 gallon and add more girls? Or even just go up to a 15 or 20 gallon and keep five or six?

2) Are odd numbers better, or even numbers, or does it not matter?

3) Let's say I get a 20 gallon tank and establish a five or six girl sorority but six months from now (or longer) I get an itch to add one or two more? Does this upset the whole balance or does it not really make a difference as long as the tank itself is big enough? If I did this, would it make sense to do an overhaul and pull all the fish out, maybe rearrange the plants and hidey-spots and then release all the fish back in at the same time?

4) Do certain tail types do better in sororities than others? It was just brought up last night in another thread that crowntail mailes are known to be more aggressive than most other tail types? I hadn't heard this before, but assuming that's true, does it therefore then follow that crowntail females are the same way? Because my two females that I have now are both crowntails, so does this mean I'm going to have issues or is it more a case of individual personality than tail type?

5) I've read that sororities are usually either a resounding success or an epic failure, but what are the odds that it will either succeed or fail? Is it a total crap shoot, or if I do the right things up front, do I stand a good chance of this succeeding. Because the thing is ... ideally I only want two tanks right now - a 5 gallon for Chai Son (my young male Petco baby) and then the 10 gallon. Right now I've got three going - Suma's in a 5 gallon, Chai Son is in Murray's old 2.5 and the new crowntail female, Aurora, is in a Kritter Keeper that is unfiltered, and so lots of water changes. I don't want to keep this up indefinitely, so I'd like to start working on getting the 10 gallon stocked with plants and cycled, and try to add the fish within the next 6 weeks or so. I only have the two girls now, so I was thinking I'll try to either pick up a random girl or two here or there locally or maybe look on Aquabid and see if I can get three from one seller and just have them shipped. If anyone has any thoughts there on sellers they are really happy with, I'd love to hear about that, and if you have any negative information on those same sellers, please PM me and let me know. This last question is really what haunts me, because I don't want to get all these beautiful fish, fall in love with them, and then be faced with them getting killed, or having to reconcile myself to a whole bunch of separate tanks or rehoming some of them. So if I have less than a 60% shot of success with a sorority, even under optimized conditions, I think I may just stop with the ones I have, figure out a way to safely divide the 10 gallon for the two girls, and move Chai Son into the 5 gallon when he gets a little bigger.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:13 PM   #2 
Xeek
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1) Is it better to have five or six girls in a 10 gallon or should I go up to a 15 or 20 gallon and add more girls? Or even just go up to a 15 or 20 gallon and keep five or six?

I have had succes with just 4 in a 16 gallon. I have 6 now though and last year had 8. I didn't notice any difference other than the aggression was less mostly due to my change of techniques when introducing them. I've found the aggression controllable. I can elaborate if you want. If you move up to a 15 or 20 gallon your choices of tank mates goes up! I have a 16 gallon that has allowed me to have a decent amount of corydoras that I love!

2) Are odd numbers better, or even numbers, or does it not matter?

I have not found that to matter at all. Thinking this would imply you're assuming they pair up, socialize, or have some concept of math. None of that would be true though.

3) Let's say I get a 20 gallon tank and establish a five or six girl sorority but six months from now (or longer) I get an itch to add one or two more? Does this upset the whole balance or does it not really make a difference as long as the tank itself is big enough? If I did this, would it make sense to do an overhaul and pull all the fish out, maybe rearrange the plants and hidey-spots and then release all the fish back in at the same time?

It upsets the balance some of the girls may or may not decide to take advantage of this change in their environment and challenge their position in the pecking order. I've seen this happen after just adding corydoras. I added 5 albino corydoras and BigGirl is no longer queen as Marbles has taken up that position now, at the cost of half of BigGirl's tail! When adding bettas though I've had fewer problems as I introduce them a certain way.

4) Do certain tail types do better in sororities than others? It was just brought up last night in another thread that crowntail mailes are known to be more aggressive than most other tail types? I hadn't heard this before, but assuming that's true, does it therefore then follow that crowntail females are the same way? Because my two females that I have now are both crowntails, so does this mean I'm going to have issues or is it more a case of individual personality than tail type?

Funny you ask, I've found the crown tails in the past to be very aggressive, but others may say the opposite. All of my girls are veil tails, and I've had so much success with them. I have no idea if there is any correlation as I would have to have more groups of sororities to experiment with on that.

5) I've read that sororities are usually either a resounding success or an epic failure, but what are the odds that it will either succeed or fail? Is it a total crap shoot, or if I do the right things up front, do I stand a good chance of this succeeding. Because the thing is ... ideally I only want two tanks right now - a 5 gallon for Chai Son (my young male Petco baby) and then the 10 gallon. Right now I've got three going - Suma's in a 5 gallon, Chai Son is in Murray's old 2.5 and the new crowntail female, Aurora, is in a Kritter Keeper that is unfiltered, and so lots of water changes. I don't want to keep this up indefinitely, so I'd like to start working on getting the 10 gallon stocked with plants and cycled, and try to add the fish within the next 6 weeks or so. I only have the two girls now, so I was thinking I'll try to either pick up a random girl or two here or there locally or maybe look on Aquabid and see if I can get three from one seller and just have them shipped. If anyone has any thoughts there on sellers they are really happy with, I'd love to hear about that, and if you have any negative information on those same sellers, please PM me and let me know. This last question is really what haunts me, because I don't want to get all these beautiful fish, fall in love with them, and then be faced with them getting killed, or having to reconcile myself to a whole bunch of separate tanks or rehoming some of them. So if I have less than a 60% shot of success with a sorority, even under optimized conditions, I think I may just stop with the ones I have, figure out a way to safely divide the 10 gallon for the two girls, and move Chai Son into the 5 gallon when he gets a little bigger.

I have developed techniques that I feel confident with if I ever start more sororities I can do them successfully every time. Even after coming across some really aggressive girls I've learned how to tone that down and even they eventually join the others and at the bottom of the pecking order too. If you do enough research have the right tools and equipment (multiple tanks, etc.), have the patience. You will succeed 100% of the time or your failure is only because you gave up.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:25 PM   #3 
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Ok so I literally just got all my girls together 5 days ago. I'm actually following this because I am interesting in the same things as you are.

I would like to add that you can have as little as 3 girls in a 10 gallon but ONLY (of course) if you have PLENTY of hiding places and fairly calm females. I actually was doing the 3 girls until last night when I brought home two more girls...:P

1) The more space the better. More girls means that there will be more spreading of aggression or dominance. Of course if you have one very aggressive girl it doesn't matter how many you have, you just have to get her out of there (and I found out when they lock jaws that's one female trying to drown the other so I was told to obviously break them up immediately). I have 5 girls in my 10 gallon currently and everyone seems to be ok. If you only want to have 4-6 females you can still go up to a 20 gallon tank. It will allow (from what I know) them to just have more space.

2) actually someone at petco brought that up yesterday when I was deciding whether to get two more or one more females. Yesterday was the first time I'd heard it and the only thing I can think about is that maybe with even numbers females will 'pair' up as friends and odd numbers allows one to be alone? I'm not sure.

3) I've heard that as long as the hierarchy is well balanced adding more won't hurt. I've heard that if you have a girl or few that seem to stick to one particular hiding spot and defends it you should change the tank around so that there won't be a lot of fighting over certain places. Also unless you take out all the water you don't have to remove your girls, especially if you're just moving decorations around (or so I've been told). I actually I've just been moving things around while I'm making sure they all have enough hiding places.

4)I know actually yesterday I had told a girl that I know crowntail males are the most aggressive of the breeds and that the reason why I haven't gotten crown tail girls was for that exact reason. I have 2 EE and 3 veil tail (one became a double tail this morning so I'm not sure if its a large rip or I missed something). I know that my EE girls have the risk of having their pectoral fins nipped on just like their dorsal, caudal, and anal fins ripped. I know right now my most dominant girl is my white EE girl. She is also the biggest but my 3 veil tails actually seem very chill. I know one of my new girls while floating in her cup was flaring but Maybelline (my first female betta) doesn't seem at all interested in beating anyone up.

5)Ok now I've never heard of a female sorority totally failing 100%. You may get unlucky and have a male like aggressive female and therefore she'll have to live alone but unless you totally bomb at watching and removing aggressive females and doing proper water changes I think anyone can have a successful sorority tank (of course if you have a non hiding place tank than I think that would totally fail).
I have been 'fish keeping' for almost a year now...i know that makes me seem like a total baby who knows nothing. But I have been through so much with both my boys and girls that I feel I know a good bit about caring for sick bettas and multiple bettas. But that doesn't change the fact that I haven't gotten more than a year under my belt so I'm still very new.
All that to say is that right now at day 5 my sorority is doing well. I have to admit I never realizes how big my 3 girls are until now when I brought the other two girls home...They are tiny compared to them!
I would also like to say if you're willing to get a 15 or 20 gallon that's for the best. Although I think my 10 is a good size I cannot WAIT to be home and adding them into my 20 gallon (if I can connivence my mom to let me have it!). If you're willing to buy the gravel, decorations, and possible plants for a 20 gallon long I'd go ahead and do that.
QUICK NOTE ABOUT CYCLING: Ok so I've only cycled 3 tanks so far (I actually cycled my 5 three times because each time my two bettas before got sick and I had been adding their water to it) so I am once again not that knowledgable but I did try a friend's 10 gallon with a 'regular' filter and my 10 gallon and 5 gallon with a sponge filter. My sponge filter works WAY faster than my friends filter. I don't remember the brand but it wasn't some cheap ones either. I have heard from a million others that sponge filters are actually way better and the most successful filters verses other filters.Believe me or not but I have to say I will never ever use another type of filter especially because bettas don't like running water and therefore sponge filters not only add oxygen to the water but don't move it around like others. But anywho I just wanted to make that point.
I got my two EE from aquabid and i have to say TMT bettas was AMAZING! I really liked them and they really take good care of their betas!
Here's a list of their current bettas http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/aucti...eller&Tmtbetta

I personally say if you're willing to take in more girls and get a 10-20 gallon tank set up and ready I would go for it. I am a college student so really I know sorority wasn't a great idea but I also know ways that I only need to bring them home twice a year (like I'm staying at college for two summer classes so I just need to find a way to take the girls home for two weeks and then bring them back).
Like I said I just started myself but I thought i could give my opinions on things that i know but I have to say thank you for posting this! Hopefully people with more knowledge will answer!!
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:33 PM   #4 
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Yes, please elaborate! As much detail as possible or as detailed as you feel like getting. I would love to hear about your methods! I hope I can also be successful. The thing is ... I don't mind some additional expense or time spent up front or during the initial stages to get things worked out but on a permanent basis, at least for right now, I want to limit myself to two tanks. It's not like money is no object but I can comfortably spend some money on larger tanks etc if it helps me achieve the desired results. I don't care about any additional tank mates as honestly fish in general have never really interested me ... I don't dislike them and if I had them I would do my best to take good care of them but I have never really connected with fish emotionally before ... Except for the Bettas, if that makes sense. So I guess what I'm saying is that if a 20 gallon (or larger) tank is going to increase my chances for success then I am absolutely willing to spend that money and the 10 gallon can be given away sold on craigslist or whatever. As long as I only end up with two permanent tanks and some happy healthy fish then
I am all for it
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:37 PM   #5 
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1. I used to keep as many as 10 females in a 10 gallon tank. Because there were so many they rarely fought and because the water quality in that tank was excellent, I never ran into any issues with overstocking.

I always think 5-7 is a good number of females for a 10 gallon tank. Some people say less, but honestly I rarely see anyone posting about sororities that run with three or less females a couple of years down the track, once the usually young females mature and a pecking order has been established.

I think five is a good number for a sorority. Anything less and you might as well just keep a divided tank.

2. Bettas can't count so it doesn't matter if you have odd or even numbers. It's not like they pair up and someone is going to be left out.

3. I used to add females to my sororities all the time. I never rearranged tanks or cupped females because I couldn't be bothered. Most females are not going to start murdering a new arrival, particularly if they have had a good meal beforehand. I always introduced new females by feeding by my existing females at the front and releasing the new females at the back.

Any troublemakers were kept in a breeders net for a week in the sorority until they got accustomed to the other females' presence.

4. I kept CTs, VTs, HMPKs, HMs and Giant females in my sororities. Never had any hassle with keeping different tail types together or noticed that one tail type in particular was more aggressive than the others. It all depends on the individual personalities of the females involved, not their tail types.

5. Disease seems to be the most common cause of death in sorority. This is usually either due to a lack of quarantine or poor conditions/stocking. If you do not set up your sorority correctly you can be exposing your females to a lot of stress. Stressed fish are very liable to become sick and something like velvet/ich or even bacterial infections such as columnaris can quickly spread through a sorority.

Generally the only sororities that bomb are those where the owners have tried to go against the grain and done things 'their' way rather than what most people advise.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:37 PM   #6 
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Lock jaws to drown others - not something fish do. You do realize how long a betta can stay under water without coming to the surface? You also realize that labrynth fish (Anabantoideis) do have gills and do breathe under water as well as the air above water.

So part of your answer to #1 would be out of speculation and not really what is happening.

Females do not pair up they don't have that kind of social structure. That would imply they make friends and they don't. They live alone in the wild. It's often recommended that if you add females to a sorority to not add one, but 2 or more so the 1 isn't totally picked on by everyone else - that's likely the reason you heard that.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #7 
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@Roemgie, thanks for posting your experience! You may be in college (I am 42) but I have only been keeping Bettas for a little under six months so you have me beat on the experience side. I will confess, though, that I wonder if I even dare try this with crowntails ..wouldn't that just be my luck? LOL!
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:41 PM   #8 
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Subscribed, interested in all of this. I have 4 (what I think are sibling) females in my 5.5 waiting to be introduced into the 33 gallon. I have one female in there right now who will be taken out and introduced with the rest and I think I'm getting two more tomorrow to make 7 total.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:50 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bannlow2471 View Post
Yes, please elaborate! As much detail as possible or as detailed as you feel like getting. I would love to hear about your methods! I hope I can also be successful. The thing is ... I don't mind some additional expense or time spent up front or during the initial stages to get things worked out but on a permanent basis, at least for right now, I want to limit myself to two tanks. It's not like money is no object but I can comfortably spend some money on larger tanks etc if it helps me achieve the desired results. I don't care about any additional tank mates as honestly fish in general have never really interested me ... I don't dislike them and if I had them I would do my best to take good care of them but I have never really connected with fish emotionally before ... Except for the Bettas, if that makes sense. So I guess what I'm saying is that if a 20 gallon (or larger) tank is going to increase my chances for success then I am absolutely willing to spend that money and the 10 gallon can be given away sold on craigslist or whatever. As long as I only end up with two permanent tanks and some happy healthy fish then
I am all for it

I don't know about you but I have recently just been buying the tanks on their own (petco is having their dollar a gallon sell!! You should get a 20 long, if that's included!) And I understand your feeling about bettas, we've had other fish before, rescues or were 'dumbed' on us and I've never found a more personal fish than my bettas (females seem to be a lot more cuddly than males :P ).
And I think that as long as you have a nicely planted tank with a good number of females (5-6 or more) in a 20 gallon you should be fine to get a sorority started.
About the 6-10 in a 10 gallon though it's unethical because you leave hardly any room for the girls to comfortably move around. Personally have my 5 girls in a 10 gallon makes me actually feel bad because I know how nice and long a 20 gallon long tank is and I would much rather have them there than in here. If anything see it has having to live with roommates. 10 females in 10 gallons means they'll never get a 'break' from each other.
Or just see it as you having to live in one room all your life, do you want 9 other roommates or just 4-5 others?

But all in all I'd say get a 20 gallon, sponge filter, make your own top or buy your own and begin cycling and building your sorority tank :D
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:52 PM   #10 
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@LBF, THANK YOU! This makes me feel like it's something that I really can do. I am a by the book kind of person for the most part so I like to know what it is that I am supposed to do and I will more or less follow through with it to the letter. Especially when I really don't know what it is that I am doing. I always feel like there is no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. If I can benefit from the wisdom of others experience than I am all for that. As far as quarantine i am very familiar with that from my days in wildlife rehabbing and I will be quarantining all fish for a month before introducing them. I think I'm going to try to find three more girls to get a start and then add maybe two or three more if all goes well. I did pick up a couple of breeders nets this weekend so I will have those if needed. Thanks for your input.
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