I've been working on setting up a 20 gallon (with heater and filtration for a 30 gallon)for a sorority, and I'm having a hard time picking out my stock. (It isn't ready for female bettas, yet. Some of the plants died and I'd like to get more in before thinking about girls)
I'm thinking 6 betta females and either albino cory cats or tetras. I'm not sure if the cory cats would work out, since I have gravel and not sand. My other worry is that I wouldn't be able to have a large enough school of either for them to flourish. (6 bettas x 2inches = 12, leaving only 8 inches of fish for a school. Cory cats can go up to 4 inches, and neons can go up to 2)
Regardless of what I pick, I'll probably have to get an air stone. What would you guys suggest?
Skip the tetras and the catfish: Tetras are betta snacks. Catfish need sand.
Airstones are pointless for bettas. Bettas get their air from the surface, and any other oxygenation should come for weekly water changes (for good health, I recommend at least 25% a week, and through gravel vac).
BTW, go light on the gravel, no more than you need to anchor the plants. Gravel collects biotoxins and unless you are using an under gravel filter, it's not even necessary.
Sororities do best heavily planted and full of hiding places. You could go up to10 (ten) girls easily with the extra filtration. Be sure to buffer the current with a sponge on the outflow.
Get your tank a breeder's net to isolated naughty girls... breeder's nets are tall enough so bettas can't jump in or out, and maintain bio-chemical link to other tank mates. The fish can 'stay in contact' with each other as the sorority hierarchy is established.
Good luck! Sororities have their highs and lows... if you can stand a wild ride, sororities are the best! :D
Thank you for the advice! I was considering the air stone for the sake of non-betta fish. But, if I'm skipping other fish, it won't be necessary. I agree that tetras look like betta snacks.
I was hoping to get a bottom feeder of some sort to help keep the algae down. Ghost shrimp would be the obvious chose. But, those are also tasty betta treats. Do you have any species to recommend? If not, I'll probably just stick with 8-10 ladies. I don't like to go anywhere near overstocking my tanks, and prefer to leave a few gallons of wiggle room.
Most catfish have needs that don't mesh well with:
20 gallon tanks
Have said all that, I have 3 bronze catfish in my sorority. There were four; Baby Blue (my aggressive female betta) killed one - so they were moved to the 20 gallon tank.
They are okay in the sorority (for now) - the 20 gallon has sand substrate that keeps their barbels healthy and they can dig around for stuff, which makes them happy. But catfish really like to be kept in schools 6 and over (at 2.5" inches each, that wouldn't leave much room for a sorority)!
Also, my catfish don't eat algae in my tank... only the wafers I toss in for them!
If you want to keep algae down:
Do not allow direct sunlight to shine on the tank
keep the lights off as much as possible (unless the room the tank is in gets no natural light)
scrape the glass once a week
wash tank gear to remove algae
You are going to have live plants in the tank, so you will need some light, and have some algae. It's not the end of the world... in fact, it's nature in action (Although blue-green algae is another thing... if you ever need to get rid of it, search the forum. OFL has good advice on getting rid of it).
Removing algae by hand is not hard to do. It's better than risking some creature's life to do it... remember, bettas are carnivores in the wild. Any tank buddies you put in with them are snacks (including fish, snails, and shrimp).
If you want to feed living creatures to your bettas, get bugs. Bugs have great 'entertainment' value for your fish, are healthy and natural. And cheap. Did I say cheap? Try baby crickets (tiny tiny ones) and wingless fruit flys. As I have learned, some bettas in fact have poor health unless they have live critters in their diet. Bugs should be part of every sorority's varied diet.
Thank you for the information! I'll just scrape the algae and let them enjoy the live plants, then. I already feed my male betta any bugs I find. Since I'm allergic to mosquito bites, we have a very happy anti-mosquito relationship. He really seems to enjoy harassing them.
I'll be happy to feed my sorority the little insects that are too big for one male to finish off without bloating himself.
It is! Sir Crispin is going to put on a little weight if this keeps up. My boyfriend once gave him 3 mosquitoes in one evening; they kept stalking me. I imagine that they're very good for my fish, since bettas eat those suckers in the wild.