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Old 07-13-2012, 10:04 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ontario, Canadiana
Exclamation Sorority keepers: ADVICE NEEDED

So I've found myself in a bit of a situation, and would really, really appreciate opinions/advice from anyone with sorority experience.

Backstory: I've been meaning to set up a sorority this summer, but the tank in question hasn't been set up yet due to school-related stuff. (I'm going into university in the fall-- YIKES.) The tank is approximately 17 gallons (or at the very least between 15 and 20-- it's sizeable anyway, I just haven't measured it yet).

This morning I was given a VERY good offer for ten female plakats-- all sisters, and coming from a breeder with good experience. It's difficult to find more than one or two females at a time in my area, since my local petstores don't stock them very heavily, and since I'm in Canada I knew I'd be paying out the nose to get the number of females I needed shipped to me. He lives locally, and buying them locally (and all together) would be a major bonus for me.

However, the obvious issue is that THE TANK ISN'T READY YET. And this is where I need opinions from people with sorority experience.

- First off, is 10 girls in an (approximately) 17 gallon tank a good number? I've heard so many varied answers to this question, so what I'd really like is OPINIONS-- tell me yes and why, or tell me no, why, and what I can do to adjust the situation.

- The tank cycling question. I had absolutely no intention of doing a fish-in cycle when setting up this sorority, but quite honestly I think this is the best offer I'm going to get and that sort of limits my options. Is it SAFE to do a fish-in cycle for a sorority? If yes, I'd appreciate sort of a crash course on fish-in cycling. If no, what are my other options, considering the fact that I'll already have the fish?

- And this sort of leads into my next question... PLANTS. I have absolutely zero experience with planted tanks, but setting up a sorority with entirely fake decor seems completely unrealistic, considering how much I'll need to fill it up. I need plants that
a) aren't super-delicate,
b) will do well in a tank that's in the process of being cycled, and
c) are good for covering all the different water levels and offering lots of hiding places.
The substrate I have in the tank is gravel-- I know very little about planted tanks, so I'm not sure if that'll work, or if I'll need to buy sand/dirt/whatever it is you put plants in. (I know, I sound kind of dumb right now-- again, this is sort of a crash course for me.)

- Relatedly: decor and hiding spots. How do you guys decorate your sorority tanks? How many hiding spots would you recommend for 10 girls?

If there's anything else you can think of/tips you can offer, PLEASE add those on as well. As I mentioned, I was intending on doing a sorority project this summer and have been doing my research since mid-February, but I planned on doing it much, much more slowly than this and asking questions along the way.

Thank you in advance, everyone. This forum is a lifesaver.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:19 AM   #2 
Join Date: Jul 2010
ask the guy who is selling you the females if he can also give/sell you some used filter material or gravel from cycled tanks so you can "seed" you new tank with beneficial bacteria.

I have done fish-in cycles and not seen any bad effects from it, but then I've only done it twice.......I have one brand new "seeded" tank going now with only one betta in it and he is doing great.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #3 
Sam I Am
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Iowa
I have 6 females in a 6.6 gal aquarium. I do have to do frequent water changes but they're all doing great in there. My only concern with the 10 in a 17ish gal would be that plakats are larger than other bettas so I would just be concerned about them having enought swimming room. Other than that, I would also see if the breeder had them together in a tank, if so, I would think they should already be used to each other and should do just fine.

I do have plants in mine and I didn't really know anything about them either. I read a lot of articles here, they were a great source of info! I have gravel in my tank. The plants that I have are water wisteria, anubias, hygrophilia, hornwort, water sprite, and anacharis. They are all thriving, although I don't much care for the anacharis, it's pretty messy, at least in my opinion. I did replace the bulb in my tank with a plant bulb. I also have three decorative things in the tank to help obscure the view a little bit. Although they are all usually together in the front of the tank anyway.

I don't have any experience with cycling, but my tank numbers stay ok. I do change at least 50% of water every few days though.

If it's a great deal and they're already used to each other, I say go for it!

Good luck!
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:49 PM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Since you plan to start off with live can safely do the silent cycle with the girls......As long as you have enough of the right species of plants with the proper lights to support growth/photosynthesis all should be fine........

Lights-Daylight bulbs 6500k 20w...2 bulbs if you can do that....start on a 10h/day photoperiod....

Plants-naja grass, any of the hygrophilia species, cabomba, rotalas, vals, sags, crypts, java fern, java moss, water lettuce, duckweed...all do well in lower to mod light in small diameter gravel with the fern, moss tied to driftwood or rocks....
These plants will give you the line of sight breaks and cover needed for sororities-but since you are starting with related females-hopefully you won't have too many issues with aggression.....

Make 50% weekly water changes with light vacuum in all areas you can reach without disruption of plants roots or moving anything around.

If you have a test kit make a 50% water only change over and above the 50% regular schedule weekly water changes with test results of Ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater.

If you don't have a test kit-just make the extra 50% water only weekly-scheduled between the regular schedule 50%...making 2- 50% weekly for about 4-6 weeks....

If the plants are thriving and you need to trim may be a long time if ever to get the nitrate reading we look for that tells us cycling stages/completeness....You may or may not get nitrate......

Remember-some additives, dechlorinator and plant foods can cause false test results....Watch the fish....they will usually tell you when something is wrong.

Look forward to pic.....
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:47 PM   #5 
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Location: Newfoundland
I can't say enough good things about cabomba, hygrophilia and anubis.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:00 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: South Glens Falls NY
When I started out my tank I used mollies and platies for a fish cycle. Never lost any of them.
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