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.