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Old 08-17-2012, 07:35 PM   #1 
Purple
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Some Sorority Questions (Mixed With Plant/Cycle/Basic Q's)

Today, I found my baby girl laying on the floor. She had jumped out of her tank, and it was too late to help her. She was my only girl, and I doubt any fish will ever have the personality of her.

Needless to say, I'm heartbroken, but I need to move on. I am considering making a sorority tank in her honor. I have a few questions, because if I'm going to do this I want to do it right. I've read all of the material online that I possibly can, but a few things are still a bit blurry.
  • The PetSmart where I live only sells baby females. They're only about the length of the width of my thumb, so they can't be over 2 months. I think that this is better than putting adults together. Is it? I can shop around at Wal-Marts, and maybe find other pet stores. PetSmart employees are by far the kindest to their fish as well as their customers, so I would rather do business with them.
  • How many fish can I keep in a 10 gallon tank filtered/cycled tank? 20 gallon? Min/max, please.
  • While I'm cycling the tank, do I need to already have every decoration/plant in the tank, or should I leave them out, or if is possible to add them in just whenever?
  • Is there such thing as too many plants? If I have a lot (which I plan on doing) should I put in an air stone? Should I take any other precautions?
  • How long should I keep each plant/fish in quarantine?
  • Does the color of the females matter? I've heard that they don't like fish the same color as them, but I doubt they know what color they are, considering that they flare at their reflection.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: What is the very tippy top best kind of lid? I had a glass slide-over lid. I've also seen big black plastic ones, wire/mesh ones, and some people put Seran wrap over their tanks.
  • Do plants need a light in the lid, or will 24/7 dim-ish indirect florescent lights be alright? Would natural light be alright? The tank would be out of indirect sunlight, and there are blinds on the windows.


PLEASE give me any other tidbits of advice! I am completely open to trying new things, although I have my ways of doing things and I might not want to change certain things. If anything comes to your mind at all I would love to hear it! I tried to list all of my questions, but I will probably think of more later and post them later in this thread. Thank you so much in advance!

*Note: I am an experienced betta keeper. I would NOT be attempting this if my current fish were not already in perfect health and taken very good care of. I don't recommend starting a sorority tank if you are not experienced and connected to a wonderful, active betta forum.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:49 PM   #2 
LittleBettaFish
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It is ideal, to purchase the youngest females you can, as I have found them to be less aggressive and territorial than their older counterparts in a sorority environment. However, if they are so young it is going to be hard to distinguish between a PK male and a female, then I would advise taking a look at some older fish.

You need a minimum of 4 females for a sorority, but I prefer to see a minimum of 6. I like to overstock my sororities as it disperses aggression. I have had 8-9 females living in a 10 gallon tank and 15 or so in a 20 gallon tank. You just need to provide adequate cover and ensure your water parameters are nothing less than perfect.

I 'silently' cycle my sororities as I am impatient and don't have easy access to a clean and reliable source of ammonia. This means I jam pack it full of stems and floaters and do regular water changes for the first few weeks until the plant mass is established and my filter is able to cope with the bioload of my fish.

If you are doing a fishless cycle, I would advise leaving any live plants out as they can skew your results, and the high levels of ammonia you will need to add can cause some to melt.

Bettas get their oxygen from the air. They cannot suffocate in tanks with a heavy plant mass even if there is no water movement. The only danger too many plants pose is that fish may not be able to reach the surface and could drown. Other than that, I recommend to plant away! In a sorority you want as much cover as possible at all levels of the tank.

People say 2-3 weeks in quarantine. I personally don't quarantine, but if you want to be on the safe side 2-3 weeks should be an adequate amount of time to spend in quarantine. Be aware though, some diseases can take a while to show up, so quarantining isn't 100% foolproof.

I have fish of very similar colours in my sorority. I didn't purchase them that way, they just changed over time. I have several females who are almost identical in colouration and size, and they never attack each other. Usually you will not be able to pick which fish is going to get victimised by the others. I had to pull one out recently who was a big healthy female, but just was bullied and picked at incessantly until she was a shadow of her former self.

I just use a glass lid over my sorority but no one has ever jumped through the gaps *knocks on wood*. You can use craft mesh or egg crate with flyscreen over it if you are super cautious, but I've found if you have lots of plants at the surface fish tend not to jump out.

Depending on what plants you have, you could get away with indirect sunlight. I grow bolbitis, java moss, java fern, subwassertang and anubias in tanks with no light. However, I prefer my sororities to have stems in them which really require at least 6-8 hours of artificial light a day to thrive.

What light is on 24/7? Fish like all animals need sleep, and if it is light every hour of the day it can disturb them as they don't have eyelids.

Hope that helps you.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:13 PM   #3 
Purple
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
However, if they are so young it is going to be hard to distinguish between a PK male and a female, then I would advise taking a look at some older fish.
Is an egg spot a reliable indicator, in your opinion? I've found it to be correct 100% of the time. I visit the pet store at least once a week and none of the females have ever transformed into a male. xD

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
What light is on 24/7? Fish like all animals need sleep, and if it is light every hour of the day it can disturb them as they don't have eyelids.
It's a light over my kitchen island and one of the places that I was planning on putting my fish was near that light. It's usually pretty dark, but it does get some light. The first night I have my fish I keep them in this room so that I can keep an eye on them and acclimate them over 24 hours, and they've never had a problem sleeping. It's bright if you're right under it, but not where I was thinking of putting the tank.


Thank you so very much!!
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:29 PM   #4 
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Egg-spots are not a reliable way of sexing bettas unfortunately, particularly when they are very young. I have found the shape of the anal fin, the shape of the body and the length of the ventral fins to be the most telling factors. Also if you shine a bright light over lighter bodied fish, you should be able to see the ovaries.

Both male and females when young can show egg-spots, so it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff so to speak. I have ended up with four PK males (I could kind of tell when I purchased them that they were males) and others on this forum have made the same mistake. It can take some males longer to sprout than others so it is an easy mistake to make.

However, if you are familiar with female bettas it becomes easier even when they are fairly young to at least get it right most of the time.

If the lighting is not too bright and you have enough plants and cover to diffuse it, then it should be fine. I wasn't sure how indirect you meant. But the set-up sounds fine.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:31 PM   #5 
Purple
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I have a few more questions after researching further.
  • What's this "odd number theory"? I've read that even numbers don't work in sororities, and odd numbers do. Like, 6 girls will kill each other but 5 will be peaceful. It doesn't make much sense, but is there any fact behind it?
  • Moss balls? Are they necessary in a planted tank?
  • I know that crowntail males are usually more aggressive, but what about females? Should they be avoided?
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #6 
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I have never subscribed to that theory. Betta fish are all individuals, and while some females may tolerate living in a sorority environment, others will not. I have had even numbers of females before, and never ran into any issues. After all, it is not like bettas can count.

I think four females is a slightly lower number than I personally would like to see in a sorority only tank. I feel that aggression would more likely be targeted towards individual fish. However, other people have had sororities with only four individuals and it has been fine. Like I said no two bettas are the same so what works for someone else might not work for you.

I hate moss balls. They are just so ugly IMO haha. So I never use them in my tanks and I never have any issues. There are plenty of other plants out there capable of out-competing algae for nutrients.

My CTs females have always been very peaceful. I have found my HMPK females are the most aggressive. My two giants are fairly placid and too lazy to chase the others off, and my HM females tend to be on the receiving end of most attacks. This is just my experience, and others might have found otherwise, but I have had probably over 60-70 females in my whole time fish-keeping and have never had any issues with aggressive CTs.
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