I was reading another site and when one person mentioned they had 6 female bettas in a 20 gal, people freaked out and said sororities are a horrible idea, and eventually everything blows up and they will all kill each other. There were about 5 people who all said the same thing and two of them had horror stories about their sorority living together peacefully for a number of months and then suddenly something set them off and they all attacked each other and most of them died. The only person on that thread who had good experience so far was the OP who said that the females all lived in the same tank in the store where she bought them and that the breeder had sold them to the store as a group, which is probably why they got along, because they had grown up together.
I never hear bad sorority stories like that here and I know a number of you keep sororities. Is it really such a bad idea? I'd love to have a sorority in a few months, but not if it's going to be like a ticking time bomb and I will eventually have a massacre on my hands.
It all depends on the tank set up & of course the temperment of the fish. Lots of plants, lots of hidey holes &plenty of room to move around, too small of a space can cause aggression issues. Have a back up plan in case you have a female who is just too aggressive. It can happen that things will be great for a long period of time & then something changes.
Well I think thats always a risk you run when you set up a Sorority. While its obviously be proven that females can tolerate each other, this is still a very aggressive species bred for many many years specifically to fight......brutal, devastating battles in the blink of an eye, even after months of peaceful cohabitation, are always a possibility.
A LOT of factors go into Sororities though, they really are delicate setups. There is the temperament of the individual females, the amount of planting/cover, size of tank, number of females, the females' relation to one another, changes over time if someone dies/is added/you decide to rearrange the setup....a lot of things to contribute to success or failure or both.
I've heard of the most success with Sororities in heavily planted tanks with groups of 5-6+ sibling females(and sometimes even a surprise male)who have grown up together. These seem to do the best. I think store-bought females are a little more risky, and judging from what I've read a little more aggressive with each other, but it can be done successfully.
It really all comes down to the other contributing factors I mentioned in the end, but I think no matter what there is always some level of risk for everything crashing and burning. Its just kind of....the reality of Sororities.
Hmm. ok. Would it be a bad idea to have a sorority/community in a 50 gal. tank where I would have 8 female bettas and some other fish? Could the presence or certain activity of other fish species in the tank potentially set off a fight between the bettas? Would it just be best to have a 20 gal for just the 6 or so females and maybe a snail and some shrimp?
It depends on the amount of cover you have and what other fish you have in the tank(on top of your usual Sorority risks). In that size, it would be a good idea to provide a lot of floating and tall plant cover since the females will(based on my experience at least)probably stick mainly to the top-middle levels. As far as other fish, so long as they're peaceful and Betta-compatible(you know, peaceful schooling species, small bottom feeders, the like), there shouldn't be much of a problem.
Of course the obvious risks are still there, but they can be reduced if its all set up right. I think its very possible if you're properly prepared and all that, honestly, personally, I think the bigger the tank the better.
I've been successfully keeping sororities for years now without many issues, just the occasional nip. I've found that females are one fish that do best slightly over stocked, the more females to spread out aggression the better. It's true that getting sibling females is the safest avenue, but getting non related females is possible too if you do it right!.
Like I said the key is to slightly over stock the tank, make sure it's heavily planted, with lots of hiding places. And never add a new girl to tank with established territories, she'll get killed. If you get a new girl take all of the girls out of the tank and re-arrange everything and put all of them, including the new girl, back in together. There will be some minor squabbling while territories are re-established, but no ganging up on one poor fish!
This is my sorority, a 30 gallon tank, home to 12 females and 4 adult platies and 4 baby platies.