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Old 10-06-2012, 11:43 PM   #1 
iElBeau
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Smile Considering a sorority - Plenty of questions though!

Ok so right now I am simply CONSIDERING a sorority. Therefore I am looking for information, and I have PLENTY OF TIME to think, research, gather info, and plan. It will be a matter of months before I go through with this (minimum of 2 months, likely longer).

I have plenty of questions. I am looking for plenty of answers, and backed up reasoning. Please, if you have anything to offer, whether or not I've asked about it, I'm willing to hear it.

I'm also willing to compose a thread after this with everything I've learned, especially if I decide to go through with it, and can add some of my own experience documenting it.

SO.

I have a 10 gallon tank.
I have a marineland heater that I can set, and it claims (and so far is) accurate to +/- 1 degree (I forget if that's F or C)
I have a tetra 10 HOB carbon filter.

I am willing to replace the filter.
Ideally I'd like to also change the decor: I currently have gravel substrate, some fake plants, and a bridge ornament, and jar ornament they can hide in and swim through.
I would like to change to white sand, a large cave/bridge/cavern/root ornament, and a handful of marimo moss balls. Depending on suggestions, I would also line the back of the tank with more large, leafy, fake plants, to provide hiding places. (I may consider planting the back as well, again, depending on suggestions, and is there a white substrate I could use to plant in? I also don't like the look of layers in substrate... so if anyone can think of a way to make it work, I'll look into it too!)

I would also like to consider the possibility of overstocking my tank. I LOVE the look of overstocked sororities. Remember, I am willing to change the filtration of my tank! And if it's reallyreallyreally not suggested, how many females would you suggest? And how many females should I introduce at a time? Or buy them all at once?

Is there a definite way to sex females that I should know to be 100% sure when purchasing them?

I once saw a feathertail female at my LFS. I've never ever ever seen such a beautiful female before. Are these rare? (Because I'd ideally like to buy females as I find them and fall in love in stores, rather than all at once...)

Are they likely to attack my snail?

Also, are there any other suggestions, or information on sororities, that you're willing to supply? If so, please share!

I have read the sticky in regards to sororities, and these were mostly questions I still had about them. I'm also aware of a few members who have successfully overstocked tanks, which is why I'm asking about those too.

Thank you for any and all help! :)
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:23 AM   #2 
iElBeau
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Oh and I've read numerous threads on here about sororities, but really, the only large amount in regards to overstocked sororities I've found was from LittleBettaFish where he said

"When I was new to sororities I had 5 females in a 6 gallon tank, which is basically the same sort of stocking as 8 females in a 10 gallon excluding the ghost shrimp.

I didn't cycle that tank but instead planted heavily with milfoil and did 25% water changes every second day for the first couple of weeks.

I have only ever had four instances out of the three sororities and 30-40 odd females in them, where a fish has not been compatible with sorority life. One was due to aggression, one was due to blindness, and the other two just did not like living in that kind of environment.

These females have come from AB, pet stores and breeders. Some are young, some are mature. I don't bother floating newcomers or rearranging territories. I just dump them in and let them sort it out amongst themselves.

Setting up a sorority was definitely not the doom and gloom I was expecting from the majority of posts on here. Mainly I think the problems are that people go in either unprepared or unfamiliar with displays of aggression amongst bettas, or they are so convinced that their sorority is going to implode they yank females and fiddle so much they stress everyone out.

Bettas fight. Bettas will always fight, but your set-up will determine the severity of their fights. A well-planted sorority will let the losing fish get away, and this is so important in an enclosed area where there is no room for a proper escape.

Personally I think it is better to overstock than understock a sorority. It's why people with cichlids usually have overstocked tanks. It spreads out aggression and stops the targeting of individual fish. The trick to a successful sorority in my experience has been overstocking, excellent water quality and lots of food.

You will always get females that are bullies or victims, but by culling them out of your sorority at the start, you end up with a group of females able to live together at least relatively peacefully.

I would not do the ghost shrimp as I mentioned before, or only have a couple in there if you absolutely can't do without. However, 8 females in a 10 gallon is manageable if you are willing to put in the work. Also, just because someone is new to the forum doesn't mean they were new to fishkeeping in general. When I joined, I still knew more than some members who had hundreds of posts. Post count does not make someone an expert on all things bettas."
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:09 PM   #3 
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I would like to change to white sand, a large cave/bridge/cavern/root ornament, and a handful of marimo moss balls. Depending on suggestions, I would also line the back of the tank with more large, leafy, fake plants, to provide hiding places.
You'll need some tall things in the middle of the tank also to break up line of sight. This is crucial to break up chases that could end in injury. My suggestion for decor is to include at least 2 plants and at least one cavelike decoration with multiple exits per fish. Surface cover is a good idea too, so look into easy floating plants like Frogbit and Anacharis.


(I may consider planting the back as well, again, depending on suggestions, and is there a white substrate I could use to plant in? I also don't like the look of layers in substrate... so if anyone can think of a way to make it work, I'll look into it too!)
You can cover up substrate by putting white sand down around the edges and corners of the tank first, then put the substrate down, then cap with more white sand.

I would also like to consider the possibility of overstocking my tank. I LOVE the look of overstocked sororities. Remember, I am willing to change the filtration of my tank! And if it's reallyreallyreally not suggested, how many females would you suggest? And how many females should I introduce at a time? Or buy them all at once?
5 females could comfortably live in a 10 gallon tank. You could probably get away with going up to 7 as long as you're increasing the water changes too. All of the girls should be released at the same time to let them figure out their hierarchy; every time you add a new fish you have to go through the 48 hour period of fighting and this is stressful for the fish.

Is there a definite way to sex females that I should know to be 100% sure when purchasing them?
I wish XD Your best bet is to buy a pack of young sisters from a breeder. Older fish are less likely to be able to adapt to sorority living. Look for egg spots and short ventrals to indicate a fish is female. It's not foolproof because juvenile males sometimes have egg spots and look suspiciously female.

I once saw a feathertail female at my LFS. I've never ever ever seen such a beautiful female before. Are these rare? (Because I'd ideally like to buy females as I find them and fall in love in stores, rather than all at once...)
I'm not sure it's a good idea to pick out sorority members based on fin type; there will always be nipping happening in a sorority and beautiful fins can be ruined. You also need to introduce at least 4 females at once or there could be aggression problems. And every time you want to add a new female after that, you will have to remove all of the fish from the tank and rearrange the decorations to prevent the older girls from staking out their previous territories and bullying the new one.

Are they likely to attack my snail?
This totally depends on the fish. They might.

Also, are there any other suggestions, or information on sororities, that you're willing to supply? If so, please share!

Nothing comes to mind immediately but I'm happy to answer questions :)
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:35 PM   #4 
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Thank you! :) That's all very helpful. Especially the part about how to add them - as I was thinking of starting with 4 as a minimum, and then slowly adding ones I thought were pretty.

Going as far as 8 still isn't overstocked, it's just... full. (minus the snail). And I'm aware that it will almost always be suggested I don't overstock. I'm ok with that, and would like to decide eventually. I'm not dead set on overstocking, I just want the information of both, to make an informed choice :P I think if I understocked I'd stay around 6 in my tank.

Also, that covering of substrate idea is great... except, don't you have to stir substrate occasionally to allow gas to escape? How would I do that without mixing it all up? D:

If I were to overstock, what sorts of changes would I need to make? I know I'd have to change the filtration (also how would I baffle it? The bottle and the sponge both on here didn't actually reduce current in my tank, so much as redirect it, or in one case, it actually got worse...) but is there anything else?
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:47 PM   #5 
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Going as far as 8 still isn't overstocked, it's just... full. (minus the snail). And I'm aware that it will almost always be suggested I don't overstock. I'm ok with that, and would like to decide eventually. I'm not dead set on overstocking, I just want the information of both, to make an informed choice :P I think if I understocked I'd stay around 6 in my tank.

It's definitely doable to overstock, but I would worry about things like diseases spreading quickly and wiping out my whole sorority. I don't think 8 is too overstocked necessarily, as long as you do have lots of plants in there to filter the water really well. And you will need to keep a close eye on ammonia levels.

Also, that covering of substrate idea is great... except, don't you have to stir substrate occasionally to allow gas to escape? How would I do that without mixing it all up? D:
You don't need to stir it, you just need to poke it to aerate it and prevent harmful gas bubbles from building up. I just use Malaysian Trumpet Snails, they burrow through the substrate and sand all day to naturally aerate the tank. They're so careful that they don't mix up the substrate and sand. Really useful little things :)

If I were to overstock, what sorts of changes would I need to make? I know I'd have to change the filtration (also how would I baffle it? The bottle and the sponge both on here didn't actually reduce current in my tank, so much as redirect it, or in one case, it actually got worse...) but is there anything else?

If it were me I would ditch the HOB filter and get an air driven filter sized for a 40 gallon tank. This is the kind I use: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Air-Driven-B...item3cc6aadff5

If you want to baffle the HOB filter you can attach a filter sponge to the front of it with a rubber band or elastic. You can find just the sponges at Petco and I think Petsmart also. Cut some pantyhose to fit over the intake and secure with another rubber band or elastic to prevent any fish from being injured by it too. If you keep this filter will likely need second one to help filter the waste, but this also depends on how many plants you put in the tank.

You'll need a really good gravel vac for water changes to pick up solid waste too. I have one with a priming pump that I love.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:48 AM   #6 
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Babystartz seems to have everything covered. Why are you set on over-stocking? IMO you should just stick to 5 or 6. And a good tip I heard for decorationg sororities, plant so heavily that if you look in one side of the tank, you can't see through to the other side.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:52 PM   #7 
iElBeau
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Sorry I replied to this and then my internet crashed.

Thank you Babystarz :) I'll look into those snails.

@Maizy
Thank you for that tip! In regards to overstocking, I thought I made it clear that I'm trying simply to get all the facts in regards to both an overstocked and understocked sorority? I may be focusing on overstocking, but that's because I could do an understocked sorority no problem, I would need to prepare my tank and buy the fish and be on my way. However, overstocking is something I'm unfamiliar with. I've kept fish for four years, and bettas for one, in which I had a male betta successfully living with guppies. I am familiar with fish aggression. I however have never overstocked a tank, and I'm asking questions pertaining to that because I want to know how to do it correctly. This stems from the research I've done thus far, in which many people claim that overstocking a sorority, as well as it is maintained (as with any aquarium), is actually better than understocking a tank for a sorority. This claim seems to stem from the idea that the aggression is spread out even more so, thus reducing the amount of fin nips etc. My tank is my only pet at home, I have plenty of time to devote to it. I'd like all the information I can get before making a decision - I am open to both, but more familiar with one, thus asking more questions about the overstocking, to make an informed choice. :)
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