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Old 11-27-2012, 12:25 AM   #1 
elegantlyunsophisticated
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Sorority Help Needed!

Hey everyone, I haven't posted in forever!! I recently set up a sorority tank to the exact specifications of everyone here on the forums, and things were going great! It's all real plants, and there's plenty of them in there to break up the line of sight as well as a rock arch centerpiece everyone can hang out in. It's 10 gallons with 5 females, and I introduced everyone in order of least to most aggressive. After some brief tussling, everyone seemed ok and were even hanging out around one another. However, I had pulled a plant out of my plants only tank and thrown it in there, and with it came that nasty oil slick looking protein stuff on the surface! The surface was looking gross and thick, my pellets wouldn't sink down so I did a 50% water change, making sure to scoop from the surface to try and get all the nasties. I refilled with conditioned water, moved some plants around to get a more even distribution, and fed everyone. I watched while feeding to make sure everyone got a fair share, and I'm happy to say each fish ate her fill. When I got home today though, my blue girl was dead on the bottom of the tank, with nearly all her color gone and fins chewed up. Now I must ask, should I do anything drastic to the tank? Maybe some AQ salt for everyone (I saw some inflammation of the gills on some when I brought them home). Also, should I add another fish to bring the number back up to 5, or is 4 ok? I'm not too sure what's up in my tank guys, help me!
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:47 AM   #2 
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You should definitely try to get the number back up to 5. And I'm no disease expert, but I myself would keep an eye on them to see if anyone is acting funny before treating them. It could easily have been the other girls picking on the one you found dead that killed it.
But if someone else gives you better advice then take it because as I said I'm no medical expert with fish.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:23 AM   #3 
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I had one female die from being picked on but it took a week before I realized what was happening. I never saw them go after her but her fins were a mess and she was always hiding. Her death didn't happen overnight like yours did. Otherwise the group I have is OK with each other.

I agree with the above statement, if you treat the tank just do daily 50% water changes for now. When you replace the deceased girl be sure to quarantine her for a week before adding her to the tank.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:52 AM   #4 
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Should I treat everyone with some AQ salt for now? Will it harm the plants? Also, what can I do about the nasty thickness at the surface?
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:22 PM   #5 
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I don't think you should treat unless you see something suspicious on them or in their behavior. If you do decide to treat I don't think it will harm the plants but it might just be smarter to put them all in QT tanks/containers and do it that way just in case. I always QT ones I treat because I have cories in my tank and I heard salt isn't good for them...so I don't know for a fact if it will harm plants or not
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:19 PM   #6 
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I agree, I would not use any kind of medications unless you see something that really indicates an illness. There are a lot of reasons why your girl could have passed and from what you've described, I don't think illness was it.

4 is the minimum number of girls and if they are getting along for now, you are fine if you don't want to get another girl. I have 6 in my 10gal and have had as many as 8 but it all depends on the temperament of the girls. If your girls decide they like each other and adding a 5th girl in upsets the balance, it may be best to just leave it at 4.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #7 
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I salt all my bettas with the exception of my sorority tank with corydoras and inverts.

What kind of tank do you have? I use a nano reef tank for my betta sorority and my first sorority family had a major freak accident. One of the girls some how squeezed and wiggled her way into the filter compartment got sucked into the pump, chewed up by the impeller slightly, and stuck in the return nossel. You would think she was attacked, but for me it was obvious since she was half hanging from the return nossel.

For a nano tank I recommend getting plastic mesh from a craft store like Michaels and cut a piece to cover the filter intake vents. I used a non-toxic hot glue gun to affix it. This is also not permanent in case I want to clean the mesh, replace it, or use the tank for some other kind of fish that can't get through there later.

Nipped up fins will be normal for a sorority starting up. I have a girl who's gotten her tail beat up by the alpha who finally no longer goes after her. Shes fine and happy still. Fins grow back. They could still attack her body though and do damage, but I've only seen fin nipping and ripping in my sorority (2nd one going).
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:19 PM   #8 
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It's not filtered, just lots of real plants and regular partial changes. Everyone else is looking good in that tank today, but the thick surface of the water persists. I think I'm going to monitor everyone's activity for a while and let this whole nasty water thing sort itself out before I consider adding another girl to bring the numbers back up to 5. In other news, one of my ADFs has a fuzzy foot! D: not a good week for fishkeeping around here I guess.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:26 PM   #9 
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Goodluck!
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #10 
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If not much water is moving around you'l have protein build-up. Also a oil slick looking surface on the water. This is pretty normal, but keeping the water moving prevents it. That's done with a power filter or bubbles. Just have to do it where there isn't a lot of current (bettas hate that usually).
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