I have a ten gallon established sorority of 6 girls. It took 3 weeks of constant aquarium rearranging and time outs etc to get them living peaceably. By the end of the first month, everyone began getting along. I have two girls that like to dance in the moonlight on occasion (haha!), but they no longer nip one another. The rare yin and yang collisions between those two are the only signs of aggression in the tank.
After perusing youtube (I am an insomniac, I either youtube or watch my aquariums at night) I found some interesting videos of a single male living with 5-6 females in tanks like mine.
You know what I am thinking.
I would be crazy to try, huh?
I can see the girls doing that. With my males I haven't really witnessed as much aggression as I did when I began the sorority. Those girls can be *mean*.
I hate that bettas are so lovely... can you just imagine the beauty of a tank filled with bettas of both sexes? It would be awesome. I know it is not possible, but it would be nice.
I guess I just wish for more color diversity in that particular tank. I know females aren't as flashy as males, but due to personalities I ended up with 1 peach, 1 peach marble, one bi color (red and white) one lavender/periwinkle/pearl, one grizzled looking lavender/periwinkle/pearl , and one brown with blue iridescent pineappling and blue trimmed finnage. So, I basically have 3 pairs, one mud bug and one red head.
Wow. Lots of fishes! One time while I was breeding, my girl bit both of my males ventrals. I found her swimming, attached to him. Needles to say, that spawn failed and my male came out of it with nubs for ventrals, so I can totally se what you mean about mean girls.
I would never try that unless I had like a 100+ gallon tank. There's only 2 people I've met on this site that have been able to do it successfully, both of those time the male was raised from either birth or at a VERY young age with the females.
I can imagine. I rewatched one of the videos. It has nearly 5,000 hits and only 3 dislikes- which says a lot. Most betta videos get torn apart by trolls and zealots in the reviews. For this video, the majority of the reviews express awe. Yep, 5 girls to one guy in a 10 gallon. Peacefully.
I don't know if it was a fluke or expertise on the owners part, but I am sure I would jack it up.
My boyfriend had 2 males and 8 females in a 29g. He successfully kept them like that (with no nipped fins or ANYTHING) for 3 months. Then there was an outbreak of Columnaris when he transferred in infected hornwort from another tank. He ended up not cleaning it good enough, but he threw it away in the end. Unfortunately, it took its toll. Most of the females died within a day. It took a whole for the others. We felt terrible, but we were astounded that it was able to work out. He DID have a video of it, but his YouTube account got deleted. It truly depends on the betta for everything.
BTW, all fish were at least a year old. None of tem were related and they were all store fish except for a few females from breeders.
I have personal experience with keeping a male betta in with females. My male was purchased very young and grew up alongside the females. He never showed any aggression or inclination to spawn, and they lived peacefully for at least a year if I remember correctly.
It all worked well and I was feeling rather smug until I moved them to a bigger tank and introduced a couple new females. Everything was fine, although I did notice there was one female who seemed to get into it with the male every so often. Not enough to cause alarm but enough for me to become aware of it.
I found my male one day floating at the top of the sorority with all his fins completely torn off. He was near death and although I did my best to nurse him back to health I think he had some sort of internal damage as he died a week or so later.
I once had a beautiful imported male in a breeders' net in my sorority. The suction caps on the net failed and when I found him he was dead. There were 5-6 females in the net with him and they had obviously attacked him fairly savagely.
Bettas are too unpredictable. There was no trigger that I could see for the attack on my male, it was completely out of the blue.
Even if things seem like they are going well, you cannot keep watch over your tank 24 hours of the day. It only takes a very short time for a fish to be maimed or killed, and for me it was not worth the grief of losing a fish simply because I wanted to experiment.
You do hear the odd case of males and females cohabiting peacefully together, but I would bet that the majority end in complete disaster. You just don't hear about them as people don't like to be proven wrong/made to look stupid.