I will be starting a 29 Gallon betta sorority tank soon and I just wanted some tips from this forum as I've seen how devoted people are for their fish. I'll start off by saying I was a previous owner of Fancy Goldfish. I had them close to 2 years until all of them died off. It started when I bought 5 from petsmart and put them in the tank. A week later, my bubble eye goldfish got stuck into the filter ( had an aquaclear 20-30), and it died a few weeks later. I added a standard red and black oranda (also from petsmart) in and it had swim bladder, but was doing fine. All was well, until out of stupidity, I added snails I got from school that we were using in our science aquarium project. All the fish got ich, and I threw out the snails and treated the fish with a medication. Things settled down and I added a red capped oranda (petsmart). Everything was fine, until somehow, all the fish acquired swim bladder. After maybe 6 months or so, I added a chocolate oranda (petsmart), that looked sort of like a clown since it had very subtle rings around its eyes. Everything remained good for a while, until all my fish started getting stuck in my filter (was now a 30-50). Fishes started to die as their organs got hurt by the filter (my black moore's eye got damaged, oranda's bodies) and my chocolate oranda died of dropsy. My only fish left was my red orange ryukin. I took action and covered the filter with this aquarium foam It lived for a very long time. Until, I decided to add one last fish, a calico ryukin. It was a little bigger than the red and white one. They started fighting and I had to divide them with a divider. Then, they came down with ich and the calico died. The red and white hung on, until it died. It was quite a saddening experience, how such a small organism can imprint so much on you. It wasn't that we weren't caring for them, we would go out to buy medication every time, change water whenever needed, take time out just for them(in fact, I would research 10+ hours about goldfish in a week, even when my fish were fine). And since then, I wondered how people kept their fish in such good condition.
It has been 3 years since then, and I really want to use my aquarium again. I fell in love with the idea of a female betta sorority, thus coming here to seek assistance on how to start one and maintain one. Enough backstory now! Let's talk about what I need to start a sorority!
I know that female bettas and males cannot live together, however females can by establishing a hierarchy in a good sized tank. I know that bettas need hiding spots, a heater (78-82 F), live plants, and a filter as well as good aeration. I will have gravel in my aquarium and 10 female bettas as it seemed like a good number.
For buying bettas, however, using my past experience, should I not buy from petstores anymore? Rather should I buy from online sources or even here? Additionally, should i keep a quarantine tank so the disease wont spread from one fish to another? Lastly, for the filter, should i keep a sponge cover on the filter to insure no fishes get stuck in it?
Thank you for your time,