Before giving me a straight up "no, it can;t be done," please read everything that has been posted in the thread, whether it is mine or someone else's response. That is all I ask.
Okay, so essentially I was thinking. I want to start a sorority sometime down te line, but seeing as how my mom won't let me use the 10 gallon , the largest tank I can use is a 5 or 6 gallon.
I understand the work that goes into a new tank, I've had to re-cycle my 5 gallon 3-4 times already and it has been cycled each time in about 2 weeks with fish IN the tank. I do constant water changes and ammonia checks. In some cases, I've actually done TOO many waters changes. Temperatures are always stabled, no matter what tank it is.
So what am I getting at?
I want to know if you can do a sosority with a 5 gallon.
I understand the whole 2 gallons per 1 inch of fish, but to be honest, I don't necesarily believe it. In my 5 gallon, I've had 2 bettas and an oto since October, and since January/February, I've had an additional oto. No ammonia spikes, no other water parameter issues. I've also had NO issues with the extra fish in the tank. Therefore it is possible to have multiple fish within a smaller tank so long as the water and the fish remain healthy and you're obviously not shoving 50 bettas into a single tank.
I know a big problem is territory and that with a smaller tank, the girls have less of it. But is it necessarily true that this will increase the amount of fighting because the tank is smaller? Or will the girls actually cooperate more?
So the final question is: can you do a sorority in a tank smaller than a 10 gallon, so long as it is properly cared for and the fish are given the best possible treatment?
Well, I'm starting one too, but I decided against anything less than 20G. My maing reasoning was I want everyone to be able to jet away and hide. A betta's typical quick-jet away from something is maybe 3-4 inches (at least mine's), so, then I decided I want them to be able to put at least 2 plants between them and whoever is after them. Using a 3 sq in space per plant would be 6 inches, So I multiplied 4 inches by 6 inches, and got 24 inches needed for ground-space. A typical 5g has about 16 inches, so that would be too cramped by my reasoning, for them to be able to quickly dash away and hide.
All that to say, no I wouldn't do it. You will deal with fish that are more stressed, which lowers immunity. They will have more wounds, due to more fighting and lessened ability to flee/hide, which will equal lower immunity. The bioload will be higher, stressing the filtration more, which can lower immunity.
If I did try it, I'd maybe find a tank that is long versus tall. The Petco bookshelf 6.5 gallon has a base of 23 inches. I'd heavily plant it and maintain frequent water checks and water changes. And obviously, it all depends on your girls. I'd say if you can find siblings, a tank that's longer than taller, and heavily plant it (helping both with hiding spots and bioload) then it would be the best shot of it working.
I am not doing it though, I bought the 20G Marineland kit they have on sale at Psmart right now. I'm a fish-keeping n00b too, so take my opinion for what it's worth. :)
You know otos are social fish that should be in groups of 5, right? :)
Personally, I think territorial space will be an issue. Girls aren't like males, who choose a spot and make it their own - they swim all over the place, but still need their own personal bubble, as it were; not a particular space of their own, but room to get away from the other girls. A 5 gallon just doesn't give that.
The only tank I'd even consider it in would be the Petco 6.6 gallon bookshelf. The large footprint would give the girls the room they need, especially if it was densely planted with live plants (which would also help with the overstocking).
P.S. Two gallons per inch of fish is nonsense. All such measurements are. As you know, it's all about other factors: bioload, aggressiveness, schooling needs etc. :)
I think the bioload would be fine especially if it was well planted... I think it could work but don't know if it necessarily will work. Just depending on your fish. I've had females with very mild personalities and females that are more aggressive than my males.. So in the end it just depends on the fish. Truthfully it is not ideal. But we deal with things that aren't ideal all the time. Your choice. :)
I had five females that were quite young and small in a 12 inch cube. That came to around 7 gallons.
For me, it was too cramped. There wasn't a lot of room to get away from each other and they did start squabbling more when they got bigger. Even though my 10 gallon tank that I moved them into was only a few gallons bigger and had more females, the shape of it meant that it gave everyone a bit more breathing space if they needed to get away from each other.
Even a long and shallow 5 gallon tank is too small for a sorority in my opinion. You really need to do a 10 gallon tank for a sorority as there are more issues than just maintaining water quality at play when you set one up.
I've kept three girls (not planned) together in a 10g for quite some time. They were very content & left each other alone...well except the runt who the other two just tolerated her pesting sometimes. A couple people here insisted it should be five, but my girls proved them wrong, lol. I added two girls later who also have very non aggressive personalities. It is possible, but it really has to do with the fish's personality. I know everyone says 5 or more & some say odd numbers, which is weird because fish can't count, but the two major factors are hiding spots & personality.