This is awesome, thanks so much for the thread!
I just did my first sorority... 20 gallon long, currently only silk plants, with five girls. :) Still need to name them and get their tank scaped the way I want it though. :)
I just ordered a bazillion dollars worth of plants from Aquatic Plants.com. I need to make more hiding spots for my girls (I just bought 3 more).
The Petcosmart stores offer such a limited amount of plants, and they usually "melt" the minute you get them home. Aquatic Plants send generous amounts of healthy material. You get what you pay for.
I love sororities! Mine will be set up come Monday, 6 girls in a ten gallon which eventually will be upgraded to a 20 long with a few more girls.
I have Stella, Lotus, Kuraokami, Ascari, Daihatsu, and Murcielago (Mercy). I also have live plants and silk plants.
Btw, a few of my live plants melted a bit during shipping and acclimation but they grew new leaves. If you QT the plants and clip dead leaves, they will eventually grow new leaves. No reason to throw out any that have started melting.
Also, I used Jungle Clear Water to rid the live plants of pest snails after finally coming to the conclusion that I didn't want them in my tank :p
Reading that I can have 10-12 girls made me squee a bit. I have a 20 gal, with 8 girls total. I have one comming for free to me from a breeder, but it was totally unexpected so I've been wondering about what to do with her. Makes me happy that I can just put her in there with everyone else! YAY!
So, I have two mystery snails, a rubber lip pleco, and a bristle nose pleco with my sorority right now. The plecos nudge the girls out of the way when they need to get to a spot, but the girls don't even care. The snails climb on top of each other and I swear they're breeding, but I never see any eggs above the water line (you have to watch for that. snails put their eggs above water line- or so I've read) so no issues thus far.
You can have a NPT that doesn't include dirt. I have a NPT and It's just a bunch of stem plants shoved into gravel, and a bunch of floaters. I also have quite a few plants that will grow on whatever I tie them to, but that's just a little extra. I've found it's cheaper (don't have to pay for the dirt and a substrate to hold it down) and still does it's job.
I do run into the problem of plecos uprooting my plants, but all I have to do is shove them back down before I top the tank water back off, so it isn't a big deal. The snails, though....they like to eat my onion grass. None of my other plants, so if you plan on getting snails, keep in mind that they like onion grass like a cat likes catnip.
I would suggest lots of color in your sorority. I have so many different colors in mine it's crazy. I LOVE IT!!!! It's exciting to see them. Especially how they just play off of each other. (:
EDIT: You actually do want to add 9 girls at once.....sort of. You have to watch your girls individually. Watch for the shyest ones. Release them one or two at a time. No longer than a minute between each release. The most aggressive girl will be released last, to reduce the chance that she will attack.
If you release a girl days later, you run the chances of messing up the chain of command. You would need to group them back up and release. There's really no need to re-do all of the decorations when re-releasing, but if it makes you feel better, you can.
I've heard of multiple people having success with simply putting a girl in their sorority. However, if you have a few especially spunky girls like I do, then I would not suggest this. I would suggest floating them and releasing the new girl first, then go up the chain starting with the least dominant girl.
Last edited by Hadoken Kitty; 03-30-2013 at 12:10 AM.
Reason: adding info
The trick is to fishless cycle the filter with pure ammonia at 4ppm. Then the biological filter will be stronger because it is used to a higher amount of ammonia. That, or, lots and lots of live plants (or both). I chose both for my sorority.
Some people have luck releasing new girls into the back of the tank while all the others are at the front eating and the new girl goes unnoticed. However, I do believe this probably works better with larger sororities.
I forgot to mention that a cycled filter actually doesn't help plants much because they prefer ammonia over nitrates though they can convert both and use them as food. The filter is the back up for the plants if they start to die, and the plants a back up for the filter if the cycle crashes.
One of the fun parts of a sorority is that you can see your betta's personality!!! They exhibit their personality quirks- some like to harass inverts, some enjoy their little part of the tank, some chase... very entertaining, not like watching a tank full of schooling fish at all!
I added 9 at once- once. I lost 3. Ouch. I'm adding 3 as I type... I QT'd them this time. We shall see what happens this w/e.