Hello guys, its been a while since I last posted on here. I just was looking for some advice on female Bettas.
I know females can be kept in sororities if done correctly. I'm just not sure what the best way to go about introducing them to eachother would be. I went to Petsmart to buy some Tubifex worms and walked past the Bettas and they had a new shipment of them. They were all active and healthy looking and seemed to be pretty young, and the females were on sale for 99cents. I fell in love with two VT girls and ended up grabbing them. I have the resources to separate them if need be, but how would one go about introducing two females together? They seem like they are fairly young compared to the Bettas I usually see, and they had been sitting right next to eachother on the shelf. Not sure how much of a factor that is.
I'm also not sure if it would be better to have more than just two before introducing them, or if I should just see how these two girls do with eachother for now. If I should have more I can probably go pick out another, though I don't want to get too many fish at once.
You will find many threads on introducing females in this site. Try the search feature, or Google "introducing female bettas" in Google and you will find a series of threads that take you to this site.
From what I hear, there's safety in numbers. The more females the less opportunity one will single out another to pick on. I will be introducing 6 females in a couple of weeks. I have two right now and when I tried to put them together it wasn't long that they were body slamming one another and aggressively chasing each other. The stress will lead to sickness and death, if they don't actually kill each other. I separated them at the good advice of one of the members of this great forum. They are in separate tanks until the others arrive.
How big is the aquarium you will be placing them? Rule of thumb is 1 female (preferably less) per 1 gallon of water.
Will there be any other tank mates?
Is your aquarium cycled and heavily planted? Your females will need a lot of hiding places as they sort out their pecking order, for there will be a few chases. I have my aquarium heavily planted now, top and bottom (floating plants, dense plants and tall plants), with decor like floating logs and driftwood and decor that the fish can hide in without tearing their fins.
Do you have another small holding place for any female that might be too aggressive? Do you have a plan on what to do with her if she really needs a place of her own?
From what I've read, they all need to be introduced at the same time to the aquarium, so one doesn't have the advantage over the other. They need to be watched carefully and continuously for awhile, for any overagressive female. If there is one, take her out and float her in a clear container in the tank. This way she gets used to her tank mates, but can't harm them. After a day or so, put her back in and watch carefully. If she repeats the behavior, take her out again and do the same. Bettas are smart and she should learn that aggressive behavior only gets her in isolation. There may be some that just don't learn. That's why you need plan B.
I'm sure there is more info I left out. Again, enter the word introduce betta in the Search and see what you get. Or go to the section in this forum for Betta Companions and you will find many that are asking the same questions as you.
Most important, do your research and you will have better chances of happy, healthy girls.
I had a 36 gal with 7 female. It worked but not well. These are not social fish they are happier when given their own space. They do not live together in the wild it's not in their DNA to play nice. Maybe some one should work on breeding Bettas for temperament. Female or no they are all Bettas. Female of any kind can be just as mean as males.
You will enjoy your Bettas a lot more if you keep them alone or with other fish that are Bettas.
I just started my sorority, so perhaps we are still in the happy days of little to no fighting. But so far, it's working well! I have four girls in the tank and another girl in a breeder's box, making friends with the others. I have another in quarantine right now while I make sure she's disease free before she can start acclimating to the sorority.
I agree with the above posters and they have given you great advice. I must respectfully disagree with snowflake, though. I noticed that one of my females actually seemed to become depressed when she was separated from the others to treat her fin damage. She is much happier now that she's back in the big tank, even if she's still isolated in the breeder's box. But it all depends on the fish... some are more social than others, just like any other animal species.
If you are one who will be upset by your babies being nipped and chased a bit, a sorority might not be for you. My tank is relatively peaceful, but my alpha, Kitkat, doesn't let the others get out of line. Especially the omega, Hershey. She has been nipped and chased a lot, but that's just part of establishing dominance and a pecking order.
Like others have said... have a back-up plan, and be sure you have at least 4 girls and a heavily planted, cycled tank before you put them into it. I have a couple separate tanks I can put girls into if need be, and I have enough cups that, in an emergency, everyone could be separated while I ran out and grabbed anything else I needed. Make sure you have stress coat on hand because there WILL be damaged fins and a missing scale here or there. But if you want a sorority, I say do it!!
How to do you know your fish is happy? Because she is more active? Maybe he likes being a lone and enjoys the time to relax.
Like I said I had a sorority for a year in a 36 gal with 7 females. My fish were short lived in the sorority and I blame it on them stressing each other out. Stress kills fish. My male that I got at the same time as my females and from the same place lived alone and was 4 years when I lost him. So IME it might seem like it is working but in the end it's sad. Also my alph female changed from month to month. They were always fighting to be number one. I had one female go missing. I found her hiding in a decoration she would only come out to eat them sat in her little save cave.
I would never ever have a sorority again devide the tank your fish will last longer if you do.
I would love to here from others that have had a sorority for a year or longer? Maybe I was just unlucky.
I would also like to add that "happy" is a human emotion which no other animal can experience. They can be content in their current state or fearful or stressed but happiness and anger and sadness are all human states of mind which cannot be expressed or measured in fish or other animals.
Anyway, I agree with all else, do not try to do just two females. Get at least two more (yay you can get two more lol) or three more.
I did end up going back to the store, but I was only able to get one more girl. There were about 6-7 females there when I got my first two girls, and when I went back there were only two, and one was taken by someone else by the time I got there. But I grabbed the little white girl who was left. I almost got her with the first two I got anyway, so I guess that worked out okay. I'll probably end up checking back at the store a few times to see if they have any more. They are the only place near me that ever has females. The place I got my boy only has males.
So I have three right now, That isn't ideal, I know, but on other sites I have read that three can be okay. If not, I can divide and separate them, and worst case scenario, I do have a friend that said she could take one if it gets too out of hand, though I've already fallen in love with all three of them.
I will be doing this in a ten gallon. Its not yet cycled, unfortunately, but set up and I put filter media from my cycled tank into the new filter to give it a kick start. I'm debating whether to keep the girls in cups for a couple days, or if its best to just get them in now instead of waiting a couple days. I don't want to keep them in the cups too long. I am aware I should have had a cycled tank beforehand, but I think it will be okay. I'll probably take some gravel from my established tank too.
It is decently planted, though it could be better. I'll probably go out and get some more plants once I get paid. I could use a few more plants in my current tank as well, and there are a bunch on sale at Petsmart right now, that are plants I already own that I know at least my male has had no trouble with. So I will probably be getting a few of those.
For "housing" the girls have clay pots and a sort of asian lantern cave thing.
The girls are only maybe an inch and a half long including their tails, and about the size of my pinky finger, maybe a little smaller. Not sure if any of you have any idea of how old they might be.
If I had a decent camera, I'd take pictures, but it gets really blurry and grainy with my ipod camera unless its in very specific light.
Would they be okay to introduce these three first and if they get along, would it be okay to introduce a couple more if I can grab a few more (if the store has any more available when I go check)? I'd like too avoid keeping them in the cups longer than necessary.
Oh and something you can do for right now is keep them in their cups. I know you said you wanted them out but it's actually better if you keep them in there until you get more females. It's not hard on them, just do water changes every other day and they'll be just fine! Acclimate them to the tank water and float them in their cups in the water to keep warm until you can get at least one more. Three is still really super iffy in my books just because there really isn't enough to spread aggression around; that's the goal with sororities is to have an optimum amount of girls to spread aggression so that not just one girl is being picked on.
But anyway you can acclimate to the tank water and get a spare cup if you can. Then use that spare to fill with a bit of water, take out the first girl. Empty her cup over a bucket (Don't put her water into the tank since the point of QT is to get rid of disease, although this isn't your goal here but it's acting as a QT period anyway ^_^) and catch her with a net. Then put her in the extra cup for now with the water, then rinse out her cup with tap and then fill with water from the tank, she can now be put in her old cup and left to float since it's clean! And then do the same with the other two.
I do that method now for all my QT girls when they come in or for sick girls, it's easiest to do since they can float, i don't need extra tanks or heaters and they can still see each other. That's the biggest thing in a sorority is that they see each other and get used to their presence. If you take one out, even for a day they'll have to reorder their pecking order and start all over basically. Usually there isn't too much aggression at this point but if you take out a girl at the top or the Alpha, it can be severely stressful since she won't be able to keep things in check. Make sense?
For a 10 gallon you could even go up to 7 girls comfortably if you have enough plants Your cory's are staying with Ben right? So if you don't do other fish you can have 7-8 just fine ^_^ and that will really help with spreading aggression and make for content fish.
I actually have a small half gallon critter keeper I use sometimes for acclimating and for isolating fish if I need to check on them. I used it to check up on my Cory that has a fin missing while he was growing his damaged fin back (he's doing very well now n_n). Anyway, I can probably use that critter keeper instead of an extra cup, or I could even keep a girl in there if that's better than a cup. I also have a 1 gallon, and I may have another older half gallon critter keeper somewhere (nothing ever actually lived in the tiny critter keepers, I just see them at my local thrift shop and I grab them because they're useful). I'm probably overthinking things, I just get worried that they may be unhappy in the small cups for any length of time, though I suppose if they had stayed in the store they would have been in them for a while, but that usually turns out bad for Bettas :(. I just want all my girls to stay as content and healthy as they seem right now. And I would like to avoid too much trouble between them. So I suppose if I keep them in the cups I can just keep them floating in the cups until I get more girls. Which will hopefully be sooner than later. The sale on the females at Petsmart lasts until the 21st, so they may get snatched up quickly. Actually, I think they may have had crowntail girls on another shelf, but they are much more expensive, and I would definitely have to wait until I get paid to get them. I don't know if Crowntails and Veiltails would be okay together, though. I assume it wouldn't be much of an issue, but I want to be safe.
And yes, the Cories are staying with Ben. He seems to enjoy/tolerate them pretty well, and they all seem pretty content, so I don't really see any reason to move any of them.
I'll keep an eye out for more girls. I wish they weren't so hard to get around here. People don't usually buy them, so they don't get stocked at all most places here. Even the Petsmart I got my three girls from usually only has boys.
I just may not be able to get more girls for another week, I don't know if that is an unreasonable amount of time for them to be floating in cups. Though I suppose a QT would last a decent amount of time. I guess as long as I keep the water nice and clean, it should be alright. I've had their cups all sitting so they can see eachother, and they seem to be acknowledging eachother, but no one has really tried to get at anyone else yet.
Also, I don't know how much of a concern this is, but The silvery blue girl I got had stress stripes for a little bit when I got her home, then they went away for about an hour, then they came back for maybe 20 minutes. The dark blue girl had them for a short time as well, though very briefly. Is this just from being shipped to the store, then being on the car ride home, or should I be concerned?