As many know, I love bettas. I can't stop myself from buying them every time I walk into a fish store. I see those little cups and I pick up 4, 6, a dozen.
It's one thing when you pick up males - knowing that they need to be separated from each other. The females are a whole lot simpler.
A few weeks ago, I bought a 20 gallon long tank and 10 bettas, 8 girls - and I added the 8 to the new tank, that same night. I tooks a few other girls that I had in a 20gallon high tank and added those to the new tank as well - putting the total betta count in the tank up to 13.
The next day - one died. It may have been sick - it was definitely a little 'off' it's tail bent downward, and she was very shy.
In the course of that week, I watched the remaining 12 girls and decided who should be removed. Some were a lot more aggressive than others, and the shy girls were spending a lot of time in hiding, or at the bottom of the tank...
So then I did some shifting around in my other tanks, and created Camelot. I started with adding two of the more shy girls that I noticed, and grabbed randomly two others. So, Camelot had four girls total.
One girl, Dahlia, a red/purple crowntail, was a lot more aggressive than the others, and this caused the same shy - hiding behavior to 'occur' in Camelot.
I gave them a few days to work out their issues - but the shy ones stayed hidden even during feedings, so I found that I was overfeeding the tank to allow food to settle to the bottom for the hiders to come out and pick at it. (NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!)
So a few days ago - I moved Dahlia back into the big tank, and replaced her with 2 smaller veiltails who were more on the shy side. This turned Camelot into a 5 betta sorority.
Immediately, the atmosphere at Camelot changed - improved! - Rosebud came out of from hiding in her cave, and was exploring the tank. Camelot was a beautiful Sorority experience - and quite a sight to watch.
Last night, I returned to the local fish store near my work and bought 4 more bettas. 2 boys, and 2 girls. The two girls - both veiltails - I had to make a decision on where to put them, and after some thought of whether to add them to the tank that was more 'crowntail' oriented, or to Camelot - Camelot won.
I knew five betta girls worked - and, I was wondering if 7 would be pushing it. I knew that the dynamics would change with the new additions - but it seemed like a good 'test'... So last night - I added the new girls.
They immediately felt comfortable. Both lighter colored, and veiltails - they didn't behave aggressively, although, the order was being re-tested - and, I noticed that Rosebud and Glory (short for Morning Glory) were both hiding more - but still I saw them swimming outside of the caves so it seemed hopeful that they'd relax.
The two newcomers joined three others in top hugging and full tank exploration.
I left their light off last night, but kept Lancelot (next door) on so that they were not in complete darkness, but had lots of shadowy areas in their tank. And this morning - all was 'still' well.
What does this all mean? ... well! - seven girls can live together if they're less aggressive bettas. - but, will it 'work' long term? That's a question that I hope will be answered by this 'experiment'.
I'll keep you all posted.
I'm sure you all want to see some pictures. I managed to get everyone except Lady Glory. (I was running out of time this morning to get pictures processed.)