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Old 05-01-2011, 06:37 AM   #1 
lunawatsername
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betta sorority plans: your thoughts?

okay, so i am thinking that i might, should i be able to come up with a decent amount of money, want to set up my very first community fish tank: a betta sorority! i am totally in love with bettas, so as soon as i heard it was possible, i knew i had to read up on it as much as i could. and when i did, i knew i had to have one! so this is what im thinking for my girls of the future:
setup:
20 gal long tank
filter for a 20 gal, or 2 for 10 gal each, not sure yet (aqueon quietflow 20? anyone ever used it?)
heater (duh :p) for a 20 gal (got to research how many watts that would be...)
lights, not sure how many or wattage or anything yet, but i know ill need them
accessories:
live plants? or fake? not sure yet, but i think live would be worth the cost/work :)
(some plants ive seen and liked (that i think i have a decent chance of not outright murdering) include anubias nana, java fern/moss, and water sprite, but their could be more)
plenty of hidey holes, like terracotta pots, rock formations, maybe some driftwood, ill get creative :)
ill probably go with a more natural gravel, i like the natural looks more and more, and add some accent rocks and stuff like that :)
and finally, my stock:
10 (?) female bettas (i put the (?) because im not solid on the number yet)
around 5 or 6 ghost shrimp ('around' because i heard they die easily)
2 female african dwarf frogs
so, i know the females would have to be added from least aggressive on, after being in QT for a reasonable time. i know that i should add them a few at a time, and monitor them closely for fights, and i would definitely have a few temp tanks on standby just in case it went wrong. (i would wait for a weekend that i didnt work, then do it after work on friday or early saturday, to maximize the time i can spend watching them like a hawk. seriously, no blinking!--> ) i also know that their needs to be a crazy amount of hiding places and things like that. i also know that i have to feed the frogs by hand, that they cant eat flakes or anything like that, and ill make sure the tank is no more than 12 inches high, and that i have something that goes atleast part way to the surface, to make it easier for them to get up there and breathe :)
i found a little thing called AqAdvisor, and it tells you a bunch of really helpful things, like that for the tank and stock im planning, id want to keep my temp around 78, my pH between 6 and 8, and my water hardness between 5 and 15 dH. my tank is stocked to about 63% of its capacity (which sounds reasonable to me, because i want to be far from overstocking, to make sure my girls have their space) and i would do about a 30% water change every week (maybe a 15% change bi-weekly? im not sure which would disturb the fish less, but it seems like the latter would because its a big enough tank that they might not even notice or care if i replace 15% water.... thoughts on that?) it actually says that 24% a week is enough, but i like rounded numbers lol
and yes, would stock up on some betta meds, just in case my vigilante prowess fails me, and someone gets hurt :(
so, thats about all ive got so far (though im sure ive left something out, i always do lol) how does it sound so far? somethings to watch out for? things im missing? helpful insider tips? all would be appreciated :)
and by the way, sorry this is so horribly long, but im really excited and no one i live with cares about
fish this forum is the only place i can rant and rave lol thanks for reading!
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:27 AM   #2 
nowzem
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Betta sororities are really fun! Good luck! I think 10 may be too many bettas to start with, especially if you're not planning on doing a fishless cycle. They are a bit more than an inch in length, closer to two inches, and the general rule of thumb is an inch of fish per gallon.

Also, it can be difficult to determine which female is the most aggresive. Some of mine were aggressive in cups but completely docile in the sorority. I would suggest adding all the girls at the same time and give them a day to adjust (there will be fin nipping until they understand each other's boundaries.) Unless one is really hounding the others, I wouldn't be too concerned about nipping. My girls are all getting along beautifully now that they have established a pecking order!
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:03 AM   #3 
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You sound completely on track, and super smart! LOL
The only things I would suggest are that sororities are best in odd numbers. I don't know why, but for some reason they are. A sorority of spawn sisters is usually the best way to go. They're less likely to fight.

Aqadvisor is very helpful in some things, but its stocking levels are kinda unreliable. Just be warned about the website. I've found that their information on the pH, hardness, etc are accurate, but the stocking levels aren't so reliable all the time.

Someone suggested on my sorority thread (I forget who it was) to have some floating plants as well as the regular plants that would be in the gravel. It prevents attacks if a betta wants to go up for air.

When picking your females just make sure its a female! LOL, when I was picking a female for my sorority, I bought a male plakat by accident. Luckily I hadn't stuck him in, before I realized.

Good luck on your sorority, and it sounds like you are doign everything right!
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:13 PM   #4 
lunawatsername
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thanks you guys! you know, i had heard that it was really hard to tell which were the most docile and everything, so i think i will go for adding them all at once. and i am going to do a fishless cycle :) yeah, im a worrier, so i know ill be biting my nails and grimacing the whole time they are establishing their pecking order, but i know some nipping is expected lol
hmmm. would 9 be better? and yes, i was going to have at least 1 or 2 floating plants to make sure they are covered and safe :) omg really? you would think a pet store would know the difference right? -__- lol just a good thing you figured it out in time.
i actually have a question about the fish though... how long should i quarantine them before i put them in the tank? a couple weeks? and where should a QT them, because ive heard that some people just leave them in their little cups but id rather not do that... at the same time, i dont want to buy 9 2 gal tanks that im only going to use for a couple weeks, not if their is a better way.... how did you do it?
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:55 PM   #5 
nowzem
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Well... I would give them at least 24 hours in a QT tank. I think the cups are fine if you do your daily water change in it. I actually was naughty and didn't QT my girls for more than 8 hours (=O) I'm also not convinced that it has to be an odd number of girls. I think 6+ and you'll do well, although I may only add 5 at a time (first 5, then last 5-something like that.) I added 3 of my girls, then 1 (an impulse buy!), and the last 4 together. I do have a blue girl who is running around picking on all the other blue girls (may have to give her her own tank!) But it's nothing serious so far. I think as long as you keep an eye on them (and also give them some time and space, they aren't used to being in communities after all) you will really love what you see! My sorority is so fun and interesting and all my girls have unique personailities and dynamics between each other!
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:10 PM   #6 
lunawatsername
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yea im not sure why they would like odd numbers... maybe so they cant pick on each other one on one? i dont know, but i might bet less than 10 anyway, especially at first, just to make sure the tank is roomy enough. id imagine too small of a tank would cause more fighting, whether it was overstocked or not. hope i get lucky and pick some friendly bettas! :D and do you have pictures of your sorority? id love to see some, because i ahve been trying to find as many as i could to study up on them lol. thanks for the advice! :D
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