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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
since I moved in with my new roommate, I really began to enjoy her veiltail male, Derek. I started taking care of him and to avoid overstepping my place, I decided to get my own betta.

since I'm a student, I'm living on limited funds, so I waited about a month and did my research before taking the plunge. But when I went into petco, I wasn't sure if I would be leaving with a male, female, or several females. I decided I wanted to keep multiple females, but I read that it was better to start out with several females at the same time. The day I went, I only found two females that I really liked-- a white and pink veiltail who seemed pretty laidback (Gene) and a blue veiltail who worried me a bit because she seemed very feisty and reactive (Louise).

I purchased the two and let them adjust to the tank temperature before releasing them at the same time. I know that two isn't ideal, but there wasn't any more quality females that day. Sure enough, the fish have personalities like I expected--Louise is very feisty and energetic while Gene is pretty laidback and content. I wasn't able to take my eyes off of them in fear that their chasing and flaring (mostly instigated by Louise) would escalate into a fight. I searched around on the internet and was unable to get a clear answer as to when the fighting is too much and when I should seperate them.

In fear that I would wake up to a dead or injured fish, I put Louise in the quarantine tank for the night. The next day, I went to Petco to find a third female so I could break up the tension. I found a baby female that my roommate and I liked the best, grey with a lavender hue (Tina). I was worried about putting a baby in the mix, but she was close in size with Louise so I figured she was close to maturity.

When I brought her home, I fed her a tiny piece of shrimp and then released her with Louise into the tank. The tension between Louise and Gene seemed to die down, but Louise harrassed Tina mercilessly. Tina doesn't flare, she just darts away from Louise and kept hitting the glass because of that... I felt really bad, so I placed Tina back into the quarantine.

Now it's day 2 of Louise and Gene being paired together. They seem to be doing better, they still flare and occasionally chase but nothing like the first day. they can even pass eachother without really noticing eachother. Even though Louise is usually the antagonist, Gene isn't a push over, nor does she seem stressed out, so I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Louise swims confidently in strides around the tank, just like my roommate's male, while Gene just hangs out a lot.

To clarify, here are a few questions I have:
1) When is the bullying too bad?
2) How old do you think Tina is and when should I add her to the tank? I don't want to have her bullied to death...
3) Is it okay that I've fed them frozen shrimp that's sold in the grocery store? They seem to enjoy it.
4) I haven't bought a heater for the tank yet, our apartment is about 73-75 degrees, will they be okay for a week?
5) Is it okay to have my tank caddy-corner to the male's tank? I think they may be able to see eachother.

I've attached a photo of Tina; unfortunately it's hard to get good lighting where the tanks are. Still trying to figure out how to add a second picture.
 

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This thread should help you out a lot: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=123796

They should be okay without a heater for that period of time. It's not ideal, they'll be cold and the temp fluctuations make them more susceptible to disease, but since it's only for a week, they should survive.

From reading your post, I'd really recommend that you either divide your tank (this can be done very cheaply) or get them each their own tank. Sororities are super dangerous and are best if done by someone with lots of experience in bettas. Since you just set your tank up, it's not cycled. This also makes sororities a more dangerous thing to try.

Petco is notorious for labeling their baby bettas wrong genderwise. I currently have two: The one they labeled "Boy" is a girl, and the one they labeled "Girl" is a boy. I'm inclined to say that yours is a female, but for future reference, trusting the gender indicated on the tub is a dangerous thing to do with a fish you want in a sorority.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck and will try my best to help more if needed.
 

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Ok first you have a few things.

What size if your tank? If you look at LBF post on the last page of the thread linked by Elleth, the tank must be 15-20 gallons.

Also the tank must be DENSELY planted. So heavily planted that you cannot see to the other side of tank when you look at it from any angle.

You need to buy all females at once. No exceptions. It way worse than "not ideal". As you are aware, the fish can kill each other. Not mention, when adding a new fish, the existing fish can reject the new one,

Next, you did not QT the two fish you currently have before you added them to a shared tank. You must QT new fish for at least 3-4 weeks before you can add them to a shared tank, unless all fish came from the same tank in the pet store. In that case you must QT those fish in their own tank before you can add them to a tank of yours with existing fish. You could have just spreader multiple diseases between the fish.

Next your tank is not cycled. Meaning has an established Nitrogen Cycle. Seeing as you're a beginner and this is your first fish, you should have done a lot more research. Sororities are incredibly stressful environments for fish. this means that you MUST have a fully cycled aquarium and have the cycle be steady for at least 6 weeks before you add any fish. Since the stress level is so high it is imperative that the water quality is pristine otherwise you will have a bunch of sick fish on your hands.
This also means that MUST have a heater. So no, it is not okay that you do not have one currently. Cold water and temperature fluctuations can lead to illness and since you already have a stressed tank on your hands, illness is hard to prevent.

Do no feed them fish from the grocery. While it may not hurt. It is better to feed them frozen foods that have to sterilized to prevent parasites or infection. The best food to feed them is a high quality pellet - like Omega One or New Life Spectrum. You want a pellet that is low in fillers.

I personally do not recommend sororities at all, even to someone who is an experienced fish keeper. As i said before, sororities are incredibly stressful environments. In the wild, when a female betta runs into another female betta they have miles and miles of water to get away from each other. In a tank they do not have that. Even if the tank is massive like 100+ gallons. Sororities are basically ticking time bombs. Meaning at any moment your fish can attack each other and one or more can end up injured or dead. I had a friend who had a sorority that was in a fully cycled tank and set up without any problems for over a year. She came home one day to find that all the females ganged up on the "alpha" female and ripped her in half. Sororities are not for the faint of heart.
 

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I agree with the others that it's best to separate your two females or divide the tank they are in.

In the photo, Tina looks fairly young, which could be why the two females have not escalated to actual physical violence.

Sororities are notorious for failing due to stress and disease. It is highly important that the conditions of your tank are nothing less than perfect, to limit stress, which in turn will minimise the risk of disease. Unfortunately, based on your post, you have no heater, your tank is not cycled, and you have too few a females. This is the perfect recipe for an outbreak of disease in your tank. Especially considering your females are only newly purchased and may still be harbouring nasty pathogens from their time in the fish store.

Unfortunately, a sorority tank isn't something to be put together on a whim. It needs careful planning and preparation to be done correctly.

If you are still relatively new to bettas, I'd strongly recommend against a sorority. Bettas are unpredictable fish, and you really have to be familiar with the slightest nuances of their body language, to understand when violence is brewing. This way you can intervene before a fish is injured or killed.
 

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First, Welcome to the Forum! :wave:

As you realize, your situation isn't ideal but it is what it is so you need to know what to do.

What size is your tank? Could you possibly divide it? If it is at least a 10 gallon you can either divide it in two and take Tina back; or, you could divide it three ways so all three girls have their own space. IMO, these are your best options.

As you already see, it's stressful not only for the girls, but for you and your roommate, too. I think a divided tank would ease the stress on all of you and you can appreciate each girl's individual personality and learn about Betta with them in a safe environment.

I'm not as strict about quarantining as some. If you got all three girls at the same time from the same place and all look healthy I wouldn't worry about it that much. Now if you decide to add other tank mates at some point then, yes, quarantine. But by that time you'll know if you have room and the funds to set up a quarantine tank with filter, heater, etc.

It would be easier to help if we knew the size of the tank and if you have a filter. Whether you decide to continue trying for a sorority or go for a divided tank will determine what sort of equipment is suggested.

To clarify, here are a few questions I have:
1) When is the bullying too bad?
2) How old do you think Tina is and when should I add her to the tank? I don't want to have her bullied to death... I believe a divided tank or rehoming are the only options for Tina. Gene and Louise may well forget their differences and gang up on her. Being smaller she wouldn't have a chance.
3) Is it okay that I've fed them frozen shrimp that's sold in the grocery store? They seem to enjoy it. I wouldn't because you don't know how it was prepared and whether it is fish-safe. I would buy frozen Brine or Mysis Shrimp which are specifically for fish. Their main diet, however, should be a good pellet formulated for Betta. New Life Spectrum and Omega One have fish as the first ingredients; lesser foods have fillers or "fish meal" first.
4) I haven't bought a heater for the tank yet, our apartment is about 73-75 degrees, will they be okay for a week? In my mind, heaters are the absolute most important addition to a Betta tank. They are tropical fish so 73-75 ... especially for a baby ... is too cold. This can compromise immune systems and lead to illness; especially in an already-stressful sorority situation. If the tank were divided it wouldn't be as bad for a week.
5) Is it okay to have my tank caddy-corner to the male's tank? I think they may be able to see each other. I don't see that as a problem.
 

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Oops after reading your post Russell, I see that Tina was not one of the females in the tank. Teaches me to skim through a post early in the morning.

I would definitely not be adding a third female. I personally think three is a worse number than two, as there is the potential for the two most aggressive females to 'gang up' on the weakest.
 

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Oops after reading your post Russell, I see that Tina was not one of the females in the tank. Teaches me to skim through a post early in the morning.

I would definitely not be adding a third female. I personally think three is a worse number than two, as there is the potential for the two most aggressive females to 'gang up' on the weakest.
I think we've all been guilty of skimming when not quite awake. :)
 

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I've just recently taken on setting up another sorority as well. I've had them before in a betta "harem" situation and they did fine aside from some occasional harassment from Antares, my male (Wild Type Super Delta) The girls seem to be getting along fine as long as they have plenty of places to hide. I currently have the fry in a 5g heated planted cycled tank aside from Antares, to gauge their behavior together and so far so good. I bought them from a friend who's also a breeder and they came from the same tank. They are about 10 weeks old right now so we'll have to wait and see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies, everyone, and I apologize for seemingly abandoning my thread. ��

Just wanted to update on the girls. I forgot to specify that my tank is 10 gallons, and now fully upgraded with a decent heater, a filter, and more plants/decorations. Gene, my white female, became VERY agressive and began targetting both of the other girls. she'd lock onto one, see the other, and then lock onto her. I immdiately seperated her from the tank, and now I have her in a heated 1.5 bowl. I know that bowls in general aren't ideal, but she seems much happier alone. I decorated the bowl with hideaway tree trunk, and she seems to really enjoy it.

Louise and Tina (the baby) seem to be getting along fine, they acknowledge each other and sometimes hang around eachother, but I've watched them closely and there's been absolutey no chasing or flaring. I don't know if that'll change when Tina reaches maturity--now I can clearly see her ovipositor, so I think she's getting close? She's gotten a bit bigger and has a voracious appetite, while Louise is too lazy to chase a soaked pellet to the bottom... Should they start to fight, I'm prepared to divide the tank.

The only concern I have is with Louise--since I've added the filter, she's shown prominent stress stripes. It's funny, because Tina seems to enjoy the current. I don't know if they're from that or something else. Another concern: I thought she'd been nipped by Gene, but looking back on my pictures I took back when I first bought her, her fins have been in the same condition. Could she have fin rot? I've added aquarium salt to the tank, but I haven't noticed any difference.
 

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