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Discussion Starter #1
I am a fairly new betta owner, (Ok I've had one for just a few weeks at this point) but I am already enamored by these little guys. I am very interested in setting up a sorority tank in an extra 10 gallon i have. However, I really would like some more information overall before attempting something like that.

I am needing some more info on silk vs real plants (I believe many of yall prefer real, but being newer to this hobby I am not positive I can keep up with all teh new info for bettas as well as their plants all at once. I would prefer to get silk and slowly introduce live as I get more comfortable unless there is some major downside to this.)

Also, a general rundown on anatomy, I saw a thread on this but i understood very little. If someone might be willing to walk me through a bit more so I can be positive I'm not getting a mislabeled male in my tank (I CANNOT afford to breed right now and would prefer not to have this happen).

Tank size also is something I am not clear on. I know a ten gallon is minimum, but is that really large enough for 5 females? Also is it true five and up is best so they don't tag team (i think this is what I was reading. If you can get five instead of four, do five so they dont do this?)

ANy additional info or walkthroughs is always helpful as well. Though I have not kept fish before I do have another exotic I care for and can guarantee a good life and that they will only be purchased after i have my head on completely straight with this setup. (I know I sound a bit unqualified at the moment XD )
 

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Welcome to the addiction! haha

Have you read through the sticky about Sororities? If not, here it is: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=123796

Though, some of the info has changed a bit. We really do recommend that 15 gallons be the minimum now just because it allows for more females which means the aggression is spread out much more than if it were only 5-7 females.

About sexing, it's unlikely that a male and female would breed, they would actually just kill each other. I don't mean to upright scare you, but it's just natural and it's what happens when they aren't conditioned properly and everything. Though, you might get lucky and they might be placid but it's still never a good idea. LittleBettaFish (I think she goes into it in that thread, it's a long thread though) had a sorority and a male grew up with them. Everything was fine and dandy for a year in the sorority until one day the females turned and they nearly killed him. Unfortunately, she didn't find him in time and he did die shortly after.

Sexing is difficult on these guys and so you can show pictures here and we can help you sex them properly. For the most part though, males tend to be bigger (in the tail types other than VT in which females are large and sometimes bigger than males. Genetics are all over the place though), longer fins other than PK's, beard will extend further but females also have beards. There are some indicators but really, the only thing that truely ensures proper sexing is to look for the ovaries or the shape of the ovaries. Lack of ovaries means male of course and ovaries is female. It's difficult to tell on many though.

As for the numbers, you should really get about 7 in a 10 gallon, it's enough room for them as they are usually in different places until feeding time comes along lol. But yes, no less than 5, otherwise you end up with a short hierarchy and it turns into a bloodbath basically unless you get really lucky--chances of that happening are pretty slim unfortunately. UNLESS, you get females all from a breeder who have never been separated. Having a sorority of sisters usually results in a much higher percentage of living peacefully!

And no worries, if you keep asking questions in the forum and reading all you can, you'll be just fine! No question is too stupid, really, honestly! Ask anything you need to! All I ask is that you google it or search the forum first so we don't have to repeat ourselves all the time ^_^ Always pull from multiple sources if possible :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thank you, and I have been spending waaaay too much time on here reading XD hate re-asking questions if possible.

I may just be able to get a 15 gallon since it will be a little while before I am comfortable setting up a tank.

as for the ovaries is there any chance you have a few very clear photos I can see. I have tried looking at the sexing threads on here but I can't seem to see the spots people are trying to point out.

For the planting, do you find that silk will work just as well as live with the reasoning I posted above? or should I invest a few months into learning about and tending to some plants before investing in a sorority?
 

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Yeah, silk plants work out great for a couple reasons. They are always there in the same place, live plants will grow of course but they can potentially die as well and foul your water whereas silk plants won't :)

Yeah, here's a diagram I drew of female Betta anatomy so you can see where exactly the ovaries are. Ovaries are different from the Ovipositer which is the vent where the eggs exit next to the anus.



And this is kind of contradictory but this is an old fish of mine that I could actually never properly sex. I'm usually very good at sexing fish lol. But here you can see a nice ovipositer (egg-spot) sticking out. Males also have false egg-spots but don't usually stick out this far when they're older.


Here's a long finned VT girl I had. Here's the original picture


And I outlined her ovaries here


And just another picture of her. It's easier on yellow/cellophane fish since most of the time they're see through. On dark bodied fish, you can sometimes look for the bulge of the ovaries but it can be difficult
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ahhh that helps alot. Last question for now: are all varieties pf females ok together? Or are some more aggressive etc? I thought I saw theories that ref colorations might be more aggressive.
 

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Yeah, it's true that most reds (like Solid reds) are more aggressive for whatever reason. Someone had proved it a while back but I don't recall if there was a reason or anything like that. That said, not all reds are super aggressive. My Solid Red DT girl had been my Alpha girl, this was known by her breeding stripes--they really aren't breeding stripes but stripes to try to make the other girls submit to her, letting all know that she is Alpha and not to be messed with. Some people have the wrong idea about Alphas; saying that they are the most aggressive and pick the fights but that's incorrect. What the Alpha does is actually stop fights and try to keep the peace. Yes, they will assert themselves but it's usually not through fighting but through display; stripes, flaring, body wiggling, those kinds of things. Sorry I went off topic there lol, but for the most part, yes, all females are fine together as well as all tail types. If you want to stay away from solid reds, that's totally up to you! As LBF recommends in her thread there, I too recommend getting younger girls to start with as they'll be more receptive and they're still learning their place in the world. Don't get PetCo babies though, they've been through too much stress and they usually aren't sexed properly either. Also, do not get sick fish and think that you'll nurse them back to health and then put them in the sorority; they've already been compromised health-wise and will not be able to stand going into a sorority. It's just a recipe for disaster is all! However, you can totally keep the healed fish out of the sorority lol, not saying that you shouldn't rescue if you wanted to ^_^
 

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Discussion Starter #7
awesome, I might look at getting a tank set up this month and buy the girlies when i get back near mid january ^_^ Ill post photos here of the setup for advice if that's ok since I alreayd have a topic. if not I can remake in the tanks forum (?)
 

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I definitely think choosing young, healthy females (spawn sisters that have never been separated are ideal), and introducing them into a cycled, heavily planted tank, while feeding them well, and maintaining close supervision over the the group, will give you the best guarantee of success.

Aggression and territorial behaviour often increases as females mature, which is why a sorority with young females may start off peacefully enough, but run into trouble as time goes on. So this is just something to be aware of.

Also, simply because a sorority has been established for so many days, weeks, or month without issue, doesn't mean that the risk still isn't there. Do remain vigilant, and don't slack off in your maintenance of the tank.

I mentioned a 'cycled' tank in my opening paragraph, and I think this is vitally important to the success of a sorority and the health of your females. A sorority is an extremely high-stress environment. Poor water quality is not something you want to ever be exposing your females to. As someone whose sorority was all but wiped out by a single spike in ammonia (my cycled crashed), I would strongly recommend having the tank fully cycled before you add any females to it.

Finally, I just wanted to add that quarantine is vital. I recommend quarantining all females for a minimum of 30 days regardless of how healthy they look or where you source them from. I've seen countless sororities on this forum wiped out because of a lack of proper quarantine, and I personally infected nearly every tank in my fish room with velvet a few years back because I didn't quarantine new fish coming in.
 

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Lilnaugrim is right about reds. My sister has a red betta who flares at everyone who comes up to his tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
With this info I do wonder if its better for me not to do a sorority tank? Is there a benefit to them versus separate sections like we do for males?
 

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There is absolutely no benefit to them and you are better off putting them in separate sections like males. Females aren't social like some schooling fish like Tetras for example or Corydoras, female betta's do prefer being solitary like males, but they will tolerate living with each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh! I had assumed there was a social aspect. In that case I will definitely keep them sperate, id hate to stress them for no reason :)
 

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Oh! I had assumed there was a social aspect. In that case I will definitely keep them sperate, id hate to stress them for no reason :)
If only! It's a real shame that they can't all be together more peacefully-gosh, I'd have tanks upon tanks with sororities in it! They're like potato chips; can't have just one! lol.
 
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