Are you an aquarium enthusiast or an aspiring aquarist? The chances are that you have come across the term betta sorority. Whether to keep betta fish together or not is a topic that remains debated every day.
I guess you might have heard someone, or you do ever refer to betta fish as Siamese fighting fish? (it’s their other name, actually) Many aquarists continue to advocate for keeping several betta females. This is because they tend to be less aggressive than their male counterparts.
Betta sorority is for advanced betta fish keepers and may as well turn hell. Anyway, domesticating betta fish is surrounded by unending myths, and this is one of the great myths that riddle the world of keeping Betta. Let’s explore more in-depth and find out more about the betta sorority.
What Is A Betta Sorority?
Betta sorority is the concept of keeping a group of female bettas in the same tank. It sounds funny, right? Typically, aquarists keep five or more female betta fish. Every guide for keeping bettas in the same tank talks about trial and error.
Essentially, it offers insight into minimizing possible heated fights among the bettas. Therefore, betta sorority involves a setup that fish enthusiasts try to find if it can succeed.
An Ideal Betta Sorority Tank, How It Should Be?
The entire process of setting up a Betta sorority is fun and interesting. After selecting an appropriate tank for your new, small, and lovely friends, you need to get some stones or gravel and have them inside the tank. With a considerably higher number of hiding holes, you will reduce heated wars among the bettas.
Additionally, you need to get synthetic and natural plants and betta toys. Enough hiding holes and a conducive environment will offer each Betta in the sorority a specific place of rest, therefore, minimizing the chances of the fish fighting. Simply, what you need to keep in betta sorority is a calm tank with plenty of supply of rest.
Like any aquarium, you will need to fit a filter in your betta sorority. Also, make sure to offer the right medication to your betta fish whenever they get ill.
This entire setup process may be resource-draining, and there is no guarantee your bettas will live for long without hurting one another.
Essential Considerations for A Successful Betta Sorority
It is possible to have your female bettas live in a sorority. However, this might not always be the case for all. As you decide to set up a betta sorority, you need to consider the physical and emotional changes that your betta fish will need to adapt when changing the environment to a community tank instead of an isolated tank.
One of the significant challenges will be rushing for food while in the shared tank. Remember when Betta lived in an isolated tank has no competition for either food pellets or live food offered?
Additionally, they will compete for spots to rest and as will have to identify and mark her long-term territory. This may subject them to stress. The other significant pitfall is sharing shelter and living in close proximity with other territorial aggressive counterparts.
Every aquarium enthusiast understands that stress is the leading cause of disease outbreaks. Therefore, you need to make sure the bettas in the sorority suffer from minimal stress by keeping the high-end quality of shelter.
For this reason, give special attention to water quality to lower susceptibility to diseases. Anyway, here are smart tips for setting up a betta sorority and doing it successfully.
1. Betta sorority tank size
If you intend to start a betta sorority, your tank should be 10 gallons and nothing less than that. However, a bigger size is recommended and more suitable despite being expensive.
Female Betta fish need ample space to swim and create their territories because they are naturally aggressive. With significantly larger space between them, you will have won the trick in reducing the eruption of fights.
When buying a tank meant for a sorority, it is advisable you go for the longer tanks instead of the deeper ones. More extended tanks will help the female bettas have more space to spread, create distant territories, and run away from bullies. A great betta sorority will include plenty of toys and some synthetic or natural plants suitable for bettas. Avoid plants that may be toxic to your betta fish.
2. Provide lots of hiding spots
You must provide lots of hiding places for the bettas in your new sorority. This can’t be stressed enough. Multiple forms of protection will lower the chances of Betta fighting.
Plants are the best option ever as they make the sorority safe and feel more natural. To provide a sufficient hiding place, you can use natural freshwater plants, synthetic plants, plastic aquarium shelters, driftwood, and rocks. Also, don’t forget to include toys.
For beginners, java moss is ideal, and as you become an enthusiast, you can incorporate betta bulbs, java fern, and Anubias. Check this article to know how to plant those in your aquarium.
Keep in mind that the objective of providing plenty of hiding is to block sight lines. The more shelter you provide within the sorority, the lesser the chances of fighting. Getting enough hiding places might beef up the expenses.
3. Make sure to cover the tank
Bettas are known to jump; therefore, proper covering of the sorority is ideal. Remember, we said that longer tanks are ideal as compared to tall tanks. Covering your tank will ensure you don’t have any of your new small friends jumping to the floor.
4. A filter and heater
Clean water is a must for your Betta to live healthier and happier. While some aquarists say that changing the water frequently can work, it may not be perfect.
The filter removes any trace of dirt from the tank constantly, thus ensuring it is ideal for your betta fish to live in with minimal stress. One of the great reasons you need a filter is to minimize ammonia.
Your betta sorority will need a heater. The ideal temperature for Betta is 78°F, but you can keep it between 76 and 80°F. Maintaining the right temperature is vital because betta fish can’t survive long in cold waters.
Tips for Adding Bettas to The Sorority
You already know that keeping more than one Betta in one aquarium is not a walk in the park. The ultimate test when starting a betta sorority is choosing which species to keep. Now that you have your sorority setup complete, let’s add some bettas to make the tank a complete betta sorority.
1. The right number (six in a 10-gallon)
You need a minimum of four female bettas in one sorority. Indeed, a higher number is better and recommended. With less than four bettas, you risk the weakest being bullied to possible death by tank mates. However, having too many can turn more disastrous. A 10-gallon aquarium tank is ideal for only six bettas.
2. Ensure they are all female bettas
You need only females in your tank, but how do you identify female bettas? The surest way to identify a female betta is by checking for the ovipositor on its bellies. Shorter fins are also an indication of female Bettas.
Male Bettas usually have longer fins with various colors, and on the other hand, female Bettas are relatively dull in color.
3. Pick younger female bettas
Young bettas are not as aggressive as adult ones. Therefore, choosing the younger bettas would be an excellent option. As they edge, they become more territorial.
4. Choose bettas that are familiar with each other
Familiar bettas tend to be less aggressive than those that are new to each other. When selecting, it is wise to pick those who were closer to one another when in their cups.
5. Pick bettas that appear different
Even though bettas are known to be all beautiful, it is a good idea to consider keeping those that have slight differences. Doing so will minimize the chances of fighting, as studies show that they tend to be calm with those that are not closely similar. It would be best if you have different types of Betta in each sorority.
6. Add all the female bettas at the same time
After choosing the species to keep, it is now time to add them to the sorority. Adding them to the tank at the same time is the best. It reduces the fighting that could result when creating territories.
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Why Betta Sororities Are Challenging to Keep?
They have always been aggressive, whether male or female. A Betta will always strive to defeat fellow Betta. Due to their aggressiveness, they are called Siamese fighting fish.
Many aquarium enthusiasts can have happy and healthy betta sorority tanks. However, this needs patience and vast expertise. For beginners, it is not wise to start with a betta sorority. Here I am giving six reasons why you may think to run away from betta sororities.
1. The bettas are constantly stressed up
Even though sorority experts may claim their bettas do not fight, the truth will remain that betta fish are aggressive. Such aquarists fail to understand that submissiveness to tank mates is another form of stress and, indeed, an excessive one.
It is ideal to understand that the horizontal stress stripes are visible in some bettas but can’t be seen in some bettas because of their colors. Therefore, the lack of stress stripes does not automatically mean that the Betta is healthy. For instance, stress stripes can be easily seen on the red and blue bettas, but you will never see them on the yellow or white bettas.
There are other various signs that show whether a betta is stressed or not. Things like darting, clamped fins, quick breathing, laying at the bottom, and low appetite signify that the Betta is stressed.
2. They often get injuries
It is very common to find torn fins and scales in a betta sorority. They get open sores that make the fish susceptible to different bacterial infections. The fish whose fins are torn end up unable to swim, and they have to stay at a specific lonely place. Loneliness increases stress and the chances of early death.
3. They May Die
This is the worst scenario. Bettas get killed by fellow ones in the same sorority. However much you follow the instructions on keeping bettas in a sorority, there will always be unexpected death. Being highly territorial gives a reason to avoid sorority because no one would be happy knowing their pet’s life is at risk.
4. Diseases spread faster
In a stressful environment, immunity drops so fast. A betta sorority is stressful to the fish; therefore, the risk of spreading diseases and illness is very high. Just in a short while, all the bettas in your sorority tank will be infected and possibly die.
It is easy to lose your female bettas to parasites who take advantage and feed on the compromised fish. The fish will not only suffer but also be stressed as the owner is finding solutions to the problem.
5. Keeping bettas is expensive
Keeping multiple fish in one sorority may increase the risk of sickness and injuries. You will be required to have sufficient funds to cater to their medication.
Additionally, you will need enough extra tanks, heaters, filters, and other materials to create a hospital tank. This is very expensive, and you may end up spending too much to give the Betta a wonderful place to survive.
6. Requires additional maintenance
A Betta sorority tank requires special attention and maintenance. You’ll have to keep an extra eye on your fellow pets so that they don’t fight to kill each other. And you need to maintain all the pieces of equipment you bought that can make the sorority successful.
Besides, a Betta sorority tank must be provided with large rocks, gravel, decors, and toys to create many hiding places. That makes the regular cleaning and maintenance of the tank more challenging than typical fish tanks.
I tried to come up with a fact-based exploration of the betta sorority. It doesn’t work in many cases, or later it turns to mourn when your pets are dead.
But, even though betta sorority remains questionable, it is possible to start one and thrive. I made a successful Betta sorority in a 20-gallon tank with 7 Bettas. But to be frank, they add a lot of hassles in life.
If you want to start one, make sure to use the tips above. However, you must know the success of the betta sorority highly depends on the personality of the individual Betta. You may have to change some of them who are more aggressive to make a peaceful community.