36 Bowfront: the build continues as a Betta Sorority!

  • #1
My old build thread () going-fresh-after-years-salty-experience.html) has been closed by the powers that be, so I'm starting "Part 2."

My Walstead tank has been a huge success! The plants have grown to maturity, the fish have been happy (neon tetras, corries, and three male guppies) and, except for spiking pH occasioned by the soil early on, things are good. Here's a picture:


Recently, for the past 3 months or so, I've had a female Betta. I loved her. She was pretty and sweet, and swam through the plants in a graceful way that endeared her to me. Yesterday, though, she bloated up and today she was dead. (Moment of silence.)

As I've watched her over the last months, I've had a growing desire to do a sorority tank, but adding several bettas to the tank with one who "owned it" already was not recommended. Now's my chance!

I'm actively planning such details as quarantine options, and researching the best ways to feed "the girls." I'm thinking of 8-10 as a starting place. SO excited, except my only option for fish purchases is PetSmart/PetCo. Does anyone have an Internet based recommendation where you could choose colors? Or advice about how to get the best results from box pet stores? If so, please let me know! TIA!

  • #2
The only advice I can offer is MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EXTRA TANKS. Just in case it doesn't work out. Back in the day when I was really active here, quite a few people had sororities. But they can be hit or miss.

  • #3
Aquabid.com has pictures of the specific betta that you'd be purchasing. You'll have to sort through the sea of males to find a few females though.
  • #4
IF you choose to do a betta sorority, keep a few things in mind:

There is a very, very good chance that it won't work out. Contrary to popular opinion, female bettas are at least as aggressive as males, if not moreso. Just ask the males I've lost during spawns because the females killed them.

If you get eight female bettas, you need to have eight alternative tanks to put them in if the sorority fails. You also need to learn all you can about betta behavior, so you'll know if they are getting stressed and when you need to separate them.

Betta sororities are not for beginners.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks, all!

Yep; I'm not a beginner. So that's good.

I'm a researcher, so I've been combing this and other forums for information. A surprising number of people report good success, especially with heavily planted, larger tanks like mine. I'm actually more worried about my male guppies than anything, but I've had one female betta for the past three or four months (died suddenly as I said; no one else sick and no water parameters off--guess it was her time) and no fin nipping with her.

My plans for sorority failure are the same as my plans for quarantine (for two weeks): One large tub, one heater, one power head to circulate heated water, eight quart sized mason jars within the heated water in the tub, plenty of water changes, and one box pet store whose guarantee includes the policy that you can always bring them back if they're too aggressive.

Checked out Aquabid. WOW. What an amazing thing that you can order a fish from Thailand and have it come to your door alive! However, not me. Not at those prices. PetSmart/Co will have to do.

Time will tell. I feel like: nothing ventured, nothing gained. At least I'll be rescuing box store bettas from the shelves!
Leah Nosack
  • #6
I have had my betta sorority for about 6 wks now. I got 6 from a spawning from one breeder and 4 others from a LFS. Mine are in a 20 gal with lots of plants. I added plants the first day or two until they settled down. So far so good mine tend to get a bit cranky at night and fuss with each other but if I turn their light low they settle. I did not take every one out when I added new ones. I did release them with the lights low and made sure there were plenty of breaks in their visual fields.


  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Looks GREAT, Leah, thanks for sharing. I hope you follow my progress in case I need quick advice.

Well, I finalized my plans and went to the box stores last night. I felt good that I was rescuing 8 girls from their cups! I only had 11 to choose from, and felt sad about the ones that did not get chosen. Sigh.

I had a quarantine arrangement all set up at home (and when I got done it worked). Here's how it looked at midnight:

sorority quarantine.jpg

I have eight, quart-sized, wide-mouth Mason jars, surrounded by water, with a heater down the middle. The problem with this tidy arrangement came when I needed to equalize the water temperatures in the jars and the cups that the girls came in. The tub was too small (and water too shallow) to float them. My solution was to grab a much bigger tub, float the cups and the jars in it, and then do the transfers over the course of about two hours by slow acclamation. As I say, by midnight, we had it all done!

The reason that you see cup lids on these mason jars is just to keep the girls from jumping out of their jars. They are just loosely balanced. I also took care to allow about 2-3 inches of air in the jars for air exchange.

When I awoke this AM, all were doing well. They had looked pretty sad at the store, and I surmise part of the reason was that, in the air conditioned store, they were COLD! Their cup temps were certainly colder than the 80 degree water that I had in their quarantine set-up!

They all looked brighter and more active this AM when I took a look. I removed all covers, and carefully fed each one some tiny pellets (and even so, a couple of them had to work to get them down!). I don't know if these are technically "baby bettas" or not--no sign said so--but they are small.

After feeding, it was time to get a good look at them. I put each jar on my windowsill for a photoshoot. Some of them were disinterested in me, but a couple showed real personality already! Can't wait for two weeks to be over and have them in my tank!

Here are pics of each of eight gals:


My last betta gal was none too pretty when I brought her home and put her in the big tank, but over the months her fins grew in length and her colors came out. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find a blue or green fish among those offered, but it's not too late! I have two weeks of quarantine, and maybe the next time I go I'll see one! My ultimate best number of gals will be 10.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Leah: how do you make sure they're all eating without over-feeding?
  • #9
Can't wait to see how this turns out
Leah Nosack
  • #10
I watch them and talk to them And my smaller ones are smart, they wait away from the group for me to drop food to them.I feed the bossy, piggy's first, get them started, then feed the two shy ones, finishing off with going back to the bossy girls. Also because some of mine are young and small I take my Omega One small pellets and crush them slightly between two spoons so the little ones don't have to struggle with the pellet. They are NOT Spoiled


Leah Nosack
  • #11
Your girls look really pretty I'm sure they will love the new set up!
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
So, I gave them all about 1-2 mini-pellets for breakfast and then took those pictures, and in the early afternoon, I thawed some bloodworms and game them each a tiny portion. ALL were eating well, and I was AMAZED at the colors that are coming out now that they're in a warm, relatively dark and still, place. I really was feeling kind of disappointed at their colors this morning, but after feeding the bloodworms and seeing what's coming out, I'm excited all over again!
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Leah: I shall do exactly likewise! I love spoiling my pets. Since you ARE a fellow spoiler: a few questions:

1. How often do you feed pellets? Once or twice a day?

2. Do you feed bloodworms? If so... like... how "many" or "much"? And how often per week?

3. Do you feed frozen brine shrimp? If so, how often, again?

  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I got tired of squatting on the floor and having a dark, opaque container for my girls. (My body's not that young!) So, tonight, I switched things up! I got a different tub--see through--from the barn and some old milk crates. Now, they're raised up and I can see them--at least a bit--as I work nearby. Yay!

New Q small.JPG
  • #15
This is an old thread bit fish wife how's it going????

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