Why risk sororities/communities? Question

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by aylad, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. aylad

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    It feels as though every week I see at least one post where a member (often, though not always, a newcomer) is exploring any possibility, however remote, of getting a male betta into a community tank or a bunch of female bettas living in a sorority.

    I'm not criticizing these members; I would like to understand their point of view a little better than I do, however.

    Whether the individual is a newcomer who wants to know whether his 10gal tank will accommodate a couple of males in addition to his bala shark and common pleco or an experienced fishkeeper who has researched every angle, the one thing that nearly everyone has in common is their awareness that bettas have a tendency to attack other fish. A very few people do seem unaware of female aggression, but lately, Tigress Hill's tragic sorority experience has been offered as an example to anyone who wants to start a sorority of their own.

    However... people still seem very enthusiastic about trying these combinations. Personally, I don't get it: knowing the risks, why buy a beautiful betta, fall in love with it, and then put it into a situation where it's likely to die a violent (and completely preventable) death?

    What am I missing? What's the appeal that makes the risk worthwhile? I want to repeat: I'm not posting this as veiled criticism. I genuinely want to know more about this aspect of betta keeping.

    PS: I also know that many of our members are successfully -- for the moment, at least -- keeping bettas in community tanks... so I'm fully aware that it's not always doomed to failure.
  2. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Imo, bettas are one of many potentially violent fish that people attempt to place into communities. Another good example would be one of the shark species. Even a common tetra or danio can be violent under the right circumstances. Cichlid communities are another good example, if done properly, by an experienced aquarist one could have a plethora of potentially very violent fish living together, case in point cichlidnuts 125g community.

    I can't speak for everyone but I would imagine striking such a balance in tank would invove some pride. I personally like an active tank and am fine with the idea of bettas in a community as long as backup accomodations are provided. Careful consideration of tank mates make it an even less risky venture imo. For example, the betta would not be nearly as inclined to savage a neon tetra as it would a fancy guppy.

    For the record, I am equally fine with a betta by itself in a 5 gallon tank, however, if I have a 5 and a 15g available, personally I'm going to put him in the 15 and go for some roomates. Its also worth mentioning when I keep other fish with a betta the stocking is light and the the roomates are generally unobtrusive, calm species.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  3. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    To be honest, I'm a little surprised at how rigid some people are about keeping bettas with other fish. Wait, no I'm not. These fish are put up on pedestals by a lot of people, as if they are somehow special. They are not. They are just another fish. When someone want's to try a combination of other fish that may or may not work, no one cries about it - they say "keep an eye on it".

    Here is a perfect example. You'll notice just how few people had an issue, and how many won't consider trying it, despite the success of the many of the respondents. https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/polls/76865-bettas-community-tanks.html

    I don't think people should be afraid to try things because there's a chance that it may not work out. Such is life. If someone wants to be super cautious, good for them - that's their choice. But don't put someone else down for taking a risk. Just because you've (plural you) backed up to the point you cannot see the line anymore, doesn't mean that the line has moved. There's really not a lot to learn from playing it super safe all the time. Only by approaching the line can you see where it really is.
  4. monkeypie102

    monkeypie102Well Known MemberMember

    Personally I feel that if your able to/suppose to over stock a bunch of ciclids in a tank to keep the fighting to a minimum then couldn't you mix a group of betta girls together? From what i have read they all seem to have the same temperament and if you have the means to seperate if all goes wrong then why not give it a try... not that I would say let a beginner give it a go but more experianced with tons of research...

    As for the male in communities... I have always kept my males in a community of peaceful, slow moving fish but never with a lot of color. I always have my betta as the center piece, for example my male veiltail is in a 29g with 4 black skirts, 6 black neons, 6 albino cories, 6 otos, and 3 mystery snails... he is probably the calmcalmeest of them all and has never showed stress stripes since I got him... heck I use to have a betta (died 2 months ago) who school with my black neons and my cories... it is all about who you place in the tank and the size (IMO)

    Besides i always have a plan "b" before I go out and buy a new betta... I have a 5g all ready I case I need to move one from the other fish.
  5. Tigress Hill

    Tigress HillWell Known MemberMember

    When I first wanted a sorioty tank, it was because I thought the fish were "pretty". Mind you, this was when I was eleven years old and had little idea of what I was in for. At the time there was a knowledgeable pet store that kept a large sorioty successfully, and they assisted me in starting up.

    I purchased five females from a recommended breeder as soon as they were able to travel, and placed them in a five gallon tank. Later on, I upgraded them to a ten, with little to no aggression issues from that point. But recently... well here's the thread, for I do not wish to recall the incident again.
    Perhaps it could also be a pride thing, but why would one put so much effort into doing this, only to eventually see it collapse before your very eyes? Know that I will never attempt to do so again.

    As for communities, it could be for an attractive centerpiece fish, much like gouramis. If they have relatively slow moving and non-nippy tankmates, I don't see why one shouldn't attempt it, as long as they have a backup tank in handy.
  6. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Yeah, I'm not a fan of sororities. It's one thing to hope to get a good tempered betta.....it's quite another to hope to get 6....
  7. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Why risk sororities/communities?I

    I think the difference between a bunch of bettas and a bunch of mbunas is that the cichlids still look nice when they get a split in their tail. It also heals much quicker and is less prone to fun rot setting in. I certainly don't want to watch a bunch of fish with torn fins, when the fins are one of the most attractive features of the fish.
  8. monkeypie102

    monkeypie102Well Known MemberMember

    But with the proper care then they will he'll just as quickly.
  9. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Why risk sororities/communities?I

    In my experience betta fins take longer to heal than other fish. And, they don't always look as nice when they do.
  10. bankruptjojo

    bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    usually you dont have to worry about a male betta in a community tank, you have to worry about the other fish getting hurt...

    bettas are great and i think they would be my favorite fish if they could only live together better. this is why most people try to fit them with other fish.

    i hate to put fish in a situation that has a high chance of failing but i feel at this point im experienced enough to give it a good chance for success or at least be able to take it down if its to much aggression. its deff not for beginners or people that might not have time to monitor them imo.
  11. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Why risk sororities/communities?I

    I think it's worth mentioning, though, that there are species of bettas that can be kept together. They all aren't like the splendins.
  12. monkeypie102

    monkeypie102Well Known MemberMember

    Like betta imbellis can be cept together... they are also called the peaceful betta :) I plan to get two trios for my tank when its ready (2m and 4f)
  13. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I think people risk it because it works. If it were a certain failure then you wouldnt have as many doing it, but it works in many situations so why not?
  14. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    To me it all depends on the fish, with some fish it works and with others it doesn't. Wild betas will usually not care so much about the other fish but will be much less colorfull where as most of the betas we see are the bred betas which have a much more aggressive attitude.

    I think that with the problem work it can be done and that as long as the tank is being watched over (not having to be hovered over) if it doesnt work at least someone is there to solve the issue.

    I wouldnt recommend it to someone just starting out in the hobby but for someone that has an idea of what they are doing and an understanding of some of the basics it can be worth a try to get a really colorfull fish and one that honestly can have a great temperment into a nice tank.
  15. OP

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    AlexAlex, your case is exactly why I pointed out (twice ;)) that I wasn't criticizing people who are interested in doing this... you seem very well prepared for *whatever* happens in your tank. I have more faith in your being able to pull it off than I do in many people. :)

    I guess I'd just be too worried about it and fret all the time about the fish. I don't think I could ever fully enjoy it.
  16. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    I wouldn't say "only a few fail" because that is not true, in the case of multi betta setups, more fail then work. When one is successful, it is definitely heard about. Female Sororities have the potential to work, Adding a male to the group seems a little off though being that Betta don't have a natural harem instinct so that really isn't going to happen. Jaysee is right in the fact that most people don't like seeing a bunch of torn up betta because their fins are their best asset. The rips and tears are rarely dangerous but just not pretty and betta are more prone to infection then cichlids it seems(not sure if cichlids just have a better immune system or what, but i have seen them take damage and heal fine). Of course, that is speculation.

    As far as a single betta in a community tank goes(not sure if that is what this thread is also about?) it is case by case. I think almost any betta can pull it off. Some are just plain mean though, they were bred for that however, and that needs to be remembered. I have done it twice without issue and trying it right now with my newest arrival, so far no issue. Females seem to be better for it. They arn't normally as territorial as the males and the reason for that may lie in the idea that Male Betta own and area of water where they wait for egg laced females to come find them, defend their territory from other males and so on, the females are more of the wandering type and not so territory dependent.

    The only time I draw a line with bettas is when A. some one wants to keep more then 1 male per tank, B.Some one wants to keep a male/female pair or harem or C. Someone wants to keep them with a non-compatible species(Gourami, cichlids and so on).

    Male betta are nice, but for the better of their health, just best off alone. Females are the same I suppose. They do ok with community tanks most of the time, sororities on occasion. I will fight for someone's right to have a sorority and for the Idea that they shouldn't, all depends on who is doing what and how.

    I suppose i am one of those betta nuts that Jaysee was referring too, I really dont care. Despite what some may think THERE IS A REASON for the mass of betta crazy people, and goldfish crazy people, and discus and live bearers. They all have one thing in common, Complete manipulation by man. These groups have been heavily worked with, bred and domesticated(for lack of a better word) by people, more so then say tetra or loaches where you might find a slight color morph at best. With goldfish, discus, Bettas and so on there are groups of people who advocate for more specialized care of the fish, that isn't because they are crazy fanatics, it is because that fish species has been more studied then others and we now have more specific information on them then the other species. If we had people working on breeding long fin neon tetra in 10 different colors, you think they would come up with a much more intensive care sheet then the typical "tropical fish, 76-80f, small schooler, peaceful, 10gal minimum". I think so. Don't fault people for knowledge.

    Clearly though, i am a black sheep on this forum, I step on a lot of toes and don't bother to apologize for it. I have large, bulky opinions on the care for a lot of animals and my care instructions seem to be more complicated(so apparently less desirable) I have been called an extremist by plenty. That puts me at the polar side of Dog fighters and Poachers though so it can't be that bad. I realize that this post will for better or worse be picked apart by just about everyone with an opinion on it though, so gentlemen and ladies, have at. Let me know if you need me to state anything more specific to help you make a revolutionary counter point.

    Also, I am posting this now instead of later, Massive amounts of satire and sarcasm above. Don't take everything too literal.
  17. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Why risk sororities/communities?I

    I think one of the reasons cichlids fins heal faster than betta fins is because they are closer to the blood supply. It's the same reason that ligament injuries take longer to heal than broken bones or muscles - there's less blood flow to the area.
  18. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    And also extremities, like toes and frostbite - they're farther away from the blood source.

    I have my own opinions on the matter but I'm not the argumentative type so I've just been lurking ;)
  19. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Not much for DeBettaing eh?
  20. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Of course! Some end with terrible mauling, others with a voracious disease :p. Joking. JOKING. Some sorority tanks turn out just fine, but don't try to claim that only "some" fail or "one or two" because the numbers and ratio are much higher then that, no sugar coating.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012