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I'm putting together a collection of females (just about all of them currently from Jarrod but hey...), and so my mind has begun to wander to a sorority.

As is usual, I've been off researching and reading lots, and have found much confusing and conflicting information.

Some suggest 1 gallon (4L) per fish, some 8L, some 12L...I'm planning on using a 60L tank for this so that gives me somewhere between 5-15 females. Which is lucky because almost universally I've read it should be an odd number of females.

The heavy planting (planning on purchasing Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Water Sprite - need suggestions on grasses) , lots of hidy-holes (fake caves, pvc pipes, etc), filtration requirements (depending on number of fish + other bioload), lighting and heating I get - already have filter foam in currently cycled Cichlid tank, new light on order, new caves, cut up and sanded PVC, sand for substrate - but what about the actual fish?

I have/will have shortly, three sisters from Jarrod, and another female from Jim (all CT's). I'm on the lookout for yellow, cambodians, and possibly a pastel or two to add in. I'd also be happy to look at any metallic green HM, or female dragons (any of the previously mentioned colours) around the place. Preference is for Betta Splenden CT's, but I'm happy to look anything, including Plakats.

So, can all these different tails live together?

Can PK live with Splenden?

Do all the girls have to go in together? This is the big one for me. I'd have thought the population of a sorority would change every few months, possibly every few weeks as new girls come and older girls go. Reading suggests this is a bad thing. I'd rather keep my individual tank space for males if at all possible, so what's everyone's experiences here like with sorority's and the changing populations?

How many girls should I have in a 60L? I'm planning on having a snail or two (had my first two mystery snails appear this week - in separate tanks!), and maybe a young bristlenose (or two) to help keep the substrate clean. I was thinking 5-9...more would be better :) yes/no?

Thanks in advance for the advice and suggestions.


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In a 60L tank I think you could have up to 15-16 females provided you had enough filtration to cope with the bioload (live plants will assist in that department). I usually post on American based forums in regards to stocking sororities and my general rule of thumb is that you can do one female per gallon which equates to about one female per four litres.

To be successful long-term I think you want a group of at least five females at all times. Some people say their females live happily in pairs or trios but usually you end up with the weaker one or two females being mercilessly bullied by the more dominant fish.

Different tail types can live together. They are the same species so doesn't make a difference. You can also house giant females with standard sized females. I did and found the standard size females to be much more aggressive than their larger counterpart.

I used to add in and remove females from my sororities all the time. As long as you don't drop below 4-5 females you should be alright. However, please quarantine anything going into a sorority tank for at least a couple weeks. So many sororities get wiped out by disease because of a failure to quarantine and I think the often high-stress environment (all sororities are going to have some level of stress due to the territorial/aggressive nature of bettas) of a sorority makes fish more susceptible to disease.

Most females adapt well to sorority life, particularly young females. However, there are individuals who cannot live successfully in one and so you have to be ready to pull females out if they are constantly attacking others or being constantly attacked.

This is a snippet taken from a post I made about sororities on another betta forum.

The question I often hear from most of those new to sororities is "What is too much aggression and when should I intervene?"

You have to remember when dealing with bettas, that aggression is a perfectly natural behaviour. However, this does not mean that your sorority tank should look like a WWF wrestling match.

It is common for there to be some fighting when you first introduce your females. This could be anything from posturing, body slapping, flaring, chasing and biting. This usually settles down within a couple of days although it is perfectly normal to see occasional flare-ups.

For me, the time to intervene is when there is more than a couple of minutes of sustained fighting between two females in which obvious damage is being done. I separate out whoever looks to be the aggressor, and put them into a breeders' net that sits in my sorority tank. I find this is often the best method of introducing particularly aggressive females as by the end of the week, they are generally accustomed to the other females being nearby and less inclined to over react when reintroduced.

I also intervene if it is obvious one female is being continually bullied by the others. If a female is starting to lose a lot of condition, or has severe fin and scale damage it is time to pull her from the sorority. It can be difficult to understand why certain females are targeted by the others. Just because a female is small or less aggressive does not mean she will be the one bullied. Therefore, it is important with a sorority tank that you find the time each day to check on your females and see that everyone is in good physical shape. I speak from experience when I say it does not take long for things to suddenly fall apart.

I find the breeder box method of introducing females to be a good one and I used it to great success on a couple females I thought would never adapt to sorority life.

Hope that helps answer some of your questions :lol:

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Went back and looked at Shadoh's video of his sorority...two questions:

How big is that tank J

And how much more difficult is it to net one of these girls when you want to pair her up? I had all sorts of trouble catching the cichlids recently (they are extremely quick), in the end, the female I was after took pity on me and just gave up. Or is there a trick to it I've yet to discover?


Edited by Brenton
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  • 1 month later...

The three girls I currently have are now in the sorority tank, to be joined by more females, hopefully, over the next month or so.


After some initial fighting, and, admittedly, a little more damage than I would have liked, they seem to have accepted their new digs and new tank mates. I wonder if it's because they were sisters that they were so aggressive towards each other...

The pecking order currently seems to sit at:

Diana - top dog


Pip (was quite a fight between Di and Pip with lots of locked jaws and hanging on (mouth to fin), but in the end, Pip went and hid behind the filter.


And lastly is my breeding-wise, primary female, Kate. She was smart and just ran from everyone. She now hangs out at the very back of the tank.


The damage she is showing came from her partner in the breeding tank.

All girls started off showing signs of stress with clamped fins and Pip even had stress lines. I was tempted to cancel the whole thing and rehouse them all back in the dorm, but I held out, and as you can see from above, they have all settled down now. The stress has dissipated somewhat (although there is still the occasional chase), and all have had a good feed (hence the fat bellies :)/>)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know you are all super busy with the Vic IBC show (best of luck with that...I am with you in spirit!), but my questions keep on coming ;)

So I've organised/purchased/sourced 10 new females for the sorority...all expected to arrive on Tuesday (should be a fun day - I have some males and bristlenose arriving as well...and then there's the auction on Sunday...). I'm busy sorting out temporary accommodation for them all. Once they've all acclimatised to my water and I'm happy none are about to drop anything unwanted into the sorority tank, how do I introduce them to current three occupants?

One at a time, in twos and threes, all at once...God forbid.

Not all of them will be going straight in even after their isolation period. Some, especially my new Giant HMPK's have a date with the new conditioning regime which worked so well for my last spawn attempt, and I have a new partner arriving for Ghost (my platinum/white-coloured marble Dragon HMPK). If I end up gaining more from the auction, three will take up residence in my AquaOne trio. I'll end up with 11 or 12 in the sorority and at least 2 BN. I've got a large sponge filter in there bubbling away at a good rate to turn the water over.

There may be one other pairing I'm looking at but a lack of spawning tanks is causing me to pause - that and the fact I have a Convict spawn and my CTPK line's first spawn already in the fishroom. Add, hopefully, giants and Ghost spawns to that and it may be enough...and you were worried about me not being obsessed enough, Razz ;)

Off to clean and prep more tanks and containers...

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I personally would go for the 'all at once' method once the females are out of quarantine.

When I used to have my sorority, I would feed the current occupants up one end and release the new arrivals at the other.

If anyone is particularly hostile, they would earn themselves a couple of days in time-out (breeder net in the tank) so they could interact with the other females in the tank and get used to their presence but not be able to fight. I found that curbed a lot of aggression from newer females trying to dominate the others.

Good to hear you are quarantining though. So many don't when they add females (I certainly learned my lesson) and I have seen a number of sororities fall apart nearly overnight because some disease has been introduced with new stock.

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All at once - I dont have that many hands! ;)

The feeding suggestion is a good one - I'll do that for sure.

I havent got a breeder net yet - shall add it to the list.

QT - I usually do anyway, but especially in this instance because they are coming from a many and varied backgrounds and need time to acclimatise to my water and room, and...more importantly...because you told me to :)

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*lol* You could just float them around in something like plastic take-out containers and then dump them all in while your other females are busy stuffing their faces.

Sororities seem more prone than the average community tank at becoming infected with communicable diseases and parasites. I don't know if because all sororities have an element of stress to them (being that you are still housing a group of territorial and aggressive fish together) and that leaves them more vulnerable to those sorts of things.

Whatever the case I am on another much bigger betta forum than this and I see a lot of posts about sororities becoming infected with something like columnaris because the owner introduced more females in thinking it would be okay.

Good luck with all your females though. If I hadn't had my cycle crash and lost most of my females to ammonia poisoning I probably would still have one. Female splendens are just so different to the males.

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That's exactly what I'll be doing - lots of water changes coming up over the next couple of weeks - speaking of which, I know the bigger the volume of water within the container, the less the water changes, but these will require 100% water changes at least twice a week. Do I need twice the number of cups, so I put clean water into a new one and then just tansfer the fish Thai-style (hands), and then clean the original container in prep for the next change? Or is there an easier way?

The sorority has a fair few hiding places now, but I'm going to get more fast growth plants to ensure they can have as much sight separation as possible at the top of the water column.

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Hey B - Sorry, I never saw your question about the size of my tank. It is a standard 4 ft tank. The main thing I found to reduce aggression is plenty of hiding spots and plants/objects to break line of sight... I do what Ash does when introducing new additions - All at once to start, then any newbies, feed the rabble up one end, then slip the new addition quietly in the other.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If I ever end up with a rack system such as the one in your vid, Raz, I'm sure I'd keep them separate as well, but space is fast becoming an issue. If I kept all my breeders separate, I'd have no room to keep any fry...and then what would be the point ;)

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