Betta fish sorority tanks are becoming more and more popular. In their own way, female bettas are just as beautiful as males.
In this article, you’re going to find out how to set up, care for and maintain your sorority tank. And most importantly, you’re also going to learn whether you should. (In a lot of cases, they cause a lot of stress to the fish.)
So keep reading to find out more!
Why Should You Avoid Keeping A Betta Fish Sorority Tank?
While sorority tanks look great, if you’re not an experienced fish keeper, then your tank may end up causing distress to your betta.
It’s important to learn about the reasons you should avoid a sorority tank, before you go ahead and set one up.
Here are some of the main reasons betta sorority tanks aren’t as great as you think.
The Females Are Likely To Be Stressed
The biggest reason to avoid betta sorority tanks is the stress it’s going to place on your bettas. If they’re not in a big enough tank with enough hiding places, then they’re constantly going to be aggressive.
This constant aggression will result in stress on all the fish in the tank, not just the aggressors.
And just because your bettas don’t constantly attack each other doesn’t mean they’re not stressed.
In fact, if they’re always hiding then they’re probably stressed as well.
Fortunately one of the best ways you can lower their stress levels if by keeping them in a big enough tank (you’ll find out how big later), as well as providing them with plenty of hiding places.
Here are all the signs you’ll notice in a stressed betta.
They Could Hurt Each Other
If the bettas in your tank don’t get along, then they can be just as aggressive as the males. They may end up constantly hurting each other and doing some real damage.
In fact, torn fins, sores, and ulcers can be fairly common in betta sororities. If your bettas are still fighting after a few days, then there’s a serious problem in your tank that’s going to need to be addressed.
They Can Kill Each Other
Female bettas can be just as aggressive as male bettas. All it takes is one particularly aggressive female in the sorority, for the whole thing to be wiped out.
Before placing female bettas in a sorority, you should be aware of the possibility that they will end up killing each other. The probability of this happening increases more when you keep them together in a small tank.
It’s More Expensive Than A Male Betta
And lastly, this one’s kind of obvious. It could end up being more expensive than keeping a male betta on their own.
Simply put, the cost of one male betta is going to be multiplied in a sorority tank. If one of them gets sick, then the rest most likely will, meaning you’ll need to buy more medication.
You’ll also need to have a quarantine tank ready in case one of them becomes sick. Which isn’t the case if you’re keeping a male on his own.
(Have you ever wondered how long your betta can live for?)
What Determines Whether A Betta Sorority Will Be Successful?
If you’re going to start a betta sorority then there are some factors that will determine the success or failure of the sorority.
Once you know the factors you can do your best to ensure the success of your tank.
Here are the factors to look out for.
Personality Of Each Fish
The number one factor is the personality of each betta in the sorority. If they’re all peaceful then you’re not going to have a problem.
However, it only takes one aggressive betta to start bullying any peaceful bettas in the tank. Ideally, you want to pick bettas that aren’t aggressive enough to be bullies but are aggressive enough to defend themselves.
Even if they aren’t naturally bullies, if there’s one particularly submissive betta, then the rest might still end up bullying them.
The Size Of The Tank
When you’re setting up a betta sorority, the size of the tank is also going to be an important factor. If it’s too small, they’ll end up constantly getting into each others territories.
So when choosing a tank make sure you’re buying one that’s at least 20 gallons in size. Contrary to what you might have heard 10 gallon tank just isn’t big enough for a betta sorority.
(Check out the best 20 gallon tanks.)
Shelter And Hiding Places
The amount of shelter and hiding places in the tank is also going to be a determining factor. If you’ve got plenty of plants, rocks, caves and other hiding places then your bettas are going to have a much higher chance of getting along.
However, if you keep the tank sparse and not decorated, then all they’re going to see is each other.
As well as only being able to see each other, they’re also going to get bored more often. And once they’re bored they may become more aggressive.
Lastly, without any hiding places or ornaments, they’re going to find they’re own territories. If there’s no set territory between the fish, then they’re a lot more likely to attack each other.
How You Introduce Them To Each Other
Lastly, how they are introduced to each other is also going to help them live together peacefully. If you introduce them all together at the same time, then they’re going to be more likely to find their own territories without fighting.
However, if you only introduce one at a time, then the first ones might begin to bully the new ones because they see them as intruders.
So remember, when you’re starting a sorority you want to start with a minimum of 3, however, some people report a lot more success adding 5.
The only downside is, if the bacteria in your tank haven’t had time to grow properly then it’s extremely likely that there’ll end up being an ammonia spike.
The Age Of The Bettas
It’s also a good idea to pick bettas that are the same age. Ideally, you should try to pick bettas that are all young. Young bettas are less aggressive and less likely to attack each other.
And because they grow up in the same vicinity as each other it’s ‘also a lot less likely that they’ll attack each other later on.
So if you can make sure you pick bettas that are as close to the same age as possible. And if you can’t find young bettas then you should go for elderly ones instead.
The Color Of The Bettas
While there isn’t any solid evidence, a lot of people have reported that they have better results keeping a sorority of different colored fish.
When you keep bettas that are all the same color, then they’re more likely to see each other as a threat.
(Find out everything you need to know about betta fish fighting.)
How Many Bettas Should You Keep In A Sorority?
To ensure that your sorority is going to be successful, you’re going to need to have enough bettas. As a rule of thumb, you always want to keep an even amount.
Secondly, you should make sure that you’re keeping a minimum of three. However, for greater success 5 is normally recommended. This way two fish won’t end up bullying one.
You’ll also have to take into account the size of the tank as well. Obviously, if you’ve only got a 20-gallon tank, you’ll only be able to keep 3-5. But once you get up to 30 gallons you’ll be able to keep 5 or 7!
How Should You Introduce Female To Each Other
If possible, when buying bettas for your sorority you should try to get them all from the same tank. And if you can’t do that, you should try to get them from tanks where they’re able to see each other.
By doing this you already know they’re a lot more likely to get along than bettas that have never seen each other before.
Once you’ve bought them, the next step is to introduce them to each other in the tank. The best way to do this is to let them all float together in the tank at the same time.
This way they’ll begin to see each other without fighting.
If you notice aggression at this stage, it can be a good idea to add tank dividers to your tank. This way you can split each of them up and give them more time to get used to each other.
Lastly, it’s not uncommon for female bettas to fight or show signs of aggression when they’re first introduced to each other. But this should subside after a few days.
In severe cases though, you ‘ll need to remove the culprit immediately if they’re being extremely aggressive and causing serious damage to the other bettas. So make sure you have a spare tank ready in case something goes wrong.
You can always try introducing them at a later date, but if they have an overly aggressive personality, they’ll have to be kept by themselves.
(Check out the ultimate guide for keeping female betta fish.)
How Big Should A Betta Sorority Tank Be?
We’ve touched upon it briefly already, but the minimum tank size is 20 gallons for a betta sorority. This way you can keep 3-5 comfortably together, and if you want to keep more then you’re going to need a bigger tank.
As a rule of thumb, I like to give each additional betta 3 gallons of tank space to reduce the chances of aggression.
Some people will tell you that you can keep them in tanks as small as 10 gallons. However, if you plan on keeping multiple aggressive fish together, then it’s always a good idea to make sure they have enough space between them.
How To Set Up A Betta Fish Sorority Tank
If you’ve taken all of the above into account, then the next step is to set up your betta fish sorority tank. Here’s everything you need to know about creating the perfect tank!
And remember, this all starts with the assumption that your tank is 20 gallons at least!
Buy A Filter And Heater
Bettas need to live in water that is filtered, and also that remains between 76-80°F, but ideally 78°F. If they are kept in water that is too cold or hot, then they’re likely to end up suffering from temperature shock.
They’ll also need a filter to keep the water clean. While some people say you can just change the water more often, this isn’t recommended.
A filter is constantly removing any waste from the tank. As well as this, changing your tank water can be stressful for the fish.
If you don’t add a decent filter to your tank then the chances of your bettas getting sick are going to increase. And it’s also more likely that your betta will end up suffering from ammonia poisoning as well.
Add Lots Of Hiding Places
You should also make sure you’re providing plenty of hiding places for your bettas. This can’t be stressed enough.
Plants are always the best as they make the tank feel more natural for your sorority. Some great plants to choose are anubias, java fern, and betta bulbs. And if you’re a beginner java moss is a great starting plant.
As well as plants, you should also try including caves and driftwood. This is going to provide more territories and section off areas of the tank that each betta can call their own.
When adding decorations and hiding places, one of the goals is to block lines of sight. Fortunately, if your bettas can’t see each other, they’re going to be less likely to attack each other.
Make Sure The Tank Is Covered
Female and male bettas are known to jump, so make sure you’ve covered your tank properly. If you haven’t, you may come home to notice one of your bettas lying on the floor.
You don’t have to buy a tank lid, you just need to make sure they’re not going to get out. In the summer I use fine meshing to help keep the tank cool, but also stop any of the fish leaving.
Make Sure You Use A Water Conditioner
Before adding your sorority to the tank, make sure you’ve used a water conditioner to treat the water. If you don’t do this, the chloramine, chlorine and other minerals in the tank are going to quickly become fatal to your bettas!
Remember water conditioner is a must for any time you add new water to your tank.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into setting up a tank. For a more in-depth look, here’s everything you need to know about setting up a betta tank.
How To Care For Your Betta Sorority
Now that you’ve set up the tank and added your fish, the last step is the ongoing care of your sorority. Tanks with multiple fish are always going to be harder than tanks with just one fish. So make sure you’re taking proper care of them!
Change The Water Regularly
This is one of the most important things you can do to care for your sorority. If you don’t change the water regularly then there’s going to be a build-up of ammonia, bacteria, parasites, and fungus.
All of which can weaken a fish’s immune system and open them up to disease. When you’re changing the water, the amount you’ll have to remove depends on the size of the tank.
However, as a rule of thumb 10-20% of the water should be replaced every week.
Vacuum The Gravel
Any waste from your fish, the food they’ve left and decaying plants are going to sink to the gravel. When this all starts to rot it’s going to cause ammonia spikes that can be fatal to fish.
And if the ammonia spikes don’t kill them, all of the decaying matter is going to provide the perfect environment for a whole range of bacteria and parasites!
Keep An Eye On The Filter
You’ll also need to keep an eye on the filter to make sure it’s working properly. Over time, the filter sponge in your filter will become filled with gunk, and the chemical filtration will stop working.
That’s why it’s important to regularly wash the filter, as well as replacing parts when necessary. Fortunately, this is a lot more simple than it sounds.
Remove Uneaten Food
If your bettas don’t eat all the food you’ve put in the tank, you should remove it. Normally it’s best to let it float for 2 minutes before removing it.
Removing uneaten food from the tank is one of the best ways you can keep pollutants out of the water!
If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide about Betta fish care, click here!
Feeding Your Betta Sorority
When you’re feeding your sorority make sure you’re giving them a mixture of food. High-quality betta pellets are always great, however, they shouldn’t be the only thing in their diet.
Make sure you’re feeding them lots of live food when possible as well (here’s the best live food for bettas) and when you can’t feed them live food, try to freeze-dried and frozen.
Also, make sure you’re not feeding them too much. As a rule of thumb, you should give them a portion of food about the same size as their eye.
When you’re feeding your bettas, make sure they’re all getting an equal amount. Sometimes one female will bully the others and get more food.
If you notice this happening there are a couple of things you can do. First of all, you can catch each betta in a net, bring them to the surface and drop some food into the net so none of the others can eat it.
Or if you don’t want to do that you can also sprinkle the food across the whole tank to help split them up.
When Should You Split Your Bettas Up?
Even if you’ve tried your best to make the tank as habitable for all fish as possible, there are still times when you won’t be able to keep your sorority together.
If you noticed aggression for more than 2 weeks or extreme aggression in a short amount of time, then you’re going to need to remove the culprit from the tank. Or failing that, use a tank divider to split them up.
And most importantly, remember, betta sororities shouldn’t be started by new fish owners. They can be hard to maintain and need expert care.
So if you’re going to start a betta fish sorority, it is possible, however, it’s definitely still questionable whether you should do it. However, if you feel like you’re experienced enough, here are the main things you need to remember.
- The success of your sorority depends on the personality of each fish, the size of the tank, how many shelters and hiding places are, how you introduce them to each other, the age of the bettas, and allegedly the color of the bettas.
- You should never keep less than five bettas in a sorority. While it is possible to keep three together, there’s a chance two may end up bullying one.
- When introducing the bettas to the tank, try adding them all at the same time. Let them see each other in the bags before being let out, just beware of a potential ammonia spike.
- You should keep your sorority in a tank that’s 20 gallons or bigger.
- When setting up a sorority tank make sure you buy a filter, heater, add hiding places, make sure the tank is covered, and use a water conditioner.
- Make sure you’re changing the water regularly, cleaning the filter, vacuuming the gravel and removing uneaten food.
- When you’re feeding your bettas make sure they’re all getting equal amounts.
- If you still notice aggression after two weeks, or extreme aggression, in the beginning, you’ll need to remove the aggressors from the tank.