Betta Sorority Guide
A guide to how to start an all-female betta sorority
I love betta fish like many people in the aquarium hobby. I find them to be rewarding little fish that have great personality and spunk. So when I found out several years ago that you could keep multiple female bettas together at the same time, I was floored and highly intrigued. As they are also called Siamese fighting fish, I was wondering how this could be possible. But the important piece of information is the female part. You can only keep multiple females together, without any males, and only in a large enough group. I will go through all the steps in setting up a sorority group of bettas and caring for them.
The first thing to think about when wanting to start a sorority of bettas is the size of the tank, and how many fish can go into that tank. I use the calculation that 5 fish per 10 gallons. Although that being said, the more room you can give your fish the better. The tank that I am starting is 7 fish in an 80-gallon tank. The more room the better. Remembering that bettas like their own space, even the girls, so putting too many in a too-small tank will lead to fights and possibly even death. So the important take away is that you need at minimum a 10-gallon tank and that the more space you have the better.
Number of Bettas
So as much as you can have too many bettas in a small tank, you can also have too few. You need at least 4 bettas to make a sorority, that’s why there is a minimum tank size, to house at least 4 bettas. While it is possible to have too many bettas in a tank, like more than 6 in a 10-gallon tank, it is also very possible to have too few. So be aware of the minimum sorority size, and work with 4 or more bettas at a time.
Choosing Your Bettas
There is all kinds of advice out there about what kinds of bettas to choose. In my own experience, the one piece that I found important was not getting too many of the same colours. Not only does this add more colour and intrigue to your tank, but it also helps to prevent fights among your bettas. Other than that, go wild and find whatever bettas you would like to fill your tank. There are many stores that sell bettas and go to as many and find the bettas that speak to you.
Quarantine the Fish
This isn’t as specific to bettas as it is to just good fish keeping unless this is the first fish going into an already cycled aquarium, then you should always quarantine your fish for at least a few days. Keeping a tank that is anywhere from 1 to 5 gallons on hand in case you get new fish is always a good idea. Add water from your established tanks to this one and use filter medium, or cartridges from the established tanks. This way all the good bacteria are already there and you don’t have to cycle your aquarium. Putting your fish into this separate tank, and making sure that they eat and poop well as swim well and have no visible wounds or parasites is also important. During this time you can treat them with some general medications as a preventative measure. Once it has been a week, or two and your fish is happy and healthy, you can start to think about how to add them to the established aquarium.
Adding the Bettas
So the process of adding the bettas is a little more time consuming than some other fish. For many fish you put them through quarantine, then you scoop them up and put them straight into your tank. For female bettas, there is a slightly different process. Here you want to start by making sure that you have all the fish that you want to add in your home and through quarantine at the same time. All of the bettas should be ready to go. The next step is to take your fish and put them all in bags with some of their water in them. Then you take these bags and suspend them in the tank that they are going in. put them all in at the same time, and let them swim around in their little bags looking at each other. This will get them used to the idea of being in the water and tank together and should make the transition into a sorority easier. Once they have been in the tank for at least half an hour, then you take one bag at a time and add your fish. You should start with the smallest and work your way up to the biggest of the bettas. This helps with the hierarchy in the tank, keeping the biggest fish to last will help the smaller ones feel safe in the aquarium. Using this method there should be fewer fights amongst your bettas.
Quarrels amongst the Bettas
So even if you have gone through the whole process of adding the fish with the baggs and the such, you might still see some fights. This is normal, they need to figure out their hierarchy and they do it through small fights and little quarrels. Don’t be surprised by these.
Ready to go
These are the steps that it takes to get a betta sorority going, and keeping one going is the same as any other aquarium maintenance. Regular water changes, as well as cleaning the filters, are all a part of regular aquarium maintenance. Now go forth and make a sorority of your own. They are a fun and colourful way of housing the commonly overlooked female betta.