Many beginner aquarists find the Betta sorority more appealing. But it is not as attractive as it appears. Fish sorority refers to a group of fishes who share a living space. Fish lovers buy some female bettas and transfer them into the fish tank.
Male bettas do not live in the community. They need separate territories to live and dominate. The female betta lives in the same tank and enjoys the company of sister bettas. The sorority tank requires a specific environment to satisfy the bettas.
This article will help you know about the sorority tank and its features. How does the sorority tank work best? What conditions are required to make the sorority tank adaptable for a group of bettas?
Before setting up a sorority tank, it is necessary to understand the gender difference of betta. If you buy a male betta instead of a female, it may disrupt the tank activity. The survival of other fishes may also go in danger.
So, this article is helpful for beginner aquarists and professional ones. You can know the pros and cons of the betta fish sorority. Thus, you can better decide whether you should have a sorority tank.
What is The Betta Sorority – What’s the difference?
Many beginner aquarists may not understand the difference between a female and a male betta. Why is it necessary to spot the difference between the two? Because you cannot keep the two male bettas in a tank.
Otherwise, you can experience a bloody fight in the fish tank. So, if you have decided to purchase more than one betta, prefer female bettas as they can live in groups. In other cases, you can buy a female or male betta.
In the initial weeks of fish life, you cannot differentiate the gender of the betta. Sexual characteristics get prominent after two months or more. How can you determine the male and female characteristics of betta?
It is pretty much more accessible. Male bettas carry long dorsal and ventral fins. The tail fin of the betta is two to three times longer than the fish’s total body. On the other hand, female bettas are often shorter in size with smaller fins on the body.
Furthermore, many other differences also exist, like colour, body shape, and size. So, before buying any betta, you should understand all differences well. The fish providers can also guide you about the gender of the betta.
Here we have listed out some other gender characteristics of a betta.
The colours of betta fish attract fish lovers at first sight. This lovely creature has a beautiful coloured body. Male bettas are often observed with red, blue, green, and other bright colors, while female bettas come with dull colors.
So, if you have a betta with bright color on hand, there is more probability that it is a male betta.
In the case of wild creatures, the color adaptation of bettas is different. In their natural habitat, bettas are not found with vivid and bold colors. It is often difficult to know the gender of betta fish in streams and still water.
Betta fish adapt to gray, brown, and camouflage colors. These colors keep them secured from predators also.
Are you wondering how the colors of betta species change in natural habitat and tank habitat? It all happens due to selective breeding. What colored fish participate in breeding indeed affects the body color of the next generation.
Nonetheless, the body color of betta does not always distinguish the gender. You can get astray with different colors. You need to see several other pointers that indicate that it is a male or female betta.
Scroll down to learn more about gender differences.
Have you observed some marks on your pet betta? If no, check out teh streipes on the female betta. Several species of female bettas have stripes on their body. Lines get more prominent at the time of the breeding or parenting process. Compared to female bettas, male fish has no such marks on the body.
Another feature that distinguishes the male and female betta specie is the egg spot. Female bettas have egg spots on their body known as the ovipositor, which they use to lay eggs. You can find an egg spot between the ventral and anal fins. However, male bettas lack this characteristic.
Are male bettas more aggressive than female bettas? Yes, it is true. Female bettas are also aggressive but can naturally react to certain stimuli. If you ever observe the two fish fighting, these are male betta.
In tank life, the male bettas cannot bear other male dominance. On having two male bettas, you will find them quarreling and hitting each other. The fight can prolong until the fight enters to a bloody end.
On the other hand, female bettas can live in groups in the tank. However, some female bettas may dominate others and tease each other. But they do not show extreme aggression.
The wild bettas do not show much aggression in streams and natural habitats. The reason is straightforward. They never get such a close place to live. Every male betta with female bettas and bubble nests gets ample space to live, roam, and occupy the specific aquatic area.
So, the tank fish are more aggressive than the wild male bettas.
The Bodyshape of a fish distinguishes it from each family of fish. Aquatic animals are well-recognized due to their attractive body shapes. Though different betta varieties have varying body shapes, you can find some common characteristics.
Usually, male bettas have longer bodies. Its finnage is flowing and flaring. The ventral fins are longer and thicker.
On the contrary, female bettas have shorter bodies with dull colors. Most of the short-finned female betta have caudal fins faster. The body of the male betta is thin and narrow compared to female fish. Female bettas have shorter but broader bodies.
Beard belongs to the male gender. It is often found in male betta. The Beard of the male betta is more transparent and more visible. Professional aquarists immediately recognize the gender of the betta with a beard.
Beneath the gill plate, bettas have a membrane known as an opercular membrane. Later on, this membrane appears as a beard. As the male betta flares its gills, the Beard gets more visible.
Females also have this membrane that grows into a shorter beard. The smaller size of the Beard in females betta makes it invisible. The Beard of the female betta is never visible, even when the female fish flares its gills.
However, you can see the vivid Beard of the male betta while swimming.
If your betta continuously blows bubbles and builds a nest, it is a male betta. The male betta creates a bubble nest and protects the eggs. Female betta can also release bubbles blown on top of the water and disappear.
Male betta bubbles are made of saliva secretions. So, those bubbles join to make a nest. A male betta invites a female betta by building a bubble nest. But, the male betta is customary to do so even when there is no female partner. It signals that the male betta is ready to play the parents’ role.
Bubble nest provides a suitable aquatic environment for the egg and fry (newborn fish) to live and survive. Sometimes, male betta may build a bubble nest for survival. When uncomfortable temperatures or climatic changes occur, male betta may release bubbles.
So, in the case of fish tanks, aquarists need to check out the temperature, water flow, and filters. The purpose is to get rid of the issue that male betta face.
Is it true That a betta sorority Really work?
Yes, a betta sorority works. There are conflicting opinions on having two male bettas in a fish tank. Male bettas cannot tolerate each other. The war of dominance and occupation over the water can lead to bloodshed.
So, be careful about the gender of the betta while buying. If you intend to keep bettas, choose the female category. Female bettas are friendly and can live in groups.
Groups of female bettas are popular as a sorority. For sorority tanks, keeping the tank’s ecosystem at a moderate level is necessary. The living space or water tank should be wide enough to live and move for bettas.
You can keep four to five female bettas in a tank. But the number of fish can increase according to the more giant tanks.
Unlike male bettas, female bettas do not show aggression. However, they also have some hierarchy. Some fishes may dominate over others. How can several fishes survive in the same tank? It is possible only when the temperature and size of the fish tank are comfortable enough.
Furthermore, water filtration, water quality, and other factors also matter.
The tank size is the more significant factor in keeping the fish surviving in the sorority. Undoubtedly, the smaller tanks may create stress and depression among female fish.
Consequently, their life span may get shorter. The minimum tank size for a betta sorority is 10 gallons. But this size is also faster for 4 to five females.
If you think of a sorority tank, it should be more than 20, 30, or more gallons. Keep the tank size as significant as you can.
The bettas are surface breathers, so they need a larger surface area to survive. It is the reason that the perfect sorority tanks are more extended than taller ones.
With the tank size, the tank environment also gives a friendly gesture to the female bettas. Fishes are territorial species. So, they love to hide and shelter behind plants and vegetation. More plants, vegetation, and decoration appeals to the bettas and keep them stress-free.
Betta enjoys swimming and playing behind caves, rocks, and hidden places. For this purpose, you can add manufactured homes and shelters or can build hidden spots for your new aquatic pets.
Betta has the curiosity to explore the living environment. So, keep changing the decoration and setting of the fish tank. It will make sorority partners happier, and they can have great fun.
Bettas cannot survive in extremely cold or sweltering temperatures. They can get depressed and stressed out due to unfavorable temperatures. The best thriving temperature for a betta is 78 F to 82.
You can checkthe best heater for betta fish.
Otherwise, the aquarists can observe the slow or no activity in the fish. The uncomfortable water temperature affects the fish’s immune system, and fish may fall sick sooner.
So, it is essential to adjust the temperature of the tank. For this purpose, you can use heaters. Keep a strict eye on the temperature range. Use a thermometer and place it away from the thermometer. Furthermore, You should heat all aquatic habitats equally.
When you add rocks, gravel, and plants to a fish tank, it requires continuous cleanliness. Plants and vegetation give birth to decomposing substances and may harm the fish’s health.
The fish tank requires a filtration system to avoid pollutants and harmful substances. But keep the water flow at a moderate level. So that all fish in a tank can swim and move comfortably.
Betta is a sensitive creature that can get affected by water currents and speedy waterflow. That is why they are found in slow or still water. A filtration system will keep the sorority members happier and more satisfied.
Introducing Female Bettas into a sorority
After installing the heater, filtration system, temperature setting, plants, and other necessities, the tank is ready to get fish. You cannot add fish directly to the fish tank. It may be dangerous, and fish may die due to environmental change. When you have set up an aquarium, the tank is ready to introduce the sorority members.
When you buy betta or any fish, it comes with water bags. These water bags carry the necessary elements to keep the fish alive. But you cannot control the betta in the water bags for longer. It’s time to place the sealed water bags in the fish tank.
Let the water bags with a fish float on the tank’s surface for more than 48 hours. Thus water bags will catch the exact temperature that is of the tank. Now, leak the water bags from a corner and collect all water separately.
Finally, let the fish jump into the water and remove the water bag from the tank.
Introduce each fish in different intervals. At least introduce each member of the sorority after half an hour. Thus, you can see the reaction of sisterhood.
When to call it quits?
You cannot ignore the fish tank when there is a fish sorority. The aquarists must keep a strict eye on the behavior and reactions of sorority members. Introducing the fish one by one will help you to see the aggression or stress inside the tank.
Some fishes may not like the sister fishes.
Aggression may continue for some time or disappear. But if you see the stressful environment of the tank, it is better to resolve it sooner. When fish do not avoid colliding with each other, it is time to take out quarreling or conflicting member outside the tank.
If sorority members are stressed out with the presence of any sister fish, you can manage the other living place for that fish. You can ask your fish-loving friends to keep that fish in the tank. Furthermore, you can search for people in your community who have a fish tank and will like your gift of an aquatic pet.
How can you know when to quit? It is a sensitive point. After adding more fish to the tank, you cannot sit and relax. Keep observing the fish. It is satisfactory if they swim, roam about, and shelter casually. Some sorority members may not respond happier. It will take time to get adjusted to a new environment.
But if the problem exists for a longer time, you should take action to improve the fish.
What to feed your betta sorority?
Being carnivorous, bettas love to have high-protein foods. Though bettas often eat plants, shrimps and live food is necessary. You can provide dead organisms and insects. Other larvae, shrimps, and bloodworms are also favorites of the beta.
But never choose live food or carnivorous food from nature. It can bring diseases and parasites into the tank. Consequently, fish may die sooner.
Always choose authenticated suppliers that provide quality food to aquatic pets. Further, you must know how much food is required for a betta. Bettas’ stomach is as smaller as the eyes of the betta. Overfeeding is often the reason for fish death.
So, never throw extra food in the tank.
If you throw extra food in the tank, it will gather in the gravel or bottom of the tank. Thus, it pollutes the water and causes infections.
Why should you not have a betta sorority?
Betta sorority is not healthier for all betta sisters. Some betta like to occupy a particular area and live there, while others enjoy wandering all over the tank. The presence of a female betta in another’s territory may cause tension and stress.
Furthermore, eating habits and the nature of fish may vary. Sorority causes the fish to feel less secure and happier. Betta is a territorial fish that sticks to a cave, rock, or plant and enjoys being there.
When there are more fish, they get less space to shelter. Further, the exploratory nature of betta also gets affected in a sorority.
When female bettas are stressed, stripes appear on their body. Usually, female bettas come in dull colors, so it is hard to see the lines on their body. Bars may also appear in the breeding season.
However, if there is no breeding process, stripes can tell you that sister betta is not happy. Red and black bettas can easily show the lines on the body, but bars are invisible in camouflage colors.
Sorority causes stress for one reason or another. So, expert aquarists do not recommend sororities.
The rapid spread of sickness and disease
The sorority is one of the more significant reasons for the diseases in the fish tank. If one fish is infected, there is a greater probability that all fish may get sick. This feature of sororities makes them less popular. Who wants to risk the health of the lovely creature? Indeed, no one.
Furthermore, many fish may not eat properly or get desired food. The sister fishes that are superior can dominate the community members. Thus, you may not even know that a particular fish is not getting fed for many days. It can fall the fish sick and even shorter their lifespan of the fish.
If any fish in the sorority is getting slow and suffers from any disease or infection, you should separate it immediately. You can transfer it to a separate bowl or tank if available.
Otherwise, you can ask for help from your aquarist friends. On the whole, sorority provides a healthy environment for the fish. You cannot ignore the envious and insecure behavior of the fish community. So, the fish sorority can never develop a fish-friendly ecosystem.
How many bettas make up a sorority?
The minimum sorority consists of four or five female bettas. Though female betta does not show aggression, you cannot ignore the natural stress and insecurity that bettas feel from each other. Sorority tanks are usually larger. But professionals suggest keeping a maximum of 10 bettas in a sorority tank.
The more fish you add, the less control you have over the water tank environment. Pollutants, feed, and dominance are the factors that can cause disturbance in the sorority tank.
If you have decided to have a sorority tank, keep the number of fishes minimum to provide a stress-free and happier environment to the sister fishes.
Can a male betta fish live with a sorority of female bettas?
Yes, male betta fish can live with one female partner comfortably. There are many cases when male betta gets aggressive with the partner, which is controllable. It would help if you kept observing the behavior of male betta. The male betta is so fierce that it can kill the other fish.
So, as a fish caretaker, you must keep a separate bowl or tank for emergencies. If any aggression or collision occurs, it is necessary to keep the two separate. However, male bettas build up the nest and send a signal to the female betta to mate. The breeding process keeps the two connected and peaceful.
Could a female betta kill a male?
No, it is not observed in any case. A female betta is not as aggressive as a male betta. Male betta has the probability of killing the female betta. At the time of breeding, the male betta often gets aggressive. Male bettas are so cruel that they can also engulf the eggs in the bubble nest.
So, you cannot trust the male betta. But female bettas are not capable of killing a male. Female betta bears stress and behave oddly but remain controlled.
Are female bettas as aggressive as males?
No, female bettas are not as aggressive as males. Female bettas are friendly, and even they can survive in groups. But male bettas are so angry with each other that they cannot stay in one place.
Wild bettas are not as aggressive as in the tank life. One reason might be that bettas live in personal territories in their natural habitat. They hardly come and share a domain. So, you will find rare cases of aggression.
Secondly, low oxygen in the polluted streams keeps the predators and larger fishes away from the bettas.
However, female bettas are less aggressive. They show inverted behavior and reveal the stripes on the body in case of stress and depression.
Can a female betta flare?
It flares rarely. Female bettas do not show aggression. Bettas flare when they are aggressive. Male bettas flare very often. You will find them annoying and angry most of the time.
How can you know that betta is angry? Male betta often gets mad about changing the tank water. It is so because the bubble nest of the male betta gets disturbed by changing the water.
Further, male betta can also get annoyed by having another male betta nearby. When the dominance of male betta is in danger, it flares.
However, female betta usually flares when they live in a betta sorority. Female betta can show aggression to sister bettas in sororities to dominate each other. If a female betta flares, it is not as dangerous as a male betta.