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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So. I officially have a kitted out 17.69 gallon, which I am counting as 15 gallons.

My contenders for feesh keeping are shrimps+nanos, dorf cichlids, PUFFERFORCE FIVE or a betta sorority.

I've heard a lot of conflicting info though. How many would I keep? Do I need to add them all at once? The tank will be moderately planted/low tech.
 

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They never last. Sooner or later, the hierarchy collapses and the bettas try to tear each other apart.
If you really want a betta group, I'd suggest a wild betta species of some sort. B. albimarginata could work, depending on the layout of the tank, and they're fine with being kept together.
 

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Have you owned bettas before? in proper conditions for over two years?
Have you had experience with aggressive-dominant fish groups before?
Do you have the room for additional 5-gallon tanks for the girls if they are incompatible + however many more necessary as time goes on? Do you know people who would take them from you if necessary and care for them properly?
Are you prepared to maintain a heavily planted tank that gives the girls plenty of hiding spaces and breaks the line of sight?
Are you prepared to treat torn injuries and diseases, maintaining multiple qt tanks if the girls are unable to share one without fighting?

I know only a handful of people who have had a betta sorority for over a year, and they are people with five - seven girls in 20-40 gallon in extremely heavily planted d tanks with dither fish.
You're going to be pushing it with a 15 gallon tank - you need a wiiide tank (at least two feet long) for the girls to disperse in, not so much tall. You'll need an odd number, 5 is good. You'll need to have the tank cycled and the water parameters in good condition to help them in case of injuries.

I personally don't recommend sororities because so many fall apart disastrously, and they require a high amount of dedication and maintenance to get them started.
 

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For that size tank, I definitely wouldn't recommend a Betta sorority nor dwarf cichlids.
Puffers may be do able (if so, definitely get more females and try and "furnish" the set up well).
Shrimp+nano fish would work.
 

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I've done it a few times but in a MUCH larger tank. I don't think i'd do it in a smaller tank like that, unless it was a long tank with LOTS of plants/wood/rock breaks.. and them probly only try 2.
 

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I've kept sorority tanks for years but it takes work. I have kept 7-10 females in a 29g heavily planted. I have kept 7 in a 10g heavily planted. Seven of my females are almost 4 years old now, and starting to die I think from old age. They just lay around a lot and are getting picked on by the three younger female bettas. They will be killed by the younger bettas most likely as they age. So I am Euthanizing them one by one now. I move plants around all the time, make caves and hidey holes everywhere and keep them 'thinking'. Fights break out every day, but are short lived. Some Bettas have missing fins, some don't. I would not recommend this type of tank for anyone who doesn't have enough tanks to move out the weakest or most aggressive. I keep one dwarf Gourami with my female bettas, and it seems to keep them from fighting so much. It's a tough tank to keep. Not for the squeamish.
 

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You will be drummed out of the Betta Lovers Club if you do this! Many Betta keepers hold very high and strict standards regarding keeping these lovely fish solitary. For very good reason. If it is not stressful enough to keep fish in glass prisons, it is even more stressful if they are kept with other fish because they are very aggressive, as are Gouramis, cichlids, etc. Bettas are beautiful and smart. They deserve the best you can give them.
 

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A sorority of sisters work pretty well. Not sure how they know but I think they can sense relatives.
With some breeders, when the time comes for the males and females to be divided the males are separated but the females are kept together and work out a pecking order, they're basically already worked out since birth. They don't fight as much as stranger-bettas because they already know each other and are used to sharing territory with each other. If you're able to get female bettas that are real and actual sisters, the sorority is easier to maintain because they come to you knowing each other already. However, as they mature they may still fight with each other and they still need a large enough tank to give them all so-called "breathing room".
It's more difficult with stranger bettas because they need to feel each other out and have not been raised together.
There are also stories that betta keepers have noticed that after having kept sisters together since birth and then separating them and putting them on their own for a while, when putting them back in a tank together the sisters would act as if they were meeting stranger bettas at first and show a similar amount of fighting/dominance fights as among entirely stranger bettas.

It just isn't something to be taken lightly, even when dealing with sisters.
 

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I have had nothing but success with my Sorority (so far)

I do have several tanks for separation if needed but I hope that situation never comes. I may have been lucky when I put my 9 Girls in my 20 Long as they were all bought from the same store and may have sensed each other as sisters.

I couldn't suggest what exact max number to put in a 15 as it's probably taller rather than wider but if you are prepared keep them in a heavily planted tank put in odd numbers 5+.
 

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I want to ride horses, but PETA says it is cruel. Having fish should not put you to the test of ethics when you are buying fish that are available to the public for their enjoyment This issue of keeping aggressive fish together has spawned numerous ethics arguments. I would like to say that as long as you enjoy what you are doing regarding fish tanks, that is all that matters. Asking questions, disregarding negative opinion, and moving forward with your own vision is the beauty of a hobby. I, including many others, will back you.
 

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If I were to purchase several aggressive dogs and chain them up in such a way that they were constantly stressing each other out with aggressive behavior, on chains that could potentially one day snap and lead to them fighting and severely injuring each other, I would probably be called a very cruel person. "But I enjoy this" wouldn't get me out of the animal cruelty fines. I don't believe that a fish can be put on quite the same level as a dog, but the principle is the same- it's cruel to treat anything like that. You're putting the animals in question in an environment that is extremely stressful and will most likely lead to injuries on their part, and your enjoyment does not override that.
 

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If I were to purchase several aggressive dogs and chain them up in such a way that they were constantly stressing each other out with aggressive behavior, on chains that could potentially one day snap and lead to them fighting and severely injuring each other, I would probably be called a very cruel person. "But I enjoy this" wouldn't get me out of the animal cruelty fines. I don't believe that a fish can be put on quite the same level as a dog, but the principle is the same- it's cruel to treat anything like that. You're putting the animals in question in an environment that is extremely stressful and will most likely lead to injuries on their part, and your enjoyment does not override that.
Oooo, nasty!>:)

So there it is. For some reason, you can keep cichlids or even guppies that fight each other daily, and no one on this forum will mention it. But Bettas! Oh no! There are some major Betta Lovers out there that come unglued over those of us who keep a sorority tank. It's kind of fun to open the door and hear them roar! I just make sure to slam it shut on my way out. :}
 

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Oooo, nasty!>:)

So there it is. For some reason, you can keep cichlids or even guppies that fight each other daily, and no one on this forum will mention it. But Bettas! Oh no! There are some major Betta Lovers out there that come unglued over those of us who keep a sorority tank. It's kind of fun to open the door and hear them roar! I just make sure to slam it shut on my way out. :}
I'll be honest, I see it a similar way in regards to all fish that are aggressive - except that I've come to realize that with a proper setup and care betta sororities can work, much the same as a cichlid setup with aggressive fish can work if the fishkeeper is aware and prepared to do what is necessary.

Just like with aggressive dogs, temperaments can be modified. Just because fish aren't on the same level of intelligence as dogs etc doesn't mean they can't be trained.

It's actually possible to use that aggressive dog scenario further - if you're keeping the dogs in a small room, you're being neglectful and abusive - I'd say that's comparable to some setups I've seen where there are 7+ female bettas in a five or seven gallon - tiny space with no wiggle room. But if you have, for example, a large dog run where each dog can have their own space to retreat to (with training and conditioning in cases of dogs) and provide proper exercise and are able to provide additional spaces completely detached from the other dogs when necessary, you're doing a better job of it. Actively training and getting dogs used to one another to lower dog-specific aggression is after all something that exists. Comparably, if you have a large tank with a suitable amount of female bettas, and provide what they need to be able to live together - lots of plants, cover and hides, and are able to provide additional separate tanks if needed to separate fish that are getting beat up or that are too aggressive, you're doing a good job of both training the bettas and managing the aggression.

It still bothers me when people go into the thought of keeping any aggressive species together somewhat lightly - because it sounds as if they haven't done their research and prepared for the process of it. I personally will never keep a sorority because I wouldn't be able to handle the stress on myself so I'd rather avoid it. And I hate seeing sororities where people have the girls in setups that are below the recommended requirements, because I can't help but feel there is going to be a drastic problem quite soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Um. Well. I've been working on doing research, and I was simply curious. I do fishless cycling, yes. I apologize for sparking hostility. The idea was recommended to me by a couple of folks.

Yes, I've kept many bettas for 2-5 years. They're great! And I prefer peaceful set ups. Not a murder box. I was just trying to pick what I want to keep. :/ Sorry.

And I've gotten a lot of conflicting info, which makes this all the more confusing, honestly.
 

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Sorry, I got a bit testy upon reading advice that basically boiled down to "do whatever you want and disregard the animals".
Basically, a stable betta sorority is theoretically possible, but most eventually collapse, and they seem to be rather stressful for the fish involved. If you like peaceful tanks, I wouldn't recommend a sorority. Wild bettas are generally much more peaceful, or you could go with a single peaceful betta or a sparkling gourami.
 

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Actually, that should work. If you have a particularly mean betta or uber-tiny microrasboras (half-grown chilis, for example), it'll end poorly, but most bettas do alright with short-finned fish. Microrasboras of most kinds are good, harlequin or porkchop rasboras could also work, and glowlight tetras might be a good bet if there's some open-water space.
If that stocking isn't to your liking, I'd suggest a swarm of tiny rasboras like chilis. You could probably keep 30 chilis in there, or maybe 8ish pygmy/dwarf cories and 20ish chilis.
 
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