We all know that fish are used to living in close-knit communities. Considering that most types of fish have an increased chance of survival when living in groups, it is no surprise, either. Nevertheless, it is not an easy thing to replicate when it comes to an aquarium environment. There are several complications that you have to encounter. An issue common among those who care for Betta fish is called Betta sororities. Typically, you do not have to be an expert to take care of Betta fish. However, when they start forming sororities, things become a little different.
If you do not know how to handle this type of fish companions, you may endanger the existence of the fish tank or aquarium. Therefore, you must have a holistic understanding of Betta sororities and how they work. We hope you understand that understanding Betta sororities is more than selecting a good tank mate for Betta fish. Instead, it has to deal with the communal living nature of the fish. In this article, you can find a comprehensive yet straightforward explanation of Betta sororities. We will tell you how you can handle these fish companions for the best future of the aquarium.
We will get started with an introduction to Betta sororities. After that, we can answer some of the common queries you may have about it.
What Is a Betta Sorority?
‘Sorority’ is a common word in popular culture, if you are wondering. You would have heard this name in an impressive variety of movies, TV series, and books. They are most commonly found in university and college environments, and they refer to a group of female students. However, in the world of fishkeeping, the word gets a slightly different meaning. Here, a sorority refers to a group of animals that share similar interests and ways of survival. Therefore, a Betta sorority refers to a group of female Betta fish that live together. As for the number, a Betta sorority generally consists of more than 4 Betta fishes.
Before we understand why Betta sororities are important, you may have to refresh your crucial knowledge about Betta fish. Here are some points that you should not miss.
- Betta splendens, commonly known as Betta fish and the Siamese fighting fish, are a popular freshwater fish type used in fish tanks and aquariums. Fishkeepers love this type of fish due to its attractive colors and low-maintenance characteristics.
- You do not have to be an aquarium expert to grow Betta fish in your aquarium. They do not require specialized care or feeding patterns. Therefore, people who get started with fish tanks prefer getting these fish.
However, the major issue with Betta fish has to deal with their behavior. While these fish are very intelligent and adaptive to changes in the environment, they are pretty aggressive. The aggression between Beta fishes has become such a mainstream thing that two male Betta fish are made to fight. Even if you grow a single male Betta fish in an aquarium, it may try to fight the reflection. In short, behavioral issues are something you cannot ignore while growing Betta fish in the fish tank. As a result, you cannot put a random number of male Betta fish in an aquarium. The group will likely fight each other until the last man is standing. In some cases, even the last man standing would not survive the final fight.
Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid fighting among Betta fish. For instance, providing sufficient space for each Betta fish is a way to ensure that fights do not happen. In this manner, you can make sure that each of the fish in the community has its own territory. Until and unless the territory is broken, there will not be any fight. More importantly, the problem does not occur in the case of females. Female Bettas are popular for their ability to live without fighting. Therefore, Betta sororities that consist of more than 4 female Betta fish are considered the best choice for the survival of the aquarium. However, the truth is that people still have a lot of doubts regarding Betta sororities.
One of the major doubts is whether Betta sororities can benefit the aquarium in the long run. Well, we have answered most of those questions in this comprehensive guide to Betta sororities. However, before we jump into the bigger questions, we will do away with probably the most asked question: are Betta sororities bad?
Why Are Sororities (Potentially) Bad for Betta?
The idea that Betta sororities are bad for Betta fish comes from a health and maintenance standpoint. As we said, a Betta sorority consists of more than 4 female Betta fish. We also added that female Betta fish have a lower tendency to fight among each other. However, there are some things that new aquarium enthusiasts fail to see. And they happen to be big issues that make Betta sororities problematic to a noticeable extent. Some of those potential issues are:
- As we mentioned, Bettas tend to fight, even though the chances are low for female fish. Therefore, by creating a scenario where the fish do not fight, you create suppression and stress. Many expert aquarium enthusiasts have found that the process does not work out in the long run. Being stressed does not help Betta fish, just like humans. You can watch out for this issue by looking for signals like lack of appetite and hiding.
- Another problem is that you cannot always keep the Betta sororities under control. It means there will be some deaths and injuries for sure. In addition, despite your best efforts to keep them polite, there are a few under-the-skin tendencies to fight. When these tendencies kick in, there will be fights, and you will have to take care of the Betta fish almost instantly. Therefore, maintaining a sorority is not the best idea if you cannot invest enough time, effort, and money.
- The spread of diseases is also a problem that you have to address while setting up Betta sororities. In the end, you are forcing multiple fish to live in a closed space, which increases the chances of spreading diseases. If one fish gets infected, it will not take a long time to spread to others. But, of course, it means spending more time on the health of the entire sorority, causing extra spending as well.
Due to these reasons, Betta sororities are considered bad for Bettas. However, these issues are not solution-less if you ask us. The best way to avoid these issues is to ensure that each fish gets enough space. You can do this by placing Betta fish in a larger fish tank instead of a small one. In the end, the extra money you spend on a larger fish tank will be lower than what you would have to spend on the medication or replacement of the Betta fish.
Now, we will move to the more significant questions.
Can I Keep a Betta Sorority?
Yes, you can keep a Betta sorority in your aquarium. It could be an effective way to prevent fights among Betta fish and enable the best results. However, there are a few things to take care of before setting up Betta sororities in any tank. Some of the significant points are as follows.
- Even though Betta sororities do not face fighting issues, adding too many fish in a closed space does not make sense. Instead, you have to make sure that each fish has enough space to live freely. It will help you reduce the common problems faced while maintaining a Betta sorority, such as the stress and suppression among fish.
- When you keep a Betta sorority, you increase the chances of infection and disease spreading. Keeping this in mind, you have to ensure that the water in the fish tank is always clean. You can do this by setting up a filtration system that continuously removes contaminants from water. You should also ensure that the water contains the right amount of minerals required by Betta fish.
- You should also wait until the completion of the pecking order before you let the Betta sororities be on their own. The pecking order is used to create a hierarchy among the fish, thereby removing the fighting options in the future. Therefore, given that you want to keep more than one Betta fish in a tank, you should have the patience to wait until the pecking order is made.
- Last but not least, you should keep an open mind about creating Betta sororities. There is a chance that the group of female Betta fish will cause problems as much as they could survive adequately. So, in light of this understanding, you should be ready to quit the process. You do not want to keep Bettas in a sorority that ends up in chaos, correct?
If you can keep the above mentioned aspects in check, creating and maintaining Betta sororities will not cause any problems. However, the process will take sufficient time and effort from your side.
What is the Average Size of Female Sororities?
The average size of female Betta sororities is 4 or more.
Of course, it does not mean that your tank must have more than 4 female Bettas. The number is derived by calculating the average size of fish tanks in the industry. On the other hand, some experts say that people should not keep more than one Betta in a fish tank unless for breeding. But, as we said, you can ignore that advice as long as you create a suitable living space for the Betta fish.
However, we can consider a scenario where you have an extraordinarily colossal fish tank. In that case, you can try increasing the number of Betta fish in the sorority to up to 10. Many experts have tried and succeeded with up to 10 female Betta fish in Betta sororities. But, of course, the results would vary depending on the type of aquarium you have built.
For instance, if the aquarium consists of other fish types, the likelihood of fights will increase. Even though Betta fish will win the battle, in the end, it is a problem you can ignore. Therefore, you should also consider the number of other fish before adding more Betta fish into your tank. And if you have just started with Betta sororities, we recommend sticking to the basic number of 4.
How Many Bettas Can I Have in a Sorority?
There are two ways to answer this question: hypothetically and practically.
Hypothetically speaking, you can have as many Bettas as you want in a Betta sorority. The point here is that the fish would survive as long as they have space to interact. For instance, when you have a colossal tank, a Betta fish will have enough space for its territory, which is essential. In theory, as you keep adding more fish to the sorority, you can increase the size of the tank. Therefore, you may not have any issues with Betta sororities as large as 20 or 50 Betta fish.
Practically speaking, though, it is not wise to cross the 10-fish limit in Betta sororities. Here is the thing. While it is true that female Betta fish are not that interested in fighting — especially once the pecking order has been made —, there could be aggression. And, you cannot predict the behavior of an entire sorority when creating one. More importantly, controlling the health of a bigger sorority is not easy, either. So, you may end up spending a lot in terms of health management.
Therefore, we recommend that you have less than 10 Betta fish in your sorority. Now that you know how to set up the sorority, we will answer some other questions you may have about the behavior of the all-female group with other elements.
Can a Male Betta Live with A Sorority?
Theoretically speaking, a male Betta fish can live with a sorority. However, the number should not be more than one. We have to reiterate a point from conventional fishkeeping experts that you should not have two Betta fish in one fish tank under any circumstances. The only exception is breeding. Therefore, if you want to put a male Betta fish with a sorority, you must have a clear idea about the breeding strategy. If you do not want the fish to breed, you must rethink the decision.
You must also consider potential aggression from the male before you introduce it to Betta sororities. It has been noted in some cases that male Betta fish tend to attack female Betta fish. Of course, it would not be a good action for the survival of the sorority. To prevent these instances, you should always watch the male Betta that you have introduced. In general cases, male Betta fish are friendly towards female ones. Having said that, you cannot really expect general behavior from a group all the time.
Therefore, while you can indeed introduce a male Betta fish to Betta sororities, you have to do that with lots of care.
What happens if you put a male Betta in a sorority?
Well, nothing problematic would happen if you put a male Betta in a sorority. As we said earlier, male Bettas and female Bettas are considered to survive peacefully. However, an exception could happen during mating and breeding, when the male Bettas tend to become more aggressive. So you should keep an eye out for the situations. Here are some things you should note while putting a male Betta in a sorority.
- You must have a clear plan about mating and breeding before introducing a male Betta fish to a big group of female Betta fish. Otherwise, you might end up having tiny Betta fish in the tank, therefore ruining the ecological balance of the aquarium.
- There are instances, especially during breeding, when male Bettas become so aggressive. You have to keep these incidents in check to see if they persist. If they continue, you might have to remove the male Betta fish from the tank.
- If you introduce the male Betta fish from an unknown source, you should try some methods to keep the medium sterilized. As we said earlier, Betta sororities are common spaces for spreading disease. You do not want the male Betta to bring in more problems.
As long as you keep this basic checklist right, you would not have any problems with introducing a male Betta in a sorority. By the way, you should make sure that the introduction of the male Betta does not tamper with the recommended number of fish in the tank. If the numbers exceed the limit, problems will arise regardless of the gender of the fish.
The Bottom Line
We hope you do not have any major doubts about Betta sororities at this point. If so, feel free to let us know through your comments. Our final advice is that you must be ready to back down the process of creating a Betta sorority if it does not work out. A sorority is not more important than having a stable aquarium.