Betta Fish Sororities

Please Note: I do not recommend or support keeping a betta fish sorority. Most sororities fail within 3-6 months. Many serious betta keepers think sororities are an out-of-date and dangerous practice. 100% of the females who have been surrendered to me from owners have come from failed sororities. While I do not adopt out to sororities, if you or someone you know wants to attempt one - or already has one - there are some important things you can do to ensure the highest possible chance of success and safety.

Credit: Betta Fish Keepers

Sorority Basics:

  • Minimum 5 or more females
  • Minimum 20 gallon long tank size
  • HEAVILY planted. Cannot overstate how incredibly dense the vegetation should be. The images above are examples of appropriate sorority tanks.
  • If possible, only use genetic siblings from the same clutch that have never been separated. This is the highest chance of success.
  • When adding a new female, remove all females, re-arrange the tank, and add them all back in at the same time.
  • Be able and prepared to set up a separate 5 gallon minimum tank for EVERY single female in your sorority. If you have 5 females, you should have 5 backup tanks for when or if they fight or get sick. Once a female shows aggression, it will continue and that female - and the one who is sick or injured as a result - should be immediately separated.

Tank Size: Long tanks rather than tall tanks are a must. The reason behind this is the more room they can move side to side as Bettas are not really known for swimming up and down as much. This is why we say a 20-gallon Long tank is the bare minimum for sororities. The BIGGER the tank the Better.

Plants + Hides: To start out with you will need to heavily plant the tank. This means so many plants of different sizes that you cannot see through to the back of the tank and you cannot see from side to side of the tank. This gives them plenty of line of sight break from each other so they don’t really realize that there is another fish about. Also plenty of floating plants as well as many times they love to sleep in those top plants.
You will also need at least 2 hides per fish one up high and one near the bottom. This gives them their own areas to be able to hide and relax when they want. 

Stocking: A good sorority to start with is 5 females from the same clutch from a breeder such as Prism bettas or other reputable breeder. The reason is that those girls have been together already since birth and are used to one another. 

Do not use Pet store bought fish as most of them are already used to being separate that they do not do well with being added together. Do not add a male to the tank. These girls are going to be under enough stress that they do not need a male added to the tank as well which will prompt them to get eggy and stressed. You do not want these girls to become egg bound.

Dither fish. These are other fish that you will need in the tank to help keep the female's attention off of each other. The best to use is something like Ember Tetras and Chili Rasboras. Corydora are also another good one to use as bottom feeders. Stay away from fish that are hyper or known fin nippers like Guppies and Neon Tetras. Too much activity can also stress out Bettas so you will need calmer fish.

Other Considerations:

  • Have you had Bettas for multiple years? Or worked with multiple tanks at once? This is a very experienced tank that will take a great amount of work more than your usual tank. A sorority is like taking care of multiple tanks all at once as you will need to inspect the fish multiple times daily for any stress, aggression, illness, and more.
    2. Do you know how to sex bettas? No I am not talking about the “egg spot” either as that is unreliable. You will need to know how to candle the fish to make sure the Bettas all have ovaries to ensure that you have females. Males can have false “egg spots”
  • Do you have multiple backup tanks? As stated in the last part this is a very experienced tank and many times they do not work out. You will need at least 1 5-gallon tank per female that you get as a backup tank. 
  • Do you have a lot of medication? Sororities have a tendency to cause a lot of stress and Illness in females especially if not done correctly. This means you will need medications on hand in case of illness setting into the tank.
    5. Do you have backups for your backups? This means do you have a way to rehome, or move things around so your fish have the best of life? Backup heaters, lights, filters, plants, and even sanity at times lol. 

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