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Old 07-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
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5 Gallon Tank - Most Interesting Fish to Go With?

After my problem with neon tetras (see story below), I'm looking for something else to put in our 5 gallon tank.

Here are my thoughts as to what put in the 5 gallon tank, after it is completely cycled.

For the fish I'm thinking either:
1) a couple of male guppies; how many would be comfortable in a 5 gallon tank?
2) or a Betta; although I think my 5 year old would like to watch more than 1 fish

For the bottom dweller I'm thinking either:
A) African Dwarf Frogs; how many could a 5 gallon tank house? do they need special food?
B) Julii Cory Catfish; maybe two. I think the tank is too small for them? I've heard they aren't very active?
C) Cherry Shrimp; although I heard they multiply like crazy? I would also worry about the babies going inside our 'cave', passing away, and me not being able to see them.

So, for the most interesting/fun/exciting/easy-to-care-for set up I can make from the above possibilities?

Thanks for all your input, help, and patience.

TripleB67


I unfortunately must not have cycled the tank properly before adding the fish yesterday morning. I added 6 Neon Tetras and after 9 hours, only 1 remained. This morning the 1 neon tetra is still swimming strong. I'm going to have my water tested by a 'pro' today.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:14 AM   #2
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Instead of being tested by a 'pro' you can pick up your own API master test kit. They're worth every penny. It'll really help you monitor your water parameters which is necessary during a cycle. I bet nearly everyone on this site would agree with that.

Some people think the min for guppies is a ten, but honestly I don't see why they can't be comfortable in a five. I wouldn't do anymore than 3 or 4, max. However if you do this option, I wouldn't add any other fish. You could do RCS, though. They do breed a lot but it's actually quite fun to watch. And your guppies will most likely eat a lot of the baby shrimplets so you don't need to worry about being overpopulated.

I definitely wouldn't do cories in a 5 gal. Maybe dwarf cories, but not juliis.

You may need more opinion on this, but I think two frogs and a betta could work. I know people do this in a 10 gallon, but a 5 may be too small. I'd wait for a second opinion on this...

I think your best option is simply to go with a betta. You could try shrimp, but bettas will often eat shrimp so you could test the betta with a ghost shrimp first. They're much cheaper than RCS.

Have you thought about going planted? A planted tank with lots of green and a betta with striking colors makes a beautiful tank.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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I would have to agree with okapizebra with the betta and planted tank. Sometimes they are the most interesting creatures to watch, with more personality IMO. Plus there are some great ones out there that would be gorgeous, look at halfmoon bettas, plakat bettas, and so many others. With some plants in there, the upkeep should be a cinch. I have plenty of betta tanks and they take me a grand total of 1-3 minutes a day, except Saturday then they take me 15 minutes (weekly PWC).
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okapizebra View Post
Instead of being tested by a 'pro' you can pick up your own API master test kit.

I wouldn't do anymore than 3 or 4, max. However if you do this option, I wouldn't add any other fish. You could do RCS, though. They do breed a lot but it's actually quite fun to watch. And your guppies will most likely eat a lot of the baby shrimplets so you don't need to worry about being overpopulated.

You may need more opinion on this, but I think two frogs and a betta could work. I know people do this in a 10 gallon, but a 5 may be too small. I'd wait for a second opinion on this...
Had the water tested today and was told that my water looked really good. Said the problem was probably because I added too many fish at one time.

I really like the looks of the cherry shrimp and although guppies aren't as elegant as bettas, I like the idea of having more than one fish in the tank. What makes me nervous about the shrimp is them going in one of my decorations (open 'barrel' type thing), passing away, me not noticing, and then contaminating the tank.

One thing I read about bettas is that they are 'lazy' and prefer just to float around. The article said that having a constant current from the filtration actually bothers them. Any truth to that.

Would frogs work with guppies as well? I think my 5 year old would love watching them go to the surface, gulp air, and then fly back down to the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaKai View Post
Plus there are some great ones out there that would be gorgeous, look at halfmoon bettas, plakat bettas, and so many others. With some plants in there, the upkeep should be a cinch.
Saw several types today that I loved: beautiful red double tail male, blue halfmoon double tail male, blue crowntail male, and purple/red veiltail male.

I assume you're talking about live plants? What do you recommend?

Thanks for the input so far.

TripleB67
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripleB67 View Post
Had the water tested today and was told that my water looked really good. Said the problem was probably because I added too many fish at one time.

I really like the looks of the cherry shrimp and although guppies aren't as elegant as bettas, I like the idea of having more than one fish in the tank. What makes me nervous about the shrimp is them going in one of my decorations (open 'barrel' type thing), passing away, me not noticing, and then contaminating the tank.

One thing I read about bettas is that they are 'lazy' and prefer just to float around. The article said that having a constant current from the filtration actually bothers them. Any truth to that.

Would frogs work with guppies as well? I think my 5 year old would love watching them go to the surface, gulp air, and then fly back down to the bottom.



Saw several types today that I loved: beautiful red double tail male, blue halfmoon double tail male, blue crowntail male, and purple/red veiltail male.

I assume you're talking about live plants? What do you recommend?

Thanks for the input so far.

TripleB67
A shrimp or two going somewhere and dying in the tank is not going to make a huge impact on the water quality. They don't normally just up and die if they are in a well established tank anyhow, although some tankmates may eat them.

Your biggest concern at the moment is cycling the tank, I suggest looking at the articles on cycling in the articles section here Articles - Aquarium Advice

And definitely get your own test kit. A LFS worker is not a 'pro' just because they happen to work at a pet store. With the big box stores especially, that's like asking the guy who cooked your big mac some questions about cooking a four course meal. He might know some stuff ,but don't assume he's a professional just because he works in the industry.

Someone who has been keeping fish for years does not mean that they know the intricacies of proper tank cycling, it's not like they have to deal with new tank syndrome very often so many of them do not have any humane strategies to dealing with it.

This isn't mean to create distrust between a customer and a LFS, I just suggest that you don't rely on their advice without doing some research on your own.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:34 PM   #6
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As a new betta owner, I say it really depends on both the betta's personality and health. My betta does spend time being lazy, but he also swims rapidly around the tank, sometimes just for fun, sometimes chasing a shrimp. Also, all those fins act like a kite in a k=high wind pulling im around the tank if the current is too strong but that is easy to fix. Stick a sponge in your outlet to slow the water down.
The key is getting a healthy betta, especially if this is your first time. Look for a store where the betta's water is clean, no old food floating around decaying and no fungus growing on the fish. The betta's fins should be intact, and he should respond to either his cup moving, or seeing a new betta.
Shrimp-maybe yes, maybe no. My shrimp keep creeping over into the betta's 5 gallon section. Any small ones get eaten, but the big one moves fast enough, and has enough rocks to hide under, that it has survived for three weeks or so. Malaysian trumpet sanils also seem to mostly survive.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:00 PM   #7
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I have 5 Bettas and they are far from lazy. I have 3 females & 2 males. I have 2 females in a 10g tank, 1 female in a separate 10g and they absolutely LOVE it. I think the water current is too strong so I am taking measures to lessen it a bit. My males unfortunately are in individual 1g containers until I can get the money to purchase a 20g tank & dividerset up.They each have unique personalities & all respond to me when I come to their aquariums. You won't be disappointed with a Betta. A 5g aquarium limits you on the number & type of fish. Whatever you decide on I'm sure you will enjoy.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:08 PM   #8
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I agree a Betta is a great choice. Maybe get some Java ferns or something else that doesn't grown very tall. What if you kept one Betta and one frog? Just be warned the frogs are often mislabeled. You could end up with the regular African Clawed Frog which are wonderful pets but will need a bigger tank. I sometimes buy plants from mikeswetpets on ebay. He has a good variety and there are care instructions listed in the auctions. One thing I can say about live plants-- only buy from a reputable dealer and rinse very very well before placing in your tank. I once got leeches from plants and they took over the tank! Drs Foster and Smith sell plants also but I havent ordered from them before. There are Java ferns listed in the classifieds section of the site as well.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:56 AM   #9
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There's lots of live plants that are easy to care for. It would definitely be a good idea to pick up a CFL light bulb (you can get a 10 watt one at walmart for five bucks in the fish section) to screw in the hood of your tank if you have one of those hoods. This will allow you to grow a good amount of plants healthily.

I keep crypts, swords, water wisteria, water sprite, anubias, java fern, marimo balls, aquatic onions, and christmas moss with very little maintenance.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:10 PM   #10
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Don't put bettas together in the same tank, especially males. They'll kill each other. A female sorority can work in a larger tank but I wouldn't try it in a 5. Just get one. I have a crowntail betta alone in a 5 gal tank and honestly sometimes he entertains me more than my larger community tank. He has a feisty personality and flares at me a lot lol. He's always moving around the tank and you can train them to do tricks; mine jumps out of the water to grab food from my finger. You could try shrimp with your betta; it really depends on the personality of the fish you get. Mine is pretty feisty and doesn't like anything in the tank with him (I tried adding a snail but after 30 seconds he attacked it). So you could try a couple of shrimp at first and see how he does.

True bettas do not like much current but there are ways of battening the flow of various filters. What filter do you have?

You could do ADFs in a 5 gal; a 10 is more recommended and they are social and like groups but you could probably get away with 2-3 in a 5 gal, but nothing else with them (some people keep a betta with them, and again it would depend on the betta but I think a 5 gal is too small for both). The frogs prefer different foods than fish, mostly H&H Frog and Tadpole bites with some other meaty foods mixed in as treats now and then (they get can bloated easily like fish so you'd want to limit certain foods. There's lot of good info on caring for ADFs on this forum if you search. Just make sure they are labeled correctly at the store; you don't want african clawed frogs as they get much larger).

Most corys are too large for a 5 gal, especially Juli's. THe dwarfs or pygmys might be better but I'm not sure what else you could have with them in a 5 gal. Maybe a couple of guppies but that might be pushing the stock.

I don't know if you have access to nano fish: ember tetra, celestial pearl danio or chili rasbora. Or endler's livebearers or a smaller variety of killfish. You could do a school of 6 of the nano fish in a 5 gal.

Also, the LFs said your tank water is fine now because you don't have an ammonia source, so naturally your levels are going to be 0. Once you start adding fish, the ammonia levels are going to rise which is toxic to fish in certain levels, so just keep that in mind too and read up on cycling with fish if that's going to be your route so that you aren't surprised when you need to start doing daily water changes. Also get your own liquid test kit; it's really a necessity, particularly for cycling with fish.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:52 PM   #11
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If you're still looking for ideas you could get a dwarf pufferfish. That's what I would do.
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