I have a 5.5 gallon tank sitting on a simple black stand in my office/bedroom right now. It is filled with gravel and some fake plants...only there are no fish! The question will come later, but first, a little depressing back story for everyone! Aren't you so happy?! lol.
The back story:
Basically, I had a betta for about 5 or six years. I had bought him from PetSmart, so I was pleasantly surprised he lived that long! He first started in a 2.5 gallon tank (silly newbie I was)
, and he seemed quite happy, making ENORMOUS bubble nests each week. I did complete water changes every week, and he had a base diet of betta flake food supplemented with some brine shrimp every now and then. He also had a wonderful little heater with a built-in thermometer. I later switched to a 5.5 gallon tank to give him some extra swimming room and overall make him a little happier. A couple changes were made to the tank. I bought new gravel, in a white color that time (used to have black), and some new plants that were not a hard plastic, but had soft, fabric leaves. I am not sure if they are considered silk plants...? I bought a new heater, a siphon (started 50% water changes twice weekly), and put the filter that came with the tank to use. Only problem was, when I put my betta in his new home, I found a significant problem, with the filter to be exact. Every time the betta swam towards the flow of the filter output, he would be pushed to the complete opposite side of the tank, and somersaulted through the water. He finally just started cowering in the corner of the tank. I immediately removed the filter, and he was fine! I found something about creating a filter "baffler" with a piece of a plastic water bottle, I tried it, but it just wasn't helping (maybe I was making it wrong or something). I put away the filter, and never thought of it again. The fish was fine for a year or so when he began acting sickly (though I had not changed anything recently). The color in his tail faded, and his finnage looked pale and see-through, his body also faded from reddish-pink to a pale-pink as well. We found him just yesterday, dead on the bottom of the tank
. I don't think it was the incident with the filter as he had started acting weird a YEAR after the great filter incident of 2011.
Basically, I think it might have just been old age (is six old for a betta?). So NOW for the question, lol. BTW sorry for this whole long back story.
I am now left with a 5.5 gallon tank, and nothing to do with it. I considered buying another betta, but I want to expand my focus and deal with other types of fish. I guess you could say I am still a beginner (as I have only had one betta and my fish experience stops there), so I am looking for LOW MAINTENANCE FRESHWATER fish species to use for my 5.5 gallon tank. I KNOW I don't want a goldfish though. I simply know that goldfish need to be kept in larger tanks as they make a LOT of waste. Any species of fish that can be purchased from Pet Smart or Green Tree Pet Center and are not too terribly expensive would be great. I am NOT willing to spend more than $15 per fish!
WHAT I NEED FROM THE SPECIES:
I have a filter with a strong current, and I found that I was missing a piece when I opened the tank at home. It was a lever thing that controlled the filter flow. I have no way of purchasing a replacement lever, so I need a fish species that can stand a strong filter flow (and I mean STRONG), without being uncomfortable.
They must be a hardy species and easy to care for, without too many specialty foods. They must be able to live in water around 75% F, and I know this seems childish, but I want something PRETTY!!! I don't want anything dull colored, and I want something with personality and/or beautiful vibrant colors (like a betta fish)
ANY AND ALL HELP WOULD BE MUCH