This morning I purchased a 5 gallon tank setup (size: 16 L x 8.5 W x 10 H). Included are the following: Aqua-Tech 5-15 filter with cartridge, incandescent light hood with bulb (15 watts, I think), AquaSafe water conditioner (I use DeChlor in my other tanks). I will add a heater as I keep my home rather cool in the winter.
Originally, my plan was to do a planted tank with a 1 soil substrate (plain top soil purchased at Lowes) with a layer of gravel atop that. Then add a single male betta and a few cherry shrimp.
My new conundrum is that Ive fallen in love with pygmy corys! My understanding is that they should be added only after the tank has matured for 3 or more months, but would they work eventually in this setup? I prefer Corydoras habrosus, but the Corydoras pygmaeus I believe is available locally.
If the pygmy cory would work, how many could I get? And what might be some appropriate tank mates? A Betta, Mosquito Rasbora, Ember tetras, and dwarf puffers are all appealing to me.
I do not have the fish yet, so I could do a fishless cycle, but would prefer fish as this will be well-planted (plan to include: water sprite, 1 Anubias, 2 crypts, java moss and perhaps a dwarf sword if I can find it locally).
After reading other posts and being a relative newcomer, Im now leaning toward a gravel-only substrate. But Ive also read the corys prefer a sand substrate? Perhaps a combination of sand and gravel would work? I was thinking of having one corner of the tank with a rock cave with sand under that section and then gravel in the remainder of the tank?
My other option is to put pygmy corys in my mature planted 10 gallon (only after I move my 4 ghost catfish to their larger home. I am learning not to purchase fish on a whim anymore).
The 5 gallon will be near a south-facing window with filtered light. I can shade the window if algae becomes a problem.
I was going to leave out the carbon and add some gravel from my mature tank in the filter. Is this okay?
I apologize for this rather long rambling post.