Stocking a 5.5g
I recently got a 5.5g tank with a hood, light, heater, and HOB filter for $6, most of the stuff new in boxes. It had never even been set up, let alone used. I wanna do this one planted (as usual) with darker substrate. I'm thinking black gravel with some laterite. I'll do the usual mix of shale and driftwood. What would be some good stocking options? Here are my thoughts so far:
3 or so cherry shrimp and 6 or so small schoolers, like cardinals, black neons, harlequin rasboras or galaxy rasboras
A betta (although I've had two before...so...eh)
A single dwarf cichlid of some kind
I really wanted to do a single nannacara or apisto or something similar, but I can't find ANY literature on the internet about keeping single fish in small tanks. Everything talks about either communities or bigger tanks for breeding.
Of your mix of schoolers, the only thing I saw that would allow 6 of them are the galaxy rasboras. The others will get too large to put 6 of them in that size of a tank.
If you want to do the cherry shrimp, keep things peaceful, which a cichlid won't be. A cichlid, even a dward, may likely eat the cherry shrimp. If you want a shrimp with a dwarf cichlid, try something like an ammano shrimp, which get quite a bit bigger than the cherries.
As for keeping a dwarf cichlid alone.. it can work if you're careful and really understand the species of fish you're working with. Most dwarfs will do much better in pairs, for which there isn't room in a tank that size. I would stick to a female dwarf if you're going to attempt something like that. They seem to adjust better to being alone. A male won't fully color up without a mate, so the color quality of the dwarf may be lost in keeping it alone.
Other options for you...
3 - 5 gold white clouds
2 - 3 green fire tetras
2 - 3 glo lite tetras
3 - 5 choprae danios
3 - 5 emerald rasboras
1 - 2 pygmy cory catfish
2 - 3 of the smaller species of killiefish
2 - 3 coral platys (dwarf platy)
2 - 3 dwarf puffers (species only tank, shrimp and snails are food)
The list goes on...
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