Tanks smaller than 5 gallons, good for anything?
I work in a pet store (yes, gasp, I'm a horrible person, etc. etc.) Christmas is a really popular time for people wanting to get first tanks for their kids. A lot of times that means a 1, 2.5, 3, or 5 gallon tank. I'm always at a loss for fish to suggest for such small tanks. If they go bigger than a gallon I suggest a betta, but that's about it. Is there really anything that can be kept in such small tanks? What about non-fish animals, like dwarf frogs, crabs, or shrimp? It's hard enough to convince people that goldfish and saltwater are not options for these tanks with out having some alternative to offer them.
Hello and welcome to the forum!
I wish they did not make all those small tanks. The upkeep on small tanks, is much harder than maintaining a 5 gal or larger tank. They push these tanks for beginners, their fish die do to ammonia or nitrite poisoning, then they get discouraged and quit the hobby.
The only thing I use the small tanks for, is to QT new bettas, that will be placed in a larger community tank.
If you can, I would try to push people into going with at least a 5 gal.
birthing tanks for guppies is the only use i can think of..............
Maybe a shrimp tank or a pair of African Dwarf frogs in the 2.5 gallon and larger. I think 1 gallon tanks are kind of useless. lol
I'd use a 1-2-3 gallon tank for quarantine only. I'd definitely not have dwarf frogs in them, cause they want to live in groups and as active as they are I'd go at the VERY minimum for a ~15gallon, rather 20!
The smallest tank I'd start to suggest for any pet (fish, shrimp, frog etc) is a 10g and set it up for shrimps.
If I was in your shoes in the store, I'd do my homework learn all reasons why these small tanks just doe not work for fish and why its cruel (IMO) to house a betta etc in such small tanks, and then not "push people" into buying larger ones, but be a informative salesman who knows what they're talking bout, cause pushing someone won't help at all.
And on the side note your boss will start being real happy with you selling all these Xmas shopper 20+g tanks and equipment rather then the cheap lil one's.
I guess a 1 gal. could house a betta because it is bigger then those tiny bowl that they come in. a few endlers maybe male only no females as they reproduce tp quickly. I have a 3 gal. that has 2 mystery snails in it. 5 gal. as a hospital tank that has red cherry shrimp in it when not in use. also a 2.5 gal. that is a hospital tank that will have dwarf shrimps or endlers in it.Endlers are smaller then guppies but petco and petsmart do not carry them. They are sometimes used as feeder fish for bigger fish but they are quite pretty. Most aquarium stores carry them I would just stay away from a male female pair and just go with a few males maybe 3 of them. Small tanks are fine as long as you do not overfeed and do the water changes of 25% and test the water each week with a API water test kit. 1 Mystery snails would be ok in a 1 gal. without a heater. The heaters only are good in a 2 gal or bigger tank as they do not make them for 1 gal. tanks.
1g: Too small for a betta because they don't make any heaters small enough to safely heat a tank of this size. You could go with about 5-8 cherry shrimp, a handful of ghost shrimp (surprisingly entertaining) or a nice-looking snail like a zebra or a ramshorn if you clean the tank well and provide lettuce for them to eat.
2.5g: You can heat a tank of this size with a small heater (aim for 5w per gallon). The marineland stealth is a good one, but larger heaters (no larger than 25w) can be used on a low setting. A betta would be happy in this size, or even about 3 male guppies*. Another awesome pick is the Endler's Livebearer*, a relative of the guppy that grows only an inch in adult size, provided it's a male. Any of the options for a 1g will also work.
3g: Basically any of the options above. I might also add that the Eclipse comes in a 3g model... the excellent filtration system can handle a few more fish than the average filter.
5g: All of the above. There is also ample room to house a school (about 6) of one of the many kinds of dwarf rasboras (also known as microrasboras) or tiny tetras (anyting under 1.5 inches). Alternatively, you could divide and house two bettas (perfect gift for two kids, less maintenance for the parents). A honey or sparkling gourami makes a good 'centerpiece fish' to go with the dwarf rasboras. You could also have about 5 guppies in a tank like this, very easily with some cherry shrimp on cleaning duty. A few platies* would work as well.
*Livebearers of any sort breed like rabbits, so don't mix males and females! Even if you plan on selling them to a pet store, you still need lots of room to grow out as many as 50 babies per batch.
Hope that helps! As a committed nano-tanker, I can assure you that there are many more options for small tanks. I have only stated the most readily available and easiest to care for. As far as what to avoid, here are a few pointers:
-Absolutely no goldfish, plecos, bala sharks in any of these tanks. All of these guys will reach a foot in length easily.
Really depends how you keep the tank. I have a ~1 gal tank I had a male endler in it, but move him so he would have so company. I've been toying with the idea of a betta, but it has lots of plants in it. It would have to be a plakat, because there isn't enough swimming room for a fancy betta. Its not filtered, currently there are snails shrimp and some endler fry in it.
But yeah when starting the hobby its best to start big and work towards small tanks. Small tanks are much harder. My first attempt at a 2.5gal did not go well. I'm amazed that the 1gal puddle in my "stream edge" tank is doing so well. Basically no algae to speak of, plants pearl daily. I also rarely do water changes on it, just replace the evaporated water. The water I add also comes out of another aquarium so its not fresh. Its got to be because of the "land" side of the tank. IDK what plant it is but one of them sends out a ton of roots.
For goldfish, photos speak thousands of words. I could show you two goldfish forums where I regularly contribute for and they will have photos of their goldfish as bulky as 5 inches in width and length as long as 12 inches for orandas and fantails. That would certainly make it easier for you to convince them not to keep goldfish in tanks smaller than a 30g.
I don't have many photos but you could easily print this caresheet for them to understand why exactly goldfish are much more demanding than what they foresee. Goodness knows I should have built a blog for this.:sad:
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