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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone! Probably nobody remembers me anymore...

I kind of abandoned the hobby when I started studying, so I haven't had an aquarium for years. But I really miss having fish, even if I don't miss the maintenance, lol. Fishkeeping is good for the soul.

So naturally, I've started dreaming about my next fish tank (which probably won't happen until I move out, because I wouldn't want to be moving house with an aquarium...) Now that I have a proper income I can actually afford to do it properly - buying ammonia testing kits and so on.

I'd like some opinions on my proposed stocking list (this is for my 15 gallon tank, but I might get a new one eventually).

2 Sterba's Corys
1 female betta
1 gold gourami
1 angelfish

I've kept all of those fish before under less than ideal conditions, except for Sterbas (I've had other cory species though). I chose Sterbas here because I want to do a high-temperature tank for the benefit of the anabantids, and Sterbas are the only cory I know of that likes warmer water. Also Sterbas are my favorite cory species and I've always wanted some.

I'm mostly concerned about the anabantids fighting, and whether the tank is too small for the gourami and/or the angelfish. I have kept gouramis and angelfish in much smaller tanks but they died young (not from illness, so probably due to lack of space.)

I would add the betta first and the corys last, based on my experience of their hardiness.

I've also been thinking about a pair of Papilichromis ramirezi but I've read they like to be housed with tetras to feel safe, and I really don't want to do tetras again...

As for the decor, I'm thinking of doing a bare bottom tank as I've had a lot of success with those, but I might change my mind - sand would be good for the corys but I've found it a pain to clean and it gets anaerobic pockets. I'm going to make my own filter or buy one if I can find something gentle enough.

Planning lots of bogwood, java fern and moss, maybe some floating plants, low light and tanin in the water. Anabantids seem to love those kinds of tanks.

p.s. I know corys are technically shoaling fish, but I wouldn't be able to fit more in the tank and in my experience a pair of them will become happily inseparable, it's really cute.
 

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Both the gold gourami and angel will get too large for this tank, not to mention due to being in close quarters, constant fighting... and throw a betta in the mix.... recipe for disaster.

I would up the cory school to around 5 to keep them happy in a shoal. Or have you looked into the pygmy cory species, they be size appropiate and give you more control in fish keeping - helpful to allow a margin of error as you get your toes wet... plus due to their smaller size, you could add up to 10 without much issues.

Any reason why your against tetras? How about rasboras - they could be a good sub and provide any extra interest... even then the tank would work just fine with just betta and cories...

Cories do fine without sand, but i would encourage to add some in. If your not looking to keep plants, or at least plants that require substrate - all you need is around 1cm to provide enrichment and no worries of 'anaerobic conditions' which the cories do a great job in preventing.

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Discussion Starter #3
I've had bad experiences with small shoaling fish in the past - they seemed prone to mystery illnesses that my bigger fish didn't get. Maybe they needed a bigger shoal and/or more room, but I swear even when they seemed happy they'd die of things.

Aside from that I find them kind of...boring? That probably sounds mean, but I have a strong preference for larger fish with very independent personalities. I like to be able to tell my fish apart and give them names. A bit unfortunate in a community tank, I guess, since large independent fish don't get along too well!

I'd be happy with just a betta and corys, tbh - bettas are my absolute favorite. But I'm curious how big a tank I'd need for the others, seeing as upgrading my tank might be an option for me now.

1cm of sand I could try. All my plants will be the kind that grow on rocks and wood so don't need a substrate for them.

Thanks for your feedback!
 

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I wish you much success
 

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Imo, if you want to keep the angel and gourami together - I'd personally keep the betta seperate, they can 'turn' at times - then I'd be looking at a 75g... and I'd stick with the calmer species like pearls, and stay away from the three spot varieties.

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Discussion Starter #6
Interesting. I've heard different opinions on the relative peacefulness of various gourami species...I had 2 pearl gouramis once and they were extremely agressive, I ended up having to separate them. This was in a far too small tank, but another time, I had a golden gourami (three spot variant) in the same tank with an angel and they never fought afair.

If I was to stick with my current 15 gallon tank, here's what I'm considering now:
- Introduce betta and a small group of sterbas corys first, see how the betta responds to the corys - they inhabit different water levels so I wouldn't anticipate much trouble but you never know.
- If that seems to go well, add a shoal of pygmy corys - they swim a bit higher up so riskier with the betta, again, see how it goes and have a second tank handy for emergencies.
- If betta is ok with the pygmies and everything is otherwise going fine, introduce a pair of rams. I imagine the pygmy corys might make the rams feel safer, although interestingly I've never found rams particularly nervous once they're out of the fish store. Maybe it depends on whether they're wild specimens or not.
 

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Id either add pygmies or stebai... the tank IMO is far too small for both. There are 3 species in the 'pygmy' complex, I'd suggest looking at the 'salt and pepper cory' since they occupy the bottom layers.. C.habrosus i believe ( may of misspelled)


The pearls can quarrel if there are two males, as well as it depends on the individual fish. However, generally pearls are a lot more peaceful than the three spots..

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They are... like cory but mini. They can be slightly more difficult to find - for some, others they easy to get - so asking your local store would be the best choice...

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