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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to stock my 56 gallon lightly (for now) planted tank (still cycling, waiting for completion), and what I think I want is:
-15 neon tetra
-1 dwarf gourami (optional)
- 10 cherry barbs
- 1 betta (not optional)
- Ghost shrimp and nerite snails

What else could I put in there besides guppies and platies that will breed? It feels like the tank will be understocked. I really want several silver hatchets, but will this combination work? And lastly, what is a good sequence of adding the fish? Which goes first? I am cycling with ammonia and seeded filter/rock/wood media, so I expect the amount of beneficial bacteria to be quite high by the end of cycling.

I also love cory cats and would want them badly, but I guess with 100% Fluorite this is not an option.

Betta is not optional because I have had him for a while and he was getting greatly alone with cherry barbs, neons and guppies. He seems to be very peaceful, but I still worry about him and dwarf gourami's compatibility.

Thank you.
 

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Putting anabantids together isnt a good idea, so I'll recommend against that. bettas and gouramis are both pretty darn territorial.

live bearers are your best bet for something that'll breed easily. platys, guppies, swordtails. mollies, maybe, if they're already accustomed to fresh water.

i kind of agree that your tank seems a little understocked especially if its planted. id suggest bottom feeders but i also don't know mug about flourite. there are several catfish and other bottom fish option though. maybe someone will chime in about the flourite thing :)

as for introductions, try adding the lesst aggressive first.
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Welcome to the forum

Some people are adament about bettas being kept alone, on principle. Others, myself included, had great success keeping a betta in a community tank. The larger the tank, the higher your chances of success are. However, it's neer a guarantee so a back up plan is always needed. Too, it can work well for a while and one day everything is different.

I kept mine with cherry barbs and neons, among other fish, in a 30 gallon. I would not expect problems in a 56 gallon with the stock you want, but the possibility does exist. I would not keep a dwarf gourami with a betta though. I think that's just asking for trouble. Again, it might work out - the tank is pretty big. I'm all for tryin things and experimenting, as long as you have a backup plan.

The more you stock the tank, the higher the chances of running into a problem with the betta. If its mandatory that you have the betta, then you have to make stocking sacrifices. Go slow, is my best advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you, jaysee.

I'll wait on the Gourami then. Maybe one day when I don't have a betta.

What about all above and 6 silver hatchets instead of live bearers? I didn't phrase myself correctly; I want something that WILL NOT readily breed. I don't guess my peaceful betta will eat all of their fry. If he would , maybe I could consider some sword tails. Or maybe keep only males of live bearers?

What other bottom dwellers could I keep with Fluorite substrate, except corys? Did anyone have any luck with corys and Fluorite? I totally don't want plecos for their size and general appearance.

Thank you.
 

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Catfish specialists do not recommend corys over Flourite and similar substrates due to the sharpness. Having tried this myself I can say it did not work for me. I had to move my corys out of the Flourite tank, they had barbel degeneration and bleeding mouths, both of which cleared up within a few days after going into the sand substrate tank. Even after almost 2 years, I could still feel the Flourite sharpness when I planted in it, which I have never experienced in all my years using fine gravel (and more recently sand).

I would avoid any burrowing fish too, like loaches, with Flourite. The Flourite Sand might be better, I had the larger "gravel" type, basic Flourite, though I would expect the composition to be the same and thus rough.

I also didn't find Flourite of much use with respect to plant growth, and after 2 years I tore the tank down and it now has sand. Plants are doing just as well.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am a little shy as to how to vacuum sand and I do still like the color and texture of Fluorite somewhat. I wish I thought about corys' soft bellies before adding substrate and used sand or soil, so now no corys for me. What I am learning in this hobby is to plan, ask and research twenty times before changing anything. Thank you all for your help.
 

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I am a little shy as to how to vacuum sand and I do still like the color and texture of Fluorite somewhat. I wish I thought about corys' soft bellies before adding substrate and used sand or soil, so now no corys for me. What I am learning in this hobby is to plan, ask and research twenty times before changing anything. Thank you all for your help.
That is a big positive to learn, which sadly some don't (or won't). To ask beforehand, always. Know the answers before taking the step.:) This is especially critical when acquiring fish.
 
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I have the Flourite sand, and I can vouch for it being incredibly soft. It's even softer than my playsand, it honesty reminds me of dirt, haha. My kuhli loaches filter through it wonderfully.

I do agree with the regular flourite though, it is quite sharp :(

The only thing I would also look out for is the shrimp. Betta fish can sometimes kill them and gorge themselves on them, so I'd keep a close watch on his behavior.

Pictures of the set-up would be awesome! :D

P.S. Does the tank already have the flourite in it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Yes, Fluorite is there and some plants in it. Planning to add 10-12 more low-light plants and currently soaking some driftwood. I am VERY bad at aquascaping, but will post pictures when I feel it's more or less acceptable looking and the plants filled out somewhat. All of you guys have such awesome looking tanks I can only drool. I will also look into some loaches.
Betta I currently have ignored ghost shrimp which I plan to add but tried to snack on the RCS. I currently have some newborn cherry shrimplets in my 10gal and betta is delegated to a temporary 1.5 gal setup. Can't wait for him to go into the large tank, but I think he will be the last one to go in due to some dominance issues. He also gets nipped by tetras so I still am debating whether a large school of neons will leave him be.
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Betta I currently have ignored ghost shrimp which I plan to add but tried to snack on the RCS. I currently have some newborn cherry shrimplets in my 10gal and betta is delegated to a temporary 1.5 gal setup. Can't wait for him to go into the large tank, but I think he will be the last one to go in due to some dominance issues. He also gets nipped by tetras so I still am debating whether a large school of neons will leave him be.
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Probably not. This is why the majority of aquarists hold that Betta are not community fish. The Betta may go after other fish, or the other fish may go after a Betta. Either way is highly stressful for the fish being targeted.
 

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Tetras = teeth = long fins are snacks

Corys, catfish and some barbs might make it with a Betta... I have that now but the Betta is still questionable after 4 months and not for any aggressiveness on his part. Being that our Betta was pre-tank he went in with very careful consideration of the downsides. I wouldn't have chosen that mix otherwise... at least the betta mix anyway, I'd prefer another small group of tetras but Oscar (our Betta) will probably be a round for a while yet.

Jeff.
 

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Tetras = teeth = long fins are snacks
Teeth or no teeth, most fish are capable of nipping. Like with ANY group of fish, some species are more prone to nipping than others. Such blanket statements are very misleading, and inaccurate in my experience. There are only a few species that fall into that category.
 

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That was just something I found while researching fish for my tank, a lot more tetras seem to be labelled as nippers than others.... I suppose it's about as accurate as the 1" rule so, yah, over generalization probably applies.

Jeff.
 

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The manner in which fish are kept plays a huge role in their behavior, with tank size being perhaps the most important component. I place as much credence in those labels as I do in the "minimum tank size" labels, with which I rarely agree.
 

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The manner in which fish are kept plays a huge role in their behavior, with tank size being perhaps the most important component. I place as much credence in those labels as I do in the "minimum tank size" labels, with which I rarely agree.
Curious, without trying to generalize again, do you tend toward larger or think that smaller would still work? Personally I would tend to go larger but that isn't based on experience so much as keeping the fishes' natural environment in mind... basically rivers, streams and lakes are larger then anything we can hope to provide.

Maybe I'm getting this thread off topic.

Jeff.
 

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Aside from the personal observations of aquarists, the only (so far) scientific study that looked specifically into aggressive behaviour among shoaling fish did determine that when kept in larger groups and in larger tanks, aggressiveness was much less likely to occur among all species, be they "aggressive" by nature (such as Serpae Tetra) or not (black neon tetra). The study concluded that when kept in groups less than five, shoaling fish almost always became aggressive to each other and/or other species. And when the tank was small, aggression also increased among all species. I haven't seen the actual numbers for "small" and whatever, but the conclusions are pretty clear in themselves: the more space and the larger the shoal, the better for the fish [= less stress].

Byron.
 

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I don't think it's off topic, because the topic is keeping a betta in a community. Like I mentioned in my first post, the larger the tank, the better the chances of success. People often want to make their 10 gallon tank into a betta community, which is really not a good idea. I certainly wouldn't try it in any LESS, but a 10 is really small. Small for the betta to share, and small for the community fish in general. I don't think a 10 is a good community tank, with or without a betta. In my experience, fish are more apt to nip when they are cramped for space.

I generally don't like providing the "minimum". Like you said, keeping them in any sized tank is ALREADY a minimum....so keeping them in a minimum tank is giving them the smallest of the small. Too, this goes hand in hand with minimum school sizes. My viewpoint is different than most though - I don't directly care about the fish; I care about my enjoyment in watching them. I don't feed them the best food so that they can eat the best food, I do it so that they will look their best. I provide them with large tanks so that I can watch them swim, not because I care about stunting them. I provide them with larger schools because I like seeing a larger group of fish. Tying this back to the topic of the thread - bettas are beautiful fish, which is mostly tied to their fins. I would not want to keep a betta in a situation where it's fins are all chewed up, because that's not attractive. In a larger tank, this is less likely to be the outcome. But as I said, there are no guarantees.
 

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I would not consider putting my roselines in a 4 foot tank. They grow significantly larger than what they are sold at.
 
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