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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 20 long that was divided into 3 and held 3 bettas. Now that 2 of those 3 are gone I would like to make approximately 15 gallons into a community tank (while leaving one 5 gal portion for my remaining betta)

I know much about keeping bettas but hardly anything about other types of fish. There are so many species, I don't even know where to start! Please advise how many fish/ and different types that can live together that might meet what I am looking for.

-Being a betta lover I like colorful fish, so the more color the better. I really like the look of fancy guppies.

-I like the idea of schooling fish

-I would ideally like at least 3-4 different types of fish.

-I have a golf ball sized mystery snail that will be living in the 15 gal portion as well, I know he adds quite a bit to the bio load.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
 

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Blufish425 great question, tons of different answers. First I just wanted to make sure you knew the betta can actually live in a community tank with other fish. There is no need to keep him confined unless you prefer to.

If schooling fish are your thing then you could go with a nice large school of neon tetras or a slighly smaller school of cardinals. I have never been a fan of either, but they are colorful. If you do that, you could also add harliquin rasboras say 6-8 or 6 rummy nose tetras.

Now for the top and bottom. These will all go with the schoolers above and those I'll identify below. For color, start at the top of the water column with 6-8 male Endler Livebearers of any color veriaty. You can also sub platys say 4 of them. With the livebearers a pair or trio of pigmy gouramis such as croaking or sparkling would add a bit of contrast. Avoid any dwarf or regular gouramis as they may cause problems.

On the bottom you can go a couple of ways. You could go with a nice school of cory cats such as Julii, pandas, skuncks, lazers or emrolds. With the corys you could add 6 Khuli loaches, 3 balck, 3 regular. If loaches aren't appealing how about some red cherry shrimp? There are several color verieties, but be careful and read up first as some don't do well in med-hard water. If none of that is appealing and you don't want live plants you could go with a small species of crayfish, CPOs, apricot or zebra cherax, electric blue or something along those lines. The are terrible at catching fish unless you have corys, loaches or other bottom dwellers. You likely could have a pair in the 15gal set up as long as you have 2 hiding places per crayfish. You can also have shrimp with the cray fish.

Now the middle. Nothing beats a school of celestrial danios say 6-8 of them. You could also go with 6 cherry barbs 1/2 regular, 1/2 albinos. You could add a school of 6 gold barbs and maybe some glowlight tetras. Other tetras include rummy nose, head and tail light, brillant rasboras. If you want some really nice fish, Select Aquatics has awsome Odessa Barbs.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response :)

The reason I was going to keep the betta separate is, I have had him for a almost a year, always by himself, so I wasn't sure he would handle tank mates. Also I tried to put the snail in with him once and he was aggressive with the snail.


I definitely want to do Cory cats for the bottom, but how many should I do? I have read schools of 6 is best?

You said 6-8 for the middle, I like both the barbs and the danios for options

And you said 6-8 for the top, I like the Endler's livebearers as well

That's a total of 18-22 fish plus my snail, is that an okay amount for 15 gallons? You had also mentioned adding a couple of other species to the bottom and the middle, I've read the 1in of fish per gallon rule so, I'm still a little unclear on how many total I can stock without over crowding?
 

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The corys have a small bioload, so 6-8 will work as long as you stick with smaller types like Pandas. If you are more comfortable go with 6 smaller corys, skuncks are a great way to go. The Endlers could be cut down to 4 if you are concerned. With the barbs and danios, here again a small bioload. If you go with celestrial danios get them first as you may decide to skip the barbs as they are way cool looking. The thing to keep in mind, you have no veggie only or heavy veggie eaters that come with a huge bioload. Thinking about putting a good pintch of flake food in twice a day, the Endlers will eat like horses, the food scatters and starts to sink and the barbs and danios pick off 80% of what is falling. The corys are the clean up crew. The snail gets the scraps. As long as you have good filtration you will be fine. Do your 10%-20% water changes weekly and you will do fine.
 
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