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.... shrimp/a snail are about your options.
Yes. I kept a betta in a pitcher of about that size, not great but what can you do when you don't know and the store says it's fine? We changed the water at least once per week, 100%, and scrubbed EVERYTHING in it so there was no cycle but a few plants helped with the initial ammonia load... plants grew like crazy. Fish is still alive and in a 37 gallon tank.

Anyway, the issue is partly that it is just physically too small for the fish but also that in that small volume of water the ammonia that the fish produce gets too concentrated too fast and harms/kills the fish. I don't know your tank details but with no plants, the problem is compounded, with no water changes or few... well, it gets pretty toxic in there. Larger tanks (even a 5 gallon is better but 10 and up) are more stable and can be setup (cycled and/or plants) to handle the toxins put into the water as long as water changes are routine and often, weekly at least.

Jeff.
 
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