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Hello! I'm one of those really newbie newbs that searched a topic but still want to ask my questions. Sorry for the repetition 馃槅

I'm trying my hand at a naturally planted tank. Originally this is to appease my winter blues and needing some greenery. It's my next step in keeping plants indoors alive. Currently my tank is approaching week 7 of cycling. It's had a couple of bacteria blooms, some worms showed up and disappeared, some hydra showed up and mostly disappeared, the pond snails have EXPLODED and will need some handling at a later date, algae has mostly stayed under control (Probably because of the exorbitant snail population). I'll admit I have not been checking the water parameters regularly. For the first few weeks nothing changed so I just kind of blew it off. Last week the ammonia seems to be rising, still no signs of nitrites and nitrates but I do need a different test kit, I just have the strips and they kind of suck. I just used soil from outside and it's been releasing quite a bit of bubbles so I'm assuming it's breaking down and will eventually even out. Could also be the bioload of the hoard of snails? I'm in absolutely no rush for the cycle to end. When it levels out, it levels out. In the meantime the plants are growing.

Currently I'm just researching what fish and how many of each I should get when it does finish cycling.

It is a 25 gallon tank so I'm figuring 12 smaller fish. The original species I was looking at were Neon Tetras, Guppy's, Oto's and Cory's.

Doing some reading, and because of my ability to breed snails like it's a super power, I'm thinking the Oto's may be out. I'll probably have to get an Assassin snail at some point and even then there may not be enough food for Oto's and since it's recommended to have more than 1... I think they're getting crossed off the list.

Which means Cory's. I think they'll just be fine on detris and not care about algae so won't be in competition with my snail army? Are they known to do damage to plants if they go rooting through the substrate? How many should I pencil in? Recommendations say because they school they're happiest as 6 but my tank isn't big enough for 6 of everything Lol Will they be happy as 2-3?

Neon Tetra's are at least 6.

Guppy's will do alright with 3-4?

Does this sound fair:
Tetras 6
Guppies 4
Cory's 2
12

Or should the snail load be considered as well?

I'm seriously bouncing between having both Tetra's and Guppy's or just focusing on one or the other. I like how Tetra's school but I'm a sucker for the look of the fancy Guppy. Like a tank of mini Betta's!

Also are their any recommendations for a type of Cory that's a little more exciting than just camoflaged? I find it unfair that Pleco's have such a variety of cool looking options but the tiny options are kind of more generic. I'm ok with it, but if there's other options I can keep my eye out for I will.

TIA!
 

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A pleco is way to big for that tank, the smnail load needs to be reduced, if plants are loose cory's might uproot it so you should make sure the plants are secure, add more bacetria since its getting an amonia spike now, and I reccomend getting ONE female betta for the tank, she probably won't attack the types of fish you have in your tank.
 

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I think you could fit in 3-4 Guppies, 6 Neon Tetras, and 4 Corycats. If it were me once your tank was cycled I would start with the Guppies. Then get the Neons gradually and stop to observe how they interact for at least a few days. If the Neons are nippy, you'll need to get more of them and you may not then have room for the Cory school on top of that.

Guppies are nice, hardy fish that should do well in a planted tank. 3 is their minimum group number, and 3-4 should work well. I would highly recommend getting all males, though. Females are almost always already pregnant at the store, can give birth to a few batches of young from one mating because they store sperm, and would overstock your tank quickly. Male Guppies are prettier anyway, and with all males you won't have to worry about Guppy offspring overstocking your tank.

Definitely make sure to at least have 6 Neon Tetras at all times if keeping them with Guppies. Neon Tetras tend to fin nip in groups of less than 6, and Guppies are easy targets for fin nipping. But with 6 or more of their own kind the Neons tend to be too interested in each other to bother fin nipping tank mates. It is possible you'll see some fin nipping behavior from the Neons even at 6, and you may need to get a couple more Neons to keep the peace in the tank. You'll have to watch for nipping behavior and play that by ear.

Corycats need at least 4 of their own kind. Below that they become very skittish, shy and prone to illness. Aeneus Corycats (which come in bronze or albino forms), Panda Corycats, and Orange Laser Corycats are some of the prettier species. Despite being sold as cleaners they likely wouldn't eat anything your pond snails aren't eating already as far as detritus goes, and in fact Corycats tend to get barbel infections from tanks with excess detritus or tanks that don't have smooth sand substrates. Also, one of the leading causes of deaths in Corycats in captivity is starvation - they still need sinking food, please don't expect them to live on scraps, especially with an army of pond snails to compete with (they both don't eat algae but will eat sinking foods and any other foods that make it to the bottom). So if you want them for themselves, that's great, but I really wouldn't recommend them just as cleaners, especially if you think you'd prefer getting more Guppies or Neons. Really the best substrate cleaner is a gravel vacuum, you can hold it an inch or two above the plants and it will still suck detritus up. If you do get the Corycats, I would wait until the plants and especially carpeting plants are firmly rooted, as Corydoras can dislodge carpet plants that don't have a good root system yet.

Speaking of substrate...you may have some complications with using literally outside dirt. It likely has pesticide and fertilizer runoff and other chemicals in it that can cause issues, and those bubbles were likely hydrogen sulfide, and that can be toxic and is prone to happen repeatedly in aquariums with terrestrial soil. Carpeting plants that will keep the soil aerated can help with that to some degree. If you ever get around to replacing it, I highly recommend trying an aquatic plant substrate like eco-complete or at the very least an organic potting soil that won't have pesticides or chemicals in the mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. I think I鈥檝e kind of landed on Akeaths idea.

I think I鈥檓 just going to find some of the fanciest, colourful, Guppy鈥檚 I can and have a Guppy tank. It鈥檚 a Walstad tank so I don鈥檛 want to push the fish load too much so we鈥檒l see where its at after I Guppy up. A somewhat local guy with Guppy鈥檚 also has some Blue Rili Shrimp which could be an option over having to have a school of Corys.

The soil should be fine. We cleaned the corrals this fall so it鈥檚 at least 15-20 year old, nice humus. No recent contact with pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, for sure in the 10 years I鈥檝e been here. My biggest worry was if I might accidentally grab too much fresh stuff that hadn鈥檛 broken down the manure yet but the tank has never acted like it鈥檚 in nitrogen overload. I鈥檇 expect algae growth to be phenomenal if I鈥檇 grabbed too much (or any) manure!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Such is my problem. If I get one of anything, I pretty much need to get six of them 馃槀 Six of everything just won鈥檛 fit

So far I have two guppies and the tank exploded with plant growth. Mainly duckweed which obviously wasn鈥檛 getting quite what it needed from just a million snails.

Easy to see how people end up with a house full of tanks. I already want a bigger one so I can add more and more and more to it馃檲
 

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Such is my problem. If I get one of anything, I pretty much need to get six of them 馃槀 Six of everything just won鈥檛 fit

So far I have two guppies and the tank exploded with plant growth. Mainly duckweed which obviously wasn鈥檛 getting quite what it needed from just a million snails.

Easy to see how people end up with a house full of tanks. I already want a bigger one so I can add more and more and more to it馃檲
Don鈥檛 judge me, I actually want a 125 gallon tank or even bigger and have about 20 of them 馃槀
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I went and picked up some guppies today. The fanciest I could find. The guy was a fish enabler and my 4-6 turned into 10 馃檲

Kind of went for one of everything he had almost. They鈥檙e in quarantine right now but I think they鈥檒l look great in the planted tank! My two pet store guppies are going to look awful boring now...
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