Stocking suggestions based on current load
I would not consider myself a beginner in the fish department - when I was a kid I raised and bred my own fish - but a lot of things have changed since then, so sometimes I feel just as new as someone that's never had a tank before. Growing up I had a pretty terrible tank, by common "fish wellness" standards. Our tank was too small for the number of fish we had, and none of them were compatible! They all seemed healthy and fine, and thrived for many years in that tank, to the surprise of pet store "experts" all over... only dying when a chemical was mistakenly poured into the tank by my grandfather, who thought it was a conditioner to clean the water in the tank (long story).
Anyway! Starting fresh I did a lot of research and came across some contradictory information about my current choices.
I currently have:
a 10 gallon tank with decorations, gravel, fl. light, appropriate filter and two live plants. It has a heater, but I unplugged it because the temperature rarely fluctuates.
Current stock is one betta, five neon tetras (less than an inch) and one bristlenose pleco (2-3 inch max). By the time I realized a ten gallon is basically a waste mine had already been set up with the fish in it.
I have always had bettas and plecos together without incident and have not seen an issue between these two, but I have come across SEVERAL WARNINGS about not keeping the two together. I've heard plecos shouldn't be kept in 10 gallon tanks despite only growing to 5-6 inches, which I didn't think would be an issue because it was JUST the betta and pleco to start. I have betta food with freeze dried shrimp, algae wafers and tropical fish food, and give a little of each at feeding or alternate. The decorations include a piece of driftwood for the pleco.
Growing up white clouds were always my favorite fish, and they had no compatibility issues with bettas in my experience - what I've read so far says the same thing so the plan was to get some white clouds, instead I got the neons because no one around here really carries white clouds and BLACK neons were predicted to be just as compatible.
I'm looking at a 20 gallon with appropriate filter, the plan was to buy a LED hood, move one of the live plants and some of the ten gallon's decorations into the 20 gallon. I would really like to get an undergravel filter for one or both tanks, but I'm debating getting sand for one of them and maybe a 30 gallon filter for the 20 gallon tank. I was going to put the pleco in the 20 gallon with a school of white clouds (now that I found a local store that carries them), one plant, driftwood and appropriate decorations. Leave the betta and the neons in the 10 gallon with one plant and remaining decorations, and get 2 albino cories for that tank.
This was the plan, because I know cories need to school so I wanted to get at least 2 of them, but I thought they only grow to about 2 inches and I'm seeing mention of them reaching 4" instead. Not to mention a few sites say to keep cories in schools of 4-5+.
Basically my question is would this be possible? And if so which fish/combinations should go in which tank?
1 male betta
1 bristlenose pleco (unsexed)
6 neon tetras
6 white clouds
2 - 4 albino cories?
2 (considering buying more (2)) live plants
1 piece of driftwood
3 additional hideouts/decorations
10 gallon Aqueon with appropriate filter
20 gallon unknown origin
Planning to get additional filtration (perhaps undergravel) for both tanks
Maybe sand if I get the cories, I've read it's better for them than gravel.
I have been doing 20% water changes about every 72 hours, sometimes every 48.
Would prefer to do them weekly once everything is settled, not sure if that's possible with this bioload.
Would a six inch pleco really be in harm's way in a 10 gallon tank? Ideally I'd like to leave the pleco and neons in the 10 gallon and have the betta, white clouds and cories in the 20.
I know based on the 1 inch per gallon rule this is overcrowding and the pleco is "not supposed to be" in a 10 gallon, but I have never had a problem in the past. The fish tend to stick to different "levels" of the water, and I plan to have some excessive filtering in place and though I am planning to only do 20% water changes about once a week I am more than willing to do them as often as necessary or as large as necessary to keep everyone healthy.
I would really appreciate any thoughts/suggestions and the reasoning behind them to help me better understand why.
Thanks in advance for any replies!
I would trust what your research tells you a little more
I would keep any fish that gets 5 or 6 inches in a 10 gallon tank. That would stunt them and have a neagtive effect on their long term health. Your current stock list is not suited for a 10 gallon tank. I would suggest the following for the 10 gallon:
Option 1: a betta and some snails
Option 2: 6 to 10 neon tetras and maybe some snails
Option 3: 6 to 10 white cloud minos, and maybe some snails
You can't go by the one inch per gallon guidline. That doesn't factor in behavioral or envirnmental factors that also need to be considered
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
A 10 gallon is what? 20 inch wide? A common bristlenose will grow out to about 5 inches. That means that the fish will have 4 times it's own length for swimming space. Admittedly they're not active swimmers but even then it's insufficient room. There's only one species of dwarf bristlenose, Ancistrus Claro, which maxes out at 3 inch for a fully grown adult male but those are difficult to find (took me 4 months to track 'm down and with difficulty I managed to buy 3)
I've read those agression stories as well. I think it's plausible if you overcrowd the tank and you do not provide an adequate diet and no hiding places. Since a lot of the betta keepers seem to prefer 5 gallon or even smaller I'm not surprised that a bristlenose with a betta in something like that will lead to disaster.
Corydoras is a schooling species that needs sand or a fine well rounded gravel to do well.
Neons and white clouds like a school and swimming space. A 10 gallon is bare minimum for that.