5.5 gallon build - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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5.5 gallon build

Hey all,

I've been thinking about picking up a 5.5 gallon to set up as a planted tank, but I haven't been able to decide what to put in it. I really love all the little species that fit in these nano tanks. I'd try to build the hardscape and plant stock around the fish stock. I've got a couple ideas but I would love some input. Here's some ideas:

Puffer Build:
1 pea puffer (2 possibly?)
2 bigger nerite snails - so they don't get eaten

Shell Dweller Build:
2 Shell Dweller Cichlids

CPD Build:
4-5 celestial pearl danios
some RCS
1 nerite snail

Goby Build
1-2 peacock goby (or bumblebee goby?)
some RCS
1 nerite snail

Betta Palace:
1 male betta
2 nerite snails

So these are just a couple of ideas, any other builds, combinations or species would be welcome! It just needs to be a 5.5 gallon tank. Thanks!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 04:40 AM
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I am partial to the Betta palace. The Neritas should be fine tank mates. Just keep an eye out for trouble. Bettas all have different personalities and will tolerate tank mates differently. Neritas are usually well tolerated. Here are the problems I have encountered over the years with different Bettas: Betta rams into snail shell over and over (Betta fine, snail gets migraine). Betta eats snail's antennae. (Leaves snail alone otherwise). Betta lives peacefully with snail buddies for two years, suddenly gets hungry and eats them both. Snail antipates bullying or impending doom, leaves tank, is found dried up on carpet.

Plant the Betta palace heavily and create hiding places (for both the Betta and the snails) and diversions for your reigning monarch so that he won't get bored. Most of my problems seem to happen while I am out of the house and my boys get bored. If they don't have humans to watch, they find other things to do.

Bump: Second choice: goby build. See if you can locate Stiphodon species. Great personalities for gobies and interesting mating behavior.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 12:10 PM
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Betta sounds best, eventually goby, every other build is pushing it. CDP's like bigger groups 8-10 possibly, but 5.5 gal is a little small for that. Shell dwellers need bigger tank, 5.5 gal is much too small. Puffer would be a good choice too, but only one. They have fighting spirit nearly like a betta! So one puffer and snails, it's an interesting fish, but really small, so I would probably go for a betta.


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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so the betta build is on the short list. But I've already got a betta in a 3 gallon, living like a king, so I would be most interested in adding a new species to the fish room.

Would gobies work? I was having trouble finding information on them. And would bumblebee or peacock work best?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 02:18 AM
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Stiphodon thread from loaches online. Start here to find what you like and then google for specifics Loaches Online Forum ? View topic - Stiphodon genus of the Goby

A good fish store may be able to track them down for you. Females were hard to find when I had them. Got two males. They were territorial but exhibited cool behavior.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 03:18 AM
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those pea puffers are so awesome to watch and interact with.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Now if I went with pea puffers, could I put 2 in a 5.5 gallon as long as it's heavily planted?
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 02:56 PM
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No. As a rule, pea puffers need to be solitary. I know people who have successfully kept them with other, larger, fish; but they do not do well with their own kind. Especially in that small of a tank, if you go the pea puffer route, you need to only keep one.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
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No. As a rule, pea puffers need to be solitary. I know people who have successfully kept them with other, larger, fish; but they do not do well with their own kind. Especially in that small of a tank, if you go the pea puffer route, you need to only keep one.
It is possible to have more, but you need to get a harem (and sexing them is not easy) and I wouldn't go any smaller than 20 gallon. They fight nearly like bettas.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 03:20 PM
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Now if I went with pea puffers, could I put 2 in a 5.5 gallon as long as it's heavily planted?
I'd go with just one pea as well. I've had them before - AWESEOME little fish but they are adorable little monsters. 5.5 would result in a lot of nipping.

One thing to note is that these guys can be a little more difficult to care for. More often then not they've got parasites and they can be really picky eaters. I've heard to you can sometimes get lucky and can get away with frozen food but I've never had any luck with that; I've always needed live food (blackworms, ramsorn snails, brine shrimp, etc.) so you've got to be prepared for that.

You also (and this is an odd one) have to look at where the tank is going to be...these are the only fish I have experience with that like to intact with the entire room, not just their tank. I had one once that would go on a hunger strike when I would move furniture on the other side of the room...if he could see it it was his...and he hated if things moved. So you can't have them somewhere where it's constantly busy. On a similar note they love to observe things so you can't have them somewhere isolated either because they'll get bored and waste away.

So
Lots of work!

Just my two cents These are my favorite fish (just wish I had the room and the time for them again)
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Really good advice! So just 1 pea puffer is an option then. Could I put another fish in there with it? Something non threatening like an oto or 2?

The tank would be in my bedroom, kind of in the middle of the room. The bed and furniture would all stay in the same place, so that's not an issue. My cat is also moving around all day and there's a little traffic in there, so I think it is a good mix of activity actually @pirasha.

Now about live food, I found some little pest snails (too small to know what species) in my 10 gallon the other day, and it got me thinking, what if I picked those out and set up a large jar for them to grow and breed in? Could that be a good food source for a puffer? I've also got freeze dried bloodworms, would that work?

I know, lots of questions haha. These are just so cool, and I'd love to know more!
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 03:51 PM
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Jar with breeding snails (feed them some vegetables) is a nice source of food for pea puffer. Many won't eat frozen food, so you may need to accustom them slowly.


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 04:00 PM
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Really good advice! So just 1 pea puffer is an option then. Could I put another fish in there with it? Something non threatening like an oto or 2?

The tank would be in my bedroom, kind of in the middle of the room. The bed and furniture would all stay in the same place, so that's not an issue. My cat is also moving around all day and there's a little traffic in there, so I think it is a good mix of activity actually @pirasha.

Now about live food, I found some little pest snails (too small to know what species) in my 10 gallon the other day, and it got me thinking, what if I picked those out and set up a large jar for them to grow and breed in? Could that be a good food source for a puffer? I've also got freeze dried bloodworms, would that work?

I know, lots of questions haha. These are just so cool, and I'd love to know more!
Pest snails are a great food source for these guys! You can certainly try to set up a jar for them to breed in...but I swear these things are the SLOWEST breeders when you want them to. I can't understand it...you blink and your beautiful planted tank is full of the buggers but the moment you want a multitude of them you only get a few. You may have better luck than me though I actually used to get them from a friend who had a bunch in her tank. You can also ask LFS if they have any hitchhikers in their planted tanks - just be careful because they may or may not have them each time and you'll increase the possibility of introducing parasites from snails of unknown origins.

As far as other fish....probably not. PP's tend to be of the mind if it moves it needs an inquisitive nip in case it might be food. That said Otos are quick and may be able to hold their own...if you could always observe and if nipping occurs you can put it in your 10 gallon. Just be prepared for that possibility.

Same goes with the freeze dried food...there are very few instances where this is accepted...but you can always try it and see. Just make sure you've got a backup plan if it fails.

Ask all the questions you want I saw these guys in my LFS and IMMEDIATELY took to the internet and asked all the questions I could before actually getting one. So I've been there. It's better to do your research before getting the animal than after so you can make sure you can actually care for it.

After all that's why forums are here right?
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 04:33 PM
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No. As a rule, pea puffers need to be solitary. I know people who have successfully kept them with other, larger, fish; but they do not do well with their own kind. Especially in that small of a tank, if you go the pea puffer route, you need to only keep one.

Actually it would not only be a nipping issue but they are also very messy eaters so in that small of a tank it would pretty much be daily water changes, and even that might not be enough
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-04-2016, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so it would have to be one, and probably no fish tankmates. Got it.

I'll start my jar tonight, and set it in the window so they have lots of algae to eat! At least it'll get them out of my 10 gallon...

Could I do amano or RCS with a pea puffer? Or would they end up being a meal? Just looking for some more movement in the little tank!
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