Stocking a planted Fluval Spec 16 gal
First time posting here. I was hoping to get some input from you guys with regards to stocking my new tank. The new Fluval Spec is advertised as a 16 gallon tank, but that includes the height of the lid and built in filter space. I measured to see exactly how much space the fish would have and it came out to be 18.25" long x 14.5" high x 11.125" deep (12.75 gal). I'm not sure if I'm supposed to add the water in the filter space when I calculate bioload (I would assume so) but that would bring it up to about 15 gallons. My plan right now is to heavily plant this tank. My current plan is to stock it with the following fish once it is fully cycled:
1 male Betta
7 Cardinal Tetra
3-5 Pygmy Cory Cat (May or may not include these)
1-2 Nerite Snail
Going by the 1 inch per gallon rule, I would be overstocked, but I don't mind being a little overstocked as I will have a lot of plants and plan to do either weekly or bi-weekly 30-40% water changes.
Do you guys think I should not include the Pygmy Cory cats? If you think it's fine to include them, would it be better to have 3 or 5? (I like odd numbers) 3 would make the Cory Cats feel safer but decrease my bioload so I am not too overstocked. Would having the Cory Cats ultimately be beneficial for the chemistry of the tank or would the increased bioload outweigh them cleaning the top of my substrate? Also I am using Seachem Flourite Sand, do you think that material is too sharp for them to sift through?
You input is much appreciated. Thanks.