@Blue Ridge Reef
So once I ensure the tank is cycled, I'll have to wait 30 days before safely adding a fish, or could add shrimp at any time?
I'm still having trouble deciding whether to even go with a betta or wild neocaridina (from AquaticArts, I've always had good luck with them, and don't trust my local pet store from personal experience) instead.
I already have two shrimp tanks (smaller size tanks, 2.5g and 3.7g), and then another 5 gallon with a betta. It's hard to decide which would be better stocking for this empty tank.
I'm a little intimidated with the idea of a betta because I seem to have bad luck with them, but at the same time I'm not sure I want a third shrimp-only tank. I don't want to risk doing both, because that has never worked out.
Another thing I have to consider is compatibility with a betta and my Dutch-inspired aquascape. There's no driftwood or rocks or much in the way of hiding places. My other betta lives in an awesome SE Asia blackwater biotope, busy with all kinds of things to explore, but a dutch style might be boring to a betta. It was fine for my former one because she was blind, so while she could explore, she wasn't likely to get trapped or pinned.