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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm re-doing my tanks after I cracked my 5.5 gal betta tank in a water change, as I've decided that all my fish need an upgrade. I'm planing to get a 20 gallon as an upgrade for my 10 gallon community tank (neons and platies), which means the 10 will be my female betta's new home.

The question is, what should go in the 10g with Lauren (the betta)?

I'm considering three options:
  1. Betta and bottom-dwellers
  2. Betta and shrimp
  3. Betta sorority

For the bottom fish, I'd either want khuli loaches or dwarf cories. I'd probably get 4-6 of either, but I'd have to mail-order them because I only have big box stores nearby which rarely sell either species.

Shrimp are another option, but I'm on the fence. For one, I've never had any luck keeping shrimp, even amanos and cherries. I'm open to people who have advice either way, as I've heard of both success and horror stories with this mix.

Finally, the sorority. I like the idea of having a colorful community or bettas, and I can plant heavily to make sure that they all have their own space. Again, I'd love to hear your ideas.
 

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The one time I attempted a betta with smaller shrimp, it did not go well for the shrimp. Every betta is different, of course, and there is bound to be someone who will chime in that it's been a great success for them. I've not had problems with ghost or amano shrimp with my bettas however. I assume the difference is their size and the fact that they aren't quite so visible. The colorful small shrimp are too easy a target - I would expect even moreso with a female betta who can theoretically move faster than my long finned male could.
 

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Betta sororities are theoretically possible but will usually violently collapse at some point. I would not recommend that course of action.
Bettas can be a bit iffy with shrimp. You could try an amano shrimp as a tester, but keep an eye on it in case the betta starts stealing eyes. And don't try ghost shrimp, many varieties are rather aggressive and might hurt your little girl.
You could try dwarf or pygmy cories with your betta- 6 or so would work. They're small and wiggly, but they don't look much like food or a threat, so bettas typically leave them alone. Anchor catfish or moth cats are also a possibility, although you might not see them very much.
 

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Betta and snails. Except some bettas will bite the snails' feelers (snails seem to survive this ok). Or kuhli loaches! I love those little buggers, they're so fun to watch. And fast enough betta can't bother them much. If you go for kuhlis, just be sure to get a good number, they will hide a lot otherwise. Mine didn't start feeling confident to be out and about until I had five- I recommend six or more.
 

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The problem with the kuhlis is the OP is stocking a 10 gallon tank, and I certainly wouldn't recommend kuhlis in general for a 10g, much less 6+ of them. I'd personally go for the dwarf cories - they are not likely to be bothered by your betta (or to bother him - honestly, that's been my bigger issue in mixing bettas with community fish - it's not the bettas being aggressive, it's their tank mates causing issues for the betta) and you can keep them in their recommended quantities in the size of tank you're setting up.
 

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Bettas aka Siamese fighting fish were bred for aggression for many many generation before they started to be bred as pets. The aggressive/territorial streak is still in them, both males and females. Some its much more apparently than others. Planning a community with a betta you must:
1: always be vigilant and observant of an signs of things going wrong. Just because the fish is behaved for first day.. we.. month doesn't mean it won't turn and attack tank mates in a year.
2: always have a backup tank ready to separate betta from its tank mates (this means having a spare heater and ideally a cycled filter as well). Worst case you can put the Betta in a breeder basket/net on the tank but this shouldn't be long term-make sure it has a lid of some sort or the Betta can hop right back into the tank to terrorize some more.

Sororities
I'd strongly advise against sororities. They take a very very densely planted/decorated tank for tons of line of sight break up (i mean you cannot see from front to back of tank, nor see the side wall glass from the other side). Minimum 4-5 girls in a 10g, but same thing again, there can be violence right off the bat as some girls just aren't good for sorority life.. some may snap in a month or year and the tank turns into a was zone with corpses. If one gets sicks it can upset the hierarchy and start fights for new dominance which against can lead to a dead fish... unless the owner takes the sorority apart, these tend to end in disaster eventually (sometimes sooner than later).

Shrimp
Well bettas are predators and shrimp are just lobsters to them.. they'll likely be on the menu. I tried keeping larger shrimp species (ghost and amano) with one of my bettas, he killed them in the first day each time I tried putting them in. I watched him guard and pick at a kill for a while before removing the body... On the other had I put in some cherry shrimp in with my most timid betta and the adults have lived ok, he doesn't put out much effort hunting them. But I never see shrimplets (even though I know I've had berried females) so I'm guessing he gets them. An extremely densely planted tank, that's been cycled and aged (running with plants) for 4+ months is recommended for first time shrimp so ensure plenty of natural food has grown in the tank for the shrimp. Just be mindful getting shrimp might mean an expensive snack for your betta, especially a female as their shorter fins (along with plakat males) make them petty fast so they have a better chance of catching shrimp.

Snail
Again depends on betta temperament. I've seen some tanks where betas get along fine with a mystery or nerite snail.. I've also heard fro owners of bettas eating eyes and antenna, and even picking up and throwing snails against the tank wall repeatedly(grabbing by body when out). I tried putting a nerite (normal residence a 55g) in my oldest bettas' tank to deal with some diatoms.. next day he was dead ad my betta was a bit fatter...this betta seems to know how to eat trap door snails, he's also eaten MTS.

Other fish
First you need to research the species you're considering. Not all fish are compatible temp/temperament wise. With other fish you have to be mindful of betta harassing them, or them harassing the betta (nipping fins etc) including fish like tetra (seems to be worst when not in proepr school sizes but can still occur in larger groups).. Don't do danios or white clouds-danios are way to fast and nippy(and imo need much bigger tank than 10g), white clouds are cold water fish. Dwarf or pgymy cory would be best option for a 10g, other cory species need larger tanks. Be mindful of the betta harassing/nipping them though. I've read of some betta owners who's cory have no dorsal fin from their betta being aggressive.
 

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I love my Betta Sorority tank. You should put them in the tank together at the same time, and they should be about the same size. Smaller female Bettas may not get to the food because of bullying. Better they are all the same size. You could buy all of the Bettas at once and put them in the 20g, and grow them to the adult size of your Betta over a couple of months, then add that larger/older Betta so there is less chance of issue. I have otos and 1 dwarf Gourami in with mine.
 

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My betta bit one of my corys on the eye, so think twice....There is enough fine shrubbery for the cory to hide in, but the betta can chase them relentlessly.

Also bettas like higher temps than most corys, even though people (myself included) manage to keep many species at higher temperatures than their natural habitats.
 

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African dwarf frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the anecdotes and suggestions! Sounds like the only sure thing is that bettas cannot be trusted to play nice with anything. Thinking about it, I doubt my betta will be an exception. I've seen her annoy her full-grown mystery snail tankmate to the point where it barely feels comfortable coming out of its shell. She'll probably be happy to rule the 10 on her own, even if that would be less visually exciting than I would like.
 

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Could the OP do a pair of Honey Gouramis and the Betta female and nothing else? Or is that too much bioload for the 10G?
IMO honey gourami need to be in shoals/harems and need 20g or larger. Also its a BAD idea to combine gourami and bettas. The are both andatnoids-and aggressive (honey gourami being less aggressive but bettas will be towards them) and putting them together never goes well (I've seen 1 and only 1 exception, but don't know how that ended.. owner never commented on them again so guessing it got ugly/deadly).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's a 20H, so the dimensions are 24"x12"x17" lxwxh. I'm attempting a dutch scape in there, and I was going to try something Amano-esque in the 10g (i.e lots of epiphytes and big chunks of driftwood). Would either of those provide enough visual breaks?
 

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Betta was my first fish....here's how i've kept him


1. Solo
2. Community Tank - 26G
- Neon Tetra's
- Panda Cory's
- Endler Live Bearers
- Dwarf Shrimp
* Had Zero Issues

3. Community Tank - 10G
- 11 Celestial Pearl Danio's
- REd Cherry Shrimp
*Had zero issues

4. Community Tank - 10G
- 4 amano Shrimp
- 4 Otos
* disasters.....ate all amano's....drove the oto's crazy to the point of death

5. Community Tank - 66G
- 100+ fish, biggest are cardinal tetras
* so far only about 8 days in......things appear good so far....this is only temporarily as i'm redoing my 10G
 

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They are a bit like dwarf gouramis, seldomly chase anything more than 12 inches. I added some fresh blood danios the other day. Now do those buggers do a long chase. This way and the other in my 4' tank. Relentless. They made their piece the next day.
 
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