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Bigger's always better in terms of nano tanks simply for the extra water and space. Unless you have a 55 devoted to the micros...then that might be a bit hard to feed the fish in. But anyways, I'd go for the 3.5 gallon tank, especially if it has more surface area than the 2.5.

Chili's are awesome fish! One of my friend has about 3 in her 5 gallon just to make sure that they can survive in her setup (we have really weird water where we are). I've personally got CPD's in my 2.5 (going for 6 sometime soon), but going off of what I know, a group of 6-8 in the 3.5 would be a wonderful group, especially in a species tank and with adequate filtration (sponge or box due to their aversion to current). If you go for the 2.5, I'd stick with a group of 5.
 
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