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Discussion Starter #1
So I am in the planning stages of a heavily planted fluval flex 9 gallon. I intend on having a male betta (to be introduced last after my other fish) and a school of 10-13 microfish. The fish I've been considering are

Microdevario Kubotai
ember tetra
bororas briggitae
glowlight (AKA lambchop) rasbora
and various other red bororas species I cant remember the names of off the top of my head.

So I'm wondering if there are any pros/cons of the different species (besides obviously just color) I've been looking at videos of them on youtube and all appear to behave similarly (in a 1 minute clip at least) all prefer warm water with moderate flow and I'm just wondering if there are any major differences I should know of. I'm also aware that this will be fully stocked and don't plan on any other inhabitants besides maybe a snail and or amano shrimp for cleanup duties. Water changes will be 25-35% weekly, substrate BDBS with root tabs and nilocg thrive all in 1 dosed weekly (or twice weekly depending what works best). As far as plants I plan on mostly easy low-medium light plants (with the stock light) mostly mosses, ferns, and anubias varietals. I also have a 5.5 gallon tank if the betta ends up being a jerk and will be prepared for that possibility, but I've had good experiences housing them with other small peaceful fish (harlequin rasboras) in the past. If I've missed any pertinent information please let me know, just looking for some feedback or opinions on the different microfish available.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So is the major difference between these fish with similar care requirements purely aesthetic? I need help making a decision! lol
 

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I've owned Ember tetra and boraras briggitae.

I overstocked in too small of a tank so my ember tetras all got stressed out and aggressive. However in the honeymoon period when they had jsut been introdced to the tank, they were very peaceful and active.

Boraras Briggitae - very peaceful even in the overstocked tank. Very small fish. Quick and active but they hide if other fish are too aggressive or threatening. I've had them school with ember tetras.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I've owned Ember tetra and boraras briggitae.

I overstocked in too small of a tank so my ember tetras all got stressed out and aggressive. However in the honeymoon period when they had jsut been introdced to the tank, they were very peaceful and active.

Boraras Briggitae - very peaceful even in the overstocked tank. Very small fish. Quick and active but they hide if other fish are too aggressive or threatening. I've had them school with ember tetras.
Are you considering 10-13 in a 9 gallon overstocked? From the calculator on aqadvisor and just my general personal experience I figured that would be a good number since the only other inhabitants will be a nerite a betta and maybe an amano shrimp. I don't want to go with a smaller number such as 6 because I feel like they wont exhibit their proper schooling/shoaling activity in such a small number. I MIGHT just go for the 15 gallon but I gotta measure and see if it will fit where I want to put it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'm familiar with their care and requirements. I am looking for personal experiences as to which are more interesting. Pros and cons of the different species and opinion of which would be best. Having a hard time deciding and I've read the care sheets for just about every species of microfish available in the hobby.

I just want to know which have the most personality, or school the tightest, or just look best in a planted aquarium with dark substrate and predominantly green plants. If you were setting up a tank similar to mine which species would YOU choose, and why?
 

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There's not a whole lot of micro fish I find appealing, most of the ones I like are 1.25" to 2." SL.

Given that: an Asian themed tank with 5~7 Trigonostigma Heteromorpha, or Harlequin Rasboras and a pair of Sparkling Gouramis, in a 10 gallon would be the smallest set up I'd do, and it would still be over stocked, IMO.

A 20H gallon would be better and you could add a few Hara Jerdoni Anchor Catfish.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hara Jerdoni were VERY high on my list of things I'd love to keep, but their water requirements are a bit too cold for a betta tank. I've been leading towards the ember tetras but rnasty's comment about them getting aggressive kinda turned me off. I feel like the microdevario kubotai might get lost since they are so small and green and all the plants I want are green as well. I do like the harlequin rasboras as they are naturally found alongside bettas in the wild but I think their size would mean I would have to have a small school.

Definitely don't want to go with a traditional tank though, I'm pretty set on the fluval flex as I really enjoy the all in 1 aspect as it has the back filter compartment and fully controllable LED lighting. Here is the tank Fluval Flex Aquarium Kit - 9-Gallon Aquarium | Aquarium Kits | DrsFosterSmith.com it comes in 9 and 15 gallon, I am leaning more towards the 15 now but was originally wanting the 9.

Bump: but on the note of hera jerdoni I HAVE seen people keep them in betta tanks before, are they keeping their catfish too warm or their betta too cold? I had planned to have the tank between 78-80
 

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Hara Jerdoni were VERY high on my list of things I'd love to keep, but their water requirements are a bit too cold for a betta tank. I've been leading towards the ember tetras but rnasty's comment about them getting aggressive kinda turned me off. I feel like the microdevario kubotai might get lost since they are so small and green and all the plants I want are green as well. I do like the harlequin rasboras as they are naturally found alongside bettas in the wild but I think their size would mean I would have to have a small school.

Definitely don't want to go with a traditional tank though, I'm pretty set on the fluval flex as I really enjoy the all in 1 aspect as it has the back filter compartment and fully controllable LED lighting. Here is the tank Fluval Flex Aquarium Kit - 9-Gallon Aquarium | Aquarium Kits | DrsFosterSmith.com it comes in 9 and 15 gallon, I am leaning more towards the 15 now but was originally wanting the 9.

Bump: but on the note of hera jerdoni I HAVE seen people keep them in betta tanks before, are they keeping their catfish too warm or their betta too cold? I had planned to have the tank between 78-80
I can't say I kept them cool from my past experience with them I bought 5 to keep in my 29 which ran about 77 to 82 degrees. They were fine in that tank.

Several small Danion fish from Myanmar, Celestial Pearl Danios, Emerald Dwarf Danios, Northern Glowlight Danio (C. Flagrans) would be a good mix with H. Jerdoni because they tolerate cool waters, but you have to consider that the Glowlights are a much more active species and really would like a bigger tank like a 20 long. I keep C. Chopra in my 300 gallon outdoor tubs and they're the most actively swimming fish in the whole group, that has Rosy Barbs and White Clouds, both known for being active swimmers.

Note that once you have H. Jerdoni in a tank that's heavily planted, you will very rarely ever see them again. They're cryptically colored and mostly nocturnal in activity. Not a good combination if you want see them frequently. Mine all hung out in the depths of a small piece of driftwood covered in Java Fern and Moss, and only came out after the lights went out. They also don't compete well with aggressively feeding fish. I had to 'spot feed' mine with Hikari micro pellets and frozen baby brine shrimp after the lights were out , because the Flame and Glowlight Tetras would have gorged them selves on the extra food I would have needed to add to keep the Anchor Cats fed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I can't say I kept them cool from my past experience with them I bought 5 to keep in my 29 which ran about 77 to 82 degrees. They were fine in that tank.

Several small Danion fish from Myanmar, Celestial Pearl Danios, Emerald Dwarf Danios, Northern Glowlight Danio (C. Flagrans) would be a good mix with H. Jerdoni because they tolerate cool waters, but you have to consider that the Glowlights are a much more active species and really would like a bigger tank like a 20 long. I keep C. Chopra in my 300 gallon outdoor tubs and they're the most actively swimming fish in the whole group, that has Rosy Barbs and White Clouds, both known for being active swimmers.

Note that once you have H. Jerdoni in a tank that's heavily planted, you will very rarely ever see them again. They're cryptically colored and mostly nocturnal in activity. Not a good combination if you want see them frequently. Mine all hung out in the depths of a small piece of driftwood covered in Java Fern and Moss, and only came out after the lights went out. They also don't compete well with aggressively feeding fish. I had to 'spot feed' mine with Hikari micro pellets and frozen baby brine shrimp after the lights were out , because the Flame and Glowlight Tetras would have gorged them selves on the extra food I would have needed to add to keep the Anchor Cats fed.
Thanks for the input. As it will be a betta tank I don't really want to keep him below 78 so I guess I'll be leaning towards the micro bororas species. @Rnasty kinda scared me away from the ember tetras and I really think the microdevario kubotai will just be practically invisible with all of the green plants. One day when I can set up a second tank it'll be bigger and have a fleet of hara jerdoni (and a moonlight so I can watch them in the dark)
 

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Thanks for the input. As it will be a betta tank I don't really want to keep him below 78 so I guess I'll be leaning towards the micro bororas species. @Rnasty kinda scared me away from the ember tetras and I really think the microdevario kubotai will just be practically invisible with all of the green plants. One day when I can set up a second tank it'll be bigger and have a fleet of hara jerdoni (and a moonlight so I can watch them in the dark)
Good call ! I had 3 dozen Kubotai rasboras in my tank. It is very heavily planted and they were almost invisible. I ended up taking them back to my LFS and got Ember Tetras instead. They are a really nice contrast against the green . Also very peaceful. The Kubotai were a little nippy !
 
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Finding micro fish that are not super shy would be my tip, a betta fish may be to much for these tiny fish, tho ive never kept a betta i keep a fair few micro fish, I find if they are spooked easily you may not see them that much in a heavily planted tank

I keep, both Boraras maculatus (Dwarf Rasboras) and Boraras urophthalmoides (Least Rasboras) in a 12g bookshelf tank along with many shrimp, there is probably 40 fish all up, perhaps overstocked but I have a very large canister filter on this tank and do 50% water changes weekly. The Dwaft Rasbora's are much more active and less shy than the Least Rasboara's, tho I have only just added the Dwarf Rasbora's, I would choose these guys over the Least Rasbora's.

Dwarf Rasbora
IMG_9700 by Colm Doyle, on Flickr

Least Rasbora
IMG_8931 by Colm Doyle, on Flickr

I keep about 20 Ember Tetras in a 60p with shrimp, otos and one SAE, the Embers are the most active and inquisitive of all my fish, not shy or afraid of anything, always out in the open looking for food and probably "school" the tightest. Otos are another good option if you want something to clean your tank and also be fun to watch, can be hard to keep alive at first tho.

Ember Tetra
IMG_9536 by Colm Doyle, on Flickr

Otocinclus Catfish
IMG_9366 by Colm Doyle, on Flickr

I keep about 10 Galaxy Rasbora's in a 30 cm cube along with 5 Pigmy Corys and shrimp, the Galaxy Rasboras are very shy and pretty much hide in the java fern all day until the food comes out, they are very pretty fish tho, the Pigmy Corys are super active and always buzzing around the tank, I would keep more of these guys but they are expensive compared to other micro fish.

Galaxy Rasbora
IMG_8469 by Colm Doyle, on Flickr

Pigmy Cory
IMG_8741 by Colm Doyle, on Flickr

Hope this helps a bit!
 

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Do you already have the betta, and are looking for tankmates, or are you just planning on getting a betta?

Two very different questions...
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The tank is being planned around a male betta, with the intention of having a school of smaller fish as well BUT I do have a 5.5 gallon tank that is empty for the chance of the betta being a jerk. I have successfully kept a male betta with endlers and harlequin rasboras (which they are naturally found together with anyways) and want something different. I like the harlequin rasboras but they are too big to have a decent school in a 9 or 15 gallon tank IMO. That being said the school of rasboras or tetras or whatever I decide will be introduced FIRST so as to lessen the chance of an aggressive betta. Also will be purchasing from a breeder in my state so I will be able to gauge his aggression before purchase.

Bump: and @doylecolmdoyle thank you for the input. The ember tetras have been my first choice all along until @Rnasty said his got aggressive. The betta I am leaning towards purchasing has won best of show at an IBC event and is truly stunning, I don't want his fins getting nipped up. He did say his were overstocked though I don't think 10-13 in a 9 or 15 gallon will be overstocked as the only other inhabitants I am planning for is a nerite or two and maybe an amano shrimp or two (which I'll HOPE don't end up being $5 snacks) I'd love to have some neocardinia davidi but i fear they are too small (and expensive) to risk. I know heavily planted they will be SOMEWHAT safe but each one that goes down is $5-10
 

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@AdamC13 I have read embers can be very active and annoying fish when paired with other fish, in my tank they are only groups with 2 oto's and 1 SAE so I cant say if they will be aggressive to towards a Betta, from what I have seen they dont bother the SAE or Oto but these fish a much bigger.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
well unless anyone changes my mind I think at this point I'm heading towards a school of Boraras brigittae ? Mosquito Rasbora (Rasbora urophthalma brigittae) ? Seriously Fish striking color, exact same habitat as betta in the wild, and super tiny and fast so not a threat to the betta nor is the betta a threat to them

http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/boraras-urophthalmoides/ also looks like an attractive option but they are SUPER tiny 12-16mm? I've never seen these for sale anyone have experience with them? (edit: nvm they are exclamation point rasboras I didn't read far enough) Are they even big enough to eat hikari micropellets or something similar?'


sooo I'm obviously not a pro but these are DEFINITELY not b brigittae right? https://aquaticarts.com/collections/nano-fish/products/chili-strawberry-rasboras they look a lot more like pale colored naevus or merah but don't have the proper markings for brigittae at all @AquaticArts any input you guys are on the forums right?
 

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well unless anyone changes my mind I think at this point I'm heading towards a school of Boraras brigittae ? Mosquito Rasbora (Rasbora urophthalma brigittae) ? Seriously Fish striking color, exact same habitat as betta in the wild, and super tiny and fast so not a threat to the betta nor is the betta a threat to them

Boraras urophthalmoides (Rasbora urophthalmoides) ? Seriously Fish also looks like an attractive option but they are SUPER tiny 12-16mm? I've never seen these for sale anyone have experience with them? (edit: nvm they are exclamation point rasboras I didn't read far enough) Are they even big enough to eat hikari micropellets or something similar?'


sooo I'm obviously not a pro but these are DEFINITELY not b brigittae right? https://aquaticarts.com/collections/nano-fish/products/chili-strawberry-rasboras they look a lot more like pale colored naevus or merah but don't have the proper markings for brigittae at all @AquaticArts any input you guys are on the forums right?
I have both the chili rasboras (10) and the exclamation point rasboras (7) - 2 different Spec V tanks. They have both been really hardy fish for me, but the boraras-urophthalmoides are a bit more shy than the chilis. They like to feed mid-column, not from the top. The chilis will feed from the top or mid-column. Both of these get fed frozen daphnia, frozen baby brine shrimp, cyclops, or just crushed flake food. I haven't fed pellets as neither one seems to like to bottom feed.

I haven't had a betta so I can't say how pairing up with some of these micro fish would go.
 

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I've kept two Bettas with CPDs and Boraras briggitae (I'm going to call them Chilis from here on out), both times with success. The first Betta I had was already established when he got companions and he never really bothered them. The second one was a newcomer to an established tank and he pestered the chilis until he killed one of them, but then left them alone for good.

I currently have Chilis (11), CPDs (15) and corydoras hasbrosus (5) in my tank along with two amano shrimp.

Bettas and microfish are somewhat incompatible when it comes food they'll eat. My first Betta would eat the Golden Pearls I feed the microfish, but the second one wouldn't and I think he eventually died of starvation because he wouldn't eat the floating Betta food either when I'd put it in the tank.

Pros: Microfish are great because they aren't big enough to disturb a planted tank at all, they're fun to watch when they school/shoal and you can keep them in large numbers which changes their behavior to something more natural. They're extremely interesting when you introduce live prey, they transform into little sharks and the group dynamic will change. Food goes a very long way with such tiny fish. They're also peaceful and won't bother shrimp or their fry so you can keep them with reproducing shrimp if you can get them to coexist happily in the same water conditions.

Cons: They don't have much in the way of personality, they're micropredators who are constantly hunting and have little pea brains that aren't good for much else. Their mouths are so small that they can't eat anything bigger than baby daphnia so live food has to be small enough for them to eat, as does your pellet food. It's hard to find tankmates for them because they're so small, there are limited species available in this size and even Otos will seem like behemoths when full grown compared to true microfish.

My chilis are also terrified of the CPDs since the latter like to chase eachother, they don't come out often and hide in the plants. I'd recommend keeping a species-only tank if you're doing microfish. Bottom dwelling Corys are an exception, they don't bother any fish and just eat all day.

Finally, plant heavy, your fish will thank you by coming out.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@Doppelgaenger they will eat hikari micropellets right? I've never actually done live food cultures I generally try to just have a variety of high quality flake/pellet/frozen foods. The reason I am looking to the microfish is both because the tank size as well as compatibility with the betta. I could always just go with harlequin rasboras but in a 15 gallon id pretty much be limited to 10 or less.

I'm only able to set ONE tank up right now and bettas have always been my favorite fish but I don't want ONLY a betta because that can be boring in anything bigger than a 2.5. Still have a few weeks before I even get the tank so I still have lots of time to weigh my options as far as fish go. Appreciate all the input on the topic, I am really thinking the brigittae are at the top of my list right now.
 
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