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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was surprised with a 5.5 gallon tank for my birthday, and I've really gotten into the idea of keeping fish. So far though, all I have is plants. If I'd bought my own tank, I've learned I would have wanted a bigger one.

That said, I'd really like to keep a small school of fish because the schooling behavior is so much fun to watch. What species would allow me to keep the most fish possible? I've considered neon tetras, but is there anything more appropriate? My tank is well filtered, heavily planted, and I'm perfectly happy to do frequent water changes. So what kind of bioload can I put in this thing? :help:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/planted-nano-tanks/31095-nanofish-list-v1-0-a.html

most small fish school as part of their mutual survival benefit.
I've looked at that list before, and found it confusing. There are a lot of fish I've never heard of, and a lot of fish I wonder whether I'd find at the LFS. Not to be ungrateful or dense, but I just wasn't sure how I could transform that list into the sort of answer I was hoping for. I had my heart set on zebra danios 'till I found out that they need more space.

Microrasboras are great tiny schoolers. You could put about a dozen in there comfortably.
I'll check out the microrasboras and do some digging through that list. Thanks.
 

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swylie, I'm sorry, I should have realized you are kinda new at this.
that list is useful if you have time to google around and check out
each fish profile, then determine what's available online, and what
you might be able to get your LPS to special order for you since
most LPS are too busy selling goldfish to ever bother with nanos.
Since you have a small tank, just be patient with your decision.
there's a saying that smaller tanks are less forgiving than larger.
try to at least whittle down your choices for us to discuss among,
or at least post what traits you would like beyond small schoolers.
just 10 years ago there were only a handful of choices. now there
are maybe a hundred different nano fish available to most hobbyists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since you have a small tank, just be patient with your decision.
there's a saying that smaller tanks are less forgiving than larger.
try to at least whittle down your choices for us to discuss among,
or at least post what traits you would like beyond small schoolers.
Maybe I should ask the LFS whether they order fish for people, and ask one of the employees to help me make a list of the smallest fish that they already have in stock.

Anyway, yeah, I'm totally new to this. I've had this tank for about three weeks now, but I've obviously found informative forums, I like to think I'm smart, and I know how to use google. If I'm patient, this should be the easiest first tank that anyone's ever had.
 

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Maybe I should ask the LFS whether they order fish for people, and ask one of the employees to help me make a list of the smallest fish that they already have in stock.
it's best to talk to the owner or manager of the store, not any employee. most LPS get lists of available fish from their wholesalers each week, then they check off which fish they want. you need to review such a list if they'll let you, and choose accordingly. unfortunately, such lists do not use the scientific names we prefer using on forums, and they will often use common fish knicknames that are not even appropriate for the fish they sell. another LPS problem is they only sell the sex that displays best, so getting both sexes for breeding may be impossible. that's why you might be better off buying online especially now that winter is over. if you insist on special ordering locally; don't buy the fish as soon as they come into the LPS because many will die the first day or two after acclimation, so it's better they die in the LPS tank, then in yours after you paid for them. some LPS won't even special order certain fish due to their low survival rate from rough transport. it's also unlikely they will special order fish that they don't think others are likely to buy since they won't want to order the 10 fish you want, rather they'll want to order 50 that others might buy. try to learn each LPS local ordering cycle near you. If you call the store owner the day he usually orders, he's most likely to reluctantly add your request to the order list as any other day and he'll simply forget about it. even here in NYC where I'm a subway ride away from over a dozen good LPS, I still prefer ordering live stock online, and the only things I ever buy from them locally are heavy shipping items like gravel and rocks, and live food like blood worms, since most dry goods are marked up nearly 150% above online prices.

since your tank is only 5gal, you may want to look for nano fish that are very sociable with each other, not that they actually swim together in schools as you simply don't have much room for that. a good example of sociable tiny fish would be any of the pygmy cory species, or bumblebee goby's, even crystal red shrimp. some nano fish do best in species only tanks, so don't be afraid of a nano fish that does not community well, simply be sure to only get that one type of fish. The idea is to look for sociable fish that are generally bottom dwellers that like to hang out together, even with those of the opposite sex that might normally harass each other especially in such a small tank. you see, some nano fish go stir crazy in a small tank. take my 2cm long male Endler's for example. they love swimming together in current, and no tank is too large for them to constantly explore, but drop one female in with them, and they all go crazy. thus I would not recommend Endler's for a 5gal tank. actually, now that I think of it, getting all male display Guppys may not be a bad idea for your 5gal tank. they are not very active so a small tank is OK, they display well together, and most LPS will gladly stock them.
http://www.guppysa2z.com/thumbs/images/thumbnails.htm
guppys do crap a lot for such a small fish, so be sure to underfeed them.

However, if you insist on schooling activity that would work in a 5gal, the only fish that personally comes to mind would be Corydoras hastatus, which are the smallest 1-2cm of the pygmy corys that "flock" together swimming up and around, then down to cleaning the bottom as they explore your tank between taking naps on your plant leaves. unlike most corys, they don't have that annoying habit of having to gulp a breath of air at the surface every 30 minutes. they tolerate a wide temperature and pH range, and eat almost anything, however they can be sensitive during initial acclimation so buy a few extras. a dozen of those online would set you back around $60 with shipping, and don't even think of ordering them through an LPS. franksaquarium.com should have a fresh batch of them next week.

If you want something more colorful though less charismatic, then microrasboras would be the way to go.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is that pic of Corydoras hastatus? They're pretty with that eye spot on the tail... Thanks tremendously for the advice on how to deal with the LFS and LPS, BTW. In the world of cycling, it's called the LBS, and they have the same reputation - overpriced, underknowledgable, etc.

Generally, I'm not so attracted by guppies, goldfish, bettas, and other fish that have "decorative" tails and fins, because they just don't look natural to me, even if they are. I'd wake up every morning and think, "Damn, we bred them to look like that. How sad." My idea of attractive is the cool patterning and coloration that's used for intra-species identification, camouflage, etc.

Corydoras hastatus is kind of pretty, and I mentioned neon (or cardinal) tetras. The "galaxy" microrasbora is really pretty, but it looks like it would be irresponsible to get those. Microrasbora kubotai is pretty... Does that give a good idea of what I'm looking for in terms of coloration, body shape, etc?

Thanks to everyone for helping me with this. I'd rather hassle people on the internet than hassle my fish because I put them in a stressful situation.
 

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The "galaxy" microrasbora is really pretty, but it looks like it would be irresponsible to get those.
getting Galaxy's are fine as long as they are captive bred, and most these days are, so don't worry about it. Now that the hype about them is dying down, their prices should fall as well. They are not all as pretty as most pictures of them on the net show them at the height of the male breeding stature, and they are really tiny, so seeing all their decorative detail may be difficult for most.
to me Galaxy's are sort of like a complicated men's watch. they look awesome in the magazines that blow all their details up by 1000%, but when you see them in the store or on someone's wrist, they look just like a blur. that's why I prefer nano fish with a few large high contrasting details.
Microrasbora kubotai seem kind of plain looking to me since their iridescent may not appear under average tank lighting. check with this photographer to see what lighting he used to show off their green;
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/photo-album/47448-macro-shots.html

you might want to try something bright red and black, to contrast better with your mostly green plants and light or dark substrate.

Trigonostigma hengeli aka Rasbora hengeli

http://www.aquahobby.com/gallery/e_Trigonostigma_hengeli.php <-- sound like very tight little schoolers

Boraras maculatus

I'm probably not the best person to ask since I enjoy more interesting fish behavior than their plummage. Just wait a day or two till more people come back from their holiday weekend and chime into your thread.
display wise you can't go wrong with cardinal tetras, but they will just scatter alone in a small tank, and won't actually school very much at all. you see most fish school for security because they are intimidated by other species of fish in their community, while others simply like to hang out together.
my earlier Corydoras hastatus photo does not do them justice since those were fry. when they age a few months more the white contrast behind their tail's black dot grows more impressive, but their eyes stay big and black. the fact that most photo's of them on the web shows many of them together is a testament to how well they like to pal around with each other.

 

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i have a 5.5g as well. i bought it knowing full well how small it is. i originally intended to use it for just cherry shrimp, and see if i could aquascape it. But when Barbie opened her store and got a whole collection of nano fish, i just had to try some. so far i have a scarlet badis, a stone catfish that only gets 3/4" long, and a few zebra shrimp, soon to be more.



i believe she also has this rasbora, which is very tiny, and is a uniform pink hue. there's also a green version. this is called the Burmese neon pink rasbora Rasbora rubescens

 

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FYI: the fish I was discussing on this thread will be coming to franksaquarium.com this Sunday.
They take an extra week to emerge from quarantine before they are ready for domestic shipping.

-Corydoras hastatus
-Trigonostigma espei|hengeli
-Boraras Uropthalmoides
 
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