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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For Christmas my son will get an Aquastyle 9 to house his betta, which has been kept in a giant low tech bowl along with 6 embers and a ramshorn snail. Our betta is an Amano shrimp killer, so all shrimp are out of the question. I'm just wondering a few things...

If we didn't have our betta I would be inclined to go with German rams. My kid loves Nemo, and these are pretty close to a freshwater version of a clownfish as far as I'm concerned. Besides, I have always loved these guys.

I want to fill out my school of embers. I was initially on the fence about whether to do embers or chili rasboras, but the LFs was out of chilies which made my decision easy. That said, what about throwing some chilies in with the embers? Could I do 2 small schools? If so, is it dumb to do another red fish?

I love corys and think my son would find them amusing, but am worried about how much amazonia aquasoil silt a school of pygmies will kick up. Bad idea?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The betta is blue by the way.
 

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It's a 9 gallon tank. You are already at your stock limit with what you already have. If the betta dies, don't consider rams for it, that is way too small for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I already said I'm not considering rams because the plan is for the betta to not die. I am definitely not overstocked with 6 embers and a betta. Thanks though.
 

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I already said I'm not considering rams because the plan is for the betta to not die. I am definitely not overstocked with 6 embers and a betta. Thanks though.
I agree you are not over-stocked, right now. What is your filter, I supposse/assume you are over-filtered and planted? I don't follow the 1-inch rule myself, and I kind of despise being told to do so, by many members on these forums, who decide to follow the rule, and stick to the rule without doing further research or knowing specifics about our tanks, or their own tanks. A lot has to do with how well species in a tank are put together, with strong considerations on where in the water column they occupy.

I would say your idea for the small tetras should be fine, though I would research whether or not both schools are going to want to occupy the same space in the tank.

The one-inch rule is great for people new to the hobby, or who do not want to do in depth research. Those of us not so new to the hobby, can break the rule and keep happy fish, by carefully choosing species of fish, and by over-filtering the tank, as well as keeping a properly planted tank--and in doing so, still maintain great water quality and very happy fish :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks cynical fish guy. The tank will be heavily planted, and I will just stick with the stock filter, though I could switch out media if it's advised

I've even doing some research and I've read that some people have had their embers harass and kill chilis, which is surprising.

Our betta is good with the embers, so I am hoping that he will be good with other fish that don't look like bettas. I'd like this to be a really interesting little micro community, an am hoping for some suggestions.

I'm concerned about the aquasoil getting stirred up constantly by bottom dwellers. Is that a reasonable concern or should I just get over it and go with the Pygmy corys? Alternate ideas for lower level fish would be helpful. Would a pair of scarlet badis with the betta be a bad idea?

Top dwellers?
 

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In a small tank I would not mix schools. Just keep one species per area of tank.

The pygmy and other dwarf Cories do not stir up much dust from even 'dusty' substrates, so I would add a school of one of the smallest Cory species. There are several like C. pygmaeus, C. habrosus and others. The closely related Aspidoras (several species) might be another option.

Final stocking:
(1) Betta
(6) Embers
(6) Dwarf Cory
(1) Oto (if needed for algae)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Diana for letting me know what you think about the dust issue.

I would feel bad keeping just one oto though. Their bio load is so small, would 3 be reasonable? If not I would just do none at all. And again, I would only really add a(n) oto(s) if I wind up with an algae problem.

Our betta spends so much time at all different levels of the 8g bowl that I sort of forgot bettas are too dwellers.
 

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IMO, 3 ottos would be fine. You have a heavily planted tank. So long as you have algae, I would not worry. Just note that ottos, have a high mortality rate. Keeping them alive can be a challenge. Don't expect to see them often either. They are great at hiding in nooks and crevices; much like their other Loricariidae bretheren, the famous Plecos.
 

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In my experience, Ottos are more likely to chill out on leaves of plants, glass, and the underside of heaters and filters, where you cannot see them....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So I just got the tank set up a couple days ago, and moved everything from the large bowl over to the Aquastyle.

Over the past couple of months the number of embers has dwindled to 2. We had a cold snap while we were out of town, and the temperature dropped to 62*F by the time we got home, despite leaving the thermostat in the house set at 15*C. A handful of the embers had developed a tiny tuft of white fluffy fungus on the nose. They seemed fine and kept eating. I got the temp up and dosed with melafix. But like a wolf picking off weak caribou, Buck the betta picked the sick embers off one at a time over the course of a month (the fungus would come and go).

So now with just 2 embers I'm debating whether or not to get more of the same, or replace them with another group of nano fish.

What do you think? Ember tetras, chili rasboras or CPDs?

I'm attaching some photos of the new set up. I've left the foreground bare for pygmy cories I will add in the future, and the plants could stand to fill in.







 

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Embers are in my opinion the largest of the teeny tiny fish. Ruby tetra are just a bit smaller and then Chili rasbora, to the sparrows being the smallest I have had. The Embers are the bravest and the others are crazy skittish. CPD's and Chili's in a densely planted with anything hide all the time. They are literally under the plants and occasionally I see a flash to let me know they are indeed alive. They are all quite fast, so would be able to avoid Buck unless they are ill. I personally would advise for more embers or try some rubies as I have had them in that same tank without any real issues. Top water fish are tough in such a tight tank and a betta. Usually I recommend Eques pencils, but in your case I'd avoid them as they are slow. Psuedomugils might work again if the betta was not in the picture. pygmy cories would work and actually mostly swim mid water. Otos are a good idea if feeding is watched and targeted if the consume all their focus algae. I have also had decent success with kuhli loaches in a similar set up. Good Luck and let us know what works and does not
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I wasn't sure about how skittish chili rasboras are. I know CPDs are for sure, but they are my husband's favourite because he thinks they look like "real fish". I think he means trout? I had thought the bit if blue on the chili rasboras would look nice with the blue betta. But you're right, I like the embers' personality. I just wish I hadn't lost a handful because now I'm starting to look at them as fragile like neons.

I had kind of given up on top water fish. Dwarf hatchet fish?
 

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With the footage up top its just small for them, a long 12 gallon maybe... that's why eques pencilfish and African butterfly fish are useful. Top water fish with little movement, but the betta would shred slow movers or at least harass them incessantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I guess bettas are too inquisitive to help themselves and would drive slow-moving fish mad.

It's too bad because the LFS has some beautiful pencilfish in regularly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been reading the chili rasboras tend to occupy the top third of the tank. Do you think they still would with a betta around?
 
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