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Back into fish after decades – OK direction? Planted/cories/tetras/Badis

Home Forums My Aquarium Back into fish after decades – OK direction? Planted/cories/tetras/Badis

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    Have a cycled 10 gallon heavily planted tank with 4 Dainty/pygmy/salt’Npepper Cories (Corydoras habrosus).

    Plan on getting ~8 Ember Tetras (Hysphessobrycon amandae) soon.

    So tiny bottom fish, tiny schooling fish.  (Want 2 more cories.)

    Would like to get one type fish later on, would a pair of Scarlet Badis (Dario dario) work, would they not like the activity of the Ember school?  What about a pair of the small Sparkling Guoramis (Trichopsis pumila)?

    Other types I like such as Celestial Pearl Danio (Danio margaritatus) need a “school” (ok group as they will shoal) and would getting only 6 and cutting back to 6 embers work as although still small <1", bigger bodied than the embers.

    Also thought of school of 8 tiny neon green Raspora Microrasbora kubotai or Mosquito Rasporas (Bororas brigattae).

    The stocking calculators say that these will all work as these are all micro fishies, and although not getting a 3rd type now just trying to make plans and not get myself into some type of conflict as its been a long time and previous tanks were salt reefs.

    Thanks for any guidance.


    Barb Man

    That is overstocked by what I use as a general rule. One gallon per inch of potential fish. (For goldfish this is more) Some species like the scarlet badis need their own setup normally because they are super shy and even the tetras would bother them I would think. The cories sound good but really only the cories. The celestial pearls sound the best option because you can find them pretty easily but if you can get the B. Brigattae because they are smaller. If you really are tight on space and can afford it find some Boraras Micros because they are super small. There is even Boraras Maculatus if you want color and they are pretty small I think too. The smallest fish I know of that might work would be Barboides gracilis and I looked and the water parameters should be good for what you have the cories in. Hope that helped a little

    If you want small tetras I’ll look into those too and put up what I find

    Good luck hope you get it all set up soon


    Byron Hosking

    My first suggestion is to increase the corys.  Corydoras habrosus will be much better in larger groups, and as you now have four I would double this at the very least.  I had nine C. pygmaeus in a 10g (with other fish, I will come to that) planted, no filter even (it was an experimental tank of sorts).  I realize the C. habrosus do get a tad larger, but they still need a decent-sized group.  As BarbMan hinted at, there are reasons beyond mere numbers for keeping fish in groups, and the larger the group the better/healthier will be the corys and this has less impact on a tank’s biology when all is taken in context.

    Mention is not made of water parameters for the source water, and this (particularly the GH) is going to be crucial here if you go with some of the “nano” type fish as they will likely be wild caught and have specific requirements.  So setting aside the parameters for the moment, a group of 9-12 of any one of the of the dwarf rasbora Boraras species (B. maculatus, B. brigittae, etc.) would work with the corys.  I had 11 B. brigittae in the 10g mentioned earlier and they and the corys thrived.  Or if Ember Tetra, 8-9 of them.  I wouldn’t have both, not only because of space but they are very similar in colouration.  The Boraras in my experience will spread out a bit more, which I think is nice especially in small tanks.

    Barboides gracilis was mentioned, and I am not personally familiar with this fish but from the profile here I would say it is another option.  Less colourful than the Boraras/Embers, if that matters to you.  The profile suggests a group of at least 20, and the tank size of a 10g is minimum, so presumably this sized group is OK.  The corys too wouldn’t be a problem as far as I can see.

    The pygmy sparkling gourami, Trichopsis pumila, could work in a trio in a 10g.  Having maintained this species several times, and presently having six in a heavily-planted 33g (with other fish), I would say the Boraras or similar would be a better choice.  The gourami like to remain out of sight a lot, so the brighter fish would be more in evidence.  Scarlet badis (Dario dario) could work, but this fish is sometimes very fussy when it comes to feeding; some have success weaning it onto non-live foods, but that was not my experience.  Check the profile.

    Now a comment on group sizes for shoaling/schooling fish .  Obviously the authors of profiles want readers to understand that this or that species is shoaling and thus needs a group.  Beginners especially will always want to know just how many is a “group,” so the number is rather arbitrary for most species.  But scientific evidence is beginning to support some of our suggestions, and one can say with certainty that the fewer the fish in a group (talking low numbers) the more stress on the fish, so more is always better even than the minimum.

    Another aspect of this concerns the effect on the tank’s biology.  While more fish will obviously impact the bioload, there is a point at which more is better than too few.  The more “natural” the fish number, the less stress and thus less impact biologically.  Stressed fish add more to the system than non-stressed fish, in several ways.  So it can be better to have “more” rather than fewer, up to a point anyway.




    The Boraras or something similar would be a better option in my opinion. In order to compensate for the gourami’s preference for remaining hidden, the brighter fish would be more visible. Scarlet badis (Dario dario) may be suitable, although this fish can be finicky when it comes to feeding; some people have had success weaning it onto non-live items, but this has not been my experience with this species. Take a look at the profile. Now for a note on the size of groups of shoaling/schooling fish.



    Thank you for this information! I am new in this community and not so aware of the fish theme and fishing. I only decided to start, so this information is interesting for me.



    It’s s so good

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