2.5 Gallon Tank! What to do with it!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Sagwa, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. SagwaNew MemberMember

    Just bought a 2.5 Gallon Tank from Petco! After perusing the internet, I've found that it's actually too small for most fish. I was wondering what plants or fish/life forms I could stock it with? I was inspired by the tank on display which held a handful of fish (tetras and bottom feeders) and some longer plants.

    What I have:
    Tank w/ light and filter

    Heating pad

    I am not really considering upgrading the tank size because of little space being available! If you could recommend me anything and indicate anything else required (heating for species, special foods or additives?) that would be most appreciated!

    Thanks so much
  2. monkeypie102Well Known MemberMember

    I have a 2.5 tank that houses 20 RCS (red cherry shrimp) and rainbow shrimp, 1 small mystery snail, when it gets bigger I will move it, and Malaysian trumpet snails (MTS)...

    They need heat so her a small 7.5 watt heating pad made for tank sizes 1-5 gallons (mine is a top fin heater a works great) heavily planted as well... you may need to make a DIY sponge filter or buy a small one if you do get shrimp...

    Also i personally think a FEMALE betta would be happy in a 2.5g also needs heated and planted would be nice as well!

    Welcome to fishlore!

  3. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Hi. Some sort of dwarf shrimp, like cherry shrimp, would be a good choice.

  4. Mrs.PriceValued MemberMember

    What to do with it? Get rid of it unless you want to keep shrimp... nothing should be housed in less than a 10g, but you've already gotten great advice about that ;)

  5. SagwaNew MemberMember

    Wow! Sounds like your tank is really full monkeypie! :) Do you have any images to share? Are there any plants in your tank?

    Thanks for the quick replies guys! I've read a couple of people house females bettas in 2.5 gallons. I'd like to see more things in my tank then one fish, could she be couples with something? Shrimp sound great too, I will look into them!

    Out of curiosity, would you guys know why they fit so many fish on display at petco. They crammed at least 5 fish in a 2.5 tank, is that uncomfortable for the fish?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2012
  6. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Pure, unadulterated advertising. It's just about making it look good, it's not about the well being of the actual fish whatsoever.
  7. SagwaNew MemberMember

    Well thats depressing! :( I'll keep that in mind, I don't want to make my animals uncomfortable. I might as well look for a ten gallon tank too, to craigslist I go!

    Do you have anyother ideas what I could use the 2.5 gal tank for if I find a 10? What fish are comfortable in a 10?
  8. Mrs.PriceValued MemberMember

    No fish should be kept in a 2.5, your fish store will cram alot into their tanks because they want to make money, they will sell you a small tank an alot of fish for the same reason, to make profit, it's sad but true. It's very uncomfortable for the fish, stressful, and sometimes fatal. In my opinion, betta's thrive in a 10g, some will say 5g is fine... 5 is better than 2.5 or a fish bowl... but pet shops only fit so many on display because it's not profitable to house them profitably.
  9. grfresconeroValued MemberMember

    Your new tank can be a breeding one if you like. Iset up mine for 4 guppies 2+2 and use a 40w spot lamp on a 12 hour cycle. Like in natural habitat.Does that help you.
  10. Mrs.PriceValued MemberMember

    2.5 is not big enough for a guppy breeder tank... guppy breeder tanks should be at least 10 gallons with a bare bottom and a gentle filter, of course, I'm sure this can be debated... but I, personally, would not recommend anything less than 10g. My sister used to breed guppies, and this was the rule of thumb.
  11. grfresconeroValued MemberMember

    Eff course you are right , but under the circumstances its a solution that`s paid of for me.
    The lamp is the heater and the air stone does not make the water muddy ho yes one small snail also .
  12. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    I agree with Mrs. P. Guppies breed anywhere you put them. The 2.5 really shouldn't have any but the smallest of the nano fish in it, or small inverts. The problem is maintaining a stable environment.
  13. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Respectfully to all the comments above, one might argue that the Dwarf Rasbora (Boraras maculatus) might be suitable in a 2.5G aquarium, arguably, possibly even Scarlet Badis (Dario Dario). Some might argue pure Endlers, but really 2.5 would be a little too small for Endlers (where's Cichlidnut?)
    Depending on dimensions of the tank, even Pygmy Sparkling Gourami could be a candidate.

    I think it's a little presumptuous to assume that no species is suitable for a nano (pico) tank, unless one has a working knowledge of every species available (I certainly don't). Where there's a will, there's a way ;)

    I do like the idea of a 2.5G Shrimp tank - have a look at   for some inspiration on tiny setups and what is possible, especially with planting :D

    Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

    EDIT: What about Danionella translucida grows to 12mm (1/2") -  

    or Danionella dracula 17mm (might be hard to find)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  14. grfresconeroValued MemberMember

    I agree bot we do give ideas and solutions don`t we??
  15. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, but in order to have a solution I think it's important to have an agreed upon starting point.

    In addition to the species mentioned by ryan above I would add a few native species as well. Pygmy killifish, leptolucania ommata is tiny, heterandria formosa, least killifish, smallest livebearer in the US, and the various Elassoma species of pygmy sunfishes would all work in a small tank assuming the tank conditions can be kept relatively stable.
  16. LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    I agree, there may be some species that would be comfortable, or at least reasonable comfortable in a 2.5 gal.

    The shrimp tank with one or two other, appropriate fish would look nice. Even a solitary Betta and snail would probably work. Ideal? No. Much better than the cup they live in at the store? Definitely.

    Heater? Yeah, probably.

    Keep in mind, that small volume of water will foul very quickly, within hours not days. It is much more difficult to maintain that small of tank. The higher the bio-load you try to maintain, the more difficult it becomes.

    As a beginner, you should NOT try to push the envelope with what is possible. You will most certainly be doomed to quick failure if you do. Not meaning to be critical, but meant as a friendly caution.

    If you haven't already, look at the links in Ryanr's signature. You will need to know about the Nitrogen Cycle no matter what size tank you get.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  17. soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Can we stop acting like we HAVE to do something with the tank or that we need a Solution as if it is a problem? If the tank doesn't get used then it doesn't get used, no point in sacrificing the health of an animal for the sake of having it filled though. IME female betta are much more active then males, smaller fins make it easier for them to get around. Betta don't belong in anything less then 3-5gals. 3 is the smallest i have managed to go while keeping the fish happy and environment stable.

    One of the issues new keepers run into with smaller tanks downwards of 5gallons is that they can't keep it stable with a cycle. In something as small as a 2.5gal even a small amount of extra ammonia can unbalance the tank. I am not saying you cannot cycle a small tank, just pointing out that it does become harder to maintain.

    A 2.5gal could make a great Nano tank set up with snails, clams, shrimp, plants and so on. I have a 2gal Nano running right now with no filter or heater. I do partial changes on it every week. It has mud clams, gammarous shrimp, FTS, MTS, Ramshorns, java fern, hornwort and duckweed. Not sure if im going to add larger shrimp or not.
    Thread is here https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/aquarium-aquascaping/126154-finished-nano-tank.html It is a lot more filled in now.
  18. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Great points to all on this and I do agree there is potential for the tank its just more of a matter of what do you wnat to do with it. Smaller tanks are harder to maintain without some knowledge of the cycle first and some expierance with it. I would think that there are some small fish that can work in it as mentioned thou they may be hard to find. I also think that YES a Beta can be kept in it, just rather small for one.

    For me personally that tank would be used either for some inverts as mentioned or just a QT tank for when you get new or have a sick fish. For the short time they would spend in the tank it would not be THAT bad.
  19. SagwaNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the replies! I'm going to make my nano tank a cold water tank and see where that leads me. I just purchased a ten gallon tank with a heater (all for 20$! woohoo) and will test that out after I see where this project leads me.

    Any suggestion for cold water life besides betas?
  20. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Bettas aren't really cold water fish. They can sustain temperate conditions, but prefer warmer tropical conditions.

    My first thought for cold water was white cloud mountain minnows, but I think they'd be too big for 2.5G

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