Beginner's small tank

paulus

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I'm new to this so please bear with me - I'm so glad I found this informative site. So I've just purchased what the shop assistant described as a brilliant starter tank. Having since discovered this site and read various guides me thinks I was lied to!! Anyhow, I am left with a 6 gallon tank with undergravel filtration. pH = 7.0, temp =25C, and I have just started fishless cycling using food flakes. I shall be buying a water test kit soon to monitor progress. Assuming all goes well, I am after some advice on the best types of fish and numbers of fish for this small tank. I was thinking along the lines of 6 cherry barbs and a couple of platys or a betta- is this too many fish? Any suggestions on what fish and numbers which would be suitable for my tank would be most welcome.
 

Tumbleweed

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First off welcome to Fishlore. And as to your question, that would be too many fish. The rule of thumb is 1inch of adult fish per gallon. In a 6 gallon you could get 3-4 cherry barbs as they get up to 2 inch when adults. You could get 1 Betta, or 6 Tettras of any sort. Keep in mind however that 1inch of fish a gallon is a gereneral rule. You should not get 1 6inch fish for this tank as it will be too large for the tank. Hope this helps in any way.

Brian
 

0morrokh

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Sorry to disagree, but I would not keep any barbs or tetras in a 6 gallon. They are active fish and need room to swim around, as well as enough room for at least 6 individuals. Also, I wouldn't keep Platys in anything less than 10 gallons because they are active too, although I guess you could if you really wanted to. With a tank that size I would recommend a Betta, and then maybe a few small catfish or a snail. (see the Betta section for Betta info)

Also, I would strongly advise that before you get on your way to being cycled, you remove the UGF and get another kind, such as a HOB, sponge filter, or internal filter. UGF's are not considered a good filter by most people. The problem is that they are not getting rid of the jusk, they are merely sucking it under the gravel. This makes it virtually impossible to clean it out since it is under the gravel. Also eventually they system will get clogged, or completely full, and I cannot imagine what a pain it would be to have to get all the debris back out from the gravel to unclog the filter. In short I do NOT recommend using a UGF...other filters are much better.

I am very glad that you decided to cycle fishless, and welcome to the forum!!
 

Stradius011

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The smaller,the worse beginner tanks they are. The bigger the tank, the more room you have for mistakes. In smaller ones, you can't have any. I suggest you at least get a 10 gallon. I also heard somewhere on this forum that feeding the tank flakes will get the tank all sorts of algae.
 

Isabella

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All good advice here Besides WELCOME to Fish Lore Paulus

A 6 gallon tank is indeed very small, but if you cannot afford a larger one, I understand. I also agree that an under-gravel filter is not the best of choices, but if you can't afford a HOB (hang on the back) power filter, I understand that too. Because your tank is very small, you cannot get too many fish and not many species will be acceptable for your tank. I would suggest one Betta as the best choice, or if you really want some other fish, get the smallest and slowest tetras you can, as fish that like to swim faster will not be happy in a 6 gallon tank. Most small tetras are shoaling/schooling fish, so you should have at least a small group of them. For your small tank, 6 small tetras would be the maximum. Neon tetras are small, for example. Also, remember that any fish you buy is most likely still young and growing - research any fish before you buy it to make sure it doesn't grow large.

Do you have a heater there too? All tropical fish need a heated tank.
 

0morrokh

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If money is an issue, I can give you a site where you can probably get a sponge filter for 10-15 bucks, including shipping, that is if you live in the US. You don't necessarily need an expensive power filter.

Now, I'm not meaning to like start an argument or anything, but I'm not sure you could really keep Neons in a 6 gallon. I mean, they get to 1.5 in which makes a shoal 9 in, which would be a really stocked tank. And I think all tetras are pretty active. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you could probably make it work but it might not be the best for the tetras. I usually don't recommend anything other than Bettas and possibly small catfish for anything smaller than 10g. But anyone can feel free to disagree.
 

Isabella

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I don't disagree at all Omorrokh ... In fact, a 6 gallon tank is really too small for any kind of fish, except for a Betta maybe. But the smallest fish I had ever seen at my LFS are Neon Tetras (or other tetras of the same size, like glowlight tetras, etc ...), so if Paulus doesn't want a Betta, I guess neons (and the like) are his only option. From my personal experience (I have neons), neons are rather static fish, they don't swim around a lot. They like to stick to their one favorite place. And none if them is 1.5 inches long, they're all about 1 inch. Maybe my neons were raised in bad conditions if normal length of neons should be 1.5 ... don't know.
 

0morrokh

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what about Endlers? They're only like an inch, aren't they? Too bad they're so hard to get...you don't need a whole shoal of them either so they wouldn't be as squashed in a 6g. I still wouldn't really recommend them for anything less than a 10 gallon though. Anyway I'm getting slightly off topic.

Paulus--what are you thinking of getting?
 

JackieN

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Hi..I thought maybe you could get 2 or 3 glowlight tetra's. They are the coolest little fish..they have little orangey glow spots on their heads and a line along their bodies. I have two in my tank..and they are not very active..they just kinda hang and move around in their little chosen spot. But they are very attractive.
Jackie
 

0morrokh

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Tetras need to be kept in groups of six or more. They will be happier that way. Maybe your fish aren't as active because they don't have friends to swim with. Sometimes tetras are shy without buddies.
 
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paulus

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Thanks for all the advice. Tank cycling is underway. It also turns out that my tank is 7.5 gallons, and not 6 - so at least its a little bit bigger! Also I'm hoping to acquire a friends old tank after Christmas - much bigger! Anyway as to the types of fish for my 7.5g, I'm thinking either 4 guppies or 1beta + 2 cory cats. I'm leaning towards the guppies as i've read that betas can be temperamental fish, and also I like the idea of having a few fish to look at and not just one.
 

0morrokh

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Now Bettas can be picky and they have their own little betta ways, but they are such wonderful fishies you should not let this deter you. Actually this is partly what makes them so endearing... But trust me their personality more than makes up for there only being one. Just ask anyone on this forum with a Betta, they could spend hours telling you about him/her.

As for Guppies, or course you can do what you want but personally I would never keep them in anything less than 10g...7.5g really is small and I'm afraid 4 Guppies would feel a bit crowded.

Now about the Cories, they are best off in groups of 3 or more. You'll need to find a pretty small species. Or you could get Otos, which are smaller and will eat all your algae. But they need really clean water, just something to keep in mind.
 

chickadee

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Ah the Bettas....now you have me started. Bettas make excellent fish for smaller tanks like this because they do not take well to community tanks usually and do not have good luck with a lot of the tank mates that other fish will do well with. But if you can get a betta tank going it is a joy and a thing of beauty. It is so relaxing to sit and watch them and it is so rewarding to interact with them...did I say interact?? Why yes I do believe I did!! You see they develop personalities that reflect their nature and believe me there are no two that are the same!! I have 3 at the present and have had many others and none of them have been like the others. They are like children, some are naughty and some are sweet. Some are territorial and argumentative and some are fairly docile. All I know is that if you go to the Betta Board and read about those of us who have these wonderful creatures and our comments and lives with our little ones, you will soon learn that we all feel very deeply about them and it is in a personal way as though they were indeed members of the family. Omorrokh is right we could go on for hours, but to be fair I have to tell you that you should read the Betta Care Guide at least BEFORE considering purchasing a betta. It is only fair to you and to the betta. If you do purchase one and decide to add Otocinclus catfish to the tank (Otos) for algae control and for tankmates, they are really the most reliable companions (cories also) for bettas. They do not harm the bettas and other than a bit of establishing territorial rights, they generally do not have much to fear from the betta. It would be wise to check the website for the Otos before purchasing them also.

The links are as follows:

Bettas:



Otos:

otocinclus

Hope this helps with these fish anyway. Oh, and by the way, I noted the fish you listed in the first post and a betta will not be able to survive with either platies (fin nippers) or Barbs of any kind (aggressive).

Welcome to Fishlore.com. I do hope you enjoy your tank and fish and that you keep coming back. It is nice to meet you.

Rose
 

0morrokh

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Hehe Rose I just knew you'd be over here the minute the word "Betta" was mentioned... ;D

whoops sorry I'm getting off subject...again... :
 

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