20 Gallon Tank Betta vs. Dwarf Gourami

Drafe

Hey guys, so I'm a little stuck on choosing my next fish for my 20g tank. My tank currently houses 4 platies and 1 zebra danio (Still trying to find her more zebra friends but they are out of stock). I heard that bettas can do fine in a 20g with platies. My zebra danio is extremely calm and lazy, assuming that trait developed when he lost his buddies, but he does well with the platies. I want to have a betta, but I'm scared he will not accept tankmates. I don't have a second tank to house him if things go south. On the other hand, I could get dwarf gourami, but they aren't as attractive as bettas and my tank will look kinda boring. So I would prefer a second opinion from veteran fish owners. What would be the better choice, a betta or a dwarf g? And If y'all prefer bettas, what should I look out in a betta that would make them seem like they would be okay for a community tank - like aggressiveness in the cup, etc.
I am planning on getting my centerpiece fish tomorrow from PetSmart.

Thanks in advance! :)
 

MoshJosh

If your anything like every other fish keeper (myself included) if you want a betta, you wont be satisfied until you have a betta haha. . .

In my experience the whole substitute one fish for another doesn't usually work and I go back and buy the fish I originally wanted anyway.

I wouldn't really be worried about the bettas aggression in that size tank, I would be worried about other fish nipping the bettas fins, especially if you get something with long flowing fins. Both danios and platies are pretty fast, though I don't know a ton about their temperament, hopefully others can chime in.
 

Drafe

If your anything like every other fish keeper (myself included) if you want a betta, you wont be satisfied until you have a betta haha. . .

In my experience the whole substitute one fish for another doesn't usually work and I go back and buy the fish I originally wanted anyway.

I wouldn't really be worried about the bettas aggression in that size tank, I would be worried about other fish nipping the bettas fins, especially if you get something with long flowing fins. Both danios and platies are pretty fast, though I don't know a ton about their temperament, hopefully others can chime in.
I can't really see my danio trying to fin nip. He never bothers the platies. What if I added a beta with small fins, would that decrease the chances of fin nipping and aggression?
 

emberopal

Bettas with long fins are pretty slow as well, which leaves them especially susceptible to fin-nipping. I have never raised danios or platies but I know my mollies (which are pretty similar to platies from what I've seen) do nip sometimes. I don't keep them with a betta for that reason.

As a cautionary tale, I recently put one of my long finned male Bettas with a group of blind cave tetras which weren't supposed to be fin nippers, but within 2 hours his fins were shredded. Only other fish in the tank were ember tetras which he had been living with for quite some time with no issues, so I know it was the new fish. Luckily, I had a 10 gallon backup tank ready and moved him into that.

And that's what I suggest you do, regardless of which fish you choose; You should have a backup tank ready just in case it doesn't work out, whether it be the Betta getting nipped, the Betta being too aggressive, or the Gourami being too aggressive (all possibilities that depend on individual fish temperaments).

That being said, I love Bettas and have several myself and have only had that one issue with nipping, so you will probably be fine.
 

Drafe

Bettas with long fins are pretty slow as well, which leaves them especially susceptible to fin-nipping. I have never raised danios or platies but I know my mollies (which are pretty similar to platies from what I've seen) do nip sometimes. I don't keep them with a betta for that reason.

As a cautionary tale, I recently put one of my long finned male Bettas with a group of blind cave tetras which weren't supposed to be fin nippers, but within 2 hours his fins were shredded. Only other fish in the tank were ember tetras which he had been living with for quite some time with no issues, so I know it was the new fish. Luckily, I had a 10 gallon backup tank ready and moved him into that.

And that's what I suggest you do, regardless of which fish you choose; You should have a backup tank ready just in case it doesn't work out, whether it be the Betta getting nipped, the Betta being too aggressive, or the Gourami being too aggressive (all possibilities that depend on individual fish temperaments).

That being said, I love Bettas and have several myself and have only had that one issue with nipping, so you will probably be fine.
Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll go with a betta that doesn’t have a big tail and I think I’ll be able to return the fish if things go aggressively with them. I’ll try to figure out ways to keep him rather than returning him cuz I don’t want him to live in the poor conditions in the store if I return him.
 

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