Fish That Do Well In Pairs? Question 

default-fish

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I'm looking for some recommendations of fish that do best in pairs. I like the idea of having a nice planted nano tank with just two fish :)

Please recommend anything that can be kept in a tank at about 5 gallons -20 gallons in size! I want to know my options more than specifics so i can choose my builds carefully!
 

PascalKrypt

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- Pair of apisto's should work in a 20 for sure, depending on size maybe in a 10 or 15 as well.
- Pair of Honey Gourami would work for anything upwards of 10 gallons.
- Pair of killifish. There are several commonly available ones that would work in the 5 - 20 gallon range, though there are too many to list all the possibilities here. They make for spendidly colourful viewing too. There is a long list of 5-gallon appropriate killi's here.
- Pair of scarlet badis could work in a 5 gallon but it is nearly impossible to find a female anywhere.
- Pair of guppies or endlers, though you'd have to deal with the fry (is not what I think you are after?)
Out of the box idea: pair of african dwarf frogs. Would do really great in a 5 gallon or even slightly smaller.

I was going to suggest a pair of betta as a joke but not sure if everyone would get that joke ;)
Some of the wild types of betta can be kept in pairs in nano tanks though, but you would need to find a place to buy them which I don't think is easy.
 
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default-fish

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Honey gouramis are so cute, I'll have to consider them for my next setup if i decide to go bigger! and same with the apistos :3

Killifish sound awesome! I know at my LFS (i also started working here a few weeks ago. im still learning about all kinds of fish). the Killies we currently have are probably too big for a 5 gallon (they are Golden Killifish). Could you maybe name one or two species of "mini" killies to get me on the right track? Most of my quick searches just have people mentioning small killies but no species names ):

The scarlet badis is super cool. is it a type of cichlid? because it looks very similar to ram cichlids. if i couldnt find a female would i be able to keep one alone maybe? i imagine two males dont mesh well xD

Guppies always sound so fun! Im not after fry, but any naturally occuring fry is fine with me as i can always move the survivors to a different tank

ill put two bettas in when im ready to start up betting pools for my friends, ****
but wild bettas are pretty sweet, though yeah it might be more work than necessary trying to find a seller (especially in my area, id probably have to consider shipping)

i do have one last question-
At my LFS we have some dwarf rainbows and what i like to refer as micro-rainbows (delicate blue eyes, spotted blue-eyes, etc). are these types of rainbows schooling fish or can they be kept in pairs as well? And what about any types of mollies or platies?
 

PascalKrypt

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default-fish said:
Honey gouramis are so cute, I'll have to consider them for my next setup if i decide to go bigger! and same with the apistos :3

Killifish sound awesome! I know at my LFS (i also started working here a few weeks ago. im still learning about all kinds of fish). the Killies we currently have are probably too big for a 5 gallon (they are Golden Killifish). Could you maybe name one or two species of "mini" killies to get me on the right track? Most of my quick searches just have people mentioning small killies but no species names ):

The scarlet badis is super cool. is it a type of cichlid? because it looks very similar to ram cichlids. if i couldnt find a female would i be able to keep one alone maybe? i imagine two males dont mesh well xD

Guppies always sound so fun! Im not after fry, but any naturally occuring fry is fine with me as i can always move the survivors to a different tank

ill put two bettas in when im ready to start up betting pools for my friends, ****
but wild bettas are pretty sweet, though yeah it might be more work than necessary trying to find a seller (especially in my area, id probably have to consider shipping)

i do have one last question-
At my LFS we have some dwarf rainbows and what i like to refer as micro-rainbows (delicate blue eyes, spotted blue-eyes, etc). are these types of rainbows schooling fish or can they be kept in pairs as well? And what about any types of mollies or platies?
Actually you can keep some of the larger killi's in 5-gallon set-ups as well, most are pretty laid-back. Golden Wonder killi's (which is what I think you meant) are unfortunately a bit too large for that, indeed. The ones you might want to take a look at are the ones that start with Aphyosemion. The A. australe for instance is common staple at LFS' near here and is absolutely spectacular. If your nano is square, try to get one just a size larger than 5-gallon (maybe 7G?) as the recommended tank size assumes rectangular shape. There are many more aphyosemion species though and quite a few of them are small enough for a nano tank, but not all of them are as easy to find.
Nope, badis (latin name dario dario, there are other species of dario as well) is something quite separate I believe, I'm not sure what they are related to, but they are absolutely miniature. You could probably get 10 in a 5 gallon and still lose them. Downside is, as you've guessed, they are notorious for extreme territorial aggression. Some people have made two or more males work, other people have had bloodbaths in their tanks. More of the latter. The big problem with this species is that sub-dominant males assume female characteristics in order to avoid getting attacked. Many other species do this (as indeed dwarf cichlids) but badis is so good at it that it becomes impossible even for seasoned keepers to be able to guarantee that they aren't accidentally selling you two males. Moreover since females look utterly unattractive the shops that sell this species seem to only have the males on offer 90% of the time, kind of like dwarf gourami.
But yes, after saying all of that, one by itself is perfect, you can do that.

I happen to have some of these blue-eyes as I fell in love with them way back :) Gertudae's. I also kept paskai's at some point. Unfortunately they are unsuitable for nano tanks, they are extremely skittish fish that definitely need groups of 6+ to feel secure and they are surprisingly active, so a group needs larger quarters to move around in. The males are quite relentless pursuers of females so you can't keep them as a pair also in that sense, but even in a larger group they would be constantly harassed if you kept them in anything under 10 gallons for even the smallest species of pseudomugil. I kept my gertrudae's and paskai's in a 10 gallon before (heavily planted) and they did not thrive. I have them in a 20 gallon super heavily planted with one older apisto as tankmate and they do well now. Personally I wouldn't go under 15 gallons again. The other pseudomugil (furcatus for instance, the ones that don't look so shy) get larger and need even more space, 30 gallons minimum.

Platies and mollies are a definitely no for nano tanks. Mollies especially appear to have a tendency to get aggressive towards other fish if kept in anything under 20 gallons. Platies could do with slightly less space but even a 10 gallon is already somewhat on the cramped side.
So unfortunately, no.
 
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default-fish

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Thanks so much for your help! i really like the little killifish and the badis, but i think out of budget needs I'll probably go with some guppies in a 5 gallon for now :)

any other last minute recommendations for the future or for other forum users would also be appreciate by anyone! totally cool if not. thanks again!
 

FinalFins

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Badis are really easy to keep just a extra pwc every week and live food.

I personally would not reccomend a pair of badis in a 5 gallon. A 10 gallon is more appropriate. 1 badis is fine in a 5.

also no guppies in 5 gallon. Pair needs 20 gallon due to fry.
 
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default-fish

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FinalFins said:
also no guppies in 5 gallon. Pair needs 20 gallon due to fry.
what about two males or two females? im not picky nkr am i looking to get fry anyways.

even better, what would you recommend then?
 

FinalFins

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No guppies in a 5 gal. Nope. Nada. Big poop factories they are.

A ten gallon minimum for males. For females 20 gallon as 99% of the time when you recive them they are pregnant.

I dont think any pair would work in a 5 gallon. Maybe a small species of killi but i need to look into that more. I still would like to see a 10 for killis.
 
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default-fish

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FinalFins said:
No guppies in a 5 gal. Nope. Nada. Big poop factories they are.

A ten gallon minimum for males. For females 20 gallon as 99% of the time when you recive them they are pregnant.

I dont think any pair would work in a 5 gallon. Maybe a small species of killi but i need to look into that more. I still would like to see a 10 for killis.
Personally I think a small pair of endlers or fancy guppies and nothing else in a heavily planted 5 gallon would be fine with vigilant water changes, though I understand the maintenance. I'd rather like to know what I CAN do, not what I can't please.

MissNoodle said:
Sparkling gourami? They do nice in pairs i believe and are quite pretty
They are super cute! Definitely considering them <3
 
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default-fish

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kallililly1973 said:
The post reply from @PascalKrypt just before your original thread post gave you a lot of options. Why not go with one of those.
I did say i was going to go with their guppy suggestion. Im just trying to let more people give suggestions if they want in case I or other users want to view this thread for the same question. I couldnt find any other forums on this topic. I figured compiling it here would be more helpful
 

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I have kept 2 females, a male guppy, and 2 batches of fry in a 4 gallon tank (then moved them to a 20 gallon later) and they seemed to do fine maybe less fry but it sounds like that’s not a problem
 

FinalFins

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Well, this is my opinion and i prefer giving guppies bigger spaces where they can thrive. I already listed the reasons why guppies should not be in a 5 gal. Not endlers either.

But its your tank. You do you.
 

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Many keep them just fine, endlers too. With proper careful maintenance, its not a bad set up...

There's many ways to partake in this hobby, everyone is different. Theres not always strict rules when it comes to things.
 

EMcT1985

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Doing 2 male endlers would work, depending on tank size. Unfortunately, I've seen a wide range of 'minimum tank size' for endlers: anything from 5 to 20 gal
 

midna

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are you set on a 5 gallon or are you going to go bigger (5–12 gallons)?

i just got a pair of aphyosemion australe killifish (non-annual) in a planted 10 gallon. the annual killifish may be smaller, they only live about a year or two. some other common species of non-annuals (a pair would do fine in anything bigger than a 5g) are fundulopanchax gardneri, epiplatys annulatus (clown or banded killifish), and aphyosemion ogoense.

you can also look into peacock gudgeons. scarlet badis are cool but they prefer live food.
 

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default-fish said:
I'm looking for some recommendations of fish that do best in pairs. I like the idea of having a nice planted nano tank with just two fish :)

Please recommend anything that can be kept in a tank at about 5 gallons -20 gallons in size! I want to know my options more than specifics so i can choose my builds carefully!
May i suggest some of my favorite tetras for a 20 gallon?

Other Ideas:

  • Since you seem to like the idea of guppies, 8 Tequila Sunrise guppies (2 males, 6 females) along with some other filler snails or fish.
  • maybe a betta sorority in a heavily planted 20 gallon?
  • how about 3 pea puffers in a 15 gallon? If you go with this route, please make sure there are plenty of spaces to hide to reduce aggressiveness among the puffer fish
 
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