Heavily Planted 32.5 Gallon Additional Stocking Ideas

Rhyu

Hello, looking for some suggestions for stocking our recently cycled 32.5 Gallon Fluval Flex (with a second Fluval Aquasky LED lightbar installed, so it's pretty bright). No CO2.
It was fishless cycled with ammonia, with filter media added from our 20+ year old 10 gallon, Seachem Stability, and a really big bag of filter squeezings from our LFS.

We have an existing 10 Gallon, finally took the plunge and upgraded to a larger tank, so most of the old inhabitants have/or will been moved over. We're planning to retire the old 10 Gallon and possibly replace it with something else that fits in the area (15 gallon Fluval? 27 Gallon cube? Not sure), as it's top is giving up and has an ancient incandescent light hood that would cost as much as a new tank to replace (Can get a Fluval 15 for the price of a LED bar, any opinions on that tank?). We'll probably keep it around as a quarantine/hospital tank or something.

Anyway

Currently the tank has:
The 10 gallon unfortunately recently got hit by an unexpected drastic decrease in tap water pH (tank went from 6.8 to 5 or less, our test can't test lower than that, but I expect its even lower) that we didn't catch in advance so we lost the rest of the Oto's school sadly. Needless to say we're closely monitoring that now and adjusting before doing water changes. The tap water is still ridiculously acidic right now.

We also had 8 mature (10-15 year old) Sterbai Cory in the 10 gallon that we planned to move over, half unfortunately passed from this as well (looks like they got red blotch disease and slowly started to die after), and we're monitoring the remainders to make sure they're okay before moving them to the 32.5 (antibiotics and the like are illegal here- BC, Canada). The remaining corys all seem to be the slightly younger ones that were surprise babies bred in the tank. They've since laid more eggs, and seem to look fine, so I'm hoping those ones will be okay and we can get the moved over ASAP.

What we're leaning towards/preferences:
  • If we can find them we will be adding Adolfo's Cory (4-6) to increase the cory population
However, from there we are a bit torn. Ultimately this tank is a long awaited one for my Mother (since we got that 10 Gallon and realized how small and limiting that actually is), so it'll be what she likes, but we don't want to be putting anything in there that will be unhappy there.

What mom likes/dislikes:
  • She is enjoying the shrimp and would really like some yellow dwarf shrimp (neocaridina), however they're hard to find here and very expensive in our opinion (12.99 each), so if we do get some we would want to avoid fish that might eat them... If we got the shrimp now, given the planting level of the tank (there are lots of rocks, nooks and crannies, and dense ferny plants like limnophila sessiliflora and water wisteria), do you think we could get a colony going with the existing fish in the tank? We've added some cholla wood as additional hiding for the Amanos, though they seem to be dedicated to swimming everywhere instead of hiding. The fish seem entirely uninterested in them, we'll often see one swimming in the middle of the school of rasboras who don't even look at it. If its not feasible we can always see about a small shrimp tank, but I think she'd really like some in the 32.5...
  • She likes the Sparkling Gourami a lot, but I get very mixed information on how they do with shrimp, some sites sell them as dwarf shrimp safe, others say they'll destroy them. Will they hide too well in this tank given they're so small?
  • Would dwarf honey Gouramis work? I've read those get along with the sparkling and are more docile than most. Would either of these get too aggressive when in breeding mode?
  • She likes the Gertrude Rainbowfish and the Forktail Rainbowfish. I think the gertrudes might be out-competed by the Harlequins though. They're also somewhat expensive and they seem to have short lifespans. Any opinions on these guys?
  • She liked the Peacock Gudgeons, but they're more expensive, and sound like they definitely will eat shrimp. But if we don't go shrimp, what do you think of these?
  • We'd like some more algea eating fish. We could replace the Oto's school but we're open to other ideas/more unusual fish.
  • Does anyone have experience with neon blue gobys or other Stiphodon sp? How long do they live in practice? Are the really sensitive to water quality? Do they have to have a bubbler or something for more oxygenation?
More general guidelines for other suggestions:
  • She likes the color yellow. She doesn't want any more reddish fish. She sometimes like blue fish
  • She likes longer lived fish. She gets attached, and doesn't want to have to replace them every couple years.
  • She likes fish that don't just mindlessly school, she's really liking the Cherry Barbs for this reason.
  • Hardier fish are appreciated, I think we'll have an easier time with this larger and heavily planted tank maintaining water quality compared to the 10 Gallon, but she's a bit cautious to try more expensive fish due to bad experiences with the 10 gallon (which only had some Java fern) and how quickly water quality can plummet there.
  • She doesn't like bigger fish, our sort of jumbo mature cory's are about as big as she wants (3 inch). I like the dwarf plecos, but I think she'd be a hard sell. She'd go for more Oto's first.
  • She prefers more "streamlined" fish shapes (Gouramis excluded, she likes how they look, but not how they can be aggressive). So for example, with tetras she likes the ones more neon shaped rather than black skirt shaped.

Thank you in advance,

Robyn
 

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NofishB4

I love my honey gouramis! Can’t recommend them enough. I have 6 and rarely see any aggression from them. They are by far my favourite fish in the tank. They leave my amano shrimp alone but I don’t have small shrimp so no idea how they would do with those.
 
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LHAquatics

Add more otos. Otocinclus require a group of 5+
 
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Rhyu

Add more otos. Otocinclus require a group of 5+
That'll be the plan unless we find something else. Want to make sure they have enough algea to eat. We had a school to move over, but that's the only survivor.
I love my honey gouramis! Can’t recommend them enough. I have 6 and rarely see any aggression from them. They are by far my favourite fish in the tank. They leave my amano shrimp alone but I don’t have small shrimp so no idea how they would do with those.
Thank you for the response, good to know! Do you just have one boy in the 6, or a couple?
 
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NofishB4

I have 3 adults (2 F, 1 M) and 3 babies (barely an inch). I believe I have 1 F and 2 M for the babies based on the shape of their fins but they are just starting to colour up.
 
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