40 Gallon Tank Stocking my planted community tank. Comments/advice?

BettaMale

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Hey all!
I’m using my time in isolation to set up a new planted tank, and I’m looking to get some input from the experts (that’s you!)
Tank is 36” long, 14” deep and 18” high. Currently growing in plants with a high tech, medium lighting setup, running a canister filter off a 600L aquarium I got from a mate. Just ordered a Fluval 3.0 LED for it, but that’s something for a different thread. I’m looking to do a community tank, with the following.
  • 1x Betta (the feature fish)
  • 6x Khuli Loach
  • 6x Corydoras (probably hasbrosus)
  • 6x Otocinclus
  • shoal of Mosquito Rasboras OR
  • shoal of Silvertip Tetras
  • a bunch of inverts like shrimp and snails
I’ve set the tank hardscape up in such a way that it ought to cater to the needs of the fish. The trees (once planted and grown in) should cut the vertical space in half, making the tank less deep for the betta, it should also provide plenty in the way of betta hammocks. The peaceful bottomdwellers should have access to plenty of caves, under root systems, thick midground plants etc to feel safe and explore in. It should also help to keep them “out of sight, out of mind” for the betta too.

As for mid level fish, I wanted something small that would shoal and zoom about through the plants and add a splash of colour. My first thought was the rasboras, Boraras brigittae, as they’re small, I can fit like 20 in there, and they’d add a great splash of colour, as well as having an endearing appearance. Recently though, I’ve stumbled upon the Silvertip Tetra, a little (well, not as little as the rasbora) fish with a big personality. I’ve heard they’re outgoing, inquisitive and have fun quirks like converging on a finger touching the glass, or suddenly getting the zoomies. I’ve also heard they can get a bit nippy when kept in smaller numbers, so I know that less than a dozen of them would be a bad mix for a long finned fish (aka betta) or more docile fish (the bottomdwellers)

I plan to add them gradually so the biofilter doesn’t get overwhelmed; shrimps and snails first, then one bottomdwelling species at a time, then depending on choice, either rasboras then betta, or betta then silvertips, so as to allow the more vulnerable tankmates to get accustomed to their surroundings, learn the safe places, etc before adding the more “boisterous” tankmates in
So my questions, I guess:
  1. Is there enough real estate for the bottomdwellers to coexist? (I’m imagining the khulis will be huddled up under a cave during the day, the otos munching on plants when they’re not being fed cucumber slices, and the corys scavenging about in the substrate patches)
  2. Will any of these have issues with each other, or terrorise the inverts?
  3. What should I get in the way of shoaling/schooling fish? Rasboras (can probably have more due to smaller bioload, peaceful, bright pops of red) or Tetras (slightly larger, big personality, nice pops of gold with eponymous silver tips)
Thanks in advance for any advice, comments & critiques guys!
 

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-Mak-

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Very cool!
It appears you are using an aquasoil? If so, I would be cautious about stocking with any bottom dwellers, they will kick soil up and cause it to break down much faster than it would otherwise.
I adore Boraras, but they are tiny and shy. Most of mine eventually got braver at feeding but they were in a small species only tank. Due to this, I think tetras would be able to better compete at your feeding times with the bigger fish.
 

SM1199

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In my experience, otos almost exclusively occupy the glass and plant space, and wouldn't get in the way of the kuhlis and habrosus. Kuhlis, like you said, tend to huddle, and also wouldn't take up much floor space. In my opinion, plenty of bottom-dweller real estate! I love habrosus, and I hope you will too!

I would stay far away from the silvertip tetras if you plan to stock with a betta. They are notoriously active and can get nippy. Nippy never goes over well with bettas. Even if they aren't nippy, all that zooming activity can really stress out a betta. I think you will be much, much happier and safer going with the chili rasboras you mentioned, or ember tetras. Both are much better betta tank mates. The sight of a huge group of tiny red fish darting through the plants is like nothing else! I would not worry about food competition. Bettas tend to be slow eaters, and won't offer much competition in the way of food, especially if you submerge the food before letting it go (bettas usually prefer to eat off the surface). There are no other "big fish" in the tank that would really actively compete with the rasboras for food.

What inverts are you planning on getting? Any species of snail will do great with your stocking plan. Depending on your betta's personality, baby shrimp might get picked off if you go with the cherries or other colors of neocaridina. Amanos are unlikely to be touched.

Also - I think you'll have plenty enough space to get 10 kuhlis and 10 habrosus instead of 6 of each. With these fish, the more the merrier! Just keep an eye on your substrate, as mentioned. It may get cloudy, but habrosus are so small that they are unlikely to disturb the substrate as much as full-sized cories would.
 
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BettaMale

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-Mak- said:
Very cool!
It appears you are using an aquasoil? If so, I would be cautious about stocking with any bottom dwellers, they will kick soil up and cause it to break down much faster than it would otherwise.
I adore Boraras, but they are tiny and shy. Most of mine eventually got braver at feeding but they were in a small species only tank. Due to this, I think tetras would be able to better compete at your feeding times with the bigger fish.
Yeah, at the moment I’ve just got an aquasoil substrate, but once the plants have grown in, I’m thinking about capping it with a layer of black sand, I’ve heard the bottomdwellers tend to prefer smaller grains or smooth substrates on their barbels

SM1199 said:
In my experience, otos almost exclusively occupy the glass and plant space, and wouldn't get in the way of the kuhlis and habrosus. Kuhlis, like you said, tend to huddle, and also wouldn't take up much floor space. In my opinion, plenty of bottom-dweller real estate! I love habrosus, and I hope you will too!

I would stay far away from the silvertip tetras if you plan to stock with a betta. They are notoriously active and can get nippy. Nippy never goes over well with bettas. Even if they aren't nippy, all that zooming activity can really stress out a betta. I think you will be much, much happier and safer going with the chili rasboras you mentioned, or ember tetras. Both are much better betta tank mates. The sight of a huge group of tiny red fish darting through the plants is like nothing else! I would not worry about food competition. Bettas tend to be slow eaters, and won't offer much competition in the way of food, especially if you submerge the food before letting it go (bettas usually prefer to eat off the surface). There are no other "big fish" in the tank that would really actively compete with the rasboras for food.

What inverts are you planning on getting? Any species of snail will do great with your stocking plan. Depending on your betta's personality, baby shrimp might get picked off if you go with the cherries or other colors of neocaridina. Amanos are unlikely to be touched.

Also - I think you'll have plenty enough space to get 10 kuhlis and 10 habrosus instead of 6 of each. With these fish, the more the merrier! Just keep an eye on your substrate, as mentioned. It may get cloudy, but habrosus are so small that they are unlikely to disturb the substrate as much as full-sized cories would.
I’m considering getting a plakat betta, do you reckon that’d minimise issues with the tetras? Would a larger variety (aka giant or king or whatever the seller is calling it) have less trouble with them? Good point about the high activity fish causing some stress in the slower moving betta though.

I’ve had no issues with cherry shrimp before, and I thought that the variety of colours available should give me more options for colours that pop, but Amano shrimp could pull more weight with regards to algae (but between them, the snails and the catfish I shouldn’t have too much algae problems anyway, I’m dialling in my light/ferts/CO2 before I stick any fish in anyway) I also want to get some snails, probably ramshorns and trumpet snails, I’ve kept them with in community tanks with betta before without issues

So you reckon my tank would be able to support
  • 1x betta
  • 10x khuli
  • 10x habrosus
  • 6x oto
  • 12-20x rasboras?
I’m also not opposed to selling the tetras if they don’t get along and buying some rasboras to replace them...
 

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BettaMale said:
I’m considering getting a plakat betta, do you reckon that’d minimise issues with the tetras? Would a larger variety (aka giant or king or whatever the seller is calling it) have less trouble with them? Good point about the high activity fish causing some stress in the slower moving betta though.
I think getting a plakat would be a great idea even if you weren't going with the tetras! The long-finned strains tend to have a lot more health issues, and are going to be much more harmed by nipping fish if they do decide to nip. I love my plakats, and I'll say mine at least would certainly be able to keep up with some crazy tetras. A giant or king betta would also be a good idea, in my opinion, since then there's a bit more intimidation factor for the tetras to keep their mouths to themselves.

BettaMale said:
I’ve had no issues with cherry shrimp before, and I thought that the variety of colours available should give me more options for colours that pop, but Amano shrimp could pull more weight with regards to algae (but between them, the snails and the catfish I shouldn’t have too much algae problems anyway, I’m dialling in my light/ferts/CO2 before I stick any fish in anyway) I also want to get some snails, probably ramshorns and trumpet snails, I’ve kept them with in community tanks with betta before without issues
Amanos are also less likely to get picked on. I bet a king betta wouldn't hesitate to at least try eating an adult cherry whole, but if you're willing to spend money buying a few test shrimp, you could certainly see what happens. Also, shrimp will eat different algae than otos/snails - if you're worried about flat surface algae on glass and leaves, then otos and snails will take care of that. If you're worried about hair or filamentous algae, shrimp will take care of that. In my opinion, you should get the otos before the snails, because the otos need a lot of algae and can easily starve themselves to death if they have much competition.

BettaMale said:
So you reckon my tank would be able to support
  • 1x betta
  • 10x khuli
  • 10x habrosus
  • 6x oto
  • 12-20x rasboras?
I’m also not opposed to selling the tetras if they don’t get along and buying some rasboras to replace them...
Sounds like a plan! If you like the tetras more but you're also willing to rehome them if necessary, then absolutely, you could try them out.
 
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BettaMale

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SM1199 said:
I think getting a plakat would be a great idea even if you weren't going with the tetras! The long-finned strains tend to have a lot more health issues, and are going to be much more harmed by nipping fish if they do decide to nip. I love my plakats, and I'll say mine at least would certainly be able to keep up with some crazy tetras. A giant or king betta would also be a good idea, in my opinion, since then there's a bit more intimidation factor for the tetras to keep their mouths to themselves.


Amanos are also less likely to get picked on. I bet a king betta wouldn't hesitate to at least try eating an adult cherry whole, but if you're willing to spend money buying a few test shrimp, you could certainly see what happens. Also, shrimp will eat different algae than otos/snails - if you're worried about flat surface algae on glass and leaves, then otos and snails will take care of that. If you're worried about hair or filamentous algae, shrimp will take care of that. In my opinion, you should get the otos before the snails, because the otos need a lot of algae and can easily starve themselves to death if they have much competition.


Sounds like a plan! If you like the tetras more but you're also willing to rehome them if necessary, then absolutely, you could try them out.
Awesome, I do kind of like the look of plakats, kind of more natural and sleek. Health issues is a nice bonus too!
“keep their mouths to themselves” that’s great hahaha, I love it. I might look into giant plakats then :D

Yeah, I’m not opposed to trying out a few shrimp to see the bettas personality. If the cherries don’t survive, I can always try out a larger shrimp like amano. Good call with adding the otos first too. I’ll be sure to make sure they’re getting enough food, I’ve heard that they can stop eating if they don’t get any food for a while
D26BFBB1-603E-4884-A4F9-67D9C0E46730.jpeg


Yeah, I’m sure I could find someone who wants a small shoal of tetras if they turn out to be jerks, but I could also go straight for the rasboras. Decisions, decisions!
 

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