Panda Cories or Pepper Cories
I'd like to try to home five or six cories with my female betta in my 10 gallon tank.
I've been doing some reading, and I've narrowed it down to either panda cories, or pepper cories. I keep seeing different information, though, so I'm really not sure what the best set up would be.
My current set up is a 10 gallon, heavily decorated with black aquarium sand, a whisper 10i filter, and no live plants. (The tank currently doesn't get the sort of light needed to support live plants.) Our room temperature water does not go below 78F.
I seem to be getting the impression that panda cories would be the better option in terms of having that group of six, but I feel like pepper cories would do better with the temperature of the water. It seems that the recommended water temperature for panda cories is lower than what would be best for my betta, and below what's possible for my home.
All of that said, I have an overall concern about the water quality. While my water is fine for bettas, the hardness of the water seems to be slightly higher than what's recommended for cories. (pH ~7.5; Hardness ~ 300ppm) If I wanted to create a nice tank for some cories, is there a recommendation on ways to improve the quality of the water?
Thanks in advance for any useful information.