Sadly I feel as though you're right. It's natural to think that it would reall appreciate the larger space but there's so many other things to take into thought.
A 53 gallon without betta could work out more, and give you lots of options. With betta you are limited to small fish, because even a larger peaceful fish will take a shot at a smaller fish.
About the rams, I've seen people keep multiple fish in cichlid only/semi aggressive tanks. Lot's of people will keep a lone ram in their community. They are only aggressive during spawning (cichlids love to spawn!) so if you can find 2 females the problem could be avoided.
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Last edited by Olympia; 05-28-2012 at 06:06 AM.