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Old 07-26-2013, 12:15 PM   #1 
summersea
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Classroom Tank Compatibility

Good morning! I am in the process of re-setting up my classroom aquarium. This year I wanted to try something different than the gouramis and barbs I have done in the past. I want a betta!

My tank is a 29 gallon tank that has been cycling for almost 2 weeks. I have a Tetra 20-40 filter and it is lightly planted (with real plants and then there are additional silk plants/rock/driftwood). I currently have 5 rummynose tetra and 8 harlequin rasboras.

Would it be possible to have the following fish/numbers:

Harlequin Rasbora (8 - already have)
Rummynose Tetra (5 - already have ~ may round of the school a bit more if space is adequate...)
Julli Cories (4-5)
Oto (2-3)
1 male betta

I do 20-25% water changes weekly (or should I say my student aide does ) with weekly water testing.

I appreciate any advice! I would really like my students to see a Betta in a community tank setting to help dispel the myth that they have to "be alone in small tanks"
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:09 PM   #2 
Micho
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I would recommend these numbers.

Harlequin, 8 ~ 10

Rummy-nose Tetras, bump up these numbers to at least 6 and above, but they shoal very tightly, and look better in a group of 10 or more.

Julii Cories, at least six of them would be the best. They are much more confident and active in groups.

Otos are tricky, I would add them last when your tank is established after adding the rest of the fish, they're very sensitive fish and die easily to bad water chemistry. They also eat algae like crazy so even at 3 your tank should be clean of algae when they're in the tank, so you'll have to supplement with wafers & veggies.

All of these fish you have chosen prefer acidic water or neutral waters, 6 pH ~ 7 pH, Bettas don't mind pH that much since they have been bred commercially so much, they can stand acidic/basic water. So check to see if your pH is somewhere in that area, plus Rummy-nose Tetras aren't that orange-y if they're put in basic water.

It should be fine, maybe a 30% ~ 35% water change would be better per week. Seeing how you have some live plants in there, I think what you have in mind would work. :)
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:21 PM   #3 
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Hey there summersea! :) I think you've got a fantastic idea there, wanting to set up a betta community tank for your kids to help spread the word and dispel one of those awful myths! And what a better place to do it then in a classroom? ;)

However, though you do have a lot of space to work with, personally I think your stocking plan might just be a little much. You've already got two schools of fish going, I would suggest instead of adding more schooling/shoaling fish(which Cories and Otos tend to be, they're both fish that enjoy company, Cories especially as mentioned previously)to instead just bump up the numbers you have, maybe even them both out at 8-10; 1-2 larger schools are generally better then many smaller schools/shoals.

Now, about the betta. While some can do very well in a large community tank and tolerate peaceful companions like the Tetras and Rasboras you have, it is in fact true that they are a solitary territorial species. In a tank that size with plenty of room for everyone and because the other fish are already there its slightly less likely you will have trouble, there is still the risk of whatever betta you choose just deciding to go after his tank-mates one day and, unfortunately, its impossible to predict if the betta will be aggressive or hostile towards tank mates or not......you'll only find out after you add him in.
So, it is a good idea to have a backup plan in place, just in case. Either at your home or at school, you should have a spare setup with the works(heater, decor, filter if 5+ gallons)on standby just in case things don't work out before you go pick out your new betta.

Also to help your betta feel more secure, you'll want to provide some tall plants that reach up close to the top or some floating plants of some kind(if you don't have any already)as in a larger space, being Labyrinth fish like the Gouramis, the betta is going to be primarily a top-level fish. The myth of them needing smaller spaces actually comes from a bettas need for proper planting and cover; they like a good ample amount of places to swim around and hide in and can get stressed or nervous with too much open space. Since it can be a little expensive to fill a larger tank with plants this usually leads to stressed bettas in larger tanks and most believing that they do better in smaller spaces instead, which is of course not true.

And as kind of an odd suggestion, though you don't absolutely need to do this, perhaps look for a choose a Plakat, or shorter-finned, male for your setup. Of course a longer-finned male can do just fine if thats what strikes your fancy, a shorter finned male will be able to get around a little easier in such a large space and you won't run the risk of ending up with a tail-biter.
But like I said, its just an odd suggestion; something I personally would do in a larger setup. You could certainly have a long-finned male without any problems in there if you'd like.

Last edited by DragonFish; 07-26-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:53 PM   #4 
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Thank you both for your advice!

While I appreciate that I have an ambitious plan for sticking I was really hoping to have some lower level fish in the tank to have some activity all over. Plus, my tank is near a window (only place in the classroom to put it but I have backing on it to help diffuse the light) so I tend to get a lot of algae growth (which is why I was looking at the otos). Is there no way to keep the cories/otos? Maybe pygmy otos?

I do have a back up plan for the beta if he is too aggressive. I have a friend that will adopt him if he doesn't work out! :)

And DragonFish I love your ideas about the plants!! I will be looking into getting more on my next LFS run!
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:03 PM   #5 
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There are such things as Pygmy Cories, which are extremely cute and tiny, but I don't believe that there's anything called a Pygmy Otos, Otos are already dwarf sized so pretty sure there's not other algae eating fish that are smaller than they are.

And I do agree on the Plakat idea, since your 29g is a tall tank (I'm assuming it's the standard 29g), a long finnage Betta may get tired easily by having to swim to high to get a gulp of air, plakats are very mobile and fast.

If you're worried about algae, getting a Nerite snail or maybe some algae eating shrimps like RCS would help with the algae.

Personally if you're worried about overstocking I would get rid of one of the species you already have (Harlequin or Rummy-nose Tetra), and substitute for the Cories you wanted. Then bump the numbers up high for both species, personally I like Rummy-nose Tetras more than Harlequin Rasboras but it's up to you.

Last edited by Micho; 07-26-2013 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:15 PM   #6 
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Whoops! Yes I meant pygmy cories! :) I am worried about trying snails because I have heard they reproduce quickly (I personally have no experience with snails) and I thought bettas would eat the shrimp...
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:17 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by summersea View Post
Whoops! Yes I meant pygmy cories! :) I am worried about trying snails because I have heard they reproduce quickly (I personally have no experience with snails) and I thought bettas would eat the shrimp...
Yes Pygmy Cories would work. :)

Nerite snails are fantastic algae eaters and can't reproduce in freshwater and stay relatively small.

RCS are also good algae eaters and will thrive in good, planted, stable tanks. Bettas might make a snack out of them or poke them to death but if there's enough places for them to hide they'll do great.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:27 PM   #8 
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Cool! I like the sound of the nerite snails! How many should I get for my 29g tank?
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:45 PM   #9 
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Cool! I like the sound of the nerite snails! How many should I get for my 29g tank?
One should be good enough, if algae keeps coming back up they'll keep eating, just know that you should have some algae wafers ready if your natural algae runs out, snails are quite hungry and will eat all the time, and poop all the time as well.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:01 PM   #10 
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One should be good enough, if algae keeps coming back up they'll keep eating, just know that you should have some algae wafers ready if your natural algae runs out, snails are quite hungry and will eat all the time, and poop all the time as well.
Awesome! So I will go with 1 nerite snail and look into seeing if my LFS has pygmy cories. I appreciate all your help with this! I enjoy my fish tank but still have so much to learn!
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