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Discussion Starter #1
I recently upgraded Dawn to an uncycled 5 gallon, and was wondering some types of tankmates I can have with him. I know it's a tight fit, but I would really enjoy someone with him :) I considered a cory, since Dawn would most likely leave him alone, but I'm not sure if it's okay to get just one. More than one is fine, but I'm not sure if that's allowed in a 5g. I'm not ready for an ADF I don't think, so I would just like to know what I can do about the cories, or if that's not okay, other tankmates for him.

Aggressiveness: Dawn isn't my most aggressive, that's Atlas. And he isn't my most passive, that's Sallyn, who rarely flares and just ignores other fish. He flares and dashes a fair amount, but most fish do, and since he stays near the top, I think a cory would work for him. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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+1 SplashyBetta. You need a fully-cycled, stable tank to add the tank mates that are small enough for a five gallon. Only tiny Micro/Nano fish would work and you would need a minimum of six. All shoaling fish (including Cories) need a shoal for long-term (as in years and not months) health.
 

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In a five gallon you could have a couple of snails. Depending on whether you use live plants or not, and what your algae levels are like, you might be able to have a nerite. Be warned, though, some will only eat algae that grows naturally in the tank (not wafers or marimo balls) and will starve if you don't have a ready supply of algae.

My favorite snail is the mystery snail. They can grow to be quite large and they have beautiful, wavy feelers. They also move remarkably fast! Some bettas will nip at them but my rather hyper HMPK did not bother his tankmates although he went berserk when he saw his reflection, so it really varies by the betta.

Having kept cory cats for a while now, I would say don't try to keep them in a five gallon. They must be kept in schools of 6 or more (Ive heard 4 is ok for peppered) You might be able to keep a half dozen of say the habrosus variety, but that's REALLY pushing it and getting ahold of them isn't easy. The kinds that are typically available are the peppered, false julii (three-line), emerald, and bronze/albino, none of which are appropriate for less than 10 gallons.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I see. my algae levels are zero, I've never had any algae grow that I know of. I'm not a fan of snails because I know several people who had trouble with insane numbers of snails reproducing. I've heard small tetras could work, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, I know in one particular case, there is a Cory with only a gourami in his tank. All the rest of the cories are dead beside him. He was forced to be solitary. What about him?
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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There are always examples of people who keep fish poorly and they manage to survive. But shoaling species need a shoal to live a normal lifespan. They need the support and interaction of their own species.

A shoal is like a pack. You can isolate a dog in a backyard and give it food and water but to be healthy that dog needs to interact with his human "pack" or he lives a very poor life.

I think you said it yourself: "He was forced to be solitary." Force being the operative word; in nature the Cory would have found another shoal.

If you can keep a Betta you can keep African Dwarf Frogs. You could have three in a filtered, cycled five gallon. Their bioload is no larger than that of a larger Tetra. They hang out on the bottom so don't invade a Betta's space except to zip up for a gulp of air or to "Zen" out.

Once your tank is cycled there are endless shoaling species of Micro/Nano fish. My favorites are Rasbora and Ember Tetra. You could also have three Dwarf Crays if you have a safe place for them to molt and plants. They eat leftover food and Hikari Crab Cuisine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alright, I could try to do that. I was wary of getting a frog, even an ADF, but it could work. I apologize for the Cory, I just wanted to do something for the poor guy. How often should I do water changes to get it to cycle? I know ammonia is half change at .5, but I'm not sure for nitrate and nitrite. And once it cycles, how often do I do changes? I know my four males in my ten gallon both reach .5 in a matter of 4-5 days, little bit less than a week. Not sure about 5.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Do not apologize. We all have to do things in an emergency we don't necessarily wish to do.

I had a rescue German Shorthaired Pointer that had spent her entire 10 years staked to a tree. No matter how we tried, she just was scared spitless in the house. Put her in the fenced acre we have for our Shorthairs and she was full of life and acted like a young dog. So, against my preachings, we had a totally outdoor dog. Whenever we brought our dogs in she would bring up the rear and do a little "happy dance" while waiting for her "special" time of petting and loving. When she'd had enough she would go to the end of the porch and get in her dog house or sleep open-air in her sling. She was so sweet she was the only Rescue I didn't rehome.

ADF are really social so I would get either two or three.

This is an excellent tutorial on cycling:
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=507585
 

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Hey there,
I have a 5-gallon tank too. I spent about 6 weeks cycling it because I really wanted to get the hang of it and have a healthy tank long-term. I thought long and hard about tank-mates. I really wanted more than one betta in there! I honestly spent hours poring over articles online, hoping to find some that would tell me it's okay to add several more fish into my 5-gallon. I couldn't find much. Because it's really not a good idea. Most of those cute, tiny fish are meant to be in groups, as others here have explained. Finally, I settled for 4 cute, energetic little ghost shrimp. My betta leaves them alone, and they help keep the bottom of my tank clean. I have to say, it was a good decision. My tank is absolutely thriving and healthy. I'm very proud of it. My biggest advice to you is (1) cycle your tank (2) don't overstock it.
 

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On the question of snails reproducing:

Nerite snails cannot reproduce successfully in fresh water. They may even lay eggs, but the eggs require brackish water to hatch. That said, a 5 gallon tank is unlikely to be able to produce enough algae to feed more than one nerite, so if you get a nerite, get only one.

Mystery snails have specific genders and cannot fertilize themselves. If you get a male, you will definitely not get baby snails. If you get a female, she could be pregnant from her time in the store tanks, or may not be. If you get 2 (I would not suggest more than 2 snails in a five gallon, and that's assuming a GOOD filter), you may or may not have 2 of the same gender. They lay eggs out of the water and it is easy to pick the egg cases off the side or roof of the tank and knock them into the water, which will prevent them from hatching, as it drowns them.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails (MTS) and Bladder snails: These guys, are the ones that reproduce like maniacs. They don't requires mates. I'd stay away from them if you are new to snails.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Actually, a shoal of Nano fish can live quite long and healthful lives in a five gallon with a Betta. Many Nano/Micro fish are smaller than Ghost Shrimp (an inch or under) and have about the same bioload or less. Of course the tank should be cycled, adequate habitat for the Nano provided (well-planted with live plants) and a backup plan in place should the Betta prefer bachelorhood.

Information on Nanos with Betta in a five gallon may be scarce but those of us who have tried it know it works.

+1 on MTS. I put some of my Assassin Snails in my 10 gallon to cut the population. You can hardly give MTS away.
 

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I have a 5 gallon tank and after a successful cycle I rearranged the tank a little, added some more plants, and two "Oto catfish". They're tiny and do a great job keeping up the tank. SeaBiscuit chased them around for a bit the first day, but he's seemed to have accepted them just fine. Every once in a while he'll flare up if one of them is too close to his favorite 'lily pad', but they're family now.
 
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