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Discussion Starter #1
In the not-too-distant future, I'd love to add some tankmates to join a Betta and an Apple Snail currently housed in a 15gal tank (planted, heated, filtered, slightly basic and a little hard).

My wife likes Neon Tetras, so it'd probably be wise to appease her even though I'd personally opt for Rummy Nose. I've also read the consensus opinion on the compatibility of Bettas and Corys, so I'd considered adding them as well.

My original thought was to add a small school of Tetras (5 or so) followed a few months later by a small group of Corys (maybe 3). Theoretically, I'd have just enough of each fish, the Corys would take care of business on the bottom, the Tetras would hang near the middle, and the Betta would rule the roost up top.

Well it turns out AqAdvisor strongly disagrees with my initial offering and feels that I would need a significantly larger filter than the Tetra Whisper PF10 I have. A few specific questions I'd like to pose:

1) How accurate is AqAdvisor?

2) Of particular interest is the lack of consideration given to plants by AqAdvisor. Won't the plants help pick up some of the slack from the undersized filter?

3) Assuming I don't upgrade the filter, what would your stocking advice be? Do I max out the school of Neons, make my wife happy, and leave the Corys for a future tank? Try to get by with the minimal recommended number of both and see how it goes? Or are there suggestions I haven't thought of?

Thanks!
 

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I use it as a base. Most people say it's not very accurate. Plants, swimming levels, ect are things it doesn't take into account. Plants definitely help. They suck up ammonia and use it as a nutrient. With a heavily enough planted tank, you can actually add all your fish at the beginning as the plants help that much.

In a 15 gallon, I would feel comfortable with a betta, 5-6 neons and 4-5 cories. I would add the corys last as they are a bit more sensitive. (Keep in mind neons sometimes tend to be fin nippers)

Also, the tetra pf10 is recommended for 5-10 gallon tanks. Even with plants, I like to have a filter recommended for my tank size. It might be ok if you only do neons or corys. But I would upgrade it if you want both just to be safe.
 
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I agree on the cory's. I have two in my sorority and they get along great and keep the bottom clean I also recommend these two inch max size algae eaters. They are awesome too. Called otocinclus they are shooling fish too (so more than one). They are as good as the corys. I don't know if I would be brave enough to add anything that may nip my betta but I have seen people use tetras and even danios. danios are nippy too though sometimes. Pic of oto's attached.
 

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I feel that Aq Advisor is pretty conservative on the stocking amounts. It doesn't take into account that carnivores have a higher bioload than herbivores or omnivores so you can stock more herbivorous fish than you could carnivores of the same size. It's good for a start but its suggestions aren't written in stone.

For a cycled, planted 15g, what Smoke suggested is good. Or you can do 8-10 neons and 3-4 cories. Having more neons in a school tends to cut down on any nippiness as they focus on each other rather than the betta. Either choice is valid.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@SmokeNLark: Thanks for the recommendation and for confirming my thoughts about a planted tank helping to make up for the undersized filter. Unfortunately, I was on a very tight budget ($50!) getting the tank set up for my son for Christmas and the Petco "Success Kit" included the tank, hood, light, heater, and PF10 for $40. Figured the heater and filter would be undersized, but couldn't pass up the price.

@ShirleytheBetta: Love the idea of Otos, but based on the profile here, I think I'd need to wait awhile until I had a good amount of algae ready for them. The nipping of the Tetras is a concern, but I'm hopeful that a large enough school will help to keep this from becoming problematic.

@Sakura8: If I could get away with 8-10 Tetras and still have the possibility of adding 3-4 Corys down the road, I would be thrilled! I think I may start with that in the hopes that the slightly larger school will eliminate any nipping. I'll monitor the water for a couple months and if everything seems stable and the PF10/plant combo can keep up, I'll add the Corys. If it seems to be maxed out at that point, at least my wife is happy!

Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions. I really appreciate it!
 

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Id just like to add, the plants with really only help if it's very well planted......a single java fern or Anubia isn't going to do much, in case your tank isn't very well planted. What would really help with the Cories would be to get a smaller species. I would go with Panda Cories, they need similar water parameters to the Neons anyway. You can fit at least 1-2 Cories if you go with pandas instead of, say, Bronze or Albino Cories.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Id just like to add, the plants with really only help if it's very well planted......a single java fern or Anubia isn't going to do much, in case your tank isn't very well planted. What would really help with the Cories would be to get a smaller species. I would go with Panda Cories, they need similar water parameters to the Neons anyway. You can fit at least 1-2 Cories if you go with pandas instead of, say, Bronze or Albino Cories.
Thanks for the suggestion. I like the Pandas a lot. I'm not going to rush anything, so I'll have plenty of time to research different species. The tank is fairly well planted already and I seem to be adding new ones all the time! Funny how that works.
 

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Oh also on the plant note, they will only take ammonia out if they are growing and thriving. Slow grows will help a bit but faster growers are the best. Btw I have the same tank and I got it for Christmas. The link is in my sig. The most recent is towards the back but it changed again. Note how many plants are in there, I still need more but that is because it is dirted.
 
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