How many Pygmy Cories in this tank size?

OliveFish05

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Hello! I am saving up my money to buy a 29 gallon tank, to make a paludarium. The dimensions are 30 inches long by 12 inches wide and 18 inches tall. I plan to only fill it about 8 to 10 inches, to create a waterfall and land area. My other planned stock would be a school of 12 neon tetras along with a trio of honey gourami OR a female betta (I am torn between the honey gouramis and the betta) My question is, how many Pygmy Cories could I keep in this tank size? I was HOPING that with the other mentioned stock I could have 8 Cory Habrosus and 8 Pygmy Cories (I know they are both a type of Pygmy Cory) so there would be a nice size school of each. Would the tank size/space allow this? I can stick with just one school of Cories if it would be better! I plan to run an AquaClear 50, and have it spill over some rocks or driftwood as a waterfall.
 

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How much of the surface of the substrate will be covered by water? I had something like this once for my newts and an aquatic toad, and the "land" portion took up about half the area, which greatly reduced the water surface/substrate area.
 
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OliveFish05

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How much of the surface of the substrate will be covered by water? I had something like this once for my newts and an aquatic toad, and the "land" portion took up about half the area, which greatly reduced the water surface/substrate area.
I hadn’t thought of that! I would think I would only put “land” on the back for sure and the waterfall kinda towards the side. I would estimate, in my mind, that the actual swimming space will be about 28 inches long and 9 inches front to back.
 

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I hadn’t thought of that! I would think I would only put “land” on the back for sure and the waterfall kinda towards the side. I would estimate, in my mind, that the actual swimming space will be about 28 inches long and 9 inches front to back.

The groups of neon tetras and pygmy cories could be worked out once the design is finished, and I wouldn't want to suggest numbers beforehand just in case. A waterfall that is not violent (this idea here sounds fine to me, it will be a less rambunctious flow) will likely suit the tetras and cories, but I would forget any gourami. In any event, both neons and the "pygmy" cory species prefer cooler water, such as this set-up will naturally provide (air interacting with water more), and the warm-loving gourami will be hindered. And in this small a tank, the surface disturbance will likely be more than gourami appreciate.
 
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OliveFish05

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The groups of neon tetras and pygmy cories could be worked out once the design is finished, and I wouldn't want to suggest numbers beforehand just in case. A waterfall that is not violent (this idea here sounds fine to me, it will be a less rambunctious flow) will likely suit the tetras and cories, but I would forget any gourami. In any event, both neons and the "pygmy" cory species prefer cooler water, such as this set-up will naturally provide (air interacting with water more), and the warm-loving gourami will be hindered. And in this small a tank, the surface disturbance will likely be more than gourami appreciate.
Ah ok, I shall look into my options more, when the tank is all set up and it is all said and done. Thank you for your help! Would there be a problem with temperature if I had a heater that kept the tank at a constant temp? I do plan to have a heater, and the reading on it is not very accurate, but it is consistent (like if I set it to 78, it keeps it at 74, the sticker numbers are off. I have checked the temp with our digital thermometer, which is accurate)
 

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Ah ok, I shall look into my options more, when the tank is all set up and it is all said and done. Thank you for your help! Would there be a problem with temperature if I had a heater that kept the tank at a constant temp? I do plan to have a heater, and the reading on it is not very accurate, but it is consistent (like if I set it to 78, it keeps it at 74, the sticker numbers are off. I have checked the temp with our digital thermometer, which is accurate)

Nothing wrong with a heater, if it keeps the water at "x" temperature, which here should be around 74-75F/23C, fine for neons and cories.
 
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OliveFish05

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I am not quite sure how the waterfall will turn out and all, but if I found a way to lay it out that it DIDN’T cause a ton of surface agitation, could the gourami be happy? I of course want what is best for the fish and their health and happiness. I plan to heavily plant it, if that would make any difference?

Do the honey gourami and the Pygmy cories and neon tetras have overlapping temperature ranges or no? Do you have any idea if a female betta would do well in this setup, in place of gourami?

(im sorry for all the questions, I a, just trying to get an idea of what will and won’t work, and why, so I know for the future)
 

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I am not quite sure how the waterfall will turn out and all, but if I found a way to lay it out that it DIDN’T cause a ton of surface agitation, could the gourami be happy? I of course want what is best for the fish and their health and happiness. I plan to heavily plant it, if that would make any difference?

You will find that in a small area tank as here, "waterfalls" create flow throughout. In a 4-foot or 5-foot tanks, having "quiet" water at the opposite nd is much more achievable. But in a 30-inch tank, it should be either a waterfall with appropriate fish species, or not. This could be a very lovely set-up, I would not ruin it trying to accommodate a fish that is really not going to be comfortable no matter what.

Plants are still good here, as the neons prefer remining under shelter from overhanging vegetation, and the cories will be more out and about higher up with similar.

Do the honey gourami and the Pygmy cories and neon tetras have overlapping temperature ranges or no? Do you have any idea if a female betta would do well in this setup, in place of gourami?

Yes and no. This is a case where you have two species (neons and cories) so well suited to live together because of their near-identical environmental requirements, and being able to provide a lower temperature and a forest stream-like setting to better suit them...why not do it? A larger community aquarium could have the temperature a bit higher with all these fish. Female betta is even worse, bettas are anabantids and all come from very slow waters and need some warmth.
 
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OliveFish05

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You will find that in a small area tank as here, "waterfalls" create flow throughout. In a 4-foot or 5-foot tanks, having "quiet" water at the opposite nd is much more achievable. But in a 30-inch tank, it should be either a waterfall with appropriate fish species, or not. This could be a very lovely set-up, I would not ruin it trying to accommodate a fish that is really not going to be comfortable no matter what.

Plants are still good here, as the neons prefer remining under shelter from overhanging vegetation, and the cories will be more out and about higher up with similar.



Yes and no. This is a case where you have two species (neons and cories) so well suited to live together because of their near-identical environmental requirements, and being able to provide a lower temperature and a forest stream-like setting to better suit them...why not do it? A larger community aquarium could have the temperature a bit higher with all these fish. Female betta is even worse, bettas are anabantids and all come from very slow waters and need some warmth.
Ohhhhhhh ok. I see. Thank you for the info. I will definitely have to rethink my plans then!
 
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After several hours of thought and research (and also dinner) I am thinking that I am more set on honey gourami than the paludarium setup. What would an ideal setup be for the honey gouramis? What would be some tank mates that would do well with them?

If I decided to stick with the paludarium and do Pygmy Cories and neon tetras, are there any “centerpiece” fish that would do well with them and that set up?
 

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Just an opinion, but I once tried to keep pygmy corys in my 29G tank, and ii didn't work out well.
Corys need to surface now and again for gulps of air, and the tall nature of the tank seemed to hinder this with the little guys.
They didn't last long....
 

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If I decided to stick with the paludarium and do Pygmy Cories and neon tetras, are there any “centerpiece” fish that would do well with them and that set up?

Not easy. Sedate fish, which seem to be what most aquarists consider "centrepiece" fish, obviously will not fare well in a waterfall stream tank that is this small (as explained previously, the space prevents "quiet" zones). There are larger but still "small" fish that I would consider centrepiece--I had a group of Conge Tetra in my 4-foot 90g for years, and a group of Bleeding Heart Tetras in my 5-foot 115g tank for years--but these are too large for a 30g tank. I might be able to come up with some suitable shoaling fish given the time. But such a display is ideally suited to an Amazon forest stream habitat, and the smaller characins are perfectly suited.

What would an ideal setup be for the honey gouramis? What would be some tank mates that would do well with them?

A for the Honey Gourami, species Trichogaster chuna, info on the habitat always gives us their needs re the aquascape:

Origin and Habitat: India and Bangladesh. Found in sluggish waters with thick vegetation, such as ponds, swamps, ditches and flooded fields.

Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful and suited to a community aquarium of smaller non-aggressive fishes. Can be kept in a small group in a 20g or larger, although males will become territorial when spawning.

To me, this suggests a tank like yours with sand, chunks of wood, and floating plants covering the surface. Light will be reduced, another benefit, and lower plants are not really needed, but Java Fern and mosses should manage, maybe even some small crypt species. Floating Water Sprite is ideal. Almost any of the small and some medium-sized rasboras in a group would work with a trio of HG.
 
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OliveFish05

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Not easy. Sedate fish, which seem to be what most aquarists consider "centrepiece" fish, obviously will not fare well in a waterfall stream tank that is this small (as explained previously, the space prevents "quiet" zones). There are larger but still "small" fish that I would consider centrepiece--I had a group of Conge Tetra in my 4-foot 90g for years, and a group of Bleeding Heart Tetras in my 5-foot 115g tank for years--but these are too large for a 30g tank. I might be able to come up with some suitable shoaling fish given the time. But such a display is ideally suited to an Amazon forest stream habitat, and the smaller characins are perfectly suited.
Ok. Thank you, I appreciate your help! That was what I was thinking, just wanted to hear your thoughts! My idea of a “centerpiece fish” I think is not so much size, more like something that would stand out as a bit more “out of the ordinary“ when you look at The tank, such as a pleco in a tank full of schooling fish. It would stand out, because it ISNT schooling, or a betta in a tank full of shrimp, because the betta Would stand out, swimming, in a tank full of little... not swimming things (I mean, I know shrimp swim, but I mean like such different habits and movements, but still compatible)


A for the Honey Gourami, species Trichogaster chuna, info on the habitat always gives us their needs re the aquascape:

Origin and Habitat: India and Bangladesh. Found in sluggish waters with thick vegetation, such as ponds, swamps, ditches and flooded fields.

Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful and suited to a community aquarium of smaller non-aggressive fishes. Can be kept in a small group in a 20g or larger, although males will become territorial when spawning.

To me, this suggests a tank like yours with sand, chunks of wood, and floating plants covering the surface. Light will be reduced, another benefit, and lower plants are not really needed, but Java Fern and mosses should manage, maybe even some small crypt species. Floating Water Sprite is ideal. Almost any of the small and some medium-sized rasboras in a group would work with a trio of HG.
Thank you for the info! I think I have some decisions to make then, as I love the Idea of both tanks.
 
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OliveFish05

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@Byron If I were to set up a 20 gallon long with an AquaClear 50 (moderate flow, but the tank would have plots of plants, but still good filtration) would I be able to stock it with 3 to 5 honey gourami, a bristlenose pleco, and 12-16 Pygmy Cories? Would the Cories and pleco be happy in that kind of environment? (Less water flow, lots of plants, a branch of driftwood, temp at 78) I spent a LOT of time thinking, and realized that the sound of a waterfall is great outside and all, but I doubt I would enjoy it long term in my bedroom. My GH is 5 by the way!

Do gourami need a lid on the tank? I plan to add some bamboo, in which case it would be growing up out of the tank, but I could make it work with a lid if needed
 

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@Byron If I were to set up a 20 gallon long with an AquaClear 50 (moderate flow, but the tank would have plots of plants, but still good filtration) would I be able to stock it with 3 to 5 honey gourami, a bristlenose pleco, and 12-16 Pygmy Cories? Would the Cories and pleco be happy in that kind of environment? (Less water flow, lots of plants, a branch of driftwood, temp at 78) I spent a LOT of time thinking, and realized that the sound of a waterfall is great outside and all, but I doubt I would enjoy it long term in my bedroom. My GH is 5 by the way!

Do gourami need a lid on the tank? I plan to add some bamboo, in which case it would be growing up out of the tank, but I could make it work with a lid if needed

It is generally a good idea to have a cover on an aquarium with fish. It reduces/eliminates dust settling on the surface (which can cause issues), it avoids evaporation from condensation (which not only reduces the tank water, leaving behind the bad things, but it gets into the walls of the house), it prevents fish jumping out (you might be surprised how many fish will jump at night from this or that, even cories), and it can avoid dangerous substances accidentally getting in the water. It also keeps the air above the surface warmer, and with anabantids this is very important.

I don't like HOB filters (had them years ago), there is too much current, though I've no idea if these newer models can be reduced, but the waterfall design is not suited to what you're planning now. A dual sponge filter, or a small corner internal filter would be my choice. My cories in a 40g 3-foot tank have an Aqueon QuietFlow, rated for a 40g, and I can create a good surface disturbance across the back with hardly any current across the front.
 

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