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Freshwater Aquarium/Question re tank mates


White Cloud Minnow?
White Cloud Minnow?  
Hi and thanks for taking the time to read this email! I have an established 10 gallon freshwater aquarium that I inherited from my office. It has a bubbler, heater (it's set around 78 degrees) and filter and the water tests have all said everything is at the right levels.

It had just three fish in it when I moved it home - they must be very resilient since I am told there were a few other fish that have slowly died off.  No one knew what they were but after a bit of research I'm 99% sure one is a cherry barb and the other 2 might be white cloud mountain minnows. I'm not so sure on the minnows since these ones have a lot more orange on the lower fins and tail. I've slowly been introducing new fish based on advice from the local pet store (Petco) and a neighborhood aquarium. We now also have a male betta (I know this is uncommon but I was told that it's actually not true that they attack other fish - only if there are other agressive fish) and two red wag plattys.

After I figured out what the fish were (which happend after introducing the other ones) I have become worried about the cherry barb. I haven't seen him chase any of the other fish around, everyone's tails look perfectly fine and the betta and him have not had any problems. He has also been in the tank for at least 8 months with the two silver fish (potentially minnows) and they are absolutely fine.

Should I be worried? Should I move any of these fish out of the tank? They all seem to be doing so well but maybe I just am not seeing the warning signs? Also, if we wanted to get one or two more fish what would you recommend?  Last question  - any thoughts on what those two silver and orange fish might be? I've attached a photo.

Hope you can help - thanks so much!


Hi Erin

Contrary to popular belief, Bettas can be kept in community aquariums as long as precautions are taken. NO brightly colored fish or fish with fancy fins should be kept with Bettas. These include Angels, Guppies, Neon Tetras, any fish with long fins and of course other Bettas. I have a Betta in a 30 gallon tank with Black Mollies, a Dwarf Gourami and Cory Cats, and it is actually one of my most peaceful tanks.

The 2 silver fish with bright red fins are Bloodfin Tetras. They are harmless to other fish, but prefer to be in groups of 5. I do see the Cherry Barb in the picture and it may be a problem. The Betta will not bother any of the fish in your tank, but the Cherry Barb may nip your Betta. I assume the reason it hasn't bothered the Betta yet is because it is alone. Cherry Barbs are also schooling fish that prefer to be in groups of 5 or more. A Cherry Barb that is kept single is a very unhappy little guy. :-(

So we have a Betta, 2 Platys and 2 schooling fish in a tank that is already at capacity. The best thing to do is to buy a 29 gallon tank. In the larger tank you could have 5 Bloodfins, 5 Cherry Barbs, another centerpiece fish such as a Dwarf Gourami, and a bottom feeder such as a Cory Cat or an Otto Cat. In the 10 gallon you will have the 2 Platys and the Betta. This will give you 2 happy, peaceful and colorful tanks.

Hope this helps you, good luck!


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Richard Hight


I own and maintain several freshwater aquariums from 2 to 180 gallon. I can answer most questions about freshwater aquariums, including setup, cycling, maintenance, compatible tank mates, feeding. Moving? I've moved fish both across town and across the country and can help you get your little aquatic friends to their new home safely. I know and have experience with most freshwater community fish, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids. I don't answer questions about Goldfish or keeping Goldfish with Tropical Fish. I also don't answer questions about keeping crustaceans (shrimp, snails, crabs etc) with Tropical Fish, nor questions about saltwater fish or aquariums. I'm not available to answer questions on weekends, this is when I do maintenance on my own tanks.


Many years of personal experience with community tank fish, semi-aggressive fish (Barbs, Tetras, etc), Angels, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids.

HSG 2010-2011 prof

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