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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first attempt at keeping a nano. I had to leave my big tank at home when I went to school this year, so I'm trying a small tank to save space in my room. Here's what I have so far:

5.5 gal tank w/cover, light, heater, filter
ADA Amazonia substrate

Fish I want to put in:
Betta
galaxy rasboras
kuhli loaches

My light provides 3.27 W/gal, so I was thinking of using Hemianthus callitrichoides as foreground, but I don't know what to use for mid- and background plants. I want something that complements the look of Hemianthus callitrichoides, so I was thinking something along the line of a grass-like plant. I also can't decide if I want to use driftwood like my tank at home, or if I'd like to try rocks this time. What do y'all think?
 

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I really like the contrast of Blyxa Japonica and HC. Then find a nice stem plant that you like and add a few stems.(Rotala Wallichi might look nice growing between the Blyxa.) This isn't really original, but it looks great. As for wood vs. rock, that's up to you.
My vote goes to wood, with a small patch of fissidens fontanus tied to it.
 

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My 5.5 gallons (3.1 wpg) have a lot of plants, but my favorite that seems to grow really well in it is hygro 'sunset'. With the lighting I have I get nice pink leaves with beautiful light-veined patterns on them. You might consider adding a few of those.

About your selected fish though, I wouldn't recommend keeping kuhli loaches in a 5 gallon tank. The recommended minimum for them is usually 20 gallons. I would suggest sticking to a school of rasboras only. Most bettas will not do well with other fish, and with only 5 gallons to work with galaxy rasboras (or a small school of neon tetras) would be best. My 5.5 gallons each have only one betta in them, which is also an option.

Good luck with your new tank! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the ideas! I have tried blyxa before, and have never had any success with it, I guess it's just not my plant! I really like the hygro suggestion and will definitely be looking into it.

I decided to go with driftwood and I currently have my HC and a bare-root anubais planted. Although I've always been successful with keeping my bettas in community tanks, I have decided that they aren't what I want in this tank. Instead I am going to have 2 sparkling gouramis and a few galaxy rasboras, maybe a pygmy cory, if my lfs ever gets them again. The tank should be done in a day or so, and I will be getting pics up soon!
 

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Although I've always been successful with keeping my bettas in community tanks, I have decided that they aren't what I want in this tank. Instead I am going to have 2 sparkling gouramis and a few galaxy rasboras, maybe a pygmy cory, if my lfs ever gets them again.
There are some problems with stocking your tank.
1.Gouramis do not go into tanks that small and males (with a few exceptions) are highly aggressive with each other. Check out this link.
http://www.aquahobby.com/gallery/e_lalia.php (80 liters=about 21 gallons)
2.Galaxy rasboras are schooling fish and need to be kept in groups of 4 or more. They also are too big for your tank.
http://www.tropicalfish4u.co.uk/Fish/Freshwater/Rasboras/GalaxyRasbora (100 liters=about 26 gallons)
3.Cories should be kept in groups of 3 or more. They are also schooling fish also.
http://www.aquahobby.com/gallery/e_pygmaeus.php (40 liters=10 gallons)

I suggest you stick with a betta, shrimp, snail etc. or maybe there's some kind of freshwater crab you'de like to try or frog. Bettas are about the only fish fit to live in a 5.5 gallon.
 

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I've been researching good fish for a nano for a little bit now. Have you looked into pheonix rasboras (Boraras merah)? They tend to max out at 1.5cm so you could certainly fit a few in your nano. I think this is the route I am going to take with a couple otos and quite a few RCS for my 7g ADA 30C.
 

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I think you would be able to keep some pygmy rasboras. Look at Franksaquarium.com They usually have a nice selection of dwarf fish.

I have nano plants in my 10g. If you use small plants then your tank will require less pruning, it will look larger, and you can do a little more with the scape.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
There are some problems with stocking your tank.
1.Gouramis do not go into tanks that small and males (with a few exceptions) are highly aggressive with each other. Check out this link.
http://www.aquahobby.com/gallery/e_lalia.php (80 liters=about 21 gallons)
This is a link to Dwarf Gouramis, which are fairly aggressive and way to big to fit in a 5.5. I have two female Sparkling Gouramis, which are a shy, peaceful variety and max out at 3cm, and will live happily in a smaller tank provided that they have lots of cover. They are, however, aggressive towards larger fish, so anything else in the tank must be smaller, so pygmy rasboras would work. Thanks for the suggestion, Tex Gal!
 
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