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Stocking Question - Embers, CPDs, Hifin Platy??


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Hi All. I’m looking to add some color and activity in this 20 gal long. It’s been set up for a year and only has a betta (plakat), 6 panda corys and a few amano shrimp (lots of ramshorn snails). I have 4 additional pandas currently in qt that will be added next week. My main goal is to add some small colorful schooling fish and some activity with keeping the peace. My betta is a bit blind. He’s starting to get that condition where the scales form over his eyes. He is a grumpy betta. 

My first choice are ember tetras followed by CPDs. Also thought about maybe 3 male hifin platties. Lambchop rasbora crossed my mind too, but cannot find these. 

When I planned this tank, I really wanted rummy nose, maybe they’re too busy/active with a betta. 

My water parameters:

Temp: 77F
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 7.2
KH: 6
GH: 300





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That's a great looking tank and a very handsome grumpy betta. I've not kept ember tetras or CPD's so I can't speak about them, but the platies will be pretty similar in size to the betta and smaller, faster fish may be a better contrast. I love my male Endlers for high activity and color. A group of scarlet Endler boys would be eye catching in that tank. They don't school, but they are zippy and non-stop race around and "dance" for each other.

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My Embers are a tight schooling group I have 6, but only what I assume to be the male is showing that bright orange coloration.  Still a great addition.  Cherry Barbs would stand out against all of those plants

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embers don't really school in the same sense that rummy do; they just sort of sit still all day; also mine kind of scatter around - a bit like cardinals or neons. They are not very active. cdp are similar i guess 'cept they are less likely to hang together (ember will gather if they feel threatened) and are a little more active. kubotai rasbora are very pretty fishes that hang near the top and constantly in motion - a bit like rummy but not quite as tightly grouped (i guess your betta won't love them) but they are smaller and like cooler water than rummy. guppies are always an option 'cept some betta will go after the tails and they can be a bit active. I'm not a fan of platy and kind of prefer swordtails (which are very closely related) but to be honest i think either swordtails or platty will change the 'attitude' of the aquarium and both can get fairly large. I think i would stick with smaller tetra or rasbora unless you have a strong desire for a live bearer species. There is a fundamental clash in that live bearers prefer hard(er) water and all the other species mentioned prefer soft water.


cherry barbs are not a bad suggestion; they are not schooling and tend to scatter - generally speaking not so active but attractive red. also your water condition is fairly decent for them - maybe a little on the hard side but better suited than the other stockings. 


I'm a fan of serape tetra but they can be quite lively  at times; other times fairly quiet. They are larger than embers by quite a bit but smaller than platties.


You did specify your kh in degree and i presume your gh is 300 ppm which is around gh 16 degree (depending on your location) which is rather hard so there is that aspect to consider - i.e, if your gh is 300ppm then livebearers will dance in joy and everyone else will grit their teeth in tolerance.

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@anewbie  You're right. Shoal is the more accurate description for my Embers.  Watching the Fish Cam, mine are hanging out and chasing each other  near the HOB.  At feeding time tonight they will likely show some schooling behavior when I am in the room.  I hadn't really considered the Serpae Tetras.  I just moved mine to the small community. They no longer spend most of their time hiding, and have become quite active.

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