I am new to fish-keeping and was planning to get a Bio Orb 60 liter. However, I have now decided against that due to what I have read on here.
I am wondering if any of you would mind holding my hand a bit regarding which tank to get, I'm at a total loss.
The fish and invertebrates I plan to get are: White mountain minnows (around 20), 4 Corydoras cat fish, some red cherry shrimp and some snails (not sure of the type). The numbers are based on the pet shop 'fish point' system. I am open to changing the numbers/species if necessary, but definitely want the minnows, some kind of shrimp (hopefully that will breed), snails and a couple of small catfish. I would like to still go for a 60 liter (unless that is really too small). I also plan to plant slow growing live plants.
So, I suppose the advice I need is: best tank type/shape (perhaps links, if that's allowed), lighting (to grow plants), filter, heater (do I need one?), substrate (safe for the catfish, I read that the Bio Orb substrate can hurt them). Also, perhaps some advice regarding the best snail, shrimp and catfish types for the size I plan to get and some ideas regarding the best slow growing live plants.
That tank looks ideal. For the cories you'll need a sand substrate as gravel can damage their barbels when they dig in it.
If you're going for White Cloud Mountain minnows you'll only need a heater set to about 20C in the coldest part of the year, or maybe not at all if your house is always warm. You'll want cories that are also tolerant of cooler water so peppered cories are ideal - a group of six. If you want snails I recommend Nerite snails as they have various pretty shell patterns but don't breed in freshwater so won't over-run your tank. Cherry shrimps would also be fine at that temperature, but any babies may be eaten by the minnows.
The woman in the pet shop advised that I could cycle the tank with the fish in (one or two). But, that seems a bit cruel, risking their health. The fish-less version seems less risky.
Are there any plants you would recommend at that temperature? Also that will grow in the Corie-safe sand? I am hoping to get slow-growing varieties to keep pruning down a bit.
With the cherry shrimp, I was wondering if I could put a 'nursery' in the tank where some of the babies could hide once hatched to prevent them all from being eaten. I'm not sure how feasible this is though.
The best plants for that kind of set up are ones that grow attached to wood, rocks etc., such as anubias, java fern, bucephalandra. They di well in low/average light and grow slowly. The rocks and wood can be arranged to make little hidey holes for your shrimps.