Keep thinking ahead, so I figured I better write it down. This week or next, I'm going to pick up those free fish. There are 7 of them- two swordtails, four tetras (serpae and I think red eye), one pepper corydora. I realize I'm not the best home for them because all those fish prefer to live in groups of their own kind, and I don't have any of the same species. But it's been several weeks and no one else has even replied to the posting I made on the fish forums seeking a new home for them. I'm willing to house his fish to the end of their lives- even if it's not ideal at least they will have space and live plants and good water... is it better than going back to the pet store.
I am trying to plump up my bacteria colony by putting as much food in the window tank each day as I think those seven fish might eat- because when they first come here that's where they all will go. Asking what temp he keeps his tank at so I can have mine set the same, to reduce shock. Will observe them several days to make sure there is no disease (brought on by stress). Then I will move the tetras into my 38, two at a time.
The window tank will just house the swordtails and the pepper cory. Who do okay at cooler temps, so after the tetras are out I will gradually drop the temp down to 72°. I really want to use this new setup to try out keeping fish and plants in a subtropical tank, that will just stay at room temperature year-round. Swords need a heater so it doesn't drop too low, but pepper cories (according to my reading) actually do better at cooler temps and can tolerate down to 64°.
So- these fish I'm adopting probably have 1-2 years left before they hit old age, same as my cherry barbs. When that time comes around, I'm seriously considering to convert my 38 into a subtropical tank, not all the plants can survive that, some will get moved out to start the new, larger aquarium I'm still hoping to get someday for angelfish. Kuhlis would move into there as well. At that point the window tank will get dismantled and just kept on hand in case I need a QT for angelfish or something. And then I want a harem of paradise fish in my 38. I had not considered them before because they aren't too common around here, I don't know anyone who keeps them but I saw some in the fish store I visited in MD two months ago. They were one of the very first tropical fish kept in the hobby- gorgeous colors, body shape very like a betta (but larger at 3-5") and if I can get the right species, they are a cool-water fish, thrive in tanks that get into the low sixties (my house at night in the winter). I'd move the pepper cats (planning to get him some buddies) in with the paradise fish if they can cohabit- paradise fish are pugnacious- they will eat or tear apart most other fish. A species-only tank for sure.
And... if I realize while I have the window tank running that doing maintenance on three tanks is more than I want to handle, I might quit keeping a betta tank at that point... kind of mildly uneasy about it all the time since that tank is in the room that houses my library collection. I don't imagine it ever breaking and there's no problems with mildew, but you never know.
I do still love oscars, but I don't want to have a hundred-gallon-plus tank. And I do love bettas, but I'm continually looking for one slightly larger- the "king" bettas at the store really always catch my eye. Paradise fish might be just right -something in between the two, with similar personality and possible to keep a group of them- one male with three or four females seems quite doable. There you go!
Let's see if I change my mind about it all in the next six months...