37-gallon - Starting Anew
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37-gallon - Starting Anew

This is a discussion on 37-gallon - Starting Anew within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Okay so I owned a black ghost knife for about a year. He lived alone in my aquarium since he ate every fish I ...

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37-gallon - Starting Anew
Old 04-13-2010, 01:55 PM   #1
 
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37-gallon - Starting Anew

Okay so I owned a black ghost knife for about a year. He lived alone in my aquarium since he ate every fish I tried to introduce. I was changing things around in his tank and doing a partial water change a few weeks ago. I left him in a bucket. When I came back he had jumped out and dried up. I tried to get another baby black ghost knife but it died for some unknown reason a few days later.

I want to make my tank a planted tank. I've already agreed to buy some star moss, fertilized subsrate, and a piece of driftwood from aquabid.com. I planned on also getting anubias nana, making a carpet out of dwarf subulata, Brazilian Pennywort, java fern, bronze wendtii, and jungle vallisneria. These would all grow in higher temperatures. I figured I'd slowly work on getting the aquarium salt out of my aquarium and remove the carbon from my filter. I already have and use Leaf Zone. My aquarium hood only supports one bulb and right now I have one fluorescent Aquaglo installed. I've considered getting a CO2 pump. Once that was all off to a good start I was going to get some Discus and guppies. But now I've been told that Discus wouldn't be happy in my aquarium.

Right now I have 4 zebra danios, 1 giant danio (only survivor of first BGK), and 3 glass catfish. I could find homes for the fish I have now, I could possibly even return them to Petsmart. So suppose all I have is an empty tank that will soon have fertilized substrate mixed with gravel, a piece of driftwood and some star moss. I still want to use up the frozen beef heart and blood worms I have.

What fish would you stock the tank with? I've never tried to do a planted aquarium. I've read through the sticky posts on the forum about plant care. Would you suggest a CO2 pump? What do you think of my selection of plants? Basically, what would you do with an empty, tall, 37-gallon aquarium?
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Old 04-13-2010, 02:27 PM   #2
 
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I would not bother with CO2. First, adding diffused CO2 means more light than what you have, and then more nutrient (fertilizer) to balance. If you read the 4-part low-tech stickies you'll see lots about balance and achieving the minimum which lets you grow most plants adequately.

The single tube will work, but I would get a better one, full spectrum or daylight around 6500K works best. There are "aquarium" makes that will cost more, or the daylight types in hardware stores for 1/5 the cost that are just as effective.

I don't like recommending fish to others because I think your aquarium should be what you want and not what I want. But assuming you have soft, slightly acid water (if you were contemplating discus, which I would agree would not work in a 37g) you have a tremendous variety of possibilities. Check the characin, cyprinid (rasbora, loaches), catfish, cichlid (dwarf species from SA) sections of our profiles. There are guidelines for tankmates, water parameters, and behaviour issues for each species.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 04-13-2010 at 02:32 PM..
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:47 PM   #3
 
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None of the characin appeal to me, cyprinids look okay...the only catfish I like is the glass catfish. Some of the dwarf cichlids look a little appealing.

This is so depressing. All of the fish I like require a bigger aquarium. It makes me want to just empty the thing, sell it, and wait until I get my own place 4-5 years from now. What's the point of keeping fish if I don't like the fish I'm keeping? Sorry this is just frustrating.

Are there any other kinds of fish that would be happy in a 37-gallon, that will also eat frozen blood worms and beef heart?
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:23 PM   #4
 
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Suppose I were to get dwarf cichlids. How many could I have? Could I put any other fish with them? Can I mix and match different dwarf species? I know cichlids need hiding places. Would they be happy with one piece of driftwood and plants? I'd like to avoid trying to make caves, but I don't want pots or anything fake either.
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:36 PM   #5
 
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The floor space in the tank (substrate area) is the key to how many pairs of dwarf cichlids; the males establish territories (all cichlids do this) and to be un-stressed they need to be out of each other's eyesight or be able to escape each other. If the area is 3-feet by something, two pairs would manage with plants and wood separating their territories, but as you mentioned a high tank I suspect less area so a pair of any of the dwarfs would work. Plus something to swim around in groups, which also puts them at ease, we call it dither fish. Most people use a species or two of characins as they suit admirably.

I've never yet seen a fish that wouldn't eat frozen bloodworms. I only feed them three evenings a week, and primarily because I have three species that will eat nothing else that isn't alive. Beefheart would work for cichlids; I used to feed it to my African Butterfly fish (Pantodon), newts and frogs. And the mudskipper liked it too.
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:21 PM   #6
 
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The African Butterfly Fish looks like it would be a fun fish to keep. I've got a place or two where it would probably jump out though. Mudskippers look cute but wouldn't work for my setup, obviously.

So I could get two males, as long as there were two sections of the tank for each to claim? Like maybe divide the tank by a tall plant in the middle or something.

What about angelfish? How many of those could I have? In either instance, how many dither fish could I get?

Also, I looked at the pictures of your 70-gallon aquarium. What a beautiful tank! What are the floating plants you have in there?
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:50 AM   #7
 
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Well, first things first, what are your source water parameters (pH and hardness)? If you're starting over completely I would stock your tank around your parameters rather than try to adjust them or force fish to adapt to parameters they aren't comfortable in.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:52 AM   #8
 
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Tap water parameters

GH: 50 - 75 ppm (soft)

KH: 0 - 40 ppm (low)

PH: 7.8 - 8.4

Aquarium parameters (taken 4/9/2010)

GH: 50 - 75 ppm (soft)

KH: 40 ppm (low)

PH: 7.0
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:02 PM   #9
 
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First, thank you for the compliment on the 70g. If this is the current 70g it is the SE Asian setup and the floating plants are Hygrophila difformis (Wisteria) which I let grow from the substrate and wind across the surface. I have Chocolate Gourami and Pygmy Sparkling Gourami in this tank that spawn regularly, and some fry manage to survive in the tangle of floating vegetation; I presently have different-sized fry from 4 different spawnings of both species. Plus, both these species need floating plants to be comfortable; they breathe air as you probably know so spend a lot of time near the surface, the Pygmy build bubblenests in the vegetation, and the Chocolate females (mouthbrooders) release their fry in the vegetation. And they all browse it constantly looking for bits of food.

On the dwarf cichlids: most do best in a mated pair (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi and some others) or harem (one male, 2-3 females), depending upon the species; two males alone is not in my view a good idea. One of the delights of this hobby is having dwarf cichlids spawn, since they are sufficient protectors that the eggs usually survive and hatch and the fry can sometimes (depending upon the other fish species in the tank) make it to a decent size. The behaviours of the parents are fascinating.

Angels are social shoaling fish, so a group is best although others will undoubtedly tell of their success with a pair. A group of 3 or more is recommended. Given their adult size of 6+ inches in length, they need space; and they grow quickly and continually so unless a larger tank is in the near future, I would wait on angelfish. They are much like discus when it comes to space requirements and both should as I say be in a group, discus at 5+.

Water parameters are, or will be, workable for dwarf cichlids. I would go easy (light) on water changes and allow the tank to become more acidic as it will with low carbonate hardness; you see how it currently sits at 7 compared to 8 out of the tap, and this is solely due to the natural biological processes in any aquarium. When the pH is down in the low to mid-6 range, that is ideal for dwarf cichlids. Having real wood in the tank encourages this, plus provides needed environmental stuff for these fish. And of course lots of plants. Then smaller water changes, no more than 25% weekly which in a planted tank with fish stocking at normal limit will be fine, will ensure the pH does not rise significantly.

As for dither fish, that partly depends upon the cichlids selected. Some need higher temps (M. ramirezi 82-84F; M. altispinosus 77-79F for contrast). Most of the Apistogramma species, the main genus for dwarfs, manage around 78-80. For surface fish, hatchetfish are perfect; I prefer the species in the genus Carnegiella, which includes the familiar marble hatchetfish. This group of fish do very well with dwarf cichlids. Mid-water dither fish could be most of the characin (tetra, pencilfish) species; pencilfish make excellent dither fish. And on the bottom, small catfish like Corydoras, again selecting species for warm water (C. sterbai is one) if that is needed, as some (like C. panda) do much better cooler. Oddball catfish like small pleco species, or whiptails or Farlowella are interesting additions; and Farlowella is one of the greatest algae eaters I have ever seen. With respect to how many: these are all shoaling fish, so groups of 6+ are recommended. Hatchetfish at 7-9, a shoaling characins of two different species with 6-8 of each; a group of 5 Corydoras, plus a Farlowella or Whiptail or pleco, would make a nice display.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 04-14-2010 at 01:05 PM..
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:58 PM   #10
 
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Okay so how about 1 male and 2 female Blue Ram Cichlids, 8 Glass Catfish, 9 Danios of varying color, and 1 Pleco? Would that be too crowded? I can use my sister's Pleco that's already about 10 inches long. He needs to be in a bigger tank anyway.

Last edited by mimodok; 04-15-2010 at 03:03 PM..
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