Originally Posted by Byron
That is very nice, well done. My one hardscape suggestion would be to put a chunk of wood vertical in the left rear corner. Not only to cover the filter stem, but for balance; I find that end of the tank just a tad "light" in weight and it needs something dark and vertical but not too wide. The wood you mentioned on order might do it, I don't know what it is like. A thinnish piece reaching to or close to the top would work, creating the impression of a standing tree or tree trunk.
I do like your river rock arrangement, very natural. A that is a nice substrate. For floating plants, nothing beats Water Sprite if you can get it. Brazilian Pennywort is my second choice. And definitely small snails, Malaysian Livebearing are ideal especially for the substrate which should be left alone by the aquarist.
On the fish, be careful with the Bolivians. If you can be certain of getting one male and 3 females, four will work; two males/two females might but might also be a bit "iffy."
As for the other fish, you have conflicting water parameters. Forktail rainbows should be in basic (pH above 7), and that will finish cardinal tetra that must have acidic. In my experience cardinals should not be above pH 6.
There is also an issue with current; the goby come from fast-flowing streams, and this is certainly not desirable to cardinals or hatchets or killies. On the killies, they would be perfect with cardinals and similar, as the killies stay under floating plants and need acidic water (not above pH 7).
I agree with the L side of the tank - I picture the driftwood coming reaching up and over to that side, but we shall see. For the driftwood, I bought #2148 on this page. It may need to be trimmed - it's long. I might cut it and use it in two pieces, or a larger piece with a smaller branch elsewhere. We shall see. Driftwood page 4 The Driftwood Store
I was told that Bolivians liked being social, so more than one pair was good for them, that you'd see more of their personality that way, and that 4 would be good in a 3-ft long tank. I keep getting conflicting information in that regard and am not sure what to do. What would you suggest?
I was told to get a bunch of them and see if the LFS would take back the fish that don't pair off to find two pair.
Our water is soft and the pH generally runs right around neutral. Right now mine is 7.2 - with the driftwood added it might drop a bit, which is what happened to me previously, where it typically ran 6.8 - 7.0.
I definitely want Rams of some sort - Bolivians are hardier and seem even more interactive which is why I have them on my list.
I was initially considering a pair of Rams and then a pair or trio of Apistos, but then thought that one dwarf cichlid would be better than two. (?)
I love Kuhli loaches.
I love gobies (obviously am drawn to eel-looking fish with character - I would love a rope fish but I know it's not suited for this tank with smaller fish). I am fascinated by them and think they're adorable. Plus, the fact that they eat algae - rather well, I hear - is a bonus.
I am really drawn to the forktails as a unique schooler with some color and activity.
Cardinals are just fish that worked well for me previously (even in that same pH range) and I like how a large school of them look. I don't have my heart set on them, the killies, or the hatchets but do need some more middle-upper fish. I do really like killifish in general, though. I am wary of other species of them, though, as I had a female A. Australe eat my Cardinals (I know that's not typical, and I wouldn't have believed it myself had I not seen a tail sticking out of her mouth.)
I also like Silver tip Tetras quite a bit but read that they can be nippy.
I don't like Neons as much as Cardinals but if they're better suited I'd consider them - the blue is nice to have compared with the normal coloration of most other fish I want - which is why I like the Cardinals.
I also could go for Rummynose Tetras.
My husband likes Zebra Danios, I would like a little more color but am open to them.
(Haven't read up on water conditions for the above)
Other suggestions for me? Again, I am very open to suggestions.