Advice please. Relatively new to fish keeping - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-26-2011, 04:19 AM Thread Starter
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Question Advice please. Relatively new to fish keeping

Any advice welcome. I have a jewel 120L with plant substrate covered in gravel with a rock shelf that has sand to form a beach. I have a few small plants and a few mosses (java) and (christmas tree) tied to drift wood. A large fake rock cave and large drift wood log propped up to form more shelter.
I have 6 thermalis loaches,
3 flame tetras,
2 cherry barbs ( would only have got one in hindsight as one is female and one male upon further investigation. She is fine and does not hide much but may get another female for her)
2 golden barbs
1 leopard danio
1 zebra danio

I have water parameters of zero ammonia, zero nitrite and a small nitrate amount I do a 15L water change every 10 days or so. I use a gravel sucker to take out the water out for the changes to clean it a little better. I feed a few different things. Mainly flakes, frozen blood worms, dried tubiflex and the odd bit of cucumber. We have a daylight bulb and a plant bulb. The filter is a combination of a mechanical White followed by a charcoal filter i change the white one
weekly and the charcoal monthly and a nitrite sponge i wash out in a jug of tank water when it looks a little grubby then 2 finer sponges for bacteria growth (I don't wash these out 1 yearly)etc. And a plastic crate for those White clay pipes at the very bottom. The heater is set for 25degees ?
The hardness is high but unfortunately it comes out the tap like this I have heard drift wood lowers this a little and I have quite a lot in there. All in all they all look happy. I am wondering if I have room for a pitbull plec or preferably 2 without over stocking the tank. Hope I have not already done so? Any advice would be helpful. From any one on anything I do. Thanks in advance for reading. Michelle

Last edited by Mgray; 04-26-2011 at 04:24 AM. Reason: Auto typed plectrum for me instead of plec
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-26-2011, 04:37 AM
It would be ok to get the two others you want but i would just suggest you get more zebra/leapord danio. They do better in large groups of atleast 5 or 6 but the more the better. Best wishes with your fish & tank though

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post #3 of 6 Old 04-26-2011, 12:34 PM
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The main thing that stands out is the fish selection. You have some issues [kane touched on them] that I will explain.

Many of the forest fish we maintain in aquaria are shoaling fish. These species live in very large groups, and for several reasons. First, security--there is "safety in numbers." And this translates into stress when the fish are alone or in too small a group. A fish programmed by nature to live in hundreds for safety is not going to fee safe on its own or with one or two or three, and that means constant stress. Second, many shoaling fish have a distinct pecking order or social structure within a group. Your experience with cherry barb illustrates this; the female is getting picked on because the male has no one else. Another female is a help but not a solution; more males and females is the solution.

All characins (tetra, hatchetfish, pencilfish), cyprinids (danio, rasbora, barbs, loaches) and many other fish are shoaling fish. Studies have confirmed that keeping less than 5-6 of most is detrimental long-term. Increased aggression frequently results, along with more stress that only makes this even worse. And stress is a prime cause of health issues because it weakens the immune system in fish, just as it does in humans.

So, before any new fish species are added, increase some of those you already have. But here we come to some issues with tank size. A 120 litre equates to a 31 gallon aquarium [some of us think better in imperial rather than metric] which I will assume is probably 30 inches in length, maybe 36 (that would be better). Danio are all active swimmers, so they need space. Rasbora by contrast do not, they can be kept in somewhat smaller environments simply because they are less active. Water quality is obviously still an issue either way, these are generalities.

Most of the fish you mention are included in our fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. In posts when the scientific or common name is identical to the profile, the name will be shaded and you can click on that to see that fish's profile, example Cherry Barb. If you have a read of the fish profile for each, you will note that it recommends 6 minimum for the tetra and danio species. Gold Barb is not yet included in our profile, but this common namer can refer to a couple of different barbs.

Obviously this is going to overcrowd your aquarium fast, so perhaps some decisions should be made on removing some species. Another aquarium (?), trade to the store, other hobbyists... I leave that to you. From your description of the aquascape, my initial thinking would be to have the loaches, and cherry barbs but add 4 more to make 7. Remove the danio species. Flame tetra, adding 3 more, will work with the barbs. The reason I suggest this combination is that these are all less active fish, and removing the more active danio will solve two problems and make the remaining fish more settled [= less stressed]. The gold barb is difficult to suggest until I know which species; the common Gold Barb is large and too active for this tank, the gold dwarf barb would be ideal in a group of 7.

This is just some initial feedback, I'd be happy to expand as asked. And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, since i don't believe I have had the pleasure of welcoming you previously.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 04-26-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-28-2011, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Question new to site and fish keeping.

Hello, any advice would be good.

I have a tank which i stocked from random shops and part of my the intrest is learning about the fish i have. I got some advice on temperment and size when i purchased them but on further advice from this site and investigation i would like to ask you all your opinion of what i have. Firstly 6 loaches which were sold to me under then name thermal loach. I could not find this online but thermalis as i am sure you all know did only they dont look like the pictures i found. They are long but not really long, they have 6 barbles not sure if this is the right word sorry around the mouth which are quite long. They all have a black band under ther eye extending downwards. They all have a black spot at the front base of their dorsal fins. Also they change colour at will. Pale almost white with gost markings to really dark. Any help have put pictures in my photo album to look at.

Secondly i was sold 3 flame tetras only 1 is much bigger and looks different 2 smaller ones have black ghost like stripes down both sides but the big guy is pure silver with a blue ridge along his back? Could this be a canadian tetra maybe instead pictures in album.

Lastly 2 goldern barbs which dont look like some of the pictures of those maybe gold barb?

Thanks for looking i am sorry if this apears dumb i just want to learn. Thanks in advance. Michelle
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-28-2011, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Oh and taken advice too

Thank you for your advice so far. I have taken the two danios to a fish shop who were happy to have them. Feel bad that I did not think it though better in the first place but at least the right thing has been done now to return them. Also I did not get the bulldog places but 3 Otos instead. I do plan on getting 3 more but they did not have any more. I am now thinking maybe I should return the two cherry barbs as they may be happier in a big shoal which I do not want to keep. I wish advice was better in the first place as they told me they shoal with other fish and are happiest in smaller groups I since learnt your advice on here is spot on and they are probably unhappy too. I am now worried though you said gold barbs are not suitable. I think they are? Please see picture they really look the happiest in the tank bar the loaches and they are seriously peaceful so can they stay maybe? I really love them.
Thank again for your help so far I will get there.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-28-2011, 11:15 AM
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Most of us have gone through this at the beginning. We learn. And one of the most important lessons we all learn is to thoroughly research any fish species before acquiring it. Unfortunately the advice in stores is not always reliable.

The Golden Barb is now in our profiles, here is the link:
Golden Barb (Puntius semifasciolatus) Profile

You will not it recommends a 36-inch tank at minimum but 48-inch is preferable to give them room as they grow. And they need a group, 8 or more is recommended, as explained in the profile. If a larger tank is in the near future, and you like this fish, I would add to the group and prepare to move them up.

The "Flame Tetra" looks like that species, it may just be pale. Many fish will pale a lot when under stress, such as being in the store [this species often looks very washed out in stores, and aquarists don't realize how colourful they can be in an established planted tank] or being netted and transported.

The loach: I will give some links to various species, as it is difficult for me to narrow them down from your single photo of the head region. You will note that some of these have significant variation within the species.
Aborichthys elongatus — Loaches Online
Aborichthys unknown01 — Loaches Online
This is a page of body shape drawings to pin down species, you can check out any of these that appear similar:
Pictorial Species Index - Body shape Pictures. — Loaches Online

Common names can often be meaningless, since stores will sometimes give a fish a name to make it more appealing to customers. Some stores will give you the scientific name from their invoice, if it is a good fish store; chain stores may not have this information locally.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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