Fish friendly habitat - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-10-2013, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
Smile Fish friendly habitat

My first aquarium was, how shall I say cobbled together. No thought went into the fish, their natural habitat, what makes a tank fish friendly. I had no choice with my first tank as my sister gave it to my son for his first birthday with two goldfish, which have since went back to my local fish shop. The tank itself is to small only 2g with a lovely blue and green gravel.

My son loved his fish , so our only real option was to get some small fish (tetras and otocinclus) as a starter tropical tank (don't worry I know it's to small but fish are just 0,5" at the minute) whole we sourced a larger tank.

I now have a 10g tank and stand, a fluval U2 filter. I will be getting a new heater and if things go well I'll be setting this new tank up before Xmas if not just after.

What I now need to do is consider what makes a good habitat for my tetras, otocinclus and possibly a couple of dwarf gourami's. I have some plants to move over but I'd like some stones, slates or even wood in my tank.

How do I acclimatise stones, slate or wood? Have people put other things in there tank to create habitat for fishesh?

Plants aren't to bad, but how do you go about
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-10-2013, 11:18 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

It doesn't seem as if you finished your post, but I'll go ahead and address what you've asked so far. :)

Very happy that you returned those goldfish, that was the absolute best decision and very commendable.

Now, what exact species of tetra do you have (or, if you don't know the name, can you post a pic/description), and how many (same for the otos,)?

A ten gallon (while a GIANT step up from a 2 gallon, YAY!) is also rather small, so we may run into some issues with stocking. Is there a possibility of upgrading before you set it up? Larger tanks offer more stocking options, and are actually easier to maintain and keep stable.

Also, is the 2 gallon tank cycled? If it isn't and if the fish are new to the tank, we'll have to work through that.

There is no real acclimating of stones/wood, though some people do pre-soak driftwood to remove tannins, and some people like to scrub their rocks down with hot water (not boiling though, just really warm). And then they can be plopped in the tank. Are you going for a natural look with this tank?

Personally, when going natural (my favorite style of tank) I use somewhat dim lighting, lots of floating plants, and several different sizes of plants all over the tank. I also use (aquarium safe) twigs to create the look of fallen branches. I think a dark sand substrate is the most natural looking. I also use oak leaves all over the substrate in my aquarium.
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-10-2013, 11:56 PM
The above advice is good. I would add two dwarf gouramis in a 10gal is pushing it. One may be OK, but two may be a problem, aggression and bioload.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
Thanks for reply jentralala. Unfortunately a 10g is all I can manage to fit within the house at the moment. As for cycling of my 2g it has completed cycling I added fish a few at a time, the fish seem really settled, they're using the full height and width of the tank, there is a picture on my profile. I have 6 neon and 6 lemon tetras and 3 otocinclus, I used aquaadvisor and when these mature they will not be overstocked in the new tank.

I am trying to go for a tank that gives the fish a feeling of safety but creating optimum viewing for my family while still being as close to a natural setting. I.e no plastic nemo toys or shipwrecks.

What are aquarium safe twigs?

I also hear sand is not the best to keep clean, so would a dark small gravel work well.
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
As for the incompletion of my original post, I'm at work and had to go out in a hurry, part of my job role so clicked submit by mistake.

It was meant to say how do you go about planning the interior, ie where does the heater go in relation to the filter? Do you have the plants a cross the whole tank or do you have them on one side and maybe twigs and stones on the other?

I don't want to chuck things into this tank like I have had to in my 2g tank, I'd like it to look good but most importantly make the fish feel safe.
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
Thanks henningc aqua advisor says I should have more than enough space for two dwarf gourami or rams. I don't like the idea of putting one of a species in a tank, we all need friends and lovers.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 12:33 AM
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2 DGs in a 10 gallon is just asking for problems.
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125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
Why does everyone say no to 2 DG? I thought they were supposed to be friendly fish and grow no bigger than 2" which is only .5" than the tetras
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 02:08 AM
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Try to upgrade to a29 gallon tank. It doesn't take up that much more space than a 10 and it will be a good size for the fish that you want
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 03:27 AM
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I actually find sand is much easier to clean than gravel, as poo/detritus/uneaten food settles between the grooves in gravel, while it just sits on top of sand until you can vacuum it up. It takes a bit of time to get used to cleaning it, but it's a breeze compared to having to vacuum every inch of gravel substrate to get all the crap out, in my opinion at least.

I also find plants do better in sand (not to say that people don't have gorgeous planted tanks with gravel substrate), just that in my personal experience I've had better luck with sand.

Aquarium safe twigs are fallen dry dead twigs that I collect from a hard wood tree in my yard and soak, then place in the tank. I say aquarium safe because I don't want anyone to get the idea to go break sticks off a random tree and plop them in a tank, that's just asking for trouble! :)

You can google pictures of "natural planted tank" or even look at underwater images of rivers, lakes, and streams. This youtube video is one of my favorites, showing the natural habitat of some common aquarium species.

You can arrange it any way you'd like, but for best viewing I always place taller plants (amazon swords, stem plants) in the back, and shorter plants (small species of crypts, dwarf sag, etc) in the front.

Most people set up their hardscape (sticks, driftwood, stones) first, and then plant around it, so the hardscape looks like a part of the scene. It takes some fiddling for people to find what they like best, and you may decide a few months later you don't like it anymore and decide to re-arrange, which is totally okay! I've re-scaped my tanks hundreds of times.

Aqadvisor is...tricky. While it's a good tool to use when trying to stock a tank, it's just that, a tool. It can't be relied on to do all of the work, a lot of that comes down to the responsibility of the owner. The neons and the lemon tetras are both mid-schooling fish, so they're going to take up all the space in the middle section of your tank. They're not a bad choice for a ten gallon, but I'd say with just the 12 of them you're at your limit with stocking, not to mention the 3 otos.

The reason dwarf gourami aren't advised in pairs or groups in small tanks is because they aren't really peaceful at all, they're actually rather aggressive and territorial and if put in a small space will almost always endlessly fight. Gourami are a tricky species, the same with Rams. They really, really need a lot of space (looking at 29 gallons bare minimum) to be able to be housed as anything more than singly.

I wouldn't recommend either of those species for your ten gallon, though, because you're really at your limit.

Most fish feel safe when having places to hide, ie behind large plant leaves, stones, pieces of driftwood. And since most aquarium fish are forest dwelling fish, they take comfort under dim lighting and a covering of floating plants.
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