New 29 Gallon Tank / Bottom Feeders? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 14 Old 09-01-2011, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
New Member
New 29 Gallon Tank / Bottom Feeders?

Hey all

Starting my first ever aquarium and am looking for a little stocking help. I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank all set up and it has been running for 5 days. Going out this weekend to start adding some fish. My plan is to have 5-7 Serpea Tetra, 5-7 Tiger Barbs and then something to have on bottom. My problem is that I keep running into walls for ideas for bottom feeders..

I initially wanted a YoYo Loach but found that they need to be in groups and even with an extreme minimum of three my tank probably is too small for that. Then I thought about a Rainbow Shark but despite the few different places I have seen "Minimum 30 Gallon" all the reading I do says it should be in a bigger aquarium than that.

I have read that Oto Cats would be a good addition for the bottom but they leave me feeling kinda... meh.. they seem a little bland I guess. Actually not sure how they would do with the more aggressive Tiger Barbs and Serpae Tetras..??

So any help or ideas of interesting bottom feeders that would go well with the TB/ST in a 29 Gallon tank would be much appreciated.

PS - When first adding fish to a new tank I read that it would be better to add small numbers (2 or 3) at first - but also it is better to have groups of 6+ Tiger Barbs /Serpae Tetras. So what rule do I break/bend? Do I only add 2 Tiger Barbs at a time (week?) or do I introduce the entire school at a time?

PPS - Which group should be added first the Serpaes or the Tiger Barbs? Or the mystery bottom feeder that is "To Be Determined" haha.

Thanks for any help and sorry for the long post.
efeene is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 14 Old 09-01-2011, 10:29 PM
Nubster's Avatar
First thing the tank cycled? If not...5 days is way too soon to start adding fish. If you cycle the right can add your 6+ tiger barbs all at once. If you add them before the tank is cycled you are asking for trouble.

Last edited by Nubster; 09-01-2011 at 10:32 PM.
Nubster is offline  
post #3 of 14 Old 09-01-2011, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Hey thanks for the response.. starting the cycling this weekend. I was told by the pet store that first I should set up the tank, dechlorinate the water, let it run for a week, then get a couple fish to start the cycling process...? Is this accurate? This weekend will be a week so I was going to get 2 or 3 Tiger Barbs as my starter fish. Then assuming all goes well for the cycling process I would add up to my desired 6 or 7 each for Serpae and Tiger Barbs and the mystery bottom feeder(s). I am aware that it will take a while to cycle but I am excited to plan out my tank ahead of time - hence the post.

So yes of course my post should say "after the starter fish/initial tank cycling"... my bad. Once the tank cycles with the 2 or 3 starter fish would it be wise to fill out the Tiger Barb school first, adding the other 4 or 5 before introducing the Serpae school of 6 or 7? At that point is it best to add a couple at a time or the whole group together? Should I get the bottom feeders in first then fill out the aggressive TB / ST schools later? Again thanks for the response. I am open to any helpful advice in the cycling process as well... its all new to me, I have been asking the store and reading up online about water changes and such, but it never hurts to have more help haha.
efeene is offline  
post #4 of 14 Old 09-01-2011, 11:47 PM
Boredomb's Avatar
Tiger barbs need to be in a group of atleast 8 to help reduce the fin nipping amongst each other and other fish. I also don't know if it is a good idea to put Serpae Tetra and Tiger barbs together in a 29 gallon. They are both fin nippers.
Boredomb is offline  
post #5 of 14 Old 09-02-2011, 01:48 AM
BarbH's Avatar
Hello and welcome to TFK

When you set up the tank did you do anything to start the cycling process? For the cycling process to start there needs to be introduction of ammonia. Here is a following article on bacteria in the tank which will help to explain more about the cycling process and what happens in your tank Also do you have any live plants in this tank or are you planning on adding live plants to this tank. If the tank is planted heavily enough it will help with the cycling process.

As mentioned by others both tiger barb and serpae tetra are nippy fish, especially if kept in small groups. It is recommended that both be kept in groups of at least 8 to help reduce fin nipping. As for the compatibiltiy of these two fish together I am not sure about that myself. Hopefully someone with more experience with these fish will be able to give you more advice.

As for bottom feeders a few options that you can explore are different types of corys that will work, or even some different catfish would work. Do you know what the hardness of your water is? You can find out this information from your local water people, most have this information posted online. If you can not find the information online then you can call your local water people and ask them for the gh (general hardness) and kh ( carbon hardness). Some fish are more particular than others in water conditions, and this information would be good to know in being able to choose a fish that is suitable for your water.

For more information on different type of fish, if you have not found it already there is a section on fish profiles. The link can be found at the top of the page second tab from the left. Also you can look at different fish profiles by clicking on the highlighted name like tiger barb. This is a good place to start in trying to figure out what may work with your setup along with finding something that may interest you in keeping.

If you have not already gotten a test kit for checking your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates I would highly recommend in investing in one. You wil want to get a liquid test kit, like API master test kit, which many of the members here use. The liquid test kits are more realiable and accurate than the stick tests, along with that they are a better value for your money.
BarbH is offline  
post #6 of 14 Old 09-02-2011, 02:35 AM
BarbH's Avatar
Also to answer your question on adding fish, with shoaling fish like barbs, tetras, some catfish, you will want to add the fish in groups. So for example if you are going to do tiger barb, you would want to add a group of 8 at one time. This will help to keep the fish from being stress and will allow them to establish a pecking order within the group. Also with some fish that are more aggressive such as cichlids it is best to add the group at once because of territorial issues that can come up.

Also I would wait to add your bottom fish, corys and some catfish can be more sensitive and it is recommended that they be added to a tank that has already cycled.
BarbH is offline  
post #7 of 14 Old 09-02-2011, 07:43 AM
I asked about bottom feeders for my 10 gallon tank a while back (still haven't added any, but working on it), and was told that Otos aren't actually bottom feeders anyway.

I love my cory catfish, I always recommend people get those.

Th pet store seems to have recommended you run the tank for the sake of making sure the equipment is working, not to cycle the tank. I wouldn't recommend taking ANY more advice from them. If it is the kind of store that tells you it's OK to just dump in a bunch of fish at once, it's not the kind of store that is interested in making sure all your fish are happy ad thriving.
tf1265 is offline  
post #8 of 14 Old 09-02-2011, 11:53 AM
Byron's Avatar
Efeene, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you with us.

Others have advised on the issues and i agree with what's been posted. I'll just pick up where Barb left off on the mix of Tiger Barb and Serpae Tetra: in a 29g you do not have room for both. A group (8-12) of either with no other fish will work fine. But I mean, no other fish, except substrate fish. Which brings me to the Rainbow Shark. I would not have a 6-inch fish in so small a space. A group of one of the small loaches would work with the TB or ST, the Dwarf Loach, Banded dwarf loach, Zebra Loach. All three are in our profiles, click the shaded name [profiles are under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top by the way].

To explain more as to why we are all so negative on these various fish. They are by their inherent nature nippy and somewhat aggressive. The larger the group, the less aggressive these fish will be, with themselves [expect this no matter what] and other fish. The larger group allows normal aggression to be spread out, so no single fish gets "picked on" which is stressful and causes health problems and usually premature death. Tank size also plays a role in this. The smaller the tank space, the more aggressive such fish will be. In a 4-foot 90 gallon tank, you could have certain other fish with these in a large group and likely not have trouble, but not in the confines of a small tank [to the fish it is small].

Hope this helps. Feel free to question, we are all here to be helpful.


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]
Byron is offline  
post #9 of 14 Old 09-02-2011, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Wow thank you all for the great responses I hardly know where to begin.

So I havent added anything to the tank other than the dechlorinate stuff - what should I be adding to help jump start the cycle?

Plants -- I would love to have a live plant aquarium I just have very little idea how to do so. It seemed like a more advanced thing to me as a first timer. If it is helpful to the tank than I will definitely look into it more closely. Thanks. Suggestions welcomed. The bottom of the tank is filled with a small rock type "gravel" small white-ish pebbles... bad for live plants I would imagine??

I am not married to the Serpae or Tiger school as my main/only tank inhabitant (aside from the bottom dwellers). I really do like the look of both but I may also prefer to have a little more diversity unafforded me if I stock a school of ST or TB. Luckily it looks like I have 6 - 8 weeks of cycling to figure this out haha.

I will be investing in a water testing kit this weekend - probably the one mentioned in the above post thanks BarbH - also according to the Water District Website my tap water is "soft" a 9 milligrams per liter as calcium carbonate where the scale is 0 - 75 being the soft range. The ph is 7.9 I believe it said.

Ummmm yeah so thanks again and look forward to hearing back if you have a minute. Glad that I found this forum to help me start a quality aquarium. Would hate to have had put fish in without cycling as the pet store mentioned and watched them get sick and die. Thank you all.

efeene is offline  
post #10 of 14 Old 09-02-2011, 08:32 PM
Nubster's Avatar
You can add pure ammonia to the tank to start the cycle. Make sure it is pure. It's harder to find but necessary. Most ammonia found in stores has detergent added. If you have an ACE Hardware in your area, they carry the good stuff. Otherwise, you can use raw shrimp or raw fish. Get an old stocking/pantyhose and throw the raw shrimp/fish in that and add it to the tank. Within a day or two it will start decomposing and producing ammonia. Using the pure ammonia is easier, stinks much less (rotting raw fish in your tank smells...well...rotten) and you can be much more precise with the ammonia levels during the cycle.

Plants are great for the tank. They offer the fish a more natural environment, they help with natural filtration, look better, and IMO just add to the overall health of the tank. There are lots of very easy plants that have few requirements that you can get and be successful with. Depending on the plants, your gravel should be just fine.
Nubster is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Your Opinion Needed. Bottom feeders best suited to breeding angels tank? FishMad Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 8 08-04-2011 07:33 AM
Bottom Feeders for 23 Gallon Tank NC1875 Catfish 4 09-02-2010 01:07 PM
Bottom feeders to keep tank population down? Inga Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 1 07-02-2010 07:31 PM
What are the best bottom feeders for a 12 gallon Welsh Catfish 14 05-21-2010 10:40 AM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome