Semi Newbie Stocking Question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 05-17-2011, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Semi Newbie Stocking Question

Well, I've been at it for a year now with pretty good success. I went from a 10, to a 20, to a 40, to a 55, and now I have a 55 and a new empty 36.

In my 55 right now I have
3 Blue Gourami
3 Honey Gourami
2 Oto
1 Mystery Snail
5 Black Skirt Tetras
2 small Bala Sharks
1 male beta
2 female beta
1 Clown Loach
1 Kuli Loach
3 Fancy Guppies
3 Angels

I just bought the 36 Bow front, and havent started it up yet. The reason i purchased it was after 6 months of Harmony my Gouramis are becoming a little aggressive towards eachother. Everyone else is getting along fine.

So my question is should I move some of the Gouramis out of the 55 and into the 36 to reduce aggression? Should I move others with them? I guess I'm looking to see from what I have. what would you move to the 36 and keep in the 55 and what would you add to either tank if anything?

ps My Bala's are small now and I do plan on replacing the 55 with something larger in a couple years (if I can wait that long)
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post #2 of 2 Old 05-17-2011, 12:33 PM
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First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Now, to your issue. You do have some problems with your present stocking, and these will intensify more and more. I'll try to explain, starting with general comments before suggesting options to answer your question.

Loaches are social fish and must be kept in groups. At least 5. They have a social structure within the group, they interact extensively, and when denied this they will be stressed. It may or may not "show" but it is there. I have had several loach species over the 20+ years, currently I have a group of dwarf loach and banded dwarf loach in my 29g, and a group of five Botia kubotai in my 90g stream tank, and I can assure you that the interaction between these fish is absolutely amazing. They "play" constantly during the day, to the point of tiring themselves out and flopping over on their sides by evening. Denying them this necessity is not wise. However, your 55g will not be sufficient space for 5 clown loach as they mature. You can read more in our profile, click on the shaded name to see that species' profile. [Profiles for your info are under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page.] Kuhli loach also need a group, but they are fine in a 55g.

Beta are not good community fish, especially males. A male should have its own space, a 5g is fine, well planted.

Tetra are shoaling fish requiring groups; six is usually the minimum, but more is better if space permits. Black Skirt Tetra [in our profiles under Black Widow Tetra] can be nippy with long-fin and slow fish like angels and gourami. These should never be combined.

Angelfish and gourami should not be combined; both are territorial and need space. The angels in a 55g are OK, if the gourami are removed. These fish are in our profile under Pterophyllum scalare. A group of five is best, but as you have 3 i would be careful adding any more, as the profile will explain.

Bala Shark should not be combined with other substrate fish (loaches, catfish, other sharks). I ask that you read the profile, there are several issues here and I will not repeat all that is in the profile.

Gourami have issues depending upon species. They are territorial and can be quite aggressive for such a "sedate" fish, as you are seeing. The profiles of each species will explain numbers and tank sizes for their best health.

Many of these fish can live years, even decades, and the issues I've pointed out will determine if they do or don't. Even if things "appear" OK, under the surface they are not.

So, to your direct question. The honey gourami are fine together, and a 20g tank would suffice. The blue will be aggressive regardless of the tank size; males are sometimes "sort of" aggressive, sometimes extremely so, depending upon the fish. They are best where they are, except i would not leave angels with them. The 3 angels could go to the 36g, not something i would normally suggest, but i am thinking here of the best for your fish given the tanks you mention.

Obviously some of these fish need to go period, to much larger tanks and separately. Please have a read of the various profiles, and feel free to ask questions. We are all here to help, and many of us (sadly) have gone through similar experiences and learned from our errors.


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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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