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Stocking 16g tank

This is a discussion on Stocking 16g tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Talked to some of you in chat and it seems rasboras might be a better idea than guppies. This is my idea of a ...

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Old 10-10-2012, 01:32 AM   #11
 


Talked to some of you in chat and it seems rasboras might be a better idea than guppies. This is my idea of a full tank now, though I wouldn't put them all in at once. The betta is still questionable in my mind.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
 
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The GH at 30 is presumably 30ppm, and that is very soft, less than 2 dGH. This could have some issues with plants, though the ones you named previously are slow growing and may manage. The lack of calcium and magnesium would be detrimental to fast growing plants.

The shrimp and crawfish I have no experience with, but they may need harder water too for their calcium-based exoskeletons. Just a caution.

What are you adding now to raise the GH?

To the fish list, I would omit the Betta. Otherwise OK, aside from the shrimp/crawfish which as I said I know little about.

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Old 10-10-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
 
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The GH at 30 is presumably 30ppm, and that is very soft, less than 2 dGH. This could have some issues with plants, though the ones you named previously are slow growing and may manage. The lack of calcium and magnesium would be detrimental to fast growing plants.

The shrimp and crawfish I have no experience with, but they may need harder water too for their calcium-based exoskeletons. Just a caution.

What are you adding now to raise the GH?

To the fish list, I would omit the Betta. Otherwise OK, aside from the shrimp/crawfish which as I said I know little about.

Byron.
I had plans to continue to play with the hardness as I didn't add much of the supplement as I really needed. I wanted to see if it did anything to my other parameters and apparently it doesn't seem to have much effect on anything else but GH. I am using "Fluval Shrimp Mineral Supplement."

I am still questioning the Betta. Many people have success with them with other fish, and also many do not, it's risky, but I can still do it and if it doesn't turn out well I can put her in her own tank and maybe even put a divider in my 5 gallon that has a male betta. So there is a couple of backup plans for that.

I've been researching Harlequin Rasboras and it looks as though my tank is almost perfect for them other than the pH. They might enjoy a lower pH, but the drift wood might eventually get it to their liking. They like densely planted tanks with a swim space between. I have java ferns and other plans on the sides and its open somewhat in the center. There is also some cryptocoryne in the tank that supposedly is from their natural habitat.

I also considering getting rid of the tetras and doing something larger that's more colorful, but am not sure yet what would work.

How about some Platys?

Last edited by Xeek; 10-10-2012 at 12:31 PM..
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:47 PM   #14
 
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I had plans to continue to play with the hardness as I didn't add much of the supplement as I really needed. I wanted to see if it did anything to my other parameters and apparently it doesn't seem to have much effect on anything else but GH. I am using "Fluval Shrimp Mineral Supplement."

I am still questioning the Betta. Many people have success with them with other fish, and also many do not, it's risky, but I can still do it and if it doesn't turn out well I can put her in her own tank and maybe even put a divider in my 5 gallon that has a male betta. So there is a couple of backup plans for that.

I've been researching Harlequin Rasboras and it looks as though my tank is almost perfect for them other than the pH. They might enjoy a lower pH, but the drift wood might eventually get it to their liking. They like densely planted tanks with a swim space between. I have java ferns and other plans on the sides and its open somewhat in the center. There is also some cryptocoryne in the tank that supposedly is from their natural habitat.

I also considering getting rid of the tetras and doing something larger that's more colorful, but am not sure yet what would work.

How about some Platys?
Forget any livebearers, your water is much too soft. You would need medium hard or harder water, as these fish need the hard minerals for their internal health. Read more in our profile.

Betta are not community fish, period. While it is true that some betta may "get along", it is also true that the majority do not. And i am one who does not advocate risking fish just to find out. If the other fish are at their proper numbers, there will be no missing a betta.

The pH may well lower due to the decomposition of organics (wood has minimal effect on this) as the KH is likely low.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:55 PM   #15
 
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Forget any livebearers, your water is much too soft. You would need medium hard or harder water, as these fish need the hard minerals for their internal health. Read more in our profile.

Betta are not community fish, period. While it is true that some betta may "get along", it is also true that the majority do not. And i am one who does not advocate risking fish just to find out. If the other fish are at their proper numbers, there will be no missing a betta.

The pH may well lower due to the decomposition of organics (wood has minimal effect on this) as the KH is likely low.
It's the tanins that supposedly reduce the pH from the drift wood. So should I omit the betta and go with everything else in the list or is there anything colorful I could add in there as an alternative to the Betta. You seem much more strict and hardcore than others in here, but I will try to take your suggestions with plenty of thought.
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:50 PM   #16
 
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It's the tanins that supposedly reduce the pH from the drift wood. So should I omit the betta and go with everything else in the list or is there anything colorful I could add in there as an alternative to the Betta. You seem much more strict and hardcore than others in here, but I will try to take your suggestions with plenty of thought.
I am not a professional biologist, but I have spent hours and hours doing scientific research on fish species and habitats, and over my 20+ years of keeping fish I have made mistakes and learned from them. I can assure anyone that there are no "problem" fish in any of my 7 tanks.

I wrote most of the fish and plant profiles on this site, and the data in them is reliable because it is the collective wisdom of acknowledged ichthyologists and biologists. The internet is a valuable resource, but unfortunately at the same time anyone can set up a website and promote themselves as "experts" with no critical vetting. Many of our members have mentioned about the varying opinions online, and this is why. There are some aspects of this hobby on which one can have varying opinions. But there are certain scientific aspects on which there is no variance. One either accepts it and has success, or one doesn't and eventually leaves the hobby from frustration at fish dying. Fish have evolved over thousands of years to thrive in their specific environment; to ignore this is folly. With the multitude of en vironmental problems facing us, humans should by now realize that there is a real limit to the extent that we can change nature before it backfires.

Now that I've got them over with, ... to issues. Tannins do lower pH and hardness, but this is slow and minimal over time. I have near-zero GH and KH in my tap water, and even with a lot of real wood in my tanks the shift in pH is marginal. And it is m ore the result of the organics breaking down in the substrate, as this is the prime source of CO2 in a natural planted tank, and CO2 of course causes carbonic acid and this lowers the pH.

To the fish. In a tank under 20g, and only 24 inches in length, "centerpiece" fish are next to impossible. This sized tank is best when filled with smallish fish, and these can be several species for colour and interest. I don't know the crayfish, but from my research i gather the dwarf orange species is peaceful with small fish, though i don't know how small. Your latest fish list has left out the tiny fish and includes neons and harlequin s, so this should presumably be fine, if my research is trustworthy. With such soft water, I would go with the cardinal tetra rather than neon; for one thing, they are brighter colouration (bright red and blue), they live for 10 years [only in soft acidic water], and have fewer problems than neons seem to these days [perhaps due to the years of commercial inbreeding]. The Harlequin is nice, but very similar and a bit brighter is the Hengels Rasbora. I have a group of these and the copper hook really glows in a tank with floating plants.

I wouldn't bother with otos, unless you really like them as "fish," because they will compete with the shrimp. Or, with your soft water, another option is the Twig Catfish, for something unique. And the Whiptail Catfish too.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 10-10-2012 at 04:54 PM..
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:08 PM   #17
 
Twig Catfish get to 6" that would probably be way to big for my tank. All your other suggestions all make great sense to me and you helped me understand this very well. Thanks a lot!
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:28 PM   #18
 
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Twig Catfish get to 6" that would probably be way to big for my tank.
Actually, no. Just make sure it is the Farlowella vitatta, and not one of the much larger "Royal" ones. This is one of those cases where other aspects besides the mere length of a fish have to be considered. For its length, the Farlowella vittata is very slender and a minimal impact on the biology, and given their sedate nature and almost complete lack of swimming, they are often un-noticeable.

I'm a great fan of this unique fish. I acquired three of them in 2009, and happened to end up with one male and two females. In August of 2010, they began spawning, and have been doing so ever since at regular periods. The male spawns with both females if they are ready. I now have three of the first spawn in my 33g and they are almost adult sized, and in my 10g I have 2 or 3 fry from the last spawning a month ago. I don't try to save every spawn, feeding them is the difficulty, as they basically need fresh green algae and infusoria. They live up to 15 years.

As it notes in our profile, they hardly swim, just pulling themselves over every surface, or just resting motionless.

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Old 10-12-2012, 11:43 AM   #19
 
You've been some great help Byron. The cardinal tetras are usually specified to require water with a very low pH. Something less than 6.5 I think. My water is settles to about 7.8 pH. I'm sure I could acclimate them to this, but I seem to be reading everywhere that they will live much much shorter lives at higher pH. Is this really true? Then I think I should change the cardinal to something else.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:01 PM   #20
 
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You've been some great help Byron. The cardinal tetras are usually specified to require water with a very low pH. Something less than 6.5 I think. My water is settles to about 7.8 pH. I'm sure I could acclimate them to this, but I seem to be reading everywhere that they will live much much shorter lives at higher pH. Is this really true? Then I think I should change the cardinal to something else.
I'll come to the cardinal in a moment. But first, because you have very soft water, the carbonate hardness (KH or Alkalinity) is probably low as well, though not necessarily. But assuming it is, once the tank is running with fish the biological processes, primarily the breakdown of organics in the substrate, will produce CO2 which forms carbonic acid and naturally lowers the pH. Respiration of plants, fish and bacteria also add CO2. The actual KH will determine the extent of the effect of the carbonic acid on the pH. The water supply may be adding something to keep the pH up, this is common, but this usually has no permanent effect. But until the fish tank is up and running and becomes established, over a couple of months, we would be guessing at specifics.

There is also the crayfish and shrimp mentioned initially; these will not fare well in cardinal tetra water parameters.

To your question on the cardinal. The significant issue with cardinals, and other soft water fish, is the GH. The "hard" minerals that cause hard water are primarily calcium and magnesium. Calcium will block the kidneys in soft water fish, this is well documented. Outwardly the fish appear normal, but as the calcium increases, it eventually completely blocks the kidneys and the fish dies. Studies have shown that the longevity of cardinals is in direct relationship to the level of calcium in the water. At a GH of 4 dGH or less, the fish will live more than 10 years. But as the GH rises above this, and calcium increases, the lifespan shortens. There is no external sign of this, but dissection after death has revealed the calcium blockages, and they were greater (with a corresponding shorter lifespan) the higher the GH.

The pH is obviously important, but not as much as the GH. I would get the pH below 7 for this and other soft water wild-caught fish. Your GH of 2 or less is well suited to soft water fish.

Byron.
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