Congo tetras, pearl gouramis etc compatibility - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Congo tetras, pearl gouramis etc compatibility

Ok, here is a question about compatibility. I am switching my 55 gal to a planted 55 community. These are the fish I was thinking of:
Two favorites: Congo Tetras and Pearl gouramis. Seems these would be ok together.
I already have Breeding kribs in the tank which are divided off and a fairy cichlid (Brichardi), two cories, a neon, a guppy, another tetra?, upside down catfish, 2 plecos, 1 platy.
I am thinking of adding 6 congo tetras, 2 Pearl gouramis.
Fish I like but am not totally clear about adding are: 2 angels, rosy barbs or cherry barbs, some type of rainbow fish, harlequin rasboras?
Any thoughts?
Would love to have the congos and gouramis for sure and maybe a large school of rasboras or cherry barbs?
Just not sure what would be best.
I appreciated any advice... <><
Oh yeah what about a spotted headstander?
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 10:50 AM
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Hi Chickadee:

The conga tetras and the Gouramis should be fine together. Some other option would be the red-line shark, royal gold barbs, panda barb, cherry barbs, and even a nice geophagus proximus. I would also add in about three more cory cats... they like to school and if you p lan on keeping neon tetras they like to school too. The angel fish would not work out well in the tank with all of the other fast moving fish.. .such as the barbs. Angels are slow and methodical and zippy fish tend to make them aggressive. Raspboras would be fine too! enjoy
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 12:08 PM
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First it would be good to know your water parameters before making suggestions for compatibility.............The congos should fit in if you purchase at least 5 of them.....For the gouramis, i suggest only one....pearls are usually the more docile of the gouramis, but as they mature they can be quite aggressive with other gouramis.....Its hard to say what is gonna work for you.......You say your tank is divided for the kribs, so the remaining part of the tank is how big?.........Plus you say you have 2 plecos........Do you know what kind?.........Some plecos get too large for a 55 and have a huge bio-load on your tank....Knowing what kind would help in determining your stocking the tank.........I agree with Zyglet about the neons, you should increase their shoal size or they will not do well for you all by themself, but on the Geophagus Proximus, i would stay away form tht fish..Males can reach 10 inches and thats way to large for the tank with the fish you already have.....Give us some more info and it will make suggestions alot easier for members...........Good Luck!
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 01:27 PM
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Agree with two previous replies. Only adding a comment on headstanders. I'm assuming you are referring to Chilodus punctatus, the spotted or marble headstander. I've had these fish three times over 15 years, they are not (for me) long-lived nor easy to feed (probably the reason for short lives). They are solely vegetarian, feeding on algae (don't eat plants, although their relatives, the larger headstanders, do). I've tried boiled spinach, algae flakes and tabs, greens--they refuse most of this and only pick away on plant leaves and wood grazing algae but seem to be specialized algae feeders and never get enough long-term; they slowly get thinner and thinner, although remaining very active with grazing constantly. You may have better luck, but from my experience not an easy fish to chose.

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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post #5 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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More info for all you awesome helpers out there!

Ok, I was doing some research in my fishy books and I this is what I discovered. Most of the fish I like prefer soft, acidic water. My water is well water and is at 7.8 PH, and 78 degrees. I was at Pet Smart and Walmart today and forget to get the tester for hardness. I am thinking it will be hard as it is well water but need to know for sure. I have pics of my tank posted on my profile with a video too and will be uploading another video today. I did find out that the other tetra in my tank is a Buenos Aires Tetra. These are all the fish remaining in my tank from my initial batch 3 years ago - So my neon is my one lonely neon left from the dozen I had - that is why I say he is like a Duracell battery...! My platy is all that is left of my platys and swords I had (both my swords died in the last three weeks : ( , The guppy arrived with my Kribs. I have a upside down catfish, the two plecos are just the Pet Smart variety of Ancistrus, and then my gourami is a (I think) a golden opaline gourami. I can take my lone neon and the guppy to my work tank as I have 6 neons left there in that tank.
So in doing some research it seems I gravitate towards the more soft water species as my list includes, cardinal tetra, congo tetra, harlequin rasbora, serpae tetra, rams, red fin shark, boeseman's rainbow, and cherry barbs. Also the sparkling and croaking gouramis.
The pearl gourami is tolerant of a wider water chemistry. I was also thinking of a Bala Shark but I thought it my terrorize the Pearl eventually.
Then I also love rosy barbs and some of the celebes rainbow fish but they prefer the hard water so based on water parameters that would eliminate the celebes fish and the rosy barbs. (Can't have everything now can I?!)
My kribs are Pelvicachromis pulchers and also are not water fussy according to my books. But my concern is how many fry would survive if I didn't divide them out? Could I eventually place them with my African cichlid tank of haps, peacocks and labs? (Just working on my DIY background for that tank currently).
My goal is to have color and sparkle hence the congos and Pearls. I was thinking of variety in shape, and size and color expression. If it is planted do I want to limit to a few species (3 or 4) or is it ok to do a community set up with a variety?
Thanks again for your help, hope this is enough info.
P.S. Four of the baby kribs survived last time since I didn't have the divider in right away. They have a new batch of babies and so yesterday I moved the first four into my 5 gallon as Mama was chasing them. The first batch is 5 weeks old.

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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By the way Byron...

I was born in Vancouver, B.C. and raised in PG. Moved to Montana 8 years ago for work for my hubby. We do love Montana as it is so similar to BC. And I now have dual citizenship as we adopted two kids here 4 years ago...Anyway...
Just wanted to say hi to a fellow Canadian!!!
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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If I could just get all my thoughts together...

Since the two cories I have are not the same is it ok to get 4 more different kinds or should I try to get similar. I really attracted to these two and they were spendy at $10 apiece at my LFS! Maybe I could find more online? Any reccomendations for buying fish? Live Aquaria ok? Thought? Can I ask that question here? <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 07:12 PM
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Hi to you also, former Vancouverite.

You have named several fish species, not all are compatible, so I'll make some general observations.

First, compatibility for fish in an aquarium means they require basically the same water parameters and environment, and have behaviours that are compatible. Behaviours is obvious, more on that when we look at some of your fish. By environment I mean things like plants (some fish do much better with plants as it is part of their native habitat and provides shelter, spawning sites, etc), bogwood (some plecos require wood to rasp on, other fish find it another type of security), rocks, etc.

Water parameters is straightforward--temperature, pH and hardness. I like to think of three major divisons--soft, acidic water; slightly basic (alkaline) and moderately hard water; and highly alkaline and harder water. Taking the last first, African rift lake cichlids fall in this category and they can tolerate (and require) water that is quite alkaline (pH high 7's into the 8's) and correspondingly hard. You can buy African rift lake salts for their aquaria, and it is relatively easy to make water harder and higher in alkalinity, simply by adding dolomite or crushed coral gravel and limestone rock; these calcium-based materials gradually release mineral into the water. Your water is quite suitable as is, although (depending upon the hardness) adding a bit of dolomite/coral to raise the pH a bit would not hurt the cichlids. Due to these requirements, plus their aggressiveness, rift lake cichlids are pretty much stand alone fish, i.e., an aquarium for them will only contain them, plus perhaps the few catfish or pleco species that manage in such conditions.

Livebearers fare best in slightly basic/alkaline water, pH 7.2 to 7.8 and corresponding hardness. Some acidic water fish can adapt to these parameters. Many of the South American tetras and several corydoras species for instance are now commercially raised, not wild caught, and are adapted somewhat to more basic water parameters. The more delicate and sensitive species, particularly any wild caught fish, would require water with a ph below 7.0 and soft to very soft in hardness. There is some variability, these are very general guidelines. It is usually better to select fish for your aquarium around your water, rather than trying to adjust the water to suit fish with specific needs. But it can be done.

I agree, you are leaning toward acidic water fish, and some of those you mention will not fare well unless you do provide softer, more acidic water than what you say you have. I'm thinking of rams (assuming you mean the common or blue ram, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi), cardinal tetras (there is a bit more leeway with these if you can find tank-raised fish), sparkling and croaking gouramis. With the latter, there is sometimes a problem mixing various gourami species (thinking here of your existing Opaline). Also worth remembering for bottom fish, many of the sharks and some loaches can be quite aggressive with their own or similar species.

Corydoras should always be in a group, 5 or 6 minimum, and they can manage as 5 or 6 different species. I have found that some prefer their own species more than others, but all will get along and chum around together. Tetras, barbs, danios are also shoaling fish that fare better in a group of 6 or more of each species.

This is just some general thoughts to get you started. As you say, you can't have everything--at least not in the same tank. But there are several species that would work well together. Planted aquaria are beneficial as the plants do a lot of natural filtration, and with the exception of the rift lake cichlids most of the fish you mention would appreciate a planted environment.


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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post #9 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Thanks Byron

I am actually setting up a 90 gal just for African cichlids as I think they are so cool...
So I already have kribs in the tank, I really, really would like to have the congos and Pearl Gourami in my tank. Of the fish I mentioned which would be best to have as a shoaling fish with these two? cherry barbs, could I have the rams too? - yes I was thinking of the ramirez- could I have a couple of shoaling fish?
The tank will be planted and I am currently researching plants....
Thanks again!
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-30-2009, 10:05 PM
Uhm for the cories.
I believe they will shoal with other cories. But it is advised lets say if you are keeping 6 and want different species to keep 3 of each. However I am new to keeping cories and still have lots to learn about them. You may want to do some more research on them.
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