01-22-2013, 07:41 PM
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We touched on this topic in the other thread, but I know why you have started another so I will allow it to go forward.
We have fish profiles that cover issues with specific fish. I will just hit the highlights here, as I am not going to repeat what I wrote in the profiles.
The Red Tailed Shark is not a community fish. It should never be combined with other substrate fish and especially not with similar-shaped fish, like loaches. And before it gets said, yes, I know that some may have done this and thought there was no problem. There are exceptions to every guideline; but the wise aquarist assumes that the normal behaviour will occur, and doesn't risk the fish. And the norm is very well known.
Loaches are highly social and need a decent group, at least 5, and you have the space. Two Bristlenose pleco is OK, provided they have good territorial division as males can be territorial if you should happen to end up with two males. Add these later though, they are better if there is some natural food like algae in the tank.
Dwarf cichlids. Which ones? Generally, one species in a tank is better. Males will establish their territory and defend it, but that is not the real problem. These fish will readily spawn, and the females are very pugnacious for such a small fish. I have had female apistogramma that were barely an inch in length kill other females in a matter of days, and they will easily take on the males too. Some of these are best in pairs (some have to be bonded pairs), some need a harem. Depends upon the species.
If you are considering dwarf cichlids, which are all sedate fish, you do not want Tiger Barb, nor any other barb for that matter. Less active upper fish are best for dither fish. Some of the characins work well (some don't), rasbora are OK.
Hope this helps.