150g South American rainforest
I, too, am interested in setting up a 150-gallon aquarium in a South American rainforest biotrope/biome; so I read your post with great interest.
I would like to add as the main occupants, small, peaceful South American "core" tetras, including both "schooling" and "group/pack" species (The terms in parenthesis are from Randy Carey's Tetras and Barbs, which I recently read. Here are my questions:
Which species of tetras would you recommend and how many of each would you include?
What other fish would meet the requirements and be compatible with these tetras that should be included in the tank?
Two of my favorites are tiger barbs (Puntius tetrazona) and harlequin fish (Trigonostigma heteromopha). Unfortunately, they do not meet the criteria due to their Asian origin. Furthermore, while I favor these fish because of their color, I debated tiger barbs in any community tank because of their reputation as nippers. Are there any South American counterparts that might be substituted to provide the same coloration patterns?
Thank you for your time and cooperation. I welcome your suggestions and recommendations and look forward to receiving your reply.
First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.:-D
Second, I moved this post out of the older thread to start its own, as I explained in my PM. Now more members will see it.
Third, to your questions. It would help to have your water parameters for the source water (presumably tap). GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) and pH. Depending what these numbers are, I can suggest fish species. And, I assume you do want to stay with South America geographically?
I have not been an active aquarist for nearly 50 years, but this has always been a dream of mine. The complete aquarium setup will be done by a member of the Boston Aquarium Society who has been a long-time hobbyist who does this professionally. An added bonus is that he raises and breeds South American fish. So, I cannot provide the information you asked for. All I can say is that he will set the 150-gallon aquarium up to replicate a South American rainforest biotope with the appropriate strata, plants, temperature and water requirements. The only real input I will have is the fish selection. Thus, my post. Sorry I could not provide more information.
Welcome to TFK. Glad you are getting back into fish! :-D
Do you know if you are getting an RO water system? You can get your water tested for free at most pet shops. This is pretty vital to choosing the fish. With an RO system you get control over parameters, otherwise we have to work with what's in your tap.
Sadly both barbs and rasbora are not found in South America.
We have Tropical Fish Profiles found at the top of this page. The link has many fish organized into categories. You might want to look into the Characins section, which includes tetra and pencil fish, as most of these are found in South america. Coral red pencilfish is one you may be interested in, the closest thing to the barbs colourwise (click the highlighted names to visit the profile). A small, sensitive fish, I'm sure once we come up with a stocking plan your friend will help you out with parameter issues, but it's important to choose fish that all can live in the same range. The requirements for each fish are listed in their profiles.
Besides the characins, you can look into catfish. Probably the friendliest and most varied catfish are the Corydoras, or cories. There's lot's of species, all from South America. They stay small and are active schooling fish.
For a centerpiece fish, there are rams, which I think are the most peaceful South America cichlids, but I don't know much about them so I'll leave that to someone else. :-D
I agree, knowing the water parameters such as pH, gH and kH are very important and will dictate what you keep.
If you don't know ask the person who will be setting this up. The fish you can keep will rely on this information.
Hi Again Byron,
I e-mailed a request to the future installer and he simply stated that the water quality - "pH, gH and kH" - will be as close to replicating that of the South American rainforest backwater (soft and acidic) pH 6.0-8.0 and hardness 3 - 8 according to Randy Carey, Barbs and Tetras, which I have been using as a guide.
There is no problem with having the installer suggest what fish to consider. I was just hoping to get another perspective from someone like yourself who has the knowledge and expertise to offer what might be another opinion.
I would also like to add that suggestions or recommendations from folks like Termato and Olympia who, I presume, are also interested in this topic have offered the names of fish that I might consider are appreciated.
Since the improvement in technology and equipment in the interim since I was last active (beyond reading) is astonishing, I am leaving everything else to the installer. My only imput will be what fish - provided they fit the natural conditions - to include. That's why I am open to other ideas and suggestions. While the installer will ultimately decide whether or not we should include them, at least I can research the suggestions using various online fish profiles (as Olympia suggested) and compile a list of possibilities that I like.
Assuming that you have successfully kept the beautiful coral red pencil fish, which is close to many barbs, colorwise how difficult did you find it to keep? While there is no doubting that it is a stunner, the "profile" you linked it to indicates that "This fish may have multiple properties that make a fish moderately difficult to care for and is, therefore, only recommended to experienced fish keepers."
I personally have never kept any type of pencil fish as I have hard water and no control over it.
The profile does say that, mostly because this fish is sensitive about gH and pH. There may be a few other reasons, I think Byron has kept pencil fish in the past so he may have more insight.
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35 Cardinal Tetra
20 Sterbai Corydoras
20 Diamond Tetra
All these fish are compatible in their temperament, water parameters and beauty. Let me know what you think. You could lower the number of Cardinals to 25 and discus to 11 or 12 to minimize the bio load but I think that would be a beautiful tank.
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