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KrisPriewe 08-27-2012 06:48 PM

Tank Almost Cycled. Need Fish Ideas
Hello again everybody!
My tank is almost cycled :blueyay: (Ammonia down to .25ppm). I want your opinions to help me decide what the first inhabitants will be. Before I add fish I am going to buy a chunk of driftwood and more plants. Here is my wish list. obviously I can't get ALL of these but I would like to know what would get along. My thoughts for the first fish were about 5-6 of the Tetras. should i do more or less of them or maybe something else.

30 gal.
10-12 Neon Tetras
Dwarf Gouramis
Blue Mickey Mouse Platty
Red Platty
Balloon Ram
4 Kuhli Loaches
Will any Shrimp Work in here?

thenewguy 08-27-2012 11:48 PM

im new 'round here but i do have some insight for you. i would say 10 neons, 1 of each platy you said, and the loaches would be fine too. for the Ram i need to know if it is a German blue, Bolivian, or Gold ram to be sure on that. as for shrimp if you cut down on the neons by 1 or 2 i say you could get maybe a bamboo shrimp or 2 or 3 ghost shrimp. but then again im not an expert. happy fishkeeping!!!!:-D

EDIT:oh and as for gourami's i would stay away from those as they sometimes have a special gourami disease (can't remember the name) and it is highly contagious plus gouramis are generally aggresive and can't be put in with Rams if your heart is set on getting one like mine once was :-) I suggest maybe getting a small group of flame or bloodfin tetras instead of the shrimp and platys as they add alot of color to your already amazing stocking list.

thekoimaiden 08-28-2012 12:31 AM

Yay! Almost cycled tank! Now is the time to start dreaming--ahem thinking about fish.

First off we need to know how hard your tap water is and what the pH is. This determines what kind of fish will do best in your tank.

10-12 Neon Tetra - Tetra are a pretty good staple, but I'd suggest another species as neons have been weakened by successive generations of inbreeding. Most come with an incurable disease called neon tetra disease. There are better alternatives.
Dwarf Gourami - These come with a lot of the same problems as neon tetra (disease, inbreeding, and generally weak). Try looking at honey gourami instead.
Platies - Here we come into a conflict. These fish will do best in hard water where most tetra and gourami look best and live the longest in soft water. This is why we need to know what your tap water is.
Balloon Ram - This will be a problem with the gourami. Cichlids and gourami are aggressive towards each other as both are territorial. You'll have to choose one or the other.
4 Kuhli Loaches - Great substrate fish, but all of them are wild caught and they need soft water. They also do best in groups larger than 6. It seems like any less and you hardly see them.

I hope I've given you some food for thought. As a final word, I would like to direct you to our tropical fish profiles in the upper left hand corner. You can search by a partial or full name. Sometimes you'll have to try a few different things in order to get the fish you seek (like if you can't find the black skirt tetra, just search tetra instead), but you'll find it in the end. Most of the common aquarium fishes are there.

sidluckman 08-28-2012 01:30 AM

Koi maiden is one smart cookie.

My reaction exactly.

I would get a regular ram, to be honest. Essentially balloon bodied fish are deformed. The spine is compressed and internal organs are impinged upon owing to this compression. In the same way that round bodied goldfish often suffer from maladies that seldom affect their more normally shaped ancestors, you can expect to have difficulties that might easily be avoided by going with a "normal" ram. It's like attempting a rather fragile species but buying a "special needs" version of it.

Rams are not the easiest of fish to start with; why make yourself crazy?

I'd rather see you go with more of an Amazon biotope approach and stick with the neons, ram and maybe consider micro-cories as a substrate schooler in place of the kuhlis.

1077 08-28-2012 05:07 AM

What are nitrite ,nitrate reading's?
Ammonia and nitrites should be zero, with some detectable nitrAtes (unless haevily planted) in a tank with healthy biological filter (cycled).
I agree with other's with respect to pH,general hardness. These number's which local water company should be able to provide,will help you determine what fishes best suit the water you have.

sidluckman 08-28-2012 05:41 AM

I just noticed in the opening post that ammonia is down to .25. This is good, but doesn't mean the tank is nearly cycled. You should start to see an increase of Nitrite and that will continue to rise for a good ten days to two weeks, possibly longer. When nitrite levels fall and become unmeasurable, THEN you're cycled.

You are on your way, definitely, but not there yet. Patience is really important at this phase, so hang in there!

Also, neons are sensitive little guys, so these would not be my pick for the first fish in the tank.

Chesh 08-28-2012 08:36 AM

Hooray for a cycle without fish - and for doing your research before you take the plunge!

I have to agree with what the OP's are saying here - it's crucial that you figure out what your Gh is before you buy, many of the fish you've listed prefer softer water, while others - like the Platy - like it much harder. You can get API's Gh/Kh test kit for around $8 on Amazon, and some of the larger chain stores (like PetSmart) sell it as well. If you have API's Master Freshwater Testkit, there is a Ph test in there, but you can also buy one for around the same price.

Tetra and Rams really should be the last fish you add to your tank - if you have soft enough water to accommodate them. Both of these as a rule are fairly sensitive to shifts in parameters - including nitrate - so are best added to an already-established soft water tank - they'll really appreciate the extra foliage that you're planning on putting in, as well.

If you really want a ram, and have the proper water for it, I'd advise going for the tougher Bolivian rams over the German Blues. They're really sweet fish, and tend to be much easier to keep than the Blues - PLEASE don't buy a 'balloon' anything! They're just not. . . healthy :cry:

If you have the proper water for Kuhli, rams, and tetra, you probably don't have the right water for shrimp, unfortunately. . . and I don't know that I'd trust shrimp in a tank with rams, though I've seen it happen. . .I don't know for how long! However, if you have the right water for livebearers like Platy, shrimp are probably a great option for you!

Can't wait to see how this tank comes out - and again, kudos for doing the research before you buy! It's way better that way!!!

sidluckman 08-28-2012 08:55 AM

Koi Maiden in correct about some neons having trouble with neon tetra disease. And it is kind of heartbreaking to watch them crash and not be able to do anything much about it.

A friend in the industry tells me that periodically great numbers of wild caught neons are still imported, but how to be assured of getting these fish would be my first question, how well they will fare in less than ideal water chemistry would be my second.

Seems like the upside of captive breeding is tolerance of higher pH and hardness. The downside: less vigorous stock.

I am a huge fan of the espei rasbora, brighter and smaller than the harlequin. I also like the greenfire tetra, though this is a somewhat longer and possibly more active fish than the neon.

Chesh 08-28-2012 09:14 AM

Rasbora are lovely, and a great shoaling fish as an alternative to Tetra!

You also might want to look into alternate types of Gourami. Dwarf Gourami are gorgeous creatures, to be sure, but as mentioned above, they also come with a high risk of illness, and tend to be a bit more aggressive than some of the other Gourami. You might want to do a bit of research here before you choose - Honey Gourami are beautiful fish that are easy to care for, and tend to be much healthier than their brighter dwarf cousins :)

We all love fish, obviously, so the recommendations and suggestions you'll get are going to be fairly limitless! I've always found it best to start by figuring out the hardness of your water, then go to the fish shop, and copy down the names of each fish that appeals to you. When you get home, look them all up, and cross the ones that won't do well in your water or are too big for your tank. . . for ME, it's easier this way, and also limits the options to fish that you can purchase locally, which is always a good thing!

Fredsterbit 08-28-2012 09:28 AM


I just noticed in the opening post that ammonia is down to .25. This is good, but doesn't mean the tank is nearly cycled. You should start to see an increase of Nitrite and that will continue to rise for a good ten days to two weeks, possibly longer. When nitrite levels fall and become unmeasurable, THEN you're cycled.
I'd agree with this statement, and also once your tank cycles, whichever fish you decide to get, add a couple per week, 2-3 so that your balanced tank doesn't go out of whack.

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