Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Gourami Guru 12-08-2012 01:18 PM

29 gal ideas
First of all, hello everyone. This will be my first post outside of the introduction forum. So thank you for any help and advice.

Ok, so it has been roughly 4 years since I had a tank up and running. I had on in highschool for a number of years and it did very well, but my move to college didn't allow me to keep it so unfortunately I had to sell off the tank. Now that I have settled down again and a LFS is opening in my area, literally next door to my house I was thinking of starting a tank up again whenever it opens.

What I have:
29 gal tank and all the filtration equipment necessary for it.
an appropriated sized heater (may need a new one)
An air pump/bubbler

What I was thinking:
I'd like to do a planted tank with a sand substrate for a more natural look. I've also heard that sand is a little easier to clean and some of the fish I am considering would benefit from it from what I have read. I remember seeing "moss balls" at a fish store in college and thought they were really cool. I would like to do a few of those, but other then that I'm kind of a dunce with what aquarium plants would be good for the fish I want.

Speaking of fish:
These are the species and numbers of each that I was thinking for the tank. I love gouramis, as if that wasn't evident from my user name haha, so I definitely want to build a tank around some. So this is what I came up with:
- 4 honey gouramis
- 5-6 kuhli loaches
- 1 zig zag eel
- 2-3 golden wonder killifish
- 1 siamese algae eater (however I am very unsure of this one because it will get bigger then the other fish, so ottos may be another option?)

What I would like to know is if this might be too many fish for the tank, again its only 29 gal. I tried to keep it varies with bottom level fish, mid swimmers, and the killifish who tend to stay at the surface. I love catfish but I think I am limited with what I could do with them because of floor space on the tank and their size. I would love some suggestions for other fish that might work in the tank or be better for it. Again any advice will be greatly appreciated, thank you!

thekoimaiden 12-08-2012 11:22 PM

Welcome back to the hobby! I have a 29 gal tank that sounds a lot along the ideas of what you want. It's a low-light tank with no fancy lighting or CO2 that has kuhli loaches and is planning (when I can find it!) to have a gourami. I just keep my moss balls in a different aquarium.

Let me address the fish list first. (in case you haven't been told or figured out, when you see a highlighted name like dwarf cory you can click on the name for pictures and more info)

- 4 honey gouramis This should work just fine provided you have 3 females and one male. They might even breed for you.
- 5-6 kuhli loaches Again this will work just fine and you could even add one or two more.
- 1 zig zag eel This is going to be a problem. The other name this fish is known by is tire track eel. They commonly grow over a foot long and need at least a 55 gallon aquarium to be housed safely. Save this guy for another, larger tank.
- 2-3 golden wonder killifish I once considered these for my 29 gal, but decided against it as I was afraid they would eat the smaller shoaling fish I also wanted in the tank. I was also worried that they might get territorial with the gourami who are also a surface-dwelling fish. If you really want these, I would research them more thoroughly.
- 1 Siamese algae eater You are right to think oto catfish will be a better choice. SAE get rather large and need a group of 6 or more fish as they create a hierarchy in the group. They also need larger tanks. But with the otos, you'll get your catfish! Another interesting algae-eating catfish is the twig catfish; that's the algae patrol I'll have in my 29 gal (again... when I can find one!).

Maybe to round out the activity level and bring some movement to the middle areas, you could add a school of 7-10 small fish like glowlight tetra, pristella tetra, von rio tetra, or harlequin rasbora. I had originally intended my 29 gal to just have a gourami and the loaches, but the middle area would look rather empty without some little fish moving around.

For plants I can imagine you want to start off with low-lighting. First thing you will need to do is replace the light bulb. The ones that come with the basic startup kits don't produce the right kind of light for plants. Good easy plants to start with are anubias and java fern. These are both very hardy and are relatively easy to find. You'll also want some floating plants for the gourami. Water sprite is my favorite one. Java moss is another hardy low-light plant that can be tied to driftwood and other decorations.

Gourami Guru 12-09-2012 07:53 AM

My mistake on the eel name! I meant a spiny eel I think? The smaller species that only gets about 8 inches or so? I knew tire-tracks got big, I think I just mixed up the other common name (zig-zag/spiny). But it is good to know for sure so I don't end up with the wrong one. Thanks for the advice on the algae eaters and plants as well, especially the plants! I will do more research on the proper lighting for them before I set up my tank. Otto's seem like the right choice of algae eaters for the tank then. On the note about the killifish, I did have a pair in my tank in highschool along with my gourami's. However... they were gold and opaline gouramis so their size difference may have accounted for the killifish leaving them alone. I didn't consider them to be aggressive but again, they fish around them were larger so that's probably why. I will do more research on them. If all else fails I may be able to add a few thick lip gouramis or some platy for more color and activity.

djembekah 12-09-2012 10:10 AM

Izzy covered everything I would have talked about!
EXCEPT FOR don't forget that otos need an established tank with plenty of algae! they're pretty sensitive little fellas.

thekoimaiden 12-09-2012 11:30 AM

Common names are very difficult because there are a few species that go by "spiney eel." The zebra spiny eel (Macrognathus zebrinus) and Tanganyikan spiny eel (Mastacembelus ellipsifer). They may stay smaller than a tire track eel, but that's still potentially something like a foot long when kept properly. The width of the tank matters a lot, and a 29 gal just doesn't give a fish like that turning room. I would hold out on freshwater eels until you can get a larger tanks, too.

There is another user here who knows a lot about killis and breeds many of them. You could PM her and ask about the golden wonder killifish and gourami. She might be willing to share her knowledge. Her username is LittleBettaFish.

Gourami Guru 12-09-2012 11:49 AM

I will have to ask her about it then. Thank you. '

Also thanks for the heads up on the ottos. I will have to add them last and allow for some algal build up :lol:. This is exciting, I haven't been able to have a tank for a while so even talking about one is getting me pumped up. A friend of mine just offered me a 55 gal too for nothing so I might have to consider what to do with that too.

thekoimaiden 12-09-2012 03:03 PM

Take it! And join the MTS (multiple tank syndrome) club. Most of us find it rather hard to stop at just one or two aquarium. In the 55 gal you could easily put the eel and some more gourami! Not to mention catfish like corydoras or bristlenose plecos or even some oddballs like upside down cats or banjo cats!

djembekah 12-09-2012 04:10 PM

take it take it!!! i totally want a 55 gallon. i have so many ideas for a bigger tank. right now my 29 gallon houses a mated pair of angels, 8 bronze cories, and a bristlenose pleco. oh and a lone zebra danio i couldnt catch the other day lol.

also if you plant your tank, you'll not only have MTS as in multiple tank syndrome, but also probably MTS malaysian trumpet snails which multiply terribly swiftly. but they're great snails.

Gourami Guru 12-09-2012 07:11 PM

In regards to possible snail infestation, I read loaches eat snails? Are kuhli loaches snail eaters? Or no? Regardless I'm not really concerned about it, so long as the snails do not hurt the fish I am ok with them.

I was thinking if I do take the 55 gal I might have to do a gourami tank as well XD. Except I think I'd go with the bigger ones, perhaps some opalines, golds, pearls, and snakeskins. I would actually like to do some hoplo or porthole catfish in that tank if I could. I had seen a few of them before and they remind me of elongated armored corys. However I am not sure how big they get so I'd have to look into them a bit more to see if they'd eventually grow to big and eat their tank mates haha. Other then that the 55 leaves me a lot of options.

Byron 12-09-2012 07:30 PM

Welcome to Troipcal Fish Keeping forum.:wave:

No need to repeat what others have said, so I will just mention the fish profiles under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. They may be helpful in deciding on fish, numbers, etc. If you see a shaded fish or plant name, you can click it for the profile.

And your question on kuhlii loach, to my knowledge thay are not effective snail hunters. But be careful getting any fish just to handle this or that...that usualy fails because the fish have other issues.


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