Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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tophat665 05-15-2008 10:27 AM

Small Bichirs - Large Bushfish
The 110 is nearly ready. The tubes and the rockwork, the heaters and filter, the big hunk o' slate footed driftwood - these are all in place. Next up is mixing sand and organic potting soil and laying the substrate. The light is there, all 260 watts of it, and all I need to do now is cover the tank, plunk it down, and set up the timers. Then 2 dozen feeder guppies for cycling, and swords, vals, sags, lilies, and ferns and it'll be ready for the fish.

I have 3 bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre) about 3 1/2" long in a 25 gallon earmarked for this tank. I am planning on getting another 3 (they'll be about an inch and a half when I get them), a couple off swordtails (a male and 3 females - X. helleri), and a pair of Senegal bichirs (Polypterus senegalus). The problem is that the bichirs easily available to me are about 3" long and about as big around as a pencil. I worry both that they are of a size to be gobbled by my grown Bushfish, and that the 30" from substrate to surface might be more than they want to swim to gulp their air.

So, the question: Should I set up the 20 long I have with a locking lid to grow the bichirs out for a couple of months? It'd be a sand bottom, couple of flower pots, ambient light only, internal filter. How big should I get the bichirs before putting them in the main tank, or can I just pop them in there?

The-Wolf 05-16-2008 02:40 AM

personally I'd grow out the bichirs first.
my main concern with your plan is adding more bushfish to those you already have.
they are very territorial and adding smaller 'rivals' will most likely end is disaster.

tophat665 06-11-2008 10:22 AM

Managed to get 4" long Senagalus. He's in the tank now with a dozen platy fry, 30 feeder guppies, 20 Ghost Shrimp, and a mystery snail (and a single neon and a single pygmy cory that my fish illiterate wife stuck in there. Grr.)

Been feeding him beefheart, mysis, and sinking carninivore pellets. I have an albino senagalus on order.

So my thought now is this: After receiving the Albino, Relocating the wife's classroom tank for the summer, and rehoming the platies (and neon and cory if possible), I'll stick a trio of small Ctenopomae in there. By the time they are a significant fraction of the size of the 3 in the 25, I'll have my breeding/grow out/utility tanks up and running. I'll fish them out and house them in the 25 in the utility station for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I'll put my adult swordtails in the 110. Then rehome all 6 Ctenopomae in the 110 again. That ought to break up any territoriality and allow them to form a hunting pack. (I'll prob'ly stick a bunch of well quarantined feeder guppies in there at the same time).

So I figure around September I should have a pair of 6" bichirs and 6 Ctenos b/w 2 1/2 and 3 1/2" long and 1 male and 4 female swordtails. (And a tank full of black mollies making supplamental live food for them too. I'll gut-load molly fry on greens and bloodworms before feeding.)

Sound like a plan with a resonable chance of success?

tophat665 07-05-2008 09:07 AM

The three bushfish are in there. Took them a week, but they ate every livebearer smaller than 1 1/2". I rescued the Wild Mollies that came with my feeder guppies and put them in the tank that I moved the bushfish from, and fished out all the sunset platies for my new 33 gallon. (Leaving a couple odd platies, a mess o' feeder guppies, a few small wild mollies that were to wily to be caught, and some ghost shrimp.) The bichir had been grabbing the occasional fishy snack after lights out as well before I put the bushfish in.

The Bichir is about 5" long now. He's a bit scared of the bushfish, but not so much that he doesn't get plenty to eat.

Also put a male albino bristlenosed pleco in there, my male marigold, female sunset, Male and female neon, and a good 8 female red velvet swords in there (mixed sizes). There's also a red wag platy that wasn't having any part of getting netted.

So that's where we stand. I have an albino bichir on order, and I specified that it be larger than 4 1/2" so that it would hold its own.

tophat665 11-05-2008 06:05 PM

The Thread RISES FROM THE DEAD Muuuuhuhuhuhhahahahaha!!!!

Well then, here is my situation: The three leopard ctenos are now near 4" long (the biggest is pushing 5). The original bichir is 10 or 11 " and the albino is about 7 or 8". They have all but obliterated my swordtails. There are four or so Very unhappy females left.

So. What sort of a midwater fish do you figure could survive this tank? It's not all that lively at the moment, what with 3 cryptically colored and 2 retiring ambush predators and all the swords hanging near the surface (I make the occasional stab at pulling them out, but they remain fast and wily, just not when they're sleeping.)

iamntbatman 11-05-2008 11:04 PM

What about a school of already-too-large-to-ever-be-eaten congo tetras?

tophat665 11-05-2008 11:19 PM


Originally Posted by iamntbatman (Post 150910)
What about a school of already-too-large-to-ever-be-eaten congo tetras?

$12 a piece if I'm lucky. A good idea, but he cost is too high for the risk. I'm starting to lean toward giant danios, maybe after some grow out.

tophat665 11-05-2008 11:20 PM

What do you think about spanner or striped barbs? I'm pretty sure the striped barbs are an African species too.

iamntbatman 11-05-2008 11:50 PM

If the striped barbs you're talking about are Puntius johorensis, then nope, they're an Asian fish. I don't think I've ever seen them for sale but if you can find some for relatively cheap I don't see why they wouldn't work.

I think the giant danios would be alright, but they would probably spend more time up top. The T-barb would spend most of its time near the bottom and are known to be diggers.

tophat665 11-06-2008 10:02 AM

Diggers are no good. I've got something along the lines of 95% of the floor of the tank carpeted with plants. Unless there's another fair sized barb that would work, it looks like a lock for the Danios.

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