Not sure which stocking option to go for...
Hey all *Noob alert* :wave:,
I'm brand spanking new to this forum (yay!;-)) and still fairly new to the hobby, and would love some experienced advice on how to stock my tank! :-D
I currently have 4 goldfish in there (with 3mm rounded gravel, driftwood, a java fern and some duckweed for my goldies to munch on), but not long after getting them I realized that I would rather have a more heavily live planted tank with more colourful fish, so I've been doing some research and these are the stocking options that I'm thinking about:
*** I should just mention that all options mentioned here have been approved by aqadvisor.com, and will be suitable for living in my tank even when they are fully grown (which is a must, as I don't know if I'll ever be able to upgrade it in the future!)
Oh, and I'd also like to have my fish inhabit ALL areas of the tank! :-)***
10 Panda corys (I'd love these in my setup no matter what other fish I get! :-D)
10 Celestial pearl danios (which I'm also REALLY in love with, and would love to have no matter what... so long as they aren't likely to get eaten by any of the other fish!)
10 Harlequin rasboras
10 FEMALE bettas (as I've read that having 5 or more females helps lessen the brunt of the aggression on each individual betta. And I figured 10 would create less aggression, and add more colour to the tank... And don't forget that I'll also be having a fairly heavily planted tank, so there will be lots of hiding places for them! :-))
NOTE: While this option has all of my favourite fish options, I'm wondering if this setup will look too cluttered or messy...?
1 Opaline OR pearl OR Paradise gourami
10 Celestial pearl danios OR Rummynose tetras OR zebra danios OR Gold barbs (which I've read are community friendly barb)
NOTE: I'd love other suggestions for singular larger sized (compared to the dwarfs at least) gouramis that would also work with this setup, if anyone has any suggestions.
10 Fancy guppies OR 1 pearl gourami
6 Boeseman's Rainbowfish
NOTE: Do you think the Boeseman's would eat the guppies?... I've read that they are notorious for eating all the time, and if they can fit it in their mouth, they'll eat it (though I suppose this goes for most fish... so about 2")!
5 Kuhli loaches (I LOVE how they have a body similar to eels! :-D)
10 Cardinal tetras
1 Pearl gourami
10 White cloud minnows (which apparently have a wide spectrum in terms of what temps they can happily live in... please correct me if this is wrong!!! :-?)
5 FEMALE bettas OR 1 croaking OR paradise OR gourami
I also like dwarf gouramis (though I'm not sure what type I'd go for), but I've heard so much conflicting information out there that I'm a bit tentative on whether or not you can actually keep more than one in the same tank... If you can, then I'd like to have around 5, with probably the kuhlis and one of the type of shoaling fish I've mentioned (or maybe some serpae tetras, or the Boeseman's (with the pandas rather than the kuhlis), or maybe some emerald eye rasboras).
Does anyone know whether this would work?
My tank specs are: 170L (45 gals), and is 122(L) x 36(D) x 42(H)cm OR 48 x 14.2 x 16.5", and is running a fluval 404 filter.
Oh, and I should also mention that while my tank has a wooden hood (and light), there is a large access gap for the filter/heater/etc. - If I end up getting the bettas or kuhlis, should I make a whole new lid for the inside, or is there something I can use to just block the gap (so that they don't jump out/escape), and if so do you have any suggestions (as I have no idea what would work/be a good idea!)?
Any advice, suggestions, or general info would be much appreciated! :-) And please feel free to suggest other stocking options, or whatever else! Thanks! :-D
- And just in case anyone was wondering, yes my tank has already been cycled! - I didn't just plonk my goldies in there before giving them their required TLC. :-)
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, and to the hobby.:cheers:
Rather than dissect each option, I am going to make some general observations that occurred to me in looking over the listings. These will help you understand the background, and we can go from there.
First up, water parameters. This includes GH (general hardness), pH (acidity or base) and temperature. Some fish have very specific needs in these, some much less. If you could tell us your source water (presumably tap) parameters it would help a lot. You can get the GH from the water supply people, they probably have a website; post the link if it seems convoluted as some of them are:-). They should know the pH too, though it is advisable to have a good liquid pH test kit on hand; the API is reliable, there are others. Down the road, a sudden change in pH can signal problems.
Second point is compatibility. Not only must the fish in the tank share the same or close requirements for water parameters; they must also share their needs with respect to water flow, perhaps substrate material, decor (wood, rock, plants), and light. Then there is the activity level; fish vary, some are sedate (example, gourami, cardinal tetra), some are very active swimmers (example white cloud mountain minnows); combining these is very risky because the active fish will unsettle the sedate, causing stress which leads to weak health. Beyond this, there is obviously the behaviour compatibility; small fish with a tendency to nip fins would not be a good match with sedate long-finned fish.
These are just some of the things we look into when deciding fish. We have profiles, second heading from the left in the blue bar across the top, and all these factors are included for each species. If the name in the profile is used identically in a post, it will shade as a link to that profile, as some of the names above did. You will probably be able to revise your options once you've checked the various profiles, and knowing your parameters. My comments on specific combinations will make more sense then.;-)
Also, if you're getting bottom dwellers (Corydoras/Kuhlis) it is an absolute must to have a sand substrate. Gravel will injure their sensitive bellies and mouths. You can use rinsed Quikcrete playsand as a cheap alternative to aquarium sand.
Water params aside (although they are very important), I would go with option one but cut out the betta. IMO there is too much of a risk with their own aggression between ranks upsetting the sedate Harlequins and Danios.
So if you remove the bettas from the stocking I think you could up everyone's shoals by two.
I'm also not a big fan of large centerpiece fish (I used to have pearl gourami), as they seem to make the tank look smaller visually, but that's just me. Out of all the gourami species I think the Honey are quite docile and pretty, several members here have had lots of luck with a trio in a community tank. I'd stay away from the Dwarf Gourami though (powder blue, flame, etc) as they can carry an iridovirus, which is an incurable wasting disease.
Good luck, you're off to a great start! Keep us updated, we love pictures! :D
Thank you both for help and advice so far... it's certainly giving me food for thought, and exactly what I was after! :-)
I've tried searching both my local water and government websites, but for the life of me I can't find any info on the pH or dH levels... however apparently, the tap water in my area is the best in the world, so hopefully that means that it won't be too bad! ;-)
I bought the ASI testing kit (thanks for letting me know that it's a good brand! :-)), and I just checked my water levels (which are a LOT worse than what I was expecting! :shock:)... My ammonia levels aren't perfect, but aren't as bad as the nitrates and nitrites :-(.
The levels in my tank are:
Ammonia - 0.50ppm
Nitrate - 10ppm
Nitrite - 5.0ppm
pH: 7.2 (I haven't checked my tap water levels yet though, as I forgot to do so before... but I'll do it sometime tomorrow.)
gH: No idea.
My goldies don't seem to be acting ill or anything (if anything it's quite the opposite), but I'm keeping a close eye on them! - They'll either have to stay in their tank until I can get their water parameters figured out, or if absolutely necessary I can put them in a 24L/6 gallon tank for the short term (that is empty for now), but I'm just worried that it'll end up stunting them if I do that (they seem to be growing quite quickly)! :-? The tank also comes with a aqua clear 20 filter.
Or if I'm lucky I may be able to give them to my dad's friend, but I'm not exactly sure if that will be possible, as I haven't discussed it with him yet (I only thought of it today).
I was given some free ammonia stones last week, which I finally put into my filter yesterday (which I'm wondering/hoping is the reason why the ammonia levels are lower compared to the nitrates and nitrites...?), and am planning on buying a whole bunch more next weekend.
Do you know if there is anything else I can get while I'm out shopping, that will help me get their water back to acceptable levels? (Unfortunately I won't have time to get them until then)
Also, as far as your comments on the catfish and kuhlis, during my research I read on multiple websites that while sand was better, they could still be kept in aquariums with small 2-3mm gravel, with the rounded edges (which as I said, is what I've got).
I don't want to force my of my fish to have unhealthy and/or unhappy lives (which unfortunately it seems like I've done anyway :-(), but if they can still be happy with the gravel substrate that I have, then I would still like to try having them as pets. However if like you said, gravel is absolutely NOT an option, then I'll have to choose some other kind of bottom dweller (I'm thinking maybe some kind of crab or other type of crayfish/shrimp (and create a structure for the crabs to climb onto to get out of the water when they want to)), as I really don't want to replace my substrate. (So I'd love to hear what the people who have had these fish on the gravel substrate have to say, as obviously they are the ones with the most experience in this! :-))
Lastly thanks for telling me about how a center fish can make the tank look smaller... I didn't think of that, and will need to decide if I'm okay with that or not. :hmm:
I can see that I obviously have a LOT more thinking to do, and certainly more research, and may have to post some more questions on here later on once I've done that.
P.S - I've already got some lovely pics of my goldies that I'd love to share with everyone, but I don't know how to load them on here... The insert image button will only let me post pics for other websites. :squint:
To add photos to a post:
When you type a new post, scroll down to the "Additional Options" section below the text frame and click on the button "Manage Attachments." The little window pops up, then click the "Browse" button and find the photo on your computer, then click "Upload." The photo has to be a jpg file.
Many people keep corys and other bottom dwellers with gravel, without any problems whatsoever. It's not a MUST that they have sand. It's a must that they have smooth substrate. There are different kinds of "gravel" - some are perfectly suitable for bottom dwellers and borrowers, and some are not. Generally speaking, "aquarium gravel" is not a good choice. River rock gravel is perfectly fine, however. If your gravel looks like pebbles, versus broken up rocks, it's fine.
I like the look of a larger centerpiece fish amongst smaller fish. Everyone has their preferences, though. But, larger is relative. A pearl gourami in a 4 foot tank will in no way make the tank look small. As far as pearl gouramis are concerned, in my experience they are group oriented fish - they very much like the company of their own kind. I do not suggest getting just one. In a 4 foot tank, you could have 4 or 5. If you want only one, I suggest you get a 3 spot gourami.
Boesmani rainbws - in my opinion are too large and active for your tank size. I know that that's contrary to what most say, but after I moved my rainbows to a 6 foot tank, there's no way that I would put them back in a 4 foot tank. That's my experience. If you want rainbows, preacox are better suited.
The reason I say that is that my sister has Pandas on smooth small gravel, and they have no barbels and are actually starting to wear down their mouths. However, I suppose I should have worded that differently. There are considerations when keeping bottom dwellers on gravel. It may work and it may not, and I'm glad it's worked for you.
To the OP, do you know the specific name of the gravel/link to a pic of it online?
And people report barbel erosion keeping corys on sand, too. It's just not that cut and dry. Perhaps your sisters fish have mouth rot. Even still, there are a ton of people that keep corys on regular old gravel, without problems. I'm not saying that sand isn't the best, because I believe that it is. I'm just saying that it's not absolutely mandatory, as evidenced by all the people that don't do it.
I've looked into the preacox, and I quite like the look of them... which has gotten me thinking about different stocking options.
Now I'm thinking:
??? - I want something colourful (I REALLY LOVE bright colours, and considering that the preacox and pandas are are more on the bland side, I NEED something outstanding, lol! :-D), preferably on the larger side, and lives in the top (and possibly mid) strata. - Which is why I've been focusing on gouramis... but I'm not sure if the opaline, pearl or blue will be colourful enough for what I'm after. And considering that the dwarfs are so small and can get that sickness (whatever it's called... which I've done a tiny amount of research on), I'm not sure what to do. :-?
I've since been looking into/thinking about getting a single peaceful cichlid (bolivian ram, kibensis and rainbow - though none of them spend much time in the top strata), or just having a school of guppies... but I'm concerned that they'll over-run the tank with how much they breed, even if I end up taking all of their fry to my LFS.
So far my faves are one of the colourful types of dwarf gouramis, the rainbow cichlid (which I think is my absolute fave), or the guppies.... However, one VERY important fact that I should mention, is that I don't want to do more than one water change per week (though if I had to I could manage two)... but I was reading that the rainbow cichlid needs very clean water, and even though my filter is really strong, I'm concerned that maybe I wouldn't be able to keep it clean enough (though that's probably just me being worried about my noob status, lol! :lol:). And I also just checked aqadvisor.com, and it said that they should be in a school with a minimum of 8 all up... which none of the websites I've been researching on have even mentioned. :hmm:
I know I'm being fairly picky about what sort of stocking setup I'm after (sorry about that! :-?), but considering that the corys are on the mid-lower strata and that the preacox are all over, I'm just wanting to keep the visual aesthetics as even as possible. :-)
Oh, and today I received an email from my local water company, and they said that my water hardness for my area is roughly 46mg/L... and I really have no idea what that means in terms of what fish are okay with that, lol! :roll:
Hmmm, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing lol ;-)... So does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts? :-)
P.S - You'll be able to see the type of gravel I have in the pics that I post. :-) Sorry if the pics suck, but but as soon as they saw me my goldies were begging for food, but then as soon as they saw my phone they were like "IT'S AFTER MEEEEEEE!!!! SWIM FOR IT!!!!!!" Which is why the photos suck... I had better pics, but I'm not sure where I put them, lol! :-P
Their names are:
Figaro (the orange one with the white face... he also gets mo, as it looks like he's got a moustache.)
Galileo (the white one with the random orange patch on one side of it's belly.)
Fandango (the black and gold one.)
Rhapsody (the calico one.)
I'll offer some general comments on some of the fish mentioned.
This is not a "large" tank, so a group of rainbow cichlids [presumably this is the species Herotilapia multispinosa] would just about fill it. A group of six minimum, but each must have a good cave as its own. Or a pair.
Cichlids are all fairly sedate fish with respect to their swimming activity. So upper fish that charge around the tank is not the best mix. And as you mention, they tend to remain in the lower third of the water, so mixing species can be difficult as they are all vying for the same area.
I tend to accept that gourami and cichlids should not be mixed, due to their inherent similarities respecting territories.
If your GH is 46 mg/l, which equates to 46 ppm, that is 2.5 dGH which is very soft. Bear this in mind; taking the two rainbowfish mentioned as an example, the Boesman would not fare well in this, but the Praecox would be OK. You can check this sort of info in our profiles.
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