Final stocking suggestion 56G community
Thanks so much to everyone who has been helping me set up and get started (again) with my new community tank.
I've now got:
55G Filter 1000L planted tank with NH4=0, NO2=0, NO3<10ppm, GH 40ppm, KH=0, pH=7.0
7 Black widow tetra
10 Cherry barbs
3 Peppered corys
3 Bronze cory
3 Yoyo loach (<5cm for the time-being - these may get sold as they get bigger)
Which brings me to about 89% capacity according to aqadvisor.
I was originally thinking about 3 pearl gouramis (1M&2F) but after much reading around about the pros and cons of having a "feature" fish and problems with try to sex pearl gouramis at the LFS, I am now thinking about Sparkling Gouramis OR another bunch of schooling tetras.
I've never seen a sparkling gourami and don't know very much about them other than what I have read online. I am also concerned that my tank may not be still enough. See my youtube.
Do people have advice for me about possible stocking options and or advice for me about pros and cons on pearl versus sparkling gouramis.
The tank is full of smallish fish at the moment. I don't mind that - but it would be nice to have something else of interest at the top of the tank.
I would take some caution with Black Widow Tetras and Gouramis. In large groups they can be less nippy, but sometimes they can be a bit peckish. I have had a school of 8 tetras with honey gouramis and I had to move the gouramis as their feelers kept getting nipped off. This is just my experience. Someone else may have had a different experience.
I would personally expand the cori schools and loach (yoyo loaches are also nippers) schools more. Cories are highly social, when you have a larger school they are more comfortable, live longer and will be easier to see and enjoy. I also strongly advise adding sand as substrate. Cories will have a hard time with gravel, they have naturally evolved to live and dig in sand. You can get cheap play sand at the hardware store.
Your aquascape is very lovely. I like the mix of color.
I hope this helps :)
I've also been wondering about getting some more corydoras too. I've perhaps been misled into thinking that the peppered cats and bronze don't see themselves as different, but after 2 weeks in the tank I've noticed pairings in each group of three.
Changing to sand at this stage seems a little overwhelming but can see that my corys would probably like it in preference to the gravel. How do you even do it with out having to completely remove everything and starting again? I was thinking maybe I could put a corner of sand in for them and make sure I feed them in that corner?
Changing from gravel to sand seems like a daunting task, but it's really pretty easy. Just make sure that you plan things out in advance. After I did it a few times, I didn't even need I remove the fish or the water.
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Thanks Jaysee, any chance you can quickly outline how you did it? I'd be much obliged.
I agree with Jaysee it isn't too bad to switch. You just need to bite the bullet and tackle it. I personally layer my substrate. I have some gravel below and sand above.
With cories it goes beyond their preferences. If cories live on gravel they will most likely damage their barbels which can lead to stress and health problems. Millions of years of evolution created wonderful little shovels and digging tools specialized for sand. It can't really be reversed or disregarded for our leisure. With your planted tank I am sure they are very happy fish, why not make them happier :D
You can drain most of the water, then use something to remove the gravel. I have a big 12 inch wide net that works very well - just be sure to support the bottom with your hand to prevent bending or breaking it when removing it from the water. Whatever you use, get most of it out. You don't have to get it all out - whatever gets left behind will eventually make it's way to the surface after the sand has been put in.
Now that the tank has no substrate, remove the rest of the water - it will be nasty. Once you've removed the water, put some water back in - maybe a quarter of the way. Some say to put the sand in an empty tank, but I prefer there to be water in it. You can then deposit the sand in the tank. The reason I like to have water in the tank when I add the sand it to prevent air pockets. Once you have the sand in the tank, then you can finish filling it up. You should put a piece of decor in the tank, and use that to diffuse the force of the incoming water, otherwise it can whirl up the sand. I would fill it up most of the way, but not all the way, that way you can put the rest of the stuff back in the tank. If you fill it up all the way, and then put stuff in the tank, the water that is displaced by the stuff can overflow. Once everything is back in and where you want it, then you can put the fish back in, and then finish filling the tank. If your source water is very different than the old tank water, then you should acclimate the fish to the new water.
After all that's been said, here is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing....... wash the sand. Wash it and wash it and then wash it again. And then wash it a few more times. And then a couple more. And then one last time. You cannot wash it enough. I don't care if it says prewashed, or it's got this in it or that - if you do not wash the sand well enough, it will cloud up the water. It's not the end of the world if it does, it's just a mild nuisance. Eventually it will clear, especially with the help of micron filter media (very fine - catches very small things, like the dust that's in the water).
To wash the sand, I use a 5 gallon bucket. I put about 10 lbs of sand in it. I fill the bucket with water, either in the bathtub with the faucet or outside with a hose, and as the bucket is filling, I swirl my hand around and around to get as much of the sand in the water as possible. You should be able to get it all in the water, meaning no sand is just sitting on the bottom. Once the bucket is full of water, I stop, give the sand a few moments to settle on the bottom, and then pour out all the water. I do this over and over and over again, until the water pours out clear. Once you stop swirling the sand, and it settles (should take just seconds), if you can immediately put your hand on the sand, and see it clearly through the whole bucket of water, then it's ready to go in the tank. You should be able to stir it up without the water getting cloudy. This will ensure that your water never clouds up from the sand. To add the sand to the tank, I use a brita pitcher and pour it in. I fill the pitcher using a plastic cup. It is washing the sand like this that allows me to add it to a tank that's full of water, and not lose any water clarity.
Washing the sand will take the longest amount of time. Be patient, take the time to do it right, and it will never give you a problem. The less sand you wash at a time, the easier it will be to get clean. You can see in the pics how the water is becoming clearer and clearer.
And here is the final product. Filters are on.
Wow! Thanks so much Jaysee, I am very grateful to you for taking the time to write me such detailed instructions. I am off to the LFS to see what sand I can get my hands on. I'll keep you posted.
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You're very welcome.
Sand at the fish store can be pretty expensive. Many people, myself included, use pool filter sand. Many others use play sand. Aquarium specific sand can be pretty expensive. If you go the expensive route, look at the caribsea supernaturals sunset gold. There's also the Tahitian moon sand. The moonlight sand is beautiful too, but it's extremely fine and is not a good choice with HOBs - it fouls the filter because its easily kicked up into the water column.
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