How to change my stocking now that I've upgraded to a 37gal..
I previously had a 28gal tank, which a couple months ago needed to be restocked after my lovely former roommate destroyed everything in my tank while I was on vacation. Anyways. That is the past, I have a larger tank now anyways, a 37 gallon.. Which is a tall tank, by the way.
The tank has a South American theme to it as far as stocking and plants.. not as far as a biotope, but I only want to stock fish from South America - I have the soft, acidic water to suit them and.. I've come this far, I don't want to add any 'foreigners' lol.
13 Cardinal Tetras
1 Red Lizard Whiptail
When I was discussing stocking the old tank, it was suggested to have 12 hatchets, so I'm assuming I should still increase their shoal size to 12.. not sure if I should get more, but I'm also not sure that I want more than 12 - though they do look AWESOME all swimming so closely together.
I've also reviewed options for additional fish to add to that..which I decided against in the old tank, but since I have more space now, I feel like maybe I should.
- I haven't been able to find any pencilfish at my LFS.. I don't think they will be an option.
- The apistos that my LFS got in stock were like $30 each and I don't want to spend that much on them.. maybe if I were only getting like one male, not sure if that is recommended, and also not sure when they'll be in stock again. (Like they just got in some Double Red Agassizi.. I'm sure they're expensive.)
- Ember tetras were previously suggested, I think these are pretty cheap and easy to care for.. and have a nice color to them. If I went with these, how many should I get?
- Of course, I could go with a bolvian ram, but I just don't think they look as nice as blue rams..
- And with a blue ram, I would feel ok keeping it at 80 degrees, I have done this before with a GBR, but I'm not sure how much that's pushing it for the other fish.
Not sure what else.. I supposed there are other tetras to look at. I've had rummies before and although I absolutely love them, if I get another shoal of tetras, I want them to have a different body shape than my cardinals.
Any thoughts on this, or different suggestions? I don't want cories.. I'm not sure if you're supposed to keep cories and whiptails together (doesn't seem like an issue but I don't know), but I don't want them. And I don't want another top dwelling fish.
If the hatchetfish is one of the species in Carnegiella, definitely get more. I have all the species in this genus and have for more than 20 years, and I always try to have 12 or more of a species.
Staying with the hatchets for a moment, on the temp, while they can manage at 80F I would not if you can avoid it. Almost all fish are better in the mid-range of their temp, as this means they don't have to spend as much energy just "existing" so they will be calmer and healthier. Carnegiella species are fine around 77F.
It is a pity you can't get pencilfish, as these are ideally suited to taller tanks due to their browsing rather than swimming behaviours. Is it a case of never seeing them? Or perhaps some might appear "in season?" Being wild caught, most species will be available once during the year, shortly after the collecting season which is now controlled by law in most of SA. Alternatively, there are some reliable fish dealers online in the US.
Ember T are fine, I have a group of 12 in my 70g with cardinals, pencils, etc. Other tetra could include the small/medium species like some of those in Hyphessobrycon (Black Phantom, Rosy, Robert's, etc). These prefer to remain in a shoal among plants.
Dwarf cichlids can be troublesome, and they are expensive. If this were me with your tank, I would avoid them, except perhaps for one of the species in Dicrossus, and a pair. I haven't had these for years. My several experiences with Apistogramma in community tanks have not been very successful; when they spawn they can be quite nasty to other fish.
Ok, I guess I will first get 5 more marbled hatchets, they are indeed in the Carnegiella family. I love the way the large shoal of them looks at the LFS so I'm happy to add more to my group.
My heater is set at either 77 or 78.. I can't remember. I will keep it as it and cross the rams off my list. Those have always been somewhat of a pain to feed anyways. I feel like apistos may end up being similar. Currently, the LFS have a pair of cacatuoides ($49.99) and a pair of agassizii ($44.99).. I don't think I want to spend that much on two fish. They seem beautiful, yes.. But that's a lot. I already spent more than I'd prefer on the red lizard whiptail. ;)
But yes, I have not seen any pencilfish, but at the same time, I haven't been looking until recently. In my old set up, I started out with some harlequin rasboras as a 'beginner' fish and later added some rummies and I didn't pay attention to any other fish that the LFS had in stock that fit that 'spot' in the aquarium. I will ask if they can get any or plan on getting any.
Ooohh decisions, decisions. I appreciate the input though.
So far, tetras I like are the ember tetras and flame tetras.. I also like the longer fins of the phantoms, rosys, and I really like the Robert's... not sure how common those are though. :/ I guess we shall see!
Here's a video of C. strigata (Marble) and C. marthae in one of their habitats, the Rio Negro. This might also be interesting, given your other thread on the blackwater tank. The Rio Negro is the world's largest blackwater river, and the sixth largest tributary of the Amazon.
The hatchets make a brief appearance, about half-way through. [The video narration is in French, but that doesn't matter, the fish in the river are amazing nonetheless.]
One nice thing about pencilfish, if you combine a couple species, is that you can fill all levels in the aquarium with fairly compatible fish. I have four species in my 70g, and another three in other tanks. Nannostomus eques remain in the upper third, N. unifasciatus tend to stay lower. I was rather surprised at this, when I finally received some of the latter fish from Brazil back in February. I've had groups of N. eques for probably 20 years, but this was the first time the other species turned up. I had assumed that being so closely related, the two would have basically the same habits, but no. And the male N. unifasciatus are feisty little guys too, for their small size; quite unlike the male N. eques. These two species swim diagonally, always, which is a nice feature for interest.
N. marginatus, N. mortenthaleri and N. rubrocaudatus, all very closely related as our profiles explain, tend to swim everywhere, but stay around chunks of wood and branches, browsing for food.
OK, that sounds awesome. So let me just make sure I get this correctly, can I get smaller amounts of each kind of pencilfish because they will... Sort of shoal together, but not really because they're at different levels. Or are you saying to still get five or six of a couple types of pencilfish? Either way, they certainly sound interesting. Hopefully they're just not in season and my LFS can get them at a later time. Swimming diagonally sounds interesting!
I will watch that video later this evening. I watched the video of the splashing tetra (I think that was the name) and that was very interesting to watch.
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Nearly forgot to mention, not to get Nannostomus beckfordi, the only pencilfish species that may cause trouble. I like this fish very much, but I have it in my 115g where it is less likely to be troublesome. I have known it to nip hatchetfish. This pencil remains very close to the surface, and it obviously views the hatchets as intruders.
Haha, I'm assuming those are also called Beckford's pencilfish? I was talking to the LFS on their Facebook and that was a fish they suggested.. Which probably means that's one they typically stock. Just my luck.
I will ask about some of the diagonally swimming ones you mentioned, that sounds interesting.
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I was reading the latest issue of PFK yesterday, and there was a 2-page spread photo of a line of N. eques by Ivan Mikolji that I found online and attached below. Ivan owns a fish collection and exporting business in Venezuela I believe; I have posted some of his videos of the natural habitats previously. He said he spent 45 minutes absolutely motionless in the shallow creek with his camera before he could get this (and a few other) photos of the fish lined up.
Those are amazing photos! I hope I can get some of these fish because you're certainly making me want them.
I spent a while last night watching YouTube videos similar to the one you posted (which, by the way, the translated English subtitles were ridiculous.. I think it said the Rio Negro is a tax haven at one point haha). Quite beautiful and inspiring. I wish I had an even bigger tank!
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LFS said they have been able to get N. unifasciatus and N. eques before but they aren't available often, I'm sure because they are wild caught. They will see what they can offer. :) So I will be working on that.
Picked up 5 more of the hatchets for a total of 12 now.
I'm annoyed they have red lizard Whiptail's in stock again for $7 less than what I spent like two weeks ago. That's my luck haha.
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