Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sunmaid 05-04-2009 11:08 PM

New 100 gallon Community tank stocking questions.
Hello all. Have read a lot here, understood some, enjoyed most but now I have questions of my own as you have nearly fried my brain with all the wonderful help and information.

I will pick up my tank this week along with the necessary equipment and hopefully be starting a cycle by the weekend.

The tank dimensions are 60" long 19" wide and 20" deep. I have typed these numbers into a gallon converter and it comes out to 88 gallons. My guess is there was some issue in the measurements but I am planning on using them for my fish stocking as the smaller numbers will be conservative in any case in choosing fish numbers and equipment capacity.

I have a tentative stocking plan and wanted to get some general comments about the viability of my selections.

1 x Medium size Pleco such as a clown pleco or equivalent
1 x Long Nose Raphael catfish aka Chocolate catfish
4 x Zebra Danio
4 x Flame Dwarf Gouramis
4 x Neon Blue Gouramis
4 x Cory cats in the 4" category as adults
8 x Cardinal Tetras
3 x Kuhli Loaches

This should leave me some flexibility and if I understand the bio load of the appropriate fishes, I should still have some room. If that is the case, please feel free to offer advice. I have 2 concerns about the stocking plan. One is I might have too many Gouramis. The second is I might have too many bottom feeders. The only non-negotiable fish on the list are the Pleco and the Raphael catfish.

It is my intention to initially have a sand substrate using pool filter sand. The main piece of equipment that I am concerned about is choosing the appropriate canister filter for this stocking and if I decide to go with 2 filters rather than one, do their capacities add or do they both have to be able to do 100 gallons each?

At the moment I am undecided about plants.

Your help and comments are appreciated very much.

1077 05-05-2009 03:55 AM

Congrats on the new tank. I have kept most of the fish you are interested in and will offer you my honest opinion. The clown pleco as well as the raphael catfish are not fish that you should expect to see a lot of. They are quite secretive, and spend the daylight hours in large part, hiding. The clown pleco will require some driftwood for it is part of their diet. The raphael is a very interesting fish and doesn't grow to much over six inches ,but I would fear for the khuli loaches as the raphael matures. It is possible that the raphael ,who can be a bit territorial, might cause them harm. Kuhlis would need many places to hide .I personally have not had much success with keeping any of the dwarf gouramis healthy in the long term. It appears that they are suceptible to viruses some of which are said to be untreatable and highly contagious to other fish. Add to that ,,most of the dwarf gouramis sold are males and they are territorial to the point of fighting amongst each other, not only for territories,but to eliminate competition in the event you were lucky enough to aquire a female or two. I personally do not know how to sex them.
Corys would be excellent, they are unobtrusive and buisily go about their buisness and most fish,, pay them no mind.
Ditto for zebra danios.
Cardinal tetras prefer warm acidic water with pH values not much abve 6.8 in my view, for their long term health.They do poorly in hard water. You will need to get a test kit such as the API freshwater master kit sold at many fish stores or online(cheaper),, to test your water during cycling or maturing of tank, as well as to determine what your Ph is. This will also help you in selecting fish . Always best to purchase fish that will do well with the water you have easily available(tapwater), than it is to try and adjust water to suit the fish.Many fish are killed attemting to do so.
Iwould look for a filter capable of turning over, four times the volume of water in the tank per hour and have little interest in other opinions in this respect. You will be glad ,and fish will be healthier.
You really need to decide on plants BEFORE you place your substrate in my opinion. There are low light plants that will grow in sand with moderate lighting,but will probably also need some type of fertilization to do well. Root tabs ,or liquid fertilizer. Regular plant substrate could be the way to go for more options on plants but I am no plant guru and will let others ,hopefully offer their expierience in this respect. I am not attemting to discourage you in any fashion regarding the fish you have expressed interest in, but would urge you to research all of their needs ,and this,, will help you tremendously with keeping your fish healthy. Hope some of this proves helpful.

sunmaid 05-05-2009 09:26 AM

1077, thanks for taking the time to write all of that.

As for the Raphael, I had noticed the aggression as he matured the last time I had one. However I was forced to leave the hobby for many years right as his aggression was happening so I did not have a good feel for it. For now I will scratch the Kuhlis.

In addition I will drop the tetras and scale back the Gouramis and see what other options I can come up with. To me at least, the Gouramis are worth some effort because of their beauty and pace. Maybe with fewer they will get along better and be less stressed. And I did notice my pet store apparently only had males because they were quite bright as far as their colors were concerned.

I am still open to all options and the plant issue is one I am still studying quite hard.

Thanks once again.

aunt kymmie 05-05-2009 09:56 AM

My vote always leans towards a planted tank. Plants are beautiful, provide oxygen and tropical fish prefer them as it's part of their natural habitat. I've got a planted 100g tank and am very happy with it. I found that once I got my tank dialed in (thanks to the members here!) it became relatively easy to keep my plants healthy and thriving. I have sand substrate, use root tabs monthly, liquid ferts daily and maintain proper lighting. The back of the tank has a layer of laterite which isn't visible from the front. Maintaining a planted tank is a bit of work (and an expense) but it's worth it to me. I know if I had used a regular plant substrate it would be easier as far as maintenance but I like the looks of sand much more than plant substrates. I suppose plants or no plants comes down to how much time and money you want to part with. For me the only option was to go with plants. :-)

PS. I also keep a cat (pictus) and a pleco (ABN) in this tank and don't see them much until after the main lights go off and the moonlights come on.

sunmaid 05-05-2009 11:09 AM

Thanks Aunt,

You have condensed several of my questions on plants down to a concise answer. For me the cost is not so much an issue as the time.

I am familiar with the reclusive habits of some of the fish I have chosen but I really enjoy seeing them after they have hid awhile and then show up bigger. It also makes me think they are happy since they seem to have found a home they can enjoy and not constantly try to escape. I struggle sometimes with the idea of imprisoning the animals and it is a big part of why I want their home to be comfortable and relaxing for them.

My reticence towards a planted tank has more to do with lack of knowledge than unwillingness to deal with plants.

So my stocking question of the day, what is a good alternative to the Gouramis to add color to my tank. I like the way the Gouramis float around and obviously they have some nice colors. Are there any cichlids that are acceptable in a community tank? I have tried to avoid any fish that even have semi-agressive in their description and stay only with peaceful fish.

Thanks for all the help. The light bulb still isn't on completely but at least the fuse isn't blown now.

aunt kymmie 05-05-2009 11:22 AM

I've got dwarf cichilds in my tank (rams) and I love them. They are very mellow, squabbling amongst themselves only occasionally, and are very colorful. Their only drawback is they hang in the bottom third level of the tank. To remedy for color in the upper levels of the tank I opted for a school of Denison barbs. They are quick movers but very peaceful fish. I've heard that Congo tetras are very peaceful and that they hang out in the upper levels too. Of course, neither the tetras or barbs are slow movers like the gouramis are. I love the colors of the gouramis but passed on them for my tank due to the same reason 1077 stated...their susceptibilty to disease and illness scared me away from them.

jeaninel 05-05-2009 11:44 AM

How about some Pearl Gouramis instead of the dwarf gouramis? They are not as susceptible to disease as the dwarfs are. You could have 1 male and maybe 2 or 3 females. A nice big school of Harlequin Rasboras would go nicely with them.

1077 05-05-2009 11:49 AM

I too love the german blue and gold rams. I have kept them with Keyhole cichlids, Kribensis, Discus,and currently with severums without issues.I have also kept bleeding heart tetras,black phantom tetras,pristella tetras(gold)..cherry barbs,gold whitecloud minnows,and threadfin rainbows with the fish above with the exception of the severums which I only recently aquired. Perhaps some of these might interest you..

Twistersmom 05-05-2009 03:54 PM

I had some dwarf gouramis wipe out about 1/2 my tank a year age. All was well for a couple months, then fish started dropping like flies, starting with the gouramis. I believe now it was TB. Its a shame, but improper breeding has made gouramis a great risk.
There are lots of different beatiful rainbow fish, though not as slow moving as the gouramis.
I have two bolivian rams that I love, like stated they will hang more near the bottom. They are as nice as they say they are. I sometimes see them peck at other fish, but it must be gentle for the other fish don't even seem to notice.

sunmaid 05-06-2009 12:21 AM

Thanks for the great feedback. Using the information above, personal taste and still some guessing I have the following new possible stock list.

Medium Size Pleco x 1
Raphael Catfish x 1
Denison's Barb x4
False Julli Cory cat x 4
German Blue Ram x 4
German Gold Ram x 4
Zebra Danio x 8
Boesmeni Rainbow x 6

I have tested my water and all of these seem compatible with each other and my water with the possible exception of the danios. My kh appears to be too low for these guys. I am getting a reading of 6 out of my tap and am unsure how that will change once I start cycling my tank with the driftwood, rocks and plants. I have read some in-depth coverage of ph readings but not so much on kh.

I have decided to include plants since the extra work appears to be worth it both for the look of the tank and also the benefits from having live plants.

A filter has also been chosen. I have settled on the Eheim Plus 2217-37. The manufacturer says this filter is good to 150 gallons or so. Is a secondary filter necessary or is this sufficient for the task at hand?

Any feedback on this is once again much appreciated.

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