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beckywhite1979 07-04-2009 11:21 AM

Converting coldwater to tropical-suggestions?
Hi there, new member. I'm just converting a coldwater 35 litre (approx 10 gallon) aquarium to tropical, and looking at how to stock it. I love tetras, and am thinking neons or cardinals, as many as will be confortable in the tank, plus something to add interest. I'm veering between a beta, although I've been warned that tetras can be nippy (never experienced this in the past, and have had others tell me that neons and cardinals should be ok), and a dwarf puffer. Would the tetras be ok with a puffer, or would it harry them? And are they ok alone, or do they need to be in pairs? Oh, and I also have a plec, which is making the move from coldwater to tropical nicely, and seems happier with the heat. Or it could be the fact that he's alone at the moment while the tank cycles!

Any thoughts appreciated.


PS, any suggestions about the number of tetras that would be ok in such a situation?

willow 07-05-2009 03:32 AM

hello and welcome.
transition over should be simple enough,and the plec should indeed enjoy the warmer water.
he may well enjoy the tank to himself,and depending on what kind he is,to wether
he's going to give you problems or not,you may have to rehome him.
puffers are realy a species only fish,as small as they are,they are indeed very agressive.
two males shouldn't be placed in a small tank,as they will fight,they need a heavily planted tank,
with decore to break the eye line of eachother,so i wouldn't put a betta in there with them.
hariquin rasboras or indeed the neons together would look nice.
the amount of each i would need someone else to advise you on that.

Byron 07-05-2009 08:53 AM

On the number of tetras, they are all shoaling fish which means they live together in groups of their own species in their natural environment. There are many reasons for this I won't go into, but the result is that when kept in an aquarium they will fare much better (feel more secure and less threatened, therefore be "happy" and much healthier) in groups of at least six. Kept alone or just two or three is almost guaranteed to make them stressed, and this is the cause of many diseases and health problems and early demise.

In a 10g your options are limited. A group of 6 small tetras (all the same species as noted above) with a small group of small corys (minimum 3) is about it. You don't mention the pleco species, but many of these grow to 12 inches and much more, which is too big for a 10g even when they are young. A "large" fish maintained in small quarters when young develops internal problems that frequently lead to immune and other health issues. The thought that a "small" fish can be kept in a small tank for now is erroneous; one must always consider the adult size and prepare for it from the beginning if one wants to have a healthy fish that develops properly. Some plecos are smallish, max 3-4 inches, and if you have one of these then I would leave it in the 10g with a group of 6 tetras.

A last word on neons and cardinals, they prefer different temperatures; neons fare best around 75 F (24 C) and cardinals prefer it a bit warmer, around 78-79 F (26 C). That may not seem like much difference, but to the fish it is quite a difference, as it affects their internal metabolism and keeping a fish at a temperature or in water conditions not natural for it will keep it working harder to maintain the internal equilibrium and this frequently causes stress and poor health. They will only be at their best when they feel comfortable in their surroundings. As for the nipping, neons have been noted to do this when kept with unsuitable tank mates that have long fins. Again it comes down to compatible fish in a tank, especially important in a smaller one where the inhabitants have no opportunity to avoid each other.

fishbum 07-05-2009 10:37 AM

If you are going with the slim bodied neons,or cardinals,you could easily have a school of 12 to 15 in a 10 gallon.They do better in larger schools,and bio load won't be an issue as they are such small fish.I would go with cardinals myself.They are much hardier than neons,and do not get the dreaded NTD( neon tetra disease).

As far as tank mates,if you fill the tank with a single species of tetra,which is your best bet IMO,this will limit you.Corydora,like tetra, need to me in schools of at least 6 as well,so this will over stock your tank.
A Betta might work,but they are all different,and you might get one that does not like to have tank mates in his environment.I have a 10 gallon that has around 12 glow light tetra that I keep 2 lyre tail guppies in as well.The guppies are always swimming around,and they get the terta moving.Before I added the guppies,the terta just kind of hung out in one corner of the tank.The guppies get in and stir up the school,and get the tetra out and about.Altough it is a small tank,it is one of my favorites because it is heavily planted,and has a lot of fish,with a lot of activity.

As far as the pleco goes,there are a huge variety of species that only grow to 3 to 5 inches.Clown,rubber lip,and bristle nose plecos to name some of the more common ones.Even if you have one of the smaller varieties,10 gallons is too small if you want to keep other fish.Plecos proudce a large amount of waste,and if you keep other fish with it,you will certainly have water quality issues.

So I would re-home your pleco,get a nice school of cardinals,and find some small,active,non schooling fish,to keep the tank interesting.

beckywhite1979 07-07-2009 03:32 AM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. Just working on getting the cycle completed, and then I'll look more at fish.

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