Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
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Cate 09-25-2013 08:58 AM

Hello fellow fish lovers!
Hi there,
I'm Cate from Scotland!
I've just bought an 80litre (21US gallons, 17UK gallons) cabinet aquarium and would like to know how many fish, and types of fish i could keep here.
I have kept a freshwater tropical aquarium before which was given to me second hand, and this contained a number of fish of different types including a Red-Tailed Shark and Glass Catfish.
I would like to get a Red-Tailed Shark again but have read that the tank may not be big enough, is this true?
I would also like to keep mollies, guppies, a bumblebee catfish, a Betta Imbellis and a Licorice Gourami. I realize for the mollies and guppies, i would need to keep atleast three (1 male:2 female).
Would these fish be compatible, and is the tank big enough to hold these?
If this set-up is not sufficient, please could you give me a few suggestions?
Many Thanks,

willow 09-25-2013 09:10 AM

hello and warm welcome to you .:-D
i'm no good on stocking levels,but hopefully someone will
come along and advise you on the best way forward.
there are members here from all over the world,so sometimes a reply
can take a little while, except for me lol because i'm only down the country
from you :mrgreen:

Chesh 09-25-2013 09:32 AM

Hi, Cate! Welcome to TFK, and congrats on the new tank!!! Setting up an aquarium is always very exciting - no matter how many times you've done it!!! Glad to see you asking questions before starting - getting a slow start on the right foot is going to go a long way in getting you a healthy and thriving setup that both you and your fish will enjoy for a long time to come!

You're correct in that this tank is too small for a red-tailed shark. . . but as to putting a number on how many fish, or how many different types of fish, that really depends entirely on the fish you end up with!

The size of your tank would be okay for beauties like the Licorice Goruami, but these fish are very sensitive and shy - best kept on their own as specemin fish in a tank designed specifically for their needs. They require SUUUPER soft water, with a very low Ph, in order to thrive, and are probably best in the care of an experienced fishkeeper.

Other fish, like Mollies and Guppies are wonderful fish for a beginner, active and colorful - and tough enough to handle a few new fish-keeper mistakes - but they prefer their water to be on the harder side. So these two would definitely not be compatible with the gourami.

Not all water is created equal, and it can be challenging to shift the water parameters from your tap to suit your animals - especially if you're just starting out. So your best bet would be to start by figuring out what kind of water you have coming out of your faucet. You'll want to know not only the Ph, but the Gh and the Kh as well. On this side of the pond we can sometimes get this information from our water supply company, and if not, there are test kits available so you can monitor this yourself - I'm not familiar with what brands you have over there, but this is something you'll want to look into.

While you're looking into water tests, you'll want to pick up a liquid test kit to monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the tank once you are ready to begin preparing the tank for life. If you aren't already familiar with the Nitrogen Cycle that takes place in the aquarium, now is the time to study up on it - it means life or death to your soon-to-be new fishies! Here is a link that may help to get you started:

That's a lot of information to begin with, so I'll stop there before it seems too overwhelming! Starting a new tank isn't *quite* as simple as most people think at first, but it is so worth it in the end!!! I hope some of this helps you out, and I'm sure our other members will be around shortly to welcome you, and answer some of the many other questions you may have! Once again, WELCOME to TFK, and congrats on the new tank! I can't wait to see what you make of it!

Cate 09-25-2013 09:40 AM

Hi thank you so much for the quick reply, this helps me alot!! I will do some more studying and carry out the water tests to make sure everything is stable and ready for fish. Thanks for the link.

Boredomb 09-25-2013 11:09 AM

Chesh has giving you some great advice here. Knowing what your water is from the faucet is very important. Testing these before adding fish using a liquid test kit is about the best way to do it. They are about as accurate as you can get without having lab grade tools at hand. The strips tend to pull moisture from the air soo you can get not soo accurate answers. So they are not really reliable. You can test GH and KH right from the faucet as soon as the water comes out. To test the PH you will either need to put it in a container and shack it for several minutes to out the gases in the water such as Co2 to get an accurate reading or leave it sitting in a cup over night and test it the next morning.

Boredomb 09-25-2013 11:17 AM

Welcome to Tropic fish keeping btw!

There is many different types of ways to cycle a tank. Understanding how the bacteria works is a big part in cycling the tank. The link Chesh linked is very good in that aspect.

If you have never done this here is a basic guide in which to choice which way to do it.

Once you decide which way to go and still have questions we will be more then happy to answer them!

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