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Major25 11-27-2009 06:56 PM

Stocking Tank, Bala and Angel
I'm planning on stocking my tank that has been cycling for about two weeks now, I've gotten the water tested a number of times and I'm pretty sure that the levels in the water are good and stable. For my first two fish I want to get a small Bala shark and an Angel fish. I may add two smaller fish in a couple of weeks and then that would be it. What are your thoughts?

Twistersmom 11-27-2009 08:29 PM

How have you been cycling the tank? A tank does not begin to cycle until there is a source of ammonia.
Both Balas and Angel fish, are sensitive fish and should only be placed in well established tank.
I would start with a "cycle" fish, one that can live through a new cycle, if you can keep ammonia and nitrites under .25 ppm.
Do you know your ph? What size tank? The answers, will help us offer suggestions, to fish that will do well in your tank.

kelly528 11-27-2009 08:52 PM

Dude, scrap the bala shark. Thank goodness you suggested here before getting one! They grow to about a foot long, have to be kept in groups of 3 or more, and require a MINIMUM of 100 gallons. Most people would argue 150. In fact, they will actually thump into the walls of tanks of 55g!

Size tank would really help too.

Major25 11-27-2009 10:04 PM

ok please don't hate me for wanting a bala shark or an angel fish after hearing this, because I am open to all suggestions. This is my first fish tank, it's 30 gallons. I've conditioned the water (tap water) and it's been running through the filter for two weeks now. I put in some flakes of food two days ago to let that decompose. The last time i got my water tested, amonia levels were fine but the ph was high, and so i have used ph down a few times sense then and the ph level should be fine now too (i'm thinking it's probably a little above 7 right now, i know i should get it tested again, and i'm going to when i get back to my apartment tomorrow).

i did want a larger fish for the tank as sort of a 'centerpiece' fish, not large large, just something that's maybe 4 or 5 inches. I love the look of both the bala shark and the angel fish, but i understand that the tank is too small and i'm probably too inexperienced. the pet stores around where i am have a pretty good selection of fish, and my girlfriend and i also liked the balloon molly's, threadfin rainbow, the glofish and the black molly's out of the ones in the store we were in today.

After posting this, i'm going to look through other threads, because i'm sure that this has come up before, but it would still be nice to get some personal input on what you guys might suggest to start with. I know that i can't load the tank to 'capacity' right away, and i don't plan on doing so, only a couple fish at a time.

I guess my question is, what would be a good 'centerpiece' fish, in your opinions? the smaller, hardier fish will be pretty easy to look up i imagine, but i would like a slightly larger fish in my tank among the smaller ones, you know?

Thank you for any input, please don't be too harsh! :-?

kelly528 11-27-2009 10:18 PM

Angels should work out fine in a 30g tank.... I'm no expert (someone in the Cichlid forum would know) but bioload-wise (and size wise) a pair of angels (I believe people usually get a male and female) should workout totally fine as a centerpiece fish. They are a bit aggressive, so you'll have to watch the tankmates but it can be done.

Other good centrepiece fish include but are not limited to:
-Rams (Blue, Gold, you name it)
-Apistos (ie cockatoo cichlids, apisto agassizi, etc)
-Kribensis cichlids
-Dwarf gouramis

Someone in the cichlid forum may be able to point you towards some more cichlids that would suit a 30g community.

In that size tank, you could also accomodate a very flashy pleco. NEVER buy a common pleco (they grow 1 foot long). But there are lots of way better-looking (eg the zebra pleco) fine in a 30g. That's something you could look into once everything has been up and running for a while. Another option for bottom feeders is a school of 6 cories.

For schoolers, hatchets would probably be a good bet with angels.

Good luck and whatever you do, do not restrict yourself to the selection at your local fish store... they can usually order fish for you if you don't see them in the store.

Major25 11-27-2009 10:37 PM

thank you so much for your feed back, i'm definitely going to keep an eye out for these ones that you mentioned

La Reina 11-27-2009 10:48 PM

My mix in my 20 gallon at ther moment are some danios (My starter fish), some platys, and a dwarf flame gourami. They're all happy campers. Oh, and a couple of mystery snails on the clean up crey.

I really don't know anything about "big" fish like angels, or these mysterious plecos you speak of, but I like your idea of centerpiece fish. Best of luck!

(Keep your fish receipts, very handy if your fisk keels over unexpectedly.)

Twistersmom 11-28-2009 09:14 AM

Major25, I think its great, you are asking questions and researching fish before you buy!

Looking at the cute Balas at the store, its hard to believe they can grow so large, but they do and quickly. I have 3 balas in a 210 gal tank. They would not be able to turn around in a 30 gal. Kelly is correct, they need to be in groups of 3 or more. They would be very skittish and miserable, if not kept in a group.

I would like to see this tank work well for you. Ammonia and nitrite can go from zero to deadly levels within a day. You are going to need a water test kit, so you can test at home daily. You will want to test the water, one or two times daily, until the tank is cycled. ( in cycled tank, bacteria has built up, to eat up ammonia and nitrite. So, you get a zero result when testing) Water changes will be needed, maybe even daily water changes, to keep ammonia and nitrites under .25 ppm.
Most of us here, use the API liquid freshwater testing kit. Its a bit pricey, but is good for many test.

Do you know you ph? Take some tap water to the store as well, so we know the ph of your tap water. Using any product, that raises or lowers ph, can be stressful for fish. Changes in ph, are harder on fish, then living in a ph that is a little high or low. My ph is 8. I do avoid fish that are very sensitive to high ph, but most fish adapt quite well.

Danios are the best "cycle fish". They can handle ammonia and nitrites very well. Mollies could also work. Mollies need a high ph. If you go with mollies and you do not want fry, you will want all females or all males.
They can breed quickly.

If you still want Angels, I would add them last, after the tank is cycled. Any exposure to ammonia/nitrite will make them acceptable targets for ick and disease.

Major25 11-28-2009 09:44 AM

Yea, ok so that's probably what I'll do then. My girlfriend and I liked some of the mollies and danios at the store, so we'll probably start out with maybe one of each or just two of one of those kinds for the first two weeks or so to make sure that the tank is actually cycled, like you suggest. and I'll keep a close eye on the water and test it/get it tested every day and if i notice that the amonia is spiking then I will do water changes every day until the amonia gets down to zero. At that point I can be pretty sure that the tank is cycled, correct?

So I'll start out with two of those fish for the first two weeks or so, and then add either an angel or one of the other centerpiece fish that was suggested earlier, I'll have plenty of time to decide which one. Thanks a lot for the help, I do want them to be both healthy and happy and I don't want to make a poor little bala shark miserable! So thanks again everyone

Twistersmom 11-28-2009 10:08 AM

The tank cycle, takes a while. It could be around a month before the tank is able to hold a zero ammonia/nitrite reading.
Staring out with 3-5 small fish, sounds like a good plan. I would wait a good couple months, before adding the Angels. Even once the tank is cycled, adding another fish, adds to the load. So, you may or may not have enough bacteria built up, to carry the load of the new fish.
Once the tank is cycled, add new fish slowly. Only a couple at a time, to allow more bacteria to build up.

Don't over clean the filter. This is where most of the bacteria is growing. Only change out filter media, when falling apart. Use as long as possible, by cleaning in removed water, on water change days. Rinsing in chlorinated water, will kill the beneficial bacteria. This will help you cycle the tank faster.

Do you have a friend with an aquarium? Filter media and gravel from a cycled tank, can help "seed" a new tank, to get it cycled even faster.

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