Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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micklep 01-18-2014 10:29 AM

Mixing it up...
 
Hi,
I currently have a 28.6 gallon freshwater aquarium with a fluval u2 filter. My current fish are:
  • 1 x 3" red tailed black shark
  • 2 x Bristlenosed pleco
  • 13 x tiger barbs
  • 1 x albino tiger barb
First of all I am going to upgrade to the u4 filter (a bit of overkill but i'd rather be safe than sorry!
I am going to reduce the barbs down to 6-8 (not sure yet) and i want to add some more colourful fish.
So, my question. if i was to reduce the barb population & increase filtration, what is the most colourful (ideally small) fish that i can add and how many? I did want neon tetras but i doubt they will survive with the barbs.
A couple of images of my tank:
http://s14.postimg.org/ep2r17jup/20140118_162548.jpg
http://s14.postimg.org/um1ixxc8x/20140118_162606.jpg

Thoth 01-18-2014 12:29 PM

It doesn't look like your current filter is having any visible issues. Why are you upgrading? The end result of fish waste is nitrate, which is removed with water changes; increased filtration is not going to help this.

The pleco's get 4" and the shark 6", that is half of the fish stock of the tank when these fish are full grown. I would target another 15" to 20" of fish is the max for the tank unless you are prepared for frequent large water changes. IMO 6 to 8 Tbarbs would have your tank stocked with all of your fish at full size.

Ignoring the above, IME tiger barbs are aggressive fin nippers so I would avoid putting anything slow or with large fins with them. I have never kept them with Neon Tetras but I have kept them with guppies when I was a young teen. Of the handful of males guppies I had, there was always one or two recovering from fin attacks.

What fish were you looking? what is your water hardness, pH?

micklep 01-18-2014 01:02 PM

ok, i will hold my hands up... since i got the tank i haven't tested my water once. I know this is really bad and i WILL buy a testing kit but at present i don't know my PH.

I am aware that it will take a couple of years for everything to grow to adult size, by that time i hope to have a much bigger tank (50-60 gallons)

I want something that can brighten the tank up, something interesting to watch and colourful. I have googled this non-stop and just keep finding contradictory answers.

I ideally would like another schooling fish, maybe 6 again? If I could, i would have got some neon tetras but i know this is out of the question. I also like the rainbow betta but know that the barbs would destroy its tail fin

Thanks for your reply! :D

edit: Sorry, i forgot to reply about the filter! I used AqAdvisor to calculate my stock. It says that the u2 isn't efficient enough :(

Thoth 01-18-2014 01:32 PM

Ok, the filter is likely not circulating enough water per hour. It may be worth upgrading but if the tank is not having issues and the filter is removing waste I would make that a low priority.

I always like to suggest fish that have similar water conditions. Putting fish in the wrong water conditions stresses them and IMO is the main cause for unsuccessful fish keeping. If you are on public water, your LFS should know the typical water chemistry. Not have tests is not the end of the world but the are helpful to diagnose problems.

Neons will school in a tank that has a lot of open space and the more fish the better they will school. I would say that 6 would be around the minimum amount if you are wanting to see any real schooling activity. You may be able to get away with less with aggression from the Tbarb in the tank.

Rummy nose are another schooling fish but I have never had them. I prefer any of the neon's over them.

micklep 01-18-2014 01:43 PM

Agreed on the test kit... i will get one as i think they are invaluable.
So, do you think that in my tank i will get away with:
  • 1 Red tailed black shark
  • 2 plecos (although i'm tempted to give one away to reduce the stock)
  • 6 tiger barbs
  • 10 neon tetras
I know that this is all just your opinion but i know what the lfs can be like, sometimes they will sell you anything just to make a sale. I wish i could get some more cleaner fish (as the plecos seem to be doing nothing) but I have noticed that most of them look the same and don't add much to the tank

Thoth 01-18-2014 06:01 PM

It will work but you will definitely need a nitrate test to make sure that you water change regiment is preventing a build up of nitrates.

Plecos( Genus Hypostomus) and Bristlenose (Genus Ancistrus) are a poor choice for beginners. Most out grow beginner tanks quickly, are high waste producers, most are nocturnal and have specific food requirements. Looking at some fish as being cleaner fish is the wrong way to look at it. You need to feed in a way that all fish get food. If you need cleaner fish, you need to change the way or amount you are feeding. Waste should be controlled with filtration and water changes and algae controlled by length of light on the tank. Some algae is normal.

Before you buy the Neons, I would come up with a plan on what you will do if the tiger barbs and neons don't get along.

micklep 01-19-2014 04:53 AM

I think I will buy a smaller tank in case it all goes wrong. I suppose I could use it for breeding or quarantine if everything goes well with the neons
Thank you so much for your help!
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