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thistly 12-09-2009 07:54 AM

200 liter cube stocking - advice needed
Hi all, I want to set up my first community tank, with mostly peaceful fish. I think some schooling fish, some creepy ground dwellers and a few 'stars' would be nice.
I have:
-only got experience with fancy goldfish,minnows, and axolotls. But I do understand cycling, taking things slow, the basics of illnesses, the dangers of overstocking, overfeeding, etc
-an empty 200 liter tank, (about 50-55gal). it's 2ft/60cm, cubed.
-a fluval canister filter, for up to 300 liters.
-A ton of plants, rocks, fake caves and logs, driftwood etc.
And dark sand for the substrate.

And here's my first draft!
It's more or less a wishlist, I used Aq Advisor to get this far.
4 x albino corys
2 x German blue rams (if they're boys, will they fight?)
3 x Honey Gourami (ditto on fighting?)
5 x kuhli loaches
2 x albino bristlenoses
12 or 13 x neons
a little gang of fancy guppys, maybe 5
Malaysian snails
and some kind of cleaner shrimp x 3 or 4, if I can get them (they're a precious rarity in stores, where I am).

Opinions and input very welcome!
Is this too much? Any different suggestions?
Which order to add fish in? (my plan would be, a new species every fortnight, starting with the neons and corys, and the rams etc last?)
If I lost the guppies, and maybe the kuhlis, (for ground area), would a rainbow shark still be a bad idea?
I've seen so many in community tanks, and I've heard that they're not as aggro as black sharks, and that with enough territories, and, added last, they can get along with, or at least tolerate rams, etc? I LOVE how they look and behave when they're happy.

Thanks in advance for any advice! Once this gets under way I'll make a thread for photos, progress etc :)

Angel079 12-09-2009 08:08 AM

Hello & Weclome to the Forum!!!

To make any suggestions on add fish and/ or if your current wish list work - We gotta know your pH and KH. Making suggestions w/out knowing this would be foolish. If you do not already have a liquid test kit (eg. from API) its a good invetment to get one, not only to determin your water paramters now, but it will also be a necessary tool during cycling to measure your Nitrate, Nitrite and Ammonia.

Behavioral suggestions:
I'd not house Gourami & Ram's together, Ram's are much more active while Gourami enjoy their peace. Since they occupy the same tank area, I'd not advise this.

For the Cory: They're shooling fish, to have anything less then 8 will not allow you to watch their natural behavior and instincts, they will be much more skkidish this way and hide a lot (if not all the time).

As for you "cleaning shrimp" which I'm not sure exactly which shrimp you're referarring to, its safe to say with Gourami and / or Rams in the tank - They'll be snack food the day they're introduced.

For the Neon Tetras, they do NEED soft and acidic water (Ranges from pH 5.5-6.5, KH 1-5) while your wished Guppy's need quite the opposite water - Obvioulsy the water you're offering can only be one OR the other, but you wiwll not have soft, acidic & hard water at the same time. So even without knowing your water paramters only one or the other will fit your tank.

jaysee 12-09-2009 10:48 AM

I would change things a little. For starters, 7-8 corys. 5 kuhlis is good, as is the pair of rams (I've only ever kept m/f pairs, so I don't know if they'd fight without a female in the tank). I'd do just 1 bn, to save some bioload for other fis. You're list doesn't have many fish that swim in the upper regions of the tank, so how about a male pearl gourami instead of the honey gouramis?

Byron 12-09-2009 10:58 AM

I second Angel's comments, and only wish to expand on a couple of things.

First, plants: assuming you mean live plants, they will cycle the tank immediately if you have enough of them. Perhaps it would be better to say that there will be no cycle period, as live plants consume ammonium (as ammonium in acidic water, or from ammonia in basic/alkaline water) very fast and they don't produce nitrite in the process. There will be some nitrification bacteria in a new planted tank, but it will be minimal and the fish, provided they are not overstocked, will not be stressed out by any form of "new tank syndrome." Plant the tank at the beginning, then add some fish periodically. Planted tanks simply avoid the 2-8 week cycling period.

Second, on the compatibility issue Angel mentioned. In a community aquarium, the fish must share the same or very similar requirements with respect to water parameters, environment and behaviours. Ensuring this all but guarantees success. If the fish do not have the same requirements respecting pH, hardness, temperature and environment (plants, wood, rock to provide hiding places, shelter, territory division, etc. as they require) the species that are missing whichever of these they want will constantly be stressed. For example, fish accustomed to thick vegetation in the water or hanging overhead will feel vulnerable and at risk in a relatively bare tank with no floating plant cover; the fish does not know it is "safe," it only knows what nature has programmed into it--its instinct tells it that it is constantly in danger. It will be stressed, and this causes poor health long-term.

As Angel mentioned, there are fish in your list with contrasting needs, some very significantly. As one example, the rams are highly sensitive to water parameters, and aside from requiring soft acidic water must have a temperature no less than 82F. While neons would love this soft acidic water, at 82F they would be burnt out within a few weeks, because they need cooler temperatures, 75-77F maximum; but at that cool a temperature the rams will not last. A few degrees may not seem like much, but to these fish it is life and death.

We can offer more suggestions when we know your pH and hardness.


thistly 12-09-2009 02:26 PM

Thanks guys - boy am I glad I asked!:thankyou:
My PH is 7.5 straight out of the tap, I don't have a KH test kit, but should be able to get one in a few days, and be right back here!
I doubt my plants are enough to cycle the tank, they're a bit weedy (no pun intended) still. At least there's the filter from goldfish tank to swap out some media from, though. Still, I'm in no hurry! Maybe going to try and grow in the plants of the tank, before even adding inhabitants!

Angel079 12-09-2009 04:15 PM

If you can/ want to totally planting the tank out nicely and then let it begin cycling and then slowly start stocking would def be a benefit. What also helps really once you planted and filled the water completely, add 2-3 flakes of foods in there every day for the bacteria.

Its just really easier to research & read up first what will and won't work with your water, rather then "randomly" going out but fish, bring them home and THEN come to the forum "well how to I lower my pH & KH now or How do I up it" getting fish from the start that fit your water will safe a LOT headaches lol, and healthy fish mean > happy owner :-)

thistly 12-13-2009 06:57 AM

Okay, update!
I got some lighting, plus some new plants and grasses today, and put my WC minnows in there, not to help cycle, but as a giant holding cell to prevent them eating their fry (babies that aren't just snails -how exciting!!)
Can't afford lots of lighting, can't be bothered with more DIY co2, so gonna stick with pretty basic planting for now (glosso carpet, you will be mine, oh yes... one day).

Upon you guys' advice, drop tested KH (and GH, cause it was in the same kit)
Not looking so hot, so very glad I checked! Thanks!
The KH took two drops to turn from blue to greenish blue, to very yellow
and the GH didn't really seem to work so well, instead of turning orange after the first drop, it kinda just went a pale yellow, and went pale green after just one drop.
I flunked all my high school science classes, this stuff is pretty fun, though 8)

So, KH is somewhere between 17 and 35 ppm, and the GH maybe 17 ppm , so if I'm following this right, they're both only 1 or 2 °GH (is "dGH" just another way to write "°GH?")

I believe both being this low is much less than ideal for most of the species I'd like to look after, and also means potentially unstable PH? :-?

Once I get on top of this, then will be back to the drawing board with species, thank you all for advice thus far!

Anyway, as with everything regarding aquariums so far, the more I learn, the less I realize I know, haha! So here's what I need advice about now:
  • Am I on the right track, here?
  • Any advice for reliable products, salts etc to raise hardness?
  • Also, something good to lower PH to about 6.5, from current 7.5?
  • Will raising the K or G hardness change my PH, or simply help stabilize it?
  • What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Thanks for any advice and much-needed clarification!:notworthy:

thistly 12-13-2009 06:58 AM

Also - thinking about zebra/pearl/leopard danios for the schooling aspect, rather than guppies or tetras, any thoughts?

Angel079 12-13-2009 09:08 AM

GH & KH of 1 will def NOT work for your Guppy nor the Shrimp.
It will however be appreciated by the Tetra's you like.
You pretty much have the same water then I do (lil higher pH) and yes with the KH this low it will be unstable, take my word for it :lol:
Crushed Coral or Dolomite added to the filter or a sock into your tank will harden it up just a little, enough to stabilize this.
Also depending on the substrate & decor used these can also help up your hardness some.
Do NOT use salt to try raise your levels, that'll be fatal and I don't even know if this supposed method works at all, pls don't do it!

For your question dGH or °GH yes its the same d stands for degree and ° is the sign for degree.

I'd NOT lower the pH - I'd set up the tank, as I said add a lil crushed coral or dolomite and let that tank incl plants cycle - THEN see what your readings are - I got 3 tanks set up under the same low circumstances and upon cycling I have 3 different water parameters for the tanks! So wait for this first and go from there in reg. to your fish.

Also keep in mind, any chem's you see in the store undoubtfully will change your KH and/ or PH BUT they do this QUICK and quick changes is a guaranteed fish killer. Second as you'll hardly EVER be able to get the same mixture ph/kh with yoru water changes back into the tank - You're permantly exposing your fish to swings, which causes stress and death over time, so not a good idea.
With what you have, add plants and the crush dolomite/ coral and cycle the tank, you're far better up LEAVING it as it is and not use chemicals to temper with the parameters.

Yes KH & pH are directly linked, you change 1 it WILL change the other one, may that be going up or may that be going down. You will not only change one.

Danio's need a pH range 6-8 and hardness 5-15...they're not ideal for your water but would be workable BUT :lol: they are EXTREMELY hyper active fish to say the least - While Tetra are calm & peaceful fish - That is not a good mix in a tank at all, your Danios would stress out your Tetra.

Byron 12-13-2009 10:32 AM

I second Angel's advice. Leave the pH, it will slowly lower as the tank matures over the next 3+ months, and with soft water as your hardness numbers indicate the fish that prefer acidic water (tetras, danios, rasbora...) will be fine through the process. Keep a check on the pH, and when you see it naturally down to what you want, then is the time to consider dolomite/crushed coral/marble chips in the filter. I let my tanks fall from a tap pH of 7 to 6 before adding the calcareous material, and I have very soft water [<1 dGH and <1 dKH] so this has always taken around 3 months.

Almost any fish except livebearers and rift lake cichlids will do very well in your water as it is, and especially once the pH lowers.


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