Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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steveysquish 03-31-2014 02:30 PM

Plants for south american dwarf cichlids..
 
Could somebody please give me a small list of plant choices i could put into my freshwater cichlid aquarium,,i know south americans are more rocky fish but id like to add some colour variety and life for the fish and tank so the fish feel abit more relaxed and safer...im not sure what type i could use..its a 36 uk gallon bowfront with small gravel,, a few rocks with hiding places,,ornaments,,and fake plants at the moment (i want to replace the fake plants)..im hoping to put in 2 koi angels,,3-5 panda dwarfs,,3-5 bolivian/blue rams and 2 zebra dwarf plecos..i want to add the plants first to help run through the cycle which id say is almost 100% complete..replys would be much appreciated..thanks guys!!

BWG 03-31-2014 08:38 PM

Your fish selections are all South American, are you looking at doing a biotope or are you open to plants from anywhere? I'll hold off on suggestions until I know a bit more about what you are looking for.

If you don't mind a thought on your stocking I want to bring up the zebra plecos. First off if they are available in Wales at a reasonable price I'm jealous. That wasn't my issue though. They require temperatures warmer than many other fish as well as high oxygen. These two things don't often go together, unless you have a high degree of current. We're talking to the point where the other fish you are interested would not enjoy the tank.

Not sure how deep you've gone in your research, but have you seen the profiles on here? I'll link you to them just in case you haven't to save you the time of searching.

Angelfish
Blue Ram
Bolivian Ram
Zebra Pleco

No profile for Panda Dwarf cichlids on here, but here's a profile anyway. Panda dwarf

For some reason when I first read your post I assumed panda dwarf was panda cories. It was only when gathering links that I realized you meant Apistogramma nijsseni. I've never kept that species but have heard some things about their personality. I'm hoping someone more familiar with South American cichlids chimes in as I am worried about all them together.

RSVBiffer 04-01-2014 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steveysquish (Post 4213306)
i know south americans are more rocky fish but id like to add some colour variety and life for the fish and tank so the fish feel abit more relaxed and safer

I think you may be confusing SA cichlids with African Lake cichlids which (on the whole) do come from rocky environments. Bolivian Rams should be kept over a sandy substrate as gravel can inhibit their feeding and even cause gill damage. Plants are often used in Ram setups although in nature they can be rather sparse due to the acidic nature of the water, ideally pH should be in the range 6-7.5. Most of the Amazon plants will appreciate the water in these setups. As BWG said, the Zebra is used to an entirely different environment, originating from fast flow whitewater rivers and lives amongst the rocks and is used to higher temperatures. Zebras typically tend to be somewhere in the region of 150 each in the UK.

PS Angels may be a little too 'lively' to be kept with Rams

RSVBiffer 04-01-2014 05:20 AM

Should also point out the Blue Ram has slightly different requirements to the Bolivian in that pH should ideally be lower (down to 4) and the lower the flow from the filtration the better. Wild species can be easier to breed than tank bred specimens and also a bit more hardy (bit of a strange one I know).

A pair of angels is not the ideal as far as I am aware although somebody with more experience of angels should be able to guide you on that.

steveysquish 04-01-2014 04:59 PM

thanks for getting back to me guys...well i did want to get as close as possible to a natural biotope as i could...i know true biotopes are hard and rare to get exact and maintain so it was just gradually go along the best i could sort of thing..iv done alot of research on here and online but it gets quite confusing (im a begginer) as to what i can stock...i have my water temp sitting roughly at 27 degrees c and my water flow is a nice steady bubbling flow dropping into the water creating a soft steady current....as you can probz tell im new to this tropical game and thats why im being so annoying asking so many questions for advice and help so i can try to get things good as possible and doing my first water test tommorow before adding fish...since i have rocks and small pea gravel could you guys guide/point me to what fish and how many i could stock please..a list off you guys would be much appreciated as i dont know many people round my way that are into fish like myself...i can upload a pic tommorow so people get a better judgment on it for me..as i said thanks anyways guys..

BWG 04-01-2014 10:40 PM

RSVBiffer- I'm glad you found this thread. Your input on plants is going to be good here. I can name the species, but my blackwater is straight driftwood and leaves. You actually have experience with the plants.

steveysquish- It's hard to be annoying with questions on here, that's what this forum is for. The fact that you're doing research on your own speaks volumes to me. It means you're not just relying on others to give you answers and do all the work. RSVbiffer and I might see issues with the stocklist you proposed, but the fish you picked are some that definitely means you're researching. I commend you for that.

I've seen from another thread of your's that you're interested in cichlids. South American species are normally crowded in the same way Rift Lake species are. Have you considered maybe a single species as your centerpiece fish with catfish and characins like tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish for the rest of the tank mates? I'm not saying 100% that it couldn't work with all cichlids. I'm not sure it could, so take that for whatever it's worth, which isn't much.

RSVBiffer alluded to the Blue Rams. They also require warmer temperatures and if they don't have conditions just to their liking they can be delicate. Again, not saying you can't keep them, only that if you decide to you may want to plan the tank and every other tankmate based upon their needs. Bolivian Rams might be a better chose for a new fishkeeper in my opinion, no offense meant there. Like I said before I haven't kept Dwarf Pandas, but it is my understanding that they are more aggressive than other Apistos. You can keep them, I just prefer fish that aren't overly aggressive so I might instead be thinking of Cuckoo or Umbrella Apistos.

steveysquish 04-02-2014 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BWG (Post 4221458)
RSVBiffer- I'm glad you found this thread. Your input on plants is going to be good here. I can name the species, but my blackwater is straight driftwood and leaves. You actually have experience with the plants.

steveysquish- It's hard to be annoying with questions on here, that's what this forum is for. The fact that you're doing research on your own speaks volumes to me. It means you're not just relying on others to give you answers and do all the work. RSVbiffer and I might see issues with the stocklist you proposed, but the fish you picked are some that definitely means you're researching. I commend you for that.

I've seen from another thread of your's that you're interested in cichlids. South American species are normally crowded in the same way Rift Lake species are. Have you considered maybe a single species as your centerpiece fish with catfish and characins like tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish for the rest of the tank mates? I'm not saying 100% that it couldn't work with all cichlids. I'm not sure it could, so take that for whatever it's worth, which isn't much.

RSVBiffer alluded to the Blue Rams. They also require warmer temperatures and if they don't have conditions just to their liking they can be delicate. Again, not saying you can't keep them, only that if you decide to you may want to plan the tank and every other tankmate based upon their needs. Bolivian Rams might be a better chose for a new fishkeeper in my opinion, no offense meant there. Like I said before I haven't kept Dwarf Pandas, but it is my understanding that they are more aggressive than other Apistos. You can keep them, I just prefer fish that aren't overly aggressive so I might instead be thinking of Cuckoo or Umbrella Apistos.

cheers BWG and rsvbiffer for the advice and input it genuinly helps alot,,and i dont take offence what you guys say as i am a novice fish keeper where as you guys have much more knowledge than me...i actually feel like im doing the right thing by asking questions now instead of annoying people lol..im now thinking of doing as you said by gettin one main schooling species like rummy nose tetras ect with some live plants for more fish security and relexation in the tank...or i may get a few danios,,topsail platys and two or three false julii cory catfish as they are more peacfull than what i originally wanted as i did abit more research on pandas and they can tend to be aggresive if they arnt happy...so cheers guys and no offence taken at all...

KNOWLEDGE SPEAKS...WISDOM LISTENS :)

RSVBiffer 04-02-2014 07:57 AM

Ah biotope ... now you are talking my language ;-). As BWG said the are no annoying questions, it is good you are doing your research. Let's be honest, there is a lot of conflicting (and even just plain out-and-out wrong) information out there. There is no better propagator of misinformation than the web.

Considering the Rams, if you went for the Blue then you would really be looking at a SA biotope or if it was the Bolivian then you could go down the Amazon route. The reason for this being that the Blue is a native of Venezuela, there are reports of it being found in some of the Brazilian drainage channels but these are largely unsubstantiated.

I would recommend sand as a substrate rather than gravel as this will be beneficial to the fish. No need to take out all the gravel, scoop some out and replace it with sand. In time, the gravel should start to work its way through the sand and give a 'natural look' (not strictly correct for the Amazon but hey-ho it is impossible to do a 100% accurate biotope anyway).

Rocks are very rare in the Amazon, so rare that in many places they are used as currency. Wood is far more natural and don't think you have to pay the ridiculous price in fish shops, a wander around your local woods can give you several suitable pieces which can be prepared to go in the tank.

The other decision you have is Blackwater or Whitewater. Blackwater is so called as it is stained with tannins from decaying leaf matter, wood etc. (takes on a tea like appearance), whitewater isn't stained with tannins. Most SA species will display enhanced colours when in Blackwater compared to Whitewater and they mostly tend to prefer 'dimmer' lighting which Blackwater will create (floating plants are also a good consideration).

Fishwise BWG has pretty much covered it. For the catfish you can look at Corys, Brochis, Whiptails, Otos and even Plecs (pretty much anything can get swept into the pools during the floods but I would bear in mind the demands of some of the Plecs and, remember, a lot of them are wood eaters and will require it in the tank). You could also throw in Headstanders. Trying to think of anything else and other than the Angelfish that you suggested my mind has gone blank at the moment, sorry. I have omitted things like Discus and the larger cats as I get the impression you aren't thinking along these lines. If you do decide to go for a shoal of Tetras or the like then I would (personally) say go for the largest shoal you can rather than the usual 6 or so. I have 30 Cardinals and they just behave in an entirely different way in larger groups.

Below is a link to the thread containing my first ever post on the forum that you might find useful (just bear in mind there are many, many more)
South American plants

Keep asking away, pretty sure we can get you on the right lines between the pair of us ;-)

RSVBiffer 04-02-2014 08:09 AM

And just to make you feel better on the Zebra front. Got to admit it is an absolutely stunning fish and my wife absolutely fell in love with it and was determined to have one. I was trying to work it in but it just wasn't fitting. Since the tank has been setup she has said it would just not have looked right ... Phew! You have to remember as well with a Zebra that they are nocturnal and the chances are you will very rarely see it. They are rather shy as well so when it comes to feeding they are often at the back of the queue and miss out and target feeding is frequently required.

steveysquish 04-02-2014 03:01 PM

yea true i dont beleive everything on the net...thats why id rather take you guys info more serious...also found that what you was saying about rams in brazilian drainage channels interesting as im an info geek when i want to be but guess it could happen considering asian carp are invading the american mid-west so we never know lol...i know now that im going to just go with a shoal of cardinals or something and a bottom feeder then maybe another smaller shoal in time...as for the wood i have looked at some in and around a local fish lake about 1 mile from me in a forested area where i got my rocks and slate from, but im unsure how id treat it before adding it in my tank as i know they can hide some parasites ect...also thinking of putting some java fern in around my wood but leave the rocks as they are...going to do more research tonight now on the fish you mentioned and see what takes my fancy (flask of coffee at hand) lol and on the zebras i fell for them straight away to the point that i thought my missis was get jealous lol...cheers again for that info,i read it three times to take in and pick tips and pointers up....lets go check theses cardinals tetras ect then..il be back ha.


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