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dorabaker 07-10-2010 01:18 AM

new tank set up, advice please?
So far I've found this site really helpful and as I am trying very hard to make my new tank work, I really appreciate all the advice I've been given on here....and I need some more :P
Ok first here's a brief overview of my situation.
I have two tanks, a 5 gallon hospital tank and a 15 gallon which I've recently set up. The hospital tank currently contains my angelfish, who has a bad eye (it's bulging slightly and has a white patch inside it) and I am treating him with melafix (started yesterday). he was acting very odd yesterday and the day before, having these sort of spasms where his fins would jerk uncontrollably for about 5 seconds, same thing sometimes happened with his gills. he wasn't scratching on anything. I think the melafix may be helping because he's not having the spasms today.
the 15 gallon I set up on Thursday evening (I don't know what that translates to if you're in the US/UK) and left overnight, the next day I put my gourami and 3 panda corys into it. the tank looks beautiful and the fish are swimming around happily. I didn't want to treat the angelfish until the other fish were safely housed elsewhere.

so that's just an overview (sorry for long post!)
I have had to revise my original stocking plan several times since I first decided to set up the 15 gallon. my current stocking plan is the gourami, 6 corys (i want to get 3 more to add to the 3 I already have, but if I'm going to be overstocking I won't), the angelfish (if he recovers) and a bristlenose catfish. I'm thinking I might get an albino bristlenose since they are supposed to be slightly smaller. are there any other differences between albino and normal bristlenoses?

I have driftwood in my tank. also a large java fern and some floating elodea. it's a bare bottom tank. the filter is a homemade one (from my old tank), I've noticed it provides more water flow in the larger tank compared to the 5 gallon, presumably because the bubbles have further to travel to reach the surface?
temperature is set to 27 Celsius but the thermometer is staying at a fairly steady 25-26. that's ok by me, since the catfish are supposed to prefer cooler temps.
pH is around 7.5, actually a bit on the alkaline side which is odd because I'm used to tanks being acid. I guess the tapwater has buffers in it. it will probably get more acid over time. (do the tannins from driftwood make it acid?)
what I want to know is, will my tank be suitable for a single bristlenose or is it way too small? I promise I won't get one if it's too small because I trust everyone's advice :) and will I be ok getting 3 more corys? the 3 I already have are very happy, scooting around eating everything they can find. I don't think the floor of my tank has ever looked so clean, haha.
another thing that's sort of unrelated but I might as well ask it here, what are people's experiences treating pop-eye and other diseases with melafix?

thanks in advance for your help :)

TexasTanker 07-10-2010 08:35 AM

try checking out This Website. It has a stocking calculator with compatability indicators. I Use it religiously then check it's results against what people here have experienced. For example, even with 600gph filtration on my 55 it says I'm maxed out on stocking with 20 Zebra danios, 2 gold Gouarmi and 8 emerald cory. After talking with people here I've heard people having twice as many of any of those with no ill effect.

Its just a great way to narrow the field.

tanker 07-10-2010 06:32 PM

I'm not an expert, I just did a lot of reading when setting up my tanks (35 and 75 litre). I think you need a bigger tank for a bristlenose. I ruled it out for either of my tanks, and my bigger one is larger than yours.

I have 4 pandas in my 35 litre (after asking on here). They are doing fine. I think 6 sounds ok. Hopefully, Byron or someone knowledgable can steer you right on that question. I wonder if your cories would prefer a substrate rather than bare bottom? Mine certainly seem to like foraging over the gravel.

dorabaker 07-10-2010 08:35 PM

thanks both of you :)
i was wondering about the corys and the substrate, they seem happy but i'm worried the bare bottom may wear down their barbels...i know sharp gravel does that but without soft sand couldn't the glass wear them down? i don't know.
i've tried using that site before and it doesn't work for me because i can't input my home-made filter...if only there was a 'sponge filter' option maybe it would be useful :( i'm thinking of having a corys species tank anyway as they are my favorite fish, maybe i'll get a pair of sterbai corys as well if i can find them cheap enough.

jeaninel 07-11-2010 01:01 AM

A 15 gallon tank is too small for angelfish. They need at least a 30 gallon for one angelfish and a tank height of at least 18". What type of gourami do you have? if it's a dwarf I think the gourami with 6 cories would be ok for a 15 gallon. Personally, I would not add a BN as the cories are already bottom feeders and there wouldn't be enough "territory" to add another bottom feeder.

I've only had one instance of pop-eye. I had a cory who's eye started to bulge. I put him in a hospital tank, treated with melafix and did water changes every couple days and it cleared up right away.

dorabaker 07-11-2010 02:28 AM

i won't get a bristlenose then, i'd like to make it a cory species tank. i have a golden gourami and from my experience with gouramis they grow pretty slowly.
i'm afraid i'm stuck with the angelfish :( and i can't get a bigger tank. i think his eye problem may be chronic as it hasn't improved yet, but i've only been treating him for a few days. i've heard of large fish having problems if kept in too small a tank. i've only had the angelfish for a few years, is that long enough for him to have developed chronic health issues from being kept in too small a tank? as long as hes not going to infect my other fish i'll just try to keep him alive and happy for as long as possible. i wont get an angelfish again though, at least not unless i have a bigger tank.

redchigh 07-11-2010 03:03 AM

Cories definately like sand. Whether it's a requirement, I have no idea.

I do know that without a dark substrate fish can become stressed and more vulnerable to illness.
There are lots of black sands on the market that are great for cories. If you want to go the cheap route, go buy some pool filter sand. (It's not dark, but better than nothing IMO.)

A BN would fit in your tank technically, but as was mentioned you already have some bottom feeders.
There's also a problem with BN identifications and variations... some get to 6 inches, some get to 12.

The driftwood MAY release tannins which can acidify the water.
You may want to look into placing some peat moss into your filter to lower the PH-
Gouramis and Cories prefer acidic water.

As for the angel- In my experience when they are stunted by a tank it's a sudden death. However, being in a tank too small can make them vulnerable to other illnesses.

Then again, angels are technically shoaling fish that prefer the company of their own kind. That ALSO will make it more vulnerable to illness.

Finally, it may help to raise the temperature in the hospital tank. Perhaps around 80 F. Make sure to raise the temperature slowly, but higher temps can help fish recover- similiar to when a human gets a fever to combat an illness.

dorabaker 07-11-2010 03:12 AM

thankyou so much that was really helpful :)
the angelfish is definitely feeling better, he is no longer having spasms or producing excess slime, but the eye still looks odd. the temp is there at the moment is set to about 27, dont have a thermometer in that tank but it usually feels pretty warm in there.
about the BN, how territorial are they? i have kept them before and they never seem aggressive or anything. would they chase/stress out the corys?
i think i'll just wait for my tank to naturally acidify, i dont want to go adjusting the pH as i usually find it becomes really acid after a few weeks.

Byron 07-11-2010 09:52 AM

In a 15g things will start getting crowded on the floor of the tank with a group of corys and a BN. Corys are shoaling fish that must be in a group, five is a perfect number; 3 can manage but I would only have 3 if I had more than one species, with 3 of each. There was another post on here yesterday or the day previous, one from me on a scientific study about shoaling fish being healthier in numbers, and another member [kitten penang] posted an excellent video of hundreds of corys in the Amazon as an example. This is a most important issue for their health.

As for the substrate, sand or small-grain smooth gravel will work equally fine. For someone relatively new to this I would recommend gravel as there are fewer "possible" issues compared to sand. Not to say sand isn't workable, it certainly is; I have it in one tank. But it is more work to maintain a healthy substrate and in a small tank problems can arise very fast, and with corys spending so much time on the substrate, it needs to be clean and healthy. Barbel degeneration is now believed by many to be more an issue of health and stress than gravel. And from my experience of 20 years with Corydoras (dozens of species) in gravel substrate aquaria, I have had no issues.

And I concur with redchigh about both small tanks and shoaling fish being maintained singly causing various health issues due to stress. I understand your predicament with the angel from the other thread. But this is an important point and as many other new aquarists may well read this thread, it needs stating clearly.


dorabaker 07-11-2010 09:53 PM

thanks byron.
i won't get a BN then.
i'd like to know how many corys i could safely fit in the tank 6 pandas and 2 sterbas too many? would 4 pandas and 2 sterbas work? i need a rough idea :)
i have lots of old sand a gravel from previous tanks which i could wash up but i don't really want to put substrate into the tank while it's full of water. plus it's much harder to vacuum with substrate.
after reading about barbel erosion i'm going to try to keep the floor of the tank as clean as possible, though. i don't want my beloved corys dying :(

just another quick question, i know the answer will probably be no but i thought i'd ask anyway. i have one gold gourami in the tank and she is so pretty i would like to get another one, but the last time i had two gouramis they fought so much i had to separate them (that was in a 5 gallon tank though). would it be a bad idea to get another gourami? i do love them...

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