Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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james7139 07-12-2010 04:53 PM

New 29 gallon tank (sale at petco) :)
So i just got a 29 gallon tank at petco for their 1 dollar per gallon sale.i was wondering if this wal good for stocking it:

7 neon tetra
4 panda cory
6 guppy
2 panda dwarf cichlid

i have a tetra whisper ex30 filter,i plan on planting the tank,i will also probably add a sponge filter.

i know this tank is overstocked (or maybe not?)

i want to create a South American tank any advice would be great.i havent had an aquarium for fish in about a year because of turtles and tadpoles but i still think i can do it.ive always loved fish.

ive also unknowingly always over stocked my 10 gallon in the past(1 angel,1pleco,bunch of tetras,some danios) but this tank shouldnt be as over crowded

also i would like suggestions for plants (south american only please).

Byron 07-12-2010 06:38 PM

I would leave out the guppies, mainly because you want SA and there are so many interesting colourful characins that would be a better match for the existing neons and corys. I assume the water parameters will be slightly acidic and soft to medium, which would not suit the guppies anyway.

For fish suggestions, check out the "Characins" in our fish profiles (click on "Tropical Fish Profiles" second from the left in the blue bar across the top) and there are a couple of small non-cory catfish in the "Catfish" profiles. The origin of each species is given, along with water parameters, compatibility issues, how many there should be, etc.

For plants, most (all but one I think) of the plants in the profiles are SA in origin. There are others, but these are the most readily available (usually) and some of the best.


james7139 07-12-2010 09:31 PM

i like the look of the glowlight tetra,but also the flame tetra.would these guys work out?

in your experience which was better?

james7139 07-12-2010 10:10 PM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 422601)
I assume the water parameters will be slightly acidic and soft to medium


i need help with the water stuff.i read that cleveland water is 7.0-7.6 ish (ph) and hardness of 114-118 (no unit of measurement like ppm or gh).

are these parameters ok?

Byron 07-13-2010 11:04 AM

On the water, numbers like 114-118 will likely be ppm (parts per million). This equates to "soft" water, about 6 to 7 dGH. This is very good. I would expect the carbonate hardness to not be greater, so the pH in the tank will slowly lower through the bioloogical processes. A pH above 7 is basic (alkaline), below 7 is acidic. With the hardness you have your pH should lower to below 7 once the tank is established. The normal biological actions in an aquarium with fish and plants tend to acidify the water, and the hardness acts as a buffer to prevent rapid changes but the less buffering (lower hardness) the more it will shift though slowly. A regular partial water change of 30-40% weekly would not raise it much and assist in keeping it buffered.

Some real wood (bought in the fish store) would help to lower the pH, and that fits any of the forest fish we keep in such environments. And plants. And make sure there are no calcareous rocks or gravel in the tank, as that works the opposite to raise hardness and pH.

On the tetras, I have had these two species but many many years ago. Glowlights are often overlooked because in store tanks that are sparse they wash out and do not show their true colours; they don't look like much. But placed in a planted tank with subdued lighting (very important, these fish are forest fish that occur in dimly-lit waters with dark substrates) they soon develop their beautiful coluration. The orangeish horizontal "neon" line is brilliant, and the lovely shades of yellow, white, black and orange in the fins shimmer as the fish swims among the plants and wood. Similar applies to the Flame Tetra.


james7139 07-13-2010 07:10 PM

hey byron thanks for all the help! i am using sand as my substrate.i think i will also try making my own driftwood (if that would work) if i add my bacteria (bottled for turtles but have used for fish) that will lower the ph right?

Also did you say that the hardness was fine?

Byron 07-13-2010 11:19 PM


Originally Posted by james7139 (Post 423257)
hey byron thanks for all the help! i am using sand as my substrate.i think i will also try making my own driftwood (if that would work) if i add my bacteria (bottled for turtles but have used for fish) that will lower the ph right?

Also did you say that the hardness was fine?

Yes, water hardness is good.

Don't know what the turtle bacteria stuff may be...can you give me the name?

Make sure the sand in inert [means it will not affect the water chemistry]. This applies to any substrate, gravel and sand made from calcareous material will raise pH and hardness. Some pool sands have stuff added for water purity, not good for fishies.

By making your own driftwood, do you mean using wood from outdoors? Be careful. Certain types of wood will kill the fish quickly by leeching sap. Coniferous should be avoided. Hard wood like oak is OK. But first it has to be completely dry (i.e., not fresh). Then it should be boiled for 15-20 minutes to kill pathogens, parasites, whatever. Then soak it in regular water (in a pail or in an aquarium of just water). The problem is, that after all this, you still can't be certain it is safe. Wood will absorb any liquid it comes into contact with, and this could remain in the wood for moniths before it leeches out. I speak from personal experience with a piece of wood (purchased from a reliable fish store no less) that killed several of my fish over a period of weeks before I discovered that it was the source. Still don't know what it was in the wood, but I got rid of it and thoroughly cleaned the tank. Sadly though I could not reverse the fish losses.


james7139 07-14-2010 07:37 PM

thanks i prob just buy the wood and stuff.i need to get a test kit and a .... thermometer.sand settle.
i woke up and was like holy crap i can see through the tank!

james7139 07-15-2010 06:58 PM

so i went to my lfs and forgot to buy the test kit!!!! im mad!i will order one i guess.

Tyyrlym 07-16-2010 12:58 PM

Panda cories are delicate little fish. I've had nothing but problems with them. Keeping your water parameters perfect is a must and even if you do, well there's no guarantees. If you really want them go ahead but I would also suggest taking at look at other cory species, maybe some of the hardier ones as back up.

Also, absolutely do not add them until your tank is cycled and settled.

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