Stocking my 55 gallon Amazon Biotope
I started up my tank about three weeks ago. My tank has completely cycled. My water parameters are 20 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 75 hardness, 0 chlorine, 120 alkalinity, and 8.4 pH. I am currently planning on lowering my pH by peat filtration. Just have to wait tell I get my supplies from foster&smith this weekend. My main problem is that I can't decide on which fish I'd like to go with. I'm in no hurry to stock my tank, I would just like to get a better idea of what I'm gonna do. I have two tank ideas in mind.
Tank Idea 1
4 x Peppered Cory
1 x Bristlenose Pleco
2 x Angelfish
12 x Rummynose Tetra
Tank Idea 2
4 x Oto Catfish
4 x Peppered Cory
6 x Bleeding Heart Tetra
6 x Emperor Tetra
I'm not sure how much more room I have to play with on either tank. Used AqAdvisor to plan these two tanks out. If you go by the inch of fish rule then I believe I'm fully stocked with both tanks. If possible wouldn't mind adding another species of tetra to tank two. Any ideas or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
I don't think either "tank" is overstocked, far from it, but there are some other issues. If you go with Tank 1, I recommend 5 angelfish. This species is shoaling and will fare better in a group, unless you have a confirmed breeding pair--but that is a whole different ballgame. We have fish profiles here with info on numbers, compatibility, water parameters, special needs, etc; second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the screen, or in posts if the exact name is mentioned it will be shaded and you can click on that to see the profile for that species, example Pterophyllum scalare for the common angelfish. This will be explained therein.
The rummy nose tetra require very soft, acidic water or they will not last long; if you manage to get your pH below 7, fine; otherwise, it is a risk. As it mentions in the profile of the Brilliant Rummy Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri), now the most commonly available of the three rummy species.
I don't know if you have experience with peat, but if it were me with a pH of 8+ and I wanted suitable water for Amazonian fish, I would go with a RO unit. Peat give out (the higher the hardness/pH the quicker it depletes) and needs to be replaced. Long-term, a RO unit though expensive at first would be my preference.
By the way, I have two Amazonian tanks, a 90g flooded Amazon forest setup and a 115g Amazonian Riverscape; you can see photos under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left.
Your tanks look amazing. I recently purchased an API deionization tap water filter. I didn't use it when i originally filled the tank but I have recently begun to do some water changes after I allowed the tank to cycle, that's how I got my hardness and alkalinity to where they are. Originally they were in the 300's, my tap water sucks. I've been trying to do as much research as I can on all these matters...its there is a lot of information and opinions to take in. What's a good rule of thumb then on stocking, since it seems that I have quite a bit of room to play with?
First and foremost, the fish have to be compatible. And this means much more than simple behaviours. Fish with near-identical requirements in water parameters (hardness, pH and temp) and their environment (fast, slow or no water movement from the filter; plants; floating plants; wood; rock; substrate issues; light intensity) will be under less stress. When the aquarium replicates as reasonably close as possible the natural habitat, the fish are more relaxed, more colourful, healthier. And this means more can go in the tank, within reason. Their interactive behaviours now come into play, and that makes a difference.
So the type of filter selected for an aquarium should be suited to the intended fish, as not all fish need (or can tolerate) all filters--and in planted tanks, filters simply move the water around, nothing more. Light is also critical; forest fish (all those you list and all in my tanks are forest fish) require less lighting, so the light should be the minimum necessary for plant growth, plus floating plants.
When all of this is in sync, the tank is a true community aquarium. I have 140 fish in my 115g, but you'd never know it.
Pretty much in my spare time I've been doing nothing but researching different species. Trying to narrow down the ones I like from the ones I don't. I believe I still have a lil bit of tinkering to do on my aquascaping but I've tried to replicate the best that I can and make it look natural and authentic. I don't believe my lighting is to bright. As far as water movement I'm not sure how fast or slow it is. I have the 2 penguin 350 biowheels and 3 10" bubble strips, one on each side and one in the rear. I know it moves around just not sure how much.
I'd probably remove the bubble strips, or at least put them on a timer for just a couple hours a day assuming you're going to be planting the tank. All of the "breaking of the surface" between the bubble strips and two Penguin 350s, the gas exchange is going detrimental to your plants which need the CO2.
If I were you I'd be looking toward a canister filter for the kinds of fish you're talking about. You can point the filter outflow toward the wall on a side or in the back to keep the flow low for these slow water fish.
I agree with Byron that with tap water working against you, an RO system would be your best bet.
At this point and time I won't be doing live plants. Just don't feel comfortable with them and maintaining them. Plus it's something that I don't believe I would really be into, but who knows. As far as the canister filter I guess that's always an option for the future but not right now. I've already poured in a large amount of money atm and am trying to spread out my spending so it's not so much at one time.
I appreciate all the help and advise but I'll be passing on live plants. I honestly don't have a desire to have live plants. At the moment I'm pretty satisfied with the look of my tank and how it's setup. I'm sure there will always be room for improvement but I like what I have, maybe some day down the road I'll try live plants but right now I don't want to. I'm sure by not going live plants i defeat the purpose of doing an actual biotope. The plastic plants that I have used however all varieties located in the Amazon. Would still greatly appreciate any advice on stocking levels though however.
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