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Trying to plan out who to put in my new tank.
I'm new to the site and am finding that it is a gem for much needed information. I just set up a new 29 gal tank that I plan to put real plants in and have been trying to figure out which inhabitants would be good together, fish and plant wise. I read about AqAdvisor in another post and decided to give it a try. It seems cool but I'm not sure how reliable the info is, some of it is contradictory to what I've read other places. I'll start with the tank, it's a 29 gal (30"L 12"D 18"H) with 30"florescent 20watt lighted hood, Penguin Bio-Wheel 200 filter (up to 50 gal), neutral color gravel substrate with small area of blue glass marbles, and a large castle with lots of cave like hiding room. I have a bubble wand but was told it will take too much Co2 out of the water for plants so I'll be removing it. I will be getting a heater for it before I put anyone in. I'm planning on trying a "fishless cycle" but haven't done one before. Playing with the stocking site I came up with
2 x Dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia)
6 x Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)
1 x Dwarf Flag Cichlid (Laetacara curviceps)
5 x Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox)
4 x Adolfo Cory (Corydoras adolfoi)
I am really interested in the Gourami and some kind of interesting schooling fish. With this kind of list which plants would work? I read the Gourami needs some type of floating plant as well as planted ones. Any thoughts on fish or plants would be great. Thanks all!!
P.s. I hope I posted this in the right place.
Hello and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
First, if you intend live plants, you will not need to worry over cycling. Live plants need nitrogen and prefer assimilating this in the form of ammonium. Fish and bacteria produce ammonia and in acidic water it automatically changes to harmless ammonium and plants grab it; in basic water the plants have the ability to convert ammonia to ammonium. Either way, with enough plants and few fish, there will be no cycle so once planted a few fish can be added and the community slowly built up.
To your fish list: I would not recommend all these in a 29g. Gourami and cichlids are basically not a good match, they are too similar in behaviours/aggression. Also the Dwarf Gourami has health issues in many cases. We have fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, or you can click on the shaded name in posts to see that fish's profile. The profile for the DG mentions the problems with this fish.
Water parameters are important as fish that share similar requirements will always make a healthier and more compatible community aquarium. If you can tell us the hardness and pH of your source water (presumably tap) it will be easier to suggest compatible tankmates. Depending upon what your parameters are, the rainbow, corys, neon tetra would be fine together. Or a pair of the Laetacara curviceps plus the corys, and 1 tetra group. Tetra need a small group, minimum 6, but 7-8 would be better, and the rainbow is the same, but 5-6 would work. Personally I would put rainbows in a larger tank, they need some swimming room, which is something the other fish mentioned (gourami, neons, corys, cichlids) do not, being more sedate. This is another aspect of "compatibility" as it affects the environment of the tank, plants, filter flow, etc.
Lots of plants would work with any of these fish. We have some plants in our profiles section you might like to browse through.
Thanks Byron, I've seen some of your posts on site and you seem someone to trust :) . I have tested my water with test strips for a while now and they always showed me a neutral range reading. I bought a nice master test kit today instead of more strips. Come to find out I must not have been getting good readings before, my tap water is around 8.2ph!! I tested my goldfish tank, and my new tank (no fish or plants yet, thankfully). My GF tank was about a 7.5ph....my new tank was an 8ph. I tested everything properly, why is it such a wide range? I use tap water with a conditioner, bio boost and aquarium salt in both tanks. It looks like I'll be needing a little more fish research now that I know my ph is different than I thought... I guess I either need to think of new fish or decide if I want to battle the ph? Or will plants and fish bring it down? I'm a little confused.
On the test strip it says the hardness is 120ppm which I read is soft 70 to 135 ppm 4 to 8 GH (dH).
But knowing that the ph on them read wrong I don't know if I can trust that.
The kit I got only tests for ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Liquid test kits are much more reliable, so that's a good investment. The regents do give out over time, usually 2-3 years, and most kits have the date stamped on the bottles [I know API does].
I would also suggest you contact your water supply folks, they may even have a website; find out the hardness (GH and KH if you can) and pH. This will compare/verify your readings from the tap.
On the pH lowering in the goldfish tank, this is due to natural biological processes. And goldfish have a very heavy bioload as well. In an aquarium with fish, the biological processes connected with fish respiration, waste, and bacteria produce acids and the water naturally becomes more acidic and the pH lowers. The extent to which this occurs is largely due to the hardness, esp the level of carbonates, but also the number of fish ratio to the water volume and the type of fish have a bearing. Carbonates are measured as KH; the higher the KH the more buffering capacity it holds. With a very low KH, it has less buffering capacity so the pH will naturally fall more. This will not normally bother the fish unless it is significant.
The weekly partial water change is important in maintaining stability as it removes acidic water and replaces it with fresh. The biology of the tank usually adjusts to this, and creates further stability. Provided nothing disastrous occurs--something that suddenly overloads the biological system--all is well.
In planted tanks there is a regular diurnal fluctuation in hardness and pH; during the day the pH will rise and during the night it will fall. This occurs as a result of the plants assimilating CO2 during daylight. A fluctuation of several decimal points is normal, say from 7.2 to 7.6 each 24 hours. This occurs in nature too, and fish are not harmed by it.
Now to the bio boost and salt: I would not use either. I am not sure exactly what "bio boost" is, but assume it is a biological supplement. As mentioned above, the natural processes of fish and bacteria produce sufficient waste to feed natural bacteria without our adding more load. As I frequently write, the natural biology of a healthy aquarium is quite complex and somewhat delicate in balance, and it is best left on its own.
Salt is detrimental to freshwater fish and plants in varying degrees. To understand why, we must understand what salt does in water.
Salt makes the water more dense than the same water without salt. The aquarium contains water. The bodies of fish and plant leaves also contain water [just as we do--we are, what is it, 70-some percent water?]. The water in the aquarium and the water in the fish/plant are separated by a semi-permeable layer which is the cell. Water can pass through this cell. When either body of water is more dense, the other less-dense body of water will pass through the membrane to equalize the water on both sides.
Water is constantly passing through the cells of fish by osmosis in an attempt to equate the water inside the fish (which is more dense) with the water in the aquarium. Put another way, the aquarium water is diluting the fish's body water until they are equal. Freshwater fish regularly excrete this water through respiration and urination. This is the issue behind pH differences as well as salt and other substances. It increases the fish's work--the kidney is used in the case of salt--which also increases the fish's stress in order to maintain their internal stability. Also, the fish tends to produce more mucus especially in the gills; the reason now seems to be due to the irritant property of salt--the fish is trying to get away from it.
I have an interesting measurement for fish. Dr. Stanley Weitzman, who is Emeritus Research Scientist at the Department of Ichthyology of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and an acknowledged authority on characoid fishes, writes that 100 ppm of salt is the maximum for characins, and there are several species that show considerable stress leading to death at 60 ppm. 100 ppm is equal to .38 of one gram of salt per gallon of water. One level teaspoon holds six grams of salt, so 1 tsp of salt per gallon equates to more than 15 times the tolerable amount. Livebearers have a higher tolerance (mollies sometimes exist in brackish water) so the salt may be safe for them.
Plants: when salt is added to the aquarium water, the water inside the plant cells is less dense so it escapes through the cells. The result is that the plant literally dries out, and will wilt. I've so far been unable to find a measurement of how much salt will be detrimental to plants; all authorities I have found do note that some species are more sensitive than others, and all recommend no salt in planted aquaria.
As for changing the pH: the explanation above probably shows why this usually is not easy or successful. The safest method is to dilute the tap water with soft water (distilled, Reverse Osmosis or rainwater if it is safe). Depending upon the tank size, this may or may not be feasible. But it does work safely. Do not use the chemical substances sold in fish stores; not only are they harmful to many fish, they also tend not to be effective due to the natural buffering capacity and can cause more trouble.
Hope all this is of some benefit. Feel free to question.
I am so glad I found this site, thank you Byron. Where I live I only have 2 pet stores in town and they do not specialize in fish. Both stores told me to buy the salt and I have been using it in my GF tank for almost a year now. I have read that there has been a huge controversy on it's use, but I don't think I found anything as clear as what you've said. Plus it's one less thing I'll have to keep buying for the tank, my husband will be happy, lol. The Bio-Boost is a "Biological water Conditioner" An all natural biological water conditioner that contains billions of beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Another recommendation from my local pet store. I looked online for my cities water hardness and it says it's around 140 mg/L or about 8 grains/gal, which on another site seems to be within soft water range 1 grain/US gallon = 17.1 ppm so it's about 136.8 ppm. Still higher than what the test strip said but not by much. It says that our average tap water ph is 9!! I just tested my tap water again and it is about 8.4 right now. I tested the new tank again and it's at about 7.8 ph now. All this testing is fun. I think I'll change half the new tank water today to start getting the salt out, but I think I'm still planning on getting some plants tonight to see what it will do to the ph in the tank. Don't worry, I'll be waiting on fish until I can figure this out for sure, lol. If this works out the way it sounds It'll lower my ph but I'll have to do less but more frequent water changes so as not to change the ph to drastically. Does that sound about right? I bought some plant Nutrient for at least the beginning before I get fish in the tank, I hope that's good, lol. I'm going to try to add you as a friend, you are certainly a good person to know. *hugs*
Yes, plant the tank now, and yes, use a liquid fertilizer. I recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium which to my knowledge is the only preparation containing all essential nutrients in the right proportions. But some nutrients occur in fish foods, organics and tap water, so other fertilizers can be used too, but when it's gone you may want to check out Flourish. It takes very little, a 1/2 teaspoon treats 30 gallons once or perhaps twice a week. And it does work, as my tank photos illustrate.
The biological supplements can be helpful in new tanks, but I would discontinue them after that, for the reasons I gave previously.
Mg/l is equivalent to ppm (parts per million), so your water is in the "soft" range which is good. The pH will probably tend to lower naturally to some degree, as explained previously; using real bogwood in the tank will help this. And with soft water, a close-to-neutral pH is more acceptable to soft water fish so you have a good selection to choose from.
Lots of plants mean less water needs changing and less often, provided the fish load is kept reasonable. More fish and larger fish require more water changing. So the pH will naturally lower in the tank, and there is the option of diluting tap water for water changes. Testing pH periodically will monitor how this is going. Always test the pH at the same time in the day. The diurnal variation I spoke of earlier will result in quite different pH readings from morning to evening, so always testing in the morning or in the afternoon or whenever consistently will be more reliable in determining the pH movement.
I planted my tank today,I got an Alternanthera Reineckii (it was too pretty to pass up), a Wisteria, a Green Myrio and an Anacharis. It looks so much nicer planted, lol.
So I've been going over fish again now knowing a little better what I'm working with. I know you helped put together the Tiger Barb page but I keep reading that as long as they are in decent size schools they mostly just stick to pestering each other. They seem pretty cool and would be fun to watch. I'm thinking about
3 x Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)
3 x Green Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)
3 x Albino Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)
3 or 4 x Skunk Cory (Corydoras arcuatus)
I also was wondering what you thought about adding 2 of some type of Cichlid. I know a lot of them get big, but some of them stay a decent size and I know my pet stores carry a variety. I guess I just want a little blue or green or a little blue/ green iridescence with an interesting shape as well as the tigers and Cory. =)
In a 30g tank, 8+ Tiger Barbs is it for upper fish. Some substrate fish (corys, small species loaches, BN pleco) are fine. But in a relatively small space the Tigers will be master and if you like the fish, there you are. Mixing the varieties shouldn't be an issue, though I can't say that with confidence because I never have done this. Given their restrictiveness, if it were me I would go with other fish than Tigers only because of being able to add more colour like you suggested. But I like tanks with lots of different fish to observe the interactions, and that is just me. You should have what you want in your tank.:-)
Well, not what I was hoping to hear, but it's good to know, lol. I've been searching the net for fish I like that will do well together, my husband keeps laughing at me. He says "it'll come to you." Some help he is, lol. I guess my problem is I like the exotic looking fish, I aspire to a salt water tank in the future. I like the color and shapes of the Cichlids and the Gourami and the Discus, but I still want a community tank with a schooling fish in it. I have no doubt that in the future, to the dismay of my husband, I will become a multiple tank owner, lol. I'll post agin in a bit with a new list to see what you think, lol. I hope you don't mind, I like the way you explain things, lol. easy to understand.
If you want cichlids, look into American Cichlids they can be homed in 29 gallon tanks. These fish do become territorial when they spawn, so you should only keep one pair per tank under 55 gallons.
You will want to hold off getting these type of fish well into the future until your tank matures and as many aquarists say your water "gets old" as in your beneficial bacteria matures and is numerous.
Discus grow rather large and shouldn't be kept in tanks smaller than about 75 gallons, they also require clean water, aka lots of water changes and need to be housed in slightly acidic water (6.8 or so is what I've been told).
Most fish from the Amazon basin such as Discus and the South American cichlids need to be kept in slightly acidic water, so if you don't have acidic water, they probably won't survive.
I currently have water that is 7.2 - 7.4 but I was lucky to find tank-raised Rams which are flourishing in the stuff, quite suprising from what other people say on this forum. They spawn and everything only problem is the eggs won't hatch because they aren't in the naturally acidic water, oh well. I can deal with only having a pair.
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