Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bigred91 04-14-2011 07:25 PM

Stocking new tank!!
 
Hello all, this is my first question on this site! :) I have an approx. 24x12x17 tank that I am going to set up. I plan on heavily planting the tank and this is what I'm thinking of stocking it with: 2 Blue Rams (pair), 5 cardinal tetras, 5 bloodfin tetras, 3 kuhli loaches, and 1 amano shrimp. What do you guys think?? Suggestions/Opinions plz & ty!!

Darren

turtle10 04-14-2011 09:55 PM

Inches or centimeters?

I am guessing inches, but even so, that tank would be overstocked. The blue rams alone need 20 gallons (what you have). You could get just the rams. Or just the tetras and the shrimp.

Byron 04-15-2011 02:20 PM

That is a 20g or maybe 22-23g (my 20g is only 15 not 17 inches tall). A pair of common ram, fine. A group of sedate tetra fine, and cardinals would be very good as they can manage with the warmer temperature needed for the rams (82F) and 5-6 is OK. Bloodfins should be in 6 (or more with space), as they can be nippy of fins and with shoaling fish this is usually lessened with more in the group. They would be a nice contrast, as they swim in the upper water column and both cardinals and rams in the lower half. The shrimp might become food, esp for the rams. I would leave out the loaches, particularly if you intend to have the rams spawn (which a mated pair will readily do) as nocturnal fish like catfish and loaches almost always find the eggs or fry.

I agree this is pushing the tank limit, but with lots of plants (very suitable to all mentioned species) and wekly partial water changes you should be OK.

When selecting the rams, observe them in the store tank and look for a mated pair. This is usually easy to spot; the male will stay relatively close to his chosen female, and drive other males away repeatedly. A mated pair will be more compatible, as not every male and every female will get along [just like people;-)]. And in a small space like a 20g, non-compatible rams will mean one of them dead very quickly.

Byron.

bigred91 04-15-2011 03:42 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the info! I'll try my best to see if I can find a good deal on a larger tank. If not though, would the loaches and the rams still be compatible? I know you said about if they breed then the loaches will eat the fry/eggs but I am not too concerned about that because I don't really have room for more fish anyway and I don't have another tank to properly house more rams in. I wanted the amano shrimp to help clean my tank of algae but if no point if it will be food for the Rams lol do you have any suggestion as to what else could help clean the tank that could be okay living by itself? Maybe a bigger shrimp could handle its own? Do you have any suggestions to replace the tetras since they could get nippy? Maybe 5 guppies instead? Yes, I know this is about the max tank limit, but I am heavily planting the tank and making sure the water parameters are in order. Thanks for all your help!

bigred91 04-15-2011 04:25 PM

@Byron I saw one of your photo albums "Flooded Amazonian Forest 90g" and that is how I would like my tank to look. Very planted like that looks amazing to me! Would you be able to give me some tips or anything I should know about going about planting my tank? I have only had very lightly planted my tanks in the past and don't know a tremendous amount about it. Thanks!!

Byron 04-15-2011 05:51 PM

I would not put guppies in with what you have already (rams, cardinal tetra...). We are talking very different water parameters, and guppies and cardinals will never be comfortable together for that reason alone. Which brings me to the water. I didn't mention it previously, because we were considering all soft slightly acidic water fish so I (perhaps wrongly) assumed this was a given, but...what are your water parameters out of the tap? It is usually best to use the tap water and find fish comfortable with whatever you have, rather than trying to adjust hardness and pH, although this is always possible.

If it were me, and also depending upon your water parameters, rather than loaches for the bottom I would think South American, since that is where all your other fish are from. "Cleaning the tank" suggests to me you are concerned over food scraps or algae. I never, absolutely never, acquire fish to solve problems, since those fish must also have their needs seen to, in the way of food, behaviours, etc. But if there are fish I like that happen to have these attributes, all the better. I can offer some suggestions, but first I'll wait for the parameters since this will have a bearing on what I may suggest.

Thanks for the compliment on my tanks. It is not difficult, no more than keeping fish healthy, but plants do need some basics. As an introduction, have a read of the 4 articles entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section. Any questions you may have after those basics, ask away.

And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. I forgot this last time, and I see you just joined.:wave:

Byron.

bigred91 04-16-2011 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 649291)
I would not put guppies in with what you have already (rams, cardinal tetra...). We are talking very different water parameters, and guppies and cardinals will never be comfortable together for that reason alone. Which brings me to the water. I didn't mention it previously, because we were considering all soft slightly acidic water fish so I (perhaps wrongly) assumed this was a given, but...what are your water parameters out of the tap? It is usually best to use the tap water and find fish comfortable with whatever you have, rather than trying to adjust hardness and pH, although this is always possible.

If it were me, and also depending upon your water parameters, rather than loaches for the bottom I would think South American, since that is where all your other fish are from. "Cleaning the tank" suggests to me you are concerned over food scraps or algae. I never, absolutely never, acquire fish to solve problems, since those fish must also have their needs seen to, in the way of food, behaviours, etc. But if there are fish I like that happen to have these attributes, all the better. I can offer some suggestions, but first I'll wait for the parameters since this will have a bearing on what I may suggest.

Thanks for the compliment on my tanks. It is not difficult, no more than keeping fish healthy, but plants do need some basics. As an introduction, have a read of the 4 articles entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section. Any questions you may have after those basics, ask away.

And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. I forgot this last time, and I see you just joined.:wave:

Byron.

Thanks for the welcome Byron! The ph of my water straight out of the tap is in 7.8-8.0 range. I really like the selected group of fish I mentioned so I am willing to change the water through chemicals or whatever. I am also planning on planting my tank a lot so I'm not sure if that will have an effect on the water. I like Kuhli loaches because they are very interesting to me. I didn't want to get a fish to "do a job" such as clean the tank and that's why I was thinking of a shrimp or something of that sort. Thanks for any help or suggestions you may have!

Byron 04-16-2011 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigred91 (Post 650175)
Thanks for the welcome Byron! The ph of my water straight out of the tap is in 7.8-8.0 range. I really like the selected group of fish I mentioned so I am willing to change the water through chemicals or whatever. I am also planning on planting my tank a lot so I'm not sure if that will have an effect on the water. I like Kuhli loaches because they are very interesting to me. I didn't want to get a fish to "do a job" such as clean the tank and that's why I was thinking of a shrimp or something of that sort. Thanks for any help or suggestions you may have!

OK, here comes another issue. Some fish are quite adaptable, some less so, and some not at all. You have two that fit the latter category, the common ram and the cardinal tetra. With the ram first, it must be maintained in water close to what it was raised in. Wild-caught rams are rare unless you have a store or someone who imports fish from SA, so they will likely be tank raised. Find out from where-ever you intend to get them where they were raised, and then find out the water parameters there. This is very important. Rams do not adjust to differing water parameters or conditions.

Cardinals are likely to be wild caught; have a read of our profile, it explains the soft, acidic water they require to be healthy long-term, and why. Click on the name when it is shaded as above, it takes you to the profile.

Please don't resort to chemicals, they usually won't work. pH is tied closely to the hardness of the water, especially the carbonate hardness (KH). If you can tell me the KH and GH (general hardness) of your tap water I can explain what will occur with respect to the pH lowering naturally and how we can achieve this. But without knowing the hardness we would be fighting almost a losing battle, and fluctuating pH is even worse than a stable pH even if somewhat outside the fish's preference. If you don't know the tap water hardness, you can find this out from your water supply people; many have a website with such information posted [it is public info], or if not they can tell you. If you find the site and can't fathom what they're saying, give me the link and I'll have a look. Hardness is obvious from several different things.

Once the water is softened (if that is necessary) and the pH lowers, it is relatively simple to keep it so.

Byron.

bigred91 04-17-2011 01:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigred91 (Post 649171)
Hey guys, thanks for the info! I'll try my best to see if I can find a good deal on a larger tank. If not though, would the loaches and the rams still be compatible? I know you said about if they breed then the loaches will eat the fry/eggs but I am not too concerned about that because I don't really have room for more fish anyway and I don't have another tank to properly house more rams in. I wanted the amano shrimp to help clean my tank of algae but if no point if it will be food for the Rams lol do you have any suggestion as to what else could help clean the tank that could be okay living by itself? Maybe a bigger shrimp could handle its own? Do you have any suggestions to replace the tetras since they could get nippy? Maybe 5 guppies instead? Yes, I know this is about the max tank limit, but I am heavily planting the tank and making sure the water parameters are in order. Thanks for all your help!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 650193)
OK, here comes another issue. Some fish are quite adaptable, some less so, and some not at all. You have two that fit the latter category, the common ram and the cardinal tetra. With the ram first, it must be maintained in water close to what it was raised in. Wild-caught rams are rare unless you have a store or someone who imports fish from SA, so they will likely be tank raised. Find out from where-ever you intend to get them where they were raised, and then find out the water parameters there. This is very important. Rams do not adjust to differing water parameters or conditions.

Cardinals are likely to be wild caught; have a read of our profile, it explains the soft, acidic water they require to be healthy long-term, and why. Click on the name when it is shaded as above, it takes you to the profile.

Please don't resort to chemicals, they usually won't work. pH is tied closely to the hardness of the water, especially the carbonate hardness (KH). If you can tell me the KH and GH (general hardness) of your tap water I can explain what will occur with respect to the pH lowering naturally and how we can achieve this. But without knowing the hardness we would be fighting almost a losing battle, and fluctuating pH is even worse than a stable pH even if somewhat outside the fish's preference. If you don't know the tap water hardness, you can find this out from your water supply people; many have a website with such information posted [it is public info], or if not they can tell you. If you find the site and can't fathom what they're saying, give me the link and I'll have a look. Hardness is obvious from several different things.

Once the water is softened (if that is necessary) and the pH lowers, it is relatively simple to keep it so.

Byron.

Yeah I'd rather not use chemicals anyway, I'd rather do it a natural way. I found the hardness of my water at this website Hard Water it seems my tap water is very hard at 300 ppm.

Thanks,
Darren

Byron 04-17-2011 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigred91 (Post 650506)
Yeah I'd rather not use chemicals anyway, I'd rather do it a natural way. I found the hardness of my water at this website Hard Water it seems my tap water is very hard at 300 ppm.

Thanks,
Darren

That equates to about 16 dGH. The best and safest way to soften this would be to dilute it with soft water such as RO (reverse osmosis), distilled or rainwater. Once this is achieved, the pH will naturally lower as the aquarium matures. Lots of plants with moderate fish load will allow for fewer water changes, and these can be done with similarly mixed water.

Another method is to buy a RO unit. Costly at first, but long-term it is cheaper than buying water.


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