gourami, red tailed shark, african butterfly??? ok???
I am about to begin cycling a 75 gallon aquarium for a gourami setup. I have always loved these fish, but have always owned african cichlids instead. I have fallen in love with a few different anabantid species and would like to house them together. I do not want to overcrowd my aquarium or stress, but i also have my heart set on a couple other fishes. Here is what i hope to end up with living happily in my new setup:
1 pair pearl gourami
1 pair gold gourami (open to suggestions on the most beautiful color variety of the three spot)
1 pair paradise
1 african butterfly
1 red tailed shark (as a scavenger will he assist in keeping the tank clean?)
1 trapdoor snail
1 nerita snail (will these two snail species hybridize?- i don't want too many snails. Also will they eat my plants?)
Is this enough fish, the right amount or too many?
My thought is that the african butterfly can have the top water surface as territory, the shark can have the lower level and the gourami can have the middle and share some of the top water with the butterfly. Everything i have read before has stated that both the shark and the butterfly are agressive, but are ok with tank mates of the same size are larger and are ok as long as they are allowed their own territory. Is this unreasonable to think these fish will live together?
By the way i am going to make this a live planted aquarium with a substrate specifically for live plants and driftwood. Is this a good idea with this mix of critters?
First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you join us.
Last question first, yes, a planted tank is ideal for the fish named, in some ways, almost mandatory.
I would not have Red Tailed Shark with gourami. The latter are very quiet, sedate fish (notwithstanding their territoriality and aggression among themselves:-)) and the shark might upset this. Not so much its activity (loaches are similar, but tend to be fine with gourami) but as they mature they can get nasty. It is a risk.
I would not combine African Butterfly Fish with gourami. The latter spend a lot of time at the surface. If you have male/female they will spawn, and the mentioned species make bubblenests at the surface in floating plants. This will create issues. I have had the Butterfly, had a pair for years. But nothing that comes to the surface regularly works.
A 75g (presume 4 feet in length) is fine for a group of loaches. Not many aquarists can keep these because most species need more space than 20, 30 or 40g tanks. A 75 is ideal for several of the species that are 4-5 inches max, peaceful, and in a group (mandatory due to their social structure) extremely entertaining. Good match with gourami too.
On the gourami, you have the space (good), but watch the species. The males can be nasty, killing other gourami. More than one member here has had to remove a fish for this reason. I would suggest one species would be more likely of success with these larger species. The much smaller species (not thinking Dwarf Gourami but much smaller than that) tend to do better combined in large tanks.
Thanks so much for your reply Byron. I have been doing more reading since my original posting and I 100% agree with you aobut the african butterfly. The gourami's being at the upper water levels so much would probably upset him (or her) and I really want happy fish. As for the gourami species that I mentioned and the RTS, do you think it is totally unreasonable to give this setup a try. I do have a wonderful petstore here in town that specializes in freshwater fish and is willing to trade and work on credit if for some reason one of the tank mates was being harassed, or causing trouble, and needed to be removed in a hurry. Also I would be starting with very young fish. I was planning to start with a number of small gourami of one species at a time until a bonded pair made itself obvious and then remove the others. I was going to keep with this method until I had introduced all the fish intended. Also I was planning to start with the least aggressive species so that hopefully there would be as little territorial behavior as possible when I introduce possible tank mates. I really want a thriving semi-aggressive, but multi-species setup. I hope I don't seem hard headed; I just wanted to lay out all my plans so I could see if following these steps may give me some hope of having my dream fish tank. I love all the gouramis so much that I can't (don't want to) commit to one species. And now have fallen in love with the RTS. By the way, do they have any suitable tank mates??? Everything I read says that larger gourami or about as compatible as it gets (other than barbs) with these guys.
Hope to hear back from you soon. And again thanks for the advice and the wonderful website. I have enjoyed reading all the info posted on here.
Ok Byron, I reread your reply to my first post and then my reply to you and I think I seem like I didn't pay attention to any of your suggestions. Let me try this again. First of all let me say that I have decided to purchase a 55 gallon rather than the 75 like had initially planned (I think it suits the intended space more). So that being said, I have come up with a new plan of action. Tell me what you think:
An harem of one of the gourami species. I am open to suggestions on the type. I think I am drawn more to the gold. How many could I have with the following and which type would work best.
4-6 of one of the botia loach species work (may not have enough room, also- how do loaches do in planted aquariums???)
1 rio negro pleco
1 leopard bushfish
I know some of these fish are from totally different regions. That's ok right?
8 odessa barbs
8 tiger barbs
are the odessas as pretty and colorful as they look in the pics???
There are some good mixes here, and some not at all good.
Taking the latter first, if you want any sedate fish in the tank--thinking of gourami, leaf fish, and similar--forget Tiger Barb completely. They will likely harass and kill such fish. Other barb are better behaved, though all barb carry the issue of their active swimming which can annoy sedate fish. Odessa Barb is fine, in a group as noted in the profile. Another excellent barb is Black Ruby Barb, one of my favourite barbs. But again, I would not add leaf fish or gourami to this.
Loaches are fine with all named fish. A group of 5-6 of one of the smaller species such as Botia kubotai, Botia histrionica, Botia striata, etc. And a 55g is OK. Lots of wood, and I mean lots; loaches need a hiding spot, and each fish likes to choose its own, so having plenty of options settles them much better. They are fine with plants. Some have mentioned sword plants being nibbled, and I included this in the loach profiles, but my B. kubotai have never done this, at least not so far.
Considering now a 55g. No Red Tailed Shark. Gourami or bushfish, not both. The bushfish would be on its own, with shoaling fish; or a group of one species of gourami, the Blue Gourami (Gold is the same species, just a colour variant) with one male and 2-3 female. Two males and 4-5 females might work. The inherent trait of any fish must always be borne in mind, realizing that some fish do and others don't, so it is a risk. A better shoaling fish would be from among the rasbora or medium characins. Look for less active swimmers. Now, having said this, with the gourami I would myself probably consider either of the barb species mentioned. But not with a leaf fish.
Pleco. Not sure which species this is, some remain small and that would be fine with any of the above. By small I mean 4-6 inches. But some pleco grow to 12-18 inches, and would not be able to turn around in a 55g that is only a foot wide. Fish should always be able to turn full length in a tank (width) and have 3-4 body lengths (length) minimum, when we are dealing with sedate fish (not active swimmers that need much more room than this). This is just a rough guide.
Thanks again Byron for your advice. I think i am going to end up with completely different setup completely . I am thinkging a mostly tetra tank. This tank is for my baby daughter so I want active fish that she can watch and will keep her attention and I just don't know if I can accomplish that with gourami. But on the bright side there seem to be alot of compatible varieties of tetra, so I am trying to be optimistic even though I am dropping behind my faves. I am using your profiles to plan everything out and I am thinking
6 black phantom
6 black skirt
6 bleeding heart
6 panda cory cats
AND 6 pencil fish - a small, easy variety - any suggstions?
Are any of these suitable for cycling and aqurium
Pencilfish should be the first decision, as they will determine the others, not the reverse. Pencils are demanding enough to be the deciding factor. Most of the readily-available species are in our profiles, all are in the genus Nannostomus. The most commonly seen is Nannostomus beckfordi. This is the most hardy, very much so, but on the downside it can be nippy and a bit of a bully. Moreso with surface fish though. And not really troublesome, I have 20 in my 115g and with 115 other fish it works. I did remove my marble hatchets though, for this reason.
Other species are a bit more demanding of water parameters, being wild caught. I won't repeat what is in the profiles.
Black phantom are neat fish, perhaps not "colourful" but they are a nice addition in a well planted tank. The display antics of the males is delightful. As it is for the beckfordi pencils, that is fascinating. I would increase the phantoms to 8-9 though, with half male/half female.
The other species in the rosy clade in genus Hyphessobrycon are also good, except the Serpae Tetra, don't have those. The Roberts Tetra is my personal favourite.
You might get more activity from barb and Danio though. I agree, not gourami, they would never be seen they are so inactive.
On the cycling question, always use live plants, which you want with these fish anyway. Lots of plants, then add a first fish (a group of this or that, depending), after a few days, another species group, and so forth. Plants will take up the ammonia. Characins, all characins, are very sensitive to water conditions and quality.
I can't wait to get started and I actually feel like I am not going in blind thanks to you and your wonderful website. I will post some pics when I get my tank up and running. Thanks a million for all your help!
I would watch the Gold Gourami and the snails though because I had a pair of Gold and a pair of Blue Gourami previously and after placing plants into the tank I had this huge outbreak of baby snails. There were like thousands of them. The gouramiís sucked those snails right out of their shells. They were in heaven and had full bellies. But maybe that is not the norm. It is just my one experience with Gold Gourami and snails. Also the Gold and Blue Gourami can become aggressive themselves towards tank-mates as well.
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