Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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BWG 10-11-2011 01:01 PM

new to forum/need stocking advice
 
I've been away from aquariums for years and am now getting bak into them. Since I'm nearing the end of my fishless cycle which is great, I figured it was time to stop lurking here and actually join to ask for some advice on stocking. I'm setting up a 40 gallon breeder of South American fish so finding compatible species with similar water parameters isn't posing a problem. My problem comes with actual numbers (both number of species and individuals) and making sure I have fish for each level.

I've mainly been looking at tetras (the ones around 2 inches or less), corydoras, and dwarf plecos (bristlenose or smaller). Now comes the part where I'm confused. Should I stick with one type of corydoras or do I have the room needed for two small shoals? Besides the room which actually looks nicer? If I have all those corydoras do I even have room for a small group of pitbull plecos or a starlight bristlenose? The same sort of questions with the tetras. Am I better off with one large shoal, two equally sized shoals, or one large shoal and two smaller shoals? Please help because I'm driving myself nuts.

Byron 10-11-2011 03:40 PM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Nice to have you with us.

Corys are always better the more there are. They live in groups of hundreds in the wild, sometimes just one species, sometime a couple, but hundreds of each. In the aquarium, I have found a group of 5 of a species to be good. If you want more than one species, a minimum of 3 of each species seems to work well, though more is always "better." I'm assuming a 40g breeder tank is 30 inches in length? So you can easily have 12-15 corys. Give them lots of chunks of bogwood, and plants. Fine gravel or sand substrate. Dim light (floating plants achieve this as well as minimal lighting as necessary for the plants).

The BN and pitbull pleco, being primarily algae diet, I would leave until the tank is established and algae is present. These fish, like otos [Pitbull is closely related, Parotocinclus jumbo is the species], Farlowella vittata, etc always settle in better with algae available. They soon learn to feed from sinking foods, but not always at first. Otocinclus and Parotocinclus frequently starve in tanks with no algae; they are often starving when they get here, and the ordeal they endure in capture and shipment is incredible.

Parotocinclus, like Otocinclus, need a group too, so if you go with this I would limit the corys. Something like 9-10 corys, 4-5 Parotocinclus. I myself would not add a BN with the latter.

To the characins. Minimum 6 in a group of each species, but here too more is much better. Depends somewhat on species. To fill out the water column, for the surface there are hatchetfish; the species in Carnegiella are smaller and my personal favourites, like the Marble or the Black-winged; all 4 Carnegiella species are in our profiles. BTW, fish profiles are second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top; if the name is used exactly the same in posts (common or scientific) it will shade and you can click it for the profile, example Carnegiella marthae or Marble Hatchetfish. With these, a group of 8-9 minimum of one species; if mixed, 6-7 of each species.

Mid-level characins are many of the Hemigrammus species. A group of 7-9 of a species. Hyphessobrycon species tend to remain slightly lower, in the lower 1/2 of the water; same numbers. Not suggesting all these in a 40g, just throwing out species and numbers to select from. There are also pencilfish, being smaller meaning more of them. And cardinal tetra, brilliant rummy nose tetra... .

Byron.

BWG 10-11-2011 04:17 PM

Thank you very much for the welcome and the detailed reply.

I do have a sand substrate and driftwood is more than abundant in my tank. You were pretty close on the size. It's 36 inches by 18 wide. I had no idea I could have so many corys. They have always been my favorite fish. I had asked about the two shoals since I was having a lot of trouble deciding between Panda Corydoras and Three Lined Corydoras.

I was planning to try my first ever plant with Amazon frogbit. I read online though that it requires at least somewhat of an open lid. That was the main reason I had never done extra research about hatchetfish. I had kept silver and marbeled in the past and know how prone to jumping they can be.

I was definitely looking at Hemigrammus and Hyphessobrycon species. Easy to find, wide variety, and I've kept plenty of them in the past. I'm glad you told me about the levels each prefers since I had thought that Hemigrammus stayed lower. Of those I just need to narrow it down between the Glowlight Tetra and January Tetra. The Hyphessobrycon...well that's going to be even tougher. Too many of those that I like Black Neon Tetra, Lemon Tetra, Ornate Tetra, Kitty Tetra, Flame Tetra, Flameback Bleeding Heart Tetra and those are just the ones I know my LFS has for sale.

I did check out pencilfish online but I'd probably have to order them online as well. I've never done that and for whatever reason for leery about it. I guess i just want to see my fish before I buy them.

Byron 10-11-2011 04:28 PM

Quote:

I was planning to try my first ever plant with Amazon Frogbit. I read online though that it requires at least somewhat of an open lid. That was the main reason I had never done extra research about hatchetfish. I had kept silver and marbeled in the past and know how prone to jumping they can be.
I have Frogbit; it is not an easy plant to cultivate. It goes through cycles where the entire surface cover in a 70g will die off over maybe 2-3 weeks to a couple of leaves, then after a few weeks it begins to grow back. It seems to do this regularly about twice a year, and other members have noted the same. Nice plant though, when it survives. Nice flowers too, though you can't see them unless you lower the water level.

Quote:

I was definitely looking at Hemigrammus and Hyphessobrycon species. Easy to find, wide variety, and I've kept plenty of them in the past. I'm glad you told me about the levels each prefers since I had thought that Hemigrammus stayed lower.
I was being very general;-), as the next response will indicate.

Quote:

Of those I just need to narrow it down between the Glowlight Tetra and January Tetra.
Glowlight remain near the substrate, much like Cardinals and Rummys; January are certainly mid-tank.

Quote:

I did check out pencilfish online but I'd probably have to order them online as well. I've never done that and for whatever reason for leery about it. I guess i just want to see my fish before I buy them.
If you're in the USA, there are some very reliable online suppliers. Some carry rare characins.

BWG 10-11-2011 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 858316)
I have Frogbit; it is not an easy plant to cultivate. It goes through cycles where the entire surface cover in a 70g will die off over maybe 2-3 weeks to a couple of leaves, then after a few weeks it begins to grow back. It seems to do this regularly about twice a year, and other members have noted the same. Nice plant though, when it survives. Nice flowers too, though you can't see them unless you lower the water level.



I was being very general;-), as the next response will indicate.



Glowlight remain near the substrate, much like Cardinals and Rummys; January are certainly mid-tank.



If you're in the USA, there are some very reliable online suppliers. Some carry rare characins.


From everything I read online about the frogbit it seems to be really easy to keep for some people and next to impossible for others. You're not the first person I've seen that said they have trouble with it. Guess I should research and find a similar alternative just in case.

I kind of based my wrong belief off of this That was the only source I could find for that sort of things so you helped me out a lot there.

I am in the US so I might have to search the forum and find out those online supplies...because having one of the biggest fish stores in the northeast US near by wasn't already giving me too many choices :lol:

Byron 10-11-2011 06:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blackwaterguy (Post 858468)
From everything I read online about the frogbit it seems to be really easy to keep for some people and next to impossible for others. You're not the first person I've seen that said they have trouble with it. Guess I should research and find a similar alternative just in case.

I kind of based my wrong belief off of this That was the only source I could find for that sort of things so you helped me out a lot there.

I am in the US so I might have to search the forum and find out those online supplies...because having one of the biggest fish stores in the northeast US near by wasn't already giving me too many choices :lol:

I just did a quick scan of that linked list and it seems reliable. In our profiles I usually mention levels in the aquarium where that is known.

One source of the rare and wonderful in the US is AnubiasDesign, run by Mark Dennaro [hope I spelt that correctly] who is highly knowledgeable on fish habitat and frequently writes articles in TFH and such. They have a website and a Yahoo newsgroup that I belong to even though they won't ship fish outside the continental US. Check them out:
Current Stock
Availability is of course seasonal due to collecting and export laws in Brazil, Peru, etc.

BWG 10-11-2011 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 858531)
I just did a quick scan of that linked list and it seems reliable. In our profiles I usually mention levels in the aquarium where that is known.

One source of the rare and wonderful in the US is AnubiasDesign, run by Mark Dennaro [hope I spelt that correctly] who is highly knowledgeable on fish habitat and frequently writes articles in TFH and such. They have a website and a Yahoo newsgroup that I belong to even though they won't ship fish outside the continental US. Check them out:
Current Stock
Availability is of course seasonal due to collecting and export laws in Brazil, Peru, etc.

The profiles here were one of three places I looked up different species. I didn't notice the author until today. Nice work on them btw.

Thank you for the link. Some nice species on there and definitely not too costly. I didn't want to look at anything too expensive/fragile since this was my first attempt at something biotope like and my first aquarium since I was a teenager. I figured I should get my feet wet so to speak on a smaller tank.

BWG 10-11-2011 11:10 PM

The characins I had been mostly leaning towards before posting were Glowlight Tetras and Lemon Tetras. After rereading the profiles here and the things you've told me I might have changed my mind. Let me ask if this would work or how to improve it. Could I keep say 6-8 of two different species in the Rosy tetra clade and then another shoal of say lemon tetras that will swim higher? Or is this completely overdone?

Byron 10-12-2011 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blackwaterguy (Post 858980)
The characins I had been mostly leaning towards before posting were Glowlight Tetras and Lemon Tetras. After rereading the profiles here and the things you've told me I might have changed my mind. Let me ask if this would work or how to improve it. Could I keep say 6-8 of two different species in the Rosy tetra clade and then another shoal of say lemon tetras that will swim higher? Or is this completely overdone?

With lots of plants and weekly 50% partial water c hanges, that could work, depending upon species. Some of those get large, like the Bleeding Heart. And of course the Serpae is out completely.

BWG 10-12-2011 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 859411)
With lots of plants and weekly 50% partial water c hanges, that could work, depending upon species. Some of those get large, like the Bleeding Heart. And of course the Serpae is out completely.

I was still looking up all the clade members that I could find. I don't think I'd ever try the Serpae in any size tank. That's just me after hearing their reputation. The Bleeding Heart is too big, while the Lesser Bleeding Heart and Flameback Bleeding Heart are rare (i'm guessing they are both in the clade anyway). The Robert's and Rosy look so similar to me that I would have just gone with one or the other. Of the two Phantoms I was thinking of the Blak and mixing it with the Robert's. Water changes aren't a problem for me to do but since I'm doing a blackwater biotope there's no plants besides which ever floater I get. So I'd probably be better off thinking of another combination. Thank you for all the advice. You gave me some good guidance and things to think about. Definitely put my mind at ease.


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