Another "help me stock my tank" thread
I'm just getting back into the hobby after about an 8-year hiatus and now we have the wonderful internet info resource. :)
I just purchased a 65 gallon tank, plan on planting it up well and having rocks and wood with all kinds of hidey holes. The substrate I got is like a bit bigger than sand, almost like a sand/gravel mix/hybrid and some flourite. Got an external canister filter (eheim 2217) and just a strip light for now. Need to look up more about lighting this week, and do more plant research.
So now... the fish.
I love dwarf cichlids and am a sucker for kuhli loaches, gobies, and other fish like ropes or eels, however I know that neither of the latter are fit for a new tank with small fish.
Here's my tentative plan. I'm completely open to feedback and suggestion, how many etc. I should say that in Portland we have an amazing LFS (Home) with very healthy fish so this does help with sensitive fish. We have soft water and the pH is generally neutral-ish. I have not yet tested my tap.
- 2 Rams - I have maybe been talked into the Bolivian - they are supposedly more hardy, however the Blues in my store are very healthy, and they are my first love so I may give them a try as I loved them before.
- 2 Apistogramma of some sort (Cockatoo are supposed to be good with Rams - & as I say I am drawn to dwarf cichlids - others I should be considering?)
- 5? Clown killifish - stay at the top, less likely to eat my other fish than other killis. I need to ask killie folks more probably. Otherwise, marbled hatchetfish for top swimmers instead.
- 6? Forktail rainbows
- 6? Cardinal tetras or Silver tip tetras - leaning toward cardinals for the color and a contrast to the other school of rainbows.
- 2 Peacock gudgeons
- 3-5 kuhli loaches
- 1-2 Rhinogobius goby/ies - need to ask the store about them - we'll see what they say.
I looove chocolate gouramis however keep reading how delicate they are. Again, my LFS has two types and they look great, one is the Vaillant variety. Anyone here have experience with them in a community tank?
I also love elephant noses but have to do more research on them. I know they would also need to be put in once the tank is well-established, and I know they need a variety of live food.
To begin with I wanted to say that the blue rams are not that hard to take care of and as you know are beautiful. The only bad thing about them is they have to be kept at a temp no lower than 82 which limits some of the fish you can keep with them. I know the cardinal tetras will work but I will have to look up the rest. I use to have peacock gudgeons but can not remember the temp requirements. Also do you know the Ph/hardness of your water that will also help decide which will work. Welcome to the forum!
Most goby species that I read like cooler water so that may not be an option. I need to ask my fish store about the species that they have. I had blue rams before in 78° I think, and they did well... I believe Bolivians can tolerate lower temperatures. I thought I remember reading that Blues were okay from 77 to 84° but if 82 is optimal, I'll have to go with Bolivians or research more. I think the kuhlis like it under 80, but I don't have my list in front of me. (I'm keeping a dorky spreadsheet) :)
I don't think spreadsheets are dorky, they are very helpful. I had read you could keep them lower than 82 but mine were just not as colorful or active if the water got below 82. I had mine with harliquin rasbora and they did well. I think the cardinals would look pretty with them as well and they can take the higher temps.
I would suggest you check the water parameter information for each species in our fish profiles. Several of those you mention are included. Second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page takes you to the profiles. Temperature range is given, and hardness and pH too. In the Pacific Northwest the water is generally soft, same as it is here where I am in SW BC. And yes, The Wet Spot in Portland has the reputation of being a very good fish store.
I have had the Chocolate Gourami, two species, Sphaerichthys osphromenoides [the more common] and the near-identical S. selatanensis. There are photos of both in our profile of the former species. I have not had the other two, S. acrostoma and S. vaillanti. Requirements and care are the same for all four. And as many will write, these fish are not easy. I have had them twice, and they did not last much beyond a year; I even spawned them, several times. They are highly sensitive to water issues. They are best in a tank devoted to their needs with respect to substrate, plants, temp (these also are high temp, nothing below 80F), wood, thick floating plants. Tankmates can be chosen from among the quieter rasbora that can tolerate higher temp. My pygmy sparkling gourami did quite well in with the Chocolates, they were spawning continuously too. And with thick floating plant cover, fry will survive. I would suggest a smaller tank for a group of Chocolates--they should be in a small group, their interactive behaviours are intriguing--so their needs can be better provided. The dwarf species of loach do well for substrate fish. Never combine these (or any gourami for that matter) with cichlids.
I have yet to look at the profiles on this site but will definitely do so. I'm a research-before-you-buy kind of a person, so the more info I have to filter in to my decision-making process, the better. This is why forums can be so helpful, too. Thanks for your input!
Edit: the "aquariums" tab on people's profiles is a great idea - I love your first stream habitat tank. What a great place to grab ideas from right now in my "what to do..." phase.
Follow up question - once the tank is fish-ready and cycled up, who do I introduce first? Seems like many on my list like an established setup. Tetras?
OK, no - am reading that they also like an established tank. What's a girl to do? Someone needs to go first!
If you heavly plant the tank with real plants before you add the fish you will not have to worry about the cycle as plants, in a way, automatically cycle the tank because they will absorb all the ammonia that the fish will make. I planted my 55 then put several fish with no problems and Byron and others here as well have done the same thing. If you would like to purchase plants online there is a seller on aquabid mikeswetpets that I have used he has great plants and right now has a 55 gallon deal for $53.00 his plants are always really nice and he always send a couple extra. Heres a link if you want to check it out:
Other places that are good are aquariumplants.com, and sweetaquatics has great prices but sometimes it takes a while for them to send.
Do you think the cardinals will be an OK addition to a heavily planted tank? Should I change to Colombian tetras - they're also attractive, more hardy. I think I prefer the cardinals, though.
Also, regarding the cardinals - should I have more than 6 in a group do you think?
I was just reading that about planted tanks and cycling. That's what I've done in the past and everyone was fine. I thought I had lucked out after reading about people adding ammonia etc to the tank to fishless cycle... now the more I read about planted tanks, the less that seems necessary.
Additional edit: The site's fish profiles are great! Very informative, and there are plants, too.... Good stuff.
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