Help me stock!
Background: So I live in near Tacoma, WA and my area had a lot of power outages recently. My parents have a 29gal tank that currently only hosts 4 neon tetras, some RCS, and some algae eater I don't recognize and was not along for the purchasing of (hope to get pics for ID soon). They were out of power for 72 hours, but my house has underground electric (thank you Lakeview!) and didn't lose any power, so they brought the tank to me. They've lost interest in the hobby, so it's mine to keep.
This tank has been established for about 10 years. In its prime it hosted about 10 neons, a pair of Bolivian rams, and a handful of ghost shrimp. We made sure to keep the filter & gravel submerged during the transfer and it appears that all is well (tested after 5 days and no ammonia or nitrite is detectible, less than 20ppm nitrate).
Current Stock: 4 Neon Tetras; ~15 RCS; 1 mysterious algae eater that's been around for about 4 years
I have added some live plants to the tank (java fern, anacharis, cryptocoryne wendii, and java moss around the rocks). It's pretty low light; about ~1300 lumens for 29gal.
Current tank temp is about ~76F
I plan to add 3 more neon tetra to the tank so they can school a bit more comfortably (that will be 7 total). I can rehome the RCS if needed (I have a 5 gallon empty that is pretty much only good for shrimp or another male betta).
I'd like to try my hands at a Gourami of some type, because I have a soft spot for Anabaptids, but I'd also be willing to look into a pair of dwarf chichlid because I adored the Bolivians.
Help me stock my 29 gal with fish that work with the stocked fish above.
I would like to have a pair of either dwarf chiclids like Bolivians or Gouramis, and maybe a third type of fish for interest? The tank will be well planted when I'm done with it, and I can add more filtration if needed.
Much would depend on what the hardness or lack thereof of your source water is.
The Gourami prefer soft water and warmer temps, than the neon's would appreciate.
Neon's along with many of the tetra's do better in cooler temps 72 to 75 degree's F while the Gourami like warmer 78 to 80 degree temps.
Dwarf cichlids like the Bolivian Ram perhaps a pair,, could work but one might be best to avoid any aggression should they both happen to be male, and the Shrimp would need to be moved (snacks for most fish) to the 5 gal or ,,use the 5 gal for quarantine tank for another dozen Neon's.
I say a dozen neon's because they are not all that hardy, and you are likely to lose a few even with good care and ,,because they do better in larger groups.
With shrimp moved ,you could add a shoal of six or seven corydora's for the bottom if water is not too warm for they too like cooler water.
If water is soft and warm, then Honey gourami, or Pearl gourami would be my choice for neither is prone to Iridovirus that Colisa Ialia and color variant's thereof are prone to and are not as aggressive as many of the other Gourami are.
Other smaller,warm soft water gourami such as Sparkling gourami, might also interest you and they could be fine with shrimp as well.
Cardinal tetra's are better suited for warmer temps than neon's and they should be fine with most gourami.(IME)
Thanks for the reply.
Would Cardinals be okay with my neons? The neons are around 6-7 years old, and to be honest I don't particularly want more neons; I just want to make sure these 4 are comfortable in their old age.
Sorry, I forgot to mention: my water is pretty hard (pH is around ~7.6).
I did have my heart set a bit on Gouramis, but I've always been leery of tampering with pH.
Adding some peat in mesh bag to the filter could work to soften water along with some driftwood pieces,or you could mix the water with half tapwater,half R/O water or distilled water.
Folks do keep Gourami in water such as yours with some success, but breeding seldom occur's, and they don't seem to live as long as in softer wate this is entriely your call.
Were it my tank (and it aint') I might consider a pair of Keyhole cichlids,some Lemon tetra's or Pristella,or silver tipped, and the afore mentioned cory's. They would get on well with the aged Neon's and all would do well with your water without any tweaking so long as temps aren't much above 76 degree's F.
Alway's hate suggesting fish for what I might like, is not as important as what You like.
Other's may offer you some more idea's ,I can only offer my opinion /observation's.;-)
My pH can range as high as 8 (according to the local water department) but is extremely soft at a GH of 25 ppm.
You can call your water department, check out their website, or bring a sample into a store like Petsmart for a free test.
I don't think driftwood will make your water soft, but can lower your pH slightly (at the cost of slightly brown/tea colored water). [Correct me if I'm wrong someone] The usual method to make hard water soft is mixing tap with distilled/reverse osmosis water (can get expensive with weekly water changes).
Hmm, I will call the water company today. I suspect the water is pretty hard because I'm constantly cleaning my coffee pot with vinegar to get rid of the deposits, but I might just drink too much coffee...
I'm not concerned about breeding, but I don't want to shorten the lifespans of the fish, so I will definitely check that out first.
Edited to add: So the gal at the water department, was all "Ooh, I don't know. Maybe get a kit? I know we add chlorine..."
So yeah. I guess I'll take it into Petsmart.
Cardinals are often wild caught and will not do well in your water.
Haha ... wow, but I guess not surprising if she was just a secretary, or the person who answers questions about bills.
Municipal water is required to be tested by the federal and state government, and they have to make water quality reports yearly. Sometimes they include GH and KH, sometimes they don't (mine dosen't).
You can buy test kits, but unless you are trying to adjust it, you would only use it once and they are expensive to buy for a single test. Petsmart will use one of those 5-1 test strips (probably). Not as accurate, but gives you a good enough figure of where you stand. And like I said, they'll do it for free so you've got nothing to loose.
Nah, the water report didn't include it either. Okay, so I bought one of the strip test kits from PetSmart (strips were the only kind they sold, unfortunately).
It's not the easiest thing to read, but my estimations put me at:
The GH is the one I'm least sure of, as the color seemed to be between the 75 and 150 markers, and that's a whole lot of estimation to do.
So, I'm ruling out the Gouramis just for temperature reasons-- maybe I'll plan a tank around them someday.
If I go with another type of tetra, like lemons, is it cruel not to get more neons? They've been in their group of 4 for several years now, but I know they like larger schools. If I buy more though, then I end up with a perpetuating cycle. The new fish will be much younger than the older ones, and I would have to buy more to fill their ranks...
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