Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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thekoimaiden 01-25-2012 01:46 PM

Time to play "Fix that Tank!!"
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So I got a text today from my mother asking if I would come to her school tomorrow to help a colleague with her tank. Mother is a school teacher. I asked her to send me a picture (see attached). I can tell she has 4 gourami in what I'm guessing is a 35 gal hex, but I'm not sure about the species. Maybe blue gourami? This is my first big question: ID those fish.

Anyways, I'm trying to come up with stocking plans for this tank. Our city water is generally on the soft side. A local water quality report from 2010 states pH 7.3, alkalinity 24 ppm, calcium 24 ppm, and total hardness 68 ppm. I can't tell if she has a heater in the tank. I don't know when the last water change (if any at all) was done on the tank. She just added some hornwort to the tank. The only reason those fish are probably still alive is they can breathe air. From what I know right now, the bubbler doesn't work and the filter isn't on. She has never tested the parameters, so I can't give you that. I'm taking my kit to test the tank when I go tomorrow.

I'm looking for very easy fish for this tank. They also have to be found at Petsmart or Petco as those are the only two places that sell fish in town. Right now I'm thinking either a school of neon tetras or white clouds so the heater doesn't have to work so hard (the school usually doesn't get above 65F room temp). And maybe bronze corys for the bottom or shrimp. I'll do my best I can to convince her to get some fake plants for the bottom.

I would also like to know other's experiences with a tank like this. The only tanks I've worked with have been longer than they are tall. Any quirks I should let the owner know about? Any tips?

Geomancer 01-25-2012 01:56 PM

You can kind of see the heater suck on the right surface.

But... if they are neglecting the tank that much... are they going to do water changes? Nothings going to live long in those conditions (at least healthy). I don't see a light either. I'm sure the fish don't mind, but that certainly rules out live plants.

thekoimaiden 01-25-2012 02:07 PM

Actually the hornwort has been surviving quite well in my mother's 55 gal which also has no lights. It just uses the ambient light. I'm thinking hornwort would be the only plant that could survive in the tank if left floating.

This teacher has a daughter who is an animal lover. I plan to use the daughter to convince the mother to change the tank water.

thekoimaiden 01-26-2012 06:21 PM

So I went to see this tank today. It's pretty bad. It has an undergravel filter that isn't working. The nitrates are through the roof, and the pH is below 6. They have 4 male blue gourami and one bronze cory. The gourami are constantly fighting. I saw a few torn fins, but the for the most part they leave the cory alone. I have convinced them to get rid of the gourami. I'll be going back next week to remove the undergravel filter and do a more serious water change (didn't have a large enough siphon today).

This tank is at my mother's friend's classroom (mother is a school teacher). The teacher's daughter is young but willing to do regular water changes on the tank. She is able to take care of other smaller fish tanks at her house.

The daughter expressed an interest in angelfish and black moors for the tank. Mind you, this will be after the gourami are removed. I don't think even one anglefish could fit in the tank which I believe is a 35 hex. I'm not sure about the black moor and plan to ask somewhere else about it.

My thoughts in stocking the tank are 7-10 neon tetras or harlequin rasbora or white cloud minnows and another 5 bronze cories for the bottom. I'll convince them to get some fake plants to root in the bottom because the tank is very bare, and I know any fish will appreciate cover. But I want to know what else that is hardy could go in this tank? I don't like tanks like this because the footprint is so small compared to the volume. I have no idea what to put in it. It has so little swimming space.

lorax84 01-26-2012 06:29 PM

I would try to sell them on the Harlequin Rasbora and some corys. Black moors need around 50-75 gallons of water. They can grow to be 8-10 inches. A pair of angels might work, but you would have to get a bonded pair and it would probably be a little cramped still.

Geomancer 01-26-2012 08:13 PM

Agree with the Angels, only a mated pair could work, but still a bit small.

Could put some real plants in there, low light ones. They won't grow out of control, and I'm sure it could use all the extra filtering it can get...

thekoimaiden 01-26-2012 11:00 PM

It seems like then general consensus is no to angels. I'll be sure to pass that on. I'm leaning towards no on the black moor, too. I think with live plants a more experienced goldfish keeper could keep one in there, but this family doesn't have the experience or time to devote to a tank like that.

Right now I'm planning to give them a choice between harlequin rasboras and neon tetras. They like the shape of gourami so I was also going to suggest one honey gourami in place of the rasboras. And of course another 5 bronze cories.

The daughter also thought the upside down catfish (Synodontis nigriventris) was neat. The only thing I've been able to find is that they should be kept in groups like cories and the like broad-leafed plants and lots of tunnels. Would those work in the tank setup? Or should I convince her to wait?

Tazman 01-26-2012 11:24 PM

Upside cats are mainly nocturnal so you may not get the best out of them during the day. They can work but might be a bit boring.

harlequin rasboras and neon tetras are the way to go as there is not a lot of room for much in that tank.

thekoimaiden 01-27-2012 01:45 PM

I'll try to steer them away from upside down cats. This tank is in a classroom and won't be viewed at night.

Philnominal 01-27-2012 01:55 PM

what about smaller loaches for the bottom? Like zebra or kuhli?

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