FAQs on Freshwater Livestocking 8
Related Articles: Stocking 5, 10 & 20
Gallon Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Freshwater Livestock by Neale Monks, Freshwater Livestock Selection by Bob
Fenner, The Ethical Aquarist;
Freshwater Fishes to Avoid by Judy Helfrich Acclimation of New Freshwater Livestock by Bob
Fenner, Fishes, Amphibians, Turtles,
Related FAQs: Mis-stocking issues
(incompatibility behaviorally and/or environmentally),
1, FW Livestock 2, FW Livestock 3, FW Stocking 4, FW
Livestocking 5, FW Livestocking
6, FW Livestocking 7, FW Livestocking 9, FW Livestocking 10, FW Livestocking 11, & Stocking Small
Systems, & Freshwater
Livestock Selection, Community
Life is not fair (RMF, any comments on East Asian
as usual, thank you so much for taking the time and making the
effort to help us enthusiasts out. This time, I don't really
have a question, but rather a fascinating case study.
I just got back from Taiwan, where my girlfriend's mother has
been successfully keeping freshwater fish for a few years. As far
as I can tell, she is breaking just about every rule in the
-She is keeping two gigantic angels, four goldfish (sic!), 1
platy, and four medium sized tetras in a 5G.
-The tank does not have a heater, the ambient temperature changes
a lot (night/day, AC on/off)
-She does not perform regular water changes, but instead once a
month takes out all the fish, water, and scrubs the tank and
everything in it top to bottom.
-To save money, she puts what looks like half a Scotch-Brite
sponge into the filter chamber, which she replaces monthly.
<Ah, well, to be fair, I have done similar in my time... but
still, a risky approach.>
In other words, she keeps completely incompatible species in a
tiny tank with wildly fluctuating temperatures and completely
kills her biological filtration every month.
<Indeed, would seem a fair summary.>
Yet, all fish seem unstressed and healthy.
<And some folks seem to thrive on cocaine... for a while at
Her two angels and the tetras are over 2.5 years old, her gold
fish over a year.
<Well, let's see the Angels get to a dozen years, and the
Goldfish 30 years. Then we can say they've had a good life.
But having said that, I see your point: by everything we've
written about on this web site, these fish should have been dead
within weeks of purchase. But they're not. So even if they
don't reach a full lifespan, they're still doing better
than I'd predict.>
I, in turn, have been keeping extremely nerdy habits since I
re-entered the hobby 6 months ago (understocked 37g, compatible
species bought at expensive LFS, quarantining for 4 weeks,
testing water frequently and keeping perfect metrics), and yet it
feels like it's been a constant battle (ich outbreak in the
beginning, algae blooms, a hole in the head case etc).
<I understand your frustration.>
Recently, things have gotten a lot better, but I still wonder how
this is possible: Are the fish that people buy in Taipei of much
better quality (not to mention literally cost 1/10 of what I pay
here in NYC)?
<Certainly an element of variation, yes. Let's suppose
that the fish shops in Taipei maintain their fish in much the
same way as your friend here. There's some survival of the
fittest going on, and those fish that survive
long enough to be bought will have been the ones with the right
genes to tolerate exposure to ammonia etc. On the other hand,
such stores wouldn't be able to maintain anything like the
range of species traded by kinder,
gentler retailers. Likewise, your friend here might have luck
with Angels and Goldfish, but Discus? Or Pencilfish? Or
Is the water better?
<Water with a high carbonate hardness will resist pH changes
for longer, and water with a high pH reduces the toxicity of
ammonia and nitrite, so different water can produce different
outcomes for the same set of "bad"
water quality conditions.>
Or is it just "one of those cases", like a chain smoker
getting hit by a
car at age 95?
<Indeed, that's as good an explanation as any. Maybe even
good Feng Shui?>
<<As John mentions, the quality of livestock IS much higher
elsewhere... the industry in the U.S. is shipped about the
worst... and the U.K. is not far behind, as regards fancy
goldfish, most plants, many sources of marines... as these are
"cheap" markets (i.e., other places pay more), and
other countries are closer, indeed ARE the sources of much of the
aquarium life folks employ (the ROC in this case produces all
that are shown)... Add to this that their water quality is
superior, a lack of poisonous sanitizer utilized, or the
consequences of its treatment... BobF>>
New Aquarium + old aquarium
I just found your site. Thanks for all that you've put up on
<Pleased to meet you>
Here are my questions:
1 - I have a 20g (fully cycled, long kind) aquarium I am keep 6 diamond
Neon Tetras, 3 Flame tetras and 3 Cobra Snakeskin Endler's in it. I
want my fish as "happy" as possible, so I've been doing
about 3 water changes /wk (25%), my ammonia/nitrites constantly
register as 0 on my water tests! Would I be pushing(overstocking) it if
I added another 3 flame tetras (and that would be it)?
<Mmm, no... actually, in terms of group behavior, in the case of
these Hyphessobrycon Tetras, mis-behavior, it will be better to have
them in the larger grouping>
2 - I've gotten bit with a bad case of MTS (multiple tank
setup/syndrome), and will be setting up a 55g aquarium. I've
decided that I will be stocking a Rainbow Shark (Epalzeorhynchos
frenatum)... but don't know what else, I was wondering if it would
be safe to put it with 3 pepper Cory cats (Corydoras paleatus), 6 zebra
Danios... but that's as far as I've gotten (and yes I will be
fishless cycling - would it work if I used canned tuna to help cycle it
- when done I could easily siphon out the pieces...?) I've also
read somewhere that Rainbows are territorial, so it is best to put them
in last, unless this is totally off the wrong end I plan to do
<Should be fine... the Cats are armored... and the Danios fast and
smart. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
55 gallon Tank...4 types of fish
I have a 55 gallon tank at home for my 16 month old little boy, ( he
loves the "ishy's"). We have 1 fantail goldfish, 5 head
and tail light Tetras, 2 Kissing Fish, and 2 Mollies (1 male Dalmatian
and 1 female white molly).
<Quite the collection! For a variety of reasons, I don't
recommend people keep Mollies in mixed community tanks. They often --
though admittedly not always -- require the addition of a small amount
of salt to the water to stay healthy. While harmless to some fish,
particularly Livebearers like Guppies, most other fish will be stressed
by this, including soft water fish such as tetras. Do see here:
I've read on the page that mollies and goldfish shouldn't be in
the same tank together.
<Not sure why specifically Mollies and Goldfish, as opposed to
Goldfish and, say, tetras. But yes, there are good reasons why you
wouldn't keep them together. Mollies need warmer water, ideally
25-30 degrees C/77-86 degrees F, and water that has some 3-9 grammes of
marine salt mix/litre added.>
My question would be if I were to add one more female Molly to help
dispel some of the stress on the lone female in the tank, will it cause
problems for the other fish that are there?
<Not in itself, so.>
I've kept Mollies, Guppies and Neon Tetras together before, but
never this combination. Thanks in advance for your help!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Stocking for freshwater aq.
Could you please check my planned fish list. I have currently: 1 pictus
<Schooling species: groups of three or more please. Predatory; will
eat anything that fits in their mouths.>
2 dwarf loaches,
<Intensely social species, groups of six or more please.>
6 Kuhli loaches, 1 female Betta and false SAE.
<Should be fine together.>
Have had them for about 2 years and would love to keep further. They
haven't been sick or dying (knock the wood). I am about to start a
new 35g tank, and have this list in my head, what do you think? 3
6 dwarf loaches,
6 Kuhli loaches, 2 female Bettas, 6 glass catfish, 1 false SAE, 2
<Two females; a male will harass a female, and two males will fight
with each other. If you want mixed sex groups, keep one male per two or
The tank will be planted. My tap water is soft and pH 7.4.
<Platies do not do well in soft water. Like all livebearers, they
are healthiest in hard water, and prone to Fungus/Finrot in soft water.
Would leave Platies out of this mix, to be honest.>
New FW Tank, stkg. 10/14/09
Dear Crew, firstly a lot of praise for your site obviously. Your work
is beyond value. So many fishy creatures must have avoided an unhappy
life (or even worse death) thanks to your efforts.
<Thank you for your kind words.>
My question is regarding my proposed stocking. I am planning a 60
gallon corner tank. There is a small chance I will bite the bullet and
go for a larger 85 gallon one, but 60 seems to sit best with the
<Either is a good size.>
My rough plan for stocking is as follows:
6 Oto catfish
<Tricky fish, and shouldn't be added until the tank is very
mature, preferably 6 months old. The problem is that they're
usually very underweight by the time they get to your home, and they
have something like a 50/50 chance of conking out within a few weeks of
They need a good tank with green algae (and that means bright light) on
lots of solid surfaces such as plant leaves. To be honest, unless you
have a desperate reason to keep them, you're better off with Cherry
Shrimps and Nerite Snails for algae control, plus a Bristlenose
(Ancistrus spp.) catfish if you wanted one.>
6 Corys of one species (panda's a favourite)
<Corydoras panda are a good but slightly more delicate than average
Corydoras species. I'd recommend you review the temperature
preferences of the genus. Most prefer cooler water, up to about 25 C,
and only a few, notably Corydoras sterbai, do well in warmer tanks. So
depending on the community fish you're keeping, you'll find
your range of Corydoras options somewhat restricted.>
10 neon or cardinal tetras
<Again, these have different thermal preferences. Neons prefer
somewhat cool water, around 24 C, while Cardinals need warmer water,
around 27 C. So decide on the other fish, and choose between Neons or
Cardinals as demanded.>
<Now, while wild Guppies are tolerant and thrive across a range of
temperatures, Fancy Guppies are delicate and need warm water, around
26-30 C. So these will limit your tankmates, if you want the optimal
chances of success anyway.>
+ mystery guests...
My questions are as follows:
If there a happy medium between the water qualities preferred by the
Amazonians and the guppies?
<Not really. Guppies will not tolerate soft, acidic water. Neons and
Cardinals will thrive in medium hard, slightly basic water: around pH
7.5, 10 degrees dH. Fancy Guppies will adapt to this fine,
The Mrs. would love a Siamese fighter, but I think that would be a bad
idea with the guppies?
<Bettas generally don't mix well with other fish. Usually, their
fins get nipped. Neons will nip them, for example. In a big tank with
lots of floating plants, you could risk it, but I'd have a Plan B
just in case.>
What else should I go for? I think I have space for a group of fishes
in this tank and I am torn between: group of gouramis, group of dwarf
cichlids, group of Rainbowfish...Unless there is something even better
suited out there?
<I have some basic thoughts on selecting fish here:
Do have a browse, and feel free to write back.>
I want a central focus for the tank, the real character.. which
obviously brings me back to cichlids time and again, but I understand
Rams are delicate,
<Mikrogeophagus ramirezi needs very warm, very soft water to do
well, that is true. But the Bolivian Ram Mikrogeophagus altispinosus is
an altogether more robust fish, and highly recommended for community
Apistos may not do well in a grouping in this size tank, Kribs would be
too aggressive and things like Firemouths are right out the
<Apistogramma cacatuoides is a reasonably robust species available
in numerous colour forms. Well worth looking at. Another good species
is the Keyhole Cichlid, and if you can get good quality specimens,
Laetacara curviceps is a nice fish too. Certain killifish can make neat
alternatives to cichlids; consider for example the Florida
The tank will be mostly planted with fake plants and sand with a couple
of live plants thrown in less for the look and more as foodstuff for
<Would highly recommend at least some live plants, if only because
they help with algae control. Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit are good
floating plants, and bogwood roots with Anubias and Java ferns are
easy, low maintenance plants to create some quick, long-living
greenery. While pricier than cheap stem or bunch plants, they last for
every and almost never fail.>
Re: New FW Tank, stkg. 10/14/09
Neale and the crew, thank you for you reply. Sage advice as always.
<Happy to help.>
So the Otos are out the window then judging by your comments. Shrimps
and Bristlenose it is. How are Bristlenose with others of the same
species? Is there any small Plec's that happily share tanks with
<Each Ancistrus will expect a cave of its own plus a 30 x 30 cm
patch of territory. Provide that, and you're fine. Indeed, if you
keep multiple specimens, there's a very good chance they'll
breed. The fathers are extremely good guardians of the eggs and fry,
and even in community tanks it isn't uncommon for a few of the fry
Looking at the preferred water conditions you've put forward, i
could mix Guppies and Cardinals in slightly hard water at 27 C?
This would then limit my choice of Corys. I'll check your site, but
you've suggested Sterbai for higher temps...
<The species of choice for warm water tanks.>
If I went with either the Bolivian Ram or Cockatoo dwarf you've
suggested how would they adapt to these water conditions?
<Both should do fine. While Bolivian Rams are unquestionably the
more outgoing and easier to keep, Apistogramma cacatuoides is available
in some many stunning colour forms, e.g., Apistogramma cacatuoides
"Orange Flash" and Apistogramma cacatuoides "Triple
Red", that it shouldn't be overlooked.
In the UK, shops like Wildwoods and Maidenhead Aquatics get these fish
in fairly regularly.>
Of should I forget the guppies and just keep it soft water?
<Up to you. If you have soft water, then by all means concentrate on
that and ignore the Guppies. You could, for example, add some Halfbeaks
to the top of the tank if you wanted a livebearer and didn't mind
their violent tendencies. Marble Hatchetfish are another good, if
Re: New FW Tank, stkg. 10/15/09
Thank you once more for the advice!
So, thanks to your suggestions I am now looking at a tank with the
2 Bristlenose Plecs (is there an easy way to tell their sex so I can
<Easy to sex when mature. Males have longer tentacles on their
faces, females have fewer/shorter tentacles. Juveniles identical. Maybe
get a group, and remove excess specimens as they mature. They're a
good community species, and shouldn't be difficult to rehome. That
said, adults can be picked up from the better aquarium shops.>
10 Cardinal tetras
Apistos (how many do you think would be a good group for a 60 gallon
<Since this is a harem species, get multiple females per male. If
you had lots of caves, you could probably keep two males and five
females without problems. Coconut shells, halved, with a hole or two
cut into them make ideal caves. Add some Java moss if you want them to
look more natural; black cotton works fine for tying Java moss down to
begin with. Anyway, you'll find each male Apistogramma will hold a
territory about 30-45 cm in diameter, with its cave in the centre.
There may be multiple female
territories in this area, but no males.>
Finally would there be room for some of the dwarf electric blue rainbow
<Sure. Melanotaenia praecox. A lovely species, and a good value
alternative to tetras and barbs. Doesn't like very soft water
though. As with all Rainbows, males can be feisty, so keep equal
numbers of females to males, ideally more females than males. Males are
stronger coloured than the females (males more red, females more orange
on the fins).>
Saw some today at the LFS and decided the photo's I'd seen
hadn't done them justice. I think a fast moving school of maybe 5-6
of these would finish off the tank... How would they get on in your
opinion with the slightly hard, 27 C water?
Last time I was in fish keeping I had a Malawi 'mob' and
soft-coral reef nano. I'm sad to say I was somewhat snobby about
what I saw as the "Fisher-price" tropical community fish, but
by letting my Mrs. and daughter influence what goes into this tank
it's actually opened my mind up to the wonders of colourful schools
of fish... now all I want is fish that can be kept in good numbers!
<Much to be said in favour of your point of view. A big school of
schooling fish can be remarkably entertaining. Consider keeping just
one species in a big group instead of two in smaller groups. In a dark,
planted tank at 60 gallons, you could easily keep 40 Cardinals for
example, together with some Corydoras and Ancistrus, and a trio of
Apistogramma, and the resulting South American "swamp" would
look stunning. I'm fond of wild-type livebearers such as Limia
nigrofasciata and Ameca splendens, and in big groups they are entirely
different fish to the usual "couple of guppies" people add to
their communities. You can watch the males display to the females or
chase one another, you have a breeding population as well, so often
different ages of fish. So while it's a different sort of pleasure
to keeping boisterous Mbuna or colourful reef fish, it's a side of
the hobby with a charm all its own. And if you can keep the family
on-side, so much the better! Easier to justify spending the money, for
one thing... One reason pufferfish remain popular I think is that
they're such good fish for getting non-hobbyists engaged with the
hobby. I know lots of people who couldn't care less about fish, but
show them a pufferfish, and it's "Aw, so cute...">
At least as interesting to me now as the rough and tumble of the Mbuna
playground, or the typically sparsely populated marine tank.. I think
the whole planted/Amano movement has brought a lot of artistry back
into the hobby.
<Yes it has. Many good books and magazine articles on this topic. I
tend to be a bit low tech here, and choose plants that thrive in the
conditions I have, but others can and do spend huge amounts of time
(and money) on getting the gear needed to create a veritable Kew
Gardens in their fish tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New FW Tank 01/18/09
One final question, how would the Cory cats get on with the slightly
hard water. I was under the impression they preferred soft. I
wouldn't want to upset the little guys. Are there any cats that
like water on the hard size that would be suitable?
<Corydoras thrive in slightly hard water. Most species do well
between pH 6 and 8, 5-20 degrees dH. While I wouldn't keep
Corydoras in a Rift Valley cichlid tank, they're otherwise very
adaptable fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking 9/27/09
Hello Crew, hope all is well with you. I have a couple of questions,
please. First, I have a 75 gallon fw currently stocked with 7 small to
medium angels, 3 gold gouramis and 12 Cory cats. I wanted to know if
could add 1 rainbow shark.
<Yes, though like all Shark Minnows, they are territorial and can be
I had never seen one before until yesterday and was really fascinated
with one that had a reddish head and tail along with a white body. I
guess this is an albino?
<Yes; albino Rainbow Sharks are fairly commonly traded.>
Anyway I saw on compatibility charts that they were ok to have with my
other inhabitants but wanted to check with you to make sure.
<Epalzeorhynchos frenatum is somewhat less aggressive than the more
common Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, and makes a moderately good community
tank fish so long as there are no other Shark Minnow-like fish in the
tank (e.g., Loaches). Still, there are no 100% guarantees with any
Shark Minnow, and some specimens (males, perhaps?) sometimes chase
other fish too.>
The second question is this: As my angels get full grown and I do not
add any more fish (with or without the shark) would you consider my
tank to be overstocked at that point?
<Yes, you're probably at the limit. Seven adult Angels should
get to about 10 cm/4 inches in length, but they can be territorial once
they pair off.
Your tank is nice and big, so unless you were desperate to add anything
else, I'd leave it the way it is.>
I always try to avoid that but just wanted to ask. I am using a Hagen
AquaClear 110 and have a sand substrate. Thank you for your help.
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking
Hi Neale, do you feel my tank is overstocked at this point or will be
when the angels get grown?
<Probably not. Social behaviour will be more of an issue than
physical size, but you have a big enough group of Angels that bullying
of one specific individual shouldn't happen.>
Should I get rid of one I currently have or not get the shark?
<No; the bigger the group of Angels, the less chance the of
Also, you mentioned the sharks chasing other fish if male? Is there a
way I can sex them?
<Nothing reliable. On normally coloured Rainbow Sharks, the male is
thinner than the female, and the black edge to the anal fin is more
Females might be more docile?
<I assume, but really, I'm not sure. This species is somewhat
aggressive, but in a 75 gallon tank you should be fine.>
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking 9/29/2009
Thank you Neale, I do have one more question please about the
Right now all my cories like to rest under a log whose middle is above
the substrate a few inches because of the curve in the log. That is
their favorite hangout.
<I see where we're going here...>
Do these sharks stake out their own territory or do they sometimes want
to take away the resting spots of others?
<Shark Minnows will certainly claim at least one hiding place that
they will defend against all comers.>
I don't want my cories to get hurt or killed. Thank you again.
<Provided you have enough hiding places to go around, particularly
some small ones the Corydoras can use that are too small for the Shark
Minnow, you should be okay in a 75 gallon tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking
Thank you again. Have a great day.
<I'm sure I will, James. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking 9/29/2009
Hey Neale, sorry to bother you with this again, but if the shark wants
the place the cories use as their "territory" will the shark
run them off and the cories find another place, or will the shark kill
<Ah, that's the $64,000 question! Corydoras seem to have no
ability at all to avoid territories, which is why even Dwarf Cichlids
can cause them so much harm. If you provide lots of caves, then with
luck, the Corydoras simply won't encounter the Shark Minnow too
often. In a 75 gallon tank, the Shark Minnow should be cruising around
the middle level anyway. And as I said earlier, Rainbow Shark Minnows
are much less bad tempered than Red-tailed Black Shark Minnows. But
there are no guarantees. So, while I'd
happily gamble on this combination working, neither would I be
surprised if I found the Corydoras being chased about a bit.>
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking 9/30/09
Neale, please tell me what you would do if it were your tank.
<I'd risk it! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking... grading into
Pterophyllum stkg. 9/30/09
Thanks, and please tell me if I decided to get rid of a male and female
gold Gourami I have if 8 angels would be too much in my 75 gallon along
with 15 cories.
<You should be fine.>
I guess the cories do not matter much as to the number of angels
<Indeed; wouldn't keep fewer than 6 adult Angels. That's the
"magic number" when it comes to keeping the peace -- once
they pair off, the resident pair often become bullies and will harass
other Angels in with them.>
Again, you always leave me feeling positive after you take the time to
<Happy to help.>
It is good to know there are people around like you who devote their
time to help others improve their aquarium keeping skills.
<Kind of you to say so.>
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Rainbow Sharks and Tank Stocking... grading into
Pterophyllum stkg. 9/30/09
Thank you Neale, does that mean that I should get rid of 2 angels and
only have 6 to avoid problems?
<Not necessarily. Provided you have 6 or more specimens, Angelfish
school reasonably well; it's groups less than 6 that sometimes end
up with a pair of bullies and a few frightened tankmates!>
Also, is it still OK to have that many angels (6 or 8) even if I keep
<Sure. A 75-gallon tank is pretty generous. Since domesticated
(hybrid) Angels don't get as large as true Pterophyllum altum or
Pterophyllum scalare, you're essentially housing a group of eight
10 cm/4 inch Angelfish in a 75 gallon tank, and that leaves plenty of
space for a couple of Gouramis and a school of Corydoras.>
What to add to a 37gallon FW aquarium?
I have a 37 gallon [24in (h) x 20in (w) x 18 (d)] freshwater tank that
is just finishing cycling [NH3-0, NO2-0, NO3-5]. We live in an area
with very hard water and the ph of the tank has consistently been
<Similar to the tap/mains water here in S. California...
I've changed the water weekly- 10-15 gallons at a time- and added
Stress Zyme and Stress Coat each time. It's currently stocked with
4 black skirted tetras, 7 zebra and assorted Danios, 1 neon tetra that
was a stowaway with the Danios from the fish store, and a couple fake
plants. The fish have all been in the tank since we began about one
month ago and appear to be in good health, although one of the Danios
has fins that get very red and he tends to swim around a bit manically
<Par for them>
My question is: what do I add next? I've read in various places
that I should have at least 5 black skirted tetras and at least 6 neon
Will this overstuff my tank?
<Mmm, no; will not... but I suggest some other hard, alkaline liking
fish species rather than the Neons... Perhaps some other Danios,
Rasboras, small Barbs, Platies....>
I originally wanted a Betta, but I'm worried about fin nipping and
I'd rather keep my existing fish happy.
<Correct the other way about. Not a good mix with the Black
What other fish would coexist happily with my current fish and current
<There are many choices. I refer you to WWM's stocking
The first tray>
We are pretty limited for local fish stores in this area- there are 2,
one being Wal-Mart which I'd rather avoid.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: setting up tank and compatibility questions
I haven't written you for a few weeks, and figured it was time to
drop you a line. My tanks are fully cycled now, finally.
And, I'm still making an effort to get the fish appropriately
placed between them. I think I need another tank, truthfully, to handle
the fish that I have now - and make sure things aren't
<Often the case, unfortunately. There are far too many wonderful
fish in the trade, and few of us are ever able to keep all the species
For example - I had difficulties with the threadfin school (7 total - w
2 males) who were in the 30 gallon tank with a Boesemanni pair) - so I
ended up putting the threadfins into the 12 gallon tank. In order to do
this, I had to move the inhabitants of the 12 - so the Flame Gourami
male got moved into the 20 gallon tank with the Betta sorority (with an
extremely watchful eye). And the 2 serpae who I think I may soon have a
new home for - are currently in the 30 gallon and don't seem to be
bothering anyone except each other.
<It does help if the Serpae tetras are with other fast fish, and
sometimes keeping them in bigger groups minimises aggression towards
other species. But truth be told, they aren't a species I consider
easy to house, and while beautiful, I'd always prefer to keep them
alone, in a group, in a planted tank. Their colours work nicely against
So the tanks inhabitants are as such:
12 gallon tank - threadfin only tank. - 7 of them. (some of them are
still small - but I wonder if this is overstocked)
<Should be fine. If water quality is good, you might even add a two
or three more. These aren't big, messy fish, and given a modicum of
care, are fairly adaptable and easy to keep. Wild fish inhabit a very
broad range of water chemistry and temperature values, and while
active, they mostly hang around the edges of the planted parts of ponds
and streams. A couple of decent clumps of, for example, Cryptocoryne or
Java fern could create some nice vegetation for them to use as markers,
the males "holding position" and displaying to the more
gregarious females. Floating Indian fern would be another useful
20 gallon planted tank - 1 adult male flame Gourami, 4 Betta girls (2
still tiny), 3 cories, 3 zebra Otos.
<Plenty of space for everyone here.>
30 gallon planted tank - 1 juvie girl gold Gourami, 1 juvie girl pearl
Gourami, 1 male king Betta (juvie), 2 Boesemanni (m/f) just beginning
to show colors, 7 Neons, and 2 cardinal tetras.
<Again, doesn't sound overstocked at all. Upping the numbers of
some of the schooling species probably wouldn't go amiss.>
my 5 gallon has 1 very happy half moon Betta.
<A nice size tank for a Betta.>
Now, I most concerned with the 30 gallon tank. Everyone right now gets
along - but I suspect that those Neons and cardinals won't be very
lucky when the gouramis become 'adult sized'.
<Usually, Gouramis leave small tetras alone, so I don't see any
obvious problems on that score. The bigger deal is that Neons prefer
cooler water (around 22-24 C) compared to Cardinals (26-28 C) so
it's difficult to keep both of them happy in the same tank. While a
middling 25 C should work, you're always running a risk doing that.
In due course, you might think about setting up the 20 gallon at a
cooler temperature, say 24 C, and the 30 gallon at the higher
temperature, say 26 C, and running them thus.
Corydoras, Otocinclus and Neons would thrive at the lower temperature,
while Gouramis and Bettas prefer the water temperature, as will
Rainbows should do equally well in either, so pick and choose as you
As well, the Boesemanni seem to be happy enough as a pair, but
aren't all rainbows meant to be in schools?
<Ideally, yes, groups of 5+ specimens are best. If you removed the
Neons from the 30 gallon system, I'd expect you could add three
more Melanotaenia Boesemanni without much fuss, particularly if
filtration was robust.>
But then, I am suspecting that my 30 gallon will be considered grossly
overstocked when all these fish mature and I don't want to add any
others to the tank - unless I find another tank for those Neons and
cardinals... (yes, I admit it - I'm already starting to look on the
local craigslist for a new tank...)
<As I say, I don't really think Neons and Cardinals belong
together. They come from entirely different habitats in the wild.
Cardinals come from warmer, much more acidic (pH 4-6) very soft
blackwater streams compared to Neons, which come from cooler, more
neutral (pH 6-7) clear water streams.
Soft, slightly acidic water around 25 C should suit both well enough,
but you'll not get the best from them, and surely much of the
difficulty people having keeping these species alive is down to keeping
them at sub-optimal temperatures.>
So the question remains - that if I can move those tiny community fish
out - can the 30 gallon support a Boesemanni 'school'?
<Yes; provided the tank is around 1 metre/3 feet in length, you
should be fine; adding a strong filter so there's some current for
the fish to swim into makes a positive difference, too.>
Or is this tank too small for it? I've read that where larger fish
are concerned that one can't go by the inch per gallon rule - is
there another rule to follow for discerning tank stocking, then?
<I actually don't like the inch-per-gallon rule for a number of
reasons, including the issue of size. It also ignores the surface area
of the tank.
Because surface area limits how quickly oxygen gets into the water, a
long, shallow tank of equal volume to a tall, narrow tank will always
hold more fish. Anyway, if you visit my web site, there's a program
called Fish Tank Tool (for Mac and Windows) that calculates stocking
based on surface area for any aquarium, and allows you to choose
between different sized fish.
Have a play with it, and see if it helps clear things up.
In practise, stocking tanks comes down to experience and
But I'd say a 30 gallon tank with five Melanotaenia Boesemanni, a
couple of Gouramis, a few female Bettas, and a small school of
Cardinals should work fine, especially if you included a robust filter
in the mix, one rated at 4-6 times the volume of the tank in turnover
thanks in advance for all your advice and patience.
Re: setting up tank and compatibility questions
Oh Neale - you've opened up a huge can of worms now (at least in my
My tank isn't 3 feet, it's only 2.5 feet - dimensions are 30
inches wide, 12 inches wide, and 23 inches high.
<The issue here is that Melanotaenia Boesemanni gets pretty big,
around three inches or so. While you may be okay, you might find they
look a little cramped. The fish themselves probably won't mind too
much, particularly if there's a good water current.>
My PH for the planted tanks is in the 7.2 -7.4 range. Oh... but I do
have soft water... the API test is usually in the 3 - 4 drops range.
The stick test shows it between 40 and 80.
<Should be fine for all your fishes; would be a bit too soft for
Livebearers, Goldfish, and other such hard water loving fish.>
I have decent filtration, I have Eheim 2232 filters (which is designed
for up to 35gal. tanks) on both the 30 and 20 gal. tanks.
<A very good filter, rated at 127 gallons/hour, and should work well
on both tanks. On the 30 gallon, you have a turnover of about 4 times
the tank per hour (127/30 = 4.2) and the 20 gallon tank is at 6 and a
bit times per hour (127/20 = 6.35). For the smaller tank, you might
want to use a spray bar to moderate the water flow a bit; some fish
find turnover rates above 6 heavy going, particularly those fish that
move slowly and have laterally compressed bodies, e.g., Angels,
Gouramis, Bettas, that type of thing.>
I also have a Koralia nano running full time on the 30 gal for lower
water circulation, but I've stopped using the other nano on the 20
gal because the Bettas are having issues with the heavy circulation
that is coming from the addition of that new filter on their smaller
<Indeed. A spray bar and floating plants (or bunches of plastic
plants along the surface of the water) will help.>
So - the worry is that the Boesemanni (2 or 5?) won't be satisfied
with my tall but thin tank,
<Would be best in a group of 5, regardless, to be honest.>
that the cardinals won't be happy with my high PH.
<Actually no big deal, a pH of 7.5 won't harm them in the
- and that the Neons and their cold temp requirements are plain ol'
<Not really a pain: a cooler aquarium costs less to run, and lots of
fish prefer such conditions: Danios, Red phantom tetras, most barbs,
Corydoras, various cichlids such as Acaras, Loaches... lots of things
do best around 22-25 C.>
the things I go through for 'free' fish that came with the fish
I can't do downloading at work, but I'll check out your
program, happily when I get home.
Re: setting up tank and compatibility questions
Thanks for the breakdown of my next shopping list.
<Happy to help.>
a spray bar (I'll go shopping for this one, tonight because my
Bettas are showing some signs of stressing in swimming on one side of
3 Boesemanni - 1 boy, 2 girls? (so that there's 3 girls, 2 boys in
4 cardinals - to make a 6 cardinal school
I'm wondering, since you said that the Neons would fit well with
the cories and Otos, if they would suit to being moved into the 20 gal.
<Yes, would do this.>
(inhabitants: 1 adult male flame Gourami, 4 Betta girls, 3 cories, 3
You'd said earlier that this tank wasn't overstocked - would
adding 7 Neons throw it over the limit (if compatibility issues are
<Neons add so little to the loading of a mature aquarium you can
(almost!) not worry about them when kept in small numbers. A 20-gallon
tank with a good, mature filter should easily hold 10-12 Neons, 4-5
Corydoras, half a dozen Otocinclus, and still have space for some
Cherry Shrimps and Nerite 33snails! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: setting up tank and compatibility questions
No luck at all finding an Eheim spray bar in all of Boston and
surrounding suburbs. I even tried to find another brand's spray bar
that would fit (one of the sale men recommended fluvial) - still
<Provided the spray bar has the right diameter, it should fit on the
outlet pipe from any brand filter. I have a Fluval external canister
filter spray bar attached to my Eheim 2217 canister filter.>
Shame, the rare occasion when I go for the instantaneous instead of
'online ordering' route - and I'm knocked to the dirt.
Another sales man told me that it's a great filter and I can try to
make my own.
<A spray bar is really just a rigid tube, blocked at one end, with
small holes drilled every inch or so.>
So, now I have a lot of research to do, trying to figure out what the
spray bar does, and how to go about making one that doesn't look
But I began the process of changing my tanks around ... the Neons were
caught and moved into the 20 gallon this morning. The Bettas don't
know what to make of them, the flame Gourami seems to be ignoring them.
The cories are happy for the company. And the Otos are as oblivious as
Until I find the spray bar, I decided to move the more stressed
'adult' Bettas (2) out of the 20 gallon and into 2 gallon
bowls. Of course they're missing the space to swim - but I added
some fresh floaters to the top of each bowl and am hoping that
they'll chill until I get the 'current' issues resolved on
the bigger tank.
<We'll see... A quick Google for "Eheim spray bar" and
"Fluval spray bar" turned up a bunch of options in the US. My
solution, using the "Spray Bar Kit for Fluval 104, 204, 304,
404" on a Classic Eheim filter is one option, and costs around
The 2 tiny Crowntails don't seem to be as effected by the current,
and they are monitoring the flame's all encompassing travels as
well as the new delegation of Neons in their exploration of the well
planted tank bottom.
It may not be long before I decide to either give up the flame Gourami
or make a new home for my Betta sorority. The flame doesn't chase
after the girls, but when he sees them in front of him, he does try to
corner and take nips at them. (He's rather a mean fish for all that
he's pretty.) - I had received him (free) with those Neons, and
<You may find things settle down; often the males are aggressive
initially, but once they perceive these new fish as being neither
rivals nor potential mates, they may learn to ignore them.>
I admit it though - I do like the Neons quite a bit. Their streak of
'glowing bar' among the plants sure is a good addition to a
The 30 gallon - it's such a lonely place without those Neons. My
two remaining cardinals are so lost without them - sticking together
like glue and swimming from one side to the other searching for their
<Add more Cardinals.>
The Serpae are more aggressive and bickering with each other, now that
the added little folks aren't there to confuse them. So, my trip to
the pet store tonight will include shopping for the four cardinals
first, with the hope that they will bring back the 'feel' of
family that is suddenly lacking at the bottom half of the tank.
<Would up the number of Cardinals in the long term, perhaps 4 this
weekend, and another 4 in a couple of weeks. The bigger the group, the
more impressive they are. Cheers, Neale.>
10 gallon stocking question 8/12/09
I have an empty 10 gallon tanks and I decided to set it up as a
tropical fish tank. I understand that 10 gallon tank not easy to stock
and that's why I need your advice.
<It is indeed difficult to safely stock a 10 gallon tank.>
Currently my tank is going trough a fishless cycling (using flakes
My plan for stocking:
Group of cardinal tetra (7-8)
Few Corydoras (3-4)
<Yes, but specifically the smaller species. Corydoras hastatus and
Corydoras habrosus are "mini" Corydoras that work extremely
well in 10 gallon tanks. Keep a swarm of 6-8 specimens, and they'll
be lively and outgoing.>
Few shrimps, probably amino (3-4)
<Would opt for Cherry shrimps. Smaller, easier to breed, and much
Please give me an advice.
can you identify this species for me?
Mis- over mix for a 10 gal. FW... guppy sys. loach
I have recently started a new aquarium, it is a 10 gallon Hagen
with the elite lighted canopy, as well as cycle guard multistage
filtration system that comes as a boxed set from Hagen.
<Sorry to break this to you, but 10 gallon tanks have very
limited potential for fishkeeping, and make a very, very bad
first aquarium. Do please read here:
I've added an elite submersible 200w heater which keeps the
tanks temperature at a constant 78 deg f. with little effort. in
this tank i have 6 guppies, 2 are male and 4 are female,
<You may regret this choice. Guppies really need more space.
The males are notoriously aggressive, and once the fish start
breeding, the tank will get pretty busy. I'd consider Guppies
choices for the 15 or 20 gallon tank, to be honest.>
and this loach that was sold to me as a "tiger loach"
(not sure the Latin for it).
<Probably Botia striata, a semi-aggressive, schooling Loach.
Should be kept in groups of at least three specimens, ideally 5
or more, and needs a tank three times the size of what you have,
at minimum. Completely unsuitable for this aquarium. Do read
when trying to research care information for the loach, it seems
that a "tiger loach" is a larger, different type than
this. I've also read mixed opinions as to whether (s)he
should be kept in a group of 3 or more, while
some people say that they can be kept alone.
<Singletons tend to be shy, jumpy, and essentially unhappy. So
yes, they need to be kept in groups. On the other hand, they are
semi-aggressive, and will spend much of their time chasing one
another around. Like all loaches they need crystal clear, well
oxygenated water that isn't too warm (around 24-25 C is
ideal) and with a strong water current (which your Guppies
won't appreciate). Loaches are normally kept with robust
tankmates: barbs, Rainbowfish, cichlids, catfish. They aren't
good choices for mini-aquaria or alongside delicate, fancy
I've attached a photo to this email, and i would greatly
appreciate any care tips that you could provide me with. Also, i
should say that (s)he has a stone that provides him/her with a
great hiding place, it is hollow on the bottom and placed
directly into the stone at the bottom of my tank. Again, any tips
you can give me are greatly appreciated. i would be more than
happy to provide him/her with friends or anything to keep him/her
<Save up for a bigger tank, my friend. What you have isn't
going to work. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: can you identify this species for
me? Botia from ayer 8/11/2009
yeah im getting a 100 gallon tank before the end of the
<That's a big tank!>
that way i can separate the male and female guppies, but i want a
bigger population species tank of guppies and am using the loach
to keep it clean.
<No fish "cleans" a tank. If you believe this, you
need to do some more reading. What keeps your home clean? Is it
the scavengers like rats and houseflies? No. It's plumbing,
sewage, vacuum cleaners. Same here. What keeps a fish tank clean
is the filter and regular water changes. Any algae on the front
pane of glass is best removed with a sponge or scraper. Every
animal you add to any aquarium makes it *dirtier*, not
from what you have said it seems that i should include a
population of different bottom feeders in order to keep the tank
<Didn't say this at all. Simply said that Botia striata is
a semi-aggressive and gregarious species that needs to be kept in
groups and in a fairly big tank.>
can you recommend any that mix well with a guppy population?
<Depends on the size of the tank. In smaller tanks, Cherry
Shrimps and Nerite snails are ideal. They will pick up uneaten
food and also happen to consume algae. They won't molest
newborn fry. Best of all, they're tolerant of brackish water,
so if you choose to add a little marine salt mix to the water (a
gramme or two per litre can make all the difference with guppies)
they won't mind. In bigger tanks, 20 gallons upwards, a
school of Corydoras is a good choice. Six Corydoras paleatus or
Corydoras aeneus will provide a
lively crew of bottom-swimming fish. They aren't
algae-eaters. While they will eat leftover food, they don't
"clean" tanks, and need regular feedings of catfish
its hard to find definitive answers on the internet or at my
local fish shop, where it seems that selling me a higher priced
specimen is a priority.
<So read and learn yourself. Or else, e-mail us, outline
things like water chemistry, aquarium size, and even what colours
you'd like, and we'll come up with some
i intend to place the male guppies in the bigger tank, as they
tend to have more vibrant colors and are therefore better
"show" specimens. i also understand that a population
of 6 guppies where 2 are male and the rest are female will result
in a quick and large population of mixed genders,
<Yes, unless you add something predatory. Glassfish and
Angelfish, for example, happily eat newborn Guppies, so can act
as population control.>
so if i separate the males from the fry and place them in a
larger tank i can maintain a fixed number of this species. as for
the aggression of the males, i understand that they are mostly
only aggressive towards long finned species, and will generally
nip the fins and kill them (i.e. mollies),
<Not quite. Male Guppies are aggressive to one another because
they need to fight for access to females. They harass the females
too, because they always want to mate, whereas pregnant females
don't want to mate at all.
Since females in aquaria are usually pregnant, you can see where
the tension comes from. Floating plants help a lot, as will
ensuring there are always more females than males.>
but as this is a species tank and the loach is considerably
larger than the guppies ((s)he is about 3 inches long) im not
very concerned. it seems (s)he is in control of the guppies.
<Loaches are gregarious.>
Are guppies really considered delicate?
<Fancy Guppies, yes. Wild Guppies, no, they're quite
i understood them to be fairly hardy which is part of why i chose
them for the first aquarium I've set up in about 18
<Unfortunately, they have become much less hardy in those 18
BTW thanks for your help, but if you don't mind, could you
reply at the end of my message instead of mixing it in?
<It's the "house style" I'm afraid.>
im still not sure I've read all you've said lol! TY!
Re: can you identify this species for
me? Botia, stkg. FW -- 08/11/09
so here's what i want, since i am getting the 100 gallon tank
(yeah, its huge! and a great deal too!). i want to have as much
color variation as possible (which is why i picked guppies to
<Guppies will probably disappoint. For one thing, they're
far too small to look good in a 100 gallon tank unless you have
dozens and dozens of them.
Now, if you get a bunch of varieties, they'll breed, and the
results will be "feeder" Guppies, i.e., cross-breeds.
I'd STRONGLY suggest you don't do this. Instead, look at
the Rainbowfish family. There are lots of colours, and they
don't normally breed in aquaria. They're long lived and a
good size, from 10-15 cm in most cases. Two species are
standouts: Melanotaenia boesemanni and Glossolepis incisus. Keep
them in good numbers, and make sure to have equal numbers of
males and females, and you'll have some lovely
blue/yellow and brick-red fish to start your community. Another
choice might be a *single* variety of Swordtail. While you'd
be stuck with one colour, these are big fish, 10-12 cm when full
grown, and they are very active and fast-moving. Like Guppies,
different varieties will cross-breed, but if you chose one
variety you liked, you should end up with a self-maintaining
population of these lovely fish.>
and several styles of fish, some round, some tall, some long (id
even like to have an eel i think, but i don't know anything
about them at all, was planning to research that when the time
<On the whole, few eels work well. The best is perhaps the
Fire Eel, but it's a territorial predator and very delicate
and prone to bacterial infections. Do see here:
but nothing that's overly aggressive, as i would like to
breed wherever possible (the fish store i went to says they do
buy privately bread fish as long as they can pick them up and
inspect the tank they were born in to ensure healthy
<In big tanks, Malawian Cichlids can be worthwhile. Lots of
colour options, very lively. Downsides? Prone to hybridising if
you choose carelessly, and aggression between males can be
severe, often to the point one fish kills off all potential
rivals. Hybrids often dull blue or brown, and the quality of
"cheap" Malawians in shops is dismal, so you do need to
track down a decent breeder or online retailer.
however it seems now that where i shop they are more interested
in a sale than a happy population of fish (else, i think they
would have recommended these fish to go in this tank) so perhaps
if i was to go with a list of my desirable species, and just have
them fill it, it would be better. i do want to keep the guppies
and in pretty big numbers as they seem to school really well.
<Yes, this is so. Aggression tends to be less, too.>
my understanding is that a 100 gallon tank can keep about 100
<One hundred small fish, perhaps. But the bigger the fish, the
fewer it can hold. Obviously, one hundred Great White Sharks
wouldn't fit in your tank!
So be realistic. The inch-per-gallon rule makes sense for small
fish, but above, say, 5 cm/2 inches, you need to be
so if i where to have around 30 guppies, and want to add 5 more
species with numbers of about 10 each (including the loaches),
which 5 would you recommend to meet these criteria (i.e.. varied
colours and shapes)?
<Loaches would take care of the bottom, so I'd not add
anything else there for fear of aggression. The Guppies will stay
mostly at the top in a big, deep tank. So your choices really
come down to something for the midwater.
A "pet" fish species that becomes tame is an obvious
suggestion. A species that will come to the front of the tank at
feeding time. Cichlids make sense in this regard, but you'd
have to choose carefully. One of the Acaras might work (for
example Blue Acara) or perhaps Severums like the stunning Rotkeil
Severum, a fish the equal of any marine Angelfish if you can get
a quality specimen. If you are confident in your fishkeeping
skills, an Eartheater (such as Satanoperca jurupari, Geophagus
"Tapajos" or Geophagus steindachneri). Otherwise, a
midwater schooling fish like the Rainbowfish mentioned earlier
could be used.>
Also, will this loach eat fry?
<Some, perhaps, but only if the fry go to the bottom of the
tank. Loaches prefer to feed from the substrate, and target
snails, worms, and other such prey. Colin, please do use capital
letters in their traditional places next time you write. We do
specifically ask for this, and usually bounce back e-mails
without them. I'm a nice guy... but even I get ticked off
eventually! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: can you identify this species for
me? -- 08/11/09
Excellent thank you for your insight. I will keep a copy of this
email handy for both research and probably as the source of my
fish selecting criteria.
<Glad to have helped.>
As for the capitals I do apologize (while I am loathe to use the
symbol I over i to refer to myself). I do have one more question
for you at this point in time. Is it possible or likely that an
entire litter of fry would
<By other Guppies, if nothing else! Floating plants really are
essential, and will give the fry somewhere to hide until you can
catch them and put them into a breeding net. I find fry tend to
be dropped early in the
morning before the lights come on, so around 8-9 AM I check the
tank, and scoop out any baby fish and put them into a breeding
trap (or another tank).>
I've noticed that some of my guppies gravid spots have lost a
lot of colour, and it makes me wonder if perhaps they had dropped
while I was at work and had consumed the entire litter, or if
they may have been eaten by the other guppies in the tank.
<Can, does happen.>
Also, I would like to say kudos to you and your staff for
providing this service, it must take a lot of dedication from
what i can only assume are volunteers.
<We are. And in my case, a volunteer who should perhaps get
out more and spend less time working at his computer...>
Keep up the good work folks!
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Crazily mis- over-stocked FW sys.... w/ induced
prob.s... Crazy! Oh, and HH ID
I was wondering if you could help me out with my Freshwater tank
I have a 90 Gallon tank. which is home to 3 Aruwans, 3 Oscars, 2
Silver dollars, 1 clown knife fish and a Giant Pink Gourami.
<Yeeikes! Way too crowded... and only going to get worse...
All this, these animals won't live well or long in this small
The tank has 1 External Filter , and two submerged filters, 2 air
supply pumps. Gravel Substrate and two tank ornaments.
The water temperature is at a steady 78 deg and changed 25% every
<I'd change this amount weekly>
About a week ago I've noticed a lot of tiny white bubble like
creatures in the tank, very similar to tiny fish eggs. Now they
seem to be moving around the tank and sometimes cling on to my
Oscars. Yesterday my clown knife fish died unexpectedly ( No
symptoms of being sick or hurt).
These white creatures are now all over the gravel and some on the
sides of my tank as well.(Photo attached)
can any one tell me 1).What are they? 2) How can i get rid of
<Small crustaceans of some sort... Perhaps Cladocerans... not
harmful... Best to "be rid of them" by simple
vacuuming, cleaning of the gravel... BUT, you need NOW to move,
separate the life you list... READ re the needs of these species.
They can't all live in a ninety. Bob Fenner>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Re: mis- over-stocked FW induced
Thank you Bob Fenner for your advice I will try it.
Hopefully I will be able to write back "problem solved"
Also I have just setup another tank so will be moving the Oscars
Thank you once again.
<Welcome my friend. BobF>
Re Aquarium planning question Fish stocking
and selection.. 7/23/2009
<Hi Mary, Neale is out for a few days.>
OK- had water checked out... everything normal.
Filtration is 4 Penguin 550 power-heads with under-gravel filter. X4
turnover is 580 gallons- do I need to up the power-heads? I have had no
problems with the under-gravel filtration so far. The tank has been in
operation for about 6 years, I do bi-weekly 25% water changes. Anyway-
all the other fish added are doing well.
<Your circulation sounds fine.>
I am really liking the look of the Rainbows, and I think I would like
to use them as the main occupants of the tank.
<I have two schools in my 75 gallon.>
Current population is 3 Red Rainbows and 2 Trifasciata (I think that is
what they were called),
1 dojo loach, and 2 Corys. I realize I need to increase the school size
of each of each, and I would also like to add Boesemanni Paradise fish
as well, if/when I can find them.
<That should be fine.>
What other occupants would you suggest to provide a nice balanced,
colorful community aquarium? And how many of each?
<I like Rainbows in schools of 6 personally. Boesemanni Rainbows are
very colorful, particularly when you have both males and females. The
Lake Kutubu (or Blue) Rainbow fish are very attractive as well.>
Tank Stocking Capacity 7/6/09
Hello Crew, Hope all is going well and you had a great weekend. I have
a question please. I have a 75 gallon fw tank and when I take into
account my substrate and decorations I figure I have about 60 gallons
of actual water. I currently have 12 panda cories. I started with 6 but
after one (or more) gave birth the family has doubled.
<Corydoras lay eggs; if you additional ones, they start off as eggs,
then fry, then baby Corydoras. Some species do spawn rather readily,
but the parents usually eat their eggs. Is it possible someone added
some more while you weren't looking...?>
If any more appear I plan on selling or giving away any over 12. I want
to add 6 angel fish to the tank that are not yet fully grown. I have
read that the general rule for fw fish is roughly one inch per
<This is only true for small fish like Neons. Think about it this
way: 12 Neons and one adult Oscar are the same number of inches, about
18. Which needs more space? Which could fit into a 12-gallon tank?
Obviously, the single Oscar needs much more space than the twelve
Neons. In fact a single Oscar would need about 55 gallons, or about 3
gallons per inch of body length. So if you put an Oscar at one end, a
Neon at the other end, then medium-sized fish like Angels and Gouramis
would be in the middle, let's say 2 gallons per inch of body
length. Make sense? But also consider the surface area of the tank: a
"long" tank would hold more fish than a "tall" one
because there'd be more area at the top of oxygen to diffuse in.
That's why I keep telling people to buy 20-gallon long tanks rather
than 20-gallon tall tanks.>
I have also read the general rule is 10 gallons of water for each full
<You can't keep an adult Angel in 10 gallons; a pair will be
happy in 20 gallons, yes; but groups need rather more space because
they're territorial. I'd say either get a singleton, a pair, or
a group of six, the latter requiring at least 55 gallons. That would
allow pairs to form without outright war. Contrary to myth, Angels
aren't schooling fish ONCE GROWN UP.>
Do you feel that after both the cories and angels get fully grown there
would be too many fish in the tank?
<You'd be fine; in fact the combination is a nice one. Get six
Angels, let them pair off, and then sell the surplus four specimens and
keep the mated pair (selling adult Angels is easy). I'd actually
add a school of 8-10 Hatchetfish to the top, two or three Sturisoma
whiptails to the bottom, and you'd have a stunning South American
I definitely do not want to overstock because I know the problems that
can cause. Thank you for our help.
Tank mates (brackish, freshwater; selection) -- 6/14/09
We have 3 tanks. 55 gallon, 29 gallon, and 20 gallon. The 55 gallon has
2 Plecos, 2 Raphael's, 3 guppies, 4 small regular Gourami's, 5
dwarf Gourami's, 7 small angel fish, 4 kuhlii loaches, 3 horse face
serpae tetras, 3 transparent tetras, 2 red Dalmatian Mollies, 3 common
platys, 1 sword tail platy.
<That's quite a collection! I wouldn't recommend mixing
Serpae tetras with Angelfish or Guppies though, as Serpaes are
The 29 gallon has 1 Horseface loach, 1 Beta, approx 20 neon tetras, 5
Glo fish, 3 serpae tetras, 2 common platys.
<Keeping Serpae tetras with Bettas (note the double "t",
it rhymes with "better") is another no-no.>
The 20 gallon has 1 green spotted puffer, 3 Dalmatian Mollies, 4 tiger
barbs and 1 small algae eater.
<What's an "algae eater"? Do you mean Pterygoplichthys
sp "Plec" or a Sucking Loach, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri?
Neither of these will live in a 20 gallon tank for more than few
months, and Gyrinocheilus aymonieri is infamous for becoming extremely
aggressive when sexually mature at around 20 cm/8 inches. Both these
fish get to 30 cm/12 inches in length, and even the 55 gallon tank will
We have been slowly turning the 20 gallon tank to brackish water and
it's about full brackish now and all of the fish seem to be doing
fine, even the tiger barbs and algae eater.
<If this tank is full brackish, the barbs would be dead. So what do
you mean here? Adding a teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon isn't
"full brackish". Even at a low level for brackish water fish,
say, a specific
gravity of 1.005 at 25 degrees C, that's 9 grammes (about three
level teaspoons) of marine salt mix per litre of water, 1.2 ounces per
The Green Spotted Puffer will of course get much too big for a 20
gallon tank; adults are around 15 cm/6 inches in length.>
Do I need to move anything from the 20 gallon to another tank?
<Yes; the barbs and the "algae eater" whatever it might
be. Nerite snails are (by far) the best algae eaters for brackish water
tanks, but Puffers do tend to view snails as food, so this is a risky
If so, which of the tanks would they fair best in? Also, I would like
to get a dragon goby to put in the 20 gallon tank. Would this be
<Not a chance. Again, Gobioides broussonnetii is a big fish, in fact
one of the biggest gobies of all, getting to 50 cm/20 inches in the
wild. As such, it needs a big tank, 55 gallons being a fair choice for
a single specimen.
It's a poor choice for life with a Pufferfish, given how aggressive
mature Green Spotted Puffers tend to be.>
Re: Tank mates (brackish, freshwater; selection) --
I haven't just been using regular aquarium salt in the 20 gallon.
It's marine salt.
<Good stuff! Don't use regular aquarium salt at all; it's
plain cooking salt, and I don't need to tell you the sea (or
brackish water habitats) aren't just cooking salt and water!
Aquarium salt is specifically for use as a medication for freshwater
fish. It has no value in either brackish or saltwater aquaria.>
I will test my water better and get back with you. In the mean time,
are you saying the dragon goby would do ok in the 55 gallon fresh water
<Definitely not saying this! Dragon/Violet Gobies (Gobioides
may last a few weeks or even months in freshwater aquaria, but they
invariably sicken and die prematurely. So unless in the very short term
-- i.e., a few weeks while you're re-jigging your aquaria to free
up the 55 gallon as a brackish water system -- I would recommend
strongly against adding the Goby to the a freshwater tank.>
Also, I know the Serpaes don't usually mix with the angels and
such, but they have been ok so far. Are you suggesting I should remove
<Serpae tetras were my very first tropical fish. I quickly learned
that they attacked Angelfish and Gouramis. They actually have a feeding
frenzy, and you'll often see shredded fins in tanks containing just
Serpae tetras, especially the long-finned variety. I'd recommend
only ever keeping them alone, or with things that hide all the time,
such as nocturnal catfish or loaches. I honestly don't recommend
them at all as community fish. Hardy and pretty yes, but well behaved,
often not. As always, your own experiences will vary, but if you see
damage to the fins of other fish, or suddenly find yourself having to
deal with Finrot because a fish has been nipped, you'll have your
Also, will the barbs be ok with the fish that are in one of my other
<Tiger Barbs tend to be nippy, especially when kept in insufficient
numbers (less than ten). So again, choose tankmates very carefully.
Like Serpae tetras, Tiger barbs are not a species are recommended, and
indeed most aquarium books will state clearly "not with
long-finned or slow-moving fish" or words to that effect. On the
other hand, Tiger Barbs work great with tetras, barbs, loaches and
other fast-moving fish.>
Thanks, for your help. I love my fish and don't want to hurt any of
<Jolly well hope not!>
but as you can see, I like a wide assortment.
<That's fine, and in fact part of the fun of the hobby. It's
like being zoo keeper who gets to collect all kinds of fun animals. But
do review their needs prior to purchase. If you don't have a book
to hand, and you can't find anything here at WWM that helps, feel
free to ask us about a fish on offer at your pet store. We're not
selling anything, unlike the guy at the store, so our advice is as
unbiased as can be.>
Re: mixing hard and softened water Now stocking. FW
Coming from a different e-mail address, I know. Today I have actual
test result numbers and a couple more questions. Hope you update
<Ahh... very good.>
I vacuumed the 10 gallon tank and added 1 Â½ gallons of the
natural hard well water. My Dwarf Gourami seems to be doing well again.
The PH is now 8.4, Alkalinity above 300 (which is normal for this tank)
0 Chlorine, very hard at 300 (also normal), 0 Nitrites, Nitrates up a
bit at 30. ) Ammonia at safe as always. Tank is a little crowded but
everyone is getting along well. Hope to move the Dwarf into the 29
<Sounds good, things will get a little better once you give everyone
some space. Your pH is still a bit high, you may want to mix it with
some reverse osmosis water to bring the pH down a bit.>
Day 5 on the new 29 gallon softened water tank. (want to be clear that
it is not a soft water tank)
PH is 8.2, Alkalinity at 120, 0 Chlorine, soft at 75ppm, Nitrites 0,
Nitrates at 10, (hoping the live plants will help with this) Ammonia
down slightly from .05 to .03. Mollies and Powder Blue Gourami doing
<Any ammonia is toxic to fish.>
I am obviously new at this so I would like your input on my fish
choices for the 29 gallon (after I get the hard/softened issue
resolved). I am going for the look of saltwater fish without the
expense and difficulty of the tank, hence the Powder Blue and Dwarf.
I'd like 2 Powder Blues, a Dwarf, 2 gold Mickey Mollies, and 1
Creamsicle Lyretail Mollie to start.
<I must confess I am not a fan of Mollies in an all FW system. They
typically do much better in a brackish water or even a saltwater
tank. That said, your water is essentially liquid rock, which is
likely why you are having success with them.>
I love the color and flowy fins in Congo tetras, and I really would
like a large school of something silver (I love the silver dollars, but
out of the question; perhaps I'll have to settle for Black Neon
Tetras)and I like Silver Hatchet fish. The problem with the Congos and
Hatchets is a minimum of 6 each is recommended and there goes what
space I have! Do you think that 5 Congos and 3 Hatchets would be
The other problem is that these are all mid to top dwellers. I also
want to put some Ghost Shrimp in, and will probably need a Pleco or
some other Algae Eater. I'd love to have a Violet Goby Dragon
curled up under my driftwood decoration. I also saw a Blue Rainbowfish
and I really love the color but am afraid he won't get along with
my gentler choices, and he also sucks up 4 inches all by himself,
<All I have in my FW tank is rainbows - They are actually quite
peaceful, but need room to swim.>
although I like the interest that the larger fish would add. Have also
considered Opal or Blue Gourami for this. Given these preferences, what
do you think would give me the result I'm looking for, and how many
of these choices can I fit, considering 7 inches of fish will be
Labyrinths. (Doesn't that make a difference?)
<No, seven inches of fish is still seven inches, regardless of how
I want to choose wisely because I want to enjoy the full beauty and
de-stressing benefit of my tank. (mollies have dirty waste habits
I'm not fond of and little things like that will make or break a
<Smaller, peaceful, schooling fish would do better here.>
I think that's it for now. I love that I found this site, and you
guys are great to do this. So much info it's overwhelming. 'A
little knowledge' you know what they say. Maybe for me less is
<Never, keep reading and learning. Try to learn something new every
D in Pittsburgh PA
<MikeV, currently in Montreal Canada>
FUTURE TANK!! FW, incl. fish and plant stkg....
Hiya to u all,
Hehe I'm sorry to bother u all but I think I'm going to go
crazy if I don't get things straight...... so I've decided to
ask u guys ( the best site for advice for an inexperienced aquarist :)
) Well this is my plan: I'm planning to buy a 55+US Gallon tank
with a stand and a lid (as my current 20G tank have no lid and my SAE
died!). the livestocks will probably be.. 6 platies (2 males, 4
females), 5 SAEs, 5 Otos, 6 bronze cories, 4 spotted or whatever types
of cories that have spots :). 2 peppered cories (the ones I have now),
20-25 neon tetras, 1 cobalt Gourami, 2 angels (still deciding on this
one) and finally 2 pearl gouramis (I'm also still deciding on this
<I'd review this list a little before you did anything else.
Neons can/will be eaten by large Angelfish, and Siamese Algae Eaters
and Otocinclus will be competing for the same food, and I'd expect
the Otocinclus to starve to
death within weeks/months. Cobalt Gouramis (Colisa lalia) are a total
waste of money in my opinion, much of the farmed stuff being plagued
with an incurable, inevitably fatal virus (something like 22% of them
one study). Even without the virus, they're sensitive and delicate
fish prone to bacterial infections. Pearl Gouramis by contrast are
generally hardy and peaceful, and make superb companions for Angelfish.
I'd also suggest keeping at least six of each Corydoras species;
only in reasonably large groups will you see them behave properly, and
will these catfish be truly happy. Cherry Shrimps are Angelfish
Along with all the fishes I also want to have 10 red cherry shrimps,
and some red Ramshorns and Malaysian trumpet snails. I'm planning
to make my tank a community tank (obviously) and in a heavily planted
sort of way...
Well what lighting should I get?
<Depends on the specific types of plants you want. Assuming you want
fast-growing, underwater jungle type things like Hygrophila and
Vallisneria, you need reasonably strong lighting, a good estimate being
2-3 watts per gallon of water. It's better to overestimate than
under, since you can easily provide extra shade for the fish via
floating plants like Amazon Frogbit and Indian Fern.>
100Watts? or more? or less? I'm planning to include a couple of DIY
CO2 and the substrate is probably going to be Fluorite(2 inches deep)
with maybe 1 inch of white fine gravel or sand to cover it up.
<Do check the substrate you want is compatible with Corydoras; many
aren't, and the results are eroded whiskers and a greater
likelihood of infections along the underside of the fish. Carib Sea
Floramax for example isn't suitable fish with soft bellies; refer
to the manufacturer for details before purchase (the Carib Sea web site
describes this quality as "soft belly safe").>
Filter will probably be an external filter. Now the questions begins
First of all do u think my plan would actually work? Will my fish be
compatible towards each other?
Especially the pearls, cobalt and the angels. Will my shrimps be eaten
by the angels?
Can I keep snails co-peacefully along with shrimps?
Do u think red cherry shrimps are allowed to be shipped into New
Zealand? ( I can't find any around my LFS).
<No idea; from my vantage point in England I really can't answer
this. Your Department of Fish & Wildlife should be able to answer
Should I get an external filter? what brand is best suited?
<It's hard to fault a decent external canister filter, with the
Eheim ones being universally regarded as the best value in terms of
longevity and reliability.>
Should I go for a DIY or a pressurized CO2? Do I even need one?
<You can get great results without CO2 if you're happy with just
adding whatever plants do well, and removing anything that doesn't.
I find Hygrophila, Vallisneria, Cryptocoryne, Anubias, Java fern, Java
moss and all floating plants do perfectly well without CO2. But if
you're after something more like a "garden", with a mix
of specimen plants like dwarf Echinodorus, Rotala, Myriophyllum and
other sometimes finicky plants, then adding CO2 to the mix can make a
Am I overstocked? Will 20-40% weekly water change be enough for my
tank? I know that every1 says that black substrate really brings out
the colour of the fishes but I've seen aquariums with white gravel
and I simply adore
them! So which colour do u recommend?(white/black?) Should I use sand
instead of gravel? Will my Malaysian Trumpet snails be able to
'tunnel' through the sand? Do u recommend Fluorite?
<Avoid white substrate when keeping tropical fish since the
brightness tends to cause the fish to "fade" their colours.
Other than that, use whatever works for burrowing fish and is available
within your budget.
Personally, I use plain vanilla pond soil (basically nitrate-free
mixed with pea gravel for the base, to a depth of an inch or so, and
then top that with either fine gravel or smooth silica sand. All of
this is very cheap, available from garden centres, and works extremely
Cuz they r quite expensive in New Zealand..($60+ for a bag!!) My plants
will probably consist of an Amazon sword (specimen plant planted in the
center), 60% stem plants maybe Cabomba, baby tears, some
hyperphilas(wrong spelling hehe), some red plants I think its called
rotolas, Anubias (foreground), and more waiting to be decided(like star
moss, Christmas moss, java moss, java fern, Vallisneria etc). I greatly
appreciate ur time and knowledge!
<Francis, do please try and use regular spellings and grammar next
time; besides the fact I'm not a teenager and therefore irritated
by text-speak, the search engines that make this website usable (and
financially viable in
terms of advertising and hits) depend on messages being written in
normal English. Put another way, badly written messages don't help
us at all, so you're "taking" without "giving"
in return. Think of clear English as being the currency people pay us
in return for our help. We think that's a good deal; I hope you do
too. Cheers, Neale.>
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (Mostly about stocking tanks;
Hello, WWM Crew, and thank you for taking the time to read this.
<Happy to help.>
I (personally) am revisiting an old interest; (trying to educate my
daughter about the wonders of a home aquarium, and I kept a Tiger Oscar
for 3 years successfully in the past), and I have begun to relearn all
of the Fish Facts that I once knew. One thing I was never taught by
anyone (even my father, who bred Angelfish at home when I was young,
kindling the love Aquatic) until I read your site, was how EVIL the
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri actually is.
<Not actually a secret; most anyone who's kept fish knows this,
and yet aquarium shops keeping selling them...>
I must admit that I own ONE, and only one, and will not own another
according to the sage advice I have received from WWM. I am committing
a mortal sin (only going by what I have read) with my new starter tank,
which has been running SUCCESSFULLY for more than 3 months so far.
Tank Specifications: 10 U.S. Gallon Cap.
1 5-15 Aqua Tech Filter
1 "Elite" 115V 50W Heater
1 "Elite" 802 Air Pump Bubble Wall (Opposable Variety)
4 Plastic Plants
6" Hollow Clock Tower
4" Aztec Ruin Wall Section
The mortal sin I referred to was the AMOUNT of fish that I have in said
tank: M/F Xiphophorus maculatus ("Mickey Mouse Platies") M X.
("Green Platy") M Poecilia sphenops ("Sailfin
Molly") M/F Poecilia sphenops ("Dalmatian Molly") 3
Paracheirodon innesi ("Neon Tetra") F Betta Splendens
("Betta")ONE EVIL Gyrinocheilus aymonieri
<Not only overcrowded, but asking for trouble. Mollies require
fundamentally different conditions that Neon tetras; even if you
decided (foolishly, in my opinion) not to add salt, you'd still
need much warmer and harder water than Neons tolerate for long.>
Now I know (once again) that my aquarium is overcrowded, and I have
seen my CAE in its "aggressive" state, chasing other fish
around the tank (it even opened the belly of my M Dalmatian Molly,
which has subsequently healed).
Although my tank is full, it is (by all appearances, a healthy and
thriving eco-system, as my F "Mickey Mouse Platy" is
completing her second birthing cycle ((3 fry survived from her first
brood, and not sure of the second, will continue to update as the fry
hide in the fern bed to survive)) and my Dalmatian Molly is
<That livebearers are breeding doesn't really imply good
conditions; they'll breed almost regardless of conditions, in the
sense that once pregnant, the females can/will produce a number of
batches, whether they're healthy or not.>
I maintain a strict schedule for my water quality, performing a 25%
water change every 3rd day ( I keep an 18L bottle of water covered with
a cheesecloth aside for use, as it dechlorinates as it stands ((Info
from my LFS, confirm please!!)),
<Tap water will indeed lose chlorine when left alone for a day or
two. But this does nothing at all about chloramine, which is also used
widely now, and much more stable. Neither will this approach fix
problems with copper (from pipes) and ammonia (from groundwater
pollution). There's really no excuse for not using dechlorinator.
None. Nada. Zip. And if you are using dechlorinator, or more
accurately, water conditioner, you don't need to let the water
stand for 24 hours.>
while adding Jungle's "Start Right" with Allantoin, Tetra
Aqua "EasyBalance", and NutraFin Waste Control. (I don't
use NutraFin Cycle Bio Filter Supp., as I have more than adequate lower
level aeration to "lift" the ammonia from the bottom.) Water
Temp is kept at a balmy 81F, <Far too warm for Swordtails and Neons!
Both of these fish want to be kept around the 23 C/73 F mark.
Swordtails live in fast, relatively cool streams, and Neons come from
relatively cool waters as well. Cardinals in warm water, Neons in
cooler water; that's the rule!>
and light cycle is kept to 12H maximum (although at times I have been
caught away from home and forgotten to turn off the hood lamp). I have
never had an algae problem in this tank, as I had a Pleco originally
(Glyptopterichthys gibbiceps) and it died when I had to perform an
emergency 100% water change.
<Not why it died.>
That was when my LFS told me that the CAE was better than a Pleco due
to the cost of species (CAE was $3, vs. $11 for a Pleco) and like a
noob, I swallowed that hook. D'oh!!
<Hmm... any, and I mean, ANY, aquarium book would tell you not to
buy Gyrinocheilus spp.>
What started this whole novel was I am experiencing
"hair-algae" in my Betta Bowl (I have a male in solitary
confinement, which is how he likes it) and I wanted to know if it was
safe to put the CAE in the bowl WITH him. After perusing WWM, I saw
that this was a VERY bad idea (as CAE will eat the fleshy parts of his
fins) so I removed Betta to a separate bowl (with pre-treated water, of
course) and put CAE in to eradicate algae. I will leave said situation
overnight and see what CAE can do. Will it alter the consistency of
<The idea that fish "fix" algae problems is a silly one.
They don't. Think about this for a few seconds... that's all it
takes. Algae grow because the environment suits them. Among other
things, that includes nitrate and phosphate levels in the water. Every
time you add a fish, or replace a small fish with a bigger fish, you
are raising the rate at which nitrate and phosphate increase. Ergo,
adding any kind of algae eater on top of the fish you already have
tends to make the algae grow faster. So instead think about what would
make life harder for algae. Top of the list is competition from
fast-growing plants. Bizarre as this might sound, the tanks with the
least algae are invariably those with the strongest lights because the
plants simply pulverise the algae! Whether it's direct competition
for nutrients, or something more subtle such as allelopathy is up for
debate, but this is certainly what happens.>
Betta has been attempting to construct his "bubble-nest" and
I don't want to have to completely change the water in the bowl and
completely destroy it (although, while I think about it, its kind of
stupid to think that way, because I am not breeding it, YET!!)
I am currently conducting an arrangement to obtain a 30 U.S. Gallon
tank, that I will be able to transfer my fish to a larger
"world" and allow them to not be so crowded, but I
haven't attained that yet. Knowing this, what is my optimal
<For small fish like Neons, it's about an inch per gallon. The
bigger the fish, the more aquarium volume you need. But this is only
part of the story. Filtration is an issue too: big fish need more
"turnover". Small fish can get by with filters rated at 4
times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, but bigger fish will
need 6 times, and things like Oscars and Plecs, 8-10 times. Surface
area is yet another factor. A tall tank will hold less fish that a
shallow tank of equal volume. So it's complicated. A 30-gallon tank
would doubtless hold a couple of dozen livebearers of various sizes,
some as small as Platies, and some larger ones like Mollies. Keeping
Gyrinocheilus in there once mature would be daft, so I won't even
comment on that beyond saying that this fish gets to 30 cm/12 inches
and would claim that entire tank as a fraction of its territory in the
I was told it is "an inch of fish per gallon of water" but as
I said, my lovelies are happy as clams! (Figuratively speaking, of
<They can't be that happy if fish are dying because of the need
for "emergency" water changes.>
And once I know my FtG, I wanted to keep the 10 G tank as my fry tank
(especially when I start attempting to breed the Bettas, but please
know I wont do ANYTHING in that regard until I know the regimen in my
<Look, the key thing isn't "how many fish can I cram into a
tank this big", but rather, "how much space do I need for
this species to do well".
Swordtails for example are fast swimmers, to long tanks suit them very
well. But the males are extremely aggressive, so in 30 gallons, a
single male together with 3-4 females might be a very sensible
approach. Add a few cool water catfish such as Corydoras paleatus or
maybe some Cherry Fin Loaches, and you'd have a very nice set up.
You could certainly add some Garra flavatra if you really felt the need
for an algae eater or three, but Cherry Shrimps and Nerite snails would
be better. All these would thrive at the low temperature Swordtails
need to live their full life span and show their best colours. Why mess
about trying to cram in Neons, Mollies and other such stuff that
don't belong? There's no sense to it.>
A link to that info, if available, would be appreciated.) Am I going
out of my league here?
<Not out of your league, but I suspect you're not doing your
I just wanted a nice addition to my living room (something other than
the TV to educate and amuse a 2 year old) plus I love to just sit and
observe them myself! What fish owner (keeper??) doesn't enjoy the
fruits of his/her own labours?
<The fish owner who is constantly fighting against problems of ill
health, aggression, overstocking... I mention this because if you keep
fish the proper way, with due regard to water chemistry, temperature,
aquarium size, social behaviour etc., the hobby is easy. Neglect those
issues and choose "one of everything" that catches your eye,
the results are often disastrous.>
I have made the best possible attempt to give you the most concise
information I could for your assistance in this matter. If there is
anything else I can provide, please let me know.
And Thanks!! :)
My little Angel (Community tanks; stocking; mystery
I'm twelve years old and my parents bought me a 36 gallon fish
<A lovely present! Good for them!>
I did some research and found some fish that would live well together.
It's been a year or so and i only have 1 fish left from the
original fish that i put in the tank (it's a... shark? i can't
remember exactly but shark was in
<Likely one of the following: Red-tail Shark (Epalzeorhynchos
bicolor); Silver Shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus); Iridescent Shark
Catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus); Rainbow Shark (Epalzeorhynchos
frenatum). Apart from the Rainbow Shark, which is fairly mild mannered
and only gets to about 12 cm/5 inches, the others are either too
aggression or too big for your aquarium. In the case of the Silver
Shark and the Iridescent Shark, they are much too big, Silver Sharks
getting to about 30 cm/12 inches, and
Iridescent Sharks at least twice that. Both are schooling fish too, and
so are only marginally useful in home aquaria, given the huge amounts
of space they need.>
recently i had two sharks (still can't remember) my HUGE angelfish,
1 large petstore sized goldfish, ( i know the goldfish probably
wasn't the best idea but my mom got it and i couldn't say no
once she came home) two algae eaters, and two small catfish.
<"Algae Eater" and "Catfish" covers a lot of
ground, some of it treacherous. Algae Eaters including in particular
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a 35-cm monster infamous for being highly
aggressive, as well as useless
algae-eater when matured; and Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus, a big,
filthy animal that is highly territorial towards it own kind (will kill
rivals!) and requires a massive (55+ gallons) tank with a huge filter.
By the way, I'm giving Latin names here so you can Google them and
check the pictures against the animals in your tank. Catfish range from
fish measuring an inch to over nine feet, so these could be anything!
Corydoras species are the commonest, but they're all schooling fish
that need to be kept in groups of 6+ specimens and in tanks that are
not too warm (22-24 C is ideal for almost all species, and certainly
all the cheap species).>
I did a science fair project on goldfish and had four tiny feeder
After the experiment i put them in the larger tank (i know this
wasn't a good idea either but i didn't want to kill them,
I'm an animal lover)
and ever since then I've had a slow decline in population. First
went the feeder goldfish, then the larger one, then the larger of my
two sharks, (still can't remember) and the smaller one might be
dead (I'm on my
computer right now and the last I've checked he didn't look so
good) I have a real connection with my angelfish and i would be
devastated if he died (his name is Henry)
<When multiple species die within a short space of time, it's
almost always an environmental issue. If only a single species drops
off, one after the other, contagious disease is a factor, but such
diseases rarely strike
different species. So review in particular water quality and water
chemistry and temperature. For a tank containing Goldfish (which are
really subtropical fish) alongside standard community tropicals, you
want a low to middling temperature, certainly no higher than 25 C/77 F.
Water quality must be good, and because Goldfish are so messy, this is
a challenge. You need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and preferably low levels
of nitrate, 50 mg/l or less. Goldfish hate acidic water, so you need to
be aiming for a pH of 7.5, and a hardness that is "moderately
hard" to "hard" on whatever test kits you're using
(10+ degrees dH). Such conditions should suit most other tropical fish
without major problems. Now, at least some of your fish are very
aggressive, if they are what I think they are. Gyrinocheilus for
example will harass other fish, and in doing so, stress them, and
potentially create wounds though which infections such as Finrot can
set in. So social behaviour is a factor you should consider.>
Here are the symptoms I've notice: The last shark is swimming with
a lot of effort, it's doing flips (which i am POSITIVE is not
normal) it just falls and rests minutes at a time, and it looks (um...)
well it's scales have
white spots on the end and it's fins are frayed (I've never
seen it in a fight)
<Fairly generic "I'm dying" behaviour, almost
certainly caused by environmental issues. Assuming you haven't
exposed these fish to some toxin, such as paint fumes, if you're
seeing fish go through this syndrome
repeatedly, my money would be water quality first, and water chemistry
My angelfish's left eye is kind of swollen and his fins are
extremely frayed (he HAS been in fights. I used to have gouramis...
long story short they're not around any more)
<Three-Spot Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) by any chance? As
I've written about repeatedly here at WWM, males of this species
can be highly aggressive.>
I'm really worried about him and need help urgently. I know i
haven't made the smartest decisions in fishkeeping but i would do
just about anything to make sure Henry makes it. (sorry about the
fish tank life story but the more background and details the
<There's details, and then there's details. I do, very
specifically, need the following (at least): ammonia concentration, pH,
and the make/model of your filter.>
Please, Please, Please, Please help me out. ( i thought it wise to
mention that many of my fish i obtained when my mom came home from
Wal-Mart. Not my favorite fish supplier.) Thank you
A worried angel owner
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Overstocking and compatibility issues 4-24-09
Hello to you all,
<Hello! Merritt here this evening.>
I'm an inexperienced fish keeper that needs your help. I think I
might be overstocking my tank/aquarium. I have a 20 gallon tank with 19
fish - 4 x-ray tetras, 6 Neons( originally 16), 2 bronze cories, 1
spotted (the other one died on me), 1 SAE (juvenile), 2 angels
(juveniles), 1 cobalt Gourami (male), and 2 balloon mollies.
<You are right, your tank is very overstocked.>
I have a millennium 2000 filter and my tank is medium-heavily planted.
I'm currently doing a 20%-40% weekly water change. The mollies and
Gourami are new comers. The Gourami shows no sign of aggression but the
mollies(both females) are. Every now and then the mollies will follow
the Gourami or the angels and they will nip their fins or their body.
The Gourami doesn't seem to mind but the angels will show
aggression. I know that mollies aren't meant for a community tank
and needs to be in a brackish environment so I'll probably return
<Mollies do not have to be in a brackish environment but you are
right, they are not meant for community tanks. Good move!>
If I did will my tank still be overstocked?
<Yep, would still be overstocked.>
Oh and one more question.. One of my angels is sort of skinny and
isn't growing as much as the other is. But the skinny one is the
one that eats the most. Do you think that this might be an intestinal
<Since that angel is the one that eats the most but is not gaining
weight, then I would assume it has internal parasites and to medicate
appropriately. Here are some links on freshwater diseases and
<You are welcome! Merritt A.>
Tank upgrading to a spa. Mmm, Lg. FW sys. stkg.
I currently have a 180 gallon bow front tank with a twelve inch clown
knife, five silver dollars (biggest is four inches all the others are
about three), a five and a half inch silver Arowana, a six inch black
ghost knife, a fifteen inch tire track eel, a eight inch Pleco
("common" don't know exact species), a four inch king
<Do watch these two; Pterygoplichthys spp. are highly territorial
and known to kill rivals; the Hypancistrus sp. L066 is a (much) smaller
fish that may be bullied.>
and a four inch diameter red eared slider. I am going to upgrade to a
spa/hot tub that is about 250 gallons. (do you have a link that tells
the difference between actual and commercial gallon. I read about that
site somewhere...i think).
<Ah, with aquaria, yes, the amount of water held is not the same as
the advertised value because of the thickness of the glass, rocks,
substrate, etc. Usually you lop off 10-15% of the advertised value. But
the best approach is simply this: use buckets of known volume (or a
hose pipe with a flow meter attached) and count the gallons needed to
fill the tank or pond to the desired water level.>
My question is what fish do you think will be safe to transfer over if
I move the clown knife and Arowana into the "spa" while the
rest stay in the 180 gallon.
<None of these fish is particularly delicate, with the exceptions of
the Black Ghost and the Tyre-track Eel; both of these fish are
sensitive to water quality and very fussy feeders. So my gut feeling
would be to cycle
the new "indoor pond" first by taking filter media from the
established tank and "seeding" the new filter. When the new
pond is cycled, add the Black Ghost and the Spiny Eel, and get them
feeding properly. After a couple of weeks, add the Silver Dollars and
the catfish. Since Arowanas and Clowns are both territorial, and
territorially aggressive at that, I'd move them last of all, so
that they view the other fish as part of the scenery rather than
I think the "common" Pleco will be ok, and maybe the
<Not a fan of mixing turtles with fish; their requirements are too
different, and waste adult turtles produce makes water quality
management incredibly hard.>
but I would feel worried about the black ghost knife because he has
grown at a slow pace compared to my other fish. I would be afraid of
the tire track eel somehow getting out, even though I plan to take
measures to keep it closed, but still with some ventilation.
<If there is any chance of escape the Spiny Eel will escape.
Don't underestimate this.>
the tire track eel. I also think the silver dollars would be fine if i
kept the Arowana and the clown knife well fed.
<Up to a point, but adult Clowns will be at least 60 cm long, and in
the wild 100+ cm, and they will view Silver Dollars as food, given the
king tiger Pleco will not be safe, he is the smallest and I read that
they only get about five to six inches.
Thanks for the site and all the information,
Re: tank upgrading to a spa. - 4/13/09
Thank you for the fast reply Neale.
Would the black ghost knife be safe in the pond or do you think the
clown knife and Arowana would eventually see him as a meal too?
<The Arowana isn't much of a threat, but Clown Knives are
unpredictable at the best of times, and territorial (male?) Chitala
can, will kill other fish in their quarters, even if they aren't
planning to eat them. They are known in the wild to attack animals
(including humans) who approach their nests, a trait I believe local
fishermen use to their advantage.>
I am trying to see which fish to keep in the 180 gallon, and which fish
to move. I don't think a black ghost will out grow a 180 gallon
tank, do you?
<Would be very happy there, along with the Spiny Eel and the Silver
Same with the tire track eel.
And if they do I can always upgrade. ( I purchased the 180 gallon tank,
stand, and 30 gallon sump for $250 on craigslist!)
<Deal of the century!>
The Arowana and clown would out grow the 250 gallon right?
<Both should be fine in there. Typical Osteoglossum spp. Arowanas
get to about 90 cm in captivity, and typical Clown Knives about that or
a bit less. Both should be fine in 250 US gallons, assuming your Clown
doesn't turn out to be one of the psychotic specimens.>
But by that time I'll probably out of high school and college.
<Good luck with school!>
I do have a temporary plan for that until I can save slot of money to
make a BIG tank. The intex above ground pools come in sizes from 200
gallons to 7,000 gallons. And I can add filters and sand and somehow
keep them from jumping.
<Ah, the best way to prevent jumping is simply to use some plastic
mesh of the type sold for use in gardens, where (at least here in the
UK) it's put over ponds to keep cats and herons out. Arowanas are
notorious jumpers as you probably know; one of their common names in
South America is "Water Monkeys" because they leap several
feet out of the water to snap at beetles and other small animals
clambering along overhanging trees. Spiny Eels simply escape from
anything! Take no chances with them! Your turtle will,
obviously, need space above the waterline to bask under its UV-B lamp,
and that's going to be complicating things here. If you insist on
keeping the turtle with the fish, you'll need to create space for
the "land" where the turtle will rest, while not creating
death traps where fish could jump onto or otherwise get
Thanks for the speedy reply,
Re: tank upgrading to a spa. - 4/13/09
If the turtle needs a UV- B lamp in the new spa, does that mean he
won't be getting enough from the sun?
<Sunlight is an excellent source of UV-B. The problem is that UV-B
doesn't pass through glass. So unless the turtle is physically
exposed to sunlight, e.g., in a garden pond, then the sunniness of your
locality and house is neither here nor there. Long term denial of UV-B
causes major problems to all reptiles, and it's widely reported
from turtles kept indoors. UV-B lamps aren't expensive, so fixing
this problem isn't difficult. Since water cuts out UV-B just as
well as glass, the presence of a UV-B lamp shouldn't cause any harm
to your fish.>
The spa is in my backyard, and I live just south of San Francisco
(Pacifica) and the weather is fairly good, especially in the
summer.<I see. Well, if bright sunlight hits the basking spot above
the spa directly for at least a few hours each day, sunlight should be
Problems occur the moment you put glass in the way!>
Re: tank upgrading to a spa. - 4/13/09
Thank you. Yes there will be direct sunlight to his basking spot. ( in
the 180 he has a UV-B also)
Thanks for all the help,
<Happy to help. Good luck with the move, Neale.>
55 gallon FW Stocking
Sand , Jurupari and Rainbow Questions 4/9/09
Hello Crew and Thank You for a great job.
I'm going to set up 55 US gallon FW tank and have some questions
I want to put sand on the bottom. Home Depot sells sand for
They do not specify, what kind of sand is that. Do you have any idea if
this sand is safe for a fish tank?
<In different areas of the country the sand may be different. Get a
small sample and place in it some distilled water. If the TDS or pH
changes then the material is leaching minerals into the water and is
generally not good for use in an aquarium.>
I'd like to keep in the tank 2 Geophagus jurupari.. I do not see a
lot of information about this fish. Some of the internet sites say they
are very touchy and require very soft water. I assume my water is very
Are they really need soft water like discus or rams?
< Wild Satanoperca jurupari do come from areas of soft acidic water.
Most of the fish today are tank bred and do much better in harder
water. They may be maintained in harder water but will probably not
If that the case, I better choose different species. Please let me
know, if they will adapt to a hard water.
Also would it be aggression problem between 2 Geophagus jurupari?
< They are not an aggressive species. Keep in mind that any
Eartheater type of cichlid will constantly be sift food from the sand.
If the sand is too coarse or has angular edges then it will be abrasive
and cause disease
I also want to keep 6 boesemanni Rainbowfish. If I buy 6 juveniles,
would it be a problem, if I will get more males than females?
<Rainbows will be fine in a group. Males will show their best colors
with some females around.>
I want to plant the tank with different kinds of Anubias, and I want to
add gold nugget Pleco. Is it safe to keep this Pleco with Anubias?
< There are many types of gold nugget Plecos with different
Go to Planetcatfish.com and research the species of Pleco you are
looking to get.>
What do you think about this stocking overall? Will this system
< The Pleco will probably be wild and may need soft acidic water.
The rainbows on the other hand like hard alkaline water. Maybe look at
something like Congo tetras if you are going to soften the water or get
common Pleco that will tolerate the harder tap water.-Chuck>
Thank you, Mark
Algae on ADF? and question about stocking...
I have a 10 gallon tank with 1 male Betta (thought he was white and he
is the most beautiful shell pink that changes), 3 tetras (who recently
started harassing the Betta, which of course they don't tell you
when you get them!),
<Hmm... on the whole Tetras and Bettas shouldn't be kept
together, so these will need separating. Don't rely on the pet
store telling you which fish will work in your aquarium, any more than
you expect the clerk in a clothes store to tell you to buy a shirt that
fits. It's up to you to establish such things!>
1 Otocinclus of the small variety, 2 ADFs (one male, little porker, and
one female), 5 glass shrimps of various sizes (from little male at 1/4
inch to big daddy at 1 1/2 inch, 3 egg bearing females and 2 males) and
5 mystery snails, also of various sizes (newest one is 4 small turns
around and largest is 6 turns, he actually has grown about an inch and
a half of shell in the month we have had them.).
<Certainly a busy aquarium...>
I also have 2 fake plants and 18 different live plants (I think some
are duckweed, but also "lucky bamboo" (I know, not actually
bamboo), some other grasses and something with flat leaves that is
<OK, the Bamboo will die. So get that out. No point waiting for it
to die and rot, because in doing so it will pollute the aquarium. The
plant at the front/left is a Dracaena, and again, like the Bamboo, this
is a land plant. It will also die. No question about this. So
again, take it out. Please do some reading before spending your money!
At the moment you're a retailers dream: buying any old thing!
I'd like you to spend your money more carefully.>
My perimeters for the tank are 78 degrees F and (just today, tested
last week and had 0) .5 ammonia,
<Too high... will make fish, frogs, shrimps sick>
I just had changed the filter yesterday (the carbon in a tetra whisper
filter) and rinsed off the bio-foam (what pet smart said, very torn on
whether or not to ever believe them about anything),
<By default, rely on your own reading rather than what the clerk in
the store says. Buy an aquarium book or borrow one; read it.>
although probably too much. I have been doing weekly changes of about 2
gallons and pre-treating that with conditioners. I don't have a
tester currently for nitrates either.
<Nitrates usually not an issue if you change 25% every week or
I just did a water change today after seeing the ammonia level. (2
gallon change with conditioners.)
Some background on my fish care: I have never owned fish before and was
at a "petstore" with my son and impulsively (!) bought an
inexpensive bunch of fish. Or so I thought. The girl who sold us the
set-up sold us 10 gal worth of fish and a 2 1/2 gallon tank to begin
with. Also didn't mention cycling. (This girl almost got fired,
apparently they had had multiple incidents like this.)
<Sadly quite common occurrence in "big box" pet
So I blithely get the crew home and put them in some treated
water. Needless to say that all but 1 frog (originally brought
home the 3 tetras, 1 Betta (m), 3 shrimp, 2 snails, and 2 ADFs.) and 1
tetra and the shrimp and snails, were dead in the morning 2 days
I rushed to the store (after doing some late night reading, and I know
it was really irresponsible of me to not have checked it out first, but
these were impulse fish!
<An explanation, but not really an excuse!>
Then I also called my friend in another state who knows a lot about
fish for help, I was pretty panicked by then, I have never killed any
pet I have ever been custodian of!) and bought a 10 gal and got it
cycling. I noticed then though that the remaining frog had fungus, so I
treated with tank buddies.
<Frogs do react badly to ammonia.>
This didn't help my frog any, and he still was dead the next day. I
decided to treat again (4 days later) and the second treatment killed
my young shrimp. (I now know they can't handle that).
<Correct; copper is toxic to invertebrates including shrimps and
I had the water tested then and it had 0 levels of anything bad, ideal
ph (sorry, can't find the paper now :( ), and slightly hard water
(I live in Utah). That was about 2-3 weeks ago. At this point I have a
healthy fully stocked tank with the 2 new(er) ADFs. The original tetra
made it and of course the snails and my one large shrimp.
Currently, I have a question regarding my male froggy. He seems to be
growing what looks similar to the algae that sometimes grows on my
plants, on his back leg and stomach.
The female had this a few weeks ago, but it seems to have gone away.
I'm wondering if it was just the effect of changing the filter and
some gunk getting stirred into the water because of it, adding to that
the slightly elevated levels of ammonia making him sensitive?
I'm not sure if it's harmful or not, although he is plenty
active and eats way too much (really good dedicated hunter), so he
doesn't seem unhappy at all. I feed the Betta between 6 and 8
pellets a day (depending), the tetras get flakes, and I put in about a
pea sized bit of either frozen brine shrimp (defrost them in spoon at
top of tank and try to get them spread around so everyone actually gets
some) or blood worms once or twice a day (everyone else in the tank
also really enjoys both of these), usually around snack time in the
afternoons. I put romaine lettuce anchored in there too for the snails
and leave a piece floating as they (the snails) seem to like to float
upside down and the Betta can kind of hammock on it when he is bored,
it also keeps some shade so they can choose what lighting they want. I
change the lettuce out every other day, before it starts to break
<All sounds fine. But take care not to overfeed; this tank is really
much smaller than I'd recommend for beginners, so your margins for
error are tiny.>
The water is clear, not cloudy, and the walls are very clean. None of
the plants are growing any algae right now either.
<Famous last words...>
I use 2 x 60 watt bulbs and then have a heater as well, so it has been
very maintained temp wise since.
<These are incandescent bulbs? Be very careful here; apart from
being rubbish for plant growth, they also have a tendency to explode if
hot and splashed with water. Certainly wouldn't be a sensible
choice around children.>
Generally everyone has been very healthy, the shrimp are shedding
successfully multiple times and are visibly growing, as are the snails,
and Bert the Betta is very friendly, he only recently started flaring
his gills at the tetras in response to their nipping (came out one
morning and saw they had split his dorsal fin! It is healing back
together, but now he responds to them instead of being passive),
everyone eats and the shrimp had their eggs (working on second clutches
now!), Ollie the Oto is very actively cleaning everything (including
the snails!), and the frogs are starting to be less nervous after
getting air (used to have to hide after, now just swim back to the
bottom. No aggressive behavior on the part of the Betta either, he will
come let me feed him from a spoon and will swim around my arm while I
clean, so no worries on interactions.
I am hoping perhaps it will go away with the levels steadied back out,
and if I should expect it to happen again during filter changes?
<No, it's not normal. Remember, in a basic freshwater tank,
carbon is redundant. Even if you want carbon, you have to replace it
(not clean it!) every 2-4 weeks, otherwise it doesn't do anything
but waste space in the filter. For small tanks, I'd recommend
concentrating on plain vanilla biological media; simple filter floss
and ceramic noodles are fine. Rinse these off in a container of
aquarium water every month or so. That's all there is to
Thanks so much for any advice, I agree with many others on the lack of
reliable information out there, and primarily feel I can't trust
<As I say, shops are there to sell stuff, and whether you're
buying a coat, a hi-fi, a car, or a tropical fish, retail works best
when you already know what you want/need first. This isn't to
malign pet stores -- many are very good, and staffed with expert
fishkeepers -- but it's best not to expect it.>
Incl is photo of day before yesterday when there was no film.
<Frog looks fine to me. The main things to observe are [a] hollow
belly from starvation; and [b] red patches from bacterial
Couldn't get a good shot of him today. No need to include them in a
post... My other quick question is as long as I don't overfeed and
am diligent with weekly water changes, is there plenty of room for
<Within reason. Are these tetras Neons? They should be in a group of
6+, and in a 10 gallon tank that would be fine. Likewise the Betta and
the frogs. Apple snails rarely live more than a year in aquaria because
they aren't able to aestivate for three months as required in the
wild. So they tend to die long before they reach full size.>
They don't seem to have any territorial issues, everyone seems
happy all over the tank, so I am mostly worried about the water testing
levels being affected. I know that half of them are surface breathers
Thanks again for any help!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
New 125 high and possible multiple red-tailed black sharks?
Hello WWM crew,
1st of all, THANKS for all the information and your hard work.
<Kind of you to say so.>
I recently, 2 weeks ago, bought a 125 high tank, stand, lights,
filters, sand, etc used for $400. The bio wheels on the filters were
still damp when I got the tank home (250 miles) and up and running. I
added 10 fish that night, 5 Danios, 3 platys, and 2 swordtails. Two
days later I added a few fish and added 1-3 more just about every day.
My nitrates remain low, have done a 25% or so water change twice in the
two weeks. I tested my water only once that showed any ammonia and that
was gone the next day. My most recent water test today was PH 7.6, 0
ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5 - 10 nitrates.
I have 2 red claw crabs (one of which got out and I rolled my chair
over it before I noticed. It is doing well, just missing 3 legs on one
side) 2 male fiddler crabs the crabs do have places to get out of the
water, but not really anywhere to hide when out, other than on the
underside of the branches and since the "accident."
<Neither Uca spp. nor Perisesarma bidens are appropriate to this
aquarium. They need BRACKISH water to last any length of time,
and both prefer to spend 95% of the time on land. In a standard
freshwater aquarium they WILL die prematurely, likely around the time
I think I have pretty well covered up the entire top of the tank, was
only a little 1/2 inch wide spot where the heater cord came out that
the crab could have possibly used and it is now covered.
<The reason they try to escape is they're land crabs, not water
1 dwarf African frog (2 have died, not sure why) 2, at least, shrimp,
Amano algae eater? (bought 4, have only seen 2 at a time out) 6 Odessa
barbs, 6 Danios, 5 zebra, one leopard, (4 of the original Danios died,
don't know why)
<Probably too warm; Danios are subtropical fish that need cool
conditions, around 22-24 C.>
3 platys (one of the original platys died, the smallest)
1 pair Creamsicle mollies
1 pair Dalmatian mollies
<Mollies do prefer brackish water; lifespan in freshwater
2 dwarf flame Gouramis (had 1 dwarf blue Gourami for a week or so,
added another and in about 24 hours both were dead with black bottom
fin and huge bulges in side of stomach area, flame Gouramis are doing
<Dwarf Gouramis are largely rubbish fish, widely infected with a
2 pictus catfish
<Highly predatory when mature; also are schooling fish, and best
kept in groups.>
1 pair orange/red swordtails
2 Bala sharks.
I did see, in the past week, 3 tiny babies but think they have since
I had a tank when I was a child and had a red tailed black shark that
about doubled in size before we moved and got rid of the tank. As a
result of that memory* *I have my heart set on red tailed black sharks
:) From the reading I have done I might or might not want to / be able
to keep more than one in my tank. I did get some rocks and arranged
some caves in both ends of the tank with some other driftwood and some
plants, couple live grasses that came with the tank and 3 tall
<Red-tail Black Sharks are not good community fish. They are highly
territorial, particularly towards other shark-like fish. While you
could keep a singleton, I wouldn't keep two specimens because one
would bully the other. Three or more might work, but not without a
certain amount of violence.>
I want to get some more bottom feeders, oh yeah had one (not sure of
name, looking at LFS receipt) Borneo scavenger?
<Likely some type of Hillstream Loach, e.g., Gastromyzon boreensis.
Need cool, very fast-flowing water and would be totally unsuitable for
that died within a couple days of purchase (water was only 2 days old
when I put him in) and am thinking about a couple Dojos. I would also
like to add a couple more fish before I add the 1 (or more) Red-tailed
Black Shark(s) and am thinking a couple of angle fish?
<I have seen Red-tailed Black Sharks with Angels, and the two
usually ignore one another. But it's difficult to make guarantees
with Red-tailed Black Sharks.>
The filtration I have (came with the tank and was fine for the school
of red bellied piranhas that was in the tank with previous owner) are
two penguin bio-wheel, one 350, and one 150, I think I need more
<For small fish like tetras your aquarium needs turnover 4 times the
volume of the tank, i.e., 4 x 125 = 500 gallons per hour. For
medium-sized fish such as Angels and Sharks, scale up to 6 times the
volume of the tank in turnover, i.e., 6 x 15 = 750 gallons per hour.
Look at your filters, add up their quoted turnover values, and do the
math! It's always better to have
more rather than less turnover.>
What are your thoughts on adding 2 Dojos, maybe couple more shrimp, 2
angel fish, and, given the size of the tank and the amount of cover
available, 2-3 red-tailed black sharks? I don't want to overstock
the aquarium or overwork the filters.
<In terms of volume, you're fine; look at your filters and check
Thank you again so much for your time, Lloyd PS, the other decoration
in the tank is a pretty odd one, maybe even unique lol. Long story
short (kinda) I badly damaged a wheel on my truck, drove it for over a
year and tire somehow held pressure, no one who sees the wheel can
believe it. Time came for new tires, had to get new wheels, on advice
from LFS owner, I used 2 part clear coat waterproof epoxy and coated
the entire wheel, let it dry and cure and the whole 16" wheel is
standing up in my tank. The fish LOVE it, good shelter, lots of holes
for them to swim in and out of :)
<So long as the metal is completely sealed off from the water,
sounds kind of funky! Do be careful though, some fish scrape away
varnish as they graze for algae (big Plecs, Panaque, etc.) so consider
that when shopping.