fenris wrote: Thanks for your time too. thinking im gonna stay away from the loaches in the mean time!
Oh don't do that! Loaches are awesome! You just need to do your own research about which loaches would be suitable for your size of tank. They all like relatively soft water, (and I'm pretty sure you have that in Lancashire) so there's lots of options, little eel-like Khuli loaches, sream-dwelling algae-eating hillstream loaches, if you want something similar in shape and behaviour to the tiger loach you'd be better off with Dwarf Chain Loaches Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki.
Weather loaches will eat all sorts of things. Frozen or live food (daphnia, bloodworm, brine shrimp, etc) sinking pellets, algae wafers, sushi nori, peas, most of the various flakes. I haven't tried anything they've obviously turned their noses up at, although I don't think they really care for broccoli.
They like sifting through sand for food like corydoras catfish, so something you could do is get an oral syringe with some defrosted frozen food and inject it just under the surface. With one you'd only want to use a very little.
fish4me wrote: hi dave, thanks for your reply. from what i've read i fully agree that danio are active and prefer a stronger current and room to swim whereas the BB sunfish can be quite shy and prefers denser planted areas with less flow. i have also found information suggesting that the danio prefers the upper half of the tank where as the BB sunfish prefers the lower half of the tank. i was thinking if i set up the tank in the following way (looking at it from the front) it would supply both fish with the required preferences. if i put the filter in the back right hand corner and direct the outflow towards the (just short off) front left hand corner and upwards. this would give the danio the upper strata with higher current and length to swim. densly plant the back left hand corner to half way along the back. this would give the BB sunfish an area of cover with lower flow.
Maybe. I'd still be concerned about the danios spooking the sunfish. I see my Odessa Barbs much more now I have a shoal of danios than I did when I had the WCMMs in the same tank, but what works with one species doesn't necessarily work with another. While I don't think the danios will mind having relatively little current to play in too much is going to be unsuitable for the sunfish.
as for the heating in winter i don't always have the heating on as it makes the air too dry for me and the backdoor is usually open for the dogs. i think i may have been misunderstood in my mentioning of the dwarf mosquito fish, i mearly mentioned it as a comparison of size with the danio,not as possibly stocking it, after an artical i had read suggested this fish (DMF) would be of eatable size for a BB sunfish where as no mention of the danio was made in regards to consumption.
Ah, yes, sorry about that. Danios are a lot bigger than Dwarf Mosquitofish. The biggest female DMF I had was just over an inch long from nose to the tip of the tail fin. My fat female danio is double that. There are some very small danionins (Danionella dracula for example) that occasionally turn up in shops (for tropical tanks) that are similar sizes to DMFs, but the standard Zebra Danio is only a little shorter than a BB sunfish (although a rather different shape).
i am also now considering a much larger tank as my lfs has sold the stock of BB sunfish they had (but will order more in when i'm ready)so in the meantime i plan to upgrade the goldies which will leave me with a 54"x18"x24".
Ooh that's a lovely size. If you have the money I'd look at things like Rainbow Shiners. They like a decent amount of flow (like the danios), but they're as colourful as anything from the tropical section. You do have softer water so I'd look at some of the larger hillstream loaches and garras, and a shoal of Denison's Barbs.Take a look at Bob Mehen's temperate tank for what can be done.
Adding bogwood won't do much to the liquid rock we get in London, and nor will plants I'm afraid. The only way to reduce pH and hardness is either by diluting your tapwater with RO water (Reverse Osmosis- water with nothing dissolved in it), or using 100% RO and remineralising salts to get to the pH/KH/GH that you want. Personally I decided it was all too much effort and went for fish that liked the water I have. I'll never keep tetras and cories, but there are enough fish out there if you know where to look.
While most barbs don't like hard water Odessa Barbs are an exception, as they come from water with a pH of 11! The males are a stunning red and black flecked with blue/silver.
Rainbowfish are lovely, and while they never look great in the shop compared to tetras, when you get them home and they're settled in then they look amazing.
If you like catfish there are some small rift-lake species (Synodontis lucipinnisfor example) that like it hard and alkaline, although I'd not trust them with endler's or guppies, mollies and swordtails probably won't get eaten.
American Flag Fish are lovely- they like densely planted tanks and a largely vegetarian diet (if you get algae they'll do a number on it for you). Having said that they're a killifish that think they're a cichlid, so you may not want that, and tankmates need to be chosen with care- no long trailing fins, and nothing too timid.
If you got a powerhead or an external filter you could look at some temperate species. Zebra Danios are very attractive when they colour up, and some places are getting in species of shiner (species of US native minnow- Red Shiners are relatively common and affordable, Rainbow shiners are stunning, rarer, and expensive). Gobies and darters are ideal bottom-dwellers, although they generally only take live or frozen food- you may be able to wean them onto tablets. None of them get too big for a 180, and as long as your tank unheated and your house not too warm they'll be very happy.
Danios are very active fish, BB Sunfish, from what I've read, can be relatively shy. The danios might work as dither fish, or they might spook the sunfish. Danios also like a bit of current, and space to swim in, whereas the sunfish prefer a denser planted tank with less flow, so I'm honestly not sure I'd combine the two. Personally I'd set up a nice biotope for them- sandy substrate, some nice bits of wood, and there's a nice range of plants that come from that area- Samolus valerandi, Bacopa monnieri, Ceratophyllum, Cabomba, etc. The USDA have a really useful website with the distribution of plants by county.
With regards to temperature, an unheated tank should be fine, and yes, a chiller in summer would be a good idea when the temperature spikes, in the winter you should be OK as long as you don't keep your rooms at tropical temperatures year round.
Dwarf Mosquitofish aka Least Killifish, aks Heterandria formosa delightful tiny livebearer, nope I wouldn't combine the two at all. The juveniles will definitely get munched, the adult males probably will too, and even a big female is at risk- they're definitely one for the species only tank. Oryzias latipes, the Japanese ricefish might be a better choice for tankmates.
There's quite a few options, but the easiest to get hold of will be various livebearers.
If you can bring your nitrates down then the Rift Lake Cichlids are an option, but there aren't any midwater shoaling species small enough for your tank. Its too small for the malawis, which leaves you with the smaller Tanganyikans, A colony of on species of shell-dwellers (Neolamprologus multifasciatus, N. brevis, etc), and a pair of cave dwellers (Julidochromis sp.) would be a nice tank.
A densely planted tank kept at room temperature would be ideal for a group of American Flag Fish ([/i]Jordanella floridae[/i]). The males don't shoal (they're a killifieh which thinks its a cichlid, with a temperament to match), but the females will, and a well planted tank would give you space for maybe two males if you can set it up so their line of sight is broken. Otherwise you'll get one dead and one battered male. Tankmates should be robust or fast enough to avoid the aggression.
Odessa Barbs spring to mind as being ideal- they're pretty tough themselves and teh wild population comes from water with a pH of 11! They mostly swim at the mid-bottom of my tank, and are very brightly coloured. I'd pair them with Zebra Danios if you want something to swim in the upper levels (but you're at the very top of their tolerance).
There are very few bottom dwellers that I can think of. Your only options aer various Rhinogobius species. They like tanks with lots of flow, so you'll need an external filter and a powerhead or two. They're carnivorous and can be weaned onto tablet food, but don't take readily to flake, so I'm not sure I'd recommend them as a first fish for most people for that reason. They'd mix well with Odessa Barbs and WCMMs, which like similar conditions.
The other option is to look at brackish water species, which is not something I know anything about. Most are too big for your tank, but Bumblebee gobies and a few others would be ok.
You've also got a poor mix of fish. I'm sorry to say it, but I think you need to rethink your stocking. The livebearers (guppies and mollies) need hard alkaline water, and most of the others need soft acidic water. (Danios are pretty adaptable, and will be happy in most conditions, and don't need a heater, which all the other fish do).
Danios need to be kept in shoals, and like fast-flowing water.
The gouramis on the other had will not like this, as they come from slow moving rivers and ponds, and don't appreciate tanks with lots of flow. The glass catfish will also like a setup like this, but, like the danios, they're shoaling fish and again need to be kept in groups of at least 6. They're also quite timid so may not be at all happy sharing a tank with the gouramis, which can be aggressive. They also like relatively dim tanks, so floating plants are a good idea.
Your tank is about the minimum size for Angels, they get to 6" long, but they're deep-bodied fish, especially with their long fins. Cardinals don't get much bigger than neons, so they may get eaten, you'd be better off with something slightly larger or deeper bodied. Shrimp will definitely end up as lunch. Because your water is so soft, snails may not be that happy I'm afraid.
You've got about 130L of water to play with, and a good rule of thumb is 1cm of stock per 2L of water (you can go up to 1cm/1L if your nitrates are kept low enough).
You will need a minimum of 6 Cardinals to form a shoal, and more would be better, and the same is true of the Khuli Loaches. Khulis (and Corydoras catfish, another popular bottom-dweller) need either soft sand, or very fine smooth gravel. Sharp gravel will scratch their scaleless skin, and erode their barbels, which can lead to fatal secondary infections. They also need to be in groups, and again the more the merrier.
2x Agnelfish = @15cm each = 30cm 6x Cardinals = @3.5cm each = 21cm 6x Khuli Loaches = @10cm each = 60cm
Total = 111cm. I wouldn't have much more than that.