Hello, I was wondering if anyone would be able to offer some advice:
I apologise in advance for bombarding the forum, as I have already set up a separate post on another issue I am having with pH, but I am new to the hobby and want to make sure I have things as safe and correct as possible before I add any fish.
I recently set up my first aquarium, a fluval roma 240L, with the intention of creating a peaceful freshwater tropical community. I am also currently undergoing a fishless cycle using Dr Tim's ammonium chloride and Tetra Safe Start as my source of bacteria (this has been going for 1 week so far). I know I am a long way off adding any fish at the minute, as I need to stabilise the tank, but I've been researching into species that may be appropriate for my tank and compatible with each other.
Tank Information: • Tank Dimensions L120 x W40 x H55cm. • Capacity is 240L, however mine is holding 205L due to substrate, plants and décor. • Running with Fluval 306 external canister filter, Fluval E-series 300W heater set to 25 Celsius and a Fluval Q2 Air pump set to a moderate output.
Unfortunately, a lot of the information I have read and received from local aquatic shops is conflicting regarding stocking levels and compatibility.
I have a list of potential options I am considering that would be able to tolerate my tank conditions (temperature, hardness etc.) and was hoping someone might be able to let me know if I can create any combinations from my list that would work or if I have gotten anything wrong.
My first question is how many small to medium fish could I accommodate in the tank without overcrowding and to leave enough territory and swimming space?
I have a list of species I have chosen here. Also, I am not planning to keep all of these at once, I am just suggesting ideas for potential combinations: • 5 banded barb (mid-level) – I am also unsure how many to keep, I have read 8 – 10. • Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (mid to top level) – Unsure of best group size. • Black Phantom Tetra (Mid-level) – 10? • 6 Sterba’s Corydoras or Julii Corydoras (bottom dweller). • 6-7 Kuhli Loach? (bottom dweller, unsure of best group size as mixed information) • Pearl Gourami or Moonlight Gourami (Top to middle level) – I am very unsure as to what number to keep these fish in, I have read a 1:2 male to female ratio but I am not sure how many of these fish my tank could accommodate. • I also liked the look of the Bamboo Shrimp, but I am worried it could be seen as a source of food.
However, I have read they grow to a couple of inches, which may be large enough to avoid predation?
I am open to any alternatives and suggestions as well.
The best way to stock is to start with a minimal stocking level for the tank and then monitor how much nitrate climbs between your weekly partial water changes. If it's staying below your tap water level plus 20ppm you can add more fish. If not, you can either stay at your current stock level or do more frequent, larger water changes if you want to add more fish. Obviously, the caveat is not to overcrowd.
It generally looks better to have one or two large shoals rather than several smaller groups and most shoaling fish will appreciate a group size of 8-12.
From what you said on your other thread about your gH and kH I wouldn't keep the 5 banded barb in your water as they really need very soft water with gH around 1-5 degrees.
Most of the others would suit your water at a quick glance. For the gouramis, a trio would be fine, but I would be inclined towards pearls as a better community fish.
One of the best resources for researching fish choices is this site: http://seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ It's very well respected and is far more accurate with the needs of the fish than many other internet sources.
Thank you for your input on this as well , I really appreciate it.
I will check out the resource you suggested, as at the minute I've been unsure of the accuracy of many of the sites, particularly due to some conflicting information. I also have a few books, but a lot of them don't go into enough detail on water hardness in the species profiles and instead focus on the pH and temperature, whereas I understand from our discussion that hardness is equally important.
Oh dear, I didn't realise about the Five Banded Barb! Well that's good to know, as I was almost ready to decide on it as my starting fish, I did really like it, but I would hate to think it would have kept it in the wrong conditions . It's a shame, but the main thing is I know the error now and hopefully with enough reliable information I wont go wrong in that regard again. I'll check if there are any barbs that can tolerate harder water on seriously fish, as I do particularly like that family. If not, I picked plenty of other options there to choose from, so that I left scope for inevitable errors in research.
I was definitely planning to stock very slowly and watch how things progress in my tank so that I don't end up overcrowding, maybe a small group at a time. I also agree with what you say, and I have been thinking since I made this post and possibly planning on a maximum of 2 shoals of small fish if my tank allows or 1 if not, with the Pearl Gourami being the centrepiece and around 6 - 8 Corydoras, as I've really enjoyed watching their behaviour when I have been visiting my local fish store . Also, thank you for confirming the ratio of the Gouramis for me, as that has been a worry of mine, incase I picked the wrong number and caused aggression and stress for them.
Although, I was wondering, if say I could only add 5 small shoaling fish at a time and I wanted an end total of 10 - 12, does it affect them if I built it up over time in terms of establishing hierarchy, for example? It's just that I worry it would be a strain on the fish in if I put a whole group in at once, even if the tank is cycled.
I would put each group in together - that way they can sort out any group dynamics from the start. Adding few and then a few more means there can be stress from the new additions upsetting the established order.
Great that you're, quite correctly, doing all your research in advance.
An alternative to the five-band barb, and really the only other barb species which does well in a community tank with other species, is the cherry barb - if you check its profile on the weblink Fishlady gave you earlier, it will tell you what hardness range they require. Your water company results which I mention in the other thread will help determine whether or not cherry barbs might be an alternative to the five-band barb in your tank.