Hello! I’m completely new to this, and have been busy recently setting up a tropical fish tank which will be a birthday gift for my daughter. There was much more to learn than I'd realised! But think I’m doing ok so far. I bought a 40L tank, it has live plants and mixed natural gravel, and I will add a little piece of bogwood (once it finally sinks!!) Have been doing a fishless cycle for two weeks now, added some of the API bacteria starter stuff and have tested with the test strips a couple of times, all seems well with the PH and now nitrites etc are 0 as they should be. I’ve also got the slightly more complicated looking liquid test sets and will check tonight the ammonia levels as they’re not included on the test strips. All being well I’m hoping to start adding fish in the next few days. I’ve been reading a lot and trying to choose suitable fish for a 40l tank, what the fish like and suitable tank mates. I’m thinking to stock it with something like this - what do you all think? 5-6 harlequin (or possibly chilli) Rasboras 3 female dwarf Gouramis 4 Oto catfish A couple of shrimp
I read that you can have 2 Rasboras per gallon, but please let me know if you think this list is overstocking? I would have liked Cory cats but believe they strongly prefer sand so thinking Oto’s instead..I thought I could just have one or two but apparently they get lonely. I’d have liked celestial pearl danios as they’re beautiful BUT they might not get on with the dwarf Gouramis, which I fell in love with in the local aquarium, so have gone for rasboras instead. What do you think? Is this a good list for a small ish tank for a beginner or too much? I know the inch per gallon thing is to be taken with a pinch of salt so would rather know if I’m making any mistakes BEFORE I actually buy any fish. Input appreciated - thank you. Sorry for the massively long post!
Nice tank :) Can I just check that you have been adding ammonia to the tank as well as the starter bacteria? If not, you need to have a look at the fishless cycling guide as without an ammonia source the bacteria you added will have died.
Regarding fish - chili rasboras are a better choice than harlequins for this size of tank. Otos will be fine and so will shrimps, but the tank is a bit small for a dwarf gourami, and in any case, it would most likely eat your shrimps!
Thanks fishlady. I’m afraid I haven’t been adding ammonia - have been reading about the nitrogen cycle but just hadn’t realised I needed to add this in. Thanks so much for pointing this out, I’ll do some more reading and get some ammonia tomorrow. I will also leave the dwarf Gouramis out then, sounds like the best bet. I’ll let you know how we get on. 😊
Hi fishlady, (or others who could help!) My brother who runs a larger tropical tank with success has offered to give me a dirty filter sponge and some gravel to help seed this tank and cycle it faster. From what I have read it means I could add some fish fairly soon after this - What do you think? Or should I still feed this filter bacteria ammonia and monitor things for a while and see where the levels are at? So basically still do the fishless cycle but with the established filter media to speed things along? My brother is of the school of ‘throw a few hardy fish in first’ school of thought which I’d rather not do.
Used media will speed things up - it's how I start new tanks. To be sure there are enough bacteria to deal with the fish, I then add ammonia as per a fishless cycle just to check where it's at. For a small tank with small fish like yours, I suggest dosing to just 2 ppm of ammonia. Test for ammonia and nitrite 24 hours later. If both read 0 you're good to go.