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rusty_f rusty_f
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  • Posted on: 27/5/2013 20:26
Another newbie, haven't a clue! #1
Hi

I've been thinking of keeping tropical fish for a while now and I bought a tank yesterday. It's a Juwel Korall 60 UK tropical which has a 54 litre capacity. I got it from my local independent fish shop. I've put the decorations, gravel and artificial plants in, filled it with water and turned the filter on and I've got the temperature at 75F.

The person who served me in the fish shop led me to believe that I could come back next week to get my first few fish. Then I started reading the Internet. I'm now a little annoyed at being led to believe I could get started straight away, not what I expected from a local shop at all - I chose a local shop as I didn't trust Pets at Home who are a little to general.

I've accepted now that I have to wait, but I've also just read that I'm limited to what fish I can get given the hard water in my area (SE London).

So I need some help, as the more I'm reading the more I'm getting confused.

I've order some ammonia and a test kit so i can start my cycling off. While I wait for that, I'd like some advice on what fish to put in my tank when it is ready.

I'm a little worried I've got a tank that is too small to hold many fish. I ran some calculations (I think from an article on this site?) and I could apparently get up to 12 small fish - around 2.5cm each - in a tank my size. Does that sound right? (I understand that if the fish are bigger than 2.5cm it reduces the overall number I can have).

When I'm ready to add some fish, what would be the best ones to get given my hard water and tank size? I'd like a variety of colourful fish. I read some suggestions that rainbow fish are good in hard water, but that I'd need to get at least 6. Would I be able to introduce all 6 into my tank at once? And having 6 doesn't leave a lot of room for variety. Perhaps another 6 of another type, or a few pairs of fish that can coexist happily?

Any advise would be appreciated. I'm quite open to any sorts of fish, and I have the shop in my area to go and investigate, as well as a Pets At Home (as long as I can go armed with some information!).

Thanks in advance!
Russell
Darlo toe Darlo toe
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  • Posted on: 27/5/2013 21:47
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #2
i`d test your water 1st to find out how hard?soft it is
rusty_f rusty_f
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  • Posted on: 27/5/2013 22:26
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #3
According to my local water company website my water is 264ppm CaCO3. I think that puts me in the fairly hard category, with a mean pH of 7.8. I am waiting on my testing kit to get an accurate pH reading, but I'm just starting to panic slightly that I will have very few options (if any)!
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 27/5/2013 23:29
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #4
It will be easier to advise when you have your test kit so as soon as it arrives test the pH of your tap water straight from the tap and at the same time run a cup full of water and leave it to stand for 24 hours then test that and post both results.

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions for fish that suit roughly what you've found out so far in the tank size you have:

A colony of small Tanganyikan shell dwellers such as Neolamprologus multifasciatus. These would need a sand and shell based tank and a pair or trio would rapidly form a multi-generational colony.

For a more typical planted tank:

Guppy
Platy
Endler's Livebearer
Forktail Blue Eye Rainbow Fish


For slightly cooler temperatures:

White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Glowlight Danio
Emerald Dwarf Rasbora
Dwarf Livebearer
DaveGodfrey DaveGodfrey
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  • Posted on: 28/5/2013 11:01
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #5
To be honest your main limitation is the size of your tank. Looking at just the temperate species, there's a good range- in a hillstream set-up Gobies, Zebra Danios, WCMMs, would all be very happy. Odessa Barbs come from water witha pH of 11 in the wild. Although rarer US natives like Darters, Shiners, and American Flag Fish are becoming more common, and there are several shops in London that regularly stock them, and will be very happy in our liquid rock. The problem is, that other than WCMMs I wouldn't recommend any of them for the Korall, as its just too small.

My Korall has a colony of Least Killifish (aka Dwarf Livebearers), and they're lovely fish. Wholesale Tropicals in Bethnal Green usually have them in stock.
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rusty_f rusty_f
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  • Posted on: 28/5/2013 20:39
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #6
I do wish I hadn't rushed into this now and saved up for a larger tank. I guess it's something I can move to in a few months to a year once I get the hang of caring for my new fishy friends!

Thanks for the suggestions guys. It seems I do have some choice, and I could even mix a couple of those species together quite successfully? I was thinking of something like:

Platy
Endless Livebearer
Dwarf Livebearer

These three seem to share the same sort of tank requirements (dwarf upper temp limit is the platy and endless min temp so think this would be ok?)

I don't think I could get all three as my tank wouldn't support so many fish. Out of these three, would you recommend two together, or just one? And how many of each? Would the platy eat the smaller fish?

Also, I am terrified of them mating and producing lots and lots of fry so I'd be keen to get just male fish which I think seems to be ok for these fish? Maybe I can look at mixing sexes once I get a larger tank and can use my current tank as a nursery tank.

My test kit comes tomorrow so I'll be able to test my pH properly.

Thanks again for your help. I'm loving what I'm reading on this site and the support the community gives to everyone!
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 28/5/2013 23:14
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #7
I wouldn't advise trying to keep all three, and would be inclined to drop the Dwarf Livebearers as though their upper limit coincides with the other fishes' lower limits for temperature, you really don't want all the fish in the tank to be on the edge of their acceptable range. It's better by far to try to aim for mid range where possible.

If you want all males, then to be honest I would consider having just Endler's Livebearers with some shrimps for extra colour. All male groups of some species' of fish can work, but you tend to need more of them to prevent any one being singled out for bullying by the others. With two live-bearing species' in the tank, neither would be able to have a big enough group to spread aggression.
DaveGodfrey DaveGodfrey
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  • Posted on: 29/5/2013 8:30
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #8
The dwarfs will do better in a tank which warms and cools with the ambient temperature. Their upper limit is the same as for Platys and Endlers, but they won't like it permanently. That will get too cold for Endlers or Platys.

While both Endlers and Platys are very prolific at producing babies, Least Killies don't produce nearly so many offspring at a time- the female will drop one every couple of days or so for a few weeks before taking a break. Endlers will drop lots of fry at the same time, and then start again, so its very easy to get overstocked with them. That won't happen to anything like the same degree with the Least Killies- the best way to keep them is in a self-perpetuating colony.
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rusty_f rusty_f
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  • Posted on: 29/5/2013 13:09
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #9
Thanks guys. A lot to think about.

If I got endler's livebearers, how many could I have in my tank? Based on my previous post's calculations, my tank could cope with up to 12 - is that ok? And if so, would I go up to that number gradually or is it ok to introduce them to my tank all at the same time?

For the killi/dwarf - I do like the idea of a self-perpetuating colony. If I was to go down this road, how many should I introduce initially, how many male/female etc? What would be the maximum number my tank could safely support before I would have to consider rehoming some and how quickly would I get to that limit? And what do I do with the fish I can no longer home?

Also, how readily available are the endler's and dwarfs in LFS? I plan to have a nosey around in my own local shop at the weekend (where I got the tank and the bad advice) to see if they stock them. Do P@H stock them? This would be my last resort after reading the horror stories.

Finally, both species like heavily planted tanks. Does this mean real plants or would artificial ones be ok? I'm interested in live plants, but not sure how successful I'd be at keeping them (and I think I'd have to change my substrate - I went for larger-sized pebbles with my purchase which I don't think is suitable?) I take it I'd need to plant them all before the fish arrive to make them feel most comfortable and give the plants a little time to establish.

Thanks again for your time and patience. As its my first time keeping fish I want to make sure I do the best I can!
DaveGodfrey DaveGodfrey
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  • Posted on: 29/5/2013 14:12
Re: Another newbie, haven't a clue! #10
Quote:

rusty_f wrote:
Thanks guys. A lot to think about.

If I got endler's livebearers, how many could I have in my tank? Based on my previous post's calculations, my tank could cope with up to 12 - is that ok? And if so, would I go up to that number gradually or is it ok to introduce them to my tank all at the same time?


I would cycle your tank, get 6-8, and then look at your water parameters and how rapidly your nitrates build up. After a while you could add another 4-6 to bring you up to 12.

Quote:
For the killi/dwarf - I do like the idea of a self-perpetuating colony. If I was to go down this road, how many should I introduce initially, how many male/female etc?


As many as you can get. As with most livebearers a ratio of 1M:2F is best. I'd start with 6-8.

Quote:
What would be the maximum number my tank could safely support before I would have to consider rehoming some and how quickly would I get to that limit?


20-30+ I'd say. A big female is 1" long, and the males are about half that, so the bioload per fish is minimal. It'll take a while to get to that levels individual fish aren't terribly long-lived, and they don't produce many babies in one go.Quote:

And what do I do with the fish I can no longer home?


Depending on where you got them the shop you bought them from may be willing to take the excess back. Unlike guppies and platys Least Killies aren't commonly seen, so there's a potential market for them. Local aquarists' clubs would be worth talking to as well.

Quote:
Also, how readily available are the endler's and dwarfs in LFS? I plan to have a nosey around in my own local shop at the weekend (where I got the tank and the bad advice) to see if they stock them. Do P@H stock them? This would be my last resort after reading the horror stories.


I've not seen them at P@H (but I've only ever been in one once- I live in North London, so I may have a better choice of LFS without having to travel much). The only place I've seen them with any regularity is Wholesale Tropicals in Bethnal Green. Wildwoods up in Enfield and the Aquatic Design Centre off Oxford Street have them occasionally too.

Quote:
Finally, both species like heavily planted tanks. Does this mean real plants or would artificial ones be ok? I'm interested in live plants, but not sure how successful I'd be at keeping them (and I think I'd have to change my substrate - I went for larger-sized pebbles with my purchase which I don't think is suitable?)


Go for the bunched plants like the typical pondweeds and you'll be fine. Ceratophyllum is very good, and doesn't have roots, so you just need to push it into the gravel to stop it floating about. The fine leaves will provide somewhere for the fry to hide from their parents (least killies aren't particularly cannibalistic, but every little helps. Floating plants like duckweed, Amazon Frogbit, etc are also good for similar reasons. For the Least Killies I use playsand, as its a bit more "biotope correct", and tiny brown and cream fish are much easier to see against it, and look better with the smaller grain size.

Quote:
I take it I'd need to plant them all before the fish arrive to make them feel most comfortable and give the plants a little time to establish.


I would. It also gives you something to do while you're cycling the tank.
Loaches, Barbs, Minnows & Shrimp! Oh My!