I have had some amazing help on this forum already, but I have finally decided on a tank, and I have also managed to put together a list of some fish that in my dream I could include. I appreciate that they may not all belong together and I don’t want to risk any of them. So I’m hoping if I write my dream list, then you guys might be willing and able to help me with suggestions for some alternatives that would be similar in appearance/behaviour, but that would be good together? I will listen and take any and all advice on board - I can only imagine how frustrating it must be when people come back with “yeah, but….”! I won’t be one of them!
So the set up I’ve bought is approx 630L (530L in the tank, and a sump that could hold up to 150L so I’m erring on the side of caution and saying 100L usable - is that correct?) it is 5 ft long, 18” wide and 2.5ft high, sump is 3ft long, 15” wide and 17” high.
The water in my existing little tank reads 180 GH, 120 KH. 7.5-8.0 PH.
There are going to be some cichlids already in the tank, which I’m happy to keep or to move on if that’s what would be best for them. I don’t know every detail about them but I would say there’s probably somewhere in the region of 30 fish made up of primarily strawberries, dolphins, Taiwan reef and OB’s. I can put some pictures up if that would help?
On to my dream list, this is more of a reference guide rather than I want these fish and only these fish. I can’t get my head around how many fish should be in a tank so I’ve gone for minimum numbers that each fish would want and I can hopefully work out the numbers from your advice.
6 x clown loaches 6 x silver dollars 6 x electric blue (or blue) acaras Red tail shark Larger sized plec/catfish Maybe some bristlenose plecs (I saw a lovely butterfly plec actually that I just remembered) And then my thoughts are to fill out the tank with as many mixed colour cichlids as would be healthy for them.
I do really adore the clown loaches and I’d love for them to stay, and I would like a bit of special Pleco/cat fish, I know they can get enormous and way too big for the width of my tank though, so any ideas for which would fit comfortably are very welcome. I’d also like a nice schooling fish like the Silver Dollars, and a bit of a statement fish like the Red Tail Shark. The Acaras are just beautiful fish. Above and beyond this list, I’m happy for any advice in terms of what ever else I could put in.
The only ones I’m really quite set on are the clown loaches, and I’d hope to build everything else around that if possible, but only if possible.
I've only ever had a comparatively tiny tank and no personal experience in the types of fish you're planning. It's also a while since I've looked at or advised on the various species you're referring to, so I don't feel in any way competent to do so and unfortunately don't have the capacity to do so currently. Hopefully someone with more experience will be better able to help out.
However, in the interim, you might find the following helpful: * caresheets for your proposed fish, available at https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/caresheets/ and more up-to-date and comprehensive ones at https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ which will help you figure out if your water is suitable, and suggest most suitable tankmates for the fish you definitely want to keep; * cichlid, plec and catfish specialist forums; * various fishtank/aquarium stocking calculators online to get an idea of suitable numbers of each for your tank dimensions and capacity.
Sorry not to be of any more help but hope this provides a few useful signposts for you to have a browse through, even if just as an interim measure.