Need help deciding on top dwellers - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: What top dweller do you suggest?
Gardneri Killifish Pair 2 28.57%
Marbled Hatchet School 5 71.43%
Both 0 0%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Need help deciding on top dwellers

Hello everyone! New to this forum and just want to say I've enjoyed checking this website out! Tons of helpful info Now onto my question...

I am currently setting up a 30g freshwater tank with live plants (still cycling) and have my list of future inhabitants almost ready. Where I am stuck is with the top dwellers. The two types I have narrowed it down to are a pair of Gardneri Killifish or a school of Marbled Hatchets.

Other future inhabitants include:

1 Betta
5 Bleeding Heart Tetra
9 Cardinal Tetra
2 Zebra Loaches
1 Hillstream Loach
1 German Blue Ram

I currently have an HOB filter and plan to add CO2 in the future (and probably change to sponge filters). I have only terrestrial plants at the moment but plan to add some frog bit or duckweed for extra security.

My question is what top dwellers would go well with the other tank mates? Do you have any other suggestions of good, community top dwellers? My concerns are that the killifish will be too timid with the top all to themselves. What are your opinions/ suggestions? Any help appreciated, thanks!

Last edited by Ashnic05; 01-09-2013 at 08:22 PM. Reason: spell check
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 02:42 PM
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I have read that hatchet fish are very good jumpers and can jump through even the narrowest opening. What do you plan on having for a cover for your tank?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 02:48 PM
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i have a male gardneri (i had a female but i think she jumped) and i read that it is best to keep them with two or three females.

this is quit possibly the friendliest fish have every kept (and also one of the most colorful).


Hillstream/Boreno Loach Refuge

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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I have also read that hatchets are good jumpers and that killi's do jump from time to time. Because I have an HOB filter I have a very large, gaping hole at the top. I plan to cover it with mesh before I get either kind of top dweller to prevent jumps. In the future when I change to sponge filters I will change the hood as well to a glass top which has very little chance of anyone jumping out.

I have never heard of killi's using a hierarchy, I will have to research that some more. I only planned on getting a pair because that's how my LFS sells them.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 07:13 PM
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Hatchets are cool fish and get pretty big, actually. They're great jumpers. Your stocking list looks okay, but I would choose between the bleeding hearts and the cardinals and bump up the number of fish in the group rather than have small groups of both. I'd also cut out the Betta, one of the loach species, and add another ram or two. This way you'll have top, middle, and bottom of the water column fish without overwhelming the overall effect. In my experience, schooling fish don't act right until there are ten or more in a group.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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After doing a bit more research I'm pretty much resolved to get the hatchets, I think they would go better with how my tank is going to be setup. I know Bettas are known to be nippy with smaller fish, and I was going to observe him for a bit after acclimation to see how he reacts towards the cardinals (I have a backup tank if I need to house him in it). They just look so great in larger tanks I wanted to see if I could get away with it, if I can find a more docile Betta that is. I agree with you on the schooling fish that more in one school is best, I'm just having trouble deciding which school I like more May I ask why you recommend to cut out one of the loach species? I love the Zebra loaches and realize that hillstreams need cooler waters so if I must choose one, the Zebras would win.
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hatchets, killifish, top dwellers

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