Stocking Help 180 Gallon (Updated)
So, after quite a few years and a large move and various power outages, I've giving up on fixing my tank back to how it was as a reef not long ago. The tank has therefore been turned into a planted freshwater tank.
It's 6ft x 2 ft x 2ft, with a sump, 2 inches of river sand underneath and inch of river pebbles and 8 x 80 t5 lights. I'm using fertilizer tabs instead of a already fertilized substrate due to cost.
At the moment, I just added a few plants, and a couple driftwood peices, as well as 10 Harlequin Barbs.
I really need some stocking advice, though, as it differs so much from the marine stocking I'm used to.
I really really really want some Kribensis cichilids, as they have been a favorite of mine for a while. But the opinions on these are so conflicting. And while I've read though a lot of posts asking if they're suitable community fish, usually the tank is a fair bit smaller and thus I thought that would be reflected in the answers I've read. In my tank, would their aggression be more mild due to space?
I also would love blue and gold rams, though I know they prefer lower pH and higher temps, so that depends on what other fish I get. These also a ground dwelling, and may conflict with the Kribs, but I thought there should be enough space.
I would also like, perhaps, some Discus, a small group as a centre peice.
Other then that, I'm lost in terms of what tetras, barbs, killifish, loaches, rainbow fish and whatever else to get?
What are some better schoolers and what would be the best numbers in my size tank?
Sorry for such a long question, and thanks for any help! Cheers:smile:
If you want Discus which you certainly can with your tank, go and read lots of info about keeping them. Keeping Discus is a bit specialised compared to keeping most other freshwater fish so if Discus is your end goal it makes sense to set everything up with them in mind.
Discus are higher temperature fish, like the German Blue Rams. The somewhat higher temperature required limits what plants you can have as well. If you've been happy keeping a reef I'm sure you'll manage a planted Discus tank esp at that size tank but do read up.
Main problem with kribs if I remember correctly is just that they breed like crazy and get aggressive when breeding.
As for schooling fish, I have penguin tetras and really enjoy them, they are fairly rowdy for a tetra though but do school tightly quite often (also split up and bicker amongst each other when feeling safe).
If I had your tank I'd do a south american themed tank with a group of angelfish, cories on the bottom, a smaller pleco and a shoal of tetras big enough not to get eaten by full grown angelfish. It's a fairly "standard" set up but it's standard for a reason and none of the fish are particularly hard to care for or tricky to deal with.
Thank you for the input :) - I have no shortage of reading to do hahaha It's a bit overwhelming, going to Google the name of each fish as I come across it. If I did a higher temperature tank, with rams and discus or other fish with the same temp, pH and hardness requirements, what kind of loaches would suit, as I know cories would be out?
With the Kribs, I was hoping that even if they did spawn they would keep to a pot in the corner and maybe just defend their area but not attack other fish? I'm unsure. I love these little guys, but don't want a random bloodbath.
Also, does the softer water do much for plants? I may be getting confused with the pH/Kh relationship for CO2, but do plants usually prefer harder water?
I saw some Penguin tetras today, they were fairly cute. I also liked the longfin Serpae Tetras, Widow tetras and a few others. But I live in a rural area, local stuff is scarce.
I admit, I'm not a huge fan of Angelfish, though they are regal looking when fully matured. I would also worry about their aggression and getting their fins nipped
Am going to read some more on discus now. My tank sits at about 27 regardless, and I'd be ok with the waterchanges and maintenance, but keeping the water soft could be an issue
Ohkay.. So this is a little list I thought MIGHT work. I've mainly been looking to suit temperature so required pH and hardness might differ. I plant to keep the pH at maybe 6.8, the temp around 28C and the water fairly soft.. I hope haha
I don't have a clue on numbers yet? I couldn't find anywhere if Rams and Kribs prefer to be introduced in small groups or what, but I'm thinking of including the following
A school of Diamond Tetras
A school of either Cardinal or Conchus Blue Tetras
German Blue Rams
Discus (lassttt - centre peice also) I think they;re worth the maintenance and different tank conditions even if it takes months to years before I am comfortable that everything is stable enough.
I fear there are too many bottom dwelling fish, and I also worry about the agression of the rams with the cories. If the cories wont work, then I could use Dwarf Loaches (sidthimunki) as they also tolerate the warmer water up to 30C
So what numbers would you do for these fish? What are the larger clashes? Also, with the Kribs agression, I hoped the emerald catfishes larger size might also help.
Opinions? Feel free to say it's stupid if it really is an impractical list.
Rather than a group of small fish, I like larger. Have you considered going with a cichlid tank? A large tank deserves large fish so they will be the center attraction rather than lost. If you have hard alkaline water, it cries out for African cichlids. They come in hundreds of different types so don't let the talk of problems deter you. This is meant to be a learning experience! A male only tank does not have breeding problems!
Thanks for that idea! :) I had considered a cichilid tank. There are some absolutely gorgeous ones. But I really wanted to go planted, it's just so pretty and serene. So most of my favorite cichilids tear up plants. I was hoping discus would be enough of a large center piece for the tank. I'm not sure, but I kind of prefer the mixed community with smaller, intricate details and subtleties to look at for hours, rather than larger fish, despite how beautiful those fish can be.
Also, my parents and brother have predator/cichilid tanks also, so I grew up with them, and am looking for something refreshing. Still.. I can't ignore the little Kribs and Rams, as they're still cichilids I suppose.
Do you have an opinion on the list I posted? In terms of incompatibility or over/under stocking?
Instead of several schools of small fish, have you thought of a large school of them. Yes, with plenty of other tankmates. I have a 210 and am pondering the same thing. One large school could act as that center piece. Throw in a couple of larger fish (none that would eat them) and they should stay schooled and will look awesome moving through the tank. I just bought 32 balloon lamp eye tetras and love the tight schooling look. There is a video of them in both my journal and right here in the fish forum. Our tanks have the same foot print, mine is just a tad taller. Doesn't look like that many fish. So either I am going to add a second school of rummynose, or add more to this school.
I have kept kribs in a community planted tank before, and only during mating were the aggressive. Luckily they chose a spot in one of the corners of the tank to have their young. If you do, make sure you give lots of hiding spots.
Domestic dDscus would be fine in wider range of water but may only breed in soft water with low TDS (total dissolved solid's).
Domestic Discus would be fine in wider range of water, but may only breed in soft water with low TDS (total dissolved solid's).
Here is a stocking calculator for you. Many people here stock much heavier than this but it is a decent starting point.
I prefer my fish to occupy different niches. One bottom feeder - Corydoras sp. One large schooler. One small algae eater. One small schooler and so on.
Choose one for each area of the tank and buy lots of them. A dozen Corydoras but choose one species rather than an assortment. 50 torpedo shaped tetras of one species and 30 deep bodied tetras of another. If you decide you want a large fish species then plan so you can accommodate a good number of them. I find the so called clean up crew to be more interesting to watch than the display fish and do not begrudge smaller display fish numbers because platies, otos and plecos are in the tank.
I haven't had kribs before but dwarf flag cichlids, Laetacara curviceps, were super good parents and not aggressive at all when brooding. They redirected attention away from the babies if a fish looked their way. Pretty neat I thought.
My 180 gallon tank with 20 additional gallons in the sump is understocked with ~12 corydoras, ~12 otocinclus, ~20 platies, ~15 Congo Tetras, ~40 Black Neon Tetras and 2 Bristlenose Plecos. I may end up buying more corydoras, otos and Congo Tetras and would love to find Peacock Gudgeons sometime.
I thought a large school of diamond tetras would be nice.. But I'm not sure what constitutes a 'large' enough number hahah 24? 35? I had looked at the balloon lamp eye tetras after seeing your posts, but they seem to require the lower temperature waters.
What are some higher temperature tetras which school really well?
I'll go have a look at your video now, thanks!
Good to know the Kribs were ok in your tank, would it be safer to just have one? Or would that just be sad for the fish?
Thanks! Going and putting in what I am considering it;s around 75%. That's not bad considering I plan on this being done over the long, long, long run. Though it does say the Kribs are too aggressive with my other selected fish on that site.
Thanks for that - I've talked to a few people at LFS and such, and it seems more to come down to the individual fish? I just hoped the extra space for make mild the aggression, even through breeding. I'm hopeful. How would the Kribs go with the Rams, do you think? Okay as lond as I break up their line of site and such?
Congo tetras are sweet, but prefer lower temps, sadly. Same with the black neons, I think.. I liked those also. Do your Corydoras school in those numbers?
And @ Roadmaster, that can vary, as my house uses bore, well, rain and town water in various places... So the type of water I can use also can change... But I will have to test each and see if what I want... soft, slightly acidic water, is possible. Thanks!:) I think 5 - 10 dH and still pH 6.8 or so.
Also, and sorry for the multiple posts in a row, what is a good replacement for the clown loach? They're gorgeous little things but grow too big, and add a lot of load on the Aq Advisor, so are they a bad option?
Sorry to be so repetative but what are people's actually thoughts on this list.. Keeping in mind it will be slow to build to this and the Kribs will be monitored, and have a place to be moved to if they do get too aggressive.
14 Harlequin Rosboras
20 or more Lemon Tetras (I've heard these are good schoolers and although they're fairly plain, a large school of non-fin nippers would be nice.
4 Golden Rams
4 German Blue Rams (or plain Blue rams, not fused)
2 Kribensis Cichilids
10 Emerald Catfish
8 Sterbai Corydoras (would get a larger group but they're expensive around here)
5 Khuli Loaches
Would that be too many bottom dwellers though? I know people say, choose a variety that occupy different regions. I also hoped the shape of the tetras would contrast, and their occupation of lower/middle to higher/middle levels of the tank. Then with the eventual Discus, would that be enough fish in the higher section of the tank?
How often do Ram venture upwards?
Cheers and thanks for the help so far.
Also, on the AqAdvisor this puts my stocking at 71% but I can't imagine adding much more than that
That sounds fine. I think. I'd be tempted to bump up the numbers of the rasporas. I have 12 penguin tetras as the main school in my 54 gallon tank and that fits well enough but I think 14 schooling fish in a 180 isn't that much and they're always happier and prettier in bigger groups.
I'd also probably stock really slowly, start off with the hardier fish and get the hang of plants and the tank before adding the more delicate rams and discus.
I used to have sterbai cories, they're pretty much my favourite cory. Started out with 6 but they spawned and I raised the fry so I had a few extra later on.
As for the lower/middle/upper sections of the tank, the fish will do just what they want. If you have plants that reach the surface the fish will feel safer to venture higher up more often, but even then individual fish will sometimes decide to not swim much in the level they're "supposed" to be in. Like I had a gourami that usually stayed in the lower to middle level of the tank for some reason.
Also do read up on discus and discus in planted tanks, lots. I think there were some nice threads in this forum on the topic. You need to make sure that everything you do in terms of other fish etc. is geared towards the discus for when they go in.
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