Matching Fish To Water Parameters - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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Matching Fish To Water Parameters

Am I driving myself crazy for nothing? I've been researching fish to eventually stock my 55 gallon tank with. The water parameters depending on the source you look at never seem to match. Some are off my a lot! One says 75-86 degrees for a Pearl Gourami, then in the description for the same fish is says to raise the temperature to 80 degrees when breeding! So I assume that the 86 is probably a typo.

When the fish description shows a range of temperatures, is the optimum temp somewhere in the middle or closer to the warmer end?

What is the most important parameter? Temp? PH? GH? KH?

Then When I decide on a fish to be my centerpiece and look for other fish to go with it with the same parameters, it's difficult to find exact matches.

55 gallon Low tech planted tank. I like Angelfish and Pearl Gourami, And German Rams. I should say, I like the way they look, because I don't have any experience keeping them. Should I avoid German Blues to start with. Live Aquaria says "EXPERT ONLY" in caps!

So what is the best temperature that works with low light, easy plants and say, Angelfish and friends?

Wayne
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 10:00 AM
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Stay away from rams if you are easily discouraged. They are not a great beginner fish. Along with Dwarf gouramis they are sadly among the most popular starter fish and both species are not ideal for different reasons. If you are already stressing over temperature ranges stay away from them.

Pearl gouramis and angelfish are relatively easy fish to keep. Temperature ranges are just that. A range that the fish can survive in. Generally speaking 75-78 works with a lot of fish. Try to stay in that ballpark to keep things easy.

Temperature should be your main focus. I wouldn't go crazy worrying about pH, GH, or KH as long as your tap water isn't too crazy. Most general community fish are resilient and can take a pretty big range.

First thing to focus on is learning how the nitrogen cycle works and how to cycle a tank.

Easy plants to choose would be things like Crypts, Anubias, and Java fern.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 10:50 AM
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https://www.seriouslyfish.com/ is a pretty good resource for reliable info. You don't have to match things exactly - look out for soft, in the middle or hard water. Same with temperature - average is around 74/76 so look out for any that want a lot higher or a lot lower. Ph is probably best ignored unless you are breeding - if you match the water hardness you'll be roughly right anyway.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 03:55 PM
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Like it was mentioned, you will learn that reliable resources are key to finding correct information on fish care. Vendors goals are to sell as many fish as possible so their recommendations are often too wide in order to appeal to the many different needs of customers- not the fish in question.

For reputable advise I would stick to seriouslyfish.com and fishbase.com for internet sources or/and get a good reference book for fish care. I can give you some recommendations if reference books sound like something you could use.

For temperature ranges ( again, the ranges that vendors and internet resources use are often incorrect) you want to use the middle numbers in these ranges. The highs and lows are the extreme temperatures that a given fish will experience temporarily in a given year. These extremes are experienced in terms of days and weeks-- not longterm.

If you want Angelfish, look for fish that can handle temperatures from 77-80 degrees. I would recommend deeper bodied tetras like Bleeding heart tetras, lemon tetras, diamond tetras, and congos.
For catfish, you could do many of the L= numbered plecos. Also, could do a corydoras species like c. sterbei or c. duplicarious.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody for the great advise and recommendations. For some reason, seriouslyfish.com doesn't work very well for me. It's probably my outdated operating system. I will definitely check out fishbase.com. Discusluv, I would love good reference book ideas. Thank you.

Wayne
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 12:55 AM
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The best reference I have found for freshwater fish identification, care requirements, and breeding are the Baensch Aquarium Atlas' . They are pricey, but if you watch Amazon you can find a clean used copy for a reasonable price. This is not a book you will use once or twice, but one you will pick up again and again to look up fish. They have colored photographs of the fish and the newer edition includes invertebrates and aquarium plants.

Really, this is the only book you'll need for reference.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 03:57 AM
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If you're just starting off, you're better off matching the fish to your tap water parameters, not the other way around. This will save you lots of hassle & headaches trying to change your water parameters to suit your fish. That said, most common tank-bred fish like angels tolerate most tap water pretty well. (Never kept pearl gouramis so can't say about them)

Also, are you planning to breed the angels or gouramis? If you have several and they're happy in the home you create for them, they may well decide to whether you want them to or not. That will influence your tankmate selection also. Once angels for example pair off, they'll bully any other angels in the tank and you'll need to rehome the others, or the pair. When they lay eggs they'll be aggressive towards any other fish in their territory. And some fish like plecos that would otherwise be fine may get a taste for caviar and eat any eggs they may lay.

All things to consider...
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 04:36 AM
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When I was in college I had 5 angels in a 55 and despite having two pairs that would lay eggs I didn't rehome any of them. It might be needed though if they are too aggressive. I did find it to be somewhat annoying when they would lay eggs though and disrupt the whole tank. 55 is definitely the minimum I would consider for Angles though and personally for myself I decided 75 would be the minimum I went with.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Don't want to breed. I would be OK with just one gourami or one angelfish with a few schooling fish, a couple corys and maybe some shrimp. Seems like my water might be better for Pearl Gourami. Don't want to over stock. My tap water is: GH-100ppm, KH-60PPM, and PH-7.8. Was considering softening a bit with some peat if needed. My tap water comes from my own well. I am open to ideas. I even like blue-spotted sunfish! They like cold, slightly alkaline, medium hard water. What other fish could I keep with those? Danios? White cloud minnows?

I haven't even set up my tank yet. Just doing the research. Was planning to plant first and let the tank grow in/ mature and cycle for a while before I introduce any fish.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 05:19 AM
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Go with the pearl gourami then. Less of a headache overall than angelfish. A school of rasboras and maybe some cherry barbs would be good companions. Your water isn't really that hard so you have lots of options.


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