Deciding on which middle sized fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Deciding on which middle sized fish

Hello all,

I have a 50 gallon tank in which I have put a number of small tetras, like neons, embers, and goldens. However, I want to add a few slightly bigger fish to create a contrast between the small school of tetras and the bigger ones, but I am not sure what to go for. I was thinking something like gouramis, but I've heard they eat plants. Has anybody here kept some gouramis? I would be worried if they ate my plants, I have rotalas, ludwigias, ARs, and stuff like that... I also thought about maybe angel fish, or pearl danios, though the danios are still not the size I am looking for. I don't want to go for a super delicate type of fish or a fish that requires very special water parameters... Any recomendations?

Here is a picture of the tank, so maybe you have a better idea of what would look good there.



Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 04:38 PM
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If you put an Angel in there I will unsubscribe to your journal LOL. That would kill the scale. I personally would stay with large school / small fish, but if you want to go bigger I would recommend Congo Tetras.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 04:40 PM
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It's not that bigger, but in your case I'd go with (not so) dwarf cichlids

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
If you put an Angel in there I will unsubscribe to your journal LOL. That would kill the scale. I personally would stay with large school / small fish, but if you want to go bigger I would recommend Congo Tetras.
Hahaha Yeah, the big school of small fish was always the idea, however it somehow feels like it's missing something when it comes to movement of fish. I agree that angel fish might be overkill in terms of size, but something a little bit larger than the tetras. The ideal fish would be something like a dwarf gourami, maybe like five of them only, however I need to know if they would be compatible with my plants.

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Originally Posted by edustarling View Post
It's not that bigger, but in your case I'd go with (not so) dwarf cichlids

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Cichlids are very pretty, but they have a similar problem. They eat all kinds of plants and also they are known for disturbing the substrate quite a lot. That's not something I am looking forward to. I do wish they behaved like tetras, because they are very colorful. I have considered them but their behavior is not very compatible with this tank.... I've noticed they are not very popular in planted tanks, and that's the reason why I believe.


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-25-2020 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 05:20 PM
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Sounds like you want a more full-bodied fish, as opposed to the usual torpedo shape. You'll also have to consider the open-top for jumping ability of large fish. Looks like you have it pretty well below the rim. In my current tank I keep it about 1" below and haven't lost anything (other than a nerite snail), but the largest fish I have are Black Neons. Rainbows could work as well, but they aren't slow moving like the gourami. Other than scale issue, I could see that working.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 05:22 PM
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I was just at my local fish store and their large planted display tank had some fish I'd never seen before and I had to ask what they were. They looked like much bigger versions of emperor tetras, but not quite the same color. BEAUTIFUL fish. Turns out they were Cherry Red Congo Tetras (Alestopetersius brichardi). They were pretty big, maybe 3.5". They might be a good choice for you.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chizpa305 View Post
Cichlids are very pretty, but they have a similar problem. They eat all kinds of plants and also they are known for disturbing the substrate quite a lot. That's not something I am looking forward to. I do wish they behaved like tetras, because they are very colorful. I have considered them but their behavior is not very compatible with this tank.... I've noticed they are not very popular in planted tanks, and that's the reason why I believe.
It depends on the species. Here there's a species that fits perfectly in your description (Geophagus braziliensis). But apistos and rams tend to be much more sociable, that would be my choice.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 10:07 PM
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To answer your question about dwarf gouramis: They shouldn't go too hard on plants, but your mileage may vary based off of individual fish. I'm a big fan of pearl gouramis to be honest, which are slow (ish), relatively big but smaller than angels, won't pick on fish, and most likely won't pick on plants. Also, that sheen is to die for.

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
To answer your question about dwarf gouramis: They shouldn't go too hard on plants, but your mileage may vary based off of individual fish. I'm a big fan of pearl gouramis to be honest, which are slow (ish), relatively big but smaller than angels, won't pick on fish, and most likely won't pick on plants. Also, that sheen is to die for.
Yeah, I've always liked gouramis. They have some kind of elegance to them, and are also very colorful and varied. I had gouramis back before I got into planted tanks. So I don't really have experience when it comes to introducing them to a planted tank. I don't see almost anybody in the forum using gouramis in their tanks, which is kind of weird.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 05:29 PM
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I feel like I'm also in the same boat as you
40g open top tank with cardinals, ember, gold tetras. I did find that when I had my neon green rasboras the tetras would come out swimming more into the open and made the tank more interesting so no need to add bigger fish.

I recently added glass catfish thinking they were bigger they would move around the tetras but I only had 3 and they just hid all the time, maybe a school of 6 can work in your tank but I also feel like they don't like high light.

The main issue of keeping a larger fish in there would be that it may move a bit more or scare the tetras and then you may have a few jumpers.

In the past I never had an issue with jumpers and then I added some black phantom tetras to increase the scale and they ended up bullying the glowlight tetras and rummies.

Looking at george farm's tank he has some pearl gouramis that look beautiful with the smaller fish. They are not too picky and can live in your current parameters/tank. Dwarf gouramis also add a pop of color but I've never had them so not sure on their temperament or plant appetite


PS. how do you find the gold tetras do in the high light? how many do you have?

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chizpa305 View Post
Yeah, I've always liked gouramis. They have some kind of elegance to them, and are also very colorful and varied. I had gouramis back before I got into planted tanks. So I don't really have experience when it comes to introducing them to a planted tank. I don't see almost anybody in the forum using gouramis in their tanks, which is kind of weird.

Fascinating! They seemed really popular a decade or so back. I think a lot of people donít keep them because they interfere with shrimp (the larger ones are avid shrimpivores/snailivores). It could also be that the gold/blue gouramis tend to be a bit more boisterous as well...


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So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by monkeyruler90 View Post
I feel like I'm also in the same boat as you
40g open top tank with cardinals, ember, gold tetras. I did find that when I had my neon green rasboras the tetras would come out swimming more into the open and made the tank more interesting so no need to add bigger fish.

I recently added glass catfish thinking they were bigger they would move around the tetras but I only had 3 and they just hid all the time, maybe a school of 6 can work in your tank but I also feel like they don't like high light.

The main issue of keeping a larger fish in there would be that it may move a bit more or scare the tetras and then you may have a few jumpers.

In the past I never had an issue with jumpers and then I added some black phantom tetras to increase the scale and they ended up bullying the glowlight tetras and rummies.

Looking at george farm's tank he has some pearl gouramis that look beautiful with the smaller fish. They are not too picky and can live in your current parameters/tank. Dwarf gouramis also add a pop of color but I've never had them so not sure on their temperament or plant appetite


PS. how do you find the gold tetras do in the high light? how many do you have?

Are you talking about George Farmer? the youtuber?

I currently have about 15 golden and like 25 neons, only about 5 ember. They all form a big school and swim around the tank nicely, though not exactly synchronized, more like all over the place, especially when they know there's food coming. Pearl gouramis might work, maybe just about 3 or 4 of them... I once saw a tank that had discus and a bunch of very small fish, it created a very beautiful contrast of sizes. I don't want to go with discus or anything like that, but I still liked the idea of adding some kind of size contrast.

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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
Fascinating! They seemed really popular a decade or so back. I think a lot of people donít keep them because they interfere with shrimp (the larger ones are avid shrimpivores/snailivores). It could also be that the gold/blue gouramis tend to be a bit more boisterous as well...


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Huuummm you bring a good point that I honestly hadn't considered. The shrimp! I wouldn't want them to get eaten, no sir. Man no wonder tetras are king. They are perfect for planted tanks, everything else always come with some problem.


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 11:32 PM
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Ohhhhh...you have shrimp...well, if you're okay with sacrificing maybe half the population then you should be fine! Jokes aside, what are your thoughts on a single betta/gourami? In a 50 gallon, there should be enough space for the shrimp to hide, as long as there's a very, very small shrimpivore population. Case in point, neon tetras will definitely go after the shrimplets. So adding one pearl gourami, or one betta, or one dwarf gourami might work out. Again, your mileage may vary based off of individual fish.

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 04:51 AM
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If you want another school, look at some of the larger tetras like kerri tetras or candy cane/hy511/bentosi tetras. These are all more full bodied than the smaller ones you currently have. For just a few larger ones, look at 2-3 honey or sunset gourami. Not as large as pearl and supposed to be less aggressive than dwarf gourami. Maybe could use some cories on the bottom level?
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 01:11 AM
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I'm on board with the idea of bigger schools of small fish, too. I had five Discus in my tank along with lots of small fish schools. My last discus died last fall and we had a LOT of home improvement work done over the winter, so I've been kind of lazy with the tank. Now I'm getting back into it again and I've decided to just have decent sized schools and no "big" fish.

Pearl Gouramis are pretty easy on plants, but might be too big for your desired size. Many of the larger tetras are pretty. I used to have a tetra only 29 gal that had probably 7 schools of different tetras. Emperor, Serpae, Pristella, Diamond are all nice. Rhombo barbs are interesting, too, and I've found them to not be aggressive.

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