75 gallon South American stocking question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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75 gallon South American stocking question

Hello everyone! I'm a long-time lurker and am just getting back into planted tanks after a several-year foray into African cichlids. My previous planted tank experience is several fun years with a (loose) Southeast Asian biotope high light 29 gallon planted tank with compressed CO2.

I now have a standard 75 gallon tank ready to start afresh. I added EcoComplete substrate, some driftwood, and ordered a 48" Finnex Fugeray Planted Plus LED light. The tank is already cycled. I am planning to start with this medium-light setup and use liquid ferts, and after I ease back into it I will probably get another light and move back to compressed CO2 and dry ferts. I have lots of filtration: a Fluval 406 as well as a Fluval 110 HOB.

My question regards stocking. I am hoping to do a South American-centered tank. I know I want schooling tetras, corys, and a pleco. I'm looking for a "centerpiece" fish and am considering angels. I know they are cichlids and can be aggressive, but I have seen lots of videos of people with Angels and small tetras. I am considering the following stocking list:

- 25 cardinal tetras
- 10 black skirt tetras
- 10 panda corys
- 3 silver zebra angelfish
- 1 gold nugget pleco

What do you think? Can I risk the angelfish and cardinals together? If not angels, then what other large-ish "centerpiece" fish might you consider? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 01:12 AM
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Angels sound alright...I guess discus but they are something you plan for not just half-hazardly add.....rams seem cool as well, german or bolivian

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, discus would be very cool. Eventually I might try some, but I want to wait until I'm really comfortable with my setup before I purchase any $80 fish
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:11 AM
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Ram's or a pair of Apisto's would be a nice little addition to your tank.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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I had thought of rams and/or apistos--beautiful fish--but I wasn't sure if they are big enough to be a "centerpiece". Do you think they'd be conspicious enough in place of the Angels?

Maybe some torpedo barbs would look good but they're $48 on liveaquaria.....
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:50 AM
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I think if you can start off with larger Cardinals and smaller Angels you've got a good chance with them, especially since Cardinals get much larger than their common Neon cousins.

I think Angels would make a great centerpiece- especially since, unlike most other plant-safe dwarf cichlids, they'll spend more of their time in the center of the water column rather than mostly at the bottom. And are a good size for a 75gal tank.

You'll just have to watch out if you end up with a breeding pair once the Angels hit sexual maturity; some pairs are more territorial/aggressive/protective than others.





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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Great, good info--thanks. I suppose it's luck of the draw in determining whether I get a breeding pair. I always heard that I should get an odd number of angels, but I suppose that may not be necessary. Maybe I should just get two angels. If I get three, it increases my chances of a male/female pair substantially.....
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:34 AM
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You could get a school of checkerboard cichlids ie. Maculatus or Filamentosa.. A school of S. American pencilfish would be awesome too. If you want Angelfish id just make sure they are from the same area as the cardinals and you should be fine. Perhaps Altums.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by patholoraptor View Post
Great, good info--thanks. I suppose it's luck of the draw in determining whether I get a breeding pair. I always heard that I should get an odd number of angels, but I suppose that may not be necessary. Maybe I should just get two angels. If I get three, it increases my chances of a male/female pair substantially.....
Well.... that isn't the approach I'd take, personally.

Like most cichlid species, angels will often do best when there are more fish around to distribute territorial and aggressive behavior between. I'd probably start off with 5 or 6 in a 75gal tank, and then just see how things work out.

If you keep these same fish together (without adding or removing other Angels), you increase the chances that they will sort out their pecking order while young and small, and this may stay stable as they grow. It's sometimes possible to maintain breeding pairs with tankmates when they've been raised together. (No guarantees, but it *can* work out well sometimes.)

If you only start out with two of the same sex however, there most likely will end up a dominant and submissive fish. If the dominant fish turns out to have an aggressive streak, you're going to end up with only one angel in the tank sooner or later. Even if the submissive fish isn't killed outright, it's probably going to live a very bullied life. Submissive fish often end up stunted as dominant fish will hog food, or just keep their stress levels up so they often won't eat as well even if the dominant fish allows it. Unmated cichlid pairs don't always end up in this pattern, but it's pretty common.

So if you decide to go with angels, I'd personally either go with only one fish (not ideal as they really are schooling fish) or go with a decent sized group, keep your fingers crossed, and have a Plan B should the group not turn out compatible over the long run for whatever reason.





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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Like most cichlid species, angels will often do best when there are more fish around to distribute territorial and aggressive behavior between. I'd probably start off with 5 or 6 in a 75gal tank, and then just see how things work out.

If you keep these same fish together (without adding or removing other Angels), you increase the chances that they will sort out their pecking order while young and small, and this may stay stable as they grow. It's sometimes possible to maintain breeding pairs with tankmates when they've been raised together. (No guarantees, but it *can* work out well sometimes.)
Thanks very much. This makes sense. I actually used a similar strategy to keep large numbers of "incompatible" mbuna cichlids together. I added all the fish at once while they were all juveniles--they grew to adults and I had essentially no issues with aggression. Particularly since I had eight of each type, at a minimum.

I do prefer the look of angelfish to some of the other excellent suggestions in this thread. I believe I will plan to start with five small angelfish, and will monitor the tank for aggression issues as they grow (and maybe pair......) As kevinmichael suggested, I'll try to go with angels from the same geography as the cardinals.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:40 PM
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Ah! If you've managed an mbuna tank, then you should be good to go with angels.





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Last edited by lauraleellbp; 05-27-2014 at 04:55 PM. Reason: typo
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:55 PM
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Your plan sounds good to me. Small fish growing together lets them decide and things often work better. Like you found with the African, much of the info is not what you find when you try it.
If you want to consider a fish which is less common, I would suggest rainbow cichlids. Herotilapia multispinosa, are a really timid fish that don't get very big and really never bother any fish that I've tried them with. I was never sure how they might do with plants but I had sturdy plants anyway and never saw any problems. Six would be a nice group to try in a 75. Given proper cover and décor they might never need to be trimmed.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 04:51 PM
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Your plan sounds good to me. Small fish growing together lets them decide and things often work better. Like you found with the African, much of the info is not what you find when you try it.

If you want to consider a fish which is less common, I would suggest rainbow cichlids. Herotilapia multispinosa, are a really timid fish that don't get very big and really never bother any fish that I've tried them with. I was never sure how they might do with plants but I had sturdy plants anyway and never saw any problems. Six would be a nice group to try in a 75. Given proper cover and décor they might never need to be trimmed.



Idk, I feel like cardinals wouldn't work with rainbows, just because rainbows have larger mouths than angels and would probably eat any cardinals they catch.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 04:59 PM
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It would take an awfully big rainbow to eat a full grown Cardinal! I've seen some pretty big Iranians, but even those I don't think could choke down an adult cardinal... even if they wanted to (which i'd be surprised, I've never heard of well-fed rainbows going after smaller fish tankmated? Shrimp, yes, but other fish? Not unless they're starving...?)





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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 05:41 PM
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It would take an awfully big rainbow to eat a full grown Cardinal! I've seen some pretty big Iranians, but even those I don't think could choke down an adult cardinal... even if they wanted to (which i'd be surprised, I've never heard of well-fed rainbows going after smaller fish tankmated? Shrimp, yes, but other fish? Not unless they're starving...?)
I think he meant the cichlid, which is also unlikely to swallow a cardinal...they can only swallow things up to a male guppy in size, and are some of the lousiest hunters in the cichlid family (they are herbivorous in the wild) and would struggle merely to catch the cardinals. In addition, most pairs will not disturb other fish when not breeding, and their territories are only about a foot in size, so in a 75 gallon other residents (other than bottom dwellers, who are more actively harassed) should have no trouble avoiding a pair of rainbow cichlids.
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