Big fish in a planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Big fish in a planted tank?

Do people do this? This isn't generally something I see. Usually I see big fish (8"+) in non-planted tanks, whereas planted tanks usually stick to shoaling fish in the 1-3" range. Is there a reason for this?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:16 AM
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Usually one of the reasons why big fish aren't seen in planted tanks is that many of the big cichlids (such as oscars and the like) have a tendency to rearrange their environment frequently, which does not go well with keeping plants. However, I have seen planted arowana tanks, and they look stunning.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:54 AM
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As Axelrodi has mentioned, big fish usually own plants.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 04:08 AM
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Discus and Angels are usually not plant destructive (though I had some Angels shred some Cabomba).

Snakeskin Gouramis are larger than the more common 3 spot, moonlight or pearls, and a bit more peaceful, too.

Most of the larger Barbs are somewhat plant destructive. I can only keep Java Fern and Anubias with my Filimentosa Barbs. Google planted aquarium with Goldfish, though. There are some really impressive tanks that actually have live plants thriving with mid-sized Golds. (I want to try a tank with these plants and my Filimentosa Barbs). Golds often dig, though, as well as eat, so take some precautions to protect the substrate around the plants.

Almost all the Cichlids either dig, eat plants, or both. You could try something like Firemouths and protect the substrate around the plants. The larger they are, though, the more soil moving they can do.

Most Loaches are more or less plant safe, but I have heard of Clown Loaches poking holes in leaves, and I know that Yoyos are large, active burrowing fish, so plant in pots. Try Kubotais (not the largest, but nice coloring, and larger than the little fish so often kept)

My Bichers (P. senegalensis) and most freshwater eels are plant safe They like a cave, an arch of wood or some rocks to hide under, but they are not usually diggers to the point of uprooting the plants.

There are several species of Rainbows that get quite large, and seem not to bother plants. Look into the Australian species, same species fish from different areas are different colors (mostly fine stripes).
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 04:17 AM
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I hate to bring Tom Barr into this - but Im pretty sure he has some gars in a large planted tank.

I had a thread on this awhile ago... https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=112004

This thread includes an awesome picture of a couple gar in a nice looking planted tank. They belong to Tom Barr. Its on the first page...I guess its a somewhat interesting discussion...you are free to look through it.

The secret to this is being willing to look outside of the petco box...there are lots of large fish that wont bother plants...you just have to search. Some of them are even at petco.

Yes, MOST cichlids are going to rearrange stuff, but I have seen severums and others kept in planted aquaria.

Long story.

Kept a very small Micropterus dolomieu (smallmouth bass) in aquaria for awhile. Mean little sucker.

Upon looking through my thead also an account of Polypterus sp. being kept in planted aquaria.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gorglefrumpf View Post
Do people do this? This isn't generally something I see. Usually I see big fish (8"+) in non-planted tanks...
Pretty much the same reason you don't see flowers planted in a Pig Pen.

In addition to some mentioned above. I've kept:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEA-Y...eature=related
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W69W...eature=related

My Datnode got to 6'' and the Clown Knife to 10" in my 90 before I traded them back to the LFS. They both tended to lurk in hiding like a tiger waiting to ponce. Once they got big they did occasionally knock stuff around but they were not intentionally destructive if that counts.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 04:32 AM
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I have a 90 gallon with large clown loaches about 8" +/- and a large stripped roughia cat fish about 8" +/- . My plants are java fern, bobitas fern, and anubius. All which are tied down to anchors.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 04:38 AM
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Pretty much the same reason you don't see flowers planted in a Pig Pen.
ROTFLMAO!! So very succinct!

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 06:25 AM
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Blood Parrots in a 75g. They do re-arrange furniture once in a while. But once they get it just 'right' they leave it alone. Having only girls does not hurt either.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 09:43 AM
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I also have a clown knife about 14". he is in a tank of vals. He only rips up plants if i ignore all his other "feed me" signs lol. once in a while if a feeder fish hides close to a plant it takes a beating as the fish gets flushed out.

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He also loves to watch himself lol

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:02 PM
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The reason you don't see it done more is the way people think. They either don't want to do the work to find what works or they don't think very deep. They think of Petco fish as if that were any kind of thinking. When they think of African cichlids they think of mbuna.

Go a bit further in your thinking. There are many large fish who do not dig. For example, ask why an open water fish that feeds on bugs would want to dig. Their mouth is not even set up for digging. The protomelas group works for me. I do arrange my tank so that it fits the fish. When insignus want to breed they want some open floor space. One end of my tank works for that.

Several people have been here to tell me that I can't do that. But then I just assume they don't think very deep!
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Blood Parrots in a 75g. They do re-arrange furniture once in a while. But once they get it just 'right' they leave it alone. Having only girls does not hurt either.

Damn man, I had to take a moment and admire your parrots. What else do you have in there?

I pretty much generally agree with what most people here have said. I think the biggest thing that keeps larger fish out of planted tanks is the mindset of people, and the size of the tanks that they are kept in. I notice that most planted people like having many fish as well, and you cannot do that with larger fish in a tank the size that is comfortable to plant. For example, when I think large fish I think of Red Tail Catfish and monsters like that, things that are being kept in 300+ gallon tanks. Now, when was the last time someone on this forum had a planted 300+ gallon tank? And, even if someone had a large tank like that with multiple large fish, could you imagine how hellish it would be if you had to replant things on a regular basis?

I honestly think that a lot of fish are just not kept with plants due to fear of them being difficult to do so with. But I feel like, with enough patience, you can keep nearly anything with at least some sort of plant. I mean, severums and silver dollars are massive plant eaters and I have seen them in some planted set ups that were pretty impressive.

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:34 PM
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Years ago I did a poll asking if people were basically fish people or plant people. I was surprised to discover that the results were about 50/50. So, at least back then, about 50% of the people keeping planted tanks did so for the plants, not the fish. If they had to give up one over the other, they'd give up the fish and keep the plants. Being a fish lover (and a plant lover, as well), I had never thought of having a tank with just plants and no fish.

But then when you look at a lot of the tank designs, the fish are more of an ornament to the design and not the centerpiece. Often the fish are selected long after the substrate, rocks, driftwood, and plants are selected and meticulously put in place. And so, for about half the people, this hobby isn't about the fish at all, but about the plants and the design aspect.

Personally, I prefer smaller fish. I had larger fish when I kept cichlids in my 90g, and as much as I tried, I did not like them as much as the fish in my planted tanks. There's something peaceful about the gentle shoaling of a school of tetras, the interplay between a group of roselines, and the plump, round bellies of a group of otos. I like having a large variety of fish in my tank with more than one of each variety. Having 50 amanos, 75 cardinals, and 8 roselines in my tank appeals to me.

So sometimes it's not the mindset or the lack of deep thinking, but an actual preference for the smaller fish either because the main joy is about the plants and design of the planted tank or because the person simply likes the smaller fish better.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:48 PM
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I would love to live in a state where it was warm enough to have a planted pond with big fish. :p

Being the owner of a monster fish i can also add that the cost for feeding a larger fish keeps people away. you either deal with lots of sick feeder fish or take the time and effort to breed your own.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Years ago I did a poll asking if people were basically fish people or plant people. I was surprised to discover that the results were about 50/50. So, at least back then, about 50% of the people keeping planted tanks did so for the plants, not the fish. If they had to give up one over the other, they'd give up the fish and keep the plants. Being a fish lover (and a plant lover, as well), I had never thought of having a tank with just plants and no fish.

But then when you look at a lot of the tank designs, the fish are more of an ornament to the design and not the centerpiece. Often the fish are selected long after the substrate, rocks, driftwood, and plants are selected and meticulously put in place. And so, for about half the people, this hobby isn't about the fish at all, but about the plants and the design aspect.

Personally, I prefer smaller fish. I had larger fish when I kept cichlids in my 90g, and as much as I tried, I did not like them as much as the fish in my planted tanks. There's something peaceful about the gentle shoaling of a school of tetras, the interplay between a group of roselines, and the plump, round bellies of a group of otos. I like having a large variety of fish in my tank with more than one of each variety. Having 50 amanos, 75 cardinals, and 8 roselines in my tank appeals to me.

So sometimes it's not the mindset or the lack of deep thinking, but an actual preference for the smaller fish either because the main joy is about the plants and design of the planted tank or because the person simply likes the smaller fish better.
I agree with you. For me the main reason I wanted to start a planted tank was so create a better environment for the fish. That being said, my first concern is "What kind of fish can I add?" I also understand the "landscape" or "design" part of it. In my opinion the best planted tank would be really well designed plants, with really awesome fish but shoot, maybe I'm aiming too high there I also agree with you that the shoaling fish tend to add a more peaceful atmosphere, so I can totally understand that. But I never would have wanted to start a planted tank if I couldn't add big fish Anyways, it's fun to see people's preferences and stuff. I want my fish to be happy and giving them fake plants just seems like they wouldn't as happy as they could be.
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