Stocking a 55g South American Community Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-08-2014, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Stocking a 55g South American Community Tank

Hi all,

I'm in the process of setting up a South American themed community tank. Sorry for the long post, but I have a few questions I'd like to ask about the setup.

To start, the 55g is moderately planted and cycled. Before planting, I had gone through a complete nitrogen cycle for learning purposes and to get bacteria for the soon to come qt's. Since it's planted now, I have been adding about 1ppm of ammo a few times a day to keep it going. My reasoning for doing so, is that I would like to add quite a few fish into the tank at once.

The tank has 2 - 150w heaters, one on each side of the tank and it has Black Diamond Blasting Sand as the substrate. I have an Eheim 2215 canister filter, an AC50, and a Penguin 100 Biowheel for filtration, the last two are more so to start tanks in the future. The Eheim intake is on the right side of the tank and the spray bar is on the left side. I've contemplated getting a second 2215 and setting it up opposite of the other, would that be a good idea?

For lighting, I have 2 - 2 bulb 24" T5's over the top of it, one over each side of the tank. Each bulb is 24w a piece coming out to 96w total. I compared my lights with the Hagen 24" 2 bulb line of the chart in Hoppy's PAR thread and with it about 19" above the substrate and going through a glass canopy, I'm guessing anywhere between 30 - 40 PAR at the substrate. At the moment, I have the lights on 8 hours a day and I plan on doing no CO2 or Excel. Is 8 hours on a good place to start for the light schedule? I was only using root tabs and Seachem Flourish for ferts at the beginning but after more research, it appears that method is imbalanced. So, I plan on dosing KNO3, KH2PO4, Seachem Equilibrium and Seachem Flourish for nutrition. Will this be enough lighting for a non co2/excel tank if I make sure to have plenty of balanced nutrients without any bottoming out??

There is a fairly large piece of driftwood in the tank. As for plants, it has an Amazon Sword(that put out 13 babies), 3 Amazon Sword "Compacta", a TON of some specie of Val (probably getting moved to a different tank in the future) a Red Melon Sword, Anacharis, Brazilian Pennywort, Bacopa Australis, Dwarf Sag and Green Cabomba. The first 4 were planted in the beginning of April, the next 5 were planted two days ago and the last was planted yesterday. I plan on getting more stem plants within the next few days and filling in anywhere else that I can, though, there really isn't much space to put them. May just leave some as floaters.

The fish I'm interested in getting are a big group of corydoras, a big group of some kind of tetra, a few otos, a smaller pleco or two (Bristlenose, Clown, etc) and some rams (Bolivian or German, haven't decided yet) At the moment, I have 3 qt's cycled and ready for fish. I've read with it being a planted tank, I should add algae eaters first. So I was thinking adding otos to one qt, pleco's into another and a big group of corydoras into the last. Keep them in qt for a month or two and add them to the 55. Then, I was thinking recycle the qt's and getting a big group of tetras and some rams to put into qt and add later. So with these fish in mind, about how many of each would work well in this tank while keeping it slightly under stocked?

TLDR version

I have an Eheim 2215 for filtration, intake on right of tank, spray bar on left, should I get a second one and set it up opposite of the other?

My goal is non CO2/excel. I have 2 - 24" 2 bulb T5's, 96w total over the tank about 19" from the substrate, per chart, around 30-40 PAR at substrate. If I dose KNO3, KH2PO4, Seachem Equilibrium and Seachem Flourish, will this be enough lighting for non C02/excel if I can keep ferts from bottoming out? Is 8 hours on a good place to start for the light schedule?

I have 3 qt's ready for fish. I'm interested in Corydoras, Tetras, Otos, Rams and small plecos. The corys, otos and plecos are going in first. What would be the max amount of each type of fish I could have, while keeping the tank slightly under stocked?

I appreciate all advice and am excited to get into the hobby. Thank you.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-08-2014, 08:40 PM
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I would not have both Otos and other plecs. One species is enough. One BN, or a male & female pair. Or other (small) Loricariads, perhaps a couple of Rubbernose. Not more.
Or half a dozen Otos.
Do some research about which ones handle the warmer tank the best. (Planet Catfish is great for this)

Many good Tetras to make a school, warmer water Tetras include:
Rummy Nose
Cardinals
Bleeding Hearts
Diamonds

If you want Rams, then skip the Cories. Rams are pretty territorial, and Corys do not seem to respect that. You might manage 2 mated pair of Rams, especially if the bottom is divided with plants, rocks or driftwood into reasonable territories.

Here is a possible stocking list:

1 doz. Bleeding Hearts or Diamond Tetras
OR
18-20 Rummy Nose or Cardinals.

mated pair of Angels,
OR start with about 5 juveniles, and remove the unmated ones when a pair forms.

2 pair of German Rams,
OR start with about 5+ juveniles and remove the unmated ones when a pair forms. Hope that 2 pair form and are willing to share the tank.

6 Zebra Otos
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 02:42 AM
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Personally I'd go for several otos instead of a pleco breed, they are great cleaners, have plenty of personality and are active when kept in groups (if you keep just one it will probably hide a lot). Otos don't damage or uproot plants (some pleco species do) and they're pretty well tolerated by all fish (except big ones that would eat them).

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Diana and AquaAurora. Oto's it is then! Thinking about it, I'd rather have a bunch of fish that stay sort of small.

So if I were to go with corydoras instead of the rams. How many could I do in the tank??

1 doz. Bleeding Hearts or Diamond Tetras
OR
18-20 Rummy Nose or Cardinals.

6 Zebra Otos

? Corydoras

Anyone have any advice about hatchets? I hear they need a secure lid. Anything else? Wondering if they would be a possible candidate for the upper part of the tank. Any pros or cons with them?

Thank you for your replies.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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A couple pics of the newly acquired fish!! 6 Oto's in the first QT.

Enjoying some blanched squash.


One of our many cats checking out the QT... One Oto enjoying squash and another enjoying some cucumber.


Just added the squash and they have been all over it.


I've also tried spinach which they DEMOLISHED!! Going to try some nori, zucchini and some other veggies when I get a chance. Want to see what they do and don't like.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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The Bleeding Heart Tetra QT. 12 of them in there at the moment. Entertaining fish and awesome colors. Excited to watch them grow!



A close up



Another

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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The tank they'll be going into in a couple months. Its been running since mid December haha. It's been planted since April. I've been adding more and more plants to it. Mainly stems now. Have a bunch of new plants on the way and will possibly pick up more form the lfs.



Don't mind the non existent background haha. I'm hoping to get enough background plants to hide a majority of it. We'll see I guess.

So, I have a QT with 6 Otos and a QT with 12 Bleeding Heart Tetras. I got 1 more QT to fill. How many Corydoras could I get for my 55g? The only ones I've seen at my local fish store in bulk are labeled as Julii's but looking at pics, I'm pretty sure they are False Julii's. If I were to go with them, around how many do you think I could have with the others mentioned above?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 05:11 AM
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Corys:
Larger (2.5 to 3") species: 8 is plenty. Emerald Green. Pepper, Bronze...
Medium (about 2") species: A dozen or so. Julii, C. trilineatus, C. elegans, C. adolfoi, Skunk, Panda...
Dwarfs: (about 1"-1.5")2 dozen. C. pygmaeus, C. habrosus, C. hastatus...
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 07:41 PM
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For a quickie background cover, I find cloth works very well. Black material stretched and stapled on wooden screen bead can be fit along the back even when against a wall and filled. Screen bead is the stuff that is used to hold the screen in wooden screen doors.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Corys:
Larger (2.5 to 3") species: 8 is plenty. Emerald Green. Pepper, Bronze...
Medium (about 2") species: A dozen or so. Julii, C. trilineatus, C. elegans, C. adolfoi, Skunk, Panda...
Dwarfs: (about 1"-1.5")2 dozen. C. pygmaeus, C. habrosus, C. hastatus...
Thank you. Once the new lid for my other qt comes in, 12 trilineatus it is haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
For a quickie background cover, I find cloth works very well. Black material stretched and stapled on wooden screen bead can be fit along the back even when against a wall and filled. Screen bead is the stuff that is used to hold the screen in wooden screen doors.
That's a great idea. I'm going to have to look into doing something like that. Thank you.

I had posted these pics before the bleeding heart pics and it had said something about not being able to see it until an admin or something. Didn't really read to much into it. It's been 3 days so here are a couple of them. The otos in their qt munching some veggies. So far, they have been eating everything I throw at them. Squash, spinach and cucumber. Today I'm trying nori and zuc and/or kale if the wife picked some up from the store. Interesting little fish.



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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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So having 6 otos, 12 bleeding hearts and 12 C. trilineatus in a 55g heavily planted tank, would there be any other options of South American fish that I could add? Any recommendations are appreciated. Thank you.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-09-2014, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SugeMike View Post
So having 6 otos, 12 bleeding hearts and 12 C. trilineatus in a 55g heavily planted tank, would there be any other options of South American fish that I could add? Any recommendations are appreciated. Thank you.
What about Bolivian Rams or a pair of Angels?

That tank really tied the room together
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