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Premium Member
5,071 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am moving soon, and am in the planning stages of an "American" tank titled Americana, oddly enough. I am looking for feedback and advice.

I will be taking down my 20T tank; most of the plants in there are American, and so are the inhabitants. Here is a pic of that tank:

The Tank:
I live in Tennessee, so I am getting a rimless tank from Glass Cages in Nashville...90ish gallons (48"x18"x24").
This will be topless, with a suspended T5 fixture.
Pressurized CO2 w/reactor and controller.
Rena XP4 filter.
Automatic EI-dosing.
Going with out of tap water: 4 kH, 6gH pH around 7.
All the bells and whistles.

The Aquascape:
I am going for an open look.
Sand substrate with lots of open areas. No foreground/carpet plants.
There will be two large clusters of plants/driftwood/rocks.
One larger cluster in the back right corner with Vals, Potamogeton gayi, and various red stem plants (see below). This cluster will be framing an area of tall, twisted driftwood with mosses and various grassy-type plants (especially Juncus repens).
There will be a smaller, lower cluster of plants and driftwood in the middle/front towards the left of the tank at the 'rule of thirds' spot. There will be lower, smaller stems and grasses here (stuff like Heteranthera zosterfolia, Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, Bacopa australis, Hemianthus micranthemoides, and Lobelia cardinalis 'Small Form') with some Ludwigia ovalis for some color and some riccia.

I would like some help with the stocking list. Please feel free to comment on compatibility, and suggest other south/central american cichlids that are non-aggressive and plant friendly. No german rams; too finicky.

6x Bolivian Rams for sure (have two currently)
4x Flag Acara (have one currently)
2x (pair) Keyhole cichlids
(will these be ok? any others? ideas? maybe one more species? apistos?)

4x American Flag Fish (currently have two - great algae eaters and beautiful too! only $1.99 here!)
any others? ideas? keep in mind this is an open tank... jumpers are a no-no

"Normal" Fish
?x Neons. I currently have 4.
?x Endler's Live bearer (currently have 5 in another tank. will these become cichlid food?)
?x Swordtails (orange)
These numbers are flexible, depending on the stock list / bioload

A school of some black and white corys, 12 or so, not sure which species yet.
4 plecos, probably bulldog and bristlenose.
6 ottos.

Plants (any others which are American or cosmopolitan that fit with my scheme? I especially need help with mosses. What are the N/C/S American mosses? I know Fissendens is , but no others...)

"Grasses" (not all are grasses, I know, but are grass-like in appearance):
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Juncus repens
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
Potamogeton gayi
Vallisneria gigantea 'red'
Vallisneria spiralis

Stem plants for reds and green accent plants:
Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia'
Bacopa australis
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Hemigraphis traian
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Lobelia cardinalis 'Small Form'
Ludwigia repens (from my backyard...literally)
Ludwigia ovalis

Riccia fluitans
Fissidens fontanus

764 Posts
The set up sounds really nice, esp. the hardscape and plants. Will be really interesting to see how it turns out!

I have some reservations about the fish stocklist. I wouldn't put that many cichlids in a 90 g tank (but that's just me, I like to give the fish a lot of space). Especially, I wouldn't put any more species of cichlids in there. Those on your list seem quite ok.

Killies, too, stake out a claim and defend their territory. I've heard that American Flag Fish can be nasty... but it's all hearsay. Oh, overcrowding is a way to keep aggression in check. As the most of your other fish choises are from SA, why not focus on that? :)

That is also why I'd skip the swordtails. They are CA and tend to need harder and more basic water than the others. I think that smaller neons and baby Endler's run a risk of being eaten...

I wouldn't put more than 2-3 bristlenoses in the tank. Try to get either males or females if you don't want a babyboom! :D

Here's something on the (starting roughly at) C/SA mosses (& fol.).

Premium Member
5,071 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response, Daniel.

Well, I have 25 cichlids in a 75g (mbuna). I am stocking less (species and individuals) in this 90g, probably four species of dwarfs. Bolivian Rams, Flag Acaras, Keyholes, and Nannacara anomala.

I hear you on the swords. I might skip them.
Killies, too, stake out a claim and defend their territory. I've heard that American Flag Fish can be nasty... but it's all hearsay. Oh, overcrowding is a way to keep aggression in check. As the most of your other fish choises are from SA, why not focus on that? :).
I am focusing on that. There are lots of SA Killie species, I just don't know which to choose. :)

I have american flag fish, mine aren't nasty at all, and they are great algae eaters. They are actually the reason this is going to be 'generic' american rather than more strictly SA. Maybe I'll rethink that then (but I'd have to get rid of several plant species I really like too: l. repens and ovalis, for example).

I don't mind a baby boom of anything :)

Thanks for the link on mosses.

3,145 Posts
Last night at the CCAC, Bill Flowers did a talk on catching and keeping native North American fish, and it REALLY inspired me! I've gone collecting before, and lemme tell ya, it is FUN!

If you've never seen a red-bellied dace, a rainbow darter, a green-side darter, or a long-earred sunfish, you're really missing out. Also there are several "top minnows" that are local and are actually species of killie fish. Some of the fish that are native to Indiana and Tennessee are just BEAUTIFUL and easy to catch. Of the roughly 200 species, most stay < 12 inches and almost all of them can be kept in aquariums. Added bonus - you don't need a heater!

Drainage ditches, creeks, pools, rivers - just get some cheap shoes that you don't mind getting wet and a dip net or seine. It might not be exactly what you had in mind... but you can't beat the price and the personal pride you take in catching the fish yourself!

That's one thing I haven't seen yet on PT, all natives.

... maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it so I can be the first... :hihi:

Premium Member
5,071 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
An all-native tank is something I hadn't considered. I used to have 'native' tanks as a kid in Ohio with newts, minnows, and tadpoles...I'd release them when they became frogs. It sure was fun! Maybe I'll wait until I'm forty and do one to help with my midlife crisis. Besides, Jen, I don't want to steal your fire. ;)

Yes, the rainbow darter is amazing (we have those in Ohio, where I am from).
I've seen several species of ludwigia growing around here in tennessee, and a bunch of stuff I should grab just to ID and experiment with. I am from the banks of the cuyahoga river (a national scenic river). It sure would be rad to set up a CVNRA biotope tank (very illegal I bet). Would be awesome to set up a huge one for my old public library in Akron....
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