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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am aiming to start doing a first timer paludarium/riparium replicating a mountain stream. I would like to replicate some current and have some small fish, something like White Cloud Minnows or American Flagfish. My goal is to have a 36"x18"x24" 38 gallon tank. I will only have it filled half to two-thirds full to leave room for non submerged plants.

Any suggestions on fish would be great, I want to decide on the type of fish for the tank and then build from there with plants and habitat to put a solid plan together before starting.

Thanks!
 

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By "cool" do you mean "low temperature" or "neat!"?

Honestly asking.

If low temperature, there are some lovely species of North American darter that could use some love in the hobby.


[Redline Darter]


[Candy Darter]


[Greenside Darter]


[Rainbow Darter]


They won't require tank heating, and they're all quite small:


If you manage to breed them, you get bragging rights on the NANFA forums.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't want to run a tank heater (so "cold water" not "cool water" fish, lol) and I would prefer to have faster flow to simulate a current. My goal is to have some bright colored fish and plants moving in the current for the kids to enjoy.

I honestly don't have anything set in stone yet. I want to get an idea of what fish and plants I want first and then make sure everything works together before I start. I want to do it right the first time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Did some more reading, and as long as I can get them here in Ohio, I think they'd be great! The rainbow darters would be great for the kids to watch, sounds like they are less skiddish and more inquisitive.

The ultimate question becomes, do you think it would be feasible to have about two schools in the tank? Even though it's a 38 gallon tank I'm eyeing, it would only have 20-25 gallons of water in it.
 

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Those are some nice fish hey, never seen them here before.
But being a temperate region I would imagine there would be some import issues as they would survive in our small rivers and tributaries.

I also keep some cold river species, flow is good, but most fish like a spot with low flow to sleep in. This can be created by the clever placement of large rocks or decor.
 

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Those are some nice fish hey, never seen them here before.
But being a temperate region I would imagine there would be some import issues as they would survive in our small rivers and tributaries.
This is a super important good point! You should consult your local angler laws to see if you can keep native species of fish. Even if a fish is native to your own state, it can become invasive from one body of water to another. If your concerns are not just legal, but ecological, find a darter that is endemic to the entire state (example: the rainbow darter!).

The shortcut to figuring out all of this information is to visit the NANFA forums and website.


The ultimate question becomes, do you think it would be feasible to have about two schools in the tank? Even though it's a 38 gallon tank I'm eyeing, it would only have 20-25 gallons of water in it.
I've seen guides suggesting you can keep a pair of darters in a 10 gallon tank, so I think you'll be fine! Also have read about darter tanks in the NANFA forums that are similar, even smaller than what you describe, with darters + other fish. They're really much smaller than they appear in the pictures above. You might consider pairing them with a fish that likes to spend time at the top of the water column (seeing as darters occupy the bottom). Just did a quick search and found some topminnows native to Ohio:


[Silverjaw Minnow]


[Blackstripe Topminnow]


[Golden Topminnow]


Very jealous of you right now. I have wanted to keep darters for a very long time, but I just don't have the room. Sometimes I consider giving away all my mangroves so I can convert my 20 gallon, but I've sunk too much into that project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've done reading on Ohio laws, and it looks like I'm good to go for Rainbow Darters and Blackstripe Topminnows. They are native to my watershed but Ohio law says as long as they are purchased through a lisenced breeder or caught by legal means I can keep them.

So, here is what I'm thinking for the tank...
2-4 Rainbow or Banded Darters
4-6 Blackstripe Topminnows or 6-8 White Cloud Mountain Minnows
1-2 Hillstream Loaches

Is that too many fish for the 20-25 gallon mark on the tank? I'm thinking minimal plants that can stand the current and cooler water. Also some strategic rocks/caves/driftwood to provide shelter from the current. Thoughts on my final plan?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Are you planning on having the terrestrial plants draw water from the stream? In that case, they will pull out nitrogenous wastes and give you a little more wiggle room for bioload. The other concern is physical space. Without knowing your layout, it would be somewhat tough to judge this.
The goal is to have the plants drawing from the water. I plan on going as long of a tank as I can to simulate the length of a stream. I'm a completely newbie, so any suggestions on layout would be helpful.

One concern I have, am I going to have too many bottom dwellers? The Topminnows, loaches and Darters are all mid to bottom or bottom. Should I change something up to get something that will tend to stay high in the water?

Bump:
Are you planning on having the terrestrial plants draw water from the stream? In that case, they will pull out nitrogenous wastes and give you a little more wiggle room for bioload. The other concern is physical space. Without knowing your layout, it would be somewhat tough to judge this.
The goal is to have the plants drawing from the water. I plan on going as long of a tank as I can to simulate the length of a stream. I'm a completely newbie, so any suggestions on layout would be helpful.

One concern I have, am I going to have too many bottom dwellers? The Topminnows, loaches and Darters are all mid to bottom or bottom. Should I change something up to get something that will tend to stay high in the water?
 

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^^Agreed.

If the native fish thing doesn't work out for ya, then also look into the Stiphodon goby species from Asia, And if you can, for the hillstream loaches, if you can get the water to run along a line of rocks from the top of the paludarium, you might be able to see some cool waterfall climbing from them!

The loaches forum should have a good layout of how to replicate a linear/laminar flow current, but if you're going for hte waterfall idea, then a sump is also pretty desirable as well!

Here, I had the same question a while ago, but as a college student, I can't exactly stick a 40 gallon tank in my room (something about animal bans and "water damage" whatever that means lol): http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8...g-around-river-waterfall-idea-need-input.html
 

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I noticed even my plecos really like good flow.

Lol, the rules may say something about a large tank.... does it say anything about a large sump?

You can easily do a small tank connected to a large sump.
 

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North America really does have a lot of great temperate fish options. The topminnows are North American killifish; the golden topminnow likes to cruise anywhere in the water column but the blackstripe is more like it's name suggests and hangs out at the top levels. The thing about topminnows is that they prefer slow water. If you're going for a genuine stream setup, then shiners or dace are probably a better option. They're true minnows and many of them live in streams or flowing water.

The Pteronotropis genus has some pretty good-looking shiners that do well in unheated tanks with a bit of current, make good community citizens, and eat flake all day. One of my favorites is the sailfin shiner. It's got a gunmetal blue-black stripe down the side, an irridescent pearly line above, and a golden brown dorsal stripe. The belly is white or silver, and there are two bright irridescent spots on the caudal peduncle above and below the dark stripe.
Sailfin Shiner for sale at Sachs System Aquaculture.
Closely related is the flagfin shiner, which is similarly colored but darker and has yellow and orange-red in the fins.
Flagfin shiner for sale at Sachs Systems Aquaculture.
Neither one is native to Ohio, though, and they're not exactly mountain stream fish. If you're going for the kind of flow that a hillstream loach would appreciate, there are some other options out there.

Various species of redbelly dace like Southern, Northern, Mountain, and Tennessee all pretty much resemble one another. They're olive-colored on the back with black speckles, spots, or blotches above a bright cream/yellow stripe sandwiched like an Oreo between two thinner dark stripes running the length of the fish, but as the name suggests the males also develop brilliant red bellies and yellow fins.
Mountain redbelly dace appreciate the most flow and may have the most interesting color patterns.



Keep in mind that darters never really take dry prepared foods, the best thing for them is a constant supply of live and frozen foods, especially insects. No flakes, pellets, or tablets. Darters are also a bit slower so if you have a swarm of more vigorous fast-moving fish it can be hard to get food to the darters that scoot around on the substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sadly my plan of Blackstripes and Darters is no more. In Ohio you have to be permitted and subject to inspection for keeping native fish. On the bright side, I found a great shop today with a very helpful owner and staff. I will be using them to get everything I can.

So, it looks like Hillstream Loaches, White Clouds and maybe Mountain Redbelly Dace? Any ideas on a third species? Hillstream and White Clouds are a must. I'm gonna have about 20 gallons in the tank is my best guess.
 
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