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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I initially had planned on doing an angel tank, but decided that my water may be too hard to keep them happy and healthy and I'm not interested in doing RO or additives or anything.. So, now that I have an empty planted tank that's been established for a couple of years, I can't decide on what to put in it. I was thinking maybe African cichlids, but because it's planted, I don't really want to remove the plants or have them destroyed by the fish I already have a lot of tetras cpd, gourami, live bearers etc in other tanks... So what are some other options that my local lfs may not have that would be a good Idea? The tank size is 38 bow front, water parameters are hard water, 8.0-8.4 ph, Temps stay between 78-82 in the summer. Doesn't have to be community, would prefer something that has personality. Open to suggestions cause my brain doesn't wanna work, it has the dumb.

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For what it's worth, my water has a ph of 8.2-8.3 and a kh of 18 (give or take a couple points, I don't remember exactly). I've got angels in two different tanks that seem to be happy and healthy. They've been in the tanks for a good long while and spawn regularly. I also have gold rams doing the same. I think the majority of fish will adapt to the conditions. If you can find fish raised in more alkaline/hard water, they'll adapt to what you have a lot easier.
 

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Angel fish can adjust to your water parameters without any problems, the main thing to do with angel fish is to get them used to your water parameters and maintain that, don't try and change the basic conditions too much, I kept angel fish for many years and have never had R/O water till now. The only problem you will run into is that the angel fish will outgrow your tank, and you will either need to upgrade to a 75 gallon or more, or rehome them. Also keep in mind that angel fish from the petstore will often times die due to stress, so if you want to get one from a store try and get one that has been there for a little while before you bring it home, you don't want to shock the fish too much by changing it from tank to tank to tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had 4 angels die within two days. This after I drip acclimated them for a few hours. In a dark tank with no other tank mates and great water conditions.. Can't seem to find any local breeders in my area, and don't really want to drive a few hours away with fish in the car. Pretty sure my lfs just gets crap stock.

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What is the floorplan on the tank? If it's less than 30" long you are basically limited to shell dwellers if you want rift lake cichlids, but if it's at least that long, a small tang community with a small, docile shellie on one end with a lot of shells and a small, docile rock dweller on the other end with a rock pile would likely work. 30" long tanks are also big enough for single species colonies of several mbuna species (I.E P. Saulosi, L. Chisumulae) and at least 1 Victorian hap (Haplochromis 'ruby green'). The tangs would probably tolerate plants if you could get around the shellie's habit of digging, but a mbuna or ruby green setup may eat the plants...you'll have better luck in both cases if you have plants before fish.
 

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Sounds more like bad stock than an issue with your ph (assuming the water is fine otherwise). I live a good hour and a half from the decent fish stores, so traveling long distances is a non-option (their trip home is often 3+ hours by the time I make all my stops). Never been an issue as long as I let the stores know so they bag them in the extra large bags. I have stuff shipped quite a bit too.
 

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What is the floorplan on the tank? If it's less than 30" long you are basically limited to shell dwellers if you want rift lake cichlids, but if it's at least that long, a small tang community with a small, docile shellie on one end with a lot of shells and a small, docile rock dweller on the other end with a rock pile would likely work. 30" long tanks are also big enough for single species colonies of several mbuna species (I.E P. Saulosi, L. Chisumulae) and at least 1 Victorian hap (Haplochromis 'ruby green'). The tangs would probably tolerate plants if you could get around the shellie's habit of digging, but a mbuna or ruby green setup may eat the plants...you'll have better luck in both cases if you have plants before fish.
It's just at 30 x 15.5 x 21
Just not sure I want to add 3 cichlids, which is all I'd have room for.. And wouldn't be able to do any schoolers with them.. Seems like a dull tank.

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Sounds more like bad stock than an issue with your ph (assuming the water is fine otherwise). I live a good hour and a half from the decent fish stores, so traveling long distances is a non-option (their trip home is often 3+ hours by the time I make all my stops). Never been an issue as long as I let the stores know so they bag them in the extra large bags. I have stuff shipped quite a bit too.
I'm just not sure I have the desire to drive hours to an lfs I know nothing about for the possibility of them to die anyways. Probably just need to become familiar with a local breeder somehow and keep in contact. But besides the angels, any other thoughts on varieties for a smaller tank that have personalities? Mostly looking for a centerpiece fish or two with the possibilities of some smaller schoolers that may not be everyday buys.

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I think my problem is that I've already had or currently have most of the every day fish store fish.. And want to try something that might not be on the radar, but should be. If that makes any sense.

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We got 5 Wild Betta Simorum (not wild caught), the giants of the wild betta world. We've had them 3 weeks so far and they are just awesome fish. They can be kept together males and females. We expected them to be shy, skittish and hide alot but they have big, huge betta personalities. They come up to the front of the tank to say hello and do the same betta wiggle that my splendons do when it's time for food or they just want attention. So far they are only about an inch and a half long but they will grow to be 5 to 6 inches long. Hopefully in 8-10 months they will breed for me.

If you want something different, I'd highly recommend looking into wild bettas. Most, if not all, can be kept together and not have to be separated like the normal bettas do.

I also fell in love with these little livebearers from Mexico, on the critically endangered species list almost extinct. http://www.selectaquatics.com/goodeids.htm
This one has great color and reminds me of the badis or dario and gets to be 2 - 2.5 inches long http://www.selectaquatics.com/Characodon_lateralis.htm such a beautiful fish. I hope to one day have some of these.
 

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Actually, if you went with a multie colony and a pair of rock dwellers, you could have 6+ cichlids. If you went the mbuna/victorian hap route, you'd have more than six as a minimum, and quite possibly more than a dozen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We got 5 Wild Betta Simorum (not wild caught), the giants of the wild betta world. We've had them 3 weeks so far and they are just awesome fish. They can be kept together males and females. We expected them to be shy, skittish and hide alot but they have big, huge betta personalities. They come up to the front of the tank to say hello and do the same betta wiggle that my splendons do when it's time for food or they just want attention. So far they are only about an inch and a half long but they will grow to be 5 to 6 inches long. Hopefully in 8-10 months they will breed for me.

If you want something different, I'd highly recommend looking into wild bettas. Most, if not all, can be kept together and not have to be separated like the normal bettas do.

I also fell in love with these little livebearers from Mexico, on the critically endangered species list almost extinct. http://www.selectaquatics.com/goodeids.htm
This one has great color and reminds me of the badis or dario and gets to be 2 - 2.5 inches long http://www.selectaquatics.com/Characodon_lateralis.htm such a beautiful fish. I hope to one day have some of these.
Funny you mention that, my wife had shown me some type of wild beta that was a mouth brooder that she liked. Might have to look a bit more into this. Though at that size I would be able to do 2 max, thanks for that info.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Actually, if you went with a multie colony and a pair of rock dwellers, you could have 6+ cichlids. If you went the mbuna/victorian hap route, you'd have more than six as a minimum, and quite possibly more than a dozen.
That seems like a lot for such a small thank. Thought 55 was the consensus minimum for mbuna or any African Rift cichlids?

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Actually, p. saulosi is regularly kept in such setups as described above, and the other two species I mentioned have either been kept in such setups successfully or have been advised for such setups. As for the tang setup, I actually asked about whether a 20 long tang community would work...what I am telling you is what I was told would work for a 20 long tang tank, which should work just as well in your tank.

The thing with the mbuna and hap is that, like many of their rift lake brethren, they have to be crowded somewhat, or else aggression breaks out and you are soon left with a single dominant male who then becomes cowardly and boring. The above species are less inclined to do that than most of their kin, but they still need groups to reduce aggression.

As for the tangs...the Multies reach a measly 1.5 inches at most, and the rock dwellers I had in mind hit 4 inches tops. It's not really all that crowded...Multies by themselves can even be kept in harems in a 10 gallon if water quality is maintained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Actually, p. saulosi is regularly kept in such setups as described above, and the other two species I mentioned have either been kept in such setups successfully or have been advised for such setups. As for the tang setup, I actually asked about whether a 20 long tang community would work...what I am telling you is what I was told would work for a 20 long tang tank, which should work just as well in your tank.

The thing with the mbuna and hap is that, like many of their rift lake brethren, they have to be crowded somewhat, or else aggression breaks out and you are soon left with a single dominant male who then becomes cowardly and boring. The above species are less inclined to do that than most of their kin, but they still need groups to reduce aggression.

As for the tangs...the Multies reach a measly 1.5 inches at most, and the rock dwellers I had in mind hit 4 inches tops. It's not really all that crowded...Multies by themselves can even be kept in harems in a 10 gallon if water quality is maintained.
Good info, thanks a bunch. I will Def have to look into this, most of my plants in this tank are anubais varieties attached to river rock and slate. Though I do have a mound of moneywort and some crypts and swords. Would I need to add more of a shale type bottom with more rocks and caves, or would sand with four or five decent sized rock caves be enough?

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Actually, p. saulosi is regularly kept in such setups as described above, and the other two species I mentioned have either been kept in such setups successfully or have been advised for such setups. As for the tang setup, I actually asked about whether a 20 long tang community would work...what I am telling you is what I was told would work for a 20 long tang tank, which should work just as well in your tank.

The thing with the mbuna and hap is that, like many of their rift lake brethren, they have to be crowded somewhat, or else aggression breaks out and you are soon left with a single dominant male who then becomes cowardly and boring. The above species are less inclined to do that than most of their kin, but they still need groups to reduce aggression.

As for the tangs...the Multies reach a measly 1.5 inches at most, and the rock dwellers I had in mind hit 4 inches tops. It's not really all that crowded...Multies by themselves can even be kept in harems in a 10 gallon if water quality is maintained.
On a side note Grah... Like the name.. Gra is my son's nickname from when he was born. It's Gaelic for love. Haha

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Good info, thanks a bunch. I will Def have to look into this, most of my plants in this tank are anubais varieties attached to river rock and slate. Though I do have a mound of moneywort and some crypts and swords. Would I need to add more of a shale type bottom with more rocks and caves, or would sand with four or five decent sized rock caves be enough?

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Lots of rock formations are necessary if you go the mbuna or ruby green routes, but the sand can be kept as long as the rocks are supported by the floor of the tank (mbuna dig!). Try for large, stable rock piles with lots of caves and crevasses.

As for the tangs, you should devote one half of the tank to aformentioned rock piles and one half to a large number of snail shells (think escargot or apple snail shells) in order to provide habitat and hiding places for the tangs. The multies would take the shelly half, and the rock dweller (most likely either a small Julidochromis sp. or a Neolamprologus Caudopunctatus) will take the rocks.
 
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