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First tank - a PEACEFUL centrepiece fish?

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Hi all!

So I’ve had my first tank set up for a good few months now, it’s a 54l with 10 chile rasbora, 4 Otto’s, and around 20 adult cherry shrimp.

Under the advice of my LFS, I brought home a ram which proceeded to eat 3 shrimp within 5 minutes of being in the tank. So that was promptly returned..

My question to you more experienced folks is this: What is a good centrepiece fish that will not eat any of its tankmates? A single red honey gourami maybe?

Thanks for any help!

P.S A picture of the tank


Bump: https://imgur.com/a/nq026
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I don't especially think that "centerpiece" fish are needed. Particularly if you have shrimp and micro fish. But if you want an addition that should get along with your other fish try sparkling gouramis.
Of course they aren't needed. But it's nice to have a really nice looking fish or group of fish that stand out in the tank from the big mass of look alike schoolers.
 

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Thanks for the advice, would it be a better idea to just get a few more chile rasbora or another shoal if micro fish?
Tank looks very empty at the moment that’s all!
Yeah. I would say double the number would be fine in that size tank.
 

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Of course they aren't needed. But it's nice to have a really nice looking fish or group of fish that stand out in the tank from the big mass of look alike schoolers.
As this video shows, a big mass of look alike schoolers can be better than just a showpiece fish.

https://youtu.be/jWl8Nd6_Ofw
 

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What about a half dozen or so male delta guppies? Not mixed color ones, but all the same type, like all green cobras, or all purple moscow. They would look fabulous, and totally ignore everyone else.

A school of bright colored small tetras would look great too. Gold tetras, ember tetras, and lemon tetras all stay pretty small, won't get uppity with the other small fish, and are a nice change from the standard neon/rummynose/glowlight etc., but can usually still be found at a decent LFS. Only downside to tetras is that they will probably limit the number of baby shrimplets that reach adulthood by snacking on teeny hatchlings (but so will any larger centerpiece fish, realistically).

Alternatively, a school of panda cories to add more activity around the lower half could work, since your other fish are likely hanging out more midwater, and the shrimp are presumably crawling all over the vertical surfaces.

Anyhow, I agree with others that another school, rather than a single larger fish, would be a good way to go.

I will say the thing with the ram actually surprised me though. Never had a problem with mine and my shrimp at all, even plenty baby shrimp made it, though many here can probably attest that not all fishkeepers will have the same results with compatibility as others do, and my tank was planted to within an inch of its life, so there were hiding places everywhere. If you do revisit the idea of rams, try balloon rams: they aren't as fast, and are tank bred only, so they are less likely to go rogue on you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the advice, I’ll most likely add another few rasboras and leave it at that then!
And yeah the Ram was a bully to everything in the tank really, it even chased and terrorised my poor little Rasboras!
Ah well, I’m hoping the shrimp start to breed and fill up my tank with lots of tiny critters running wild!
 

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I agree, go for a bigger shoal, but you could consider mixing the increase between the chilis and otos. I think the otos are pretty entertaining when they are hanging out together so a couple more of those could be an option too.
 

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I don't especially think that "centerpiece" fish are needed. Particularly if you have shrimp and micro fish. But if you want an addition that should get along with your other fish try sparkling gouramis.
The sparkling gouramis are find together with the chilis (I had that combo) but definitely did not work with RCS. Fortunately, I tried just a few adult shrimp in this tank from another colony I had and the sparkling gouramis made a quick meal of them.

10 chilis probably look lost in that tank. I would probably add 20 more, along with a good size school of habrosus cories. If you want a second school, dwarf pencilfish would be a nice option. I agree that a "centerpiece" is difficult to find when stocking nano fish/shrimp and may even look out of balance.
 

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Yeah...well we're also talking about a 14 gallon tank here...not something that's 6 or 8 feet long like in the video.
True. I was just responding out of context, knowing full well (as I'm sure you did) that such a big mass of schooling fish could never be housed in a small tank.
 

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May a suggest a different, non-fish centerpiece: the bamboo or rock shrimp.
I have a similar, moderately planted aquascape with blue dream shrimps, 3 otos, a dozen neon tetra and 5 cory pandas. As a center piece, I have a 3-4" bamboo shrimp. It is by far the biggest thing in the aquarium, is very peaceful, and has interesting different coloration than what is currently in the tank.

Keep in mind it needs to be added to an already well-established tank, or it might starve to death. For the first 3-4 weeks, it was extremely shy and kept hiding, but after a while it became very curious and just explores everywhere, climbing on different branches/plants to reach the current from the outtake and enjoy a nice meal.
 

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True. I was just responding out of context, knowing full well (as I'm sure you did) that such a big mass of schooling fish could never be housed in a small tank.
Right...as such a shoal of fish just seems to really lose the effect in a small tank. Not so say 15-20 small fish don't look nice. I guess you could pack some more in there too if you wanted to take the place of a centerpiece fish...but I just think that in a small tank since small schools aren't as dramatic, a larger colorful or unique fish or small group of fish can go a long way to pick up the slack. But it's all in what you want. Maybe you want just small fish and a bunch of them. Or something that's more biotope oriented. I'm kinda in the same boat...just with a little more room. I will be doing a 32g tank after first of the year...and though I know I can't pack 1000 shoaling/schooling fish in my tank or even 100...I still want a nice healthy group of 20-25 small fish and probably end up with something like a gourami or maybe a trio of females or sorority of Bettas...maybe a small cichlid...who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
May a suggest a different, non-fish centerpiece: the bamboo or rock shrimp.
I have a similar, moderately planted aquascape with blue dream shrimps, 3 otos, a dozen neon tetra and 5 cory pandas. As a center piece, I have a 3-4" bamboo shrimp. It is by far the biggest thing in the aquarium, is very peaceful, and has interesting different coloration than what is currently in the tank.

Keep in mind it needs to be added to an already well-established tank, or it might starve to death. For the first 3-4 weeks, it was extremely shy and kept hiding, but after a while it became very curious and just explores everywhere, climbing on different branches/plants to reach the current from the outtake and enjoy a nice meal.
That’s an interesting idea, those are the fan-feeders right? So completely safe with my other tankmates I would assume.
I know pretty much everything will make a snack out of baby shrimp but i’ve got it pretty heavily planted on one side and there’s plenty of moss and hiding places etc..
The Chili rasbora do look a bit lost in my tank at the moment so maybe 5-10 more of those and i’ll look into a fan feeder shrimp.

Bump: I’ve woken up on two separate mornings to find a single dead shrimp on the bottom of my tank. I’m not sure what happened because the rest seem to be doing very well, moulting etc.
I’ve got a ph of around 7.2, GH of 10, KH of 6, TDS around 150, mineral rocks for the shrimp with calcium and all that good stuff.
Maybe just a failed moult? Seems to happen from time to time regardless of how perfect I make the conditions for them sadly
 

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I would say up the shoal to 12 and get either a pygmy cory that will be mid water swimming or do a group of other small fish. I would like to suggest the Sundadanio genus as they are to opposite of the red Boraras and like the same water. Having the red and blue/green fish would be cool and I like the idea better than having red and blue on a fish like on neons.
Another genus is Microdevario which is a more translucent fish and M. kubotai are available normally. There are a few other options like very small tetras namely the ember which is more orange than red and the Ruby tetra (Axelrodia riesei) which I really like as they are tiny but those are more likely to eat baby shrimp than the other two above mentioned fish.

I also agree that a group of pencil fish could work out very nicely

Lastly I would like to point out that if you want a very top water fish look at hatchets as there are some small ones in the hobby mainly the marbled hatchet (Carnegiella strigata) and the pygmy hatchet (Carnegiella myersi) those being the two I have seen in stores that could work but there might be more.
 
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