The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
1026036


The plumbing is plumbed, tank is landscaped, the plants are planted and ammonia is converted into nitrates within a day. The brown algae (diatoms), green string algae and green powder algae has come and gone. The tank is well stocked with rams horn snails who are doing an excellent job at keeping everything clean and the algae at bay. This is after 4 weeks since adding water. The plants have taken a good hold and are growing. The Red ludwigia has tripled in size. The amazon swords, guppy grass and money wart came from the 35g hex tank seen in the background and are growing. The dwarf hairgrass is starting to send out runners and fill in the right side of the tank. We gave the tank a couple of heavy hits of metracide to shock the algae a couple weeks ago but have not added any since. We will only dose with metricide if needed.

We are taking the guppies back the the LFS and will be purchasing new fish for this tank. We have 2 rummy nose tetras and a cardinal tetra that we are planning on keeping. We are thinking our first purchase will be more rummy nose tetras and more cardinal tetras, a few at a time.

We love schooling fish but want some show fish too! We are considering angles? We are thinking of purchasing juvenile angles so they settle in with the tetras. Some mellow medium sized gourami's have appeal but which species? The snails are doing such an excellent job at keeping the (EMPTY) tank clean so far we are thinking of holding off on catfish, algae eaters and mini plecos until we get a feel for how much debris accumulates in the tank and how well the snails keep up with it. We are open to suggestions for other fish, especially display fish. We prefer to stay with mild tempered fish that won't tear up the plants. Rainbow fish seem pretty bland and unexciting to me but I guess I have never seen any in their full color so we might consider them.

Eventually we are thinking we might want to try Discus but this will be at least a year down the road after the tank has come to a very stable balance

Initially the tank will automatically dump about 20 gals a day which will be automatically replenished with temperature balanced well water. This amount will be adjusted over time to maintain healthy water parameters.

A hood and custom LED lights will be the next major project. Currently I am adding about a half gallon of super saturated 34 degree Fahrenheit carbonated water every morning when I turn on the temporary lights and the plants start pearling in about 10 minutes. I will automate the morning CO2 injection eventually. The current photo period is about 14 hours a day without algae issues but I will probably add a timer and adjust to keep everything under control.

The substrate contains (in approx. this order of layers):
Sprinkling of lime
Sprinkling of potash
Sparagum peat moss
Aragonite sand
Finley crushed red lava rock (from driveway)
A fine layer of recycled dirt from the 35g to introduce soil bacteria cultures
A good layer of horticultural charcoal for buffering
Miracle grow organic potting soil
Loamy volcanic soil (from back yard)
Red clay
Azomite for trace elements
5mm river gravel
Amazonia sprinkled heavily on top of the gravel and allowed to settle into the gravel
Amazonia powder sprinkled heavily on top of the Amazonia and allowed to settle into the gravel
Black sand heavily sprinkled on top of the Amazonia powder and allowed to intersperse with the lower layers for a pleasing random color pattern.

From past experience I do not plan to dose any fertilizers but this can change as the tank matures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
If you're going to attempt angels with cardinals and rummynose be prepared for some nipped fins and losing an occasional cardinal, especially if they wind up pairing up. Just a warning. As long as you have plants or hardscapes to block line of sight and with a tank that large any damage should be minimal.

I could picture a tank like that, given you said you love schoolers and already have cardinals and rummynose (lol these were my choice for my tank as well) filling out those into large schools, and doing a tetra feature with multiple types of tetra. Add some otos, bnp, a couple schools of cory and you've got yourself a schoolers dream tank!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
782 Posts
Fair warning, if you get angelfish, which I love btw, they will probably eventually try to eat your cardinal tetras/endlers/little fish. Not always, but small fish are their food when they are adults in the wild. Mine took 2 years to reach the point where they went after the small fish, so you could always move fish to other tanks later, but proceed with caution. I switched to keeping Madagascar rainbows with the angelfish because they were pretty, active and too big to eat. Danios did ok too because they were just too fast and the angels were too well fed to bother.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
I agree with adding more cardinals and more rummynoses. I typically recommend a school of 8 (6 is too wimpy imo), but for a tank this big, I'd do at least 20. Your tank reminds me of this fantasy build I thought up a few years ago, what're your thoughts on some of the species listed?

I personally like pearl gouramis, although their flare isn't for everybody. You could also keep both angels and discus (although I would do 0 pairs of both, so all male or all female trios).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have been keeping fish for over 40 years now... BUT with that said I really don't have a very good knowledge of all the different species of fish out there, their temperaments and their inter-compatibility in a community tank.

SO, all of your comments are GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Have you considered Endlers. They are gorgeous, easy to keep, relatively inexpensive. I think every planted tank needs a few ottocinclus but that's just me.
When it came time to take the guppies back to the fish store my 16yo daughter was heart broken. So for the time being they are in the 180g tank. From a brief search it looks like Endlers are related to guppies? How do they differ from guppies? Is it mainly their coloring that is different?
Otto catfish are now on the list. Thank you!

If you're going to attempt angels with cardinals and rummynose be prepared for some nipped fins and losing an occasional cardinal, especially if they wind up pairing up. Just a warning. As long as you have plants or hardscapes to block line of sight and with a tank that large any damage should be minimal.

I could picture a tank like that, given you said you love schoolers and already have cardinals and rummynose (lol these were my choice for my tank as well) filling out those into large schools, and doing a tetra feature with multiple types of tetra. Add some otos, bnp, a couple schools of cory and you've got yourself a schoolers dream tank!!
I appreciate your and MissChris warnings about angelfish and tetras together. We liked the idea of angels as some big display fish. We are seriously rethinking that choice now. We are kind of thinking of a few smaller angelfish for a couple years until they mature and start causing issues, but we aren't sure we want to deal with that.
What are BNP's? Bristle nose plecos? Are they a variety that stay relatively small? Do they leave the plants alone?
What are the difference between otto catfish and cory catfish. I have had catfish in the past... but they have always been "just catfish". :)

Thank you for the heads up on the angelfish!

Fair warning, if you get angelfish, which I love btw, they will probably eventually try to eat your cardinal tetras/endlers/little fish. Not always, but small fish are their food when they are adults in the wild. Mine took 2 years to reach the point where they went after the small fish, so you could always move fish to other tanks later, but proceed with caution. I switched to keeping Madagascar rainbows with the angelfish because they were pretty, active and too big to eat. Danios did ok too because they were just too fast and the angels were too well fed to bother.
Likewise, thank you for the heads up on the angelfish! I appreciate your explanation of their natural tendency to view smaller fish as prey.

I agree with adding more cardinals and more rummynoses. I typically recommend a school of 8 (6 is too wimpy imo), but for a tank this big, I'd do at least 20. Your tank reminds me of this fantasy build I thought up a few years ago, what're your thoughts on some of the species listed?

I personally like pearl gouramis, although their flare isn't for everybody. You could also keep both angels and discus (although I would do 0 pairs of both, so all male or all female trios).
How do you sex angelfish and discus? How old do they have to be before you can tell the sex? Do to their legendary finicky nature for exacting water parameters we figured that we should probably wait for at least a year while our substrate settles before we get discus. How do Discus interact with other fish in a community tank? Are Discus omnivores like Angelfish? Do they go after smaller fish?

Pearl gouramis are one of the gourami species we were considering. Is there any particular reason you prefer the Pearl gouramis? Just curious because there are so many varieties that it is kind of hard to choose. The fish facts say that Pearl Gorumis can grow up to 4.5 inches long. Do they play nice with the smaller fish like tetras?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today we purchased the last 5 rummynoses from the LFS for a total of 7. We love them! We love the schooling and plan to add another few when available. We are trying to find a couple larger fish with more individual character but they need to be compatible with the tetras.

We also purchased 4 Cardinal tetras for a total of 5. At first the cardinals seemed to want to school with the rummynoses but they seem to be kind of breaking off into their own group and schooling independently of the rummynoses. More cardinals are also on the list. (We didn't want to add too many fish at once even though it is a big empty tank).

The Cardinals are kind of prettier than the rummynoses, BUT the rummynoses are so active darting back and forth between the ends of the tank they are already a whoot to watch! I think we will find room to love both species equally! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
How do you sex angelfish and discus? How old do they have to be before you can tell the sex? Do to their legendary finicky nature for exacting water parameters we figured that we should probably wait for at least a year while our substrate settles before we get discus. How do Discus interact with other fish in a community tank? Are Discus omnivores like Angelfish? Do they go after smaller fish?

Pearl gouramis are one of the gourami species we were considering. Is there any particular reason you prefer the Pearl gouramis? Just curious because there are so many varieties that it is kind of hard to choose. The fish facts say that Pearl Gorumis can grow up to 4.5 inches long. Do they play nice with the smaller fish like tetras?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today we purchased the last 5 rummynoses from the LFS for a total of 7. We love them! We love the schooling and plan to add another few when available. We are trying to find a couple larger fish with more individual character but they need to be compatible with the tetras.

We also purchased 4 Cardinal tetras for a total of 5. At first the cardinals seemed to want to school with the rummynoses but they seem to be kind of breaking off into their own group and schooling independently of the rummynoses. More cardinals are also on the list. (We didn't want to add too many fish at once even though it is a big empty tank).

The Cardinals are kind of prettier than the rummynoses, BUT the rummynoses are so active darting back and forth between the ends of the tank they are already a whoot to watch! I think we will find room to love both species equally! :)
Technically the males and females have different numbers of vents, but those are really hard to distinguish. I'd just buy trios, and figure things out from there. I would say around 6-12 months would be a good baseline for sexing the fiish. Discus are basically circular angelfish.

I've heard that pearl gouramis are far less aggressive than the blue and gold gouramis, and their color combination is really nice as well. I've had good luck keeping them with platies and harlequin rasboras.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
A lot to process here lol. Bnp is bristlenosed pleco, they stay relatively small around 3-4 inches and usually go after algae when they are young and algae + leftovers when they get older. They look stunning in planted tanks and unless you starve them they leave plants alone.

Oto cats are tiny little algae cleaners. If you have more than 8 they have a tendency of schooling. Mine have taken to schooling with my rummy noses, but only when they are moving from one spot to another to grace on my ample algae, then they hide out munching on the stuff until they've cleared it, then they wait for the rummy noses and move to another spot. They are adorable to watch and don't typically get bigger than 1 1/2 inches. You're still going to want to offer them algae discs or frozen spirulina even if you have algae in your tank as some of them are picky and will starved themselves if they are used to being fed. Cories are adorable little bottom feeders- my hubby calls mine the "8 dwarves" referring to snow white n the 7 dwarves because they bumble around together at the bottom of the tanks like they are marching to work. They typically stay between an inch (pandas, pygmies etc) to 3 inches (bronze, green- but this is their max- most of mine have stayed around 2 inches).

I hope that helps a little
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
782 Posts
Cories are some of my favorite bottom region fish. They have so much personality and are always busy poking their noses into something. They are playful and sort of silly, and really liven up the lower region of a tank. While they are no replacement for good tank maintenance, they do help a lot with keeping uneaten food from sitting around the floor of the tank too. Cories are schooling fish and do best in groups of 6+, though I like to do 8-9 in a tank. If you want something colorful/flashy that's still easy to find, go for pandas or julii cories, though albinos are pretty attractive too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
We added:
5 Cardinal Tetras - 10 total
3 Pearl Gouramis
2 Juvenile Angles
this evening.

"So far" everyone is getting along.

I am a little uneasy about adding scavenging fish yet. We really have no algae and the gravel is spotless thanks to the abundance of Ramshorn snails. I think I want to let the tank mature a while before adding catfish or plecos. The LFS had a very expensive tiger pleco ($135) that looked VERY cool. But I really want to wait a little, especially before adding such an expensive fish.

We also purchased 3 Otocinclus catfish for my daughters 15g pea puffer tank. We love the Otocinclus but I am kind of thinking they will be too small for the 180 and we would never see them. The tiger pleco gets up to 5" which is about as big as we want to get. I am kind of thinking of catfish in the 3" or so range might be better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are there any species of shrimp that are likely to survive with the 2 juvenile angels? I assume red cherry shrimp will be angel snacks. What about a larger breed? Any suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
Long term, I'd say no. Short term, I'd say any of the non Neo shrimp, so shrimp like amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata), fan/bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), or a vampire shrimp (Atya gabonensis) would probably work. Those or dwarf crayfish (CPOs, etc. NOT the electric blue crayfish).

You can also always just go massive with Otocinclus numbers. Think a school of 20 or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
782 Posts
We also purchased 3 Otocinclus catfish for my daughters 15g pea puffer tank. We love the Otocinclus but I am kind of thinking they will be too small for the 180 and we would never see them. The tiger pleco gets up to 5" which is about as big as we want to get. I am kind of thinking of catfish in the 3" or so range might be better.
A word of warning:

Keep a very close eye on the otos in your pea puffer tank. In fact, you should probably just remove them to the other aquarium. Pea puffers are super fun, interactive, and hilarious pet fish, and I absolutely love them with all my heart, but they are total monsters when it comes to other fish, despite being only the size of a jelly bean. They can, and probably will, harass and even kill other fish that are considerably larger than themselves. At minimum, they will likely begin nipping the otos fins, possibly until the poor otos can't even swim, and will still stress them out even if they don't cause a lot of damage. They are best maintained in a species-only tank.

That said, if you give them loads of plants, rocks, and a great fat wad of messy java moss on one side of the tank, they are pretty easy to spawn in a home aquarium. If you add Malaysian trumpet snails to the tank (assuming you have gravel for them to hide in so the puffers don't eat them immediately) they will breed and the baby puffers will prey on the baby snails as a food source. The puffers are relatively short lived (only a couple years), but you can sustain a colony practically indefinitely if tank conditions are appropriate.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,710 Posts
We added:
5 Cardinal Tetras - 10 total
3 Pearl Gouramis
2 Juvenile Angles
this evening.

"So far" everyone is getting along.

I am a little uneasy about adding scavenging fish yet. We really have no algae and the gravel is spotless thanks to the abundance of Ramshorn snails. I think I want to let the tank mature a while before adding catfish or plecos. The LFS had a very expensive tiger pleco ($135) that looked VERY cool. But I really want to wait a little, especially before adding such an expensive fish.

We also purchased 3 Otocinclus catfish for my daughters 15g pea puffer tank. We love the Otocinclus but I am kind of thinking they will be too small for the 180 and we would never see them. The tiger pleco gets up to 5" which is about as big as we want to get. I am kind of thinking of catfish in the 3" or so range might be better.
Be very careful adding just a few fish at a time. The more times you add fish to a system, the higher likelihood of introducing pathogens or parasites. Of course, you bypass this issue if your quarantine fish for 6 weeks before adding to the display tank.
I have a 180 gallon myself, it is a lot of water volume and makes it less risky to just add a larger group of fish at one time by diligently doing water changes to offset risk of ammonia spike. I added fish by zones: top swimmers ( tetras and the like), middle (centerpiece fish) and bottom dwellers. I stocked way higher than you have ( much higher) and did daily 30% water changes for the next 5 days. This allowed bio-filter to catch up to new bio-load. Ive also done this in much smaller tanks with discus. Can do it with any fish as long as you are prepared to do daily water changes for at least the next 5 days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
We have added a third angel and a BEAUTIFUL L134 Leopard frog pleco.
I have read various different opinions on how many plecos can be kept in a single tank. I have read quite a few opinions that multiple plecos are usually fine for a few years until they reach maturity then, if all males, they can start killing each other. Has anyone run across this issue? If you have had multiple Plecos play nice how many years have you had them together? ...and which variety (varieties) did you keep together?

I would like to get another L134 or two. Or possibly a zebra, clown and/or bristlenose plecos. All of these species are in the 3" - 4" range when full grown except the bristlenose which maxes out at about 5". We are really fond of the bristlenose Pleco idea!

We are also considering a school (shoal) of Sterbai Cory's, maybe 6 to 10 of them. Sterbai Cory's grow to a max of about 2.6" and we love their looks. We really like fish in the 3" - 4" mark for our heavily planted 180g. I feel that bigger fish (6"+) tend to look cramped even in a 6' 180g. We really like to watch them swim from one end of the tank to the other end which big fish seem to do in a second or two before having to turn around. Yes, angels get big but they are more of a vertical fish.

We are also looking at Pepper Cory's that max about 3" but prefer the markings on the Sterbai Cory's.

Be very careful adding just a few fish at a time. The more times you add fish to a system, the higher likelihood of introducing pathogens or parasites. Of course, you bypass this issue if your quarantine fish for 6 weeks before adding to the display tank.
I have a 180 gallon myself, it is a lot of water volume and makes it less risky to just add a larger group of fish at one time by diligently doing water changes to offset risk of ammonia spike. I added fish by zones: top swimmers ( tetras and the like), middle (centerpiece fish) and bottom dwellers. I stocked way higher than you have ( much higher) and did daily 30% water changes for the next 5 days. This allowed bio-filter to catch up to new bio-load. Ive also done this in much smaller tanks with discus. Can do it with any fish as long as you are prepared to do daily water changes for at least the next 5 days.
We have been going to the same LFS for almost 20 years now and in that time we have never had any disease outbreaks. Maybe we have just been lucky. We also use a DE pool filter that filters down to 1 - 6 microns which is small enough to catch most common fish pathogens. I suspect that the DE filter has greatly contributed to our success with health fish. I have upped the auto water change system to change about 50g every morning before the lights go on. Being automated it isn't dependent on my sometimes lacking motivation to make sure the daily water change is done.

A word of warning:

Keep a very close eye on the otos in your pea puffer tank. In fact, you should probably just remove them to the other aquarium. Pea puffers are super fun, interactive, and hilarious pet fish, and I absolutely love them with all my heart, but they are total monsters when it comes to other fish, despite being only the size of a jelly bean. They can, and probably will, harass and even kill other fish that are considerably larger than themselves. At minimum, they will likely begin nipping the otos fins, possibly until the poor otos can't even swim, and will still stress them out even if they don't cause a lot of damage. They are best maintained in a species-only tank.
My daughter's school is still under covid lockdown so she is keeping A VERY CLOSE EYE on the puffers and ottos every day. Her online science class enjoys watching the tank too. :) At the first sign of any problem the ottos will be moved to the 180g tank which has tons of hiding places. Her 15g puffer tank is very well stocked with plants and a nice driftwood center piece.

Long term, I'd say no. Short term, I'd say any of the non Neo shrimp, so shrimp like amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata), fan/bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), or a vampire shrimp (Atya gabonensis) would probably work. Those or dwarf crayfish (CPOs, etc. NOT the electric blue crayfish).

You can also always just go massive with Otocinclus numbers. Think a school of 20 or so.
The Ottos are in my daughters tank. We really like watching shrimp and would love to have some in our tank! Our goal with shrimp is more their visual appeal than their scavenging instinct for tank cleaning. Amano shrimp are what we are thinking might work best but aren't quite ready to add any yet. The 180g is heavily planted and has a lot of rocks with many nooks and caves. Instead of a big school of Ottos we are thinking of a medium school of Sterbai Corys just because of their bit bigger size which tends to show a bit more individual personality.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
There were two BEAUTIFUL blue Discus at the LFS. We were SO tempted! But controlled our buying urge as the discus preferred temperature range doesn't really match our tank temperature (79 degrees F.) and our PH is about 7.6-7.8 which is the opposite of their preferred environment. I know that a tanks PH can be altered but this always comes down to the problem of keeping it stable... especially during water changes. So no Discus are in our future for quite a while.

Again, I appreciate all the helpful posts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
782 Posts
If you were considering a second pleco, instead of risking fights later you could consider getting a twig catfish. They are an algae-eater, but are very slender and long, and would do very well in your large planted tank. They're also a little unusual, and are very peaceful with tankmates.

Sterbai cories, like all cories, are great community fish. If they are well cared for, they may eventually breed in the tank. If the pleco doesn't get to the eggs, you may one day start seeing tiny cories shoaling with their parents. In an aquarium stocked with a lot of other fish you probably won't get very many babies, but it's likely one or two will make it occasionally if there are a lot of plants and hiding places. If you have trouble finding Sterbai, both Julii and Trilineatus are visually similar and generally readily available. Incidentally, while it's still best to have at least 5 of each type, cories will very often shoal with other cory species quite readily. I used to keep panda, pepper and bronze all in the same tank, and they would frequently travel together in one big herd. They do this in the wild too; mixed cory shoals numbering in the hundreds and possibly thousands have been observed where multiple species occur in the same area.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top