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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's my situation:

I've had a reef tank for several years which I am still fascinated by. Last fall I decided to branch out and give a planted tank a shot- for the challenge, the learning, to have a second lower maintenance tank, and because I saw so many beautiful tanks on this site. I really enjoyed the process and succeeded in creating a healthy, fully planted tank that I am fairly happy with.

The problem is- now 8 months later I find I am still much more interested in the reef tank. I think part of this may have to do with the fish which seem to have much more "personality" in the reef tank. The saltwater fish all have names, they all have unique traits, and I seem much more attached to them and therefore I spend more time on the tank.

The planted tank has a school of black neon tetras, which, uh, school mostly, a school of corys that only come out at night, three albino bristlenose plecos which are actually interesting, and maybe 50-100 cherry shrimp. Other than the plecos, if any of the others went missing I'd never know it, which makes me somewhat indifferent to the tank even though I am still religious about the maintenance and it still looks great. (and I actually haven't lost any fish because I do a head count periodically)

I am seriously thinking about breaking the planted tank down and maybe setting up another reef tank, but I really don't want to give up on the time and money put into this tank.

Any suggestions on maybe a certain FW fish that you've found particularly fascinating, or grew very attached to? I've thought about discus but I'm really not interested in 50% water changes 3 times a week- heck some weeks I'm so busy I don't even shower three times:) I tried apistogrammas when I first started the tank but couldn't deal with the aggression issues. Maybe angels? I'd have to get rid of the tetras I think.

I'm really looking for some inspiration!

Thanks,

James
 

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What sort of aggression issues did you have with apistos?
You could try less aggressive species, checkerboards, rams...
Watching dwarf cichlids courting each other is fascinating, but I find that is where most of the aggression comes in, you can keep them singly as well.
The gourami family is another one to look at, really neat fish.
Maybe some loaches? Siamese algae eaters can have a lot of personality as well.

I agree with you though, a tank that has nothing but tetras/rasboras bores me to tears.
 

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For me, a planted tank has always been about the plants, with the fish there as the decorations that help make the plants look better. When I had fish only tanks I always got bored with the fish eventually, except for Geophagus - the cichlids that dig in the substrate constantly, rearranging it all the time, and who breed easily, with fascinating parental care being shown to the fry. But, the other fish always eventually got boring. I just like plants better.
 

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I've thought about giving up on the hobby several times because I just lose interest but since I never get around to tearing down my tanks, I usually have waited just long enough for something else to get me excited again...like buying an ADA tank. I've been in and out of the fish hobby for about 15 years and this is the longest it's lasted because just like hobby, I enjoy the plants a little bit more! Maybe give it a little time and find something new and interesting that you haven't tried yet?
 

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I would definately give angels a shot, they arent as high maint. as discus but they have tons of personality, and you can easily tell diffrent individuals apart. Mine greet me at the tank every time I come into the room, and I call them begger fish because they are..all around one of my favorite FW fish.
 

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I think you have to have it about the plants as well as the fish. If you're not into the plants that's more than half the fun.
 

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+1 on the apistos. VERY interesting and have big personalities. Especially German blue rams. I also have a singel checkerboard chichlid...the way it moves reminds me of a puffer and it is very cute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What sort of aggression issues did you have with apistos?

I agree with you though, a tank that has nothing but tetras/rasboras bores me to tears.
I was really drawn into the Amano school of tetras look, and thought I'd like the idea of an anonymous school of fish as opposed to the individuals in the reef tank, but in the end they aren't that exciting to me.

I don't remember what type of apistos I had (not rams) but I attempted to pick out a m/f pair by color. The problem I had is that one of them staked claim of the large piece of driftwood in the middle of the tank and wouldn't let anything near it- the other apisto, the shrimp, and the corys were all sent to the corners. After a couple of weeks I took the aggressive one back to the LFS and the other apisto then claimed the driftwood and kept everything away. I did like the apistos and liked watching them hunt around. Maybe now that the plants are fully grown in it would be different, but the plecos have made the driftwood home and I'd hate to see them chased.

My tank is a 38 gallon (36x12x20) BTW, and the equipment is all fairly new so buying new equipment to kick up the interest isn't really an option.

I've always liked angels, I used to keep them when I was a kid. I've heard mixed things about keeping them with tetras which is a natural food source for them. I'm assuming harlequin rasboras would also be at risk (I have four of them too). I'd consider finding a new home for the tetras and rasboras to get angels. Definitely a good suggestion. I've also thought about turning it into a brackish tank so I could keep the equipment and some of the plants, but then get some bumble bee gobies and puffers. Gobies are some of my favorite saltwater fish, but I don't know if the BBGs are similar in manners.

I hear what you're saying about the plants being part of it. I keep trying to be a plant person but they just don't hold my interest.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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+1 on the apistos. VERY interesting and have big personalities. Especially German blue rams. I also have a singel checkerboard chichlid...the way it moves reminds me of a puffer and it is very cute.
My German blue rams just hide under the heater and the driftwood.:icon_cry:
 

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BBG's are very cool little fish. I'd love to have a tank of them myself.
 

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I got into this hobby because I like growing plants, 'scaping them, and really like the color green as apposed to purple or *other. I also like hanging out in the swamps, so it's a way to have that in my home. Honestly, my reef tanks bore me to tears, but SW pred tanks still spark my enthusiasm, and so do macroalgae and seagrass tanks. Muddy mangrove biotopes with skippers and fiddlers are really cool, too, the fish don't really have much to do with it for me, but plant life is always essential or I lose interest. I think it's maybe a personality type that you lack, you're probably a reefer till the day you die, like all my close aquarium pals are. :) I've tried to push plants on some of them when they first showed enthusiasm, but they killed them all, and I'm still fighting off frag offers and all the nagging that I should be putting all my energy to more reef tanks.
 

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I love a large school of angels, I have plenty in my 220, but when a pair starts spawning they start chasing them away.
 

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Face it, James- you're just a high maintenance individual. Seriously though, I think most of the folks on this forum are here because it is The Planted Tank (not the fish tank). Like Hoppy above, I do it to try and grow beautiful plants and incorporate them into an aquascape. With so many plants available, the aquascaping possibilities are endless and more than sufficient to hold my interest. The fish (although nice) are really secondary to me. Unless you are more into the planted aspect of your tank than you are the fish, I suspect that you will be better off converting to another reef tank (in spite of the extra maintenance involved). Don't worry, it doesn't make you a bad person.:icon_lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The strange thing is, since writing the original post I've taken a good look at the tank and started to think about how I can improve and rearrange the plants. I hadn't logged into the PT site in months because my life is moving 100mph, but now that I've gotten such helpful advice and have started reading other posts here again, I am rekindling my interest in plants.

BTW, my plants have been doing great! If anything they need a serious pruning, but it's not like I've totally ignored them and let them die off. I dialed in my lighting an ferts over the first few months of the setup and have stuck with the routine.

I do still feel like I need one standout fish in the tank so I am looking into a single or pair of angelfish.

But first I need to get the plants back into shape.

Thanks for the CPR everyone!
 

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Came from 20+ years of SW back to this. My 90g has at least 120 small fish with little to no aggression. This tank is far more relaxing than any reef I've had. I can't explain why it is, it just is. The way the fish interact with each other of the same specie can keep me occupied for hours.

With SW fish it always seemed to be about adding center piece fish many of which you could only have one of each. With stocking like that you rarely see how these fish would interact with each other in the wild unless it was to fight over territory.

SteveU
 
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