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Hi my name is Wolfgang and I am a 6th grader and setting up my first tank by myself and I have a 75 gallon tank That I am planning for a South American biotope and I was thinking a larger group of hatchet fish and some Cory catfish, I am also thinking about rams in the biotope with tetras. any suggestions?
 

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Welcome to the forum.

My first advice is the same I give to everyone. Take it slow and be meticulous. From my own experience, at that age (and at this age), I found pretty quickly that the majority of my issues boiled down to impatience. Secondly, read the tank journals here. There is an incredible wealth of knowledge within.

I'm hooked on the other side of the globe currently but, I have been thinking about a display tank with hatchet fish. Corys certainly seem to be a must in SA setups and there are a lot to choose from. There are corys that occupy the middle water column too.

At any rate, I would decide on which fish will be your centerpiece and write those parameters big and bold somewhere. Then as you search for appropriate tank mates both for flora and fauna you stay on target with those parameters. Fish and plants which fall outside these ranges or on the fence? Toss 'em. It's not worth the extra work and risk. 75g is a lot of tank and you do not need to add to the load.
 

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There are so many options. You’ve selected some great fish already. If I were you I’d pick one more school of mid-level tetras and maybe a few larger centerpiece fish.

It’s all a matter of personal tastes so it’s hard to know what to recommend, but if it were my tank I’d make Angelfish the star and keep a school of lemon tetras, cardinals or pencil fish in addition to the species you already listed. Definitely I’d add a pair of rams.

Good luck.
 

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75 is a nice sized tank. I'm not saying not to get hatchet fish but I would not make them a main display fish. I would go with some sort of mid swimming tetra as a focal feature (tons of options) and then some hatchetfish as well. My experience with hatchetfish is that while they are interesting fish if they really do stay at the surface almost 100% of the time and as a result the tank could look rather empty if they represented a majority of the fish. They also can be fairly delicate and not long lived.
 

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Silver hatchets are the best choice for a novice keeper, and for show quality in a larger tank. They're much more hardy than any of the Carnegiella, and more likely to use the midwater of the tank sometimes. Get at least a dozen.
 

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Hi my name is Wolfgang and I am a 6th grader and setting up my first tank by myself and I have a 75 gallon tank That I am planning for a South American biotope and I was thinking a larger group of hatchet fish and some Cory catfish, I am also thinking about rams in the biotope with tetras. any suggestions?
Hello there, and welcome to the SA biotope world (I'm very fond of it)!

I think you chose very well. I'd add three advices:
1) Start with cories and tetras.Wait until they settle (about 2 weeks) and then add the cichlids and the hatchets (note: you must cover your tank, the hatchets love to jump outside)
2) As someone already mentioned, consider which part of the water column your fish will occupy. Hatchets at the top, cories generally at the bottom, etc.
3) I think rams are a little delicate and would suggest that you put them when you have a well cycled tank (1 to 2 months). You can also consider apistos or maybe a pair of angelfishes
 
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