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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a planted 50 litre Mr Aqua bowfront. running for a year and a half.

Satellite FW LED+
Aquaclear 30 with foam, biofilter and purigen.
Fluval 100 watt heater.

There are
7 Green Neons Tetras
8 Ember Tetras
3 otos (I think, they hide and often I only see one or two at a time)
4 Sparkling Gouramis
2 Scarlet Badis

PH 6.8, GH 2, KH 2
Temp 24C
NH4 0 (trace?), Nitrites 0 and Nitrates trace.

According to aqadvisor I am not overstocked but I am starting to debate this.

The gouramis are all in hiding unless one comes out of hiding and then another will come out, chase the other back in to the plants and then zip back in to the plants. As I write this I hear them "talking"! I suspect I have 3 males and 1 female. Is this just breeding behaviour? It is rather bring having most of my 'centre piece' fish hiding all day.
 

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...
7 Green Neons Tetras
8 Ember Tetras
3 otos (I think, they hide and often I only see one or two at a time)
4 Sparkling Gouramis
2 Scarlet Badis
...
According to aqadvisor I am not overstocked but I am starting to debate this.

The gouramis are all in hiding unless one comes out of hiding and then another will come out, chase the other back in to the plants and then zip back in to the plants. As I write this I hear them "talking"! I suspect I have 3 males and 1 female. Is this just breeding behaviour? It is rather bring having most of my 'centre piece' fish hiding all day.
What guidelines does aqadvisor suggest? Something like x liters per x cm of fish? Of the 5 species listed above 2 MUST have access to the surface: Gourami + Badis. What's your water depth? Your Anabantoids would rather not be too deep, they require surface area to breathe, that's the prime real estate - especially for your "talking" Gourami males who would like to construct a nest at or near the surface. (They are not, as the literature suggests, "submerged bubble-nesters", no fish are.)

Surface area trumps volume, I've stated this countless times over the years. It trumps volume for all types of fish but especially for Anabantoids.

Does aqadvisor's equation include surface area? If not, theoretically a 29gallon tank can accommodate more fish vs a 20gallon Long ... but this is false.

Trichopsis are one of the shyer Gourami species that I've bred, I'd group them with the Chocolate + Licorice Gourami (which I was unable to breed).

If you suspect you have 3 males + 1 female and they're all in hiding then there's a lot going on back there. The males are harassing each other and harassing the female.

If it's a male that comes out of hiding then he is being chased out by the dominant male. If it's the female that comes out of hiding then she is being so harassed that she is going to risk being eaten by a larger fish which may be patrolling the open water.

Your 'centre piece' is more centre under the cover of darkness vs light. Have you noticed how reflective their eyes are? This is an indication that they are more nocturnal/crepuscular vs diurnal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply Jaliberti.

My tank is 60cm long and (if average it out) 28cm deep as it is a bowfront. The tank is 30cm high.

AqAdvisor calculates my tank to be 90% stocked and filter capacity is 130% but I feel it is a bit to crowded right now. I do not like that I am finding a hint of green in my API ammonia test so I need to keep a close eye on it.

I was wondering if the current is too strong near the surface so I added a sponge to the overflow of filter. This seems to have made a real difference. Most of the fish are using the upper third of the tank at times. I have never been able to grow frogbit well in my tank and I am hoping the lack of surface movement my help. The wisteria at the surface is, for now at least, where the Scarlet Badis are patrolling.

I just need to figure out how to encourage the Sparkling gouramis to be more in the open during the day.
 

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Funny thing is that I agree with both the op and Jaliberti.

I think your tank is "overstocked" but from the point of view of fish personality vrs bioload, and surface area being a huge component often left out of the equation for stocking volume.

Sparkling gouramis are the shyest fish I have ever kept and require dimmer lighting or at least good surface cover to become more active. It's kinda funny when Neons aren't the most skittish fish in your tank. I think the solution to your issue may lie more in your stocking composition than actual numbers.

good luck.
 

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If I were absolutely bent on encouraging Sparkling gouramis to be more in the open during the day there are a few things I'd try:

Add spawning mops. Yeah I know those are for livebearer fry to hide in, but they work wonders as a plant substitute. This is a PlantedTank forum yes I know, but adding too many plants drives up the pH, not good for Anabantoids. The more hiding places provided by the spawning mops the more secure the fish will feel and the more they'll venture out into the open.

And I'd incorporate gt turbo's suggestions for dimmer lighting, good surface cover, and address the stocking composition. The latter means I would eliminate all the other species, make the transition from a community tank to a species tank. Or, use dither fish.

Cover the back and sides of the tank with dark paper, leaving only the front of the tank open to clear viewing.

Lastly, and this one involves more commitment, but is a sure bet, is too breed what you've got and raise up a few of the F1's in the tamest way possible - have them eating from your finger tips. I suspect nearly all Sparkling Gourami are wild caught or raised in conditions where human interaction is very limited, e.g large pools or ponds in Florida or Southeast Asia. By raising up a few fry in a controlled manner, perhaps in a nano tank, involving lots of exposure to the aquarist, the fry will develop into more outgoing adults.
 

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Aren't those tanks like 13 or so gallons? If you were to show me that stocking list and ask my what size tank you had, I would guess double that size. Your pretty overstocked. I have less fish in my 20 long which I consider fully stocked. I would get rid of one of those schools entirely and maybe 2 of the gouramis. Typically people suggest a school of 6-8 small fish for a 10 gallon and a singe small centerpiece. You only have 3 more gallons. Would make the tank look less chaotic too.
 

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Either the Green Neons or the Ember tetras should have a 39L tank to themselves. and I also agree that 2 pair of Sparkling Gouramis is pushing the stocking. Not sure if keeping them with the Scarlet Badis is a great idea either as both need territory and yet both are shy fish.
 

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...2 pair of Sparkling Gouramis is pushing the stocking...
its not 2 pairs its 3 males + 1 female - which is even worse vs 2 pairs

better off w/3 females + 1 male , or 4 females + 0 male
 
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