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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey there, I've had my tank running for several months now and I'm really happy with it so far. Thought I'd finally show you all. Cheers

4 clown killi
2 Norman's lampeye killi
10 CPDs
1 angel ram
1 pea puffer
[STRIKE]4 [/STRIKE] 5 Cory habrosus
[STRIKE]1 rainbow goby[/STRIKE] Didn't like sharing space with corys, rehomed
[STRIKE]2 nerite snail[/STRIKE] Died
several cherry shrimp


Youtube vid:
https://youtu.be/4tEuIMZAXl4
 

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How often do you do water changes? That tank is way too over-stocked, and I'm usually the guy telling people "Nah, you can fit a few more tetras in that space."

You could maybe get away with 6 CPDs by themselves but having the killies and the ram in there is a cause for concern, IMO.

Do you run the stock light?
 

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I overstock a bit, but haven't come close to your tank. I have one Spec V with 7 boraras urophthalmoides and some cherry shrimp and another Spec V with 5 hastatus cories and only 1 Microdevario Kubotai (lost 4 others and will be restocking - either with the same M. Kubotai or maybe switch to 7-8 chilis). I wouldn't be comfortable with much more than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How often do you do water changes? That tank is way too over-stocked, and I'm usually the guy telling people "Nah, you can fit a few more tetras in that space."

You could maybe get away with 6 CPDs by themselves but having the killies and the ram in there is a cause for concern, IMO.

Do you run the stock light?
I use the Finnex Planted+

I change 1 gallon weekly but based on my nice and stable parameters I think I could get away with every other week.

Interestingly enough i started out with 7 neon tetras but they were way too active for my tank and fought amongst themselves a lot. The Danios however seem very happy and comfortable in this setup.

The clown killies spend an overwhelming majority of their time in the top 2 inches of the tank and the lampeye's stay in the the top third. The ram pays them absolutely no mind and generally only hangs out way up there when he's expecting me to feed him blackworms. Having said that I did make it my mission to choose the most docile ram I could find at my lfs (same with my puffer). And I went with the angel ram b/c they seemed to be the least active of the 4 different rams the fish store had on offer.

There's been a lot a trial and error in my search for a compatible community and it's still a work in progress. I've re-homed some things and also just returned fish to the store at my loss. Mexican dwarf cray, Myanmar flam red basis, bumblebee goby, wrestling halfbeak, etc. If it doesn't work i don't try and force it.
 

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I don't see how you are doing this. You are supposed to have about 12 square inches of surface area per inch of tropical fish. The Angel Ram is a challenging fish to keep. Your plants look green and there is not too much algae on the glass.

I looked into getting a Blue Ram to be the soul occupant of a twenty gallon but was dissuaded by my research. They are not the type of fish you can trust your friends to take care of when you leave home to go on vacation.

The 12 square inch of surface area per inch of tropical fish rule has to do with the respiration of the plants and animals. There is another concern though. That is the abundance of Nitrates and phosphate created by your stock in such a small system. A twenty percent water change every two weeks will probably not work.

You don't realize it yet, but you will. Sustainability is the watchword when you are the custodian of an aquarium. Stock lightly and be observant, because things can go wrong really fast in a small tank.
 

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I know it's a major drag to get a bunch of negative posts on your first tank thread.. I think most of us probably overstocked our first tanks, and had a mishmash of fish that are sub-optimal. I think you deserve a little slack for that at least. But frankly, aside from the issue of water volume/water changes, you have some fish that shouldn't be alone in a tank that size.
Rams - let alone an angel ram - for instance, generally shouldn't be permanently in a tank smaller than about 20 gallons. They need room to form a territory, and while it might do ok on the short term, it's not what the fish deserves. That many Corys probably need about 20 gallons to be comfortable too.. then you add CPDs and killies.. all of which would like to be in more space than 5 gallons. You have the aquarium equivalent of 23 people living in a 500 sq ft apartment. Is it possible, yes.. but is it going to be pleasant for the inhabitants? No.

Other than that, a pretty decent first tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't see how you are doing this. You are supposed to have about 12 square inches of surface area per inch of tropical fish. The Angel Ram is a challenging fish to keep. Your plants look green and there is not too much algae on the glass.

I looked into getting a Blue Ram to be the soul occupant of a twenty gallon but was dissuaded by my research. They are not the type of fish you can trust your friends to take care of when you leave home to go on vacation.

The 12 square inch of surface area per inch of tropical fish rule has to do with the respiration of the plants and animals. There is another concern though. That is the abundance of Nitrates and phosphate created by your stock in such a small system. A twenty percent water change every two weeks will probably not work.

You don't realize it yet, but you will. Sustainability is the watchword when you are the custodian of an aquarium. Stock lightly and be observant, because things can go wrong really fast in a small tank.
I agree with you re: the Blue Ram, from what I've seen it wouldn't have worked in my tank as they were fairly active at the lfs. So were the Gold Rams, Electric Blue Rams, and Baloon Rams (green bodied & striped). The Angel Rams in general showed the least amount of movement in their tank and this is something I've observed across multiple restockings of them. My male in particular showed no aggression toward his ram tank-mates at the store- even when he himself was rammed which was pretty funny to watch.

I generally feed him live blackworms but, much to my surprise, he also really loves algae wafers. And though I haven't seen a need to do it yet, the owner of a lfs that I go to regularly assured me that I could just dump all the blackworms in the tank if I wanted and let the fish hunt at their leisure.

Nitrates were 0 as of a few weeks ago and I've been using Seachem's Phosguard to deal with an algae problem I got from using local tap water for weekly water changes.

I've had the experience of things going wrong very quickly in an uncycled tank and it's not fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know it's a major drag to get a bunch of negative posts on your first tank thread.. I think most of us probably overstocked our first tanks, and had a mishmash of fish that are sub-optimal. I think you deserve a little slack for that at least. But frankly, aside from the issue of water volume/water changes, you have some fish that shouldn't be alone in a tank that size.
Rams - let alone an angel ram - for instance, generally shouldn't be permanently in a tank smaller than about 20 gallons. They need room to form a territory, and while it might do ok on the short term, it's not what the fish deserves. That many Corys probably need about 20 gallons to be comfortable too.. then you add CPDs and killies.. all of which would like to be in more space than 5 gallons. You have the aquarium equivalent of 23 people living in a 500 sq ft apartment. Is it possible, yes.. but is it going to be pleasant for the inhabitants? No.

Other than that, a pretty decent first tank.
Ya know.. I've lurked these forums for as long as I've had the tank so this type of response was not unexpected. The Corys & CPDs especially have always appeared quite happy in my tank. I think the generally skittish CPDs might actually feel more comfortable in a densely planted smaller setup. Bu again, it's a work in progress.

I find the "x-many pple living an an apartment" analogy to be problematic because people can't inhabit 3 distinct strata of an apartment in the same way a community of fish can occupy a tank.
 

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The tank is beautiful. I keep scrolling back to the top to look at it. You even have a little carpet of something starting up. I don't mean to sound critical and condescending. I'm just trying to be scientific. Thirty years ago I tried a little cichlid in a ten gallon tank and it died. What are some of the parameters in this tank? Do you check for ammonia and nitrite? Fish aquariums have a carrying capacity determined by the mass of their animals in relation to the denitrifying activity of their aerobic bacteria. Gasses including oxygen are exchanged at the surface of the water. Your animals, plants and aerobic bacteria are all consuming oxygen. Every tank has an oxygen budget. You are living paycheck to paycheck when it comes to the oxygen in this tank.

EDIT: I reread post #10 and see that you did provide parameters. "Nitrates were zero." Pardon me. I would check that frequently though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The tank is beautiful. I keep scrolling back to the top to look at it. You even have a little carpet of something starting up. I don't mean to sound critical and condescending. I'm just trying to be scientific. Thirty years ago I tried a little cichlid in a ten gallon tank and it died. What are some of the parameters in this tank? Do you check for ammonia and nitrite? Fish aquariums have a carrying capacity determined by the mass of their animals in relation to the denitrifying activity of their aerobic bacteria. Gasses including oxygen are exchanged at the surface of the water. Your animals, plants and aerobic bacteria are all consuming oxygen. Every tank has an oxygen budget. You are living paycheck to paycheck when it comes to the oxygen in this tank.

EDIT: I reread post #10 and see that you did provide parameters. "Nitrates were zero." Pardon me. I would check that frequently though.
Thank you for the compliment as well as the constructive criticism. I'll do biweekly testing for the next few months just to make sure i'm not missing any spikes. I've got the API Freshwater master test kit and just bought the GH& KH test kit because I'm having trouble maintaining my shrimp population. I also intend to buy the phosphate test kit too since I've read that my plants will suffer from a complete lack of it and I'm running Phosguard in my filter. Finally, I've been using 'Fluval Biological Cleaner for Aquariums' for the past month and while I don't have a foolproof way of knowing if it's working- when I removed the driftwood and vacuumed the soil 2 days ago I was pleasantly surprised at how pristine it was.

I appreciate the reminder regarding a tank's oxygen budget because it's not something I ever really think about. I have a CO2 regulator set up and If you take a look at the first pic you can sorta notice my CO2 line on the far left side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey there, I've had my tank running for several months now and I'm really happy with it so far. Thought I'd finally show you all. Cheers

4 clown killi
2 Norman's lampeye killi
10 CPD's
1 angel ram
1 pea puffer
4 Cory habrosus
1 rainbow goby
2 nerite snail
several cherry shrimp


Youtube vid:
https://youtu.be/4tEuIMZAXl4
Decided to take the rainbow goby out because he was semi aggressive and doesn't really like sharing the floor with my corys. He's also the only fish that my ram won't tolerate and tends to chase so he'll have to go back to the lfs.

So that experiment cost me 7 bucks.. I had him for about 2 months. Gorgeous coloring and I really like the way he moves and his body shape as well as the way he made use of my aquascape- his home was a burrow that he made under the rock that's to the left in the pic. He spent 60% of his time hidden under there.
 

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I find the "x-many pple living an an apartment" analogy to be problematic because people can't inhabit 3 distinct strata of an apartment in the same way a community of fish can occupy a tank.
The analogy works because all the fish, while perhaps necessarily occupying the tank in layers due to the complete and utter lack of space, they are all breathing and living in the same medium shared by all other inhabitants. Perhaps 23 people all swimming, and relieving themselves in the same kiddie pool would be a more apt analogy?

The bottom line here - if this is indeed your first tank as your title reads, you are then assuming that you know better than an entire body of people that are strongly suggesting that you're tank is waay overstocked, and not in any way a good situation for any of the fish.

I watched your youtube video, and your angel ram looks really not happy. M. Ramirezi rams are pretty low key to begin with, but it has virtually no space to move. Rams generally spend a lot of their time at or near the bottom of the tank near leaf litter, etc. They also require very clean water, especially since yours is a baloon/angel variety which are generally less hardy than a standard ramirezi due to selective breeding. Please at least re-home this guy, or consider upgrading to a bigger setup.

I'll leave ya alone now, as I think I've made my point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
The analogy works because all the fish, while perhaps necessarily occupying the tank in layers due to the complete and utter lack of space, they are all breathing and living in the same medium shared by all other inhabitants. Perhaps 23 people all swimming, and relieving themselves in the same kiddie pool would be a more apt analogy?

The bottom line here - if this is indeed your first tank as your title reads, you are then assuming that you know better than an entire body of people that are strongly suggesting that you're tank is waay overstocked, and not in any way a good situation for any of the fish.

I watched your youtube video, and your angel ram looks really not happy. M. Ramirezi rams are pretty low key to begin with, but it has virtually no space to move. Rams generally spend a lot of their time at or near the bottom of the tank near leaf litter, etc. They also require very clean water, especially since yours is a baloon/angel variety which are generally less hardy than a standard ramirezi due to selective breeding. Please at least re-home this guy, or consider upgrading to a bigger setup.

I'll leave ya alone now, as I think I've made my point.
While I hear what you're saying.. No, I don't think that's an apt analogy. Or rather- if it is more apt then only marginally so.

I assume nothing. I do however take all internet advice with a grain of salt. Nevertheless let me reiterate that I have found the wealth & breadth of knowledge in this forum and others like it to be invaluable.

I think you're reading a bit much into my ram's behavior in the video, possibly unfairly so. He seemed pretty at at ease to me and as I mentioned back up in post #6, "[he] generally only hangs out way up there when he's expecting me to feed him blackworms." What I saw in that video was a fat ram eager to be fed displaying full bright color and not showing any skittishness towards my presence. But that's just me. More often than not he can be found under the the driftwood. The Rams currently in the same tank mine came from at my LFS look a lot more stressed than him.
 

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The reason the rams at the store look "more" stressed is because they are in a bare (or almost bare) tank with a lot of conspecifics, who are all fighting for territory.

Long story short, you've got far too many species for a 5 gallon, and you've combined species from all across the world. Rams don't know how to act around puffers, so maybe they leave them alone. But they also might immediately attack it, like he attacked your goby.

We'd all love to overstock a tank, but at some point you call it quits. I'm about to purchase 7 Chili Rasboras (Boraras brigittae) for my Spec V. These fish are as tiny as they come. But when you've got poop, extra food, small territory, etc. they add up quickly. But hey, if you can keep it clean and pristine, do you. I hope you enjoy the tank and no fish are unhappy, because that's all we ask for. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Turns out both of my nerite snails were dead before I even started this thread. They were dead in my tank for almost a month before I realized. Really confused as to what might have killed them because they both died at exactly the same time. I woke up one morning and they were both clamped up tight and lying on their backs. At the time I assumed that my pea puffer had pestered them both so I just flipped them over and went about my business. A week later when neither of them had budged I took one out of the tank and tried to open its trapdoor/cover and met (what I thought was) some resistance so I figured they were still alive and let them be. Well obviously I was wrong.

This explain the ammonia & nitrite spike I observed when I did a test right after post #13, largely due to Savetheplants prompting. Ammonia was just under 1 ppm and nitrite was .25 which confused the hell out of me. I did an extra water change in the middle of that week and didn't think about it much beyond that. (dead snails still in aquarium:|)

Yeah.. really don't understand why they both died right at the same time. They seemed reasonably healthy and active right up until the end which is another reason I didn't suspect that they were dead. I mean my cherry shrimp population is stable with no obvious fatalities and in fantastic shape- really active with full bodies and bright coloring. All I can think of is my puffer did it but I really don't know. I have no immediate plans to replace them.

All this to say- I'm pleased that my filtration setup could accommodate the bio-load of two dead and rotting snails in a heavily overstocked 5 gallon with a Purigen bag near the end of its regenerative life-cycle for almost an entire month. Not bad :smile2:
 
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