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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Planning (nothing in stone yet) would love to hear suggestions/experiences etc with these fish, and ones compatible with them. I will be buying most of my stock from msjinkzd (exceptions being rams, and dwarf gourami, and shrimp if I find a better deal)

20 gallon long: (30x12x12)
Filter: Aquaclear 20 filter (will also have sponge filter that will be removed for quarantine/hospital tank as needed)
Heater: Eheim jagar 675 watt
Lights: DIY cfl (not yet made)
Substrate: Black Diamond blasting 'sand' (may have MGOPM underneath)
Hardscape: unknown.. maybe use manzanita branches and/or rocks
Plants: ANUBIAS MADNESS! Maybe some floaters (duckweed/frogbit/salvia), misc stem plants, might try glosso..
CO2 system: None
Ferts: Seachem: excel, flourish, potassium, phosphorous
Water stats:
Temp:77-82 depending on stock
pH: 7.5
ammonia/nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 10ppm (from tap)
GH:160s
KH:70s
RO/DI etc water is not an option need fish that can survive these conditions. Don't care if they do not breed, just don't want them dieing.
[strike]Fish list ideas:
6-8 Dwarf zebra hovering loaches (Micronemacheilus (Yunnanilus) cruciatus) (pretty set on)
3-6 Otos
2 (Pair) Electric Blue Rams (?)
6-? Rummy nosed tetra (?) or Spotted Blue Eyes (Pseudomugil gertrudae)
#? Cherry shrimp (?)
I'd like to try shrimp (first time), but not sure of the likely hood they'd surviving with the other fish listed. Thoughts on other listed fish compatibility?
I'd guess having the rummy and the loaches would make my tank overstocked? Would it be the same for blue eyes and loaches? Any other secondary schooling fish ideas (will not use neon/cardinal or simular looking tetra..)?[/strike]
New Stock List Idea:
8-?Zebra Danio
4-6 Otos
#? cherry shrimp?

Ditching "center piece fish" idea for this tank, just go with shoals..Not sure if danios would harass otos or generally not notice them? .. Will danio be shrimp eaters?

7.13 gallon cube: (11.8x11.8x11.8)
Filter: Eheim 2211
Heater: Eheim jagar 50 watt
Lights: DIY cfl (not made yet)
Substrate: MGOPM capped with Black Diamond blasting 'sand'
Hardscape: manzanita branches
Plants: unknown yet (may try several stem and carpet plants)
CO2 system: None
Ferts: Seachem: excel, flourish, potassium, phosphorous
Water stats:
Temp:72-79 depending on stock
pH: 7.5
ammonia/nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 10 ppm (from tap)
GH:160s
KH:70s
RO/DI etc water is not an option need fish that can survive these conditions. Don't care if they do not breed, just don't want them dieing.
Fish list ideas:
1-3(?) Honey Gourami or 1 dwarf gourami (non honey variety)
6-? Pygmy Cories
1-2 Otos (?)
#? Cherry shrimp (?)

Unsure about otos and shrimp, would like an algae muncher but don't know if it would get over stocked with otos, or if the shrimp would just be lunch..Other ideas for a 7g cube I'm happy to hear. I've considered 1 male betta but I have a love of gourami's now, and don't think I can take on the more sensitive ones yet (paradise, licorice, spotted, sparkling).


I've read about people keeping shrimp and using the Seachem ferts I listed (not in excess) successfully.
Please give me your thoughts, suggestions, share experiences with these fish/shrimp, etc.
 

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Looks like some fun projects :D I would say skip the shrimp in the 20L. Loaches and the electric blues would gobble them right up. Also, with the rams your PH and KH could be an issue. They really like softer, more acidic water although some sources do keep and breed in higher params. I dont really have any experience with the rummy nose and blue eyes, hopefully someone else can chime in there!

I know you said you arent looking to get into the RO and all that. An alternative to help soften your water and bring that PH down would be IALs. I condition my water, 3-4 leaves per 5 gallons for 24-48 hours and it drops my PH and hardness permanantly. Just something to consider!

For your cube that seems pretty good. Ottos and shrimp get along so no worries there. Cories may go after babies, as well as the gourami. What you could do is stock with the shrimp first, let the population get nice and big and then introduce the fish. Also provide lots of hiding places for babies and the colony should be able to sustain itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Looks like some fun projects :D I would say skip the shrimp in the 20L. Loaches and the electric blues would gobble them right up. Also, with the rams your PH and KH could be an issue. They really like softer, more acidic water although some sources do keep and breed in higher params. I dont really have any experience with the rummy nose and blue eyes, hopefully someone else can chime in there!

I know you said you arent looking to get into the RO and all that. An alternative to help soften your water and bring that PH down would be IALs. I condition my water, 3-4 leaves per 5 gallons for 24-48 hours and it drops my PH and hardness permanantly. Just something to consider!

For your cube that seems pretty good. Ottos and shrimp get along so no worries there. Cories may go after babies, as well as the gourami. What you could do is stock with the shrimp first, let the population get nice and big and then introduce the fish. Also provide lots of hiding places for babies and the colony should be able to sustain itself.
[Strike]I have no idea what IALs are.. Will go look into that now,[/strike] ooh almond leaves didn't know it can perm reduce ph and hardness, that's pretty cool. thank you for the info though. Hmm might have to find a different showcase fish species for the 20 long, want something that will have some personality and just a schooler.

Edit: read a bit more on almond leaves... Is there a way to get the lower ph and remove the darkness of the water before putting it in the tank?
Another noobish question: I don't see how the acidicness of the leaves lowers gh??
 

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I didn't think leaves/wood lowers gh and kh either, just pH since they leach acid. You should get pygmy cories for the smaller tank! They are great fish and very cute. Your water might not be too hard for rams either, especially if you can find some that were hatched in similar conditions. Bolivian rams are also an option if you aren't tied to the German Blues, and they're (said to be) hardier. My Bolivians do just fine in water even harder than yours.
 

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My water comes out at PH7.0-7.1 GH 6 KH 1 tds 160. After 2 days with IALs soaking it reads PH6.8 GH 5 KH 1 tds 160-165. I use inert substrate and my water stays at those params. As far as the specific science behind it all, that i dont have lol

If i could make a suggestion on centerpiece fish, pearl gouramis are wonderful. Very hardy, and very beautiful fish. They also get along great with others. They will do fine in your water params, expecially if you do soften it up a little. A little too big for your cube, but perfect for your 20L. Just something to consider :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't think leaves/wood lowers gh and kh either, just pH since they leach acid. You should get pygmy cories for the smaller tank! They are great fish and very cute. Your water might not be too hard for rams either, especially if you can find some that were hatched in similar conditions. Bolivian rams are also an option if you aren't tied to the German Blues, and they're (said to be) hardier. My Bolivians do just fine in water even harder than yours.
The cube is on my desk so want the more active/personality type fish there to see really want to try the pygmies they're so adorable! I was biasing the electric blues since its my fav color, and my current dwarf gourami (only fish in 10 g) is a powder blue. So wanted something simular in color but not exact breed since i will expect a new gourami to be like the old one. He won't be going into the 20g.. he's been with me 20 months (they live 24 months) and very old.. won't risk moving him..

My water comes out at PH7.0-7.1 GH 6 KH 1 tds 160. After 2 days with IALs soaking it reads PH6.8 GH 5 KH 1 tds 160-165. I use inert substrate and my water stays at those params. As far as the specific science behind it all, that i dont have lol

If i could make a suggestion on centerpiece fish, pearl gouramis are wonderful. Very hardy, and very beautiful fish. They also get along great with others. They will do fine in your water params, expecially if you do soften it up a little. A little too big for your cube, but perfect for your 20L. Just something to consider :D
Hmm might buy a few leaves to try out, is there a way to take out the "tea water" effect but keep the lower ph from soaking them?

How many pearl gouramis would be safe/comfortable for a 20 long (along with otos and loaches)? They'd be shrimp nomers probably.. hmm might crack out the 2g to try cherries... but smaller area more unstable...
 

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How many pearl gouramis would be safe/comfortable for a 20 long (along with otos and loaches)? They'd be shrimp nomers probably.. hmm might crack out the 2g to try cherries... but smaller area more unstable...
You could have 3-4 in there no problem. 6 ottos. and the same for the loaches. One thing you may want to consider is upping the filter, if anything it would just cut the need for water changes. I used to run a 20 on my 20L and have since moved to a 70 and my maintenance went way down. As for IAL's i got a BUNCH. PM sent :D

Instead of otos try nerite snails. Carbon will help with removing tannins from the ial's.
Active carbon does remove the tannins but i believe this also alters the water chemistry, as the tannins are what cause the softness, but to be honest i havent experimented with active carbon. I'll run a filter on one of my buckets this weekend and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
typos

Instead of otos try nerite snails. Carbon will help with removing tannins from the ial's.
I'd like to do an open top tank and have read that netrite have a tenancy to escape such setups. Since there are two cats and a dog I don't want to be playing 'wheres waldo' around the stand/floor every day trying to find and throw back in a snail before it dries out or -more likely- get eaten. I'll probably have a sort of minimal shield/extension on the walls to keep fish from jumping successfully but not a lid directly over the water. I want to try floaters and they really don't like the restricted airflow of being under a lid, or the moisture build up dropping on their leaves.

You could have 3-4 in there no problem. 6 ottos. and the same for the loaches. One thing you may want to consider is upping the filter, if anything it would just cut the need for water changes. I used to run a 20 on my 20L and have since moved to a 70 and my maintenance went way down. As for IAL's i got a BUNCH. PM sent :D


Active carbon does remove the tannins but i believe this also alters the water chemistry, as the tannins are what cause the softness, but to be honest i havent experimented with active carbon. I'll run a filter on one of my buckets this weekend and see what happens.
I've considered getting another filter. I actually bought a used Aquaclear 70 from a pt member this week (waiting for it to come now ^^) was originally going to slap it on the 55 to get water movement in a deadened section to remove the pleco poop build up... but I may slap it on the 20, get it cycled fully, and move the ac20 over instead. My concern would be TOO much water movement.. as mentioned above, I want to try floating plants, many don't like a lot of surface agitation.

I'd be curious to hear your results. In the mean time I'm going to research them a bit more. I love the idea of a natural water conditioner (won't touch the chemical stuff) but don't want the dark water ^^
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No one else has other feedback/alternative stock suggestions? Open to hearing any ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After researching pearl gouramis they're too big for a 20 long, its recommended to have a 30 gallon just to house one (they also like to eat floaters which i want to use in this tank).. sooo still looking for centerpiece fish suggestions...
I may try a dwarf cichlid pair even though they prefer lower ph/softer water for spawning but I'm not trying to breed them. One of the lfs had gbr recently, i'll go take a water sample from their tanks and see what its at (because the people that work there are too damn dumb to answer "What are your water parameters?").
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thinking of going with just schools/shoals instead of having a center piece fish and try slightly cooler water fish. Danio, oto and cherry shrimp will all have an overlap in acceptable temps from Googling their stats (low range of 70s*F). However, I'm not sure if the danio will eat all the shrimp and harass the otos constantly?
 

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I definitely think you could have a pair of pearls in a 20L, i had mine in a 29 and they had plenty of room. Males will maybe hit the 4" mark, and that would be a big one.

But if your looking for smaller fish, particularly danios, look into Danio tinwini. These guys are awesome little danios and one you dont see too often. I started with 4 and now have 8. They spawn quite easily, however are some of the fastest egg eaters i've seen. They do have a great pattern on them and these little "whiskers" of sorts that hang down from the corners of their mouths. Hard to get pictures of. They school very well and are fun to watch display and flare at each other.
 

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I think you've changed course, but just wanted to chime in that I'm keeping gold and electric blue rams in water with a ph of 8.3 and a kh of 18. They're doing fine and laying eggs (that usually get eaten before hatching as they're in community tanks) regularly. I did get mine from a seller on AB that raises them in a little higher ph water so it wasn't as much of a jump, which I'm sure helped. The electric blues have been in my tank for well over a year now, and the golds have probably been around for 9 months or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I definitely think you could have a pair of pearls in a 20L, i had mine in a 29 and they had plenty of room. Males will maybe hit the 4" mark, and that would be a big one.

But if your looking for smaller fish, particularly danios, look into Danio tinwini. These guys are awesome little danios and one you dont see too often. I started with 4 and now have 8. They spawn quite easily, however are some of the fastest egg eaters i've seen. They do have a great pattern on them and these little "whiskers" of sorts that hang down from the corners of their mouths. Hard to get pictures of. They school very well and are fun to watch display and flare at each other.
After a bit of reading, gourami seem to like to eat frogbit and other floaters so want to do something other than gourami now in the 20l. I'll look into the tinwini, but not sure if i can get a hold of them around here. I know the lfs have a few of the more common danio breeds though.


I think you've changed course, but just wanted to chime in that I'm keeping gold and electric blue rams in water with a ph of 8.3 and a kh of 18. They're doing fine and laying eggs (that usually get eaten before hatching as they're in community tanks) regularly. I did get mine from a seller on AB that raises them in a little higher ph water so it wasn't as much of a jump, which I'm sure helped. The electric blues have been in my tank for well over a year now, and the golds have probably been around for 9 months or so.
Yes was going to switch from having centerpiece fish to just schools.. but if you've comfortably kept electric blues in high pH I might look into them again. My lfs has them a few months ago at a fish sale so I'm hoping I can prod them to order more. I don't really want extra babies to feed or have to worry about the tank over stocked as they grow out (and finally finding them homes), so having eggs eaten or fish never getting their freak on to begin with is fine with me. Only thing I'd want to breed are shrimp since they're so short lived, but I may have to dedicate them their own tank since they seem to be on a lot of fish's "nom list".
 

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I realized after i posted that only my golds came from the seller on AB. The electric blues came from a seller on here (Matt*something*). I haven't seen anything posted from him in a while, but he had extremely nice, healthy fish. I think the key to making rams work in less than ideal water conditions is starting off with healthy robust fish in the first place. They'll adapt to different conditions much better than the already emaciated, sickly specimens you'll find in a lot of the box stores. If you can find a seller that raised their fish in water that's a little harder and more alkaline than rams are typically in, all the better. I've found most fish are pretty good at adapting to my conditions as long as parameters are kept stable and the water clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I realized after i posted that only my golds came from the seller on AB. The electric blues came from a seller on here (Matt*something*). I haven't seen anything posted from him in a while, but he had extremely nice, healthy fish. I think the key to making rams work in less than ideal water conditions is starting off with healthy robust fish in the first place. They'll adapt to different conditions much better than the already emaciated, sickly specimens you'll find in a lot of the box stores. If you can find a seller that raised their fish in water that's a little harder and more alkaline than rams are typically in, all the better. I've found most fish are pretty good at adapting to my conditions as long as parameters are kept stable and the water clean.
Searched forums and found the user, sent them a PM though they've not posted in a while.
 

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After a bit of reading, gourami seem to like to eat frogbit and other floaters so want to do something other than gourami now in the 20l. I'll look into the tinwini, but not sure if i can get a hold of them around here. I know the lfs have a few of the more common danio breeds though.
I really don't think pearl gouramis will eat frogbit at all. Mine never did. They are lovely fish!

Also, I really don't think the HZL would bother adult shrimp at least. Even small botia species sometimes leave shrimp alone in a well planted tank. Loaches rock, have you looked into Sidthumunki loaches?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Actually think I saw the tiniwi mixed in with zebra danio at my local PetCo today. They were all schooling together and moving far too fast to get a photo of to check against google searches later.
I'd not looked into loaches too much, the zebra dwarf hover loaches were recommended by msjinkzd when I was orginally stocking for a 10g with a dwarf gourami. Fell in love with them so hadn't looked into others after.
 

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I doubt the tinwinis were with regular danios as they are significantly smaller. Tinwinis are more the size of CPDs than zebra danios. They are COOL little fish though if you can get a hold of some. I can find them pretty easily at my local fish stores, but I've never seen them at the chain stores.
 
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