Can I add more fish? If so, which ones?

Truth_FishGuy

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I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank. I have 4 electric blue rams, 1 bristlenose pleco, and I plan on getting 5 cherry barbs. Should I add more fish to the tank? I don't want to overstock my aquarium or anything. If I can add more fish, which ones should I get?
 

Wills

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Cherry barns are not a good choice with the rams as rams need soft warm water and cherry barns need hard cool water. You’d be better off with a school of something like rummy nose tetras and in a bigger school than 6.

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Dephea

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For rummy nose I absolutely recommend like 12+. I had 6, they were dying one after another, I kept adding just to keep it at six and it was a neverending fish top up cycle. Then I found something I thing on reddit saying that they die from stress if the school is too small so I upped them to a school of 12. 2 months down the line, 0 dead fish. All of them growing well too
 
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Truth_FishGuy

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Cherry barns are not a good choice with the rams as rams need soft warm water and cherry barns need hard cool water. You’d be better off with a school of something like rummy nose tetras and in a bigger school than 6.

Wils
Thank you for the suggestion. Reason why I said cherry barbs was because I’ve seen countless sites saying that they’d make great tank mates. Plus I’ve had experience with tiger barbs and thought that having a peaceful version of those would be a no brainer.
 
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Wills

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The barbs are not so much the issue its the rams - for example if you had quite neutral water ph 7 medium softness the barbs and a cichlid like a Laetacara would work as they can live in a broad range of waters and their temperature range is cooler than the Rams.

Blue Rams (which is what the electric blues are a line bred variant of) are very difficult to keep. They need very clean water (low to zero nitrates), soft water and a low ph of something like 6.5 or even a bit lower and generally high temperatures. Without this they often fade away and fail to live upto their potential life span of over 5 years. The temperature is particularly important as fish adapted to warmer water resipre in a different way to cooler water fish like the barbs.

When selecting tank mates for fish like Rams that have pretty specific needs its best to bear this in mind and stock around them rather than a more flexible selection you might have with other fish. In terms of other sites that list them as compatible tank mates, the advice we give as a forum for Rams is generally based on seeing a lot of people over the years try and keep them and these parameters are the ones that people have the most success from. But they are a fragile fish and sometimes just die for no obvious reason.

Cherry barbs are a hardy fish so you may have success with them if you keep the requirements of the Rams but they would not be my first choice. I say they are hardy as they are one of the first fish in the hobby so have been bred in all kinds of conditions for the last 50 or so years but equally a few decades will not replace thousands of years of evolution. I would choose fish that do well in soft water and high temperatures like Rummy Nose Tetras, Cardianals and Sterbai Cories.

Wills
 
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Truth_FishGuy

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The barbs are not so much the issue its the rams - for example if you had quite neutral water ph 7 medium softness the barbs and a cichlid like a Laetacara would work as they can live in a broad range of waters and their temperature range is cooler than the Rams.

Blue Rams (which is what the electric blues are a line bred variant of) are very difficult to keep. They need very clean water (low to zero nitrates), soft water and a low ph of something like 6.5 or even a bit lower and generally high temperatures. Without this they often fade away and fail to live upto their potential life span of over 5 years. The temperature is particularly important as fish adapted to warmer water resipre in a different way to cooler water fish like the barbs.

When selecting tank mates for fish like Rams that have pretty specific needs its best to bear this in mind and stock around them rather than a more flexible selection you might have with other fish. In terms of other sites that list them as compatible tank mates, the advice we give as a forum for Rams is generally based on seeing a lot of people over the years try and keep them and these parameters are the ones that people have the most success from. But they are a fragile fish and sometimes just die for no obvious reason.

Cherry barbs are a hardy fish so you may have success with them if you keep the requirements of the Rams but they would not be my first choice. I say they are hardy as they are one of the first fish in the hobby so have been bred in all kinds of conditions for the last 50 or so years but equally a few decades will not replace thousands of years of evolution. I would choose fish that do well in soft water and high temperatures like Rummy Nose Tetras, Cardianals and Sterbai Cories.

Wills
Thanks for the advice man. I’ll keep all the recommendations in mind. I like this fish, and want to make sure it’s tank mate are just right for it.
 

Byron

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Thank you for the suggestion. Reason why I said cherry barbs was because I’ve seen countless sites saying that they’d make great tank mates. Plus I’ve had experience with tiger barbs and thought that having a peaceful version of those would be a no brainer.

Unfortunately, anyone with the money and the desire can set up a site on the web, and promote themselves as "expert" in fish, when in fact many of them seem to know nothing beyond the fact that fish live in water--before you laugh, I was on a forum previously where the administrator actually said this was the extent of his fish knowledge. You must know the source before you can trust the advice/information.

On barbs, while the cherry are probably one of the "quieter" barb species, all barbs in general should not be combined with sedate fish like cichlids. Same applies to most of the common danios. These fish actively swimming around the tank can stress out sedate fish more than many realize. But there are some lovely rasboras and characins (tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish) that are fine, depending upon the species (not all characins are "OK" here). The temperature is a big issue, the rams must have it much warmer than most "tropical" fish we keep, above 80F/27C.

Knowing the water parameters (GH and pH) will help, and the tank dimensions; a 30g tall for example would not suit some fish that need length, whereas other species would be fine as they are cruisers like the rams.
 

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