Fish Combinations

itiwhetu

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There are good fish combinations and bad ones, Like Fish and Chips is good Ice Cream and Tomato sauce not so good.

Discus and Cardinal Tetras have always been seen as good, Guppies and Angel fish not so good

What are your good and bad combinations?
 

wasmewasntit

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Controversial...mildly...cos my aquarium hooligans "on paper" should not really share the same space but weirdly they do.

There are hard and fast "rules" about certain fish...most of which I see as common sense but a newby to fishkeeping might not question.

My main aquarium - 53 gallons - has Rams, an Apisto, Pepper Cories, Bronze Cories, assorted Danios, Cardinals, Neons, Otto's, (inundated) baby BN's, Harlequins, Pristillas, a Honey Gourami, a Flame Tetra and a Platy who has an identity crisis and is BFF to one of the Rams who literally protects it against everything and everyone.

They have been a mixed family for over 24 months now...many of them came from neighbours who passed away during the height of the pandemic, at the time I had 5 x 60 litre aquariums, all mixed fish types and they all moved into the big aquarium together and despite expecting fish WW3, its been amazing.....perfectly well behaved, they all have somewhere to go chill out away from everyone else if wanted.

As I said, "on paper" these fish should not be together...but for me...and most importantly for them...it works.
 
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itiwhetu

itiwhetu

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Controversial...mildly...cos my aquarium hooligans "on paper" should not really share the same space but weirdly they do.

There are hard and fast "rules" about certain fish...most of which I see as common sense but a newby to fishkeeping might not question.

My main aquarium - 53 gallons - has Rams, an Apisto, Pepper Cories, Bronze Cories, assorted Danios, Cardinals, Neons, Otto's, (inundated) baby BN's, Harlequins, Pristillas, a Honey Gourami, a Flame Tetra and a Platy who has an identity crisis and is BFF to one of the Rams who literally protects it against everything and everyone.

They have been a mixed family for over 24 months now...many of them came from neighbours who passed away during the height of the pandemic, at the time I had 5 x 60 litre aquariums, all mixed fish types and they all moved into the big aquarium together and despite expecting fish WW3, its been amazing.....perfectly well behaved, they all have somewhere to go chill out away from everyone else if wanted.

As I said, "on paper" these fish should not be together...but for me...and most importantly for them...it works.
That is what makes this hobby of ours fascinating
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Controversial...mildly...cos my aquarium hooligans "on paper" should not really share the same space but weirdly they do.

There are hard and fast "rules" about certain fish...most of which I see as common sense but a newby to fishkeeping might not question.

My main aquarium - 53 gallons - has Rams, an Apisto, Pepper Cories, Bronze Cories, assorted Danios, Cardinals, Neons, Otto's, (inundated) baby BN's, Harlequins, Pristillas, a Honey Gourami, a Flame Tetra and a Platy who has an identity crisis and is BFF to one of the Rams who literally protects it against everything and everyone.

They have been a mixed family for over 24 months now...many of them came from neighbours who passed away during the height of the pandemic, at the time I had 5 x 60 litre aquariums, all mixed fish types and they all moved into the big aquarium together and despite expecting fish WW3, its been amazing.....perfectly well behaved, they all have somewhere to go chill out away from everyone else if wanted.

As I said, "on paper" these fish should not be together...but for me...and most importantly for them...it works.

This is really sweet, but how have you managed with a temp that they're all happy with? I've heard that rams need it warmer than most, with 80 plus, so what temp has worked for all of them?
I'm sorry to hear about your neighbours passing during the pandemic :( It was good of you to take in their fish and make it work somehow, really.
 

wasmewasntit

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This is really sweet, but how have you managed with a temp that they're all happy with? I've heard that rams need it warmer than most, with 80 plus, so what temp has worked for all of them?
I'm sorry to hear about your neighbours passing during the pandemic :( It was good of you to take in their fish and make it work somehow, really.
Everyone lives...and reproduces abundantly...at 26.5 (and that includes the Rams who have reproduced 3 times in the last 2 years)

So once again, the "on paper" doesn't always happen...either that or the fish themselves didn't read the rule book.
 

wasmewasntit

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I think it is very easy to dismiss combining fish but at the same time you do need to be careful with what you mix your fish with.

There are definite fish that should never be in a community setup....Chinese Algae Eater & Siamese Fighting Fish to name but two who really should not be in a community setup and the Chinese Algae Eater frankly needs to be banned due to the predatory behaviour and size once matured.

I know for a fact after watching Fred Betta become enraged with new moss balls and Assassin Snails, he would absolutely NEVER handle being in a community setup. He acted exactly like a full blooded Plakat who saw everything as the enemy...this fish will go for me so I know he would cause untold carnage if placed into the main aquarium.

Combining different fish into one aquarium is not and should not be done lightly and imho everyone whether a newby at fishkeeping or an old fogey with old school methods should always think very carefully, research from several sources very carefully before making an "unusual" combination in their aquarium.....and always have something on standby incase fishy WW3 breaks out

Even the best and most common combinations can sometimes go very wrong. At the end of the day we are looking after groups of very individual fish who each have their own mindset, their own attitudes and their own tolerances as to what and who they will put up with....just as with any living thing, a fish can have a nasty streak, a bad temper or be the cuddliest and cutest out there.

Common sense and experience and research before buying is essential. Never take the word of one person whether they be the salesperson in the store or someone in the family who has fish etc

Over half of my fish were inherited/adopted after their owners passed away....it was either I took them in or they went down the loo.

I am very fortunate that everyone gets along really well and I have never had any injuries, arguments or illness amongst any of them

But I would not recommend anyone else to mix fish like mine are cos what works brilliantly for my bunch of hooligans likely will not work for someone else.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Over half of my fish were inherited/adopted after their owners passed away....it was either I took them in or they went down the loo.

I am very fortunate that everyone gets along really well and I have never had any injuries, arguments or illness amongst any of them

But I would not recommend anyone else to mix fish like mine are cos what works brilliantly for my bunch of hooligans likely will not work for someone else.

This is a really good post and caution. I guess the main point to consider is why the person is planning to mix fish that "shouldn't" on paper be living together, or that have different habitat requirements. Like in your case they're inherited and would be dead otherwise. In my case I inherited a tank that had some elderly tetra mixed with livebearers in a hardwater area. No point trying to rehome elderly singles/pairs that likely wouldn't do well trying to integrate into a school of young fish, and who'd take them anyway? No point changing the water either, since that wouldn't work for the other fish, and the damage over their lifetime would be done anyway. Kinder to let them live out what time they have left in the tank they've always known, where at least I know they have a good diet and water quality, even if the hardness doesn't suit them.
If someone rescues a tank of fish that have a weird mix, which we've seen here before, sometimes it works to just keep it as is, if the fish are working out okay together and rehoming wouldn't be any better for them.

But if someone is planning a tank stocking from the start of having an empty tank, or wants to add something that shouldn't work into an existing community, then they should stop and think. That's doing what they want for selfish reasons, not creating a habitat that has fish welfare in mind. Since fish aren't ornaments or toys, have no choice in what they're living in and who with, and cannot communicate to us that they're stressed and unhappy until things are too late, then building the habitat with the fish you want in mind is the only right thing to do, in my opinion. Trying to meet as many of their needs as possible, and replicate their natural environment as much as possible. Or mixing community fish that are known to work together.
 

Wills

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Interesting topic :)

One of my no-nos is mixing south and central american cichlids, even if you get to a point where you have neutral water or even slightly soft to accommodate both groups. The ways they express aggression is so different it causes issues more often than not - Central American lakes are much more fiercely contested and less diverse than South Americans so centrals will flare very quickly and some have adapted characteristics like Firemouths to do this visually early on. Where as Souths will flare and display late on in the process. Just leads to clashes and issues that are foreseeable - there will of course be exceptions but just my two cents.

A thing I enjoy is working out how to cross species with similar water requirements and diverse behaviour that wont clash from very different parts of the world. Eg mixing Central American cichlids with Synodontis from Lake Tanganyika, both from hard water areas, the synos more so than some cichlids but still suitable, and the synos live with densely packed cichlids in the lake which I think makes them suitable with carefully selected central americans in an aquarium.

Wills
 

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