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Freshwater Biocube Stocking Ideas!

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by juhason, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. juhason

    juhason Member

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    I am currently converting my Biocube to freshwater and am wondering what to put in there. This one might be a bit tougher as I am wondering more specifically for recommendations according to aesthetics. [​IMG]
     
    The fish that I already have who will be going in there looks like this:
    [​IMG]
    He prefers slow-moderate flow.
     
    I am beating my head as to what fish would look aesthetically pleasing to his pattern and colors, please help! Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    What might help is to provide more information about the tank.
     
    Size and dimensions of tank?
     
    Water hardness/softness?
     
    pH?
     
    How planted is the tank? Light, moderately or densely planted etc
     
    A FTS may help more to give ideas.
     
  3. juhason

    juhason Member

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    So sorry I completely forgot about all that info woops!
     
    The size is 29 gallons (20x21x18) I plan on moderately to heavily planting it. My tap water is slightly hard and close to neutral pH but I can make it more acidic. The fish above comes from acidic waters however this is because he is one of the few fish from the US who can tolerate such low pH... not a requirement! He is currently thriving in my regular tap water. Anyways I am willing to lower the pH so I would take recommendations from any water parameters [​IMG]
     
    He is a peaceful fish who will get to about 3.5-4" (that his max, but might not exceed 3")
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Can you provide the name of this fish species?  I'm not up on native fish, and this looks to me like a species of perch/sunfish?  This is important, with respect to the tank size and plants.  And to tankmates; without knowing what this fish is like, temperament wise but also his requirements concerning water parameters (GH/pH/temperature) and environment (some fish must have rock, some wood, some sand, some plants, etc) it is difficult to suggest suitable tankmates.
     
    I don't know if you have previously adjusted the tap water with respect to pH, but this is not usually a simple matter.  It is much more difficult to soften hard water than it is to harden soft water, and the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) is where you must start, since the pH is related.  Trying to lower pH with water that has a moderate or higher KH for example is frankly impossible without first lowering the GH and KH.  I will explain this further if I need to, once I know your GH/KH/pH of the tap water (not tank water) and if you intend soft water fish or harder water fish.
     
    I just saw (and posted in) your thread on plants in this tank, so that part seems settled.  I'll research this fish once we have the species.
     
    Byron.
     
  5. juhason

    juhason Member

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    I guess I didn't know it would be this much haha (in regards to pH). I thought I could just put some peat moss in the filter as well as put other sources of tannins (like oak leaves and driftwood). How do I test for GH/KH? Is there a separate kit? I've never seen one in the store.
     
    Anyways, you are correct, it is the Banded Sunfish. Naturally they are found in acidic waters but this is simply because there is less competition there since most other sunfish can't tolerate acidic water like they can (they can thrive in a pH as low as 4.5). However the breeder I purchased him from told me that one of his best batches he ever got was when he bred them in a pond with the pH around 7.5-8! These guys are extremely resilient and thrive in most water conditions! They are typically found in pond/lake shores and slow-flowing rivers, swimming between dense aquatic foliage. You are free to do additional research of course, and I really appreciate the time you are putting in helping me figure this out! [​IMG]
     
    Also if you are going to look this fish up, make sure it is the Banded and not the Blackbanded Sunfish. Both come up under the search for Banded Sunfish.
     
    Scientific name is: Enneacanthus obesus
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    According to Fishbase, which was about the only "reliable" source (though I only did a quick search) the preferences in water parameters are a pH of 7 to 7.5 and a GH of 8 to 12 dGH.  Here's the link: http://www.fishbase.ca/summary/3369
    Fishbase is generally reliable, with some exceptions, but the other couple of sites I tend to use more have nothing on NA native fish, so this will have to do.[​IMG]   The other issues you mention are bang-on, so you're all set.
     
    The GH you can find out from your water authority, probably on their website.  I don't know where I thought I saw the KH at 100...better forget that and get the data from your water people.  There is a test kit, the API liquid test for GH/KH, but unless you do go into modifying these parameters I would not waste the money.  As I just explained in the plant thread, this won't change much unless you specifically target it.  A pH kit is well worth having, as pH can fluctuate (though somewhat held in check by the KH depending) and can be an indicator of problems.
     
    Byron.
     
  7. juhason

    juhason Member

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    I was not able to find anything on their website about the GH or KH. I tried looking up the water chemistry of Lake Michigan as that is where my water comes from so I figured it would be similar. Again nothing on GH or KH specifically but I did see the measuring parameter as "hardness" and it ranged from 141-147 CaCO3/L. I don't know if that helps at all. I don't understand GH or KH at all. I do have a pH testing kit though! And pH I understand fairly well.
     
    So then in terms of tank mates, what would you recommend? I will be using tap water without modifications meaning the pH is from 7.5-8 and the hardness is maybe(?) the above number.
     
    I am looking ideally for a shoaling fish that is beautiful on its own however does not outshine or take away from the beauty of the Banded Sunfish. Maybe accentuates his beauty? I don't know haha.
     
  8. RyanTheFishGuy64

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    I dont know anything about this fish or their compatibility, but It looks like he would look very good with a few Bolivian Rams.
     
  9. Jeremy180

    Jeremy180 Member

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    I think Black neons would look nice, provided they aren't eaten.
     
  10. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    I had written a nice longish post with information that may have been of help but I accidently deleted the entire post!! Argh! :x
     
    Ah well. Anyway...
     
    Like Byron, I could not come across any real reliable sources for your specie of Banded Sunfish - Enneacanthus obesus. Only came across the Fishbase site as well.
     
    I find this a real nice specie and totally new to me. Have noticed this is a true coldwater fish, also they appear to do best in small groups of 5 or 6 in an aquarium of at least 3 foot long according to several other sites.
    (I take the view if several half decent sites give the same information, then may be worth noting and using as a reference to start off with)
     
    So being a coldwater fish, I'd look for more of the same specie to keep as a small group as a specie only tank, which more often than not tends to work out  best rather than trying to blend this specie in a community tank.
     
    Failing that, then other species of coldwater fish that would suit the same environment, small danios and perhaps White Cloud Mountain Minnows spring to mind as they are fine in neutral pH of around 7 and also provided there are a fair few plants and broken lines of sight if needed as am unsure if these would be compatible with these sunfish.
     
    Also I agree with Byron's statement regarding Co2, this is not a decision to take lightly as Co2 can be finiky and algae issues tends to happen, especially hair algae in my experiences, Co2 is not for a beginner to freshwater plants in my honest opinion.
     
  11. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I agree with Ch4rlie on having a few of this species if possible, and obviously staying with cooler water fish as there will be no heater in this tank so presumably it will be room temperature which should be fine.  I'll come back to this.
     
    I also don't know about its temperament, so small fish like white clouds, which would fit the bill in every respect, might get eaten.  ??  Might be able to find more on this aspect of the sunfish with some digging around.
     
    Your GH is around 8 dGH, as I worked out in the other thread from the numbers here, so no issues there.  Use an inert substrate.  If the substrate (sand or fine gravel) is composed of calcareous substances (coral, shell, marble, limestone, dolomite, aragonite) it will raise the GH and pH, and quite high.  An inert substrate like common play sand (I use this in all my tanks) is ideal.  Plants do well, it is very natural in appearance, and substrate fish have no issues.  
     
    And on substrate fish...one idea here would be a group of corys.  They like cooler temperatures, and some of the slightly larger species in a group might make a very interesting addition.  They sift the sand through their gills in feeding, and play sand is perfect for these little fish.  Corydoras paleatus, the common peppered cory, comes to mind.  It's colour and pattern would match the sunfish quite nicely.  Here's a photo.
     
    Byron.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. juhason

    juhason Member

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    I actually am a native fish fanatic so I know quite a bit about them haha.  I was just trying more to figure out tank mates in terms of look. I have talked to the breeder on multiple occasions and have asked him many questions.
    They are temperate water fish however they range from almost the entire East coast... from places like Boston (cold) to Florida (warm) so they thrive in temperatures from almost freezing to 80 degrees. Most sunfish in general are the same: come from both cold and hot, hard and soft, dirty and clean water. Sunfish I think are one of the hardiest fish on the planet. I think white cloud minnows and the smaller danios (like zebra) run the risk of getting eaten once he reaches full size. Although it is possible.
     
    But also in terms of look, I can take recommendations from tropical fish as well, as he will be happy in temperatures of 75-78 no problem. Also the banded sunfish in particular is an semi-aggressive eater I suppose (from observation, he can steal food from my larger, cichlid-like sunfish) but not a mean fish at all. He will get along with anyone, he just needs some other friends otherwise he will hide.  I would love to get him more of his own kind but the breeder has no more and I would have to wait until a new batch hatches which means he will be ~2 inches and the rest will be ~0.5 inches. I would love to put him with Bluespotted and Blackbanded Sunfish as well, but again the breeder doesn't have any right now [​IMG]
    Also I love peppered cory's thanks for the idea!
     
  13. jag51186

    jag51186 Member

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    Couldn't you just wait on the breeder, and grow them out a little in a QT tank before you put them in the main tank?? That's what I would do, a group of these guys would look awesome!
     
  14. juhason

    juhason Member

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    I just don't know when he will get more. I've been watching him for 3 years now and every year he had different fish available. Only a few of them are consistent. I can keep checking, but in the mean time he needs some other fish with him or he will just hide and I'll never see him. Right now I have him with some other sunfish but they are growing rapidly and getting more aggressive by the day so I need to get him out of there asap since he is not even a fraction as aggressive as the others.
     
  15. jag51186

    jag51186 Member

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    Oh I see, I thought you meant he would have a batch hatched fairly soon, but you weren't sure when. So yeah, I got nothin ;D
     

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