grymeths

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Hello fellow fishkeepers! This is going to be a long post so please bear with me!
I am new to fishkeeping - used to have them when i was younger but wasn't really paying attention, and was just reintroduced into this world again a few weeks ago! Unfortunately i currently only have a 5 gallon tank (fell into the trap most beginners make), but am super excited to be upgrading to a slightly bigger tank. Been doing a lot of research online recently because i want to start all things right with this tank! However information online has been mixed, so i decided to post here to get advice from more experienced hobbyists, am really thankful in advance for reading my long post :)

Some things i need help in:
1. Fish stocking
2. Live plants stocking
3. Any miscellaneous, like equipments?

Some information about the tank i'm getting (have not yet purchased as cabinet is on the way, so you can still sway my opinions! haha):
Size: Approx. 60gallons (3ft length, 1.5ft width, 2ft height)
Filter: EHEIM classic 350
Testing kit: API mastertest kit
Other brands/equipments you can recommend: powerhead, LED lights, gravel siphon tubes (for tall tanks please!)
Water: Using tap water, API stress coat (or are there any other recommendations?), and likely photosynthetic bacteria (is this necessary?). Im not really well versed about hardness of water.

A. Some fishes i plan on introducing:
-4 Angelfishes
-4 Yoyo loaches
-1 or 3-4 Bristlenose pleco (any difference between longfin and shortfin?)
-6 to 10 Schooling fishes (looking at harlequin rasboras or black skirt tetras)
-If it is not already overstocked, then perhaps german blue rams or bolivian rams or dwarf gouramis or swordtails or mollies or guppies to add variety

Questions:
1. Will this look to be overstocked? If so, how should the quantity/variety be recalibrated?
2. Are the quantities of each species optimal? Been reading that angelfishes/yoyos/bristlenoses should all be kept in groups, thus the quantity proposed above.
3. Are these species compatible with each other? I am okay with semi-aggressive fishes, as long as they are not harming each other to the point of hiding/death.
4. Would it be a good idea to slowly add in the species? For example, first the bristlenoses, and schooling fishes so they get to a considerable size (and not get eaten up), then next the yoyos and angels so they dont get too territorial? Am planning to get all juvis.
5. Is it really necessary to quarantine the fishes before adding them into the tank?
6. Will the filtration system be sufficient for such kind of bioload?

B. Tank setup/decorations:
I haven't been reading much about the different plant species, but i do know i would love to have my tank live planted with some driftwood or rocks/pebbles. Would love to have any recommendations on any plants species if you are an aquascaping expert!

Questions:
1. Major consideration for the powerhead: I would think it is necessary to move the water and biowaste for the filtration, but also read that angelfishes do not prefer fast moving water especially in such a small tank (actually could anyone tell me if my tank is considered small or big? lol).
2. Is it a good idea to put first a base layer of aquarium soil, and then above it a layer of aquarium gravel (small ones) for the benefit of the plants? Or is it just sufficient to have the live plants on the gravel? Leaning towards just the gravel here for economical and maintenance reasons.
3. Do i need to treat the driftwood purchased from fish stores?
4. Any aquascaping opinions!
5. Really, any advice on any topic/relevance to a new tank setup or things to take note of is really welcome!

Thank you so much in advance, cheers! :)
 
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Byron

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Welcome to TFF. :hi:

That is a good sized tank, it will allow you more options. I will respond to your questions but first we need to know the water parameters of your source water. Parameters refers to GH (total or general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity), pH and temperature. Obviously you can control the latter with (or without) an aquarium heater depending upon the ambient room temperature and the intended fish as each "tropical" fish species has its preferred temperature range and with some being cooler and others warmer, the choice of species will determine the tank temperature and all species will obviously have to be in the same range.

Filter sounds good; no need for a powerhead unless the intended fish need strong currents. The filter will provide what is needed generally. As for lighting, the plants will dictate what you need. I will leave it for other members with LED experience to suggest units.

We cannot really discuss species until we know the parameters. It is much easier to select fish suited to your water than going down the road of adjusting parameters. The latter can be very complicated chemistry, and means preparing water for water changes in containers outside the aquarium. Since partial water changes of 50-70% of the tank once a week are advisable, this can get convoluted.

I can however point out some obvious issues with the mentioned species. They have number issues (you need more of the angelfish and loaches), temperature differences, and some being sedate and others active swimmers they cannot go together.

For substrate I strongly recommend sand. Some fish need this, so gravel will limit options. Soil is not advisable; it has ammonia issues and is another complication. Plants also do not need it. I have basic dark grey play sand in all my tanks, and they are all planted.

Driftwood is an ideal component of aquascaping especially for soft water fish as most all their habitats contain wood as logs, roots and/or branches. I use Malaysian Driftwood which comes in individual chunks; rinse off the dust, it sinks immediately (other types do not) and the tannins are not too bad but they are harmless anyway. Some have tunnels and crevices, ideal for loaches, cories, plecos. Rock is a nice addition, if it is inert (non-calcareous); the river rock available at landscaping/gardening outlets can be very effective as boulder and pebbles. Here again some fish need wood (Bristlenoses for example), some might require rock.

Once the tank is established with some fish, any new additions should be kept in a QT for a few weeks. Initially this is less of an issue so the first fish can be added to the main tank. But down the road, quarantining really is advisable these days. I twice introduced some internal protozoan with new fish and in both cases lost about 1/3 of my existing fish before I could pin down the problem and treat appropriately.

As for water condition, do not use Stress Coat, it contains aloe vera which is now believed to harm fish gills over time. The best conditioner I have come across is API's Tap Water Conditioner; it detoxifies chlorine and chloramine, and heavy metals--this is all you need (unless you have issues with the water), and the less fiddling with water chemistry the better.
 

Jan Cavalieri

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I won't get into water hardness and all that although if you go to liveaquaria.com and look at a particular species it will show you the PH requirements, water hardness, temperature as well as how easy the fish is to care for, any specific needs they have, as well as it's overall temperament. Since it sounds to me like you are establishing a "community tank" you need to stick to fish with a temperament of "peaceful". The next level is "semi-aggressive". I have a couple of "semi-aggressive Gourami's (nice species to look at btw) while Gourami's in general are nearly always peaceful. Their form of semi-aggression is usually dominance behaviors - a couple of mine are so busy trying to keep any other Gourami from eating they never get any food themselves. I personally don't like it but can tolerate 1 or 2 dominant fish (even peaceful fish can be more dominant than others). On the other hand I had 5 Chinese Algae eaters which live aquaria labeled as "semi-aggressive" - they were fin biting other fish and all out attacking and trying to kill each other. The entire tank stayed in hiding. In the end, I decided that humane euthanasia was the best decision - nobody would want these fish. I also looked them up in Wikipedia and it said "avoid this fish at all cost" - so much for being "semi-aggressive". I sent the online store a message about them, but they still sell them - very cheap - and they are actually good algae eaters when not killing each other.

- Bristlenose Pleco's - I am a HUGE FAN love love these peaceful little guys. I have 3 - one is an expensive "Blue Phantom" that is tiny right now and hides 90% of the time. In a different tank I have two yellow/albino bristle nose - and they don't really pay attention to each other so it's not like they need a social group - it's just recommended to have 1 per every 10 gallons of water. I have two in a 29 gallon tank and they run out of algae to eat pretty fast some times so I supplement with algae pellets - I also move them to another 29 gallon tank when it is filled with algae and they clear that up too- so they are very familiar with both environments. They are my migrant workers. The nice thing is that I've NEVER seen any of my fish (even some of the large Gourami's) bother them at all. They are just beautiful and so useful but I think 1 per 20 gallons is plenty and I have a lot of algae. You should see them quickly strip a plant leaf of algae without damaging it in the least. Oh -LONGFIN pleco's have longer than normal fins for the species. Shortfin is usually the standard for the species. Many fish come in long and short fin - the famous Betta's being among them.

Loaches : LOVE them. I have two comical gold dojo loaches that sleep side-by-site or on top of each other at night. They love carnivorous sinking pellets and will actually lay on top of them to keep the other fish from getting them but some fish will bump them off and steal their wafer - but they usually find another. Some of my big Gourami's can eat the wafers whole but the vast majority have to nibble on them or wait for them to soften up - no 2 minute limit on eating for the wafers - I usually assume it will take them 2 hours. Any longer than that you may have overfed but then I'll see that by morning there is NOTHING left of them. I think that's when my Pleco's come out and eat up all the remnents plus they are softer the longer they sit so smaller fish can eat them, not just the bottom feeders.

Gourami's: about 70% of my stock are Gourami's of different sizes and colors. They are general peaceful fish. You will however have a lot of competition for dominance which can disrupt the whole tank. If you get Gourami's don't get too many of them in one tank or it really ruins the fun. I love the Dwarf species myself but everybody warns me that they are more likely to carry a special disease. I have at least 5 of them and none have brought any disease to my tank as far as I can tell. Gourami's have a great variety and so many colors they almost remind me of saltwater fish. They are a very slow moving fish so if you have any species prone to nip fins - they'll go for the gourami's. I had a danio (also a supposedly peaceful fish and fairly small) eat all the fins off of my dwarf blue and kill him. Broke my heart. I still can't believe a danio did it but he and his buddy also proceeded to kill all the rest of his "school" until I had 2 left. I moved them into a small tank with 5 Raspdoras who school so tight when they feel danger that he couldn't get to them and eventually gave up and now trys to school with them LOL>

Angelfish - I'm not a fan, they don't impress me and they are just asking to have their fins nipped. Plus they take up too much space. Personal preference.

Also - think of your tank in terms of top, middle and bottom swimmers. The bottom feeders are loaches and the adorable and peaceful CoryCats or small catfish and many algae sucking species. The middle section of the tank is usually left "open" for any schooling fish - that you need to purchase in groups of 5-10 or more. Rasbdoras are one of those species, and I have some Harlequin's which are very pretty. But I guess I need better glasses because they are just two small to see. Danios (I hate them for what they did to my Gourami but I believe that was a fluke rare psycho fish) - they swim SO fast they are fun to watch. Cherry barbs - sort of schooling and pretty especially if you give them some coloring food to make them more red but pretty boring. All these groups occupy the MIDDLE of the tank along with your angel fish and some others. . There also are some lovely Tetras - laugh if you want but this lady actually bought 2 pink fluorescent Tetras - I need to get 3 or 4 more since they school - maybe some purple and the hard to find green. LOL. (they were created by SCIENCE for a particular need then somebody saw the marketing value in them - they are not dyed, they are genetically this color). Finally for the top of your tank I only know of the Gourami's but I'm sure there are many other top dwelling species. I have so many Gourami's crowding the top I'm currently cycling another tank to split them up. I'm not technically overstocked for the tank, but I'm overstocked for this AREA of tank. Plus this one group doesn't play well together so I need to mix it up a little.

Finally yes get a quarantine tank but keep in mind you have to keep the water ready and cycled (or be able to steal water from your cycled 60 gallon easily) - it can be any large cheap container with a filter and air stones and a small heater - if you use a pretty tank you'll just end up putting more fish in it like I did (I had a good reason). As with any tank be sure you don't have jumping fish or a tank with a cover.

Good luck on stocking your plants. You can web search for good live plants for an aquarium. Live plants in my opinion create a little circle of life in your aquarium and besides oxygen they give fish a hiding place, others help your environment - but it really almost doubles the tank maintenance unless you like dead leaves and debris - which cause their own tank problems (even a few plants can clog up filters so it was recommended to me on this forum that I purchase foam covers for the inside tube of my over-the-side filter.and it works and prevents small fish from getting in as well. So no plastic plants for me.

You can get a Sponge Bob or Disney princess ornament or two if you really want them. They make as good of a hiding place as a "natural" piece of wood or stone. As far as driftwood - I hate brown water so I always soak my driftwood in water -changing it daily until clear. I know the tannins in the driftwood can have beneficial effects but they just aren't pleasing to look at. I use slate as my stone, very pretty and not very expensive. Some resin ornaments are very nicely done as well so don't be afraid of "fake" if they are serving a good purpose for your fish. A number of fish really need a place to hide to de-stress. Like right now my Blue Phantom pleco is very small and by far, the most insecure fish I've ever seen - I am tempted to get him a companion but besides being very expensive ($139) they are always out of stock. It is ESSENTIAL that my Phantom have a little bitty cave area available - so every time I re-arrange the tank I try to make sure that I build a little cave that only he will fit into. Once he's 7" long - he's on his own but he's just a baby right now. Many of my fish LOVE caves.

Do not overstock unless you have a nice mix of tiny, medium and larger fish. Too many big fish can make a tank look crowded both to you and your fish. I'm getting this 4th tank just because of too many big fish, not because I have too many "inches" of fish in the tank (far from it). So once I split them I should be able to purchase a few medium or small fish for two tanks.

I could go on for hours with my opinions but you would be very bored. Best of luck. And listen to the others regarding water hardness and other technical issues - They have provided me with a lot of good advice and suggestions.
 
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grymeths

grymeths

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Welcome to TFF. :hi:

That is a good sized tank, it will allow you more options. I will respond to your questions but first we need to know the water parameters of your source water. Parameters refers to GH (total or general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity), pH and temperature. Obviously you can control the latter with (or without) an aquarium heater depending upon the ambient room temperature and the intended fish as each "tropical" fish species has its preferred temperature range and with some being cooler and others warmer, the choice of species will determine the tank temperature and all species will obviously have to be in the same range.

Filter sounds good; no need for a powerhead unless the intended fish need strong currents. The filter will provide what is needed generally. As for lighting, the plants will dictate what you need. I will leave it for other members with LED experience to suggest units.

We cannot really discuss species until we know the parameters. It is much easier to select fish suited to your water than going down the road of adjusting parameters. The latter can be very complicated chemistry, and means preparing water for water changes in containers outside the aquarium. Since partial water changes of 50-70% of the tank once a week are advisable, this can get convoluted.

I can however point out some obvious issues with the mentioned species. They have number issues (you need more of the angelfish and loaches), temperature differences, and some being sedate and others active swimmers they cannot go together.

For substrate I strongly recommend sand. Some fish need this, so gravel will limit options. Soil is not advisable; it has ammonia issues and is another complication. Plants also do not need it. I have basic dark grey play sand in all my tanks, and they are all planted.

Driftwood is an ideal component of aquascaping especially for soft water fish as most all their habitats contain wood as logs, roots and/or branches. I use Malaysian Driftwood which comes in individual chunks; rinse off the dust, it sinks immediately (other types do not) and the tannins are not too bad but they are harmless anyway. Some have tunnels and crevices, ideal for loaches, cories, plecos. Rock is a nice addition, if it is inert (non-calcareous); the river rock available at landscaping/gardening outlets can be very effective as boulder and pebbles. Here again some fish need wood (Bristlenoses for example), some might require rock.

Once the tank is established with some fish, any new additions should be kept in a QT for a few weeks. Initially this is less of an issue so the first fish can be added to the main tank. But down the road, quarantining really is advisable these days. I twice introduced some internal protozoan with new fish and in both cases lost about 1/3 of my existing fish before I could pin down the problem and treat appropriately.

As for water condition, do not use Stress Coat, it contains aloe vera which is now believed to harm fish gills over time. The best conditioner I have come across is API's Tap Water Conditioner; it detoxifies chlorine and chloramine, and heavy metals--this is all you need (unless you have issues with the water), and the less fiddling with water chemistry the better.

Hey Byron, thank you for your reply! :)
I will try to provide you with the parameters using information from the local water authority as I do not have any tester kit myself available! Their webpage provides a full breakdown of physical and chemical parameters, I could send it to you if you would like, but here is what i think you are looking for:
Total hardness (as CaCO3): 30-153
Total alkalinity (as CaCO3): 6-46
pH: 7.8-8.4 (now that I see this pH seems a bit high)
Temperature: I would assume it to be around 24-27 degrees (i live in the tropics and have summer all year round).

I'll likely go with what you recommend - no powerhead for now, tap water conditioner, and no soil (phew!). I was reading about between the different substrates, and was thinking gravel may be a better choice as it will be easier to anchor down plants (i suppose my tank would be quite heavily planted to provide distractions and sufficient "territories" for them to claim) and for maintenance! Are the sand a requirement for bottom dwellers like the bristlenoses? I would also try to quarantine the fishes if i can (all I have is a five gallon tank though, but I don't think that will suffice for a QT tank if i have more angelfishes living in there for a few weeks?)

Thank you again!
 
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grymeths

grymeths

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I won't get into water hardness and all that although if you go to liveaquaria.com and look at a particular species it will show you the PH requirements, water hardness, temperature as well as how easy the fish is to care for, any specific needs they have, as well as it's overall temperament. Since it sounds to me like you are establishing a "community tank" you need to stick to fish with a temperament of "peaceful". The next level is "semi-aggressive". I have a couple of "semi-aggressive Gourami's (nice species to look at btw) while Gourami's in general are nearly always peaceful. Their form of semi-aggression is usually dominance behaviors - a couple of mine are so busy trying to keep any other Gourami from eating they never get any food themselves. I personally don't like it but can tolerate 1 or 2 dominant fish (even peaceful fish can be more dominant than others). On the other hand I had 5 Chinese Algae eaters which live aquaria labeled as "semi-aggressive" - they were fin biting other fish and all out attacking and trying to kill each other. The entire tank stayed in hiding. In the end, I decided that humane euthanasia was the best decision - nobody would want these fish. I also looked them up in Wikipedia and it said "avoid this fish at all cost" - so much for being "semi-aggressive". I sent the online store a message about them, but they still sell them - very cheap - and they are actually good algae eaters when not killing each other.

- Bristlenose Pleco's - I am a HUGE FAN love love these peaceful little guys. I have 3 - one is an expensive "Blue Phantom" that is tiny right now and hides 90% of the time. In a different tank I have two yellow/albino bristle nose - and they don't really pay attention to each other so it's not like they need a social group - it's just recommended to have 1 per every 10 gallons of water. I have two in a 29 gallon tank and they run out of algae to eat pretty fast some times so I supplement with algae pellets - I also move them to another 29 gallon tank when it is filled with algae and they clear that up too- so they are very familiar with both environments. They are my migrant workers. The nice thing is that I've NEVER seen any of my fish (even some of the large Gourami's) bother them at all. They are just beautiful and so useful but I think 1 per 20 gallons is plenty and I have a lot of algae. You should see them quickly strip a plant leaf of algae without damaging it in the least. Oh -LONGFIN pleco's have longer than normal fins for the species. Shortfin is usually the standard for the species. Many fish come in long and short fin - the famous Betta's being among them.

Loaches : LOVE them. I have two comical gold dojo loaches that sleep side-by-site or on top of each other at night. They love carnivorous sinking pellets and will actually lay on top of them to keep the other fish from getting them but some fish will bump them off and steal their wafer - but they usually find another. Some of my big Gourami's can eat the wafers whole but the vast majority have to nibble on them or wait for them to soften up - no 2 minute limit on eating for the wafers - I usually assume it will take them 2 hours. Any longer than that you may have overfed but then I'll see that by morning there is NOTHING left of them. I think that's when my Pleco's come out and eat up all the remnents plus they are softer the longer they sit so smaller fish can eat them, not just the bottom feeders.

Gourami's: about 70% of my stock are Gourami's of different sizes and colors. They are general peaceful fish. You will however have a lot of competition for dominance which can disrupt the whole tank. If you get Gourami's don't get too many of them in one tank or it really ruins the fun. I love the Dwarf species myself but everybody warns me that they are more likely to carry a special disease. I have at least 5 of them and none have brought any disease to my tank as far as I can tell. Gourami's have a great variety and so many colors they almost remind me of saltwater fish. They are a very slow moving fish so if you have any species prone to nip fins - they'll go for the gourami's. I had a danio (also a supposedly peaceful fish and fairly small) eat all the fins off of my dwarf blue and kill him. Broke my heart. I still can't believe a danio did it but he and his buddy also proceeded to kill all the rest of his "school" until I had 2 left. I moved them into a small tank with 5 Raspdoras who school so tight when they feel danger that he couldn't get to them and eventually gave up and now trys to school with them LOL>

Angelfish - I'm not a fan, they don't impress me and they are just asking to have their fins nipped. Plus they take up too much space. Personal preference.

Also - think of your tank in terms of top, middle and bottom swimmers. The bottom feeders are loaches and the adorable and peaceful CoryCats or small catfish and many algae sucking species. The middle section of the tank is usually left "open" for any schooling fish - that you need to purchase in groups of 5-10 or more. Rasbdoras are one of those species, and I have some Harlequin's which are very pretty. But I guess I need better glasses because they are just two small to see. Danios (I hate them for what they did to my Gourami but I believe that was a fluke rare psycho fish) - they swim SO fast they are fun to watch. Cherry barbs - sort of schooling and pretty especially if you give them some coloring food to make them more red but pretty boring. All these groups occupy the MIDDLE of the tank along with your angel fish and some others. . There also are some lovely Tetras - laugh if you want but this lady actually bought 2 pink fluorescent Tetras - I need to get 3 or 4 more since they school - maybe some purple and the hard to find green. LOL. (they were created by SCIENCE for a particular need then somebody saw the marketing value in them - they are not dyed, they are genetically this color). Finally for the top of your tank I only know of the Gourami's but I'm sure there are many other top dwelling species. I have so many Gourami's crowding the top I'm currently cycling another tank to split them up. I'm not technically overstocked for the tank, but I'm overstocked for this AREA of tank. Plus this one group doesn't play well together so I need to mix it up a little.

Finally yes get a quarantine tank but keep in mind you have to keep the water ready and cycled (or be able to steal water from your cycled 60 gallon easily) - it can be any large cheap container with a filter and air stones and a small heater - if you use a pretty tank you'll just end up putting more fish in it like I did (I had a good reason). As with any tank be sure you don't have jumping fish or a tank with a cover.

Good luck on stocking your plants. You can web search for good live plants for an aquarium. Live plants in my opinion create a little circle of life in your aquarium and besides oxygen they give fish a hiding place, others help your environment - but it really almost doubles the tank maintenance unless you like dead leaves and debris - which cause their own tank problems (even a few plants can clog up filters so it was recommended to me on this forum that I purchase foam covers for the inside tube of my over-the-side filter.and it works and prevents small fish from getting in as well. So no plastic plants for me.

You can get a Sponge Bob or Disney princess ornament or two if you really want them. They make as good of a hiding place as a "natural" piece of wood or stone. As far as driftwood - I hate brown water so I always soak my driftwood in water -changing it daily until clear. I know the tannins in the driftwood can have beneficial effects but they just aren't pleasing to look at. I use slate as my stone, very pretty and not very expensive. Some resin ornaments are very nicely done as well so don't be afraid of "fake" if they are serving a good purpose for your fish. A number of fish really need a place to hide to de-stress. Like right now my Blue Phantom pleco is very small and by far, the most insecure fish I've ever seen - I am tempted to get him a companion but besides being very expensive ($139) they are always out of stock. It is ESSENTIAL that my Phantom have a little bitty cave area available - so every time I re-arrange the tank I try to make sure that I build a little cave that only he will fit into. Once he's 7" long - he's on his own but he's just a baby right now. Many of my fish LOVE caves.

Do not overstock unless you have a nice mix of tiny, medium and larger fish. Too many big fish can make a tank look crowded both to you and your fish. I'm getting this 4th tank just because of too many big fish, not because I have too many "inches" of fish in the tank (far from it). So once I split them I should be able to purchase a few medium or small fish for two tanks.

I could go on for hours with my opinions but you would be very bored. Best of luck. And listen to the others regarding water hardness and other technical issues - They have provided me with a lot of good advice and suggestions.

Hey Jan, thank you for your sharing of your various fishes - you do sound very passionate about them!
Yes, I am establishing a "community tank". From what i make out of your past experience (and many others i read online) it seems like the best way is to just observe the fishes? That doesn't mean just stocking fishes from everywhere and "trying" them out together - of course the rules of no fin-nipping tank mates for angelfishes, no fishes labelled as "aggressive", no fishes too small to fit into an angel's mouth, fishes of different water requirements to be put together. The remaining species that do not fall into these categories can then be observed to see if they are a good fit - since individually, peaceful species may also get aggressive, "semi-aggressive" fishes can also be peaceful tank mates and only show aggression/display hierarchy orders among their own species (like angels and yoyos)?

I am also having a hard time deciding between the quantity of fishes - like you mentioned, recommended 1 bristlenose per 10 gallons of water, but i assume that ratio would be for tanks with no other inhabitants? I am afraid of overstocking the tank without knowing the true ratios when the tank have other inhabitants.

I would likely take in your recommendations regarding thinking about the different areas of the tank, quarantining them (would a 5 gallon tank suffice as a QT tank? does not seem big enough if I were to house angels for a few weeks), and soaking driftwood!
 

Byron

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Total hardness (as CaCO3): 30-153
Total alkalinity (as CaCO3): 6-46
pH: 7.8-8.4 (now that I see this pH seems a bit high)

We need to know the unit of measure for the GH and Alkalinity. Is it mg/l, or something else?

I was reading about between the different substrates, and was thinking gravel may be a better choice as it will be easier to anchor down plants (i suppose my tank would be quite heavily planted to provide distractions and sufficient "territories" for them to claim) and for maintenance! Are the sand a requirement for bottom dwellers like the bristlenoses?

Gravel can work if one is setting up a Central American river biotope for livebearers and some of the CA cichlids. But for South American and SE Asian species, sand will be more authentic. It is safer for all fish, and plants root very well in it. Once the plants establish their roots they will stay put. Floating plants are frankly essential here, and you could go with mainly floaters, leaving the lower water for lots of wood, an authentic aquascape for these fishes.

I would also try to quarantine the fishes if i can (all I have is a five gallon tank though, but I don't think that will suffice for a QT tank if i have more angelfishes living in there for a few weeks?)

A 10g would be a better tank for a QT. If you have space to have it permanently running, this is ideal. But there are other options. Fish acquired in stores will almost always be juveniles so smaller, and they will be in the QT for a few weeks (depending) so this is not a problem.

Angelfish. Since you've raised this species again...this is a shoaling species and it must have a group. Fewer than five will almost never work because there are not enough of them to spread out the aggressive nature of the hierarchy within the group. And a 4-foot (120 cm) length tank is absolute minimum. A male/female pair that have bonded (they must select their own mates to bond) can work here, but this too is not always so simple.
 
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grymeths

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Hey Byron,
The units for both hardness and alkalinity are both mg/L. I'm not sure if the values are of significance because they are ranges, but I have sent in an email to the local authorities, hopefully they would reply soon and I can update you!

I have read much of your comments on angelfishes in many other threads. I would likely get 5-6 angels, and observe for any pairs and rehome the remaining ones if the mating pair gets too aggressive. I was also told a taller tank rather than a long tank would be preferred, thus the dimensions proposed earlier.

The reason for selecting yoyos and angels together - was thinking about having both sedate fishes and some fast moving ones to add variety and "dimension" to the tank if you know what i mean - to have different kinds of fishes to look at. I am more concerned about whether they would be aggressive towards each other, though I have seen online videos of the two in the same tank with seemingly no issues. It may be a bit of a mismatch, but do you think it may be possible, especially when both occupy different parts of the tank?
 

Byron

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Hey Byron,
The units for both hardness and alkalinity are both mg/L. I'm not sure if the values are of significance because they are ranges, but I have sent in an email to the local authorities, hopefully they would reply soon and I can update you!

Good, you want to pin that down. A range of that extent is not very likely in your actual water. The GH may alter over the course of the year according to seasons, rain, the source of the water. But it will likely be more consistent day to day.

I have read much of your comments on angelfishes in many other threads. I would likely get 5-6 angels, and observe for any pairs and rehome the remaining ones if the mating pair gets too aggressive. I was also told a taller tank rather than a long tank would be preferred, thus the dimensions proposed earlier.

The length is extremely important, crucial in fact. And a group of five angels must have at last a 4-foot length tank, there is no way around this or the fish are not being fairly provided for. And even this can become dangerous overnight.

The reason for selecting yoyos and angels together - was thinking about having both sedate fishes and some fast moving ones to add variety and "dimension" to the tank if you know what i mean - to have different kinds of fishes to look at. I am more concerned about whether they would be aggressive towards each other, though I have seen online videos of the two in the same tank with seemingly no issues. It may be a bit of a mismatch, but do you think it may be possible, especially when both occupy different parts of the tank?

I missed the loachs/angelfish previously as I was concentrating on other issues, sorry. But no, this is not a good idea, and it would be inhumane to the angelfish. Loaches are far too active a fish for angelfish. And there are enough reports of loaches going after angelfish that it is not even worth contemplating. And, the yo-yo is not the most "peaceful" of the botine loaches anyway. Cory cats would work OK.

What one sees online is never something one should emulate, unless one knows the individual who posted has knowledge. Most who post those videos are far from that level. And, just because no issues appear in the brief segment does not mean the fish will not tear one another to shreds in the coming days. I remember a marine biologist commenting on the TV series "Tank" something (can't remember the name) and in just one video she listed a score of pending trouble for the poor fish. I won't repeat her description of the "individuals" who perpetrate this nonsense. :angry:
 
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grymeths

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Hey Byron,
Thanks for your reply! In that case do you think i should make do without the angelfishes at all? If the schooling behaviours are best brought out among them in groups of at least 5 but a group of at least 5 would be too crowded a 3ft tank.

If that's the case, do you have any stocking ideas based on the limited parameters so far? :)
 

Byron

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Hey Byron,
Thanks for your reply! In that case do you think i should make do without the angelfishes at all? If the schooling behaviours are best brought out among them in groups of at least 5 but a group of at least 5 would be too crowded a 3ft tank. :)

I would not attempt angelfish in this small (to the fish) a tank. I do not mind explaining when it is being considered as you are, so I will go into this species a bit further.

This species lives in groups which while not as large as the hundreds forming shoals of characin or Corydoras species, it is still critical to the fish's sanity so to speak. I will post a video I have posted more than once in the past, but it does illustrate what these fish really require, and how they interact. This is a group (11, I believe) of wild Pterophylum scalare collected in the Rio Cuiuni, a northern tributary of the Rio Negro, Brazil. There is lots of nudging of the males, but with the number and spacious tank nothing beyond nudging occurs; put four of these fish in a 3-foot or even 4-foot tank, and the "nudging" would become death to all but the dominant male and his female if they bonded.

In the wild, fish can easily escape the attentions of the others as they establish their hierarchy and enforce it. This is not possible in any but the largest aquarium, and even that may not work. The tank in this video is 200cm (6.5 feet) length and 65cm (24 inches) width and height. The individual who posted this video noted in the comments that he felt the tank was really not sufficient space for these fish and intended moving up to an even larger tank.


I'd like to pin down the parameters, especially GH, before suggesting fish, but there are some options.
 

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Hello! Just getting back into town and trying to catch up on the forum. I skimmed through all of the above so hope I didn’t miss this but...are you aware of the aquarium nitrogen cycle and are you prepared to cycle the tank first before doing anything else? You’ll need an API Freshwater Test Kit in order to cycle the tank. Are you planning to do fishless or fish in cycle?
 
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grymeths

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Hello! Just getting back into town and trying to catch up on the forum. I skimmed through all of the above so hope I didn’t miss this but...are you aware of the aquarium nitrogen cycle and are you prepared to cycle the tank first before doing anything else? You’ll need an API Freshwater Test Kit in order to cycle the tank. Are you planning to do fishless or fish in cycle?

Hey Deanasue, thank you for replying! Yes, I am aware of the nitrogen cycle and will be doing a fishless cycle before adding in any fishes. I will probably be selecting one of the threads here as guide to cycling, if you know of a thread with a comprehensive guide please let me know! :)

Right now I am more concerned about fish and plants stocking - how do i know if i will be overstocking, if i want to have a community tank? Much of the information online tells about the required gallons/tank size for species only tank, and not much information about community ones. Thanks!
 

FishGuest5123

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I say this all the time...A wise old aquatic researcher told me once that if you look at your tank and there is empty space, then you can add more fish. Of course, this won’t help with an empty tank.
 

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