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grymeths

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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.

Haha, does this really work? It does sound like it is easy to overstock with this rule! Hahhhaha
 

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Geeze. Glad I made you laugh but it works for me. I’ll step out and allow others to help. I wish you the very best of luck. :)
 
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grymeths

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Geeze. Glad I made you laugh but it works for me.

I will try it out and let you know if it works! Currently still looking at the different species i may be able to stock in my tank (still awaiting the parameters from my local water authority). Let me know if you have any recommendations based on my preferred stocking! :)
 

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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!
Currently still looking at the different species i may be able to stock in my tank (still awaiting the parameters from my local water authority). Let me know if you have any recommendations based on my preferred stocking!

We really cannot consider species until we know the parameters. Each species has its preferred range, generally, and some are more demanding than others.

I already noted problems with the initial stocking plans. But while waiting I can outline some of the considerations an aquarist must give when setting up a community tank, meaning a tank with more than one species of fish.

Water parameters. All species must have basically the same requirements when it comes to GH and temperature especially; pH is less of an issue as it usually relates to the GH and will establish itself accordingly. Temperature we can obviously control with heaters if needed. But temperature is crucial because fish are ectotherms, commonly referred to as cold blooded because they cannot generate their internal heat but rely on their environment. Since temperature is what drives the fishes' metabolism, the water temperature becomes crucial for their health and life itself. Even a couple of degrees can mean life or death to a fish.

Numbers of a species. Many aquarium fish are shoaling species, living in large groups. This is essential if they are to be less stressed. This need is inherent, programmed into the species' DNA so it is also crucial to their well being. If a tetra for example needs a group of say eight or nine, keeping two or three of that species in the tank will mean continual stress, poor health, and premature death, always. There are usually no external signs of these troubles, but the fish is slowly being weakened, and it is frankly inhumane treatment. Which is why we stress research of a species so much, it is the only way to give the fish a fighting chance at best.

Compatibility, within a species and between species. There are several factors to this, from the swimming activity level of a species, to inherent traits, to water flow/currents, to the aquascape environment. Fish like Hillstream loaches as an example that require a strong current are not going to be compatible with gourami that are sedate quiet water fish. Fish like cories that need sand will not be at their best without it. Many plecostomus need real wood to graze, as part of their digestive needs; in a tank of fake wood and rock they will not be healthy and die prematurely. Active swimmers will stress out sedate quiet fish. Species notorious for nipping fins need sufficient numbers and more robust tankmates if any.

All of the above factors in to the basic numbers, because each of these needs has an impact on the tank's biological system. A shoaling species with only four or five will have more of an impact than would eight or nine of the same species. Environmental factors like all those mentinoed above directly affects how the fish "live."
 
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grymeths

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We really cannot consider species until we know the parameters. Each species has its preferred range, generally, and some are more demanding than others.

I already noted problems with the initial stocking plans. But while waiting I can outline some of the considerations an aquarist must give when setting up a community tank, meaning a tank with more than one species of fish.

Water parameters. All species must have basically the same requirements when it comes to GH and temperature especially; pH is less of an issue as it usually relates to the GH and will establish itself accordingly. Temperature we can obviously control with heaters if needed. But temperature is crucial because fish are ectotherms, commonly referred to as cold blooded because they cannot generate their internal heat but rely on their environment. Since temperature is what drives the fishes' metabolism, the water temperature becomes crucial for their health and life itself. Even a couple of degrees can mean life or death to a fish.

Numbers of a species. Many aquarium fish are shoaling species, living in large groups. This is essential if they are to be less stressed. This need is inherent, programmed into the species' DNA so it is also crucial to their well being. If a tetra for example needs a group of say eight or nine, keeping two or three of that species in the tank will mean continual stress, poor health, and premature death, always. There are usually no external signs of these troubles, but the fish is slowly being weakened, and it is frankly inhumane treatment. Which is why we stress research of a species so much, it is the only way to give the fish a fighting chance at best.

Compatibility, within a species and between species. There are several factors to this, from the swimming activity level of a species, to inherent traits, to water flow/currents, to the aquascape environment. Fish like Hillstream loaches as an example that require a strong current are not going to be compatible with gourami that are sedate quiet water fish. Fish like cories that need sand will not be at their best without it. Many plecostomus need real wood to graze, as part of their digestive needs; in a tank of fake wood and rock they will not be healthy and die prematurely. Active swimmers will stress out sedate quiet fish. Species notorious for nipping fins need sufficient numbers and more robust tankmates if any.

All of the above factors in to the basic numbers, because each of these needs has an impact on the tank's biological system. A shoaling species with only four or five will have more of an impact than would eight or nine of the same species. Environmental factors like all those mentinoed above directly affects how the fish "live."

Thanks byron for sharing these considerations! It is exciting because the more we read up about fishkeeping the more we learn about the science behind these species. I would love to provide the best for them and from the beginning make the tank right, so i would definitely consider these factors! i believe then right now i’ll just have to wait for the water authorities to get back to me on the water parameters moving forward :)
 
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grymeths

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We really cannot consider species until we know the parameters. Each species has its preferred range, generally, and some are more demanding than others.

I already noted problems with the initial stocking plans. But while waiting I can outline some of the considerations an aquarist must give when setting up a community tank, meaning a tank with more than one species of fish.

Water parameters. All species must have basically the same requirements when it comes to GH and temperature especially; pH is less of an issue as it usually relates to the GH and will establish itself accordingly. Temperature we can obviously control with heaters if needed. But temperature is crucial because fish are ectotherms, commonly referred to as cold blooded because they cannot generate their internal heat but rely on their environment. Since temperature is what drives the fishes' metabolism, the water temperature becomes crucial for their health and life itself. Even a couple of degrees can mean life or death to a fish.

Numbers of a species. Many aquarium fish are shoaling species, living in large groups. This is essential if they are to be less stressed. This need is inherent, programmed into the species' DNA so it is also crucial to their well being. If a tetra for example needs a group of say eight or nine, keeping two or three of that species in the tank will mean continual stress, poor health, and premature death, always. There are usually no external signs of these troubles, but the fish is slowly being weakened, and it is frankly inhumane treatment. Which is why we stress research of a species so much, it is the only way to give the fish a fighting chance at best.

Compatibility, within a species and between species. There are several factors to this, from the swimming activity level of a species, to inherent traits, to water flow/currents, to the aquascape environment. Fish like Hillstream loaches as an example that require a strong current are not going to be compatible with gourami that are sedate quiet water fish. Fish like cories that need sand will not be at their best without it. Many plecostomus need real wood to graze, as part of their digestive needs; in a tank of fake wood and rock they will not be healthy and die prematurely. Active swimmers will stress out sedate quiet fish. Species notorious for nipping fins need sufficient numbers and more robust tankmates if any.

All of the above factors in to the basic numbers, because each of these needs has an impact on the tank's biological system. A shoaling species with only four or five will have more of an impact than would eight or nine of the same species. Environmental factors like all those mentinoed above directly affects how the fish "live."

Hey Byron,

Have received some information from my local water authorities.
Total hardness (as CaCO3): Average 42.3mg/L, range 33.5 to 48.1
Total alkalinity: Average 20.9mg/L, range 16-27
ph: Average 7.96, range 7.5-8.4

Hope this helps!
 

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Hey Byron,

Have received some information from my local water authorities.
Total hardness (as CaCO3): Average 42.3mg/L, range 33.5 to 48.1
Total alkalinity: Average 20.9mg/L, range 16-27
ph: Average 7.96, range 7.5-8.4

Hope this helps!

The GH is in the very soft range, that is what you/we needed to know. the KH (Alkalinity) is low so this will allow the pH to lower a bit, which generally is what you want with soft water fish anyway, so no issues there.

To your list of possible fish species in post #1...I already ruled out some of those for various reasons and won't repeat that. Of the remaining species, now that we know your GH, the rasbora and tetras will be fine as far as water is concerned, but there are some other issues to be aware of. Black Skirt Tetras tend to be a bit feisty, resorting to fin nipping especially slower fish (like the gourami) so I would not consider Black Skirts as it will seriously impact other possible fish. Rasboras are fine with sedate fish, so gourami (depending upon species) and rasboras would work. Bristlenose plecos are OK, but males are territorial so one would be fine but more would require a lot of chunks of wood as their cover. Plecos also have a higher impact on the biology, they produce more waste than many other fish, so keep that in mind.

Avoid all livebearers (mollies, swordtails, platies, guppies, Endlers) as the water is way too soft.

Rams. The Bolivian Ram would be a better fit. The common or blue ram, in any of its varieties, needs much warmer temperatures (80F/27C is absolute minimum) and many other fish will have difficulty with this.

Gouorami, the Dwarf was mentioned...this species carries serious health issues and should frankly be avoided unless you obtain them directly from a reliable breeder (not from a store as these are likely raised in SE Asia and are risks). The Honey Gourami is similar and a better option if you want a gourami. The Pearl Gourami would work here, you have the space, and this is a beauty.

Many of the South American tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish will alll be OK as far as water so you could have a look at those and we could point out any issues with species. Cory catfish. Yo Yo loaches are not good as they need more space, but there are some other more peaceful and smaller loaches like the Dwarf Chain Loach or the Dwarf Banded Loach.

Most of the above are shoaling species which means a group. This can vary, so it is best to wait until you have specific species in mind before dealing with individual species issues.
 
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grymeths

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The GH is in the very soft range, that is what you/we needed to know. the KH (Alkalinity) is low so this will allow the pH to lower a bit, which generally is what you want with soft water fish anyway, so no issues there.

To your list of possible fish species in post #1...I already ruled out some of those for various reasons and won't repeat that. Of the remaining species, now that we know your GH, the rasbora and tetras will be fine as far as water is concerned, but there are some other issues to be aware of. Black Skirt Tetras tend to be a bit feisty, resorting to fin nipping especially slower fish (like the gourami) so I would not consider Black Skirts as it will seriously impact other possible fish. Rasboras are fine with sedate fish, so gourami (depending upon species) and rasboras would work. Bristlenose plecos are OK, but males are territorial so one would be fine but more would require a lot of chunks of wood as their cover. Plecos also have a higher impact on the biology, they produce more waste than many other fish, so keep that in mind.

Avoid all livebearers (mollies, swordtails, platies, guppies, Endlers) as the water is way too soft.

Rams. The Bolivian Ram would be a better fit. The common or blue ram, in any of its varieties, needs much warmer temperatures (80F/27C is absolute minimum) and many other fish will have difficulty with this.

Gouorami, the Dwarf was mentioned...this species carries serious health issues and should frankly be avoided unless you obtain them directly from a reliable breeder (not from a store as these are likely raised in SE Asia and are risks). The Honey Gourami is similar and a better option if you want a gourami. The Pearl Gourami would work here, you have the space, and this is a beauty.

Many of the South American tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish will alll be OK as far as water so you could have a look at those and we could point out any issues with species. Cory catfish. Yo Yo loaches are not good as they need more space, but there are some other more peaceful and smaller loaches like the Dwarf Chain Loach or the Dwarf Banded Loach.

Most of the above are shoaling species which means a group. This can vary, so it is best to wait until you have specific species in mind before dealing with individual species issues.

Hi Byron, thank you for replying.
Is there kind of a masterlist of fish that caters to such kind of water parameters? I did a few quick google searches and didn't find any lists that are categorized based on water hardness. Since from previous post you said that angelfish is not an option in my small tank, perhaps I would be looking at other fishes as the "centrepiece" fish. "Centrepiece" as in - previously my angelfish was the "centrepiece", and i would select the other species based on the compatibility with angelfishes.
 

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Hi Byron, thank you for replying.
Is there kind of a masterlist of fish that caters to such kind of water parameters? I did a few quick google searches and didn't find any lists that are categorized based on water hardness. Since from previous post you said that angelfish is not an option in my small tank, perhaps I would be looking at other fishes as the "centrepiece" fish. "Centrepiece" as in - previously my angelfish was the "centrepiece", and i would select the other species based on the compatibility with angelfishes.

There may be such lists somewhere, but I have never looked for them so I can't say. The problem with any such list is the various other issues involved in community compatibility, as I explained in an earlier post. I prefer to deal with a species "one on one" as it were.

Soft water fish come from South America and SE Asia. Tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, cory catfish, plecos, rasboras, gourami, loaches [many of these get much too large but there are a couple smaller species]. Within this huge assembly there will be peaceful species and not so peaceful, and some would go with sedate fish like gourami and others not as they would be too active, or prone to fin nip.
 
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There may be such lists somewhere, but I have never looked for them so I can't say. The problem with any such list is the various other issues involved in community compatibility, as I explained in an earlier post. I prefer to deal with a species "one on one" as it were.

Soft water fish come from South America and SE Asia. Tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, cory catfish, plecos, rasboras, gourami, loaches [many of these get much too large but there are a couple smaller species]. Within this huge assembly there will be peaceful species and not so peaceful, and some would go with sedate fish like gourami and others not as they would be too active, or prone to fin nip.

Will there be no options for any cichlids?
I will also likely be looking at faster moving fishes, and perhaps bristlenose.
 

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Will there be no options for any cichlids?
I will also likely be looking at faster moving fishes, and perhaps bristlenose.

Cichlids, yes, the dwarf species such as the rams or Apistogramma. Of the two rams, the Bolivian Ram is OK here (just a single male) unless you want to have a much warmer temperature for the common or blue ram (80F/26C minimum) as many other "tropical" fish species cannot last at this warm a temperature permanently. But cichlids and gourami do not mix well and gourami were mentioned previously. A Bristlenose is OK.

None of these are "faster moving" so any cichlids or gourami which are sedate fish means quiet less-active tankmates or they will be stressed and weakened.
 
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There may be such lists somewhere, but I have never looked for them so I can't say. The problem with any such list is the various other issues involved in community compatibility, as I explained in an earlier post. I prefer to deal with a species "one on one" as it were.

Soft water fish come from South America and SE Asia. Tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, cory catfish, plecos, rasboras, gourami, loaches [many of these get much too large but there are a couple smaller species]. Within this huge assembly there will be peaceful species and not so peaceful, and some would go with sedate fish like gourami and others not as they would be too active, or prone to fin nip.

Reading into the different fishes and realize there aren't much options available, but here are some i have shortlisted:
1. "centrepiece" fish/fishes - Gouramis (Marble/blue/chocolate), or Cichlids (electric blue cichlid/fairy cichlid/blue-finned slender cichlid/peacock cichlid or dwarf cichlids), or rainbow fishes (forktail/ boeseman's/blue)
2. A school of any tetras/barb/danio/rasbora/any other compatible schooling fishes with the centrepiece fish
3. Some bottom dwellers - loach/bristlenose/corydora

Once again, thank you so much in advance for listening to me.
 
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From personal experience I would suggest to avoid loaches in this size tank with the other fish you are suggesting. This is what seriously fish has to say about dwarf chain loach:
While some aquarists consider it to be peaceful over the long-term others report the opposite, with sedentary or long-finned fishes most at risk. Typical injuries supposedly involve missing eyes or chunks of finnage, but it is unclear why this occurs in some cases and not others, and genuine proof remains lacking.
Mine were peaceful for 18 months and then the tank started to experiece chunks out of finnage and injured eyes (fortunatley none missing). There is still no genuine proof as I did not gather any - but I saw it happening with my own eyes. Since I moved them into a separate tank the torn fins and other injuries stopped immediately and all the other fish are fully recovered.

It is of course impossible to blame the loaches for behaving in a way that is natural to them once they matured, but it does highlight the importance of researching your selection carefully.
 

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A "centrepiece" fish - Gouramis (Marble/blue/chocolate), or Cichlids (electric blue cichlid/fairy cichlid/blue-finned slender cichlid/peacock cichlid), or rainbow fishes

First, I would not consider the Marble/Blue Gourami. These are actually just varieties of the same species, and it is one of the most aggressive of the medium-sized goourami. Individual fish can vary, but males are territorial and some will quickly see the tank as "theirs" and members have reported even females of this species killing other fish in the tank.

The Chocolate is fairly peaceful, but not easy to keep. But where you live may help. This fish needs warmth, at least 80F/27C and is best in a small group. Quiet fish like some of the smaller rasboras work with it. The pygmy sparkling gourami also does well with the Chocolate, I had both several years ago together and they spawned and fry of both survived. But the Chocolates are sensitive and often suddenly die off from various skin problems. Clean water, soft and acidic, and warm, is essential.

I think these cichlids are rift lake species, which means much harder water. And they are not community fish, meaning not with non-cichlids.

Rainbow fishes, depending upon species. Some need moderately hard water, some are soft water. Group necessary, 8-9.

A school of any tetras/barb/danio/rasbora/any other compatible schooling fishes with the centrepiece fish
3. Some bottom dwellers - loach/bristlenose/corydora

Obviously this depends upon the selected centerpiece species. Upper shoaling species would have to be suited to the temperament of the centerpiece fish, and I've mentioned a bit about this above. Loaches or cories fine, never both; Bristlenose is fine.

EDIT. As I was typing, seangee posted info on dwarf loaches worth considering. Mine have been absolute angels, but this is not what many sources report.
 
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First, I would not consider the Marble/Blue Gourami. These are actually just varieties of the same species, and it is one of the most aggressive of the medium-sized goourami. Individual fish can vary, but males are territorial and some will quickly see the tank as "theirs" and members have reported even females of this species killing other fish in the tank.

The Chocolate is fairly peaceful, but not easy to keep. But where you live may help. This fish needs warmth, at least 80F/27C and is best in a small group. Quiet fish like some of the smaller rasboras work with it. The pygmy sparkling gourami also does well with the Chocolate, I had both several years ago together and they spawned and fry of both survived. But the Chocolates are sensitive and often suddenly die off from various skin problems. Clean water, soft and acidic, and warm, is essential.

I think these cichlids are rift lake species, which means much harder water. And they are not community fish, meaning not with non-cichlids.

Rainbow fishes, depending upon species. Some need moderately hard water, some are soft water. Group necessary, 8-9.



Obviously this depends upon the selected centerpiece species. Upper shoaling species would have to be suited to the temperament of the centerpiece fish, and I've mentioned a bit about this above. Loaches or cories fine, never both; Bristlenose is fine.

EDIT. As I was typing, seangee posted info on dwarf loaches worth considering. Mine have been absolute angels, but this is not what many sources report.

Hi Byron, thank you for replying.
I would like to add on that i live in the tropics (Singapore) and enjoy all year round summers, so i think temperature wise it would be on the warmer side all the time! I would perhaps get a thermometer, but likely there would not be a need for a heater.

In this case, I would likely be considering
1. 6-7 Chocolate gourami
2. Two schools of rainbowfish (forktail and/or boeseman's and/or blue) and/or harlequin rasboras/licorice gourami (if i can find)
3. A (school?) of BN
4. Perhaps a school of corydoras (are there any difference between the different cories?)

Please let me know if there are anything in particular to take note of - i do read that chocos are very delicate fish and may be for more experienced aquarists.. for example, in terms of aquascaping (plants, driftwood, gravel type) or water treatment! I do read that they do not prefer large amounts of water changes, no more than 20%.
 
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