My opinions on community tanks

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elephantnose3334

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I don't like community tanks, but that's my opinion. I think it kind of ruins the look and essence of being in an underwater ecosystem, same with a mixture of plants from different continents. I understand lots of people do community tanks and while it's okay to do so, they need to be careful when putting some fish with other tankmates. Most fish do fine in community tanks, but some fish like tiger barbs, rainbow sharks and smaller (3cm or less) rasbora species (smaller rasboras can be community fish but NOT to be put with larger fish), may not do well in community tanks. That why some of these mentioned fish may need to be in single-species only aquariums.

I tried doing a community tank on a 40L square aquarium, which I got in January last year, with two species of tetra and a dwarf gourami, but it didn't work well after 8 months after it was cycled and set up. The dwarf gourami died after 8 months. I learnt my mistakes and gave up building community tanks. I was a beginner and I'm still doing research and learning the fundamentals of the hobby. I prefer single-species aquariums or biotope aquariums over community tanks because they capture the essence of the world underneath rivers and estuaries. Despite not having a great amount of choice of fish, I think it's better to do one of these two alternatives to community tanks than doing community tanks. Again, it's my opinion.

Most tetras do well in community tanks, and I understand that it is safe to do so. However, some tetras might need to be kept in single-species biotope aquaria because some can get aggressive and some don't do well in community setups, which means that they may not be good tankmates for community tanks. Take neon and cardinal tetras for example. I keep the latter and I'm planning to move them into a bigger tank because of a lack of swimming space (30cm) on the 40L. Again, I have to follow a deal from my parents in order to get it. But I'm not doing a community tank for the future 130L setup. I might do a biotope aquarium based on their native range, but we'll see.

Some of the reasons why I don't like, and gave up on, community tanks include:

  1. Overrated setup
  2. Some fish aren't suited for community tanks
  3. Used by most fish YouTubers, reality TV and other social medias over other freshwater and brackish setups
  4. Shops may mislabel some fish as 'community fish'
Even some specific species setups, like rainbowfish from Papua New Guinea, may be influenced by community tanks. That's why you see some different species of rainbowfish in the same tank when you think of a dream rainbowfish setup. A big 65 gallon is enough to house some rainbowfishes in a community setup, but that's my opinion.

I respect everyone's opinions. Everyone's opinions differ. I might not like community tanks, but most users do. And I respect that. My opinions are based on my experience of fishkeeping.

What are your opinions on community tanks?

Thank you for your understanding.
 
Any tank that puts the needs of the fish before the wants of the hobbyist is fine by me. If the tank is large enough for the fish and takes whatever odd behaviours the fish have into account, go for it.
It means the aquarist should have done their homework before trying to write the test.

If they haven't, then a chunk of their hobby time will be learning how to fix things. Single species, community - that side is the same. Biotope tanks are different, because you can't make one without research. They appeal to one subset of aquarists, but lots of people do interesting things with all sorts of setups.
 
Any tank that puts the needs of the fish before the wants of the hobbyist is fine by me. If the tank is large enough for the fish and takes whatever odd behaviours the fish have into account, go for it.
It means the aquarist should have done their homework before trying to write the test.

If they haven't, then a chunk of their hobby time will be learning how to fix things. Single species, community - that side is the same. Biotope tanks are different, because you can't make one without research. They appeal to one subset of aquarists, but lots of people do interesting things with all sorts of setups.
I do research every day and thinking about my existing cardinal tetras, I could move them to the 34 gallon if I got it from Petbarn.
 
Where I grew up, High School ends at 16, then you have the option of a free college system for two years pre-university, or three years for a trade. I used to walk home from college through a wealthy part of the city with a phenomenal library. They had 3 shelves of aquarium books, and I would sit and read through them methodically most days if my classes finished early and I didn't have to go to work. researching like that is great food for thought.
 
Where I grew up, High School ends at 16, then you have the option of a free college system for two years pre-university, or three years for a trade. I used to walk home from college through a wealthy part of the city with a phenomenal library. They had 3 shelves of aquarium books, and I would sit and read through them methodically most days if my classes finished early and I didn't have to go to work. researching like that is great food for thought.
I don't want to go to University or TAFE yet. I decided I will graduate at Year 12, which will start in February 1 and finishes on September.
 
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Well, biotope tanks are of a different order than community tanks you see at an average household. I do understand both ways why people go for one of them. Most households will choose the community tank as we in general know it instead of a biotope tank. That's just the reality. And yes, most of the time plants of different regions will be used without a doubt. But it will always remain a personal preference that can not be argued.
Personally, I would go for a biotope tank as well instead of a well scaped planted community tank. I do have to admit that I do have a community tank in the livingroom. But it contains mostly rare wild livebearer species. Besides those livebearers, there are some cories, barbs, ancistrus, Synodontis lucipinnis and peacock gudeons in there which works perfectly together.
But I forgot to mention that a community tank is just a tank with more than one fish species (or invertebrate species). Which mean that also a biotope tank can be a community tank if it contains more than one fish or invertebrate species.
 
Well, biotope tanks are of a different order than coummunity tanks. I do understand both ways why people go for one of them. Most households will choose the community tank instead of a biotope tank. That's just the reality. And yes, most of the time plants of different regions will be used without a doubt. But it will always remain a personal preference that can not be argued.
Personally, I would go for a biotope tank as well instead of a well scaped planted community tank. I do have to admit that I do have a community tank in the livingroom. But it contains mostly rare wild livebearer species. Besides those livebearers, there are some cories, barbs, ancistrus, Synodontis lucipinnis and peacock gudeons in there which works perfectly together.
I understand that you have a community tank, and that's okay. I gave up on community tanks because they are overrated and dominates the hobby. I don't want to be one of the many people who admire community tanks. I'm born different.
 
I'm curious, because perhaps I've been misunderstanding the definition of a community aquarium. I understood it to mean a tank that simply houses multiple species of fish and/or invertebrate. Here, though, I see a separation of the concept of a biotope aquarium from that of a community tank. Is a community then by definition an aquarium that specifically hosts multiple species from different regions/habitats only? If that's the case, what would one call a biotope that hosts multiple species all from the same habitat type within the same general location?
 
I'm curious, because perhaps I've been misunderstanding the definition of a community aquarium. I understood it to mean a tank that simply houses multiple species of fish and/or invertebrate. Here, though, I see a separation of the concept of a biotope aquarium from that of a community tank. Is a community then by definition an aquarium that specifically hosts multiple species from different regions/habitats only? If that's the case, what would one call a biotope that hosts multiple species all from the same habitat type within the same general location?
Community aquaria mean putting fish and plants from different continents, and biotope aquaria mean that it replicates one location, not multiple locations.
 
Community aquaria mean putting fish and plants from different continents, and biotope aquaria mean that it replicates one location, not multiple locations.
I know what biotope means. Thank you for the clarification about the definition of a community aquarium. To me, that definition is not intuitive though. I'm an ecologist, so when I hear "community", I think of the ecological communities found in specific habitats. So, when I say I'm building an Ucayali River tributary community biotope, I personally mean that I'm replicating the slow-moving tributary habitats of the Ucayali and I'm using multiple species of fish to do so.

I'm not saying the term "community aquarium" needs to change. The aquarium hobby has its reasons for naming things the way it does, even if I don't understand them. But I do think it's misleading that the term "community" only refers to a group of species from different regions. By the way, saying "community" means having fish from different continents implies that having fish from the same continent is more similar to a biotope. I would argue that a tank with fish species from China, Japan, Thailand, and India is still a community aquarium even though the fish are all from Asia, because as you mentioned, a biotope is a more specific region, location, or habitat type.
 
I know what biotope means. Thank you for the clarification about the definition of a community aquarium. To me, that definition is not intuitive though. I'm an ecologist, so when I hear "community", I think of the ecological communities found in specific habitats. So, when I say I'm building an Ucayali River tributary community biotope, I personally mean that I'm replicating the slow-moving tributary habitats of the Ucayali and I'm using multiple species of fish to do so.

I'm not saying the term "community aquarium" needs to change. The aquarium hobby has its reasons for naming things the way it does, even if I don't understand them. But I do think it's misleading that the term "community" only refers to a group of species from different regions. By the way, saying "community" means having fish from different continents implies that having fish from the same continent is more similar to a biotope. I would argue that a tank with fish species from China, Japan, Thailand, and India is still a community aquarium even though the fish are all from Asia, because as you mentioned, a biotope is a more specific region, location, or habitat type.
I know that. The aquarium hobby changes over time and biotopes may be more common in the future.
 
Strictly speaking I suppose the term community tank should mean a tank which houses more than one species of fish compared to a species tank which has just one species of fish. Under this definition, a biotope is a type of community tank, but one which houses fish of several species from a single section of a river or lake.

However the term community tank has come to mean fish from different rivers/lakes even if those rivers/lakes are in the same geographical region.
 
Strictly speaking I suppose the term community tank should mean a tank which houses more than one species of fish compared to a species tank which has just one species of fish. Under this definition, a biotope is a type of community tank, but one which houses fish of several species from a single section of a river or lake.

However the term community tank has come to mean fish from different rivers/lakes even if those rivers/lakes are in the same geographical region.
It might help. But I don't know about your biotope definition. Everyone has differing definitions about community and biotope tanks.
 
To me a biotope is a tank which has fish, plants, substrate and decor which would be found in the chosen section of river or lake. If the river/lake has mud on the the bottom, using a gravel substrate would be wrong. If the river/lake has nothing but rocks, using wood and plants would be wrong.
But a biotope is a specific type of community tank if it has more than one species of fish. A biotope is a subdivision of community tank in the way that houses, hotels and factories are buildings and houses are a specific type of building.

The use of words evolves over time, and nowadays community tanks and biotopes are seen as completely different.
 
To me a biotope is a tank which has fish, plants, substrate and decor which would be found in the chosen section of river or lake. If the river/lake has mud on the the bottom, using a gravel substrate would be wrong. If the river/lake has nothing but rocks, using wood and plants would be wrong.
But a biotope is a specific type of community tank if it has more than one species of fish. A biotope is a subdivision of community tank in the way that houses, hotels and factories are buildings and houses are a specific type of building.

The use of words evolves over time, and nowadays community tanks and biotopes are seen as completely different.
Have you built a biotope tank before?
 

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