Planning a hundred litre (22 gallon) tank please help!

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Funkyfishgorl

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Hi guys,

I’m completely new to the fish world and have been told to take aqadvisor calculator with a grain of salt so I’m looking for a second opinion on the plan for my first tank. I wanted this tank to be full of peaceful fish after seeing my sister struggles with aggressive female bettas.

Tank:
100 litres
Superfish Aqua-flow 300 filter
Small sponge filter for extra filtration and aeration
Aquarium soil and plant substrate topped with black sand
Various plants, moss, drift wood and caves
Water heater and light as standard

Fish I hope to get:
8 albino corydoras (maybe think I should get 10 but not sure about capacity)
10 ember tetras
1 dwarf gourami (yes I am aware of dgd)

Hope this helps. Please give advise on numbers, compatibility and plants. I want to be a responsible fish owner so let me know if I’m overstocking, I’m also waiting a month so I can complete a full fishless cycle!

thanks a bunch :D
 

Spen2cer

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Hi guys,

I’m completely new to the fish world and have been told to take aqadvisor calculator with a grain of salt so I’m looking for a second opinion on the plan for my first tank. I wanted this tank to be full of peaceful fish after seeing my sister struggles with aggressive female bettas.

Tank:
100 litres
Superfish Aqua-flow 300 filter
Small sponge filter for extra filtration and aeration
Aquarium soil and plant substrate topped with black sand
Various plants, moss, drift wood and caves
Water heater and light as standard

Fish I hope to get:
8 albino corydoras (maybe think I should get 10 but not sure about capacity)
10 ember tetras
1 dwarf gourami (yes I am aware of dgd)

Hope this helps. Please give advise on numbers, compatibility and plants. I want to be a responsible fish owner so let me know if I’m overstocking, I’m also waiting a month so I can complete a full fishless cycle!

thanks a bunch :D

Hi! Welcome to the hobby! I am relatively new (keeping fish since ya alittle over a year ago) and your scape and equipment plans look awesome. Cories would be awesome in that tank. Never kept embers, but they look awesome. For the dwarf gourami, I have seen some agression with mine. If possible, I would try the honey gourami. They have an awesome coloration, and are super peaceful to other fish. Good luck!
 
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Funkyfishgorl

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Hi! Welcome to the hobby! I am relatively new (keeping fish since ya alittle over a year ago) and your scape and equipment plans look awesome. Cories would be awesome in that tank. Never kept embers, but they look awesome. For the dwarf gourami, I have seen some agression with mine. If possible, I would try the honey gourami. They have an awesome coloration, and are super peaceful to other fish. Good luck!

Thanks for replying! Starting out in the aquarium community can be hard there’s so much to learn but it’s so exciting.

Are honey gouramis similar in size because I fear my tank is not big enough for a normal gourami? Who was the aggression directed towards?
 

Retired Viking

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Welcome, I have 5 ember, 9 neon and 5 red eyed tetras and 2 albino cory in my 55 gallon tank. Ember are the smallest fish and seem to be doing well with the others. Not sure on dwarf gourami and embers being together. I am planing on adding more embers and neons. At feeding time they get right in there for their share.
 
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Funkyfishgorl

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Welcome, I have 5 ember, 9 neon and 5 red eyed tetras and 2 albino cory in my 55 gallon tank. Ember are the smallest fish and seem to be doing well with the others. Not sure on dwarf gourami and embers being together. I am planing on adding more embers and neons. At feeding time they get right in there for their share.

Yes I fell in love with the embers because of their size and schooling behaviour. There’s something about the way tens of fish can move as one that is absolutely stunning to me.

Your tank sounds like tetra heaven! Thanks for the reply :)
 

Byron

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The first thing we like to know before suggesting fish are the water parameters of your source (tap) water. GH (general or total hardness) is the most important as this directly affects many fish, then pH. Knowing the KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) is also helpful as this can buffer pH.

Second issue to mention is the "aquarium soil and plant substrate." This can cause serious issues initially, depending what it is, producing ammonia sufficient to kill fish. In most cases these products will not help plants much (if at all) so keeping the fish in mind is wise. Cories for example will dig down into the sand and likely reach the soil which can cause other issues for them and you.

If you do intend plants, I would advise against any artificial "cycling" with ammonia. The plants take up ammonia/ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen, and once the tank is planted and if you have some faster growing plants (floating plants are superb for this) the ammonia produced by a few fish will feed the plants and the tank will cycle on its own without any harm to fish or plants.
 

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What @Byron said about your water is the starting point. Your success and your fishes health and longevity depend on that crucial bit of information . Just starting out, I would advise beginning with only one species of fish , preferably an easy to keep one, and learn to care for them. Later as you become comfortable with them and have thoroughly researched suitable tankmates you can add more fish. Nothing is more frustrating to a beginner than fish dying.
 
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Funkyfishgorl

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The first thing we like to know before suggesting fish are the water parameters of your source (tap) water. GH (general or total hardness) is the most important as this directly affects many fish, then pH. Knowing the KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) is also helpful as this can buffer pH.

Second issue to mention is the "aquarium soil and plant substrate." This can cause serious issues initially, depending what it is, producing ammonia sufficient to kill fish. In most cases these products will not help plants much (if at all) so keeping the fish in mind is wise. Cories for example will dig down into the sand and likely reach the soil which can cause other issues for them and you.

If you do intend plants, I would advise against any artificial "cycling" with ammonia. The plants take up ammonia/ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen, and once the tank is planted and if you have some faster growing plants (floating plants are superb for this) the ammonia produced by a few fish will feed the plants and the tank will cycle on its own without any harm to fish or plants.

Thanks for all the advise!

I already have the api master test kit and the api kh and gh test kit and my water parameters are in the right range for all of three of these fish. I also won’t be adding them all at once I will get 4 cortadoras once my bacteria and plants can handle it and if all is good I will get the other 4 a few days after as I don’t want them to be in a group too small to school. I will then think about adding the tetras a month after so that I know the tank is established. I’m still torn on the dwarf gourami so I’m not planning on getting one any time soon.

As for the Aquarian soil, I have used an inch of tropica aquarium soil with some root tabs to help the plants grow, this is then topped with two inches of sand. My tank is already planted and running so I’m hoping I don’t have to break it down to remove the soil. Can I add another inch of sand so they can’t dig that deep? I was also hoping that if I let my tank run and the plants grow they will absorb any excess ammonia, as of now my levels of ammonia are 0 ppm. Will this not be good enough? My tap water has about 10 ppm of nitrates so I’m having to wait for the plants to absorb the nitrate anyway.
 

Byron

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I've no idea of your level of knowledge, and you do say you are new to fish keeping and this is your first aquarium, so...could you please post the GH, pH and KH? There is so much misinformation in this hobby especially when it comes to this area, we want to ensure we are all on the same page with no issues.

Second point, on adding shoaling fish, always add the entire intended group at the same time together. With some species that do have hierarchies this is crucial, but even for the others as here they will always settle in much better and faster if there are more of them. So it can make a big difference, and often avoid ich. Once the plants are obviously growing, there is literally no way you could add too many fish at once, assuming you stay within reasonable numbers for the tank to begin with. Plants can take up a lot of ammonia from fish. So all the intended cories together, then all the tetras (of each species), etc. You can have a few days between the cories and tetras, that's not a bad idea when you are new to all this.

Third, on the Tropica Aquarium Soil. I've no idea what is in this, and the info on their website does not tell me much. But they do suggest water changes of 50% be done twice each week for the first four weeks, and this is something I would want to know more about. The "soil" must have some issue if this is being recommended. They do say it will "lower the pH value and slightly affects the water chemistry" without saying how exactly. My earlier caution was thinking more of ammonia, which is often very high with organic soils, but there is no mention of that here. As it is set up, keep observing the ammonia and pH and see what occurs, before any fish go in; if there is an issue, it is better to deal with it before fish are being affected and need to be moved somewhere.

On the ammonia, yes, plants use it up to a point as I said above. So long as you do not add artificial ammonia you will be OK. The soil is still an unknown.

Nitrates at 10 ppm in the tap water is manageable. Plants will not be much use in using nitrate. Aquatic plants need nitrogen as one macro-nutrient, but they prefer it as ammonium (ammonia in acidic water becomes ammonium). Only when they have used all the available ammonia, and then providing all other nutrients are present and the light is sufficient, will they turn to nitrate. This is because they have to change the nitrate back into ammonium so it is additional work for them to use nitrate, and thus it is a "last resort" so to speak. But 10 ppm is manageable; regular weekly water changes of 50-70% of the tank volume, carried out at one time each week, plus the plants using ammonia/ammonium so less nitrate follows, should keep nitrates close to that level.
 

seangee

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Yes I fell in love with the embers because of their size and schooling behaviour. There’s something about the way tens of fish can move as one that is absolutely stunning to me
In that case, assuming everything else is good in terms of @Byron's comments I would skip the gourami and go for 20 tetras. The difference in bigger groups is really amazing. This is from my own experience rather than something I have read. I have 30 cardinals and 14 glowlights in one tank. In both of my other tanks I have groups of around 30 fish - although these aren't tetras. I don't have a centrepiece fish in any of my tanks, and honestly don't think I need them.
 
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Funkyfishgorl

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I've no idea of your level of knowledge, and you do say you are new to fish keeping and this is your first aquarium, so...could you please post the GH, pH and KH? There is so much misinformation in this hobby especially when it comes to this area, we want to ensure we are all on the same page with no issues.

Second point, on adding shoaling fish, always add the entire intended group at the same time together. With some species that do have hierarchies this is crucial, but even for the others as here they will always settle in much better and faster if there are more of them. So it can make a big difference, and often avoid ich. Once the plants are obviously growing, there is literally no way you could add too many fish at once, assuming you stay within reasonable numbers for the tank to begin with. Plants can take up a lot of ammonia from fish. So all the intended cories together, then all the tetras (of each species), etc. You can have a few days between the cories and tetras, that's not a bad idea when you are new to all this.

Third, on the Tropica Aquarium Soil. I've no idea what is in this, and the info on their website does not tell me much. But they do suggest water changes of 50% be done twice each week for the first four weeks, and this is something I would want to know more about. The "soil" must have some issue if this is being recommended. They do say it will "lower the pH value and slightly affects the water chemistry" without saying how exactly. My earlier caution was thinking more of ammonia, which is often very high with organic soils, but there is no mention of that here. As it is set up, keep observing the ammonia and pH and see what occurs, before any fish go in; if there is an issue, it is better to deal with it before fish are being affected and need to be moved somewhere.

On the ammonia, yes, plants use it up to a point as I said above. So long as you do not add artificial ammonia you will be OK. The soil is still an unknown.

Nitrates at 10 ppm in the tap water is manageable. Plants will not be much use in using nitrate. Aquatic plants need nitrogen as one macro-nutrient, but they prefer it as ammonium (ammonia in acidic water becomes ammonium). Only when they have used all the available ammonia, and then providing all other nutrients are present and the light is sufficient, will they turn to nitrate. This is because they have to change the nitrate back into ammonium so it is additional work for them to use nitrate, and thus it is a "last resort" so to speak. But 10 ppm is manageable; regular weekly water changes of 50-70% of the tank volume, carried out at one time each week, plus the plants using ammonia/ammonium so less nitrate follows, should keep nitrates close to that level.

My PH is 7.4, my KH is 6d and my GH is 8d.
It’s very confusing online as most people use another measurement that gives the kh and gh values in the hundreds which I don’t quite understand but in terms of dkh and dgh I think these values should be fine.

Thanks for letting me know about the group size as all my lfs’s suggest max 4 at a time!

I’m letting the plants grow out now and am fertilising once a week so once I see lots of growth I will think about adding the fish. You suggested not to dose with ammonia since I have plants but will the bacteria in my filter die if I don’t feed them ammonia? I will also be doing 50% water changes once a week to cope with the nitrates and when I add the fish I will up it to 60-70 %.

Thank you for all your help I had so many questions and was really confused ( i think I read too much and had an information overload) .
 

seangee

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If you are seeing lots of plant growth you don't need to add ammonia. The plants will deal with it.
 

Jan Cavalieri

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Wow I had no idea about plants using ammonia. When I was cycling my tanks (with ammonia) I had tons of plants in there - still do. I did successfully cycle 4 tanks only now to have the cycles destroyed by (presumably) adding too many fish at once. I have an absolutely horrible ammonia/ammonium problem. I keep adding a little bit of Prime every couple of days to ensure may ammonia remains in it's not toxic ammonium form, I didn't know the plants would do it - but isn't it also dependent on temperature? I put the Prime in there as a safety measure.

Personally I think the soil really needs to go - corycats will dig as deep as the substrate will allow and if Byron is right - this soil may present a lot of harm to your fish. You don't need soil for most aquatic plants.

Why so many corycats? I too, was first enamored with them but never have needed to have more than 4 for them to "school" - which given their laziness means they just hang out together. I think 5 would be good together. But, they actually have probably become some of my dullest, colorless fish I own - I still think they are cute, but there are so many other more interesting species I really don't think you need that many in a community tank - I will say they are a great cleanup crew of excess feeding (which I can be guilty of). Mine are all named 'Chunky" or "Chubs" because they are so fat. I have three in a tank together and they sleep stacked on top of each other sometimes - it's quite a hoot. But boy do they like to dig if the substrate allows it. If you ever got Pleco's or Loaches you would have the same issue.

I would at least add another couple inches of substrate to cover that soil or just re-do the tank and get the soil out of there or you'll have tons of substrate and no room for fish.

I'd check the KH and GH parameters for a Dwarf Gourami. (I'm a HUGE Dwarf Gourami fan and have never had that virus as far as I know - I have one with swim bladder disease right now and one that died after being attacked by - of all things - a danio. ) The Dwarf varieties are VERY peaceful, slow moving fish that will be disturbed by a lot of fast moving fish - I don't think tetra's are that fast moving compared to something like danios- which stressed them out). So mixing with Tetra's would be fine. The LARGE Gourami's are split in half by semi-aggressive and some quite peaceful. They are way too big for your tank so no problems. Honey Gourami's are slightly smaller than Tetra's and are sweet VERY SHY and rather unexciting fish - just a single honey color while there are slightly larger Dwarf Gourami's that are absolutely amazingly beautiful. BUT with as many corycats as you plan in 100liter tank - I think you're stocking is fine as without them. . So if you want to stock that many corycats, skip the Dwarf Gourami's (which should be bought in sets of two because they enjoy having company - so they say - I guess some of mine do enjoy that, others don't seem to care about company).

Gourami's eat more at the top but some will go down to the bottom to eat carnivourous wafers and stuff. Honey's hide all the time in floating tanks - the others just float slowly and peacefully across the tank Unless I bring out the tubifex worms I have to wonder if my honey's ever eat anything they are so shy to compete with other fish.

Tetras seem to like the middle of the tank but there will be some overlap with the Dwarf Gourami's I think a herd of colorful Tetras would be beautiful, but again - if this is your first tank you may want more variety.

Of course the cories are bottom feeders and to a certain extent nocturnal - If you have a cave you won't see them out and about much so they must appreciate the cover. My others just lie low and stay out of trouble and eat everything. But I have no more than 3 per tank left now - in fact of all fish I've had more of those experience just sudden death than any other fish. I purchased 3 albino's - water was perfect that day and they all three died by the next day and were eaten to pieces. No idea what happened. But in all cases I started with at least 4 and am down to 2 or 3 in two of my tanks - my large Gourami tank started picking on them so I had to remove them from that tank. . They all seem just as fine with 2 as they did with 4 - but maybe I didn't have enough to ever see them school - plus they all stick to the ground so I don't quite "get" the schooling thing. Maybe I missed out on something wonderful

So get some cories - 8 should be more than sufficient, get some beautiful Tetra's and then decide if you want to add a third species like Dwarf Gourami's - they won't be a "flagship" fish because they aren't that huge but if youo want to try them I think 2 powder blues or just plain "dwarfs - powder blue with red stripes or the "flames" with more red would be very pretty but not that noticeable. Now you could consider getting a SINGLE Pearl Gourami - about 4" in size (but some are long and tall, others just long - don't know why) the are extremely peaceful and extremely beautiful and I've had them alone or as pairs or as 3 that I have right now. They are STUNNING fish when full grown. I do have 3 in one tank (rescued from my large Gourami tank because they are so peaceful) and they all do seem to hang out together but I don't think it's a big deal. With one or two of those you would definitely be at maximum capacity.

I talk a lot - sorry. I'm sort of a newbie like you with only about 8 months experience but I read a lot. Also look up fishes on Wikipedia for their descriptions or go to an online store like liveaquaria.com and read they descriptions and water parameters as well as take a look at all the fish you may not be thinking about - assuming they are available where you live - none of them are where I live - it's goldfish, betta and danio heaven here in Kansas. So I do pay a premium to get the exact species I want online. You pay a fortune for your set-up - don't skimp on the cost of fish - although there are amazing ones for $10 or less.
 

Essjay

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My PH is 7.4, my KH is 6d and my GH is 8d.
It’s very confusing online as most people use another measurement that gives the kh and gh values in the hundreds which I don’t quite understand but in terms of dkh and dgh I think these values should be fine.

There are only two hardness units used in fishkeeping. Profiles of fish will give hardness in one or the other. And the best site for research is https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ - a lot of other sites give inaccurate information.

The two units are dH and ppm.
GH - 6 dH converts to 107 ppm
KH - 8 dH converts to 143 ppm

Make a note of those so that when you look at a profile which uses ppm, you know what your tap water is :)
 

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