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Possible Tankmates For Leopard Ctenopoma And Rainbow Shark?

Doomchibi

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I have a 1.5" rainbow shark and a 1" leopard ctenopoma (leopard gourami), and I am trying to plan out future tankmates for them. They are currently in a 20g long aquarium for the time being until my living situation is settled, and then they will be moved into as big a tank as I can reasonably find. Most likely around 125g or so, bigger if I come across one. (I am not going to be adding any more fish to this current tank, again- i'm just planning.)   
 
I have some ideas of what I could put with them, but I would like opinions on these. The only two fish that must be included are my current two, so I do have a decent variety I can choose from.. I'm not planning on putting *all* of these fish ideas in, but I would like to try to choose some if any seem reasonable. If you know of any I don't name, I would love to hear about them as well. 
 
I am keeping in mind that my ctenopoma could potentially eat anything that will fit into her mouth when she reaches her adult size, and so I am going to assume that is anything smaller than 2 inches. If anyone knows whether or not I need to go with larger fish than that, please let me know. Also, most fish I can purchase would be young, if not juveniles, and so I need to consider how safe they would be while they were growing. If needed I could purchase small fish and keep them in a different tank while they grow, until it would be safe to put them with my others.
 
Any of these?
Boesemani Rainbowfish 1.5 - 2" at purchase               (Would be getting about 5)
Red Breast Smiling Cichlid (Laetacara curviceps) 1" to 1-3/4" at purchase
Acei Cichlid (Pseudotropheus sp. ) 1-1/2" to 2" at purchase
German Gold or German Blue Rams (Papiliochromis ramirezi)  1" to 1-1/2" at purchase  (Can you keep both colors together?)
Porthole Catfish (Dianema longibarbis) 1" - 2" at purchase
Badis (Badis badis)   3/4" to 2-1/2" at purchase
Panda Barb (Puntius fasciatus) 1.5 - 2" at purchase
 
Out of all of these, the rainbowfish are the most preferred species.. So if any of those aren't compatible with the others, prioritize the rainbowfish.

 
 
Also, a different idea I had. I have heard of (and seen) adult leopard ctenopoma being kept with senegal bichir successfully. If I was to try this, I am assuming my rainbow shark would be safe if he grew to 6" or so which is what I have been told he will reach, but I am not sure about any other fish. I know senegals will usually eat anything they could possibly fit in their mounts, (unless the other fish are too fast), but no one has said exactly what size that usually is. So my question on that is what size fish is generally safe to keep with these bichirs? Is it anything over 5" or would 4" be OK? If I could keep some medium sized fish (say 4" or bigger at adult size) along with my current two in a tank with 1 senegal bichir, I would love to do that- But I definitely do not want to risk anyone getting eaten. If I was going to do this, I would wait until all of my fish were at least 3" before getting the bichir (who would only be around 4-5" when I got it) so hopefully everything would be able to grow fully before the bichir got nippy. 
 
Let me know if you have any other questions and thank you all for reading my obnoxious block of text. 
 

GetItSahn

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I was under the impression that the rams you listed would be a little too sensitive/docile for the other more aggressive fish you listed. Not positive though, hopefully someone answers because I am curious about some of those fish too.
 
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Doomchibi

Doomchibi

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A girl at my LFS is the one who recommended the rams, and it seemed like a good idea.. Up until I realized they were $16 each and after I did some research of my own I found they might be a little too small, only reaching 2 1/2 - 3" max. I was initially glad I didn't get them but then I was told that fast fish can usually be kept with my ctenopoma, so I figured maybe I should add them to the list. Thank you for your input though. :) Hoping to get more responses on some of the other species. 
 
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Also be aware what most size info says about leopard ctenopomas. If fed with lots of live prey and acclimatized they could easily reach 4 inches in length in over a years' time.

Small african cichlids would be best suited to accompany a ctenopoma. Avoid the really aggressive ones though.

I haven't experienced any aggression from rainbow sharks, albino rainbows, black sharks or bala sharks before so i can't comment on that :D
 
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Doomchibi

Doomchibi

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I really do not like most african cichlids because of how big some get (I find them scary. Really.), though I could into look at some of the smaller varieties because I have never considered them. Are there any smaller fish I could keep with them or would I be out of luck? Most species of african cichlids that I have read about seem to be very agressive.
 
I do not feed live prey to my ctenopoma, I feed frozen, pellet, flake and freeze dried.  I know my ctenopoma will likely get to around 5" or so, though there are still quite a few fish that could safely be kept with it at that size. 
 
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Well try observing how big your ctenopomas mouth opens when it yawns. Any small schooling fish that doesn't have the streamlined 'pencil' shape like skirt tetras and bigger than that yawning mouth would usually be okay.

Though not african, maybe severums could do the trick. They usually max out at around 4" when adults and are mildly peaceful and territorial at the same time
 
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Doomchibi

Doomchibi

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The only two types of severums I can find for sale online are gold severums and green severums, both which seem to get to 8", even 12" in some cases. What types are there that stay smaller? 
 

N0body Of The Goat

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There are at least four "golden rules" to keeping African oddballs like Leopard Bushfish...
  • No fish that will stay streamlined <2cm body depth/width (otherwise they will be eaten eventually)
  • No fish that are zippy/active such as rainbowfish (their activity will really spook the bushfish, especially while young)
  • No fish that are like gannets at feeding time such as rainbowfish (bushfish need time to react to food)
  • No fish that are aggressive/territorial (bushfish get very stressed by cichlids trying to boss them about)
 
The classic African oddball community that work well together, depending upon tank size and the size of the fish when mixed includes...
African Butterfly Fish
African Brown Knife Fish
Congo Tetra
Yellow Congo Tetra (more risky with larger predators like the larger Bichir spp.)
Upside Down Synodontis
Reedfish
Bichir
Distichodus spp.
Kribensis
Moderate sized, less aggressive Synodontis spp. such as S. schoutedeni; flavitaeniata; congicus
 
Young bushfish like your 1" specimen do far better in groups, 4 or 5 could live together for life in something like a Rio240. However, adding newcomers later on can be disasterous, they do not like their hierachy being messed up later on. They are pretty slow growers, 3 of my 4 were bought at ~2cm SL and ~30 months on, they are ~12cm SL and nearly fully grown for hobby specimens that tend to max out at ~14cm SL. 
 

GetItSahn

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N0body Of The Goat said:
There are at least four "golden rules" to keeping African oddballs like Leopard Bushfish...
  • No fish that will stay streamlined <2cm body depth/width (otherwise they will be eaten eventually)
  • No fish that are zippy/active such as rainbowfish (their activity will really spook the bushfish, especially while young)
  • No fish that are like gannets at feeding time such as rainbowfish (bushfish need time to react to food)
  • No fish that are aggressive/territorial (bushfish get very stressed by cichlids trying to boss them about)
 
The classic African oddball community that work well together, depending upon tank size and the size of the fish when mixed includes...
African Butterfly Fish
African Brown Knife Fish
Congo Tetra
Yellow Congo Tetra (more risky with larger predators like the larger Bichir spp.)
Upside Down Synodontis
Reedfish
Bichir
Distichodus spp.
Kribensis
Moderate sized, less aggressive Synodontis spp. such as S. schoutedeni; flavitaeniata; congicus
 
Young bushfish like your 1" specimen do far better in groups, 4 or 5 could live together for life in something like a Rio240. However, adding newcomers later on can be disasterous, they do not like their hierachy being messed up later on. They are pretty slow growers, 3 of my 4 were bought at ~2cm SL and ~30 months on, they are ~12cm SL and nearly fully grown for hobby specimens that tend to max out at ~14cm SL. 
Even though I'm not the OP
Thanks for such a great detailed response
 
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Doomchibi

Doomchibi

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Yes, thank you for such a detailed response.  I will look at those and maybe consider setting up a different tank for rainbowfish. I have only had my ctenopoma for a month, if that, and it was housed with others at my LFS. Should I get a few more leopard ctenopomas, then? I'm not sure it would be a good idea to have any more fish in my already slightly small tank, though it wouldn't be for much longer. I do really like being able to tell my fish apart, and it seems like most of the leopards are pretty identical.. Oh well, if it would make her happy. Thank you again.
I am always still open to suggestions and tips if anyone has any.
 
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Doomchibi

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I'm still going through that list but it seems like a lot of people are having issues with Kribensis trying to kill off their other fish when they start spawning.. That's a scary thought and i'm not sure I would want to risk anything like that happening. I have been reading about the ABK, though- How small of a fish is safe to keep with them at their adult sizes? I have heard they are able to eat adult gouramis...? I have also heard of bichir going on killing sprees and killing African butterfly fish, too. Maybe i'm just paranoid but I am trying to prevent anything from getting hurt.
 
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Doomchibi

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Do these ideas sound any better? This would be for 75 gallons, will likely go bigger as a few of these grow. This is also the order that I would be adding them, going with the next one when I am sure the rest are all big enough to be safe.
 
1x Rainbow Shark
1x Leopard Ctenopoma
1x African Butterfly Fish
2x Angelfish
1x Featherfin Catfish
1x African Brown Knifefish
1x Senegal Bichir
 
 
I left out the rainbowfish as I am finally accepting that it would be a bad mix for my other fish, and I will set up something else to keep them. I tried to make it so nothing was very aggressive, and avoided red to keep my rainbow shark from getting upset. Butterfly fish should be the only one around the top, so it shouldn't get too territorial, and the rainbow shark and featherfin would be the 2 around the bottom so I would need to put a decent amount of rocks, woods, plants etc to break up line of sight between the two. If the featherfin would be too aggressive, would a Pictus Catfish be a better choice? I am thinking the rest that would be around the center of the tank would be fine with eachother. These are all 5"+ so shouldn't get eaten by the bichir, though the butterfly fish is the only thing that is slightly small so I would get floating plants to give it places to hide in. I am planning on a moderately to slightly heavily planted tank. I am planning on going with an Albino Senegal Bichir, so maybe it would be easier for my other fish to see it and keep watch for it so they have time to hide if they feel threatened.
 
Also, what is the likelihood of Bamboo Shrimp or Singapore Flower Shrimp surviving with this stock? (They reach about 3", and I could wait until they got to that size to add them) I am assuming my only other option for shrimp would be African Filter Shrimp, if I added them at their adult size. (5-6") Would any type of small freshwater lobster or prawn do well otherwise? What about Nerite snails? (I am thinking Angelfish would eat them)
 
Any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you  
 

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Hi! This thread interests me, given I've a 240 litre tank which seems to have slid towards an African themed tank. With regards to shrimp, I can only assume that your bichir would snap 'em up?
 
Edit: Though personally I am not super attracted to the 'bushfish', and would gladly sacrifice them for some colour.
 
Edit (again): Are the featherfin catfish (and similar synos) not nocturnal?
 
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Doomchibi

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Almost everything, if not *everything* in my tank is going to be nocturnal, which is perfectly fine by me. I am able to use subdued lighting and have them on only at night anyways since that is my active schedule. Yes, bichir usually eat shrimp though I am thinking bamboo shrimp would be safe if the bichir was still small, seeing as the shrimp get to around 3" and that should be too much for them to eat for a while, and the african filter shrimp get 5-6" so should be safe if they have a sheltered area to sit in the water current and feed. Correct me if I am wrong in any of this, I am trying to find any potential risks in advance.
 
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