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Considering different tank mates


New Member
Santa Rosa, California
I'll pop a bit of history here since I am pretty new.
I have a 29 gallon tank and am shooting for a nice community including a Dwarf Cichlid of some kind.
My water numbers are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, PH 7.5
I like the idea of all mini type fishes.
At this point I have 9 Glow light Danio's and have spoken with some of you all about mixing them with dwarfs, the consensus seems to be that they are to hyper active and greedy feeders to mix nicely.
I feel like I could deal with the feedings and get food to the bottom guys but am considering some of the following as replacements.
side note: I have never been able to get a decent still shot of these guys but noticed some posts of Tetras, like they actually hold still long enough to photo???

I had hoped to do German Rams but am getting a bit nervous about them with the information I have gathered.
I like Apisto Agazzi double Red, Opal Borellii and the Blue and Yellow Borelli, I also had my eye on the Trifaciata but heard they are very aggressive.
I wonder about some of the following for schoolers.
Furcata Rainbow, Gertrudes Rainbow, Chili Rasbora, Green Rasbora, Kubotai Rasbora, Green Neons, Emperor Tetra, Rosy or Ember Tetra, and Pork Chop Rasbora.
I haven't had any of these small types before but find them pretty cool and mesmerizing.
For the top top of the tank I was looking at possible a dwarf Gourami.
Thanks in advance for any advice and suggestions, the more info the merrier
Hope you're all well
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
No offence, many of the more active members here are heavily leaning towards biotope and species tanks, collecting and breeding of rare wild species and/or overall dwarf cichlid nerdism like behaviour, taxonomy, evolutionary biology and species conservation.
I doubt you will get much answers besides "Get a small group of small tetras or pencilfish." unless you want to recreate a certain biotope around a certain species of dwarf cichlid. That usually triggers a number of answers.
A community tank approach usually doesn't.

And my personal opinion is exactly that: No rainbows, no rasboras, no danios, no tetras bigger than 5cm in your tank size. Also no labyrinth fish or any other territorial species. A group of 6-10 tetras and 10 pencilfish and a single male Apisto as you don't want to breed, and done. And no, a single male dwarf cichlid will not suffer from loneliness. That's a human concept.
For all of them an appropriate tank has a thin (2-4cm) layer of fine sand, lots of leaf litter, lots of driftwood, a good cover of floating plants (frogbit, pennywort, hornwort or water lettuce, maybe a lotus or two) and that's the basics.
If you are really that averse to fish aggression as you come across, stick to A. borellii. The rest may sometimes chase away low swimming tetras.

A general thing: When giving tank size info please post dimensions, not volume. There is no international standard for tank dimensions based on volume. And water parameters worth knowing are at least GH and KH, maybe pH, TDS and EC. The rest is too much of a variable depending on individual maintenance. The only thing Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate-levels tell me is whether the tank is cycled and whether you do regular waterchanges.

Good luck then.

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
I have a community tank in my fishroom, a 40 gallon breeder tank (36x18x16"high/90x45x40cm high - just for Mac;)) and it has no cichlids in it! It has 3 Cory adolfoi, 2 Cory Orange Lasers, 6 Rosy Tetras (Candy Cane), I don't know how many Hemigrammus rodwayi (new ones keep popping out of the weeds and they are silver not Gold Tetras because they are not paracitized), and 1 each Hemigrammus levis and Hemmigrammus stictus that came in as contaminants. I picked up 3 surviving Kitty Tetras (Hyphessobrycon heliacus) that are now in my standard 6 week quarantine before adding to this community. The tank has an Amazon Sword plant in it somewhere but I can't see it due to the mass of Dwarf Sagittaria choking the tank. I'm continually clearing some out so the corys have a place to browse.

Things you need to consider:
1. Are the fish compatible not only in aggressiveness, but activity level and adaptability to your water and temperature. Try to avoid hyper-active fish with fish that are more sedate. Most barbs and even old-time danio species fall under this heading, Aggressive fish in your list to avoid are any of the Emporer Tetra species. Featherfin Rainbows do best with a little salt in the water. Most of the other tetras and rasbora should live well with your danios. Temperaturewise avoid German Rams which only do well at temperatures above 84°F/29°C.

2. Consider fish for each level of the tank - top, middle, bottom. You have mid-level covered. If you can find a couple of dwarf gouramis for the top level that's great. My personal preference is the wild form of Honey Dwarf Gourami. For the bottom consider 4 - 6 smaller corys of the same species (like C. habrosis) or dwarf loaches.

3. Remember the old 1" of fish/gallon of water rule. You already have half the gallons occupied by your danios. Yes, you can increase the number, but this means increasing tank maintenance.

4. Find a good book on aquariums and read it! Buy one or check one out at the library. Don't believe all that you read online. Too much is old, wrong or hear-say. Finally as I start all my talks:


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