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Feedback requested on 400 gallon tank stocking

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Next year i will be setting up a pair of 400 gallon tanks - one will be 8x4x22 the other 10x3x22 (l * w * h - ft,ft,inch). I've been debating sometime on the exact stocking for the 8x4x22 aquarium with some unknown as to what make sense and what works. This tank target condition is temp 82 ph around 6 and tds around 50. The primary for this tank was initially going to be 6 to 12 gold rams (not a natural fish); and 6 to 8 geo (most likely winemilleri). So this is the stocking i was thinking of:
6 to 12 gold rams
8 geo winemilleri
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stuff i'm debating
2 chocolate cichlid (kind of large but interesting and fairly passive cichlid); might be too much with other stocking.
pair of apistogramma lineata or sp pebas
10 cupido (these have been suggested instead of the rams not sure as i have a soft spot for rams; probably doesn't make sense with the rams and not sure it make sense with the geo).
some left over sterbai - not sure how many - probably have 12 to 16 in my current tanks; will be issue if the winemilleri decide to try snacking on them.
some pleco (mostly L397 and L204 - probably 4 L204 and 6 L397); have to see what is in my current tanks and distribute them between this the 10x3).
maybe 6 Dicrossus maculatus
maybe 8 Chilodus punctatus (passive but shy headstander)
maybe 2 angelfish
maybe 4 krobia xinguensis
maybe group of Iguanodectes adujai or Hemiodus gracilis as dithers - group size maybe 20. I think these will stay near the top which is unpopulated.
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Part of the uncertainty here is if i get a then not b so i sort of listed a bunch of things knowing that many of them will be excluded. The chocolate cichlid for example are an interesting fish but they are also large and would prevent other fishes (as well as take up a lot of tank space). I mentioned winemilleri but i could replace them with sveni or altifrons. While I have a special liking for gold rams i realize they are not a natural fish and they might not be able to compete which is part of the reason for request to adjust the stocking. The time line for setting hte tank up is likely april-june 2023 depending on the room is finished (lots of weight). Most of the fishes would be wild but if stocked the following would almost certainly be tank bred: angelfishes, rams, possibly the apisto. I don't want to overstock the tank and I'm also concern about current. The layout of the tank would mostly have plants on the two ends and back area with the front open (or small crypts/shrub like swords) - i would expect 4 to 5 ft lenght and 2 ft depth to be mostly barren with occasional small swords and crypts - this would be the area for the geo.
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The 2nd tank (10x3) will have 10 clown loaches and i might end up putting the chocolate or krobia with them - I don't really want to distract from the 8x4 tank so I can talk about it in another thread.
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The reason to restrict the tanks height to 22 inches is so that i can manage the plants - if i had longer arms i'd make them 24 or even 30 inches high but i find reaching the bottom very difficult in my 120 which is 24 inches high and with the added depth of these tanks i will need long arms which i don't have - maybe i can find some on ebay...
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MacZ

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Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
some pleco (mostly L397 and L204 - probably 4 L204 and 6 L397); have to see what is in my current tanks and distribute them between this the 10x3).
Panaqolus can get aggressive towards other plecos and dwarf cichlids. I'm not sure right now, but check if they are (partially) nocturnal. If so it's either plecos or dwarf cichlids. Twig and whiptail catfish would be an alternative that actually works.
will be issue if the winemilleri decide to try snacking on them.
They won't.
maybe 6 Dicrossus maculatus
If you have a source. D. filamentosus should be easier to get.
maybe 4 krobia xinguensis
Same. If you have a source. Not that easy to get.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Panaqolus can get aggressive towards other plecos and dwarf cichlids. I'm not sure right now, but check if they are (partially) nocturnal. If so it's either plecos or dwarf cichlids. Twig and whiptail catfish would be an alternative that actually works.

They won't.

If you have a source. D. filamentosus should be easier to get.

Same. If you have a source. Not that easy to get.
The L204 and L397 are fairly docile. I think not all species of Panaqolus are aggressive though I've read the largers one are (L204 and L397 are smallish - under 6 inch). Planetcatfish has more info if you are curious. I actually have 7 L204 in a couple of tank and they are not super nocturnal - frequently out during the day frequently adult males have no problem being in close proximity with each other or other fishes. The only issue with L204 is they have a tendency to prefer strong current - I *think* this is less true of L397.
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I've found reliable sources for all the fishes i've listed.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Panaqolus can get aggressive towards other plecos and dwarf cichlids.
I did some more reading on L204 - first some background. I have 7 - 2 in a 29 and 5 in a 120; The newest one were purchased 18 months ago - the oldest one (which was also the largest when purchased) 3 years ago. Aggression is probably based off of sex with the males more likely to be aggressive. I have one that I am almost certain in a male - the others mostly look like females (sides are smooth). The two in the 29 pile up on each other during the day - they are in the open but have a spot they 'own' and mostly stay during the day - as they are fairly shy. In the 120 they are not as shy. I'm not sure how long it takes for them to mature but they do seem to grow a lot slower than some other pleco i've had.

Some sources suggest as adults they can become territorial but i presume if they have a dedicated cave they are happy - at least that has been my experience with other pleco. Still to be safer i might either limit or not put in the L204 if i end up with smaller dwarf cichlid. The L397 i have no real first hand experience - i have 4 1 inch in a 10 right now - they will be moved to a 29 when they get larger. In terms of other fishes i am considering a group of red lizard whiptails as they seem readily available and others have spoken well of them. Still in terms of stocking I'm more concern about whether i should go with the chocolate cichlid or if they are too large and if the rams will have issues with the winemilleri. Part of the problem is it is difficult to gauge just how large the tank is and potential territories. One thing i want to do is avoid overstocking as i typically do - and so i know i can't put everything in there that has caught my interest and it is more of selecting the species and number of each spices from the set i'm considering.
 

MacZ

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Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
Reading the whole plan again... I don't know. It makes the impression of quite a random mix. Also I'm asking myself how you are going to decorate and structure the tanks, especially with bigger sandsifters and other medium sized cichlids that have somewhat different needs with dwarf cichlids.

Especially the plecos, Dicrossus and Krobia seem somewhat like pearls before swine in this combination. They deserve more prominent places in smaller tanks.

While the rams... sorry... in my experience domestic rams need optimal conditions to make it past 3 months, also they tend to be of bad health and introducing parasites and diseases a lot. Especially with the number of probably wild caught fish... It's your money you're tossing out the window, not mine. I'd not do it for the animals' sake.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Reading the whole plan again... I don't know. It makes the impression of quite a random mix. Also I'm asking myself how you are going to decorate and structure the tanks, especially with bigger sandsifters and other medium sized cichlids that have somewhat different needs with dwarf cichlids.

Especially the plecos, Dicrossus and Krobia seem somewhat like pearls before swine in this combination. They deserve more prominent places in smaller tanks.

While the rams... sorry... in my experience domestic rams need optimal conditions to make it past 3 months, also they tend to be of bad health and introducing parasites and diseases a lot. Especially with the number of probably wild caught fish... It's your money you're tossing out the window, not mine. I'd not do it for the animals' sake.
I think you are not being much help because I didn't provide a plan; I listed a bunch of different species and said these interest me - what works together and what doesn't. If i start with two species - geo winemilleri and gbr; I believe i can structure the tank for just those two species. You might disagree but i would think the tank of this size it would be possible. Then I ask given those two species and a list of other species what might make a decent setup - do any of these other species fit in. Now you might disagree and say there is no chance for geo winemilleri and rams to coexhist regardless of tank size then the open question is starting with geo winemilleri do any of the other species work.

Instead you seem to say - none of the fishes you listed are going to be able to coexist in a tank of that size - drop them all and just leave it empty.
 

MacZ

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Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
I think you are not being much help because I didn't provide a plan
Sorry, but that is not even my intention, you have to decide what you do, not me. A forum is not for others to plan your tank. I haven't got the mindset the past few days to get head-on into planning for anyone. But I think giving you input about things to consider is the least I can do.
Instead you seem to say - none of the fishes you listed are going to be able to coexist in a tank of that size - drop them all and just leave it empty.
Not in the slightest.
I only told you my reservations for your consideration. What you make of it... your thing.

My main assertion is: It is not easy and several species would have downside X or peculiarity Y, which you should keep in mind while planning.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
So in short, only things I find important to consider, which you can of course ignore:
- The rams are mostly just a risk of introducing diseases/parasites and might die off quickly. They might also be outcompeted and do need higher temperatures than the rest. 28°C and above.
- Dicrossus might get "lost" in such big tanks and (as with the rams) might get outcompeted by bigger species as well. Also to consider: They are specialised on living among leaf litter, most others are sandsifters on open sand.
- Krobia, just because of their relative rarity, should probably be kept in a species tank with the option of breeding.
- The plecos... you keep one of the species for a while as you say, so allright.

So as you see, I'm by no means saying leave it completely.

Anyway, good luck. ;)
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Well I still haven't reduced the list of species other than perhaps removal of the rams (I know where to get some bred in usa that are parasite free; they won't be asian import); and the Dicrossus; but still i listed too many species to keep together so i ahve to reduce it. As far as I know all the species listed are comfortable at 82 (which was selected based on the rams being kept); though many of them will do well at 78 or 80.

As for the krobia - i would probably get 6 or 8; and once a pair form pull them and put them into a dedicated 40B for breeding. They are not that rare in usa as i have located several shops that sell them periodically.

The reason I posted this thread is that many of the listed species I do not have first hand experience with - i only read about them and my hope was someone with more knowledgeable first hand experience could differentiate between my impression of the fish behavior and the actual fish behavior in a community. I suppose i could do the tank piece meal and start with the winemilleri and slowly add other fishes and see how it works - but the problem with a tank that large is removing things will be very difficult so i think some planning in advance is required. Also there is a question of size - a lot of the larger fishes the size in an aquarium is not clear. Just how large would a chocolate cichild get - if only 7 inches that is very different than 12 inches - and how big is it.

The species I have first hand experience include rams, L204, angelfishes, sterbai, whiptail cat.
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In my original post i only named two species of fishes i was set on and the rest i was debating as to whether it work and there is a question if the rams will work with the winemilleri. The other debate was whether to go large (chocolate, and to a lesser extent krobia) or stay small - some various dwarf cichlid that are comfortable in warmer water. I'm not sure which makes sense and i'm not sure just how large the winemilleri will get as there seem to be a large range of adult size (probably based on sex); the only thing i know from other owners is that they can be pigs when it come to eating and that should be taken into account with shy species.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
I probably have some more input, but I'm about to leave the house soon, so I'll be answering later.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
As for the krobia - i would probably get 6 or 8; and once a pair form pull them and put them into a dedicated 40B for breeding. They are not that rare in usa as i have located several shops that sell them periodically.
You are lucky. Rarely found here. This year I haven't seen them anywhere yet.

The reason I posted this thread is that many of the listed species I do not have first hand experience with - i only read about them and my hope was someone with more knowledgeable first hand experience could differentiate between my impression of the fish behavior and the actual fish behavior in a community. I suppose i could do the tank piece meal and start with the winemilleri and slowly add other fishes and see how it works - but the problem with a tank that large is removing things will be very difficult so i think some planning in advance is required. Also there is a question of size - a lot of the larger fishes the size in an aquarium is not clear. Just how large would a chocolate cichild get - if only 7 inches that is very different than 12 inches - and how big is it.
True, not easy to get the fish out once in the tank.
About the size of the Hypselecara: In such cases I try to get footage of them in capitvity kept with other species one can estimate sizewise and of specimens that seem fully grown or maybe old (often in public aquaria). Helps a lot. The biggest I have ever seen wasn't fully grown, but around 17-18cm so it must be somewhere inbetween the sizes you name. I know that itself might not help but maybe you can find sizable footage somewhere.

In my original post i only named two species of fishes i was set on and the rest i was debating as to whether it work and there is a question if the rams will work with the winemilleri. The other debate was whether to go large (chocolate, and to a lesser extent krobia) or stay small - some various dwarf cichlid that are comfortable in warmer water. I'm not sure which makes sense and i'm not sure just how large the winemilleri will get as there seem to be a large range of adult size (probably based on sex); the only thing i know from other owners is that they can be pigs when it come to eating and that should be taken into account with shy species.
The Geophagus have the variation due to sexual dimorphism. They have them in a zoo close to me, the males there are around 24-26cm, one male maybe pushing 30cm I'd say. In comparison to their red belly piranha they do not seem small, but obviously a bit smaller than them. But then again: Fish in public aquaria might be quite old and thus be exemplary big.
 

Cichlacat

New Member
Messages
22
The chocolate cichlids and dwarf cichlids won’t work as they will eat your dwarfs. Chocolates better with Geos. But they might eat corys.
There are two different cichlids I’ve seen called chocolate cichlids. Neither are a good choice with dwarfs.

So maybe one tank full of plants, pick the apistos of your choice. And fill the tank with cardinals or other tetras in that size tank a hundred cardinals would be awesome. Maybe Otto cats as algae cleaners. You will need excellent filtration and maybe RO Water. If you have to have rams I’d try the Bolivian rams. They are fun to watch and more hardy than normal rams. Get tank raised ones.

In the other tank, choose geos, uarus, severum (they will eat your plants) dwarf pike cichlids, angels and choose one or two species of larger tetras and again buy a huge school of tetras at least 1.5 to two inches or larger. You could add your plecos, corys, and clown loaches to this group. Leave open areas and add some branches and cool rock work. Maybe bleeding hearts or emperor tetras.
I would leave out the loaches as they do get rather large. But would still be ok.

In those sized tanks all the fish will grow to close to their maximum sizes. Be prepared for lots of water changes and excellent filtration.
The larger chocolate cichlids( hellabruni )could work in this tank. I’d only do one.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
uarus and sevrum are out since they eat plants; one tank has clown loach and that tank will get the chocolate; the sterbai are with the geo and that tank will get some dwarf cichild. It might get cardinals and rummy but the geo might eat them.
 

Cichlacat

New Member
Messages
22
Oh. I forgot about festivums. They make a beautiful addition also. In the cichlid tank I’d recommend a couple of Pimlodella pictus cats. They are great scavengers and fun to watch. If you’re going to add clown loaches and not trying for all South American then a school of Denison barbs would work well too and be a beautiful addition. They won’t disturb the tetras and get along fine with everyone else.

If you didn’t want the above cichlids breeding and raising hell, you could always buy a couple of each species and keep the best ones and sell off the others.
I see you want plants in both tanks but the chocolate cichlids will destroy your plants too. No matter which species you get. Most larger cichlids like to consume plants.

So you might consider one tank with plants and one without. This way you can have a larger variety of fish to watch and observe. They can both be black water aquariums. And if your plants start to overgrow your dwarf tank you can always feed them to the fish in the other tank.

Another option with the severum and uarus could be to buy some of the containers for the back of the tank and grow pothos in them and let them grow around the tank. The pothos will be a big help by removing the fish waste. Your tank will stay cycled and the fish will be happy and it really can look cool growing around your tank.

It all depends on what you want. Of course you could buy several of one species and have a breeding colony.

I might recommend blue acaras or other 3-5 inch acaras. They are beautiful and will work with this group of fish.

In your dwarf cichlid planted tank I think a school of Cupidos or dwarf acaras could work too.

Just my musings after keeping fish in various ways since I was thirteen.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Oh. I forgot about festivums. They make a beautiful addition also. In the cichlid tank I’d recommend a couple of Pimlodella pictus cats. They are great scavengers and fun to watch. If you’re going to add clown loaches and not trying for all South American then a school of Denison barbs would work well too and be a beautiful addition. They won’t disturb the tetras and get along fine with everyone else.

If you didn’t want the above cichlids breeding and raising hell, you could always buy a couple of each species and keep the best ones and sell off the others.
I see you want plants in both tanks but the chocolate cichlids will destroy your plants too. No matter which species you get. Most larger cichlids like to consume plants.

So you might consider one tank with plants and one without. This way you can have a larger variety of fish to watch and observe. They can both be black water aquariums. And if your plants start to overgrow your dwarf tank you can always feed them to the fish in the other tank.

Another option with the severum and uarus could be to buy some of the containers for the back of the tank and grow pothos in them and let them grow around the tank. The pothos will be a big help by removing the fish waste. Your tank will stay cycled and the fish will be happy and it really can look cool growing around your tank.

It all depends on what you want. Of course you could buy several of one species and have a breeding colony.

I might recommend blue acaras or other 3-5 inch acaras. They are beautiful and will work with this group of fish.

In your dwarf cichlid planted tank I think a school of Cupidos or dwarf acaras could work too.

Just my musings after keeping fish in various ways since I was thirteen.
denson barbs are lovely but not temp compatible with clown loaches or festum. The festum are with the clown loaches since they would eat the smaller schooling fishes with the geo.
 

Cichlacat

New Member
Messages
22
Keep the geos in the other tank. They will look beautiful there. Frankly the geos, though peaceful for a cichlid get much too large to be housed with dwarf cichlids. They like to dig a lot. Geos and your plants may not work out.

Keep the rummynose and the cardinals in the planted dwarf cichlid tank. Biotodoma Cupido I’d keep in the dwarf tank. They are really like dwarf geos as they are closely related. In that large of I might choose one kind of apisto in that large if tank they can pair off , raise babies and you could have a whole colony of them.

By the way is your tap water soft and acid? It might be a chore getting enough RO water to fill a four hundred gallon tank. The tank wiith apistos will need that if your water is hard and alkaline.

The other 400 that I propose house your geos, chocolate cichlid and others, will not be so critical and will do fine with out RO.
 

Cichlacat

New Member
Messages
22
Denison barbs are compatible temperature wise with festivums and clown loaches. I have red severum, festivums, geo Sveni and suranamensis, pictus cats, black angels, clown loaches, a beautiful pleco, and a ruby shark and probably a couple of others all in my 180 gallon tank. They all do wonderful. Fish have a wide variety of temperatures they will do well with. Internet and books sometimrs don’t know everything.

I’ve kept all the fish you’ve mentioned plus Africans from Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika (not in the same tank) giant Douth American cichlids and catfish plus medium and guapote sized cichlids from Central America and plenty of others. Plus I worked for one of the once famous but sadly out of business Beldt’s Aquarium in St. Louis, MO.
 

Cichlacat

New Member
Messages
22
Dwarf cichlids are timid little fellows who are extremely nervous around other larger fish. Why? Because in the wild they make a nice snack for lager fish. As a result they will get stressed out and probably slowly pass away from stress. They are fussy about their water, temperature, ph, hardness, etc. Kept in any stressful situation will slowly kill them. When stressed they are very prone to bacterial infections and any number of diseases when stressed. That’s why I’d keep them in the plant tank with the tetras. It will look amazing and very satisfying.

I’ve been watching shows on YouTube that show the habitats in black water and there are more sticks, rocks, leaves etc than plants.
Not that the dwarfs and tetras won’t like all the plants. They will.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,424
Denison barbs are compatible temperature wise with festivums and clown loaches. I have red severum, festivums, geo Sveni and suranamensis, pictus cats, black angels, clown loaches, a beautiful pleco, and a ruby shark and probably a couple of others all in my 180 gallon tank. They all do wonderful. Fish have a wide variety of temperatures they will do well with. Internet and books sometimrs don’t know everything.

I’ve kept all the fish you’ve mentioned plus Africans from Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika (not in the same tank) giant Douth American cichlids and catfish plus medium and guapote sized cichlids from Central America and plenty of others. Plus I worked for one of the once famous but sadly out of business Beldt’s Aquarium in St. Louis, MO.
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/sahyadria-denisonii/ state temp range for dension barb is 60-77;
same source gives temp range for clown loach as:
74-86
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I tend to keep my festum and loaches 78-80 (their range is similar to clown loaches); naturally i could keep dension a few degress warmer than is good for them and they won't turn upside down over night; but why push it; i rather focus on species that are comfortable with them.
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I have 3 tanks i am focused on:
tank 1 (4x4) will get hasbatus cory, a. pucallpaensis and Biotodoma wavrini;
tank 2 (10x4) will have clown loaches (10-12); 7 festum 4 chocolate and some serape
tank 3 (8x4) will have a geo (prefer mirablis but if not than winemilleri), rummynose, maybe cardinals and sterbai cory.
(dimensions are width/length in feet).
 

Cichlacat

New Member
Messages
22
My festivums, clown loaches and Denison barbs have been sharing the same tank for over 5 years. There has never been an issue. I keep my tanks between 75 and 80. I rarely check them. I can tell by the feel that the water temperature is good.
Maybe the Denison’s by wagging their tails as they swim by are saying it’s too hot.

I would not heed the strict advice of what the books say. They are good guides. A lot on the internet that’s written about fish is incorrect. But mostly good honest advice as far as the writer knows.

I wish you well Newbie. It sure would have Ben cool to start at 13 with the tanks you have. But by 16 I’d built my first 200 gallon plus tank myself.

You have some great ideas. I hope your new tanks do well. I’m just trying to give you the benefit of keeping fish for a couple of hundred years.

If you’d like I’ll send you a photo of my aquarium and you can judge for yourself. Let me know.
 

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