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Rejoining the Hobby

J-G

New Member
Messages
4
Hello Everyone, I'm new to this forum and thankful to have a forum to further my dream of setting up my "Dream Retirement Tank". My name is Jean-Guy and reside just outside the city of Winnipeg located in the province of Manitoba in Canada. I've been out of the aquarium hobby for 40+ years.

My first thoughts of a tank were that of a saltwater reef, but became too cost prohibitive. So I steered to a more manageable South American themed tank, with Wild Discus being the main focus. Again, the cost of each fish started to add up to some serious dollars, let alone the maintenance these fish require. Not to say no tank doesn't requires any maintenance.

I've come to the conclusion that my tank will be a well planted CO2 "Community Tank" with rocks, caves and driftwood. While researching, Apistogrammas have peaked my interest for their behaviours and colour patterns.

My tank is 907 L (243cm X 60cm X 60cm), I also have a 295 L sump (122cm X 60cm x 40cm) for a total water volume of 950 L after interior sump height and water displacement has been factored.

My Fish Wish List would go something like this:

(20) Cardinal Tetras
(20) Red Rummynose Tetras
(20) Harlequin Rasboras
(10) Marbled Hatchetfish
(10) Red Pencilfish
(8) Roseline Sharks
(6) Angelfish
(2) Dwarf Gouramis
(2) Blue Ram Cichlids
(3) Clown Loaches
(3) Zebra Plecos
(6) Orange Laser Corys
(4) Pictus Catfish
(8) Otos
(?) Agassizi
(?) Baenschi
(?) Macmasteri

Your thoughts on this list, with your exclusions if any, and any inclusions you might feel are a better fit. Have I overdone it?
Thank you for your time.
JG
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,002
Location
Germany
Maybe tune down the number of species by 75%. No offence, but this is a fish soup, you could divide that onto several tanks.

Let's start with the obvious outliers:
The only fish that really profit of such a tank are Sahyadria denisonii (roseline shark) and Chromobotia macracanthus (clown loach). Both grow quite big (20 and 30cm, respectively). I would keep both species, maybe with some midsize (10cm) open water barbs (Desmopuntius sp.) and maybe some Crossocheilus sp. and nothing else.
Of the Denison Barbs 10-12, 8-10 clown loaches, 20-25 Desmopuntius and 10 Crossocheilus.
I would NOT combine those with any of the other fish. The loaches grow so big you can't combine them with any other bottom dwellers, especially not dwarf cichlids.

Now looking at the South Americans:
- Temperature problems
Warm water fish:
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (blue rams) and Hypancistrus zebra (zebra pleco) require warm water (27-29°C), which only Paracheirodon axelrodi (cardinal tetras) and Petitella sp. (the three species of rummynose tetras) will tolerate longterm.
You could keep a bigger group (10) of M. ramirezi (please choose the wild form at least, the domestic breeds will die off like flies in such a tank), and 50-75 each P. axelrodi and Petitella sp. in such a tank, and maybe add a species of Corydoras (group size 20 at least) that can tolerate. With the Mikrogeophagus and Corydoras fine sand substrate would be required. You could replace the Mikrogeophagus with Apistogramma macmasteri (also try to get the wild form) and dial the temperature down to 25-27°C instead.
Additionally Hypancistrus zebra live in a different habitat from the other three, preferring rather high flow, high oxygenation and a more rocky terrain. You could add them, but will only see them occasionally. Also this species is on the CITES list, so you'll have to have the paperwork for EACH specimen. They are also expensive: A 3cm specimen goes for 99€ right now. These fish deserve a dedicated, smaller tank for themselves.

Cool water fish:
Corydoras cf. aeneus "Orange Laser" prefer unheated tanks with a temperature between 20 and 23°C. For sure not compatible with the species above.
According to Mike Wise most Otocinclus in North America come from Peru, which means they also require cooler water between 22 and 25°C. And then there is the Otocinclus Starvation Syndrome. As specialized aufwuchs eaters, most of these fish arrive at stores almost completely starved and for many it's too late. I also recommend having a tank running for at least 6 months (even a big one like your's) before adding them. The tank size you are getting would sustain a group of 10-15 without supplemental feeding.

Diurnal vs. nocturnal:
Pimelodus pictus are mostly nocturnal and grow up to 25cm. All dwarf cichlids (Apistogramma, Mikrogeophagus, Dicrossus etc) are diurnal and react with high stress levels to being disturbed in the night. Stress is the number one cause of death in dwarf cichlids, direkt or indirect. Combining the two will end badly for the cichlids.

Small fish in big tanks:
Several of the species on your list get lost in a giant tank unless you get a bigger number of specimens and dial down the number of species.
I would not keep rarer dwarf cichlids in a big tank, nor expensive Nannostomus (like the red pencilfish). You will barely see the dwarf cichlids and the pencils get lost.

Food chain:
Most of the tetras and pencilfish on your list can fall prey to angelfish if the Angels are adults and the tetras on the smaller side.

So my proposals:

Asian River tank:
10-12 Sahyadria denisonii (roseline shark)
8-10 Chromobotia macracanthus (clown loach).
20-25 Desmopuntius sp.
10 Crossocheilus sp.

Orinoco-inspired (warm water):
10 Mikrogeophagus ramirezi OR Apistogramma macmasteri (wild forms!)
30 Paracheirodon axelrodi OR 40 Petitella sp.
20 Corydoras sp. (species tolerating higher temperatures)
20 Carnegiella strigata

Peruvian Amazon:
6-8 Apistogramma baenschi
2x 40 Tetras (5cm max.) of your choice
10-15 Otocinclus sp. (only add after 6 months!)
20-25 Corydoras sp.

Amazon-inspired (standard tropical)
- 6-8 Apistogramma agassizii
- 6-8 Pterophyllum scalare
- 40 amazonian Tetras of your choice (high-backed species to prevent them from getting eaten by the Angels)
- 20 fitting Corydoras sp.

Amazon inspired, bigger fish:
- 8 Pimelodus pictus
- 6-8 Pterophyllum scalare
- 4-5 Geophagus sp.

Smaller tanks:

- Species tank: Hypancistrus zebra (5-8 in 120cm)
- Small Amazonian tank: 1 species of Apistogramma + 1 species of Pencilfish in a 100cm tank)
- Small Asian community: 1 single Trichogaster lalius male, 10-15 Trigonostigma sp., maybe some (ca. 10) smaller loaches in 100cm.

You might notice, I don't go by bioload but by space requirements, so I usually give low stocking densities.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,384
I woudln't put 8 to 10 clown loaches in that aquarium - i have 9 in my 120 (gallon); and while they are busting at the seams they will be moved into a 550 in 2 to 4 weeks. Young they can be kept in that aquarium but after approx 4 years you will begin to push it - they really like to 'glass surf' at night and need more than 4ft swimming area for larger fishes. It isn't just length it is overall bulk and activity level. large clown loaches (esp females) have a lot of mass.
 

J-G

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks Mac! Appreciate the response and time you gave in answering my question. I can now move forward to fulfilling my Dream Tank. You've really opened my eyes and given me a much clearer road map. You've given me a better vision of what is best for the fish. I guess my thinking was one of a naive teenager, thinking I can just mix whatever and have one big happy fish tank. Thanks for all the different proposals so I can make a much better informed choice. JG
 

J-G

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks anewbie. Now knowing what the size Clowns can get, has certainly changed by want for this fish. The whole idea was to have smallish sized fish.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,002
Location
Germany
I woudln't put 8 to 10 clown loaches in that aquarium - i have 9 in my 120 (gallon); and while they are busting at the seams they will be moved into a 550 in 2 to 4 weeks. Young they can be kept in that aquarium but after approx 4 years you will begin to push it - they really like to 'glass surf' at night and need more than 4ft swimming area for larger fishes. It isn't just length it is overall bulk and activity level. large clown loaches (esp females) have a lot of mass.
243cm are 7 foot. But I have to agree, looking at the depth the tank would not work out. This is the tank they keep them in at our local zoological museum. The tank is abot 5 meters. The loaches they have (only 2) are about 25cm. The Tilapia are in there due to overcrowding in their tank. Otherwiese a good representation of the habitat including the choice of species.

photo_2023-04-08_19-31-56.jpg

photo_2023-04-08_19-31-55.jpg photo_2023-04-08_19-31-56 (2).jpg

Thanks Mac! Appreciate the response and time you gave in answering my question. I can now move forward to fulfilling my Dream Tank. You've really opened my eyes and given me a much clearer road map. You've given me a better vision of what is best for the fish. I guess my thinking was one of a naive teenager, thinking I can just mix whatever and have one big happy fish tank. Thanks for all the different proposals so I can make a much better informed choice. JG
My pleasure!
I had a 15 year hiatus in my fishkeeping carreer, when I came back to the hobby, I was also a bit naive, except in the east african cichlid department.
If you have any questions, just ask and otherwise I can only advise to take a look at seriouslyfish dot com, which has a lot of info. And I find it always helpful to look up the natural habitats of the fish in question.
 

J-G

New Member
Messages
4
Will lookup the site and when more questions come up I will indeed reach out to you.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,384
oops took the sump size instead of the tank size; fyi surprise they only have 2 - they do in nature and aquarium like large groups - it is not unusual for me to have all clown loaches; 2 or 3 yoyo and 4 or 5 of the zebra loach get together for a large powwow. The yoyo i have are rather large at this point but not as bulky as the clown loaches - the zebra loaches are much smaller.

Btw @J-G the zebra loaches would work well in your aquarium but i'm not sure i would mix them with most species of dwarf cichild; while the zebra are much shier and more passive - the dwarf cichild needs to pick an area that doesn't block the loach. It might work - hard to judge - the zebra themselves will avoid the dwarf cichild for the most part as they do not like confrontation but not sure how the dwarf cichild will react (depends on species). Clown loaches are not aggressive but they don't like smaller fishes saying no. WIth my angelfishes - the angels can breed without issues from the clown as they won't eat the eggs and trouble the angels but that was a year ago - the clown loaches have a slow curve for maturity and i'm unsure how they will act as they get older - i've had them for four years now - so i would guess they are 6 or 7 for total life. The festum don't like them (yes the tank is over crowded i was suppose to move a year ago - but it will happen in the next 2 to 4 weeks and i do 2 60% water change a week until i move).

243cm are 7 foot. But I have to agree, looking at the depth the tank would not work out. This is the tank they keep them in at our local zoological museum. The tank is abot 5 meters. The loaches they have (only 2) are about 25cm. The Tilapia are in there due to overcrowding in their tank. Otherwiese a good representation of the habitat including the choice of species.

View attachment 13385
View attachment 13386 View attachment 13384


My pleasure!
I had a 15 year hiatus in my fishkeeping carreer, when I came back to the hobby, I was also a bit naive, except in the east african cichlid department.
If you have any questions, just ask and otherwise I can only advise to take a look at seriouslyfish dot com, which has a lot of info. And I find it always helpful to look up the natural habitats of the fish in question.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,002
Location
Germany
fyi surprise they only have 2 - they do in nature and aquarium like large groups
True that. I suppose those are survivors of a very old group. They had them for at least 15 years. You know how it is with public institutions. Lack of money and nobody donating the fish they would want to show.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,384
True that. I suppose those are survivors of a very old group. They had them for at least 15 years. You know how it is with public institutions. Lack of money and nobody donating the fish they would want to show.
In the usa clown loaches are cheap - 8 would be like $100-$150. Clown loaches are one of those rare species where small ones and large ones get along - though in my tank i often worry about the larger ones 'accidently' running over the smaller loaches.
--
One oddity is one of my loaches comes out during the day with the others and promptly lays down in front and rolls over like he's dead. He does this every day but is the only one - while everyone around him is doing what loaches do. I can't figure out if he is trying to sunbathe or isn't getting enough sleep.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,002
Location
Germany
In the usa clown loaches are cheap - 8 would be like $100-$150.
Same here. 120,- but they come in at under 10cm, then.
The size of the ones at the museum tells me they have to be almost 20 years.

One oddity is one of my loaches comes out during the day with the others and promptly lays down in front and rolls over like he's dead. He does this every day but is the only one - while everyone around him is doing what loaches do. I can't figure out if he is trying to sunbathe or isn't getting enough sleep.
That was something one of the loaches of a neighbour also did. And it's not the first time somebody else reports this. Might be a more common thing than people realize.
 

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