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Author Topic: Stocking plan for my 55g  (Read 9694 times)
Blaze
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« on: December 24, 2015, 07:37:22 PM »

I've been studying fish and aquariums for years but haven't had a tank since I was a kid. I got my daughter excited about fish too and my wife finally gave the green light for a tank! 
The tank:
Standard 55 gallon, gravel bottom, fake plants, and a couple caves and hiding places.
Filtration is currently a penguin 350 bio wheel (plan to add on a diy 30 gallon sump down the road)
Currently working on adding a drip system for continuous water change (building in a vac loop for gravel cleaning).
The tank is now cycled and ready for stocking (Pending final water tests)

This is where things get sketchy. Me, the wife, and the kids all have different preferences for fish. We have narrowed our stocking list down to something I think can be supported biologically, but I'm concerned it will be over crowded.

1 Golden Goriami   
3 Giant Danio   
2 Cory Catfish   
3 German Blue Ram   
3 Female Beta   
1 Male Beta   
3 Denisoni Barb   
1 Red tailed Black Shark   
3 Kuhlii Loach   
6 Glofish Tetra   
1 Bristlenose Pleco

We worked this out talking to our lfs. But I'm worried about a number of things. Firstly, will these fish have enough space to be happy? Second will the schooling fish be happy in groups of 3? (Will the barbs and danios school together? Cory cats and loach?) Are any of these combos a particularly bad idea?

Notes:
I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank cycled and ready to go, as well as dividers to deal with any problem fish.
I know the bettas will depend on the individual fish personalities and I am prepared to provide separate aquariums for any that don't fit in.
Please don't belittle me, I'm no idiot. I know there are a number of questionable items in my plan (that's why in asking), but I've found seemingly reliable sources to back every item (enough to give me hope it might work, but not enough to dive in, I'm not willing to risk the fish not being happy). I've done literally hundreds of hours of research. What I lack is experience and a feel for crowding.
I'm asking now so I don't make any major blunders.
Feel free to adjust the stocking list as you would recommend.

Thanks in advance for your advice and expertise.


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Pat Mary
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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2015, 10:09:38 AM »

Welcome to Badman's, Blaze.  We are glad that you are here.  Smiley

We do not belittle people,  We do suggest better stocking options when warranted, 

You say that your tank is now cycled.  What are your readings (using liquid reagents) for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?  A cycled tank needs a constant ammonia source in order to feed the bacteria.  What is your present source?

Gouramis and bettas do not do well together.  I would choose one or the other.  If you decide on the bettas, there will be real problems when they decide to breed.

Schooling fish need to be in schools and 2 or 3 are not a school. Giant danios, corys, denisoni barbs, kuhlis and glofish are all schooling fish but the tetras are the only ones that are planned for a minimum school.  To make the tank look awesome, I would pick 2 schooling species and up the quantities to impressionable numbers.  Different species do not school with each other unless they are so stressed out that they are reaching out for anything.  Whatever schools you build, they have to be the same species.





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Blaze
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2015, 03:53:12 PM »

Thanks Mary.
I appreciate your input. My lfs recommended the 3 of each thing and seemed to think that full list was ok. I was concerned, hence my post.

The ammonia source is 3 giant danio's and 2 Cory cats. (Recommended by the lfs for cycling my tank, as they were in the long term plan, really wish I hadn't gotten them now...)

Anyways, I've seen mixed reviews of Gourami's with betta's. Definitely a no go tho? Can anyone explain why? I've heard plenty of people say "no never" and also plenty jump in that they do it without issue. Can you explain why those 2 are particularly bad?

How many is minimum for a school? I am not thrilled with the danios (they were my daughter's pick) but I've got them and I want them to be happy. I have 3, how many more do I need?
The dennisoni barbs are one of my favorites, can I have a reasonable sized school of them in a 55, or do they need more room?
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pokey6
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2015, 08:10:16 AM »

Hi Blaze and Welcome!

Gourami's can be a grumpy fish as well as male bettas. They both want to be King of the tank. I only have 1 Gourami in all my tanks but my Denison tank. If you can sex the Gouramis accurately it's best to get more Females than male. I have never been able to do that.

Your Denisons need room. IMO a 55 gallon is to small for a school. I have 6 in my 125 and wish I had more room. They are very active and can be stressed very easily. They get to be 6" at adult stage.

Since you have the Danios and cory's I would up the schools on those to about 6 and increase your Tetras to 10 - 12. Please do this slowly  It will take time for the filter to catch up with the sudden increase of ammonia.

Make sure you get a liquid test kit for your readings. Most use API  liquid reagents. Do not relly on your LFS or test strips. It looks like your LFS is not really out for your fish's interest. Just your wallet.

Keep us posted. Would love to see your tank when you are done.

Paula
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Blaze
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2015, 11:50:22 AM »

That's what I was afraid of. (You guys are pretty much confirming what I was thinking before talking to the lfs)

I have been taking samples in to my lfs for testing, but I suppose I'm gonna have to break down and by my own test kit. (Was bound to happen sooner or later.)

So no Denisons... I can up the plan on danios and corys. Do you think we could add a school of kuhlli loaches? (Maybe instead of the tetras) or will that be too crowded on the bottom?

Also is it only the make bettas that are a problem? Could we put in female bettas with Gourami?

As for adding fish we have a 10 gallon quarantine tank prepped, and will rotate fish thru it, adding 5-6 at a time max. Quarantine for a few weeks then get the next batch into quarantine once the first rotates into the main. (Rinse and repeat.) Any suggestions for how long to quarantine each batch?
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2015, 01:07:05 PM »

If I were you I wouldn't stock any bettas at all.  Even the females can be aggressive (although it depends on the individual fish).   You could have one gourami as a centerpiece fish. 

My personal opinion is that either corys or kuhlis be kept but not both.  Three species (including the pleco) would just overstock the bottom.  Also, remember that both corys and kuhlis require a sandy bottom (or at least very small, smooth gravel).

A quarantine period lasts for 4-6 weeks.  Most of us here do not keep a QT tank constantly going.  We usually keep 2 filters on our main tank and move a filter over to the QT tank when we get new fish.  When the new fish are finally added to the main tank, I would test the water to be sure that there are not ammonia or nitrite spikes from the addition of too many fish at a time.
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Blaze
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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2015, 01:51:46 PM »

Ok, let me take another stab at a stocking plan.

1 Golden Goriami
2 dwarf Gourami
6 Giant Danio
6 Cory Catfish
2 German Blue Ram
2 Female Betta
1 RedTailed black Shark
6 Kuhlii Loach
10 glofish tetra

See the female betta's ok?
Is this overcrowded?
Any other issues?
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Blaze
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2015, 01:58:51 PM »

Sorry, didn't see the latest reply.

So no bettas. Ok.

Also, I was reading more on here last night and it seems I don't really "need" an algae eater. Hence my last list dropping the pleco in favor of the loaches. Will that work? Or still too much on the bottom?

That's what I'm doing. Got a sponge filter running in the main tank, which will facilitate the quarantine. (Will keep it running in the sump once I add that).
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Blaze
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2015, 02:04:44 PM »

My aquarium has regular aquarium gravel. (The colorful stuff, not my preference but it's in the kids room.) Is that a problem?
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Blaze
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2015, 03:49:44 PM »

Ok... Just went in to feed them and the danios were freeking out. Well 2 were freeking out and the third was dead. Laying on the bottom with it's belly hollowed out... What's going on??

The 2 remaining are seriously stressed out... I'm tempted to run out and get more danio's to get their numbers up, but it will take weeks to quarantine...

Last I checked the water properties were all good. (I ordered a master test kit today so I can test myself, but it's not here yet). I got a sample of the tank water and am heading over to the lfs to have it tested.


Any advice?
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2015, 04:13:46 PM »

Blaze, how often are you changing water and how much?   Is there any red around the gill area?

I would definitely not add any new fish until this tank is cycled.

Do not add more than one species of gourami. 

Kuhlis and corys have barbels around their mouth area.  If the substrate is a sharp gravel, it damages their barbels and prevents them from eating.  Kuhlis also burrow into the sand.  Those are reasons for a sand substrate. 
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Blaze
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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2015, 04:47:09 PM »

30-40% weekly water changes. Been cycling for almost 6 weeks. I didn't notice anything red around the gills. It was pretty pale tho.

Just had my water tested at the fish store. (Drove a bit to a different one this time). They used the strips, said my ammonia is at 0 and everything looks ideal. Only thing was that the nitrates were not quite 0, probably around 5ish.


So I'm gonna need to change substrate for my Cory's? Is regular aquarium gravel considered sharp?

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Blaze
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2015, 12:55:28 PM »

First off, my wife is really attached to the colored gravel, but I'm understanding that it's not safe for the Cory's we have, and definitely not for kuhli loaches. So keeping it isn't an option. Right?
Assuming that I will have to change substrate ASAP, right?

Ok, so let me take another stab at a stocking plan.

1 Golden Gourami
1 Red Tailed Black Shark
3 Blue Rams
6 Giant Danio
6 Corydoras Julii
6 Kuhli Loach
12 Glowlight Tetra

How's that?
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2015, 03:01:42 PM »

It's getting better.  Smiley

I have some comments, though.

Here are the profiles for the Giant Danio     http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/profiles/profile206_Devario_aequipinnatus.html   and the Golden Gourami (which is a color variant of the 3 Spot Gourami)       http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/profiles/profile84.html

You will note that the danios prefer fast moving water and the gouramis prefer slow moving or standing water.  Gouramis can be aggressive but they can also be made a little crazy by boisterous danios.  I don't know if Giant Danios are fin nippers.  If they are, they would make the gourami's life hell. 

Rams don't do well with boisterous tankmates.     http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/profiles/profile3.html

Red tailed black sharks, corys, kuhlis and rams are all fish that gravitate towards the bottom of the tank.  I think you are running out of bottom room.

The gravel would be okay as long as it is not sharp.  If it is, it will cut the barbels.  If it is rounded, it would be an all right choice.

As I was typing this, I had the feeling that you would think that I am nit picking.  I'm not.  It's just that different fish have different needs.  I think that you want a tank that is interesting but not nutty.  Try to look for fish that fit that picture.
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Blaze
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2015, 05:16:12 PM »

I had already read those. :-)

I appreciate all of your input, I'm not taking it as nit picking. :-)

From everything I've read the Giant Danios aren't fin nippers and I've seen a lot of reports of them being ok with Gourami. Tho I hadn't thought about the difference in water motion. Upon re-reading this thread I noticed I failed to mention that we already have one female golden Gourami... (I'm sorry, I don't know how I failed to list her when I went over what I currently have in there...)
Current stocking:
2 Giant Danio (Was 3)
2 Cory Cats (1 bronze, 1 Julii)
1 Golden Gourami

I didn't realize that rams were bottom dwellers, I thing of them more as mid water fish. Same with the red tail, aside from usually claiming a cave as territory.

The gravel we have is regular colored gravel from the fish store. It's not super smooth, but I don't think I'd call it sharp... What do you think? I really have no feel for if it's smooth enough. I'm not gonna risk the fish.

Honestly I would have a house full of tanks if I could. I love fish and caring for them. I'm not intimidated by a challenge and I'm willing to get more tanks down the road if something isn't working out. I just don't want to set myself up for failure. I want something that can work, and could be awesome. But if I run into road bumps I'm prepared to deal with that too. But I don't want to risk the fish. I want them to be happy and healthy.

BTW; I think you guys should double check the temperature recommendations for the rams. Everywhere else I have researched them indicates that low to mid 70s is far too cold for them.
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Blaze
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« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2015, 10:54:30 PM »

So, I'm thinking I should probably drop the rams. I had concerns about their temperature requirements anyways. That would bring it down to.

1 Golden Gourami
1 Red Tailed Black Shark
6 Giant Danio
6 Corydoras Julii (5 julii & 1 bronze)
6 Kuhli Loach
12 Glowlight Tetra

How's that?

I was curious, since the golden Gourami is just a color variant of the 3 spot (same as opaline, etc...) could females of different colors be together? IE: could I add an opaline female in with my golden female?
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Blaze
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2015, 11:17:50 PM »

I think my Golden is a female. If anyone can confirm that would be great. She's pretty camera shy, but I got the best pic I could. (Attached)


* _20151227_231359.JPG (256.78 KB, 1374x888 - viewed 277 times.)
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2015, 07:32:50 AM »

It looks like a male to me.  Look at the pics here of the male and female goldens.   The pics are under the topic "Maintenance".   The dorsal fin on yours is elongated just like the pic.  See if you agree. http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/profiles/profile84.html

Would you be able to return the bronze cory to the LFS?  The reason that I ask is because corys school with their own species and you only have one of them.

Outside of that, I think you have the stocking pretty good now.  Just try to get a slow moving water zone with some floating plants  so that the gourami has a place to call home.   If anyone else here has more ideas for you, I am sure they will chime in.

When you get your test kit, give us the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.  I just want to be sure that cycling is ok. 
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Blaze
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2015, 12:10:33 PM »

Yeah, I was pretty sure it was a female from all the other things I've seen but the pictures there made me question... That's why I asked. Hmmm, so if it's a male could I add a female opaline? Or would that be asking for problems? I know I would need to keep an eye out for bubble nests and remove them, since breeding Gourami in a community tank would be Armageddon. (Another male would definitely be bad right?)

As for the Cory Cats the fish store guy insisted they would school together... But we've already seen how accurate his info has been... I really don't want to take either of them back, but I suppose I'll have too. (My daughter is particularly attached to them already..) I'm guessing 3 of each (bronze and julii wouldn't be enough...) I wish I had gotten some help here sooner (guess I deserved it for believing everything the fish store guy said even tho so much of it didn't sound right.)

All of the water is relatively slow moving atm since it's just the HOB 350. But that will change when I add the sump. I'll find a way to keep a peaceful area for the Gourami. (I am an engineer, I'm sure I can figure something out  proud) lol. Probably set up the sump loop all on one half and leave the HOB on the other... This will require some thought...

I don't know if I should call you Pat, or Mary, or Pat Mary. But whichever you prefer I am very grateful for all of your help. Thank you so much!
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2015, 01:04:30 PM »

If you want a pair, you should probably get two females so that the male spreads his devotion around.  (Yup, another male is a no-no.)

You can call me Pat, Pat Mary or Mary.  Just don't call me late for dinner.  lame  (Most here call me either Pat or Par Mary.)
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Blaze
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2015, 02:14:31 PM »

So you can mix colors provided they are the same species?

Thank you Pat, you have been amazing, and have saved my fish much hardship at my ignorant hands. :-)
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Blaze
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2015, 10:44:48 PM »

Got my master test kit today.

PH = 8.0
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite =0 ppm
Nitrate=5 ppm

So everything looks great except for the pH. I checked my tap water and it's 7.8... This seems high, I was thinking I should keep it between 6 and 7.5... Does that seem right?
What is the best way to manage pH? I don't want it constantly changing about.

Also once I get my drip system going is there a simple inline way I can manage the incoming pH?

If not would it be better for me to let it stabilize high and leave it constant, or develop a regular treatment methodology to keep pulling it back down?

How bad is 8.0 for the fish I'm keeping? Should I be panicking?

Thanks.
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Blaze
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« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2015, 11:32:14 AM »

So... I did some more research and I'm thinking it's best if I simply leave the pH alone. It seems that trying to manage it would likely do more harm than good and 8.0 isn't too bad... Would you guys agree?
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2015, 12:43:48 PM »

I didn't see your post from yesterday until now.  You are correct in leaving the pH alone.  Your fish can adapt to it.  It is always risky to artificially alter the pH.  Most fish can adapt.  If you would have fish that really needed lower pH, you could add peat moss but you don't have them.  Just be sure, when you are acclimating your new fish, that you do it slowly so that they have time to adapt.
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Blaze
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2015, 03:11:37 PM »

Thanks. :-)

Those measurements mean I'm fully cycled right?

How many new fish should I bring in at a time?
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