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My 75L and stocking advice
September 16, 2013
3:19 pm
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LouisDS
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Hi all,

 

New to the forum but looooooove the website. New to the hobby.

 

I have been having my first 75L (60 x 30 x 40) for 6 weeks now. Went through all imaginable beginner's mistakes, including adding fish after 4 days and trying to save my fish while the tank was cycling.

 

But now my tank has been cycled and stable for about 10 days. At this moment, I have 7 Serpae Tetras (I was told it is not the best choice for my tank but How could I know people at Petco are not advisable reference ;) ).

 

I am looking to add a second species that would complete my south american population. My plan is to slowly add plants and wood, maybe change my bottom gravel at some point for sand, but at a slow pace, over 1 year or even more. After doing extensive research on seriouslyfish and others, I come here with 5 species that are fairly available where I am (Maryland USA) and that I thing would do well in my tank. Any advice on which of these species I should avoid or favor and why, is greatly appreciated.

 

I used Aqadvisor to determine the number of fish I can get, I tried to stay in the 80% stocking level range. Hare they are:

 

1- Corydoras Pygmaeus. Available at my local fish store (no more Petco). I think they are simply awesome. 10-12 individuals.

 

2- Corydoras Panda. Also available. Nice calm species and not too big. 6-8

 

3- Nannostomus Marginatus. Not sure if available or not but I feel they would do well in my tank, surface level is unoccupied, the serpaes are lower middle/bottom dwellers. 8-10

 

4- Corydoras Julii. Available. Did not strike me when I was at the store, but nice fish. 6-7

 

5- Nanostommus beckfordi. Very nice fish but bigger. I don't think I can have more than 6.

 

Finally, I briefly considered hatchetfish and Cory Aeneus but I think my tank is too small. Also thought about only putting a couple of apisto cacatuoides or borrelli or M. ramirezi but I fear these cichlids will be too sensitive for the beginner that I am.

 

Thanks in advance for your opinions,

 

Louis

 

September 16, 2013
5:45 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Louis,

welcome to the world of fish keeping and of course to SF. :-D

Your plan of action sounds quite ok and as a first step, I'd advise to go for some plants, sooner rather than later. You don't have to get fancy and difficult species, but rather some inexpensive "run of the mill" stuff to start out with. They will A. help you in keeping your water parameters stable and B. provide some cover, which your current and future fish will appreciate.

 

As for H. Eques: In my eyperience, their infamous aggressive behaviour is mostly intraspecific and after that directed at species, which claim the same part of the water column as they do.

 

Your choice of fish species isn't too shabby either. ;-)

As you are just starting out in the hobby, I'd suggest positions 1 and 3. They are just beautiful fishes and, despite their diminutive size, quite robust. I.e. they'll forgive most of the inevitable "beginner's mistakes" including the odd "forgotten" water change!

The numbers you mention are ok too and and, including the 7 existing H. eques, you could even think about a few specimens of a small Otocinclus spp.

If you get a chance, PHOTOS are always appreciated here on SF! :-D

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
September 16, 2013
9:54 pm
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LouisDS
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Thank you very much for that. I really appreciate your vision. I was on a different forum where according to some purists, if you don't have 200L, all you can have is 2 shrimps and a snail... they are nice but you know....

 

I will show pictures when I have a more natural set up. Now I got plastic plants from a friend to provide cover but I am looking forward to make it more like a real habitat.

 

My best,

 

Louis

 

September 22, 2013
12:38 am
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KittyKat
Norwich, UK
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I would have to agree with Rüdiger on all counts. I wish you luck in finding the fish! While both C. pygmaeus and N. marginatus were staples at the better LFS when I lived in Germany, they're nigh on impossible to find where I am now in UK…

Kat
September 22, 2013
5:06 am
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LouisDS
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Thank you,

 

I know that C. pygmaeus is readily available in my LFS. N. Marginatus not so sure. I might go tomorrow so I'll keep you posted.

September 27, 2013
10:08 pm
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Jakub
Lutterworth, UK
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Hi Louis

So how are your tetras getting on at the moment? I briefly considered them when setting up a tank last year but was deterred by the aggression factor and quite substantial space requirements (for such a small fish that is). Do you not find some males are forced to live in hiding due to constant chasing? Unless you are very creative with decor to break the line of sight multiple times (and in 60x30 base tank it's not easy - I know this problem first hand...), you may have a problem if what they say about the species is true.

Regards

Jakub

September 30, 2013
7:59 pm
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LouisDS
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Hi Jakub,

 

My tetras are doing fine in terms of health, appetite, color.

 

However, I do experiment the issues you are mentioning. First, aggression between males has stabilized over the last couple of weeks but I still find a fish with a broken caudal fin from time to time. The interesting part is they "parade" a lot, trying to impress each other by displaying very black fins and kind of "dancing", exposing their flanks to their congeners. Sometimes, one fish hides from the rest of the group, but I don't think it is always the same, so it does not bother me. I really like them, they are  playful and beautiful, but to be honest, I am not sure I would make the same choice, knowing what I know now, (I just think they would need more space to flee when they are chased by another fish). I entirely relied on the employee of a big animal store to buy them.

 

I hope this helps. 

 

Louis

 

September 30, 2013
10:20 pm
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Jakub
Lutterworth, UK
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The 'parading' you are referring to is healthy behaviour I think (and certainly entertaining to watch). My H. rosaceus do this too, although they are supposed to be much more peaceful than H. eques. Interestingly I also had split fins in the first weeks, and non-dominant males tend to spend some time in secluded spots, while the dominant one controls the middle of the tank.

I made myself a promise to buy a bigger tank and a bigger group next time I decide to keep shoaling fish. I know the recommendation made in the SF profile and in other sources out there for similar fish is to keep at least 6 (some websites / publications even say 4), but I suspect a group of 15 would be much better both for the fish and our experience as fish keepers.

At the moment I have 8 H. rosaceus: 3 males and 5 females, what is the sex ratio in yours?

It's nice to have a bit of variety in an aquarium, but I now think that considerable volume is required to really make it work with several species in one tank. My plan for the next (bigger) tank is to go with as little as two species and keep good numbers so that the community is a bit more natural and balanced with any aggression spread among the members of the group.

It would be interesting to do an opinion poll on the forum to see what people think is the sensible minimum number of fish for some popular genera.

October 1, 2013
5:08 am
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LouisDS
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September 16, 2013
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One thing that I know, is that their color and behaviour was radically different when there were only 4 in the tank compared to 7 now. When I lost 2 because (from 6 to 4) of high ammonia, they suddenly lost al their colors and there was no shoal or school whatsoever. This slowly came back when I added 4 more in the tank and remained the same when I lost one because I was still trying to cycle my tank at that time. I have now had the same 7 fish for about 6 weeks.

 

I think I have 3 males and 4 females. Not an expert, but I assume those who are fighting are males, slimmers but larger fins.

 

So for H. Eques in a 75L, I can say 4 is not enough, and 7 or 8 is much better. 

October 1, 2013
8:39 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Jakub said
I know the recommendation made in the SF profile and in other sources out there for similar fish is to keep at least 6 (some websites / publications even say 4), but I suspect a group of 15 would be much better both for the fish and our experience as fish keepers. 

Totally agree with this and the H. eques profile, which was recently updated, recommends 8-10 minimum purchase. As I work through the other tetras I'll do the same where applicable.

@Jakub the poll is a nice idea but might not work at the generic level. For example H. eques and H. rosaceus belong to a group of closely-related species within Hyphessobrycon that has been referred to as the 'rosy tetra clade' of which members all display similar behaviour including the sparring between rival males that you guys are seeing. The bleeding heart tetras are also in this group and can be quite aggressive as well whereas many other Hyphessobrycon are much more peaceful.

 

 

Cake or death?
October 2, 2013
12:32 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi guys,

my personal opinion is, for any tetra, never less than 10 specimens and when it comes to 35 to 40 mm SL never less than 100 x 30 cm footprint.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
October 3, 2013
12:55 pm
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Jakub
Lutterworth, UK
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Matt said
(...)

@Jakub the poll is a nice idea but might not work at the generic level. For example H. eques and H. rosaceus belong to a group of closely-related species within Hyphessobrycon that has been referred to as the 'rosy tetra clade' of which members all display similar behaviour including the sparring between rival males that you guys are seeing. The bleeding heart tetras are also in this group and can be quite aggressive as well whereas many other Hyphessobrycon are much more peaceful.

 

 

Hi Matt

Yeah, point taken - I guess generalization always leads to inconclusive findings, but are you saying that in the case of more aggressive species it is important to keep greater numbers while the peaceful ones are fine in small groups (as in: only several fish)? My thinking was more along the lines of "6 fish do not make a shoal, will 15 do?", regardless of intraspecific aggression factor.

October 4, 2013
9:55 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Hm, maybe we should up the recommended numbers in the tetra profiles and do it now before too many more get written. Shall we say minimum 10-12?

Cake or death?
October 5, 2013
9:51 am
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Jakub
Lutterworth, UK
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Don't really have expertise or experience to tell where to draw the line exactly, but something is not quite 'right' with these small groups, which is why I want to try and experiment with bigger ones in future. One thing to keep in mind is that when there are 6-8 fish, there will only probably be 3-4 males - and in such scenario there is every chance that one will establish unquestionable long term dominance. Not so great for the group, I pretty much have that situation now with 8 fish (3 males). The tank has got enough hiding spots so that none of the fish are in real distress, but the dominant male can be a bit of a nuisance at times, and I never see the other two really comfortable in the open, with fins extended.

While this is not ideal, it still must be better to have 6-8 than, say, three (I once saw a tank with three - the fish looked washed out and miserable). Sounds like Louis observed a radical change in behaviour and appearance when he went from 4 fish to 7.

October 6, 2013
1:21 pm
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Matt
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Good points and yeah don't think there is a definitive answer really, all we can do is offer suggestions based on our collective experience which is one reason why threads such as this can be so valuable.

Cake or death?
October 6, 2013
2:11 pm
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Eyrie
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A follow up to Jakub's point about the number of males. 

I had three male Nannostomus beckfordi and seven females in my 60L q-tank recently and the males were constantly sorting out the dominance order.  Once the quarantine period was over and I could move them into the 400L this stopped almost immediately. The ten fish still keep a loose shoal, so I'd say space is a consideration for more than just stocking levels.

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October 16, 2013
5:53 pm
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LouisDS
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Just a little follow up on my tank.

 

I added 6 Corydoras Pygmaeus last weekend. They are about 1 cm each and do very well with the Serpaes, that now look huge compared to their new neighbors. Their behavior is nice, they don't shoal much for now but they often hang out in a group of 3 or 4. I will definitely add another group of 6 in the next weeks to see their presence more.

 

I alos modified my setup by adding a small mat of Java Fern. I already see the benefits of this addition in the behavior of both the serpaes and the Corys. The tetras form a school and do slaloms between the leaves and stay still at the base of the fern at night. The corys often lay on the leaves. The latter also like the shades provided by the oak leaves I also added to the tank about one month ago. 

 

I will try to post pictures soon.

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