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New Dwarf gourami setup
December 5, 2012
10:04 pm
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Saxodave
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I have a 10 gallon/40 litre tank I would like to use for a pair of Dwarf gourami and perhaps a few other tankmates. I am quite keen to set up a biotope if possible but I am not sure what tankmates would be suitable.

The tank will be completely re-landscaped with a dark substrate (not sure what to go with yet) and plenty of plants. My small internal filter I was thinking of adapting with a spraybar to lessen the outflow. Lighting will be a 15watt GroLux tube.

If a biotope is not feasible, I was considering some bumblebee or cherry shrimps and possibly some Boraras brigittae rasboras as tankmates.

Also, are dwarf gouramis any healthier in the trade now as I have read about them being likely to be short-lived.

Thank you. 

December 6, 2012
9:32 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi there,
As to the compatibility of the Dwarf Gourami you'll get many differing statements. My 3 pairs lived "happily" in a standard 160 l community tank with agression being entirely interspecific. But I have reports where they chased everything that moved, especially whilest breeding.
However, if your 10 gallon tank is a 40 x 30 x 30 cm or there about it is too small for Trichogaster lalius in my humble opinion. They shouldn't be kept in anything less than 60 cm long tanks except for breeding.
For suitable tank mates you'll find good information if you look up the T. Lalius profile here on SF.

You'll have noticed that I "quoted" the word happily in the first line. That concerns the general health of the species as such.
They did live happily but not for long. The Dwarf Gourai is infamous as a carrier of fish tuberculosis. As much as the dealer will tell you that his specimens are bred from desease free animals, chances are that they are not. Same happened to me and I lost all six after about 6 months. In my case it looked like the desease was triggered by sexual maturity but that is only an assumption. Be aware that fish tuberculosis is contractable by humans too ( e.g. tiny cut in the skin that gets into contact with the tank water) and takes a lengthy and very unpleasant course.
Additionaly you'd have to be prepared to terminate the fish (caution!! In some countries the law prohibits that) once they show symptoms since there is no cure.
I really don't want to talk you out of keeping the fish but all these facts should be taken into consideration before you commit yourself.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 6, 2012
1:50 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Agree with Rüdiger - the sparkling gourami, Trichopsis pumila, would probably do better in a tank of that size.

If you do go ahead with dwarf gouramis and want biotope-correct tankmates, the Indian ricefish Oryzias dancena might prove a good choice.

Cake or death?
December 6, 2012
8:21 pm
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Saxodave
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Thank you Rüdiger and Matt for your comments. I think, on balance, I would be keen to go for the sparkling gourami both for tank-size and health reasons (and also it is a very pretty fish). Should these be kept as a single pair or would I be able to have more than two in my tank? Also what biotope-tankmates could I keep with them?

 

Would my filter/lighting suggestions below still be suitable?

Saxodave said

My small internal filter I was thinking of adapting with a spraybar to lessen the outflow. Lighting will be a 15watt GroLux tube.

 

Thank you.

December 6, 2012
11:42 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi,
you are right, they are very pretty and show quite some caracter too. The males can be a bit agressive towards eachother so I would suggest a group of one male and 2 or 3 females in a 10 gallon tank. To achieve that you'd have to go for fully grown specimens though as is is almost impossible to distinguish sexes in young animals (even with grown animals it can be very difficult especially when kept in larger numbers in a dealers tank).
As tankmates I'd go for a shoal of Boraras maculatus. I keep them together and there has never been a problem.
For filtration you could even go for a small bubble filter and 15 watts is plenty of light for the fish.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 7, 2012
9:59 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Nothing more to add here, that's great advice. :)

Cake or death?
December 7, 2012
9:53 pm
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Saxodave
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Thank you both. That's really helpful and now I will set about re-landscaping the tank in readiness for these new fish. I may well go with the bubble filter idea as even the small internal filter creates quite a current. Looking forward to getting started on this tomorrow. Kind regards, David.

December 8, 2012
6:19 pm
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Saxodave
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Just one final question before I crack on with this; for a dark substrate would Eco-Complete Planted be an okay choice? or, if I use black sand, can I somehow reduce the thickness of the covering so that it is less likely to compact? Thanks again. David.

December 8, 2012
6:24 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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I usually do the basic shape of the bottom with ordinary pea gravel and then add about 10 to 15 mm of sand. Never had a problem with compacting.
Regards
R

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 8, 2012
6:34 pm
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Saxodave
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Great. That helps to keep the costs down a little too and this will be fine for planting directly into?

December 8, 2012
6:40 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Absolutely. Of course if you choose really "hungry" plants you might want to add a slow releasing fert granulate or similar to the gravel in those areas where you plan to put the plants (a tablespoon of uncontaminated, loamy garden soil does the same trick). I usually don't use any fertilizer at all and all's growing well.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 8, 2012
6:47 pm
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Saxodave
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Thank you once again Rüdiger for all your help. I will post some pics when I get the tank sorted. David.

December 8, 2012
6:51 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi David,
it's my pleasure. Pics would be great, I' a bit of a nut for progress photos. Laugh
I'm sure you'll have loads of fun for the next couple of days.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 10, 2012
8:31 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Yes, please do post some pics up!

Cake or death?
December 15, 2012
2:16 pm
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Saxodave
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Bogwood-for-SF-2.jpgImage Enlarger

Gravel-and-moss-for-SF-2.jpgImage Enlarger
Small-final.jpgImage Enlarger

I have now got the tank in place complete with bogwood, moss and a black gravel-topped substrate. As you suggested Rüdiger, I have topped a layer of small gravel with a 1-1.5cm layer of Sansibar black gravel. Behind the tank I have placed a Welsh slate (roofing tile)

It is not quite the full-blown biotope set-up I intended but I am trying to get water/lighting conditions as correct as possible for when I get the fish. My homemade filter (plastic pipe heated over the gas cooker ring and bent) is working well but I need to disguise that and the heater with some more planting. Already in there is Java moss, twisted Vallis, Hygrophila, Amazon frogbit, Lemna minor and a low-growing plant that I bought from my LFS yesterday but have already forgotten the name!

I have collected some dead, but still attached, beech (Fagus sylvatica) leaves from a tree in the park where I work and would like to add them to the tank. Should I just wash them first? boil them? microwave them? All these methods I have read about but I would like to know if one method is best.

 

December 15, 2012
2:33 pm
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Jakub
Lutterworth, UK
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Hi David

Promising setup, I especially like the piece of bogwood you picked because it can provide a very different display depending on the viewing angle.

As for using leaves in aquarium, Colin described the subject in    this    in-depth article.

Regards

Jakub

 

December 15, 2012
5:07 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi David,

Tank looks great so far. If the leaves were still attached and not too close to a busy road, just rinse them under cold water to get the dust off. If you boil or microwave them you"d kill all the little buggers that are beneficial for the little fish to come. The "low growing plant" looks like what is commonly sold as New Zealand Grass Lilaeopsis brasiliensis but could be another Lilaeopsis sp. too.

It will, in time, grow into a lovely lawn, which will be thoroughly explored and enjoyed by the Dwarf Gouramies.(Edit: It's SPARKLING GOURAMIES of course ;-) )

Keep the photos comming. :-)

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 15, 2012
5:43 pm
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Saxodave
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Thanks Jakub and Rüdiger. I feel happy to use the leaves now. While collecting the beech leaves I did happen to pick a handful of dried alder cones as well so I may add a few of those to the water too.

The plant I didn't have a name for is indeed Lilaeopsis, I just saw it at another fish shop an hour ago!

Main task now is to camouflage the pesky heater and filter. 

December 15, 2012
7:02 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi David,

perhaps you want to have a look here and check out the "mobile HMF" solution. You could still use the pipe you fabricated and hide the heater in there. If you need more info on how to, just let me know.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
December 15, 2012
10:17 pm
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Saxodave
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Thanks Rüdiger

 

I had already read your very interesting and informative HMF article and did in fact consider it for this tank. However, I got sidetracked and went off on a tangent and ended up with the result you see above. The heater I have is quite long, too long to go vertically, so I may consider buying a shorter one, although I don't really want to replace something that works perfectly well.

The mobile HMF filter is something I may still tinker with while I am waiting for the tank to mature a bit! (If I can find some black foam that isn't carbon impregnated).

 

The tank now has some washed beech leaves floating in it after reading yoour reply and 'Colin's' article.

 

Kind regards,

 

David

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