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Small Amazon natives?
May 22, 2013
5:12 am
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Bombalurina
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Hi all

 

I have a 16 gallon tank currently set up as an Amazon biotope (roughly).  It has a sand substrate with some rocks and IAL, twists of goldvine to simulate roots, and tea-coloured water.  Current stock is 7 ember tetras, but I'm also hoping to add some corydoras pygmaeus.  The tank itself is an odd shape so that it fits into my bedroom - 14.5 inces long and deep, 18 inches tall.

 

Are there any fish that come from roughly this area that would fit in neatly with my tetras and cories?  I'm not looking for a schooling fish - ideally I want something that can be a centrepiece, either individually or in no more than a group of three.  If not, that's fine - any suggestions for fish that may not be from that area, but would enjoy similar parameters and be happy in my tall, skinny tank?  My pH is about 6.8, my water hardness only 1 degree, but I can raise it slightly.

 

Thanks so much for any suggestions

Bomba

May 22, 2013
8:47 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Hi Bomba, unsure where in the world you are but if you can find some a Characidium species could work. They're not very colourful but easy to keep, full of personality and fun to watch.

Cake or death?
May 22, 2013
9:51 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Matt said
Hi Bomba, unsure where in the world you are but if you can find some a Characidium species could work. They're not very colourful but easy to keep, full of personality and fun to watch.

Sorry Matt,

once more I feel I have to point out the footprint of this specific tank! At just about 37 x 37 cm, I think it is insufficient for a bottomdweller, which can reach (depending on species) 7 to 10 cm SL? I have to admit though, that my knowledge on this genus is somewhat limited and perhaps there's a species, which stays smaller?

@Bomba: How serious or rather strict do you want to be about the biotope? Perhaps a Nannostomus species or even good old P. simulans would suffice?

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
May 23, 2013
2:04 am
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Bombalurina
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I'm not too fussy on maintaining a strict biotope, though it would be nifty to stick to fish from one continent for once (in my other tank I have S-E Asians, Africans and South Americans).  However, I have been considering going further afield and getting a pair of betta channoides or the like. 

 

I'm in Australia, by the way - sorry, I need to amend my profile.  :)   When I leave my parent's home and can have as many tanks as I like, I'll be getting some of the more local species for a mini-natives tank. 

 

I do like P. simulans (a lot more than the ubiquitous P. innesi), but would they be content in my tank footprint?  I went for

Hyphessobrycon amandae because they seem quite sedentary compared with tetras like neons, which always seem to be on the move.  I'll definitely bear these guys in mind.  I'm really not a fan of Nannostomus, though - no idea why, they just don't appeal. 

 

If I can, though, my aim is to get a fish that can be happy in a pair or group of three, or even alone.  If I were to get more schooling fish, I think I'd prefer just to give my Hyphessobrycon amandae or the little corydoras more buddies.  Unlike my main tank, which is designed to be totally visually pleasing and is a riot of colour and plantlife from all over the world, I'm keen to make this tank all about the fish.  Not that my main tank doesn't take into account the fish's needs, of course.  :)

 

Are there any dwarf cichlids that might work?  A local breeder recommended apistogramma macmasteri or ramirez, or even cacatuoides, but I have a feeling that he wasn't taking into account the tank's footprint.  It's an absolute pain to stock! 

Others have also suggested, if I didn't mind ditching the Amazon, a pair of betta channoides or a single male splendens.  I'm well acquainted with keeping splendens, so it might be nice to branch out into the wild-types.  I've also been advised to look into some of the gourami types - possibly chocolate or licorice. Trichogaster lalius around here also seem mostly free of iridovirus, but again, I don't know if they'd be ok with the footprint.  Another suggested dario dario. 

 

If you read through my novel there, thanks a bundle.  :)   I like coming here to finalise my stocking as this site is very professional in its approach to fishs' needs.  :)

May 23, 2013
8:22 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Sorry Matt,

once more I feel I have to point out the footprint of this specific tank! At just about 37 x 37 cm, I think it is insufficient for a bottomdweller, which can reach (depending on species) 7 to 10 cm SL? I have to admit though, that my knowledge on this genus is somewhat limited and perhaps there's a species, which stays smaller?

@Bomba: How serious or rather strict do you want to be about the biotope? Perhaps a Nannostomus species or even good old P. simulans would suffice?

Regards

R.

No probs Rudi. I've had three different species (no idea which ones) and none grew larger than about 4 cm SL. Not really bottom-dwellers either - they tend to hover in mid-water and hang about on plant leaves up in the water column, hence the reason I thought it was a decent suggestion for a tall tank with a relatively small footprint.

Cake or death?
May 23, 2013
9:50 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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@Matt : Yeah, unfortunately there's very little info to be had on the subfamily of Characidiinae. I only managed to collect a few scraps about Ch. rachovii, which reaches supposedly 7 cm SL, Ch. fasciatum with 10 cm SL and Ch. sp. "Westhäuser" (Ott 2000), with an inconclusive length ( not fully grown) at above 60 mm. The other bit of "wisdom" one can derive from those clippings is that, at least the first two species are almost exclusively bottom bound and venture into free water only for food and with obvious effort. But with more than 40 species within the genus that is of course only the tip of the iceberg and it is, as always, good to hear about real experiences like yours! :-)

@Bombalurina : I like your "novel", sice it gives us a chance to learn a bit about you and your fish keeping experience!   :-)

First a short statement: I do not believe in keeping a single specimen of any species for one simple reason. The main driving force in all living beings is reproduction and without a suitable mate, the creature is robbed of that facet of life! If one can speak about "happiness" in fish at all, then I don't believe that such a "single" can be happy.

My experience with Apistogramma spp. lies somewhere in the dark and distant past, so I leave it to the ones in "the know" to comment on those.

Gouramies? Well I agree with you on T. lalius, which I would give at the very least 60 cm to swim. A good choice would perhaps be Trichopsis pumila or better even one of the two Parasphaerichthys spp. For both I'd add a plant or two to the tank though. And there are of course the Parosphromenus spp. too. For a community tank however I'd stick to the more commonly bred and available species as the genus is highly endangered in the wild and all efforts should go towards breeding and reproduction, i.e. species tank.

As far as the "wild-type" bettas are concerned, I, personally, would always afford them a species tank too.

Dario dario would be a very good choice and your tank would even support 2 males, which you will inevitably end up with unless you buy a group of fully grown specimens. You'd just have to check on water parameters of your source as they are usually bred in water that's quite a bit harder than yours.

And, finally coming back to Matt's suggestion of Characidium spp.: If you can find a breeder in your area, who can confirm that his species stays at around 40 mm SL, they schould make very intersting tank mates indeed! :-)

Now, that was my little novel! :-D Perhaps you could post us a photo of your tank? And maybe tell us about the light too?

Cheers for now,

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
May 23, 2013
12:11 pm
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Bombalurina
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This is the tank in question.  It's a bit sparse at the moment (reflecting my bank account - the sparsity of each is the cause of the sparsity of the other).  7 ember tetras in there right now with two Hagen Fluval filters (U1 and U2) and a 75 watt heater.  The vegitation is mostly detritus left over from me tearing down the tank and setting up again like this - before, it was a total jungle.  Maybe that's why I don't want any plants this time - been there, done that.  And my 90 litre tank is a Walstad-style planted tank, so I quite like having this one with just a hardscape - it's like nothing I've done before.  Please excuse the dirt on the soil - that's two years of plant goo that  found impossible to get out of the tank and is still being cleaned up.  My plan at the moment is to add more wood and to use rocks to build up a cave around that natural tangle of roots in the wood at the back right.  I also plan to add in the rest of my IAL over time to cover the substrate more.  Any decorative ideas just as welcome as stocking plans.  :)   My lighting is a plain old flourescent bulb (that is very old and needs to be replaced) - I believe it is 18 watts, but I'd have to double check.  Whatever it is, it grew my low-light jungle successfully enough.  It also spends about an hour a day lighting my 1 litre jar with a little ludwigia repens in it. 

 

I've spoken to a local breeder of betta channoides and a gazillion other wild types, and she thinks they'd be happy in my set-up, since embers are so peaceful (mine are used to living with splendens, so I imagine the more peaceful channoides would be a nice change!).  However, I'll definitely take your advice into consideration.  :)

The Characidium sound amazing and look very nifty, but I'm not sure that I could procure any - Australia (my part of it, anyway) can be a bit of a backwater for more unusual species.  I'd also be worried that I'd get one of the large ones by accident. 

I hope you don't mind that I've been keeping my splendens males seperate from my females - definitely not ready to be a breeder yt.  Vaguely considering a really spectacular MG splendens male for this tank, but it's more of a fall back plan than anything else, since I've had betta splendens for years. 

I suppose that puts dario dario out of the picture - I've raised the water hardness in my pond but it's hard in my tanks with the driftwood and IAL.  I'd prefer to keep species that will just be happy in it, rather than messing about with it to suit the species.  :)

 

 IMG_0663.JPGImage Enlarger

May 23, 2013
4:14 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Bomba,

that definitely is a shape of tank, which guarantees severe headache both with stocking and decorating! :-)  

As far as hardscape is concerned, I always ( with the very few tanks of that shape I ever had) found it better to skip those "chunks" of timber and use either a dead stock of heather, korkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') or korkscrew willow (Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa') instead. If you put them upside down into the tank, the branches create a nice impression of tangled roots but of a size, which actually fits the available space and especially small fish species really love to "hunt" in that "mess"! ;-)

You probably misunderstood me on the Dario subject. Soft water is generally not a problem as long as the pH doesn't drop much past neutral, i.e. around 7, so your water is actually ok. What I meant is that they are usually bred in harder water and you'd have to slowly (over two to three days) acclimate them to your water. It is always more difficult/dangerous to acclimate from hard to soft water than the other way around.

No, I don't mind that you've kept your bettas seperate! :-) I just told you my opinion about keeping single specimens and I guess what I really wanted to say is: "I don't like to suggest any species, which would be "happy" when kept without mate.

And before somebody now says: "But there are species, which one can only put together for the short period of mating!" I'll say: "If you can't set up a tank big enough to keep a pair together, don't keep them!" But then again, that is my PERSONAL OPINION. :-)

I'm looking forward to hear how you eventually decide an see the progress on the tank! :-) If you've got more questions just shoot!

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
May 24, 2013
8:32 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Rüdiger said
@Matt : Yeah, unfortunately there's very little info to be had on the subfamily of Characidiinae. I only managed to collect a few scraps about Ch. rachovii, which reaches supposedly 7 cm SL, Ch. fasciatum with 10 cm SL and Ch. sp. "Westhäuser" (Ott 2000), with an inconclusive length ( not fully grown) at above 60 mm. The other bit of "wisdom" one can derive from those clippings is that, at least the first two species are almost exclusively bottom bound and venture into free water only for food and with obvious effort. But with more than 40 species within the genus that is of course only the tip of the iceberg and it is, as always, good to hear about real experiences like yours! :-)

I don't think any of the the fish in the hobby are C. fasciatum and the common ones certainly don't grow to 10 cm SL. I wouldn't say they leave the substrate with obvious effort either - they learn to recognise you and are up at the front glass buzzing about as soon as you get near the tank.

As for local breeders, I think both you and I know that isn't going to happen so found that comment a bit strange if I'm honest.

But this is beside the point of the thread! Looking at the tank I'm now struggling to come up with any suggestions at all given you're adding a group of corys as well. I think it's too small for Apistogramma and B. channoides seem to do best in groups, at least in my experience.

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