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Stocking My 50 Gallon
December 29, 2015
3:30 am
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Kel
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Hello everyone!

 

I am wanting to get some ideas as to what an ideal stock for my tank would be.

Firstly; it tends to run around 80 degrees - it's hard to manage otherwise. If it isn't the heat of summer here in Texas, it's my housemates cranking up the heat in the winter. So it's best just to leave my heater set for 78+ so there isn't drastic drops.

Secondly; my pH is consistently around 8.0. I can't tell you my hardness but even after a couple of weeks of sitting, it'll still be 7.8-8.0. So it's hard, well buffered, and would be a nightmare to try and get acidic or even close to neutral; though I wouldn't say terribly hard. I've been up in West Virginia where it's actually difficult to soak a rag. ūüėõ Here it's not remotely that bad.

Thirdly; my tank is cycled and currently stocked with a lot of South American fish. Obviously, this isn't ideal, and I've even been having off-and-on issues with my corydoras. I am assuming this is a combination of factors but primarily, high heat and high pH. It might be a bit much for them to always sit at their extremes so they're more vulnerable than they should be.

Fourthly; I have a black sand substrate. Lots of plants and wood.

What I am looking to do is maybe home the majority of my stock and start fresh with fish that are more inherently thriving within my parameters. That way problems are less likely to occur, I can worry less, and not feel compelled to fidget with parameters which is of course dangerous.

December 30, 2015
1:47 pm
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Matt
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Hi Kel and welcome to the forum! Is there anything that particularly appeals? Many species from Central American species or Australasia might fit the bill...

Cake or death?
December 30, 2015
2:49 pm
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Kel
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I know I tend to like many fish versus few; though I am okay with species only. I just don't like livebearers. Absolutely hate them, they're the nastiest, meanest fish I've ever owned and they breed out of control to boot.

I'd also like peoples' thoughts on my pH/temps for South American fish. I've heard many do just fine with them, no problems. While others will say that while the range is wider for many fish due to captive breeding, it's still a bit extreme for these acidic-to-neutral species.

Regardless, I'll be rehousing my Bolivian Rams(they're old and were taken out of pity but not doing well), my 9 Neons(I just don't really like them especially with my "black water"-like condition as I use IALs), and my 6 Lazer Corydoras(they're constantly shy, unpleasant, have the greatest issue with fin-rot while the albinos are doing much better).

Right now the only fish suited to my tank statistically is my Pearl Gouramis. One male, one female... the male is gorgeous and blossoming well.

Outside of that I have a couple of juvenile GBRs who are also doing great oddly enough. If there was any fish I expected to see struggling shortly after introduction to my tank, it'd be they. ...That said, luck with some does not mean luck with all and I might be better off wiping the slate clean.

First though, I'm here for ideas and some considerations. Maybe further insight.

December 30, 2015
7:21 pm
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Byron Hosking
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It would help to know the hardness (GH) of your source water.  This is actually the more important than pH; provided the pH remains stable, it is normally easier to deal with but the GH does affect fish internally.  It is very possible to have a rather high basic pH as here, but have soft or moderately soft/hard water, and this option would open the possibilities.  Before getting a GH/KH test kit which you may only use the once, check with your municipal water authority; most in NA post water data on their website, and the GH and KH (sometimes seen as Alkalinity, and it is worth knowing this too) may be there.

While waiting for that, I would agree than a high temp like 80F is going to cause issues for some SA fish.  Bolivian Rams are fine in this (though they can be lower, unlike the related common blue ram) and gourami should be too, but many of the corys would find this too warm long-term, as would some characins.  But there are many that are higher temperature tolerant, but the GH is going to be important.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
December 30, 2015
9:04 pm
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Kel
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Bicarbonate ppm 106 ‚Äď 125

Calcium ppm 89 ‚Äď 175

Chloride ppm 12 ‚Äď 28

Magnesium ppm 3 ‚Äď 10

Conductivity umhos/m 366 ‚Äď 423

pH units 8.1 - 8.4

Sodium ppm 14 ‚Äď 22

Sulfate ppm 22 ‚Äď 29

Total Alkalinity CaCO3 ppm 106 ‚Äď 125

Total Dissolved Solids ppm 224 ‚Äď 250

Total Hardness CaCO3 ppm 8 ‚Äď 194

Total Hardness is Grains grains/gallon .5 - 11

That's all I could glean from a 2011 report on our water; the 2014 doesn't remark on alkalinity for some reason.

December 30, 2015
10:42 pm
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Byron Hosking
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That is a very wide range for the GH, from 8 to 194 ppm.  I wonder if they have different sources for the water?  Whatever, the high end is still not too bad.  I wouldn't recommend sensitive fish, like wild caught needing very soft and acidic water.  But there are a number of species that should be fine with this.

I do not offer advice when it comes to disease/issues as this is a very complicated subject and guessing will often make things much worse.  I will leave that for others.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
December 31, 2015
2:00 am
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Kel
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Byron Hosking said
That is a very wide range for the GH, from 8 to 194 ppm.  I wonder if they have different sources for the water?  Whatever, the high end is still not too bad.  I wouldn't recommend sensitive fish, like wild caught needing very soft and acidic water.  But there are a number of species that should be fine with this.
I do not offer advice when it comes to disease/issues as this is a very complicated subject and guessing will often make things much worse.  I will leave that for others.
Byron.

Okay, so here is my current stock to fully clarify things.

6 Lazer Corydoras

3 Albino Corydoras(lost one sometime ago, the assumption is it was a weaker strain as it looked a bit off)

9 Neon Tetras

10 Golden X-Ray Pristellas

2 Pearl Gouramis(m/f)

2 German Blue Rams(m/f?)

2 Bolivian Rams(m/f?)

1 Bristlenose Pleco

6 Marble Hatchets

Several shrimp and many, many Assassin Snails.

From what I know, these are all tank raised. So you think my water parameters are fine in terms of GH/pH but what about the temperature? You mentioned that 80 was a bit high for many SA fish; though confirmed the Rams should be solid in such conditions.

I may just keep my stock as it is then with some more minor changes.

Which was getting rid of my lazers(sadly) as they just don't seem to be doing well and losing 1 is 30 bucks a pop to fill them back up. Considering just going a larger group of albinos UNLESS you feel they won't do well at my temps. If not, some alternative ideas would be great and I can rehouse all the poor little guys.

Neons were the other I was thinking of replacing. I'm just not big on them and would like a more striking schooling fish next to my pristellas.

December 31, 2015
6:41 pm
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Byron Hosking
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I see some issues with the fish species, primarily temperature-related.  There are a few cory species that manage well in warmer tanks (and here I am thinking 80F and up), but the vast majority do not.  Given the natural range of the laser species, being the Peruvian Amazon, Ucayali and Maranon systems, I would myself keep them around 76-78F.  I would not venture to suggest the temp is the problem with your corys, but at the same time it is likely not helping; I'll return to this in a moment.  The other factor here may be the water hardness; these corys will be wild caught, and from water with a GH next to zero.

Neons must be kept cooler, around 76-77F is absolute max for this species.  The Pristella and hatchetfish have 82F as their upper range, but they will fare better a bit lower.

Most fish, with some exceptions, will always function better in the middle of their range; the higher the temperature, the greater the effort the fish must put out just to maintain its physiological balances, and this takes more energy and literally wears down the fish.  One author of an article in TFH a couple of years back likened this to driving a car up a steep hill; it takes more gas (energy) to maintain the same speed as when driving on level ground, and this adds to the wear and tear over time.

Brief periods of warmer temperatures are generally tolerated, such as I have in summer heat waves when my tanks have been over 80F.  But if these high temperatures are fairly constant year-round, that is going to be somewhat detrimental in my thinking.

The blue ram is a warmer water fish, 80F-82F is fine.  The Bolivian can manage with this, though I would keep it around 77-78F; I just lost my male Bolivian a few weeks back, and he was well into his 8th year, which is pretty good for a fish with an average expected lifespan of around 4 years.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
December 31, 2015
6:49 pm
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Kel
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Yeah, I'm looking at rehousing the bolivians, neons, and lazers as is.

GBRs I feel are suited and show as much in my tank. X-rays look solid and are a lovely fish. My albinos are doing fairly well, they had fin-rot too but kicked it. Where as the lazers are having far greater difficulty and are so shy, they might as well not exist. 

Could you give me some ideas on what would be far better in my tank? I was looking at sterbai corydoras to replace the lazers firstly.

December 31, 2015
8:34 pm
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Byron Hosking
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If you are fairly certain that some type of bacterial fin rot is present, I would recommend KanaPlex.  This is a Seachem product, and is in my experience highly effective with bacterial issues like fin degeneration.  I believe they recommend three doses, two days apart.  I have found this antibiotic (kanamycin) does not seem to bother fish, and I have lots of corys and some fairly sensitive wild caught species.  This antibiotic is readily absorbed by fish, so it is in the bloodstream where it can be most effective.  Data:

http://www.seachem.com/Product.....aPlex.html

Corydoras sterbai is ideal in warm tanks.  This species is often seen with wild-caught angelfish (that need the higher temps) and discus.

One pencilfish species comes to mind, Nannostomus beckfordi.  It should be fine with the GH and pH, and might manage with the warmth.  It is rather an active, sometimes boisterous fish, and remains in the upper half/third so a nice addition.  A group of at least 8-9; males are forever challenging each other, with some neat interactions.  I've had this species several times over the years, and found they are only a problem with quiet surface fish, like hatchets, which they like to nip at, probably because they are in "their" space.

Hemigrammus ocellifer would be ideal, for all your parameters.  I prefer the closely-related H. pulcher but this is a bit fussier with pH, and seems hard to find.  The Glowlight Tetra, Hemigrammus erythrozonus, might work for you; more tolerant of parameters than the neons.  Hyphessobrycon flammeus, the Flame Tetra, should work, quite well actually.

You can search all of these here on SF in the knowledge base.  B.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
December 31, 2015
8:40 pm
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Kel
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December 29, 2015
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Byron Hosking said
If you are fairly certain that some type of bacterial fin rot is present, I would recommend KanaPlex.  This is a Seachem product, and is in my experience highly effective with bacterial issues like fin degeneration.  I believe they recommend three doses, two days apart.  I have found this antibiotic (kanamycin) does not seem to bother fish, and I have lots of corys and some fairly sensitive wild caught species.  This antibiotic is readily absorbed by fish, so it is in the bloodstream where it can be most effective.  Data:
http://www.seachem.com/Product.....aPlex.html
Corydoras sterbai is ideal in warm tanks.  This species is often seen with wild-caught angelfish (that need the higher temps) and discus.
One pencilfish species comes to mind, Nannostomus beckfordi.  It should be fine with the GH and pH, and might manage with the warmth.  It is rather an active, sometimes boisterous fish, and remains in the upper half/third so a nice addition.  A group of at least 8-9; males are forever challenging each other, with some neat interactions.  I've had this species several times over the years, and found they are only a problem with quiet surface fish, like hatchets, which they like to nip at, probably because they are in "their" space.
Hemigrammus ocellifer would be ideal, for all your parameters.  I prefer the closely-related H. pulcher but this is a bit fussier with pH, and seems hard to find.  The Glowlight Tetra, Hemigrammus erythrozonus, might work for you; more tolerant of parameters than the neons.  Hyphessobrycon flammeus, the Flame Tetra, should work, quite well actually.
You can search all of these here on SF in the knowledge base.  B.

Thank you so much for your recommendations. I will definitely look into them.

Will the medicine harm inverts? My shrimp, oddly, of all my creatures seem to do best. Time and time again I think they're gone only for a couple to show up. Have had them for months now.

December 31, 2015
11:18 pm
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Byron Hosking
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I would not think it likely that KanaPlex will harm invertebrates; I don't have shrimp, but my multitude of snails have never been affected as far as I can tell.  But Seachem will answer emails on their products, and aside from weekends and holidays, within a few hours usually, so open that link I gave previously and email them.  I didn't see anything specific.  B.

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