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Celestichthys vs Boraras Stocking Question

Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes Celestichthys vs Boraras Stocking Question

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          I have plans for a 5gal Fluval Spec planted tank. I would like to have a pair of Trichopsis pumila, and I would also like a small school of either Boraras sp. (B. brigittae, B. maculatus or both – less of each if both) or Celestichthys (either C. marginatus, C. erythromicron, or both – less of each if both). How many would you recommend for a tank this small? Which group possesses more interesting behavior? Which group will school better? I really want to get a Nuvo 16gal without the lights, but I can’t seem to find a vendor.

    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.


    Barb Man

    Probably just the Boraras because the others would be too much. Anything in a five gallon is pushing it. If you don’t mind looking and aren’t really interested in the colors then you could go B. Micros they are the smallest in the genus. You could get dwarf amber barbs too and they are even smaller I believe. The Boraras might spawn in a heavy planted tank same with the barbs. The barbs name is Barboides gracilis. Either way it would better than the bigger fish. The ‘rasbora’ are out of the question. I have some in a ten and they barely behave. I had to lid it tighter because two jumped out of the hole in the back of the hood.

    some might say you can do them and if you can pull it off then okay but I wouldn’t go down to a five gallon if you want a 16


    Darrell Ullisch

    I’ve kept and bred three of the four species mentioned in 5 gallon tanks. Boraras brigittae I spawned in a long 20.

    Celestichthys are shy hiders unless in very large numbers. I put a half dozen of each of those species in separate 5’s, and while I did get fry, I hardly ever saw the adults. In very large numbers at the Shedd Aquarium, I saw C. margaritatus were out and about. The Boraras prefer to school, even in a 5 gallon tank. I put six B. maculatus in with a clump of java moss, but a few weeks after I got them I had some health problems that kept me from getting to the fishroom for more than two weeks. Somehow, a culture of Cyclops self-started in the tank, and apparently this is a favorite food; when I finally got back downstairs there were almost two dozen fry in the tank with the adults! I do NOT recommend this method of breeding.

    I would not put them in that size tank with Trichopsis pumilus, however. My experience is that male pumilus can be slightly aggressive with smaller fish.



    Thank you for the input; I do appreciate it.

    I plan on having a fairly complex tank internal structure with plants and a lot of hiding places. Although I can’t decide how strict I will be, I do want an Asian biotope. I am not sure if I will do it on a particular region. 

    I guess I could just do T. pumila in the 5 gal. How many B. micros or Barboides gracilis would be possible in the 5gal? I know it is a bit small, so I am not against just having T. pumila as they are my favorite fish.

    If it did a 16-20gal, would it be good enough to have a school of 10 or so B. margintatus or B. erythromicron with T. pumila. Besides Trichopsis and anabantoids in general, I really enjoy Carinotetraodon sp. but I realize that is even more of a species tank.

    If anyone has suggestions, I am looking for a kit tank up to the size of a 20gal. By kit, I mean one with an area in the back to hide the filter and heater so it is not visible (like in the Fluval Spec V or Nuvo 16 gal). Any ideas or suggestions?

    I want to get the following lighting for a tank in that size range: Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C7OTE0O/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=38OHOUNN8HLOD&coliid=I729XV3JLI8VF&psc=1). Anyone have any opinions on this product?


    I am trying to keep my setup at around $300 USD.

    It has been a few years since I have had a tank because of veterinary school, so I am a little rusty. Cheers and thanks again for the help.


    Byron Hosking

    My comments will be solely on the fish species mentioned so far.

    I personally would want a larger tank than a 5g for T. pumila, as I find this species best in a small group.  I have six, two turned out to be males and four females, in a 3-foot 33g tank.  If you can be certain of the gender, one male with two females in a 10g would be fine.  Males are feisty at times, and like all gourami territorial.

    I agree that C. margaritatus needs a largish group as mentioned, and in the larger tank (i.e., not the 5g) on their own, fine.  A group of Boraras (whichever single species) in a 5g is OK, well planted as intended, maybe 8-10 in number.  They are not active fish, but will be out more than the C. margaritatus.




     So you think a single male T. pumila will terrorize a single female T. pumila? Hmm, well I certainly would not want that. Some of the first fish I bought for my first tank were 2 Trichopsis pumila. One died within the first couple of days from what I assumed was poor acclimation. The surviving one was my favorite fish. He lived for about a year when I mistakenly purchased two Tricopsis vittata (thinking they were T. pumila  –  they were quite small at the time and I was more ignorant) who eventually killed the T. pumila. I have wanted them since, and I have not desire to have stressed occupants. Like I said, I am trying to find another kit tank I like. Any suggestions?


    Byron Hosking

    No, I didn’t mean to suggest the male will kill the female.  Males will squabble among themselves, and with sufficient space and heavy floating plants this usually works out, and it is natural behaviour.  Given my experiences twice with small groups of this species in 3-foot tanks I would not want to confine this to a 5g or 10g space.  Males do not seem to drive females as hard in this species as can occur in some of the larger gourami, but again my experience has always been with the group in larger quarters where one is more likely to observe behaviours that tend to be more “natural” than can sometimes occur in very tight quarters.


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