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Fish for my new 180L

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    So I’ve bought my first ever aquarium and would like some advice on which fish I can have in it. I have a Juwel Rio 180L.

    My water values are:

    PH: 7.2-7.4
    GH: 3

    Have a stabile temp of 24-25 degrees celcius. NO2/NO3/NH4 values are very high now due to the start up phase, but will be at 0 before any fish enters.

    The aquarium is in the start up phase, with no fish. Using Salmi (ammonia) deposited directly into the water and following the water values for 4-6 weeks. I have no hurry to get fish, I want to do the start up phase properly and have a good bacterial culture before any fish enters. 


    Any recommendations? 
    So far I like Otocinclus affinis, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Corydoras and some kind of Ancistrus. I’m open for any fish that can live peacefully together. 

    Will decorate my aquarium with roots, plants and hiding places. Currently only water flow is from the filter. 



    I have a Boyu lz810 (198 litres) with these parameters:

    PH 7.5 or .6

    GH 13 (lowering to suit my fish)

    KH 11 (lowers alongside the GH)

    Temp 25C

    It is decorated with multiple driftwood roots, many rocks to form caves and aquatic plants.

    I successfully keep gourami, tetras, dwarf cichlids and ancistrus in it. The fish you’ve suggested will be fine in the aquarium, although you may want to lower the PH (not an issue for you as your water is very soft , so the KH will be just as low), as a PH of 6.5 is best in that setup.


    Byron Hosking

    Hi xcitu and AS, welcome to Seriously Fish.  

    Sorry it has taken me three weeks to respond, xcitu; I saw your post three weeks ago but I have been unable to post anything due to some glitch I guess, which has just been resolved by the admin.  To answer your question, you have many options with soft water as the majority of the hobby fish occur in South America and SE Asia.  Just avoid livebearers, rift lake cichlids, and a few others that would require harder water.

    A 180 litre is roughly 50 gallons which is a good size too.  Many of these fish are relatively small, and need shoals (groups).  Your mentioned fish are South American, so staying in that region I would suggest pencilfish, hatchetfish, and other tetras.  When setting up a community tank, several factors are involved; water parameters for the species, water flow/current, aquascaping (substrate, plants, wood, rock, etc), and of course the species themselves (size, numbers, temperament/compatibility).  With corys mentioned, a sand substrate is best as these fish naturally sift the sand through their gills as they browse for food; you don’t mention substrate, but now is the time to change should you need to.  Branches, roots, wood and plants are ideal for the fish we are discussing.  Floating plants should always be considered with these fish.

    A group of minimum 7 but with this much space I would suggest 10-12 Parachierdon axelrodi.  Otocinclus are also also shoaling fish, and I have found that a group of 3-5 works well.  Corydoras also need a group, no fewer than five or six, and in this tank you could have up to 20 of the “normal” sized species (those remaining 2 inches max).  You can mix species but it is best to have a few of each species in the mix if possible.  Ancistrus, the bristlenose plecostomus, would be fine as a single specimen.  The largest I believe is around five inches, but many species remain in the 3 to 4 inch range.

    With the above, you have fish that will prefer the lower half of the aquarium (otos the exception) so other fish should be species that will prefer the upper levels to provide a balance visually as well as having more individual space.  Many of the pencilfish prefer the upper half, some like Nannostomus eques near the surface, and of course hatchetfish are surface fish; any of the species in the genus Carnegiella would be ideal here, and you can mix the species in this genus.  The other genera (Gasteropelecus and Thoracocharax) get a bit larger.

    I’ve only given broad suggestions, as I would prefer to know more of your own preferences once you have had a look at these.


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