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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear All,
I am a new member and i'm just gonna share with everyone my new 4 ft setup for SA Dwarves. The inhabitants of my current 2ft tank are all gonna be shifted into this new setup. It's still an ongoing process and I will try to update the progress as much as i can.

Here's some of the inhabitants of my current 2ft tank:

My male ram. :D

Corydoras Concolor

The new tank.

The filtration. Atman cannister filter connected to a pre-filter.

Substrate is gonna be ADA Amazonia II :thumb:

I am planning to scape the 4 ft with plenty of plants, keeping in mind the need to physically plant the flora in a way so that the cichlids can have territories of their own.

The flora i'm planning to use (all low light and easy going plants):
Narrow Leaf java ferns
Windelov java ferns
Tropica java ferns (these are really BIG java ferns)

Anubias Nana
Anubias Barteri
Petite Nana

Cryptocoryne Parva
Cryptocoryne Wendtii

The fauna:

1 pair of Rams (from the old tank)
1 pair of A.Caca
1 pair of A.bitaeniata
1 pair of A.viejita

20 Rummy Nose Tetra
6 Corydoras Concolor
20 Corydoras pygmaeus
1 pair of Clown Killies (from the old tank)

1 oto (from the old tank)
1 Tiger oto (from the old tank)
2 Farlowellas (from the old tank)

a mixture of shrimps (from the old tank)

some advice i would like to seek;
1. is it advisable to include a pair or trio of discus into that list?
2. or should i include a pair of Dicrossus (checkerboards) instead?
2. are there any surface swimming SA species i can use to fill the space at the top? I have ruled out hatchets as i find them drab. :p

Thanks for reading.

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289 Posts
you say 4ft tank, 75 or 55gal?

you seem to be pretty heavily stocked either way, but I dont recommend those numbers if its a 55gal at all.

I would not put checkerboards in there.

I would also not put discus in there.

as for a mid to upper strata cichlid, there are no dwarfs, but angelfish tend to stay higher in the water column, but again your pretty stocked in there...oh, you meant surface sa fish....hatchets are really the only one I can come up with. If your tetras shoal, that might fill that niche though.

Just a note, 26 corydoras!!!!

They will all hang out near the bottom of the tank, which is where your cichlids will too. I would recommend about 5 or 6 of a regular sized maybe 10 or 12 of the dwarfs. Keep in mind, the cichlids and corys will occupy the same space, so you dont want to overcrowd them.

As another note, instead of 20 rummy nose, I might be tempted to do 10 and 10 with a different tetra species to give two different schools, but thats just me.

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324 Posts
I agree it sounds overstocked. Too many cories, I'd try for a dozen total. I'd get another 6 or so otos to accompany the one you have, and add another species of tetra, maybe black skirt tetras or another high bodied tetra that contrasts with the body shape of the rummynoses.

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2,384 Posts
G'day aeren,

We really do need your tank dimensions.

Have you looked at marbled hatchetfish? They certainly aren't drab in appearance. Also pencilfish school higher up in the tank. If you can, try and get a 1 to 3, male to female ratio with pencilfish. The most common variety are golden pencilfish, after work tonight I'll try and find a photo of each gender, so you know what to look for at the LFS. Males will fight, mostly sparring, but don't hurt each other physically. Can be very interesting to watch.

Another tetra I would definately recommend would be lemon tetras.

I agree with kornphlake about adding more otos to your tank.

I'm still not sure about your number of corydoras. I actually have no problem with there being 20 C. pygmaeus. I'm just sure if I would have the two types in there. I would personally go with 8 to 10 of the larger C. concolor, or 20ish of the C. pygmaeus. I would really like to see apistomaster comment on this.

As for the cichlids. Again I have concerns over there being three types of apistos in the one tank. Apistos usually are a harem cichlid, where one male will have a territory with two, three or more females in it. I would sooner see 2 pairs of Blue rams, and a trio of one species of apisto.

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554 Posts
First off...beautiful fish :thumb:

I agree, anyway you look at it, that's overstocked, not from a Bio-load standpoint, but regarding space for territories for all of the apistogramma and rams. Aggression would be a problem, especially while having to share the tank floor with a large colony of cories.

Personally, I think one large shoal of a single species of tetras looks way better than 2 smaller shoals of different species.

If the tank is 75g, the cory numbers are also fine, but I would go with either the concolor OR the pygmaeus just to eliminate some fish from the cichlids strata.

I would recommend keeping Otos in groups of at least 5.

Three species of Apistogramm is really pushing it in a 75g. I don't doubt that it could work just fine, but more likely some fish would be excessively stressed during breeding. I agree with DeadFishFloating that 2 pairs of rams and a harem of apistos would be a better option.

If the tank is a 55g, a pair of rams and a harem of apistogramma is most I would attempt.

Another option would be to drop all the Apistogramma and keep Discus with your pair of rams (if 75g). However, the Otos will not tolerate the high temperatures the Discus require, so your Oto would need to be left in another tank.

If it were me, I would stock Rams (pair), harem of Apistoramma (1m/3f), 20 Rummynose, and 20 pygmaeus.


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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the replies.

Firstly, my tank is a 75G. :thumb:

I have decided to thin the number of cories since the general opinion here is that they will incur some form of aggression from the cichlids. (especially during spawning).

DeadFishFloating; Thanks for mentioning pencilfishes. I will look into their availability at my LFS. :thumb:

The only change i am unwilling to make is to have a harem of a single species for the apistos. I have pondered over this for a great length of time and have decided to go with the aforementioned 3 species anyways. I have decided to take the risk. Hopefully the strategically placed plants will reduce the problem of territorial disputes.

But how about this;
If i were to exchange the pair of A.Bits for a pair of checkerboards, will it change the level of potential aggression in the tank?

Another question;
A close friend of mine whom is also a fellow SA dwarf cichlid lover, he swears that certain species of apistogramma is more aggressive than others. For example: Is it true that a A.Nijsenni is inherently more aggressive than a A.Caca??

Next step, cycling the tank. Pics soon. :D

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289 Posts
checkerboards are small

apistograma bitaeniata are on the larger apisto size. So, from a size standpoint it might help to make things a little less crowded/aggressive. Im not sure if some are more agressive than others, but my male A.bitaeniata is pretty aggressive (had to remove a siamese algea eater who was being picked on by him!). However, In my opinion, bitaeniata are one of the best looking apisto, I would not want to get rid of them!

I have heard various opinions on apisto stocking (and apparently, in the wild, they live at shockingly high densities). The local expert at my LFS swears, and claims he has, a 4ft tank with 3 different breading pairs of apisto's. It supposedly works if you break the tank up into three sections using rocks, driftwood, and plants to create 3 different zones. I will not argue with any of the apisto experts here, and go with 1m/2f ratio being ideal, but your "experiment" may just work. Its less than ideal, and not the best for your fish, but that doesnt mean it wont work.

personally, and if I were you, I would go with 4 rams, and 1 harem of apisto in that tank. If you still feel cichlid light, some angelfish would also work. You might be able to squeeze some chekerboards in there with the rams and 1 harem of apisto too....just my 2c.

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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
some updates.

Been planting while cycling the tank. :)
Overall view

I have tried to segregate three distinct areas using caves as the centre point. as what naegling23 suggested.

Cave no.1

Cave no.2

Cave no.3

A fourth cave will be introduced on the left side of the tank when my narrow leaf ferns fill up the midground. :thumb: Hopefully when the plants grow out, the greenery will be thick enuff to sustain four pairs of dwarf cichlids.

Apologies for the size of the photos... the new photobucket uploader doesn't seem to like me very much. will get it fixed soon.
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