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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks!

I'm about to purchase a 4x2x2 tank and have decided to make it a South American biotope (does not have to be a 100% accurate geography wise to a specific river or area in SA but 'South American' species only). I will be filtering with a large and powerful external filter.

I am working on the premise that I can stock up to 8ft in fish.

My intended stocking will have a good many types of small tetra.

Shoal 20 - Neons
Shoal 20 - Rummynoses
Shoal 10 - Lemon Tetras
Shoal 10 - Emperor Tetras
Shoal 6 - Bleeding Heart Tetras
Shoal 6 - Columbian Tetras

A large herd of corys (50/50 sterbai and pandas) and perhaps a couple of port hoplas or something similar.

Now, cichlids;

I would like a group of angels, I also like laetacara dorsigera, I would like to maximise on species of cichlid and minimise on conflict between them.

I would like ideas on species and numbers.

I am also considering a group of striped anostomus but hear conflicting things about them nipping fins and consuming plants. Perhaps I might also consider some oddball fish, a black ghost for example.
 

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G'day Hap44.

My personal opinion. One or two large schools of tetra look way better than three or four smaller schools of tetra. I do think the neons may end up as Angel snacks, once the Angels reach adult size. I really like the idea of Lemon tetras and Emporer tetras.

Instead of the anostomus species, have look at Abramites hypselonotus (marble headstander) instead.

If you have two species of corydoras, I think you'll find they'll tend to shaol in species groups, and not in one large gang. I once had 12 corydoras julii, and they were a hoot. Something else to think about, maybe instead of corydoras, you might want to look at some of the small fance plecos such as; Peckoltia compta L134, Hypancistrus sp. (L333) or Hypancistrus sp. (L066). Well, there are many species, these are just some I like.

Now for the cichlids.

I've kept both Laetacara dorsigera and Laetacara curviceps. My experience was that my dorsigera were very aggressive and would not tolerate any other dwarf cichlids in thier tank, and even hunted and killed smaller tetras. However my curviceps were a great community cichlid, they kept to themselves the majority of time, but weren't shy, and would breed in the community tank and defended thier small teritory.

With Angels and a species of Laetacara in the tank, depending on numbers, I would consider one, maybe two other dwarf species of SA cichlid. Personally I would consider a small group of Mikrogeophagus altispinosa (Bolivian Ram) and/or a trio of apistogramma.

It really comes down to how many Angels and Laetacara you would like to keep, before you look to add any other cichlids.

Just as importantly, it will also depend on how you have the tank set up, substrate, driftwood and plants (?), etc.

I'm not a fan of high water flow/turnover in this type of SA cichlid tank. If your filtration is removing the majority of "waste" from the substrate, then it's doing it's job. A turnover rate of 4 times the volume per hour is perfectly fine, it doesn't have to be 10 times an hour with a strong current. Regular water changes, substrate vacuuming and filter cleans are more important, as these are what keep nitrates under controll, not large and powerfull canister filters.
 

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I agree that two larger schools would look better, and after thinking about it ... the color/shape differences with the lemons and emperors that DFF suggested does sound good.

On that same note, I think a single group of cories looks better than a mixed one, but this ... like the tetras ... is a personal preference.

I also agree that one of the smaller headstanders would work better than the Anostomus species, my favorite is Chilodus punctatus (spotted headstander). A small group looks good and stands out.

I'd say that the curviceps makes a great choice if looking for something smaller, keyholes would be a good choice for something larger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies folks.

I have heard this answer about dorsigera being little psychos before and I guess this additional info compounds it. I did keep a pair myself a great many years ago and they killed a pair of nannocara anomola in a 3ft tank, I had assumed it was a mix of them breeding and small tank and overly aggressive individual, guess that's not the case.

Regarding the tetras, I love the emperors a lot but I have not found them to be a 'showy' shoaling fish, rather the males establish territories and display to the females in them. I understand the visual impact with reducing to just two species and I'm considering it as I guess the same rule applies as with planting that big bunches of the same look more natural than a 'fruit and veg stall' look. With the neons/angelfish issue, I've been considering the tanks I've seen where the angels and neons have reached adulthood together and the neons are too large to easily snack on.

To cichlids, perhaps a pair of curviceps, a small group of rams and a trio of apistogramma

Could someone advise on apistos with good colour variance to the other cichlids? I don't want interspecific aggression between them and the rams.

Was also looking at chequerboard cichlids but suspect they would be too dainty for the other species (and that territory is running out in the tank for all these dwarfs!).
 

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Bolivian rams are a good social cichlid and it's probably better to keep a group of six, instead of just a pair. In this case I would only want to add a pair of curviceps and not try a for three dwarf cichlids.

Cacatuoides are a good community tank apisto.

Another tetra to consider are Penguin tetras.
 

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Agree with those who say limit the different schools of tetras. One note about rummynoses -- I love them, but mine say in the lower 1/2 to 1/3 of the tank. Since whatever cichlid you go with (except angels) will be also occupying that space, and since I personally like my tetras to fill the upper levels of the tank, I'd recommend not going with rummies. Some tetras I've had and like include:

flame (von rios)
pristella
green fire

I know these are CA not SA, but rainbow cichlids can be very dramatic and peaceful and are larger and can help fill up your large tank better than apistos, which I think might get a bit "lost" in your sized and stocked tank.

and you NEED an albino long-finned BN pleco!
 
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