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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a few months I will be getting a 75 gal acrylic tank (60x18x16). Converted (I hope this is right) 283L, 152x45x40C

I have been researching all this for over a month now and currently I am overwhelmed with info going through my head and I need to put it to words and hopefully get feedback. This is a large venture in terms of time, effort, and money so I want to get this right.

Things I have tentatively decided so far:

Filter - Emperor Power Filter 400BD. Seems pretty good from what I have read but there are so many to choose from.

Substrate - Play sand from Home Depot/Lowe's. Read that it is really good and economical.

Decor - A lfs has petrified wood, slate rock, lava rock, various other rocks for $.39-.59 cents a pound. I was planning on attaching plants to the the petrified wood. Also planning on driftwood if I can find some at a good price locally. I do not want to prepare my own.

Plants - Windelov´s Fern (Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'), Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus), and/or some Anubias. These will be attached to petrified wood and driftwood. Also at least 2 different Echinodorus for variety. And definitely a floating plant of some type that will grow fast that I can prune to remove nitrate from my system. Maybe some Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus) for patches of ground cover.

That is all I have for now on the system, of course nothing set in stone. Any comment on any of this would be much appreciated.

As for the fish here is what I am planning so far.

Bolivian Ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus) - I would like at least 5 because I read they are more interesting in groups of 5 or more. I am not sure how many I can keep in a tank of this size and make up though. And I do have a local breeder of these!

Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri) - I want a school of these, exactly how many I do not know.

Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri) - I want of school of these also, and again not sure how many exactly.

Corydoras trilineatus - I would like at least 4 of these. I love cory cats and these are my favorite.

Zebra Loach (Botia striata) - I am planning at least 2 of these guys, more if I can fit them without overcrowding.

These are the fish I have my heart set on, the Bolivian Rams being the center piece of my tank. I am fairly sure the fish listed above can get along fine together but, once again, I would appreciate any comments on these fish and numbers I could support in tank of size I am planning on.

As for other tank mates, I am at a loss. Other then the Zebra Loaches I would like to keep my tank all South American. I do not like angelfish or discus at all.

I would really like some type of Apistogramma but I am not sure there is room in my tank for them, most of the fish I really want already are bottom dwellers. And if I did have room I am not sure which type would work best with fish I am planning or which ones aren't too much of a pain to care for.

I am also struggling to find and decide on mid to upper level fish. I have a lot of time to decide these things but I would rather get as much info as I can early, that way I can make an informed decision later on.

Once again, any comments on tank set up and additional info or suggestions on my fish selection will be very much appreciated.

Kevin
 

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G'day KC,

I don't know about that brand of filter. I guess if it's got a good product review here it will be fine. What is the hourly turnover for it?

Playsand is perfect, just make sure you wash it out well.

Decor. Depends on which part of the Amazons' river system your fish are from, but there are few rocks in many of the rivers, so I don't usually have many in my tanks. Usually just lots of driftwood and plants in my tanks.

What lighting system are you going to using for the tank? That's what I spent today checking out at a few LFS. Generally it's cheaper to buy filters, lighting, etc online.

As four your stocking levels. A bit lite on. :D

I think you could probably go atleast 7 Bolivian rams. You'd have to waite for Ruurd, Blair or Ed to advise on the male to female ratio.

Without googling the two Emporer tetra species, I'm assuming one is the standard Emporer tetra and the other is the Blue Emporer tetra. Most LFS here don't cary Blue emporer tetras as they don't have a high survival rate.

I'm not a fan of the loaches, and as you said, they're not SA fish. Anyway...

Corydoras trilineatus is a nice cory. :thumb: But I'd be looking at having 8 atleast.
I'd also look at having atleast 5 otocinclus catfish.

As for adding an apisto species. I think you should be fine to add a trio of what ever species you like. Apistogramma cacatuoides are the most commonly available and hardy species.

Finally have you checked out any of the smaller plecos for your tank? Lots of people keep bristlenose catfish. Personally I find most variants a little ordinary, but realy like the Starlight Bristlenose Catfish. http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/sp ... ies_id=221

However I've started adding dwarf panaque catfish to my tanks. Som interesting patterns, and most are vegetarians.
 

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Emperor's rock in my opinion, I use them on all my tanks. You might want to go with two though, both on the low flow setting. Non of the fish you want to keep appreciate current. And remember the 400 gph is without media and set on max. So with the media in and set on the lowest, two would give you the turnover you'd want.

A note on the tetras ... true or blue emperor's (palmeri and kerri) are not schooling tetras. They tend to stake out an area above a plant and hover keeping others a small distant away. I love them, but in the past usually ended up adding another tetra to get that schooling effect.

I'd echo DFF's idea of the oto's, though I'd up them to ten or so. Great algae eaters and gentle enough not to ruin your plants while scrapping the leaves for algae.
 

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You may want to consider pool filter sand versus play sand. PFS is cleaner and easier to wash prior to putting it in your tank. It's a teeny bit more expensive at about $7 per 50 pound bag from my local pool supply place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I posted in this forum specifically because my main interest in posting, above all else, is the condition and well being of the Rams and possible Apisto. That is why I chose this forum over the general set up one.

Oto's are another bottom dweller, could I support 5 or even 10? Along with as suggested 7 rams, trio of Apisto, 8 cory's, and the loaches? My concern with crowding is stress of my fish, perhaps not to point of them dying but even if it stresses them a little I want to avoid it. I am mainly concerned about the Bolivian Rams and Apisto if I got them. I am sure the other bottom residents wouldn't be that upset with these numbers. Other then providing a cave or 2 for the trio of Apisto they share the same wants and needs as Rams in terms of tank territory correct?

On a side note, the same local breeder of Bolivian Rams near me also breeds Apistogramma cacatuoides, standard orange ones and if I can remember off the top of my head the 3 red stripe variety too. I think the basic orange ones look neater, but that's just my preference.

As for lighting system that will ultimately be decided by plants. I will go as low as they can tolerate. From what I have read fish I am choosing will appreciate not being under bright lights. I have thought about lighting but at this point my head is still swimming with all the other considerations. I hope that deciding that last based on plant needs works ok.

I thought about pool filter sand but decided on play sand after I read something negative about it.... I don't recall what that was anymore. Possibly cory cats don't like it or plants dont do well in it? I really don't remember but I did read something negative about it on a forum here or at age of aquarium.

Well if both the tetra I have suggested don't school but basically have the same behavior should I just get 1 type to avoid competition for space? If I did add another tetra type for schooling effect I would be inclined towards lemon. I am almost positive they would fit in perfectly. Although I did want the 2 Emperor types for their color(and they are really neat at the LFS). I thought that lemon would be to close to Bolivian Rams in appearance and might not give a nice balanced look to the tank.
 

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G'day KC,

Otos are not bottom dwelling fish. They basically move from plant to aquarium decoration to glass looking for algea to eat. Mine will occasionally scrounge along the bottom, but that's usually when I add algea wafers or zuccini to the feeding routine. They try and beat the panaques to a nice treat.

If anyone is going to upset the bottom dwelling cichlids, it'll be the corys. Mine tend to scoot around in a couple of small gangs, or all together, and sometimes they get to close to a curviceps breeding rock and get chased off.

I've never kept loaches, so do not know how they will interact.

My experience with apistos, is once a female picks a cave structure as hers, she pretty much stay's within a 6 inch diameter of it, and mine only left that territory at feeding time, or chase off another female apisto (who got to close to anothers log/cave during feeding), or chase off another cichlid when guarding eggs. The male considered the whole tank as his territory, and went where ever he pleased, unless chased off.

In my opinion, as long as a pair of rams don't decide to use the surface of a an apisto cave structure as a spawning site, there should be little aggression between the two.

As for tetras. Love my Lemon tetras. Have you looked at Red Phantom tetras, or hatchetfish? I like to mix two or more different shapped tetras as dithers in my tanks. My Lemons don't really school as such. However my hatchetfish, pencilfish, penguin tetras and rummynose tetras do.
 

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Hey KC,

For the bolivian ram stocking you could easily keep 5. I am setting up a 75 for a group of my bolivian fry and I will keep a group of 9. That is the max and they will be the only cichlids. If you keep a harem of Apistos, then 5 bolivians would be the most I would keep. I am going to keep 3m/6f but anything up to an even 50/50 ratio is fine. Bolivians are group oriented fish, so don't shy away from getting a good group, especially if you have a breeder nearby! I would recommend examining the pectoral fins and spine for deformities before buying them, both are common in bolivian fry. Keep an eye out for short bodies, blunt noses and waves in the membranes of the pectoral fins.

I agree with DeadFishFloating that you should go ahead and increase the corys to 6-8. Otos would be a great addition. I keep 8 in a 75 and they do a good job keeping it clean and I feed them some zucchini once a week.

I have an Emperor 400 on my 75g, along with a marineland C360 canister. If you don't want to invest in a canister filter, I would consider running 2 Emperors to get a better turnover. Personally, I would run them full flow, I don't think the current would be a problem at all.

Your plan sounds good to me. Good luck :thumb:

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the feedback, this has me thinking again (which isn't a bad thing).

As for canister vs power filters my mind is still swimming with all those details.
 

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Aren't the emperor tetras of the fin nibbling kind??? I expect them to be nice tankmates for larger fish.

I love the lemon tetras and they are definitely underappreciated! When they feel happy they show some amazing colors! I think a school of 20 lemons would be awesome!

You could easely add a school of 10 or even more Oto's to the tank, but all depends on other tank inhabitants and stock level. If you go for a larger number you do need to feed them algea wafers.

Corydoras often feed on wigglers and eggs so if you plan on breeding some of the dwarf cichlids I don't recommend them as tankmates.

Poolfiltersand is save as far as I know. Play sand is an good alternative but,.....you need to rinse it very good!!! It contains a lot of small particles that you need to rinse out. If not your tank will be cloudy for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Corydoras often feed on wigglers and eggs so if you plan on breeding some of the dwarf cichlids I don't recommend them as tankmates.
Not that breeding is my main priority but I would like to leave that option open to myself. I have read that Corydoras pygmaeus doesn't bother with eggs very much. These might be a good addition instead of the Corydoras trilineatus.
 

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Hey KC,

Depends on how good the parents are at protecting the spawn. My dwarf acaras have had no trouble protecting thier spawns from a school of 10 corydoras jullii
 
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