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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for some stocking advice for an upcoming 90 gallon (US) tank, which is 48"w x 18" l x 24"h. The tank will have a sand substrate and will be planted, mainly with low-tech plants like Anubias, java ferns, and java moss. I won't have enough light for swords, but I am open to fake swords if anyone can recommend some that actually look good. Most of the ones I've seen around here look entirely too plastic for my tastes.

Here's one of the stocking options I'm toying around with:

1 angelfish
3 bolivian rams
6 corydoras
1 smaller-breed plecostomus
8-10 dither fish (ideally harlequin rasboras, with bleeding heart tetras as a backup plan)
malaysian trumpet snails

Even with the rocks, cave, driftwood, and plants, I think I have room for at least a few more.

That's where you experts come in! What else could I add to this tank that won't nip the angel's fins, and won't eat the plants or the snails? Another cichlid type (keyhole, perhaps?) would be great, but I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Keyholes would probably do well in that tank. I always had great success when keeping keyholes with angels. There are also the flag cichlids, Laetacara sp. They are small, stocky fish similar in temperament and behavior to keyholes but possibly more colorful (though not much).
 

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G'day mathas,

First thing I would do is look at your stocking levels. I would double the number of every species you listed. :D
2 angelfish
6 bolivian rams
12 corydoras
2 smaller-breed plecostomus
16-20 dither fish

I always like the look of the wild cuaght species of angelfish, especially Red Peruvian scalare, but each to his own.

For the plecos, look at these profiles. Personally I'd start with L183, Starlight Bristlenos. Easy to look after, and will keep some control over algea.

As for dithers, there are so many species of tetras. Personally I prefer two different types that school. There are many higher bodied tetras, Red & Black Phantom tetras, Lemon tetras, Diamond tetras, bleeding Heart tetras, as well as Emperor & Blue Emeror tetras. I also love marbled hatchetfish, they school right at the surface (provided there isn't a strong surface current), and are something a little different. Photo of some of my marbled hatchetfish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback, both of you!

DeadFishFloating said:
First thing I would do is look at your stocking levels. I would double the number of every species you listed. :D
2 angelfish
6 bolivian rams
12 corydoras
2 smaller-breed plecostomus
16-20 dither fish
Well, looking at the oft-repeated "1 inch of adult fish per gallon of water" rule, your suggestion would leave me at around 107" of fish to 90 gallons of water. It might be OK with frequent water changes, since I have a filter that's larger than necessary for the tank, but that still seems a bit too overstocked for my tastes.

However, after getting the tank last night and looking at just how much room there is even with the rocks and wood, I absolutely agree that I can fit in more than I'd thought; and when it comes to the cleanup crew (corys and plecos), I'll need more than I'd thought.

DeadFishFloating said:
For the plecos, look at these profiles. Personally I'd start with L183, Starlight Bristlenos. Easy to look after, and will keep some control over algea.
I've never been a big fan of the bristlenose plecos, but that is a beautiful fish. That one's definitely going on my wanted list, after the tank cycles.

Here's what I'm considering now that I see the tank:

3 x angelfish
3 x bolivian rams
8 x bleeding heart tetras
8 x corydoras
2 x L183 bristlenose plecos

My only concern is having the three angels, and possible aggression issues if I accidentally wind up with a breeding pair. But if 3 angels can work out, that would give me around 80" of adult fish, which leaves me enough room that I could choose to add one more fish. Any suggestions on what I could add for a bright pop of color, but will stay under 5"?

I was intrigued by the color of a red velvet swordtail I saw at the local fish store, but I'm open to all suggestions.
 

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I have no experience with Angels but I suggest to check how many of them you need to keep the tank peaceful.

I suggest to keep at least 5 Bolivians and with enough plants and driftwood around you could easely add 9 of them if you like. The 8 cory's will be fine and a nice group. I do suggest to take the number of tetras up to 16 or 20 for some nice schooling behaviour. If you would make up your mind and go for smaller tetras I suggest 20 to 30. The larger species like the bleeding heart are save with Angels dough. Two bristlenose will be fine.
 

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Hi again mathas,

Angelfish aren't always the Angels they are named after. As dielikemoviestars alluded to, once two out of three angelfish form a pair, they will pick on the third angelfish. There have been many members here who have experienced this, and even had angelfish kill other angelfish.

This is why I suggested getting only two. However the problem here is, when buying juveniles it's next to impossible to tell males from females. What many people do is buy six juveniles, and grow them out, and when they identify a definate pair, they return the rest to the LFS. If you have the money to do this, this would be my suggestion. Just make sure you make an arrangement with your LFS, rarely will they give you money back, but are often happy to do it for store credit.

Definately follow Dutch Dude's advice when it comes to Bolivian rams, he's the man (hi Ed, Blair :D :p ). As Dutch Dude said, Bolivian rams are social fish and you'll get much more enjoyment watching them interact.

The problem with the one inch per gallon rule, is that it does not take into account which area of the tank a certain species of fish will occupy, what size of territory a certain species will require, and how a certain species behaviour and temperament will impact on possible tank mates.

I (and many others) have found that by carefully planning your stock list, you can stock a tank rather heavily. Anyway, I have a reputation for offering advice towards the conservative end of stocking levels.

A note on fancy plecos, they produce a lot of waste. Also, read the species profiles on the link I provided, as different species of plecos have very different dietry needs. Basicall... Most Ancistrus (bristlenose) species are omnivores and will eat certain vegetables, veggie & krill wafers, and meaty frozen foods like blood worms, brine shrimp, diced shrimp, etc. Panaques are vegetarians, and eat wood and certain vegetables. Hypancistrus species are meat eaters, and will eat meaty frozen foods like blood worms, brine shrimp, diced shrimp, as well as any dead fish (not always a good thing).

I highly suggest looking on PlecoFanatics USA trading forum for buying plecos, before you buy from a LFS.

As for colour in your aquarium, like I said in my first post, there are many, many varieties of tetras, in a wide variety of shapes and colours. One misconception is that they will swim in the upper levels of a tank. Most species swim in the mid to lower levels of the tank, prefering to stay closer to planted areas. And not all species school, often you'll find them in loose groups going ever which way.

Don't ever judge a fishes colour by thier appearence in the LFS, especially SA cichlids and tetras. In my experience, get the fish home, and settled in your aquarium and feed them a quality, varied diet for two months, and then you'll see thier best colours. With many tetras, often you'll notice subtle colour differences once they mature.

Some of my favourite tetras are Lemon tetra (schools loosely and loves planted areas), Blackline Penguin tetra (larger specis, that schools in the upper half of the tank), Rummynose tetra (very good schooling tetra) Glowlight tetra, Black Neon tetra.

Finally a note on aquascaping. You mentioned rocks in your previous post. Many of our SA cichlids and tetras come from areas where there are few or no rocks. While some of us do have rocks in our SA aquariums as breeding areas, they are nothing like African aquarium rock piles. All of the species you have in your list would quite happily live without any rocks what so ever. Most of them would prefer some driftwood, root tangles, and lots of plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Lots of great advice so far, thank you all!

DeadFishFloating said:
Angelfish aren't always the Angels they are named after. As dielikemoviestars alluded to, once two out of three angelfish form a pair, they will pick on the third angelfish. There have been many members here who have experienced this, and even had angelfish kill other angelfish.

This is why I suggested getting only two. However the problem here is, when buying juveniles it's next to impossible to tell males from females. What many people do is buy six juveniles, and grow them out, and when they identify a definate pair, they return the rest to the LFS. If you have the money to do this, this would be my suggestion. Just make sure you make an arrangement with your LFS, rarely will they give you money back, but are often happy to do it for store credit.
Do angels only breed in certain conditions, or am I pretty much guaranteed that if I have a pair, they will breed regularly? I ask because would really prefer not to end up with a tank full of angelfish fry (or protective parents defending their eggs/fry), since I don't have a separate tank to raise them in.

DeadFishFloating said:
The problem with the one inch per gallon rule, is that it does not take into account which area of the tank a certain species of fish will occupy, what size of territory a certain species will require, and how a certain species behaviour and temperament will impact on possible tank mates.
Ah, that would explain it. I was under the assumption that the inch-per-gallon saying had to due with bioload produced by the fish, rather than swimming room. But hey, if you guys say I can stock more heavily than I'd anticipated, that's good news as far as I'm concerned.

DeadFishFloating said:
Some of my favourite tetras are Lemon tetra (schools loosely and loves planted areas), Blackline Penguin tetra (larger specis, that schools in the upper half of the tank), Rummynose tetra (very good schooling tetra) Glowlight tetra, Black Neon tetra.
I've always liked the rummynose tetras (at least what I've seen of them in stores), I just hadn't considered them for this tank because I was afraid that an adult angel would look at a smaller tetra like that as a snack, which is why I was considering a "taller" tetra like a bleeding heart. If the angel/rummynose combination can work, a school of 20 or so would be great.

DeadFishFloating said:
Finally a note on aquascaping. You mentioned rocks in your previous post. Many of our SA cichlids and tetras come from areas where there are few or no rocks. While some of us do have rocks in our SA aquariums as breeding areas, they are nothing like African aquarium rock piles. All of the species you have in your list would quite happily live without any rocks what so ever. Most of them would prefer some driftwood, root tangles, and lots of plants.
Yeah, I don't plan to go too overboard with the rocks, but I do need a few to hold the driftwood in place. I'm heading back to the LFS later today to get another piece or two of driftwood, and I'll seek aquascaping advice later in the week. It's plant placement, in particular, that I'll want help with.

I only have about 1.4 watts of light per gallon and no CO2 system, so I can't grow anything too exotic, but I have sufficient lighting for Anubias and java ferns. I'd love to find a good fake amazon sword plant to add, since I don't have the light to support a real one, but I haven't had much luck yet. If you or anyone else has suggestions on good artificial plant sources, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks again for all the advice so far, to everyone that's posted.
 

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If angelfish are happy in an aquarium they will spawn. They need virtually no special treatment to breed. The problem is that angels all have individual personalities like most other SA cichlids. Some may terrorize their tankmates and some may be really passive. You can't really tell what your fishes' personality will be like until you see it first-hand.

I treat discus and angels the same. I always buy a group of six and weed them out as they reach sexual maturity. I wouldn't get a group of less than four.

I have kept pairs in community tanks before. Some have even raised fry to the free-swimming stage in a community. Unfortunately you won't know what type of temperament your pair has until you see it for yourself.

The possibility of a single angelfish isn't out of the question. Just be aware that if you try to add additional angels later, you could be asking for huge aggression issues from your lone established angel. In my experience, lone angels have trouble accepting new angel tankmates later on. That's why I try to buy all of my angels at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ryansmith said:
The possibility of a single angelfish isn't out of the question. Just be aware that if you try to add additional angels later, you could be asking for huge aggression issues from your lone established angel. In my experience, lone angels have trouble accepting new angel tankmates later on.
I'm OK with having just one angel... in fact, that was part of my original stocking plan!

For the fish being considered in this thread, would I be better to use the "power jet nozzle" or the spraybar attachment on the output from my filter? it's a Rena Filstar XP4 if that makes any difference. I seem to get a lot more surface movement from the nozzle, but I don't know what type of currents these fish prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After considering the advice given so far, here's the stocking list I'm leaning towards right now:

1 angelfish
5 bolivian rams
20 rummynose tetras
8 corydoras
2 plecostomus

I think my next steps are going to be conditioning the water and adding the plants (I've started an aquascaping/plant advice thread here, if any of you would be kind enough to chime in).

But on the topic of conditioning the water, I need some help there, too. I drained most of the water today so I could add a new piece of driftwood and rearrange what I already had without being in water up to my armpits. In the picture below, you can clearly see a line left on the glass by the waterline where I drained it down to. I'm guessing that whatever that buildup is, it probably wouldn't be good for my fish, but I'm not sure where to start in removing it. Any thoughts on what it might be, and what product could be used to treat the water?

 

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I know this is slightly off topic, but I would go with blue rams over bolivians. I find bolivians to be rather dull looking especially in comparison with the blue rams.
 

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carpio77b, GBR's are nicer to look at than Bolivian rams, but in general they are a little harder to keep.
 

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mathas...I agree with all the advice so far. You're latest stock list looks good but I would still be tempted to go with a minimum of 6 bolivians. Their best attribute is their social behavior so the more you have the more of that behavior you'll get to enjoy :thumb:

DeadFishFloating... :lol: ruurd is the man. cheering for Cadel Evans?
 

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Sorry to the OP for going a bit off topic...

cheering for Cadel Evans?
**** yeah...been staying up late and watching the man. Not sure if he can bridge the 1.34 that Sastre has on him in the time trial on the penultimate stage.
 

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A nice low stock list. Do you want to go for low maintenance? If so I suggest to stick at the list. If not I still see some room for more tetras. With the curent stock list you can increase the number to 30 without problems.

So far the tank looks very nice and great parts of driftwood :thumb:

Abouth swords,....once the swords developed aquatic leaves they do look diferent. I keep swords in a densely planted tank with only 0.6 Watt/gallon. So 1 Watt/gallon would be more than sufficient. There are a lot of diferent species and also some very pretty hybrids like"specie "grose bar" that is flamed with red and greenish. Very easy to grow and it defelops lots of flower stems all the time. A common easy and larger Echinodorus is the E. bleheri. A smaller specie is E. parviflorus and a very nice small specie (great in front of the wood) is E. parviflorus sp. Tropica.E. barti and E. osiris are nice reddish colored. They need some food at the roots (tabs is possible) and they apreciate some iron ferts every once in a while. If the light period increases the 12 hours they grow larger stems on the leaves and even can grow out of the water. In your set up Echinodorus will definitely be a very nice looking plant. Valisneria is also a nice suggestion.
 

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head and tail light tetra's aka pretty tetra's look great in a large school,about 20-30. Once they settle in there colors become very intense and if the water is a little tannin stained they will really shimmer and have a bright red eye.They school really well too.In the lfs they look bland but there tuff hardy fish that will settle in very quickley.A very underated fish IMO.
 

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Swords will look great in that tank.I had some(3)amazon swords that took over a 75gallon with less then 1.5 watts a gallon no ferts except root tabs and no co2.The plants constantly sent up shoots with babby swords that I would break off let them gow in another tank and then sell them to the lfs.Great choice in fish and plants!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Dutch Dude said:
A nice low stock list. Do you want to go for low maintenance? If so I suggest to stick at the list. If not I still see some room for more tetras. With the curent stock list you can increase the number to 30 without problems.
Yes, I do want to go for low maintenance at least at first.

Speaking of my stocking plans for fish, every time I go to the LFS, I can't help but watch their otocinclus play. I think they are incredibly fun fish to watch and would love to be able to replace one of the planned bristlenose with a group of 6-8 otos, but I'm not sure how well that would work out with an adult angelfish. It appears to me that an adult angel could probably fit an oto into it's mouth, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would. Anyone have experience (good or bad) with the angel/oto combo they'd be willing to share?

I realize otos can be difficult to acclimate, but I'm willing to accept that challenge if they are a good match to the other fish I have planned. If they're not, then I stick with two bristlenose!

slickvic277 said:
Swords will look great in that tank.I had some(3)amazon swords that took over a 75gallon with less then 1.5 watts a gallon no ferts except root tabs and no co2.
Dutch Dude said:
Abouth swords,....once the swords developed aquatic leaves they do look diferent. I keep swords in a densely planted tank with only 0.6 Watt/gallon. So 1 Watt/gallon would be more than sufficient.
That's good to hear, thank you both! I was under the impression I needed more power, especially with a 24" tall tank, but I'll gladly take your word for it.

Speaking of plants, I bought my first live one today, but got home and realized I didn't even know how to plant it properly. It was labeled in their plant tank as Anubias barteri. I've read the profile for A. barteri at plantgeek, and it says not to push the rhizome into the substrate, but I wasn't sure about all the roots that were growing out of the rhizome. I've just kind of placed the roots between one of the rocks and a piece of driftwood, with nothing really buried in the sand. Is there something else I should be doing?

Front view:


From above:


Dutch Dude said:
There are a lot of diferent species and also some very pretty hybrids like"specie "grose bar" that is flamed with red and greenish. Very easy to grow and it defelops lots of flower stems all the time. A common easy and larger Echinodorus is the E. bleheri. A smaller specie is E. parviflorus and a very nice small specie (great in front of the wood) is E. parviflorus sp. Tropica.E. barti and E. osiris are nice reddish colored. They need some food at the roots (tabs is possible) and they apreciate some iron ferts every once in a while. If the light period increases the 12 hours they grow larger stems on the leaves and even can grow out of the water. In your set up Echinodorus will definitely be a very nice looking plant. Valisneria is also a nice suggestion.
I have no idea what any of those are :lol: , but I'll start doing some research. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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Oto's do fit the mouth of an angel but oto's are smart and fast moving fish. So it might work.

You can check www.dennerle.com for more info on the Echinodorus species. I know most of them are availeble over there as well.

Nice Anubia! It is a bit deep in the sand and you could pul it up to the point were you just can see the white roots.

If you like you can use diferent anubia species in stead of the Echinodorus. Anubia's can be attached to driftwood as well.
 
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