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07-26-2013, 05:01 PM #31
07-26-2013, 05:12 PM #32
07-26-2013, 05:27 PM #33
07-26-2013, 05:31 PM #34
07-28-2013, 03:13 AM #35
Detailed research on my biotope stocking
1Now that I am certain I will get MTS some time soon, I should finish my first tank so I can move on to the "M" in MTS ;-)
I have been researching stocking options, playing with Hardy85's ideas on a Venezuelan biotope. I took what he found (the credit and encouragement for the biotope idea is his, for which I am extremely thankful!) and did some additional research. I decided to base the tank primarily on the Orinoco River in Venezuela, one of the longest rivers in South America. Most of the important rivers in Venezuela are tributaries of the Orinoco (By the way, the Orinoco is also connected to the Amazon and shares species with it).
Some of the sources I used for my research, in addition to fishbase.org, were:
- Orinoco Biotope. Tons of excellent info on the Orinoco river, including substrate, plants, etc. Perfect reference for I want to do!
- Mongabay. Lots of great info on may different biotopes, including specifics for the Orinoco river.
I came up with a very long list of species that fishbase and/or mongabay said were native to Venezuela or the Orinoco. I then eliminated any species that was too big for my tank (meaning anything over 5-6 cm), species that seemed hard to find, and also eliminated fish when the habitat was not consistent between different sources, to ensure accuracy. I then eliminated fish I wasn't interested in because of aesthetic reasons :-) My final list is not exhaustive by any means, and contains about 20 species. From there I narrowed it down based on availability, compatibility among species, and aesthetics.
In the end I came up with the following list:
Two species are a definite yes: Endler livebearers and Venezuelan Pygmy Cories (Corydoras Habrosus). The former is about 3cm long (1.1") and spends its time towards the top of the tank. The latter is about 3.6 cm (1.5") and, like all cories, spends its time at the bottom.
The small size of these two species places a limit on the size of any companions... anything too big and the endlers might end up being lunch. So, using size as a guideline I found the following possibilities:
Tetras: Here I found Neon, Cardinal, X-ray (Pristella maxillaris), rummy-nosed, and black morpho (Poecilocharax weitzmani). I also found red base tetra which seem harder to find. I am not keen on neon tetras because they are so commonplace. My son loves the neon and black morpho. I like the rummy-nosed and the X-ray. Some of these grow to about 5cm (2"), almost twice the endlers. Would this be a problem? If so I can stick to smaller tetras, which would mean the neon and black morpho.
Cichlids: I confess I know very little about cichlids. Hardy85 suggested the Ram Cichlid, which grows to about 5cm (2"). I also found the checkerboard cichlid (Dicrossus filamentosus). The checkerboard generated all kinds of aggression warnings on AqAdvisor, so I won't even try. For the Ram cichlids, If I try adding more than 2-3 in my 29g, AqAdvisor gives me a warning that the ram cichlids might be too aggressive to be in the same tank as endlers and cories. I don't know much about cichlids. Could they be a problem in a 29g with the smaller, more passive fish? I'm also concerned that this cichlid seems very delicate and difficult to care for, so it might be unsuitable for a newbie like me.
Apistos: I only found one species of Apisto that seems not impossible to find: red streak cichlid (apistogramma hongsloi). As with the ram cichlid, I get warnings if I try to stock more than 1 or 2. They grow to about 5 cm (2"). Would they be a problem with the Endlers or Cories?
So, for now, I am leaning towards 6-9 Endlers, 10 cories. I would also add 8-10 of one of the tetras. Now comes the more difficult choices. I can EITHER add 8-10 of a different tetra OR 3 ram cichlids, OR 2 apistos. (If I try to increase the number of rams or apistos I get agressiveness warnings). I know very little about the rams and apistos. Would they be suitable tank mates for the endlers?
Using AqAdvisor to check stocking levels I came up with two scenarios:
- 9 Endlers (3 males, 6 females, or perhaps 9 males to avoid having to deal with breeding)
- 10 cories
- 9 of one of the following tetras: X-ray, rummynosed, black morpho, or neon
- 3 Ram cichlids OR 2 apistos
This would result in a total of 31 fish, 9 at the top, 10 at the bottom, 12 mid tank.
The second option would be:
- 9 endlers, as above
- 10 cories
- 8 each of TWO of the following tetras: X-ray, rummynosed, black morpho, or neon
This would result in a total of 35 fish: 9 at the top, 10 at the bottom, 16 mid tank
Both scenarios give me 98%-100% stocking in terms of space, and I would have 50% more filtration capacity than what I need. I would obviously not stock all this at once, but would do it over a period of time -- probably allow about a month or two between additions?
Of course, any other suggestions are welcome! I would love to hear your thoughts on what would work well, and what would look good. Visually, I will almost certainly use a very dark/black background, and natural, sand-colored PFS for a substrate.
07-28-2013, 04:45 AM #36
Very good start, I personally have a apisto pair with a group of endlers, no problems.
Apistos are a bit smaller bodied and I like them better personally having both.
I would say your first stocking is better. Have only 2 rams if you do go that route.
Apistos love caves, so 2-3 cichlid stones or coconut caves will make them very happy.
When they breed they will keep other fish away from the babies. But usually cause no harm.
Make sure you over filter the tank, forgot what you said u were doing. But I always recommend two filters and at least double the tank size in capacity.
Don't forget the endlers will breed. Which if they do you can sell the babies (if the other endlers don't eat them lol)
07-28-2013, 05:27 AM #37
If I do go the 1 male: 2 female route and they breed, for the first round of fry the science teacher of my daughter's school said she can set up an Endler tank at school. She already has other tanks, and seemed to like the whole "probably extinct in the wild" notion.
IF I end up having to sell some, who do you usually sell to? LFS? Other hobbyists?
Anyway, thanks as usual for all your help! You have been a critical factor in helping me shape my tank.
07-29-2013, 12:00 PM #38
with the endlers it is just toss them in a tank and they will breed, very very easy. They will eat the young if the babies can't hide.
I know a few local hobbyists want some of mine, and the LFS sometimes will get you $.50 per baby or something like that. So not getting rich quick, but not bad source of paying for fish food
07-29-2013, 12:27 PM #39
Just catching up on this journal. Your tank sounds lovely. One word of caution: if you go with rams, I would stock them last. Rams are a little sensitive (Bolivians less so than German). German rams do much better if you introduce them to a seasoned and mature tank. So you might want to wait at least 6 months before attempting to add them. Also, one ram will do quite nicely by itself so unless you are looking for a breeding pair, one would be okay alone and would eliminate the aggression issue.
Good for you on all your research and everyone here has done a great job helping you!
07-29-2013, 01:43 PM #40
Yes...I have read about how sensitive the rams are. I will follow your advice and add them last, which does indeed mean about six months out. When I do I will also rearrange the hardscape a bit to add a cave or two.
I like the GBRs a lot, but I'm nervous about how sensitive they seem to be. My water is not as acidic or soft as they like (pH of 7.5 and dH of 5-6). Would it be ok to have them with these parameters as long as they are stable, or would the "high" pH and dH (high with reference to what they like) stress them too much?
If, given my water parameters, GBRs would be too risky I would go with the apistos. Thankfully I have six months to make the choice!