Now 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
- Orinoco Biotope
. Tons of excellent info on the Orinoco river, including substrate, plants, etc. Perfect reference for I want to do!
. 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:
: 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.
: 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.
: 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
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.