As some of you already know I am in the process of setting up my first tank, a 29 gallon planted community, and I have been thinking about how to stock it. I have a list of fish i'd love to have, and would love soem feedback on my choices and on the best way to get to the fully stocked tank. I will add fish very slowly until i am fully stocked, and i am guessing it will take many months.

I love the idea of well populated aquarium, with many small, schooling fish moving about in groups. So, my wish list (for now) is as follows, in no particular order (feedback is welcome!):

  • 6 Endler's livebearers. I would love to have this one, because it comes from my native Venezuela :-) I don't know the right number or male/female ratio. I read they reproduce easily and often, and I would not want to suddenly have myself a tank overrun with these (although I am guessing the fry would not survive long in a community tank). The males are smaller and colorful, so I think I would start with 4-6 males and no females, unless an all-male group is not advisable. If an all male group is not a good idea then I guess it would be 2 males and 5-6 females as I read this is the best ratio.
  • 4 Pygmy Cories: This was suggested by Hardy85 and taurus and I really like them. I did not read anything about it requiring larger groups, so I am thinking 4.
  • 8 Glowlight Danios. My daughter's choice :-)
  • 8 Espe's Rasboras. They seem harder to find, so Harlequins would be the substitute.
  • 8 Black Widow Tetras


I did some research and as far as I can tell, all these fish are compatible with each other and would do well in my water with pH of 7.5 and dH of 5-6 (The only exception is the tetra which would prefer slightly harder water). I know cories will spend most of their time at the bottom, and the rasboras towards the middle. Not sure about the others.

AqAdvisor says this is 99% stocking for my tank. Of course I won't do this right away, but over many months, which leads to my questions.

What is the best way to get there? Should I add only one species at a time, until that species is fully stocked, and only then move to the next one? The two hardiest seem to be Danios and Endler's livebearers, so I guess I should start with one of those two, and leave the others until my tank is more mature and stable. I know for Danios I need 6-8. Should i add them all at once? Or in two equal groups? (I am planning to do fishless cycling before I add any of these fish)

In short, what is the best way to go from an empty cycled tank to a stocked tank, in terms of the timing and order of additions?