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Thread: First tank!

  1. Default First tank!


    0 Not allowed!
    So I got my first tank a few weeks ago. A 46 gallon bowfront with a Floramax substrate. I've planted several different kinds of live plants, one big sculpted "driftwood", a couple larger fake plants, and several smaller hide decorations. The tank is very well circulated with two 30-60 galon Aquatech filters and one long bubble rock is in the back of the tank. I also have a heater and keep the water at about 78F because some of the plants that I've added like warmer water. I plan to add some floating plants to the top but haven't gotten that far yet. I also haven't really done anything with the chemical levels in the tank beyond using water conditioner and the bio-magnet clarifier that came with the substrate because I haven't gotten to the point of researching it yet.

    I've added five fish so far. Two dwarf gourami, one male and one female. The female is full grown I think, and the male is a smidge smaller. One blue gourami who's about 1"-1 1/2", I know you can tell gender by checking the dorsal fins but I haven't gotten that far yet. Now the second two were an impulse buy. I'll admit that freely before you more experienced folks light the torches and raise the pitchforks if they were a bad idea. A little clown loach that's about an inch long caught my eye because of his colors. I know that he'll get to be about 12" and I'll have to upgrade him to a larger tank once he gets closer to that size but I figured he would be safe for now. The second one I got because I'm an admitted dinosaur fanatic and fell victim to marketing tactics at Petsmart, buying a dinosaur bichir which I now know is just a grey bichir. Still, he looks pretty cool even though he's tiny right now(maybe 2"-2 1/2") and I was told that he would be alright in the 46 gallon even when he's bigger but I'd like the thoughts of the more experienced folks here on that one.

    So that's it! Have I overstocked my tank with these five? Should I/could I add anything else? I don't want to go crazy and stress the fish out but I do like variety when it's an option. I had been wanting to add one or two convict cichlids but the girl at the petstore did advice that cichlids not share a tank with any other kinds of fish. Is that really the case or are there ways to arrange a tank and couple them with other fish that skirts this standard rule? Thank you all for the advice to come!

  2. #2

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    General rule: only one gourami per tank. Male/female pairs or harems might work in large well planted tanks with peaceful gourami species but not with more aggressive ones like dwarfs and blues in a not-that-big nor planted tank. I know they might not display any aggression now, but hey, pet stores sell youngsters and once they reach maturity and want their personal space, aggression will certainly break out. As you apparently already know, impulse buys are really not recommended. Buying fish too big for current tanks and saying "i will get them a big tank when time comes" is also not recommended. Life is unpredictable. Plans rarely stay unchanged. The bichir depending on species will need 55 gallons and up. The clown loach will(as you know) grow huge and also needs the company of several other, huge clown loaches.
    It is untrue that cichlids cannot be kept with other fish. There are relatively peaceful species(apistos, rams, etc) that can live in a peaceful community tank, most except for maybe the most aggressive cichlids can be kept in aggressive communities where basically everyone else is also tough so no weak ones get picked on. However, I still would not put convict cichlids with gouramis.

  3. #3

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Well, I too must rain on your parade...but please understand that our comments are to help, as we want you to be successful and we want your fish to be healthy.

    Gourami. The Blue is likely going to be trouble, and madagascariensis said it, so I will move on.

    I would return the clown loach. This fish absolutely must have a group, five would be minimum, though four might manage but not particularly so. This species, like all loaches in the Botia-like genera, are very highly social fish; left alone they will literally pine away, and with only two or three the chances of all males is not worth the risk. And at 8-12 inches, a group of 5-6 means a very large tank, at least five feet though most sources recommend six feet in length.

    The bichir I can't say much about, other than they get large, without knowing the species. But if you intend a peaceful tank of smallish fish, which is what suits a planted 46g bowfront very well...I would return the bichir fast.

    Cichlids have varying temperaments depending upon species, but convicts are not going to work in this tank, so at least that bit of advice from the store was correct.

    So, given the needs of the various fish, yes you are way overstocked...or soon will be as they begin to grow and settle and develop their inherent temperaments and behaviours. And mad is absolutely correct in saying never rely on future plans when buying fish today; all sorts of plans for larger tanks may never develop for any number of reasons. My maxim which has always stood me in good stead--and saved many, many fish--is to never buy a fish for which I do not today have the appropriate aquarium running, in terms of both fish size and aquascaping needs. Nothing less is fair to the fish.

    Last thought...read the blue bit below my signature. Wise advice from another.

    Byron.

  4. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for your input guys. I don't mind a little bit of parade raining. I'd rather know than mistreat the fish out of ignorance. I didn't know about the rule of one gourami to a tank or about the loach being such a social fish! The blues and dwarves were actually in the same tank at the store so I assumed that meant they got along. I have noticed the male dwarf and the blue gourami chasing one another sometimes but I hadn't seen them nipping at one another.

    As I mentioned, I have added live plants to the tank. They're small now but the tank is close to a window because most of the plants like a lot of light from what I read and while some are slow growers others are suppose to sprout quickly. So should the male and female dwarves be okay together with that kind of set up? Does the blue definitely need to be removed? Would he get along well in my mom's 60gallon tank with two 4" goldfish and a 6" pleco if he can't stay with the dwarves or would he not get along with them?

  5. #5

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by zombieaddict View Post
    Thanks for your input guys. I don't mind a little bit of parade raining. I'd rather know than mistreat the fish out of ignorance. I didn't know about the rule of one gourami to a tank or about the loach being such a social fish! The blues and dwarves were actually in the same tank at the store so I assumed that meant they got along. I have noticed the male dwarf and the blue gourami chasing one another sometimes but I hadn't seen them nipping at one another.

    As I mentioned, I have added live plants to the tank. They're small now but the tank is close to a window because most of the plants like a lot of light from what I read and while some are slow growers others are suppose to sprout quickly. So should the male and female dwarves be okay together with that kind of set up? Does the blue definitely need to be removed? Would he get along well in my mom's 60gallon tank with two 4" goldfish and a 6" pleco if he can't stay with the dwarves or would he not get along with them?
    If those are your only options for the Blue Gourami, he should go back to the store. Gourami and goldfish don't mix, different temperatures for one thing but others too. The interaction you are already seeing between the Blue and dwarf gourami is in my view a sign of worse to come. Remove the Blue before one of them is too far stressed and dead.

    What stores can get away with is not what works at home. In store tanks, things are very different. Usually the tanks are bare (which is unnatural for most fish), water parameters may be off, water conditions may be poor, light is too bright, the fish are over-crowded so their natural behaviours will be affected; this can cause over-aggression, or the opposite, timidity. But move them into a better environment, such as your planted tank at home, and they hopefully will develop their natural behaviours.

    On the plants and light, be careful. Tanks using natural window light frequently develop algae issues because the light is more difficult to control than overhead tank lighting. Do you have a lioght on the tank, and if so, what is it?

    Byron.

  6. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Drat, I had a feeling that might be the case with the blue but I figured it was worth asking. I do have a light over the tank. It's a strip light, not a full hood, 36" long I think with two Aquaray bulbs, I couldn't see what wattage. The label on the light reads:

    Perfecto Mfg. Lnc
    Listed Aquarium Equip
    Model 36 PS-F
    Rating 120 volt 60Hz 30 watts
    Feb 02

    I don't know if this is what I should have done or not but it worked better for me to suspend the light from the ceiling above the tank. It's currently about 20" above it but I can raise or lower it as necessary if that isn't appropriate. There's a glass cover over the top of the tank to protect any fish from escape artist tendencies.

    Also, if it makes any difference, I'm thinking about adding frogbit to the tank. I read the gourami like shady spots, is that accurate?

    When should I be lighting the tank, by the way? I have a snake and he has a timer that turns his light on and off along with natural daylight hours. Should I hook the tank light up to that as well or does it need a different schedule?

    So many questions, I know! I hope it's alright to ask them all here instead of posting in a dozen different areas of the forum.

  7. #7

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by zombieaddict View Post
    The blues and dwarves were actually in the same tank at the store so I assumed that meant they got along. I have noticed the male dwarf and the blue gourami chasing one another sometimes but I hadn't seen them nipping at one another.
    +1 to Byron's comment on this - fish are kept together in store tanks because they aren't meant to stay there long - they are kept there to sell so it's up to the buyer to know about compatibility prior to purchase - this way you don't have one fish taking over your tank or nipping at others and then posting here yelling help!
    46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
    5 gal QT
    Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in

  8. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by imma24 View Post
    +1 to Byron's comment on this - fish are kept together in store tanks because they aren't meant to stay there long - they are kept there to sell so it's up to the buyer to know about compatibility prior to purchase - this way you don't have one fish taking over your tank or nipping at others and then posting here yelling help!
    Definitely advice to take to heart. I got ahead of myself after all the time I put into getting my first tank ready for fish and admit I jumped the gun. I started out good! I read up on the gourami before I added them and just hadn't seen anything when I was reading that they shouldn't be mixed(of course I trust you experienced fishkeepers more than a couple online articles). But then when I went back to get some additional supplies, the other two caught my attention and thus another mistake was made. This has definitely taught me several lessons to carry with me for future fish care though! I've also been browsing existing threads to expand my knowledge so hopefully I never have to post yelling for help.

  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    So question... I dont see cycling or the nitrogen cycle addressed anywhere in this post... Have you cycled your tank? Or did you take home fish, plants and the whole shebang in one shot and toss it together?

    Additionally... if stocked correctly it IS possible to have clown loaches in this 36gal bowfront for a shorter term. I say this only because of the fact that the fish is a slow grower and unlike most other fish, it takes years to get past the 4-5in mark where others would be stunted far sooner. If you stocked 6 1in fish (and I do mean 1in) you would be ok for a bit over a year or two and then would be able to work on resale (as clown loaches of size are highly prized and priced) or to expand into a large tank in excess of 6ft. The species is a cool water species though and will not take mixing very well with tropicals.

    The birchir, I would agree needs a 4ft tank and you will have to watch anything you plan to house with it on the bottom (such as corries) as they can become a nighttime snack.

    A 36 gal tank is a great starter tank but I would focus strongly on getting through the cycling of your tank before adding fish (you can find how to do so on this site or my personal fav article http://www.aquaticenthusiasts.com/th...ishless-cycle/)
    FW: 1 45gal, 1 40gal, 3 10gal, 3 30gal all community tanks of different species
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  10. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I put the tank together in phases. First the gravel, fake decorations, and water went in. I washed all the decorations first in a bucket of hot water with a coupe cap fulls of bleach in it, then scrubbed them, soaked them again in hot tap water and rinsed them thoroughly in hot water before putting them into the tank. I put the heater in at that point and set it at about 75F because the plants apparently like warmer water. I didn't have the filters set up yet because I hadn't gotten the cartridges and the water was super cloudy, so I waited a day until I had the filters running and then I put the plants in. I also added the water conditioner and bio-magnet clarifier stuff that came with the substrate in once the filters were running. I let it run for another day like that and then I added the fish.

    Thank you for the advice on the loach! It's nice to know that loach in a smaller tank can be an option. But I guess they still wouldn't do well with my set up since it's warmer for the plants and other fish. I will definitely read that article though, thank you!

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