150-Gallon South American Rainforest Biotope

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150-Gallon South American Rainforest Biotope

Postby lesandjill » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:15 pm

I am in the process of selecting fish for a South American rainforest biotope - or as close to it as possible. My primary interest is in the small, peaceful, colorful tetras. However, I am debating whether or not to add a "centerpiece species." For that I am considering angelfish, discus and South American dwarf cichlids. Of the three, the later have the fewest cons. Angelfish are predatory and will likely consider the tetras a tasty morsel (eliminating the smaller varieties) and discus require high temperatures (eliminating those that do not and, affecting the heavy planting required), are finnicky (I'm returning to the hobby after a 50-year lapse) and expensive. So, it seems like the South American dwarf cichlids have the least objections and are the choice, even if it is by default.
My questions, therefore, are which varieties would be best? How many different varieties can be kept together satisfactorily (peacefully)? How many of each is ideal?
Thanks for any suggestions, recommendations and experiential examples in this matter.
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Re: 150-Gallon South American Rainforest Biotope

Postby fishypaul » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:23 pm

Depends on the type of colourful tetra's. Smaller ones 2" and under such as Cardinals would limit your chioce significantly. I keep Keyholes, Angels and Bolivian Rams of the SA type of Cichlid. They are kept with the smaller type.
Bolivian Rams can be kept with anything in my experience. For example I have 1 in a tank with baby fish (amongst other things) and he hasn't gone near them. He's a good 2.5". As with other Rams though, in my experience males will fight and a dominant one will make the other cower. So best to get 1 male or 1 male and 1 female and that is all.
Normal Rams are hard to keep unless you optimise the water for them, neading softer water and very stable conditions. I've bought and lost 5, anything from 2 weeks from purchase to 4 months. Beautiful but a nightmare.
My Keyholes are about 2.5" - 3" and are very peaceful with anything over 1/2". Very nice fish, mine are attempting to breed. They are a little skittish though. Hardy.
Bought an Angel that was a good size (2.5" roughly) which terrorized the tank so had to return. Bought 2 (still got) at under 1" and they have been fine, although the 1 is growing quite a lot (now about 1.75") and is eyeing the Neons in the tank so will have to keep an eye on that.

If you want larger SA Cichlids i would suggest more robust Tetras such as Bleeding Heart (I think are SA) or maybe some Silver Dollars.
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Re: 150-Gallon South American Rainforest Biotope

Postby ItWentWhereverIdidGo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:31 am

Apistogrammas are easy to keep, you can keep several pairs in a 150 gallon tank. Rams and apistogrammas need a square foot or so for each pair's territory so you could get away with rams aswell as apistos in a tank of that size.
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