Could really use some advice

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Could really use some advice

Postby ChinaJoe » Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:47 pm

Hi everyone! I was recently given a fish tank for my birthday. I kept coldwater goldfish as a teenager and have always wanted to keep tropical fish so I was really happy with the gift. It is pretty much your standard beginner's tropical fish tank - ie not too big!
It measures 60x35x30 (cms) and I think it has a capacity of 60L. I hvae done a bit of background reading and would really like to keep a couple of zebra catfish and some keyhole cichlids. Is this a wise combination and do you think my tank is big enough to hold them? I plan on upgrading to bigger tanks very soon and using this one as a spare but I would like to start with this one and see how I get on before trying something more adventurous! I know I'm going to have to go through the fishless cycling etc before I start stocking but I'd like to get your opinions on a few things before I actually start anything.
Any advice you might have, I'd be more than grateful to receive. :D
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Postby dw » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:15 pm

Hi, nice to see somebody doing some research before buying fish :)

Firstly, a zebra plec, would probably cost about £150-200 if you could find one, they're pretty rare since exports were banned.

Personally I'd look for a bigger tank and setting up a community around the keyholes, they're very shy when kept alone but the presence of schooling fish like tetras seems to solve it. With only a 60L tank, you don't have much room for additions after adding the keyholes.

You could try and work backwards, keep some smaller fish in the 60l for the time being, then transfer them over when you upgrade and get some keyholes and maybe a few others if you have enough room :wink:
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Postby ChinaJoe » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:26 pm

Thanks for getting back to me! I didn't realise there was some kind of ban on exporting the zebra catfish. :? Typical! :roll:

Do you have any suggestions of good fish to create a small community tank? I would quite like to have some live plants so preferably something that isn't going to eat everything in sight but something that is cool to watch and has variety!

Maybe I should just keep one kind of fish in this smaller tank. What do you think? Am I expecting too much of a 60L tank?
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Postby dw » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:49 pm

You've plenty of options, if you like keyholes you could look at some smaller dwarf cichlids which maybe only get to about 2-3", I like bolivian rams and dwarf flag cichlids, but there are loads of others.

You should be able to manage a small shoal of 5/6 tetras with them and about 3/4 of one of the smaller species of corydoras catfish. All would be plant friendly, and it would be quite a colourful active tank.

That's my suggestion anyway, but there are lots of other options. Other centrepiece type fish could be a betta or a pair of dwarf gourami, or you could just keep a single large shoal of something. As I guide I'd stick to fish no bigger than 2-3" and a total of about 24" total adult fish length.
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Postby ChinaJoe » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:28 am

I really like the bolivian rams that you suggested!

There are so many different kinds of tetra! Are there any that you would recommend as being particularly suitable or are they all relatively similar in temperament?

Thank you a lot for your help by the way!
Much appreciated!
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Postby Apistogramma » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:30 am

Hi ChinaJoe! I keep Bolivian Rams so I'm a teensy bit biased but they ARE fantastic little fish - all the colour and behaviour of the bigger cichlids but without the mean...and of course they're smaller hehe
Becky

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Postby dw » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:41 am

Glad you liked the rams, lots of colour and character!

Most of them are quite peaceful, though a few species like serpaes can be fin nippers. Some species are also less hardy than others, and need a mature tank that's been running for a good few months.

Have a browse, and see what you like the look of, and then we can advise you on which ones to pick :)
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Postby Linz » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:44 pm

Hi There

I have 2 bolivian rams and can confirm they are very lovely, cute peaceful fish which live happily in my community tank. I also have 2 GOLD RAM cichlids which are the same but peachy orange colour and so delicate and beautiful. The 4 of them together look so pretty - I travelled really far to get my bolivians and then a week later my LFS just up the road got them in! DOH

Bolivians should live in pairs of male + female (or so I was told - probably wrong, LFS usually are LOL)

If you like the look of them look also at dwarf neon rainbows -they have that gorgeous blue shimmer to them and are nice and small for a 60L tank.

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Postby Apistogramma » Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:34 pm

Linz if your gold rams ever breed can I have a pair? Pretty please? :D
Becky

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Postby ChinaJoe » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:10 am

Thanks guys! Lots of interesting stuff. Went to the LFS shops today to see what was on offer and was surprised at just how many kinds of fish one shop can stock!

I really like the bolivian rams so I'm set on them (if I can lay my hands on them) and I think, having seen the range available, I'm inclined to include a small group of cardinal tetras because I really like their colour and everyone recommends them as a good first fish!

I saw some bronze corys today too. They're cute but a lot smaller than I imagined! I liked the colours of the panda corys. Are all corys similar to look after or do they differ a lot?

What do you think of my choices? Anything that is screaming out SCHOOL-BOY ERROR in your face? :?
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Postby dw » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:36 pm

Glad you had fun wandering about your lfs :)

Corys are pretty similar in upkeep but differ slightly in size and hardiness. Bronze are hardier than pandas, but get about get bigger at 3" or so. For a 60L tank I would go for the pandas, then you could have a bigger shoal and they'd be more fun to watch :lol:

Cardinals are gorgeous little fish, but I can see one slight problem. I'd add the bolivians last, giving everyone else a chance to settle in first, but cardinals like the panda corys aren't very hardy fish to add first into a new tank.

Need a second opinion on that one, sorry, hopefully somebody might have a suggestion to how it could work.
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Postby Apistogramma » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:35 pm

I wouldn't see a problem in adding young bolivians first to be honest as long as regular water changes were stuck to. Mine didn't have a problem at all (although I am probably kinda ott with my water changes). The reason I say young bolivians is because mine haven't shown any aggression at all until very recently as they've paired up and started establishing what I imagine is a spawning territory. Provide lots of hidey places and bog wood, make sure the tank is well broken up so the fish can hide from each other and I think you could introduce the corys and cardinals later.
Becky

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Postby ChinaJoe » Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:08 am

Oh right! Cardinals aren't hardy? Goes to show how much the LFS knows!

Would I be better off getting Neons or are they the same?

I do like the panda corys so I'm glad they will be ok in this mix!
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Postby SKRPhoenix » Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:13 am

You know, I had a Zebra Plec a few years back. I bought it for £19.99. They had loads and they were all this price back then.

Went into the same shop last week, they are all over £100!

It died afte a couple of years and although it was a bit of a loss to me, I would have literally cried if I had paid £100 for it!!!!

Lovely fish though - but one to make sure the water conditions are perfect for.
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Postby ChinaJoe » Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:24 pm

Silly amount of money! :shock:

How come they are so expensive? Someone said something about an import ban? Don't people breed them over here? Is that a stupid question? :oops:
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