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Help with fish selections...

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Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:49 pm

Okay, we have some time, about a month depending on when Spring really arrives, but I need some help with selecting fish for my 55 gallon. Here is the plan, at least for now.
Currently the 55 is housing 7 corys, a BN pleco and 15 Glo-tetras (black skirts). When I put the goldfish back into the pond I will be moving the 15 tetras into the 29 currently housing the goldies. Not to worry, the koi will be leaving for my friend's 1/2 acre pond and will not be coming back so next fall the goldies will be going into their 55g and 29 g in our boarding kennel. (Steve, man made pond, 9 - 12 feet deep, spring fed with a grated outlet only).
What I would like is schools or pairs, including some larger than my current danios, White clouds, neons, and the glo fish which are black skirt tetras. (actual black skirts would be considered as I do like tetras). I would most likely move four of the angels over to the 55, leaving a pair of them in the 20 column, assuming they will still be small enough for that.
I would like color variety and level variety (of course, with the cory cats I have the bottom covered!) and fish that are going to get along okay. I DO NOT want any livebearers as, at this point anyway and most likely continuing, I enjoy WATCHING my fish, and don't care to breed them!!
The tank is semi planted with more being added, has a substrate of round pebbles about 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter in various shades of tan. There is driftwood and a couple of large decorations to create areas for those breeds desiring them. I have good filtration (according to aquadvisor.com), and two airstones. I also have two heaters and it is around 79 degrees.
Water numbers continue to run good with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and around 20 nitrates. Water ph holds steady at 7.6 and GH is 214 with KH at 179. Pretty High???? Does that need to be lowered?
I also need fish that are not too expensive and are not too hard to find locally.
Ideas, anyone?????
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:20 am

Can't really help you on the fish selection,

But the word "grated" concerns me. It's really not the adults you have to be concerned about getting out, it's their offspring. The fry from goldfish and koi are about the size of a human hair when first hatched. If water can get out so can they. Not sure what the penalty for introducing a non native species is in your area but the fines can be pretty stiff around here. If this is a river it would probably be pretty easy to trace them back to where they came from.

http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_22027882/wildlife-officials-zap-scoop-up-hundreds-koi-fish

All I'm saying is just be sure of what your doing.

Good luck with your tank.

Steve
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:48 am

Steve, she said there is not really any stream leaving the pond, only runoff in the Spring, then it remains dry. The grate is covered by 1/4 inch rat wire. No stream, just mostly oze into a swampy area. I asked her if she ever had any "colored guests" in the swamp and she said she never has seen any in there, apparently it even dries up in the Summer.
She is bothered by Herons grabbing them now and again, do any of those things designed to keep them away work? I've only ever had issues with raccoons here and they have a harder time catching them, especially with my dogs barking at them.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:51 am

Oh ok, that should be fine then.

I just got the vision of it overflowing into a stream.

Steve
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by GaryE on Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:15 am

I had the same concern as Steve, but that ounds better. On the fish selection, hmmm.

I don't know what you can get. The east coast of the USA tends to get its fish from Florida farms. They ship those fish into Atlantic Canada too. Farm fish in Montreal tend to be from Thailand or Singapore. So what is a common schooling tetra here could be very rare 5 hours away where you are.
It's weird, but that's what it is.

I always suggest people make a list of what they see locally, and then people here can comment on compatibility, behavior, etc.

There are so many factors. Do you have the Petcr## chains? Do you still have independent stores? Do they order from Florida, the far east, Europe - do the ourchaasers like barbs, tetras,. rainbows... It's amazing how different regions can have different fish.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:41 am

Guess I better do some homework. We have two locals, one good and one not, and a Petco about an hour away.
I've been liking some of the rams but what about with the angels??
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:50 pm

Since it is still below freezing on this wonderful Spring day, I spent some time looking up fish breeds on the net.
So far, the following interest me. Comments, good and bad, please. They all should be fairly easy to come by, and, if my research is any good, should cover all levels of the water column.
I have the first two:
4 small or 2 larger Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)
7 bronze Cory cats (Corydoras aeneus)

Exploring:
6 Black skirt tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
2 German Blue Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)
6 Marble Hatchets (Carnegiella strigata)
6 Cherry Barbs (Puntius titteya)

According to what I found they should all get along and coexist, have pretty much the same water and temperature requirements and aren't going to cost me an arm and a leg. I'm hoping there will be sufficient color, however???
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by GaryE on Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:05 pm

Usually, black skirts are not suggested to go with scalare - the former are often fin nippers.

Blue rams are fine for the bottom, but are not a long -lived fish. Bolivian rams (M altispinosa) are less colourful but way hardier. They are bigger too, however.
Hatchets are great surface fish, but it helps if your tank is high up or they will be hard to see. They really pin themselves to the surface. I really like them though.

Cherry barbs - the colour comes and goes depending on where they are in their spawning cycle. It's a nice, peaceful fish.

With angels as your centre-piece, you have to think compatability. If you get two and they are both male, one will die. If you get four, your chances of finishing with two are greatly enhanced. If they are small, they won't eat tankmates, which means smaller tetras etc will have time to grow with them and get past prey size. I would consider:

rummy noses;
glowlight tetras;
black neon tetras;
cardinals;
neons;
emperor tetras;
Rasbora heteromorpha/hengeli.

All will be bought small, and an adult angel will eat them. But all get too big for an angel to swallow, and will be safe.

Interestingly, almost all tetras with the high body shape of a black skirt (serpaes, etc) tend to be territorial and nippy outside of their group, which should always be of six.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:24 pm

Thanks, Gary.
I already have the Angels, I have six, and three possible "grown up" tanks for pairs (if they do!!!) They are currently quarter size bodies so shouldn't be too big when I move some over to the bigger tank.
I can easily drop the black skirts since I have the glo-ones and can look at them in the moonlight which makes them look darker. Very Happy 
ALL of your list were on my lists except the neons and cardinals as I already have a 10g with eight neons and another 10g at work with 8 Cardinals.
The hatchets really interest me and, fortunately, the tank is fairly high and from my desk chair I look up at the undersurface of the water so that should be good. And, the tank has glass covers for jumpers!
I don't really know my rams well, but also did read about the Bolivians. I'll check them out again!
What is a good way to do the Angels? I currently have all six in the 20 column, and realize that is only temporary. BUT, which will come first, forming pairs OR outgrowing the 20 gal??? I suppose I could move them all to the 55 and then remove some when necessary???
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by GaryE on Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:55 pm

They can grow a lot before they form pairs. The ones I used to breed started at 3-4 inches high. They don't usually start fighting til 2 inches or more.
When you talk about fish 'breeds' above, you have German Bllue rams. They are a breeder form developed out of wild ramirezi, much as dogs were developed out of whatever wolflike dogs were domesticated.
The tetras (other than the GMO glofish) are natural species, not breeds. Angels always ignored marble hatchets here, and they got along just fine.
I haven't kept angels for years. I'd put them all together in the large tank, and as they grow up, wince a few times at what I'd see. Their social life is not attractive.
The original ram came from acid water of no hardness that was really warm. The cultivars are more accepting, but their life is short. The Bolivian ram is larger and just as peaceful - it takes normal range water easily. There are two colour forms - one with brown stripes (not pretty) and another with mother of pearl, blue and yellow flanks (very pretty). M altispinosa are way tougher and much longer lived than rams.

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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:49 pm

Aughhh, I seriously thought about the word "breed" in the context I was using it!!
I finally tried comparing it to my dogs...mini poodles and toy poodles are separate "breeds" but can come from the same parents.  Black Labradors, chocolate Labradors and yellow Labradors are all the same breed, even though not all labs can produce each color.  
Soo, while we can use the word "breeder" in fish keeping, the correct word for the different ones is species with different varieties within the same species, correct?  Not so different, since toy and miniature poodles are considered different varieties of the breed poodle. I think I have it now!!
Actually, if I had just thought about it, I did know long ago that fish were species and not breeds.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by caoder on Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:31 pm

In terms of fish the breeds in dogs are called morphs or traits.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:30 pm

Well, I ended up having to fill TWO tanks instead of just the 55 gal since I got a new 40B at the Petco $1 a gallon sale.
Thanks to the goldfish and the fact that I keep TWO double filters in their tank I was able to jumpstart the 40B so went fish shopping tonight at my LFS, mostly just to look and see what I think I want.  I still have time before I can do the 55 since the goldies can't go outside yet, but with the 55 degrees we had today it IS finally getting closer!
I was good, I only brought home some black neons and some gold tetras (Hemigrammus rodwayi).  I had never seen the gold tetras, VERY nice but the guy did warn me that they often loose their brilliant gold/brass and get more plain as they mature.  I also got some more plants.
I did see the Harlequin rasboras, like them a lot, and got to see the silver hatchets.  I would rather go with the marble ones I think.  The penquin tetras were pretty neat, too, as well as the rummy noses.  I also liked the oto cats if they would be okay with these fish?
And, the sales guy who KNOWS I am totally helpless, was very helpful in telling me what were safe together and what might be more of an issue.  He also likes Bolivian Rams and said he would order some for me when I am ready for those.
Now, of course, a question... those angels again.  I LOVE my six angels in the 20 column, I spend hours watching them float around in there but I KNOW they are growing fast and will need to get out of there.  Question is, will I know they are paired off while they are still small enough to be in there?  OR, do I just take a big one and a small one and move them and hope?  I don't really care if they make baby angels, I'd rather they don't honestly, BUT I don't want them killing each other either.  Right now there is a huge black one who is almost always after another larger marbled one... I would probably assume those are both males and shouldn't be together???  They are about 30 - 40 mm right now, if that helps.
I will put two in the new 40B and two in the 55.
Now, I need to ask you ALL to be sure to tell me if my selections are not good together or are not suited for their environment... I am a professional dog person and I go crazy with people telling me the things they are going to do with their dogs while I KNOW they are heading for disaster, AND I am sure I am driving some of you crazy with my fishes in the same way...PLEASE tell me if I am doing something stupid???  Thanks!  
Oh yeah, on that note, would it ever be possible to put a juvenile male Betta in with those tetras and hope he would grow up getting along or is that too much to ask? Smile
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by GaryE on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:46 am

You're going to like this.... Hemigrammus rodwayi is a plain silver grey fish. However, in the wild, it is commonly attacked by a trematode parasite which seems to live symbiotically with it, doing no direct harm. However, I'd be willing to bet the parasite targets a predator, maybe a bird, as part of its life cycle, because it makes the host more likely to be eaten. It causes a reaction in the skin of the fish, causing it to turn a gold/brassy colour... so your fish are wild-caught, and parasitized to the eyeballs. As they age and aren't picked off, the parasite can diminish, and the real colour return. Not always. Some stay flashy for life.
I've seen the same trematode on Cichlids too.
Sadly, the parasite can't spread in tanks. So if your fish bred, the babies would grow out grey.

See why wild fish are fascinating?

The only fish you liked I'd steer away from the are the penguins, just because they get a bit larger and sometimes throw their weight around. They aren't killers but the other fish stay out of their way, and it can make them hide more. Not always...

I would take a large tank and put the angels together. They will eventually isolate an individual and start beating it to death over a couple of weeks. So he goes into another tank. Then the next one joins him. You'll see who the 'loser' is from the bullying behavior, and then shift him/her out to safety. Two pairs can sometimes have a balance of power in one tank. It's the extras of either sex that get picked on.
The odds of 3 males, 3 female in six are pretty small, so you should eventually be able to keep them all in two tanks.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by GaryE on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:54 am

Oh, the Betta. They are slow and have very poor eyes. They may want to kill the entire tank in their heart of hearts, but they can't see to hit the target and are too slow when they do. The "Oh look, Mr Betta is chasing the other fish to make friends" approach is a misread of "That totally incompetent serial killer can't catch any victims", but they do no harm, whatever their ambitions. The unnatural fins have to be dealt with because they are apparently tasty. Some tetras pick at them. A wild Betta would clean their clocks for even thinking of it, but a domestic lumbers around slowly and can't defend itself because of the drag from the man-made fins.
90% of the time, there's no problem, and 99% of the time, the problem if it exists is minor. Bettas need a quiet spot neat the surface with very little current (thise $%$% lovely fins are exhausting in fast water) but otherwise, for all the years I kept tetra community tanks, I always had a male longfin Betta in there. I never had problems.
Big angels sometimes dislike Bettas, but with surface plant tangles, it always worked out here.
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:02 am

Thank you Gary!!!!  See, I don't need books.  I love that about the little brass fish.  I did read somewhere they were being sold and in big, bold letters it said, "farm raised".  Now I know why and why they looked so plain!!!
It IS interesting especially since the gold color and brightness is much more pronounced on their backs, the part that would be most evident to birds.

I think I will move all angels over to the 55 and do it your way.  I can watch them in that tank from the comforts of my desk so will know when and who to move out to another tank.

Thanks about the Penguins...that is the stuff I like to find out BEFORE they are sitting in my tank!!!
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by nyleveiam on Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:31 pm

Gary, I told the fish store guys about the parasite making the brass tetra's gold colored.  They did not know that and were suitably impressed.  
I also got TWO more bettas...one for the 10 gal with the neons and one for the 40, figuring if that doesn't work I still have a 10 gal at work with just 8 cardinals in it.  So far so good!
Meet Bart: Poor Bart came with ammonia (?) burns on his gills, I am hoping clean water will help him with that!


And Brat:


Not the best photos since they are still getting used to more water than the little cups.  I know Brat is a crowntail but what is Bart, if you can tell from that photo???  Bart is really pretty with red, white and blue coloring but that photo doesn't do him justice.  I got the shortest tailed ones I could find since these guys have to swim in the bigger tanks!
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Re: Help with fish selections...

Post by Biulu on Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:44 pm

Are you sure you included the pics? I wasn't able to see them...

Have you thought about getting female bettas? They have the same beautiful colours but much shorter fins and can swim properly.
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