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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm new to this whole aquarium thing and I'd like to start a nice one for my apartment. I know someone that knows about fish and can help me with them, so I'm being a bit more ambitious than most first timers, but I'm not certain about stocking fish and size and compatibility and I'd like to run it by some experts to get some opinions.

I'm going with a 37" gallon tank that will house five decent sized fish (possibly more if you all think so)... I'm not expecting any of the fish to get to full size, but then I don't really know how they grow in certain conditions and don't want them to get too big (maybe 4-6" each). Anyway, I've selected five and I think they should go well, the only concern I have is mixing the African Cichlids with the American Cichlids, even though the Ameican Cichlids are the bigger fish in the tank... so my selection is as follows:

One Tiger Oscar
One Red Parrot
One Buffalo Head Cichlid
One Demasoni Cichlid
One Green Tiger Barb


This represents a good variety in size and color... and I think they fish should be pretty compatible. I assume I'm going to have to buy the barb basically full size to avoid him being food for the cichlids, but I'll take all of your opinions on that.

So, I guess, what do you think about the selections? Will it work? Can I fit more fish down the line? How big would you say each of these guys will get in a 30" / 12" / 22"? Is there anything else you could give advice on?

EDIT: Oh yeah, if I could do more, I was looking into a Starry Night Pleco, as well.
 

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i like to use liveaquaria.com to determine the size of the fish i want and what ph kh range they need to be kept in. you can look up each fish and see what they recomend and go by that.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Leave out the oscar as they get at least 12 inches and would get stunted and shorten his life span in that size tank. Best for oscars is 1 for 75 gal tanks. Also they don't make good tank mates for anything. I have seen pictures of one eating a full grown pleco and both ended up dieing.

I would also leave out the tiger barb as they do better when there are at least 6 or more and I don't know if the Demasoni would tolerate them as they are nippy and the cichlids will go after them. Parrots I don't know anything about them but you would want to stock with fish near the same aggression levels and the same type of foods needed.
Starry plecos won't do in that tank as they need soft water to survive and thrive in.

As for stocking I would go with 4 - 6 demasoni, and if tolerated about 4 parrots, if not maybe look into yellow labs. they usually get along ok with demosonis. Buffalo heads will depend on the species, the larger ones I wouldn't do more than 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input. According to Live Aquaria (which I was already using) all of these fishes are compatible... however, this is why I posted here.

As far as the Oscar... I was under the impression that if you put it in a smaller tank, like most fish, it just won't reach its full size. To tell you the truth, I'd rather get it small... and if it actually got to 7-8 inches in that tank or appeared to start getting unhealthy because of the lack of room, I'd give it away to my local pet store.

As far as aggression, all of them, including the Red Parrot (which is also a cichlid) are approximately the same aggression. The exception being the pleco, but he's a bottom feeder and I figured would be out of the way. Originally, I wanted to go with a pink convict, but someone warned me they'd be too aggressive for that set up. Anyway, the way I'd see it, I'd like to try to stick with that set up (though I'll research other pleco that are more compatible with the water, as Live Aquaria said Pleco go good with African and New World Cichlid) and if things start to go awry, I'll give the trouble maker to another owner.

By the way, you seem to be suggesting a lot more fish than I thought would fit in there. You suggested about 12 6" fish... do you think that's not too many for this size tank?
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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The starry pleco is basically a species of bristlenose and requires soft water. A panach (sp) would work in that tank. The problem the oscar you won't know when he starts to stunt, and what happens is his inside grow but the body doesn't keep up with it till all of a sudden it is sick and almost past saving.

Keeping the stocking list that you have makes me feel that you really didn't want advice but to be told that its ok which it isn't.

Good luck with it. and when you start having problems you can post here for advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I haven't kept the same list... I basically changed it in every way that you explicitly suggested... I dropped the pleco in favor of something more suitable, if I can find one... I explained that the site suggested compatibility between the barb and the cichlids... but I'm taking what you said about aggression toward them, and if you think I could fit more fish, I'd have no problem getting multiple tiger barbs should it make them less vulnurable to attack. Anyway, as far as getting picked on, would it not be possible to stop that before it becomes a problem by taking the barb out if it's getting attacked?

As far as the Oscar... you didn't go into detailed explanation the first time, but I think I would leave it out if you're certain I couldn't protect it from overgrowing. It's just that the fish guy I know suggested them and said it wouldn't be a problem. I'll look more into this... do you think there is perhaps a way I can get a 5-6" older oscar that is certainly full grown and I wouldn't have to worry about further growth when bringing it to my tank?

Don't get the impression that I'm ignoring your advice because at this point it seems like you wouldn't be happy unless I made the exact tank that you suggested, which to me takes all of the fun out of a fish tank by not doing a little experimentation and learning a little. Besides, I'm not really looking for 5-6 of this fish and 4-5 of that fish... ideally I'd like some variety that share compatibility. As far as I can tell through research, most of the new world cichlids that I've suggested should all be compatible with each other... as for the Demasoni (which is African)... I really suggested that because of the way it looked, and I might end up switching it for another New World cichlid as they seem to be more compatible with other fish than the Africans.

EDIT:

So how does this sound so far...

One Red Parrot
Two Buffalo Head Cichlid
Two German Blue Ram
... and more ... Possibly a series of Tiger Barbs and/or a pleco that can handle softer water if you can think of one.

EDIT 2:

... and as for "panech", do you mean "panaque" like these guys?

Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Gold Royal Pleco (L-027)
Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Royal Pleco L-191

These both seem to get huge, so I don't think you mean them. I really can't figure out what the spelling would be...

This pleco seems to accept harder water

Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Tooth-Nose Pleco (L-07a)

... definitely in the range of cichlids... though according to this sites cichlids can live in soft water just like plecos.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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I haven't kept the same list... I basically changed it in every way that you explicitly suggested... I dropped the pleco in favor of something more suitable, if I can find one... I explained that the site suggested compatibility between the barb and the cichlids... but I'm taking what you said about aggression toward them, and if you think I could fit more fish, I'd have no problem getting multiple tiger barbs should it make them less vulnurable to attack. Anyway, as far as getting picked on, would it not be possible to stop that before it becomes a problem by taking the barb out if it's getting attacked?

Its possible to do that, but with barbs they are happier in groups of at least 5 or more

As far as the Oscar... you didn't go into detailed explanation the first time, but I think I would leave it out if you're certain I couldn't protect it from overgrowing. It's just that the fish guy I know suggested them and said it wouldn't be a problem. I'll look more into this... do you think there is perhaps a way I can get a 5-6" older oscar that is certainly full grown and I wouldn't have to worry about further growth when bringing it to my tank?

If you find an oscar that is between 5 - 6" the fish is probably stunted. A healthy one will reach 12 if given enough room without stunting

Don't get the impression that I'm ignoring your advice because at this point it seems like you wouldn't be happy unless I made the exact tank that you suggested, which to me takes all of the fun out of a fish tank by not doing a little experimentation and learning a little. Besides, I'm not really looking for 5-6 of this fish and 4-5 of that fish... ideally I'd like some variety that share compatibility. As far as I can tell through research, most of the new world cichlids that I've suggested should all be compatible with each other... as for the Demasoni (which is African)... I really suggested that because of the way it looked, and I might end up switching it for another New World cichlid as they seem to be more compatible with other fish than the Africans.

As with any cichlid like those mentioned above do a lot better when a little over crowded to help hold down aggression. Some of what you had talked about have different requirements for food and such. A fish that is a herbivore
that is given to much protein will usually bloat and die. Fish like the oscar requires more protein than veggie matter. What I was suggesting was more based to give you an idea of what would go together not that I think thats what you should do. Its your tank what ever makes you happy. But most fish are happier when there is more than one.


EDIT:

So how does this sound so far...

One Red Parrot
Two Buffalo Head Cichlid
Two German Blue Ram
... and more ... Possibly a series of Tiger Barbs and/or a pleco that can handle softer water if you can think of one.

That don't look to bad, but with blue rams they are very sensitive to water parameters and really not suggested as beginner fish. I have been keeping fish for 30 years and still have problems with them. Try looking at bolivian rams a little more hardy.

If you are going with softer water like that, bristlenose is a good choice. Clown plecos is another.


EDIT 2:

... and as for "panech", do you mean "panaque" like these guys?

Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Gold Royal Pleco (L-027)
Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Royal Pleco L-191

These both seem to get huge, so I don't think you mean them. I really can't figure out what the spelling would be...

This pleco seems to accept harder water

Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Tooth-Nose Pleco (L-07a)

... definitely in the range of cichlids... though according to this sites cichlids can live in soft water just like plecos.
They do get kind of big, but can handle cichlids and there are other panaques around if you can find them.

Are you going with soft or hard water. Your getting a little confusing on that one.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Are you going with soft or hard water. Your getting a little confusing on that one.
I don't know really... at this point I'm trying to pick the fish and find the water that is suitable for them. From what I've seen in research, New World cichlids are pretty versatile when it comes to water hardness... so if it's down to the pleco, then I'll try to keep them in softer water... I'd have to imagine that soft water is much harder to maintain, though... so I don't know how easy it would be as a beginner.

I'll look at Bolivian Rams... the first picture I saw of them was a very bland grey... but it looks like they can get pretty colorful.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Here is a pic of one of my bolivians



What is your ph right now? Most fish will adapt to your water as long as they are acclimated right. If possible its best not to adjust your ph trying to match what they say is best. I have discus in my water with a ph of 7.4 and is doing fine in that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
There is no ph. There is no tank yet. I haven't purchased anything... I'm talking about something I'm going to do months from now. I still have plenty of research to do about how to start the aquarium and get the atmosphere just right for the fish... what to plant... etc... most of this isn't going to happen until September.
 

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You mean of my tap water? I'm not home all weekend, I'll let you know Monday.

Does it really matter, though? As far as I know, pH is fairly adjustable with safe chemicals. ... and we're talking months away.

I'll get it checked out if you think it will help you decide at this point.
 

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You mean of my tap water? I'm not home all weekend, I'll let you know Monday.

Does it really matter, though? As far as I know, pH is fairly adjustable with safe chemicals. ... and we're talking months away.

I'll get it checked out if you think it will help you decide at this point.
Knowing your tap Ph and Gh/Kh (Hardness) would be a good place to start. Adjusting your PH with chemicals is not really ideal. If you really want a soft water tank, the best way is to use peat either in the filter or under the substrate. Using a lot of driftwood is also helps. The Tannin's will soften the water make it more acidic safely without risking your fish with every water change.

The problem with using chemicals is that you are always fighting a battle against Ph swings; which would be disastrous with German Rams. I also would recommend against German Blue Rams unless you are prepared to plant the tank fairly heavily, as it's really the only way they'll thrive.

One other note please make sure the tank is well and truly cycled before you put any Rams in there. I would also recommend you do research into fishless cycling when it time comes.
 

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Blue rams are sensitive as the lady stated. I wouldn't recommend putting them in with the current set up you have. Tiger barbs will likely nip them.

Tiger barbs will need to be in a group of at least 5 to 7 or you better be prepared to experience a lot of nipping of other fish. I would recommend odd numbers to prevent coupling. They create a nipping hierarchy between themselves and if you don't have enough tiger barbs to go around for the dominant ones to pester, the weakest of them will die from the constant attacks.

I personally haven't had too much of a problem with german blues or gold rams, they just need a fully cycled tank (nitrates aren't very good with them either as much as other fish) and a decent amount of space/hiding places.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, well, I don't want to mess with the whole 1 gal / 1 inch rule, but I'm feeling like people add a lot more fish than I am to my tank... so tell me, in a 55 Gallon would it be obsurd to have something like

5 Green Tiger Barbs
2 Bolivian Rams
2 Buffalo Head Cichlid
1 Red Parrot
1 Pleco (of some sort)

At max size for all, that's about 38" without the pleco and about 42-43" with. Too much for a 37 gallon or is it doable?

EDIT: Also, are Tiger Barbs and Green Tiger Barbs essentially interchangeable? Like could I instead of five Green Tiger Barbs do three Green Tiger Barbs and two regular Tiger Barbs?
 

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Yes the tiger barbs are interchangeable and they will still school.

The one inch per fish rule isn't too accurate to really base your options on. It really depends on the fish's habitat preferences (whether it is an active swimmer, territorial, etc) and how much waste it produces.
 

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get a BN pleco there cool and will keep ur tank pretty clean besides for all the pooping they do
 

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Being new to the hobby I would like to very strongly make a recommendation.

And one that you can ignore.*old dude

I would recomment you start a "beaslbob build" from various threads here.

basically start the tank with lotsa plants. wait a week

Then add a single male platy (darker colored ones like red wag, sunburst etc)

the wait a week with no food being added.

the add two female platys and start feeding 1 flake per day.

To me it is very important for a new person to get a successful tank running even if it has the more boring fish.

Then you can try for the exotic fish later. *old dude

my .02
 

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