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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 150 tall in my sights, and though I've kept many, many tanks over the years this is the biggest - never had bigger than a 55. Now I imagine I can keep all those fish I see at the LFS but have to turn down because of their potential size.

On the other hand, is a collection of larger fish going to make the most eye-popping tank? What would 200 neons look like in a shoal? I have not decided what to do - I am partial to planted tanks but that eliminates many choices in terms of what fish to choose.

If you already have a large tank like that, what did you stock it with, or if you someday plan on getting one, what would you put in it? Clown Loaches? Goldfish? Oscars or other SA cichlids? Catfish? Frontosa or other African cichlids? Large schools of smaller fish? Oddballs? Local fish from a nearby river?

It all boils down to personal taste, but I'm curious what others did with their big tanks. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really, really like the idea of a massive school of neons!

My husband has been wanting me to keep discus forever. That is gorgeous. I've had my 55g similarly planted (nowhere near as well done!), with CO2 injection and high light, but it was so much work keeping the nutrients balanced for the plants that I wound up cutting back. Here is a pic:



I want to do something different than what I usually do, but I always seem to return to it. How awesome would that be in a massive tank - I already have all the stuff, too. Hmmm...
 

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How much CO2 would you have to inject though?...and I would opt for cardinals over neons. They are pictured above, the red goes across the whole body, no silver on the chest...and the tend to get a bit bigger.

May I ask you how many watts you had on that tank and what nutrients you added?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Right about the cardinals, my bad! They are very hard to come by here. I got a school of about 8-10 of them years ago and only one survived, but he lived for 7 years, believe it or not. I just know I could afford to get a giant mass of neons, since they are everywhere here, though who knows if they'd survive.

That tank above had a Coralife Aqualight with 4 65-watt bulbs, so 260 watts, which was 4.7 watts per gallon. I had to blast CO2 through there, and I used Plantex CSM (Greg Watson's blend) along with nitrate and potassium. If I was not diligent with the dosing, or delayed in getting my CO2 tank refilled, I would get an outbreak of algae like nobody's business. It was a delicate dance for me, and I spent many an hour on various online aquarium forums debating my setup with Steve Hampton, Rex Grigg, etc. It just got to be too much of a headache. Too much light for a 55g, at least for me. I will likely use this same fixture on the 150. Don't know what kind of lighting might be in the hood, if any.

So should I get a bunch more Boesemanis to go with what I have (adore them - so colorful and active) with all the plants, or get some kind of oddball or tankbuster fish? I am leaning towards planted because at least with oscars and goldfish you are very limited as to the decor (oscars = almost NO decor) and the tanks are not terribly attractive to me without plants and stuff. When I kept oscars years ago they moved stuff around, rearranged my careful aquascaping, tore stuff up, etc. It would be cool to have a large specimen fish, though.

I might go with angels again, since there would be enough room for them to pair up and have a territory, but I want to get something that I have not kept before.
 

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Good to hear some names I recognize. I am currently using the Plantex CSM+B, KNO3, and KH2SO4 on my 75g setup. I have opted for less light ~2.5w/g so that I don't run into the algae problem as easy if other things become limited...especially the CO2. I still have hair/fuzz algae on some plants from time to time which is why I have Siamese algae eaters on the way.

You could probably do a similar setup as before but cut your light in half if you don't want to have to prune every other day. ;) If I had another tank it would definately be for rainbows! Have you seen the green one? If however, you decide to go with angels have you seen the Altumn angels?

GREAT tank and aquascaping BTW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have not seen the green rainbows. What species? I need to get out more! A road trip might be in order to Virginia Beach where there is an amazing LFS that carries all kinds of things you don't often see (including cardinals and rarely seen Africans).

I have never kept the altum (just the common types) but those are stunning - supposed to look more like what wild and natural angelfish look like. I've always been drawn towards laterally compressed fish, and they'd do great in a tank like this. Things got a bit dicey behavior-wise in the narrow confines of a 55 gallon. Plus, with all the plants it actually did not leave adequate swimming room. I had two pairs, one at each end of the tank, then lost one female in a hurricane-induced power outage (6 days!), sold off the extra male, then months later the remaining male killed his female mate! I saw it happen. I sold him off after that and switched to rainbows, lol. I think there was just not enough room for them. 55gal seems like a big tank, but the narrow width really limits what you can keep.

Regarding the high-light phase of my 55, I did exactly what you describe: I shut off two of the four bulbs (they have separate switches) and just ran the single pair, but subsequently I got a massive and devastating outbreak of BBS and could not do a thing with it - when that happens you basically have to manually pick out the affected plants, and I wound up throwing a hissy fit and tearing everything down and starting over. Now I'm running about 1.5 wpg and the tank is a no-brainer - I do hardly a thing to it, and it is boring, honestly!

You are right, too, about the trimming - it was a daily job to hack the plants back every day to keep it looking decent. I had a very busy plant trading/selling side business as an offshoot of that. I was able to trade for plants I wanted to try, and share some of the less common plants I had myself. It became too time consuming, though, and I'm still busy so I don't really want to get back into things at that level, but conditions will be more forgiving with a 150.

I think the planning is almost more fun than the doing.... ;)

At one point I was considering something like what Doedogg suggested with the tiger barbs (love 'em!) - tiger barbs and clown loaches. A total orange and black theme, lol. Clown loaches get BIG.
 

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In a tank that size, I am sure you could add a few angels to swimm along with the schools of rainbows. Angels also school (not as tightly) when in groups of 5 or more. However they are cichlids so if you add angels add them all at the same time so that they don't get territorial to new angels.

BTW did you see the angels in the Discus pics above?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did not notice them, but they come from similar waters so it makes sense to keep them together. "Relatively" docile cichlids.

When I kept angels I got a school of 5 juvies in hopes of getting at least one pair. When they were wee they schooled all over the place together and it was so nice - but then they reached maturity and paired up, and they definitely got testy. They were spawning, though, and it was nice to see them maintaining the eggs for hours on end.

I think the added tank volume will change the behavior, and prevent some of the "tight quarters aggression" that cichlids often display.

I kept a 10 gallon African shelldweller tank for a while, since you read a lot about these "desktop cichlids" and how you can have a male and a harem in a 10 gallon, etc. Well, I will tell you there was nothing but chaos, even though the fish are scarcely 1.5" long. When I moved them into my 40 gallon breeder with N. Leleupi, which live in the rockwork, they became completely different fish. They have been in there happy as clams ever since, digging around and living in their shells. They simply required more space.

That's why I am so excited to get a decent sized tank - the fish can do their thing and behave more naturally. Those discus pics are compelling.... how beautiful would that be in your living room!
 

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With that much water, you should go out fishing and catch a few pumpkinseed sunfish, some of the most beautiful wild freshwater fish on the entire continent
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What a marvelous suggestion! They are gorgeous, and I am sure they are around here, though everything is pretty much frozen over at the mo, so catching some will be a trick. Food for thought!
 

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ice fishing is a Blast! get yourself a chainsaw, a bucket and a stick with line on it and you'd be good to go!
 

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What type of shelldwellers do you keep? I've been looking for years but haven't set up a tank yet. I'm glad to know they need more room. I'd thought a 10 gallon would do it. I've had Leleupi before, they are beautiful. Didn't work well with the other Africans I had, though.

The sunfish idea is super, too. I've been thinking of getting some pygmy's for my 8 gallon tank to go with my darters. I don't have the option of fishing for them locally since I live in the NW. Getting local fish here means running a cold water tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What type of shelldwellers do you keep?
I have N. brevis right now. They are supposed not to get along with leleupi because many leleupi spawn in shells, but it is working out fine. The shellies live in escargot shells, a bit too small for the leleupi. I have some welk and other larger shells for them. Mostly they keep to the extensive rockwork.

Maybe I was just unlucky with my shellies in the 10, since there are a lot of people apparently doing it, but when you consider their natural habitat it makes sense that they would have more than a foot or so of territory on the bottom. I'd like to get some multifasciatus if I could find them, but that is a road trip. I have gotten calvus and other Africans shipped, but I just can't afford it right now.

Getting local fish here means running a cold water tank.
That is what I was discussing with my husband this morning - since I want to keep plants a cold water tank is not terribly ideal, but our summers here are brutal so we were wondering if the sunfish would adapt to closer to tropical temps, similar to how the ponds are here in the summer. The other thing is that they'd require live minnows/feeder goldfish, and that might become a PIA, with yet another dedicated tank for feeder fish.
 

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Stellaluna,

It is hare to see from your tank pics but what kind of filtration were you using, and did you get nit picky about getting the water to flow to all the plants? I am trying to decide if I want more flow in my tank (for the plants) vs Discus liking calmer water.

Also where is your CO2 reactor located/ how low did you place it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have a Rena XP4 on that tank, with intake at one back corner and outflow at the other back corner, directed diagonally. I also have a powerhead in one low corner for additional flow. I like a lot of water movement! The CO2 reactor was (still is, just not hooked up to anything, lol) low in the same back corner where the filter intake resides.

I have also been known to plumb my CO2 into my filter intake, so the bubbles run through the filter, and now I don't even recall why I stopped doing that - there is a lot of hoo-hah on the web about how this will destroy your filter, etc. but I don't know if that is true or not.

I'd hesitate to upset the discus with a lot of water movement, but I must admit I am intimidated by them. I have kept some very sensitive Lake Tang Africans without trouble, so I don't know why, but I've known people with discus who had no end of trouble with disease and eating problems and I now have the impression that I'd be doomed to failure.

It may be that if your planting was dense enough you could have more water movement that would be appreciated by the plants but at the same time the plants themselves would somewhat protect the discus - does that sound right? It may not work out like that. It may be that the pics taken above were just when the discus were added, and things did not work out over the long term. I don't know. I can pretty much assume by those pics that there is much care and attention paid to proper water movement.

Do you think I could add a few discus as community members in the 150, with the rainbows and the angels? I need hardy ones, too, if that is possible!

That is, if I abandon the sunfish idea. :confused:
 
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