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Old 07-26-2009, 03:57 PM   #1
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Choosing Fish for a 10 Gallon Tank

I'd like to set up a fish tank. I never had my own before, so my knowledge is severely limited. I've been looking up fish, plants, and everything fish and aquarium related to try to figure out what I'm doing, but I still have lots of questions before I try to cycle the tank and get it set up properly.

First and foremost, I have fallen in love with kuhli loaches. They're adorable!!! I want to get at least one, preferably two, since I read that they're happier with a few friends. The problem with this is that I wanted to get a colorful, schooling fish as well, but I'm concerned about overcrowding, since my tank is only 10 gallons. Would I be able to fit at least four glowlight or neon tetras (or something else small and colorful) in this tank, or should I scratch that idea and look for other fish? Also, do you have any suggestions regarding other fish?

And I have no idea what plants to get. I think I'd like to set up my tank with some sort of cave area at one end, an open area in the middle, maybe with some java moss, and a small forest of something tall like anacharis at the other side. What do you think?

Thank you!!!
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

It sounds like you're off to a great start by reading and researching first. Kudos! I think you can do 2-3 kuhlis and a school of 4-6 smaller tetras no problem if you have adequate filtration and add them slowly.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:11 PM   #3
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ive always heard that neons prefer to be in groups of 6 or more... you would probably be pushing the limits if you had 6 neons and 2 loaches... you are going to be limited big time by what you can get if you are going to stick with a 10... if you stick with the 10, you wont be able to put much in it because of size limitations... 2" pvc couplers work well for caves with your substrate or rocks glued to it... if you put plants, youre going to be crowding them that much more... i would suggest, if you are serious about wanting to get an assortment of fish, check on craigslist or ebay and find a nice used aquarium in the 20-30 gallon range... the biggest mistake you could make is the one i did and overstock your first aquarium... ive found that its just as much, if not more work to keep a smaller aquarium clean versus a bigger one ( i have 3 55's and a 10)... if you dont want to up-size, stick with something along the lines of guppies, neons, and maybe a cory catfish... but in my opinion, you have bigger ideas than your little tank will handle...
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:15 PM   #4
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So far sounds like your choices are pretty good for your size. A few points to consider as you are making your plans. A good rule for stocking is 1inch per gallon for your bioload consideration. Kuhlis get about 3 inches full grown and the 4 neon tetra would be 1 inch a piece....that would put you at max capacity really. Anything more and you risk overstocking for sure. For schooling fish you need at least 3-5 for them to be happy.

Kuhlis like burrowing and hiding so choosing a small size substrate like sand will surely be appreciated by them, and I am sure will be fun for you.

As far as plants, both those fish varieties do fine with most plants. So the real consideration for you will be lighting. To start off, select some lowlight plants like crypts or some variety of swords, although a sword might dawrf your tank. Java moss can also be very nice and grows well in low light.

It sounds like you are on your way . There is no need to stall on cycling your tank either. The sooner you get started the better....and the sooner you can get your new friends set up. There are several very good guides on this site for fishless cycling, which I highly recommend. Go ahead and have fun getting your tank cycled and planted, while you consider the best tank mates for the Khulis. You could also consider other smaller schooling fish such as white cloud minnows, or one or two 2 inch community fish to stay understocked.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
...i would suggest, if you are serious about wanting to get an assortment of fish, check on craigslist or ebay and find a nice used aquarium in the 20-30 gallon range... the biggest mistake you could make is the one i did and overstock your first aquarium... ive found that its just as much, if not more work to keep a smaller aquarium clean versus a bigger one ( i have 3 55's and a 10)... if you dont want to up-size, stick with something along the lines of guppies, neons, and maybe a cory catfish... but in my opinion, you have bigger ideas than your little tank will handle...
The main problem with tank size is that my landlord has a rule where fish tanks must be 10 gallons or smaller. Otherwise I probably would go for something larger. As it is, I need to figure out what I can safely and conveniently do with 10 gallons.

Quote:
So far sounds like your choices are pretty good for your size. A few points to consider as you are making your plans. A good rule for stocking is 1inch per gallon for your bioload consideration. Kuhlis get about 3 inches full grown and the 4 neon tetra would be 1 inch a piece....that would put you at max capacity really. Anything more and you risk overstocking for sure. For schooling fish you need at least 3-5 for them to be happy.

Kuhlis like burrowing and hiding so choosing a small size substrate like sand will surely be appreciated by them, and I am sure will be fun for you.

As far as plants, both those fish varieties do fine with most plants. So the real consideration for you will be lighting. To start off, select some lowlight plants like crypts or some variety of swords, although a sword might dawrf your tank. Java moss can also be very nice and grows well in low light.
Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely check out those plants, and do some more research on community fish...
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
ive always heard that neons prefer to be in groups of 6 or more... you would probably be pushing the limits if you had 6 neons and 2 loaches... you are going to be limited big time by what you can get if you are going to stick with a 10... if you stick with the 10, you wont be able to put much in it because of size limitations... 2" pvc couplers work well for caves with your substrate or rocks glued to it... if you put plants, youre going to be crowding them that much more... i would suggest, if you are serious about wanting to get an assortment of fish, check on craigslist or ebay and find a nice used aquarium in the 20-30 gallon range... the biggest mistake you could make is the one i did and overstock your first aquarium... ive found that its just as much, if not more work to keep a smaller aquarium clean versus a bigger one ( i have 3 55's and a 10)... if you dont want to up-size, stick with something along the lines of guppies, neons, and maybe a cory catfish... but in my opinion, you have bigger ideas than your little tank will handle...
Plants will not crowd fish. It may seem slightly counter-ituitive, but the more plant cover they have available, the more they will be out in the open. Plants make prey fish feel safer. Plants are also very good additions for water quality since they take up nitogren compounds (i.e. reduce nitrate in a cycled tank).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiofcanada View Post
So far sounds like your choices are pretty good for your size. A few points to consider as you are making your plans. A good rule for stocking is 1inch per gallon for your bioload consideration. Kuhlis get about 3 inches full grown and the 4 neon tetra would be 1 inch a piece....that would put you at max capacity really. Anything more and you risk overstocking for sure. For schooling fish you need at least 3-5 for them to be happy.

Kuhlis like burrowing and hiding so choosing a small size substrate like sand will surely be appreciated by them, and I am sure will be fun for you.

As far as plants, both those fish varieties do fine with most plants. So the real consideration for you will be lighting. To start off, select some lowlight plants like crypts or some variety of swords, although a sword might dawrf your tank. Java moss can also be very nice and grows well in low light.

It sounds like you are on your way . There is no need to stall on cycling your tank either. The sooner you get started the better....and the sooner you can get your new friends set up. There are several very good guides on this site for fishless cycling, which I highly recommend. Go ahead and have fun getting your tank cycled and planted, while you consider the best tank mates for the Khulis. You could also consider other smaller schooling fish such as white cloud minnows, or one or two 2 inch community fish to stay understocked.
I agree with most of this and especially the recommendation for sand with kuhlis. The one inch per gallon thing is garbage though IME. The relative bioload of the fish (kuhlis and tetra are very low) needs to be considered along with the bulk of the fish at adulthood. A BN pleco would overstock a 10G tank and only reaches 5" max. There are many other examples that prove that "rule" to be a falsehood and a myth perpetuated by pet stores to sell more fish.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:26 PM   #7
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ouch, that sucks... sorry about that then. follow their advice as to what fish to get, but keep in mind that in a small tank like that, there is not going to be alot of room for decorating and planting... the more decor/plants you have, the less room you will have for fish... if its not totally over planted and decorated, you should be able to keep 6-8 small fish in it, as long as they are going to remain small such as neons or the white cloud minnows as kaiofcanada suggested... and if i were you, id make sure i had a filter rated for a 20 gal, the more filtration, the less water changes and gravel vacuuming you will have to do...
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:40 PM   #8
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HN1 is right, and to be honest I don't always follow the 1inch rule either. But for a new person it is a good guide to be sure to not overstock. Beware of fish that are extra wasteful or territorial. There are many fish that simply like lots of space.

As a point of humor and interest, I am getting a new tank set up to get an Indian Pea Puffer. They are very tiny little fresh water puffer fish, but they prefer lots of space for their size. YouTube - Steaton's Dwarf Puffers 20/04/2009

They are also quite amusing to watch. I am getting two and they will have a 10 gallon all to themselves except some little shrimp. They are a good example of the 1 inch rule failing . But worth every extra gallon of space they need.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:44 PM   #9
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HN1, ill have to remember that... the guy who owns a local shop told me that plants can cause major problems and crowd the fish, but i guess what you said makes sense more... ive been scared to put live plants in because of what he said, but sounds like they would be more help than harm...
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:16 PM   #10
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Wow, plants might crowd the fish? That sounds crazy. I know plants displace a little water but they are good for water quality and fish well being (shelter, stimulation). Fish like kuhli loaches *adore* having plants, sand, rocks, driftwood and other things to frolic around in. I think kunlis go well with small schooling fish. You might look into boraras. They are tiny but very nice and some are pretty red and black patterned. Even in a 10g you could have a good school of them.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:04 PM   #11
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Those pygmy puffers are really cute. So are the boraras. It would probably be a good idea for e to check out some of these smaller species. I was checking out the aquarium store near me last weekend and I saw something called Endler's Livebearers. They were really cute, and very tiny. Does anyone know anything about them?
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:25 PM   #12
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The endlers are related to the guppy and can fill a tank pretty fast if you get a trio to start with. For a 10 gallon with kuhli loaches you might consider a male betta. I have planted tanks and never had a problem with to many plants some are very densely planted.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:36 PM   #13
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To be honest, I was considering getting all males. I don't particularly want my fish producing a tank full of fry that I'm not ready for. On the other hand, bettas can be really beautiful, and then there's no question of whether I might end up with a new, unexpected population.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:40 PM   #14
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All male endlers would be a nice tank. They are really pretty hardy.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:15 PM   #15
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I agree with your choice...all males is nice and you can enjoy the fish without explosive population. I personally like having a "showcase" fish in a small tank. Haveing the khulis will be an entertaining and eyecatching addition.
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