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Old 04-02-2005, 04:20 PM   #1
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46 Gallon Tank - Gourami Tankmates

The company that I work for has gotten me a 46 gallon bow tank for my office. This will be the first real tank that I'll be caring for so needless to say I'm pretty clueless with fish keeping and which fish go well with which fish. So, right now I'm in the process of researching which types of fish to put in it.

I've gone to a few local pet stores and here are my favorites so far... Opeline Gouramis, Pearl Gouramis, Clown Loachs, Pleco, Ropefish, Red-tailed Sharks, Bala Sharks, Iridescent Sharks, and pretty much any of the African Cichlids.

From what I've learned so far (and from a little common sense ) I'm very much aware that not all of these fish are compatible nor would they all fit in a 46 gallon tank when they're full grown. I refuse to buy fish with the thought that I'll just return or sell them when they become to large for the tank. So with that said, I've already cut quite a few of them (the Clown Loach, Ropefish, Bala Shark, Iridescent Shark, and Cichlids). If everything goes well with the tank at work, I'll likely invest in a larger one for my home. At that time, I'd get some bigger fish. Now after making this cut, that leaves the following which I would really love to have in my first community tank.. Opeline Gouramis and Pearl Gouramis (not so sure on the qty yet), a Pleco and/or catfishes, a Red-tailed Shark or two, and perhaps some snails. Again from what I've read, these seem to be pretty compatible with each other. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.

Now my questions:

1 - If these are acceptible tankmates, what would the recommended qtys of each be for a 46 gallon tank. I would like to have as many of the Gouramis (Opeline and Pearl) that would be acceptible. These are my favorite so far so I would basically be planning the community around them.

2 - I'm worried that if I get an opposite sex pair of Gouramis that they will breed. Being a complete newbie to fish keeping I don't want to have to worry about taking care of 'fry'. Then again, if I get same sex pairings won't that increase the aggressiveness in the Gouramis?

3 - One last question, the guy at the pet store recommended that we buy fish in 3's to avoid sudden overcrowding and to prevent the danger levels in the thank from skyrocketing. This sounds pretty logical to me, but I was wondering if this a general good rule to go by? What 3 fish of my choices should I start with? How long after I introduce my first 3 can I add the next fish?

That's it for now! All I want is a happy and healthy fish community (with some variety) who will be fun to watch and take care of. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
- Mandy
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Old 04-02-2005, 06:08 PM   #2
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Hey Mandy,
Is your tank completly cycled? What are your readings (ph in particular)? If these conditions are fine, then I would recommend not getting more than 3 fish at a time. That seems to be pretty good advice. IF you really enjoy gouramis, I would say that you could probably get 4-6 of them. They will be slightly more agressive towards the same sex, or they may not, as it depends on the fish. From what I have heard gouramis do not mate that readily in an aquarium. THey need to make little bubble nests with their mucus and prever coverd surfaces to do this on, so if you dont have any lily-pad type plants they likely wont mate. I am not sure but if they build a bubble nest you may be able to just destroy it (birth control). I would get one plecostomus as they get so big, or you could get several of the smaller speecies that dont get very big. I would also recommend any type of Corydoras as they ahve a lot of personality adn are beautiful, CHeck out hte Julii or Panda Corydoras. I also love tetras and it sounds like any type would be a wonderful addition to your peaceful community. Hope this helps. I shoudl let you know that I have only a few years experience, but my advice has been conservative so it is true.
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Old 04-02-2005, 08:13 PM   #3
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Multiple Male gouramis will not usually get along that well, however you may be able to get more than 3 gouramis of the same type with only a small amount of aggression. Or, you could get 3 females per male gourami. If they breed and you don't want fry just leave the fry and the fry will prob get eaten.
If you would like more than one pleco you could get a few bristlenose plecos. They stay small,
but some of the bigger plecos look nicer.
Schooling fish would look nice in the community (bigger tetras, rainbowfish)
If you aren't getting any african cichlids, then angelfish would make a nice replacement. They are in the cichlid family but will eat small fish like neon tetras. They will usually get along with gouramis and have tons of personality.

Gouramis prefer lots of plants and hiding places so if you are going to have lots of gouramis you will need plenty of plants and rocks and driftwood. The plants can be real, plastic or silk, it is your choice. Plecos will also benefit from driftwood. Make sure that if you will get plecos you have smooth substrate, not sharp or it can harm their mouths.

Finally, read up on the cycling process asap, and find out suitable equipment (filter heater lighting).
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Old 04-02-2005, 08:52 PM   #4
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If you get quite a few gouramis they will need hiding places just in case they get picked on by the others. When its feeding time they usually will let them all eat without any aggression unless they get just way too close that one gets annoyed. I used to worry about my gouramis a lot since they would pick on each other sometimes but large ornaments and plants really help in keeping them feeling more relaxed and less territorial. The males are usually more territorial than the females. Oh, and try and get them all about the same size. I've noticed that it's mainly the bigger ones picking on the smaller ones.
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Old 04-02-2005, 09:32 PM   #5
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If you end up getting a red-tail shark get just one. As they mature they become very territorial and do not tolerate conspecifics and sometimes even like colored/shaped fish.
I had 2 in a heavily planted 80 gallon with lots of driftwood, rocks and caves. The larger shark would harass the smaller one relentlessly. The smaller one would hide behind the filter intake or anywhere else he would fit, but to no avail. After a few days when it became apparent the chasing would not stop I moved the smaller one to my 46.
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Old 04-02-2005, 10:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the feedback!

As of right now, I have a large rock type formation with several holes in it, one tall plant, one small plant, and another large rock formation with some plant like branches coming off of it. The bottom of the tank is covered with white gravel. Now that I'm learning more, I've learned about driftwood. I'll most likely buy something of that type tomorrow to put in. Should I also get a Lava Rock? Someone at work (who's the know it all type) said that Lava Rocks help to balance the PH level. Is this correct? Will it be bad if I don't get one?

I'm not sure what kind of equipment (heater, filter, etc.) is on the tank, but I can find out Monday. Right now the heater is set for 72°.

This Monday I'll be taking some time to learn how to test the water for all of the different levels. If everything looks good by next Monday (4/11) I'll be making my first fish purchase. Most likely I'll get a pair of Gouramis just to start out. Now the question is, what should I get for the third fish? Should it be a pleco or a catfish, maybe something else? Being that it's gravel at the bottom of the tank would one be better off? Also, if I go by the 'buy fish in 3's rule', would snails count as a fish?

Thanks again,
- Mandy
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:11 PM   #7
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Driftwood lowers Ph. What is the ph of your tapwater. Sorry, but i don't recomend you put the gouramis in yet until your tank has cycled. How long has your tank been running ?
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:35 PM   #8
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Thanks, so is driftwood more effective and a better choice over lava rocks?

I don't know what the Ph level is yet, but I will gladly post them once we find out. We just set everything up yesterday (Fri). We are planning on starting the testing on Monday and we will go from there. We just ran out of time after everything was set up on Friday. We are planning on running it until next Monday before any fish go in there.

What exactly is meant by cycling? I've done a few searches online, but I can't seem to find a definite answer.

- Mandy
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46G- (3) Pearl Gouramis, (5) Black Skirt Tetras, (7) Harlequin Rasboras, (3) Dojo Loaches, (1) Clown Pleco
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:12 AM   #9
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We can determine the rock you s hould use when we know the ph level.

Check out this article for cycling info.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=21

It is best to cycle the tank before you put the fish in. Cycling ccan go from 2-6 wks i think.
However, Bio Spira is a product which is sort of like an instant cycle.
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:35 AM   #10
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Cycling: http://www.honors.montana.edu/~weif/...nk/cycle.phtml

Driftwood will slowly lower the pH, while the lava rock will raise the pH.

Now for the problems that may arise with having these fish together: Opaline Gouramis, Pearl Gouramis, Pleco and/or catfishes, a Red-tailed Shark or two, and snails
The gouramis may have some aggression towards each other but the tank is big enough for them so that's good. Plecos and catfish should be fine with almost anything as long as you don't get more than 1 common pleco (I'd suggest one or a few of the smaller plecos though) or a catfish that'll get too big for the tank. Redtail sharks can get aggressive especially when larger so you will need to watch it. Do not get more than 1 redtail shark! The snails might get eaten if they're too small.
In that tank I think you actually could get a clown loach if you want. Although, it would almost definitely eat the snails.
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Old 04-03-2005, 12:04 PM   #11
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Thanks again,

Blucat - If I use that Bio Spira stuff I wouldn't have to get feeder fish or something like that to cycle right? This would be like it's replacement?

RoK - I'm not sure if I'll be getting a common pleco or not. I don't want the it to get to large for the tank leaving me trying to rehome it. Bristlenose Plecos have been recommended by a few people I've talked to online. Do you have any other suggestions on Plecos?

This may be a stupid question, but are Corydoras considered to be Catfish? Some website show them in the same category, while others don't. For Corydoras I really like the Julii. Would having maybe 5 or 6 of them be to much for a tank this size?

The Redtailed Shark would definitely be the only shark in this tank. I have read that they can get aggressive so I don't want to push it by getting another one. I could actually do without it, but thought it would be a nice addition. Do you think think that some Tiger Barbs would be a better fit? I've read that they sometimes nip at the fins of Gouramis, but mostly only when there's just a couple of them in the tank.

I've decided to hold off on the Clown Loach because of their potential adult size. I would love to have just 1, but I've read that they like to be kept as a small school. I definitely don't have the room for a school of these guys so I'll just wait. For snails, I was considering an Apple Snail. I'd actually rather have a Snail than a Clown Loach in this tank so no worries about having both risking the Snail's life.

One last question for you RoK, I just LOVE your avatar! Is that one of your fish? Is it a Gourami?

- Mandy
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75G- (3) Firemouth Cichlids, (10) Tiger Barbs, (3) Dojo Loaches, (3) Yoyo Loaches, and (1) Sailfin Pleco.
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:39 PM   #12
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Hi Mandy,

I have some of the species you're interested in, so I'll throw in my 5 cents. The Trichogaster gourami species are in general a bit more aggressive to their own species than the Colisa species, but are generally hardier. Starting with a pair would be a good idea. I have a pair of Pearls that are doing great (the male was a juvenile, quite small, when I got him and looked female at the time). The male chases the female, but it's pretty mild. You could try having 1m/2f or as many as 6 (not sure what the best sex ratio would be) and see how they do (they are generally found in schools of 10-20 in the wild I think) - I personally wouldn't mix different gourami species.

Clown loaches can get big, but they grow very slowly and their final size depends partly on your tank size, so I think a small school (3-5) would be fine in your tank. I'd buy them at the ~3" size, as there is supposedly a hump of high mortality when their small - I got 5 at about 1.5" and had 2 die unexplainably within a month - being wild-caught I think they weren't adapting well to eating in an aquarium setting. Of the 3 I have left, 2 are about 3" after 3 months and very active, the other one is still pretty small and tends to swim around in the dense planting. There are some other loaches like Zebras and Yoyos that aren't too hard to find and might be better choices hardiness-wise, although maybe a bit more aggressive. I'd love to get some dwarf loaches, if I could find some and they didn't cost big bucks. There are also lots of Corydoras species (they are "catfish" - not really a scientific term) that are a good choice for the same niche as loaches, although they don't match gouramis biotopically (i.e. Corydoras are new world).

Red-tailed sharks are pretty, but yes, you should only keep 1, and they supposedly can get aggressive toward other species as they get older. Siamese algae eaters are closely related, and although not as striking, they do well in multiples and are great algae eaters. I love the two I have - very fast when they chase each other.

Plecos are so cool - I was thinking of getting one, but decided to stick with SE Asian species for my tank. If you want one, I would also recommend the bristlenose. People often recommend multiples, as they stay small, but I've heard they can be aggressive, so I'd just get one - you'll probably see it more that way, too.

Apple snails get really big, and supposedly if they die, you've got a major clean-up job to do to keep your fish alive. And I don't think they're all that good clean-up crew-wise. My Physa snails (a type of pond snail) are almost all gone due to the loaches, but my Trumpet snails are doing great, and I would recommend them whatever fish you get, although being nocturnal, if it's an office tank, you won't seem them much unless you're working real late .

Oh, and no, AFAIK Biospira does not substitute for a cycle, but rather kickstarts it by not having to wait for bacteria to naturally populate your media from the water, substrate, etc. You still need to have an ammonia source to build up the bacteria population on your filter media. I did it fishless using pure ammonia.

Whew, that was a long post. HTH, Ryan
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Old 04-03-2005, 05:56 PM   #13
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I suggest fishless cycling.

Corydoras are catfish. I would say 3 or 4 would be fine.
Have you decided whether to have female and male gouramis or just male gouramis?
You could have one large pleco or 3 or 4 bristlenose plecos. However, bristlenose should only be added after you have added all your other fish.
Another alternative to a pleco is an otto catfish. An otto is sort of similar and you could also have 3 or 4 of them.
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Old 04-03-2005, 06:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GouramiFanatic
RoK - I'm not sure if I'll be getting a common pleco or not. I don't want the it to get to large for the tank leaving me trying to rehome it. Bristlenose Plecos have been recommended by a few people I've talked to online. Do you have any other suggestions on Plecos?

This may be a stupid question, but are Corydoras considered to be Catfish? Some website show them in the same category, while others don't. For Corydoras I really like the Julii. Would having maybe 5 or 6 of them be to much for a tank this size?

The Redtailed Shark would definitely be the only shark in this tank. I have read that they can get aggressive so I don't want to push it by getting another one. I could actually do without it, but thought it would be a nice addition. Do you think think that some Tiger Barbs would be a better fit? I've read that they sometimes nip at the fins of Gouramis, but mostly only when there's just a couple of them in the tank.

I've decided to hold off on the Clown Loach because of their potential adult size. I would love to have just 1, but I've read that they like to be kept as a small school. I definitely don't have the room for a school of these guys so I'll just wait. For snails, I was considering an Apple Snail. I'd actually rather have a Snail than a Clown Loach in this tank so no worries about having both risking the Snail's life.

One last question for you RoK, I just LOVE your avatar! Is that one of your fish? Is it a Gourami?

- Mandy
You can get bristlenose, clown, and rubber lipped plecos. These all would stay small enough so you could have multiple of them if you want. I'm not saying get them all of them BTW. There are other plecos that stay small enough but the ones I mentioned are more common, at least where I live. Bristlenoses are possible to breed in the aquaria so if you don't want babies (but want more than 1) make sure you get all one gender.

Cories only grow to at the most 3" so you could get 5-6 of them but would just have to make sure all of them are fed well since they stay at the bottom and are so many to feed.

I think you should stay away from the tiger barbs especially with gouramis, just my opinion though.

My avatar is an opaline gourami. It's not mine, I found the pic online but I thought it was so beautiful that I had to have it as my avatar. I do have a male opaline gourami, it just doesn't look as stunning as that one. I don't have a digital camera so can't put pics of my fish on the comp.
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Old 04-04-2005, 08:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blucat
We can determine the rock you s hould use when we know the ph level.
Well, today I learned how to test for the Ph level. Wow was that complicated... just kidding! The first time I tested it I didn't hold the bottle completely upside down and the results came back at a 7.2. Once I realized that the bottle should've been completely upside down to get equal drops, I tested it again. This time it came back at a 7.0. So, I guess it's safe to say that my tank ranges between 7.0 - 7.2 as of right now.

- Mandy
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:39 PM   #16
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Is that straight from the tap or water that was in the tank awhile? Also, is it dechlorinated?
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