Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 10-02-2013, 11:57 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
First tank (15gal), stocking advice & other questions

Hi there!

I recently got my first tank and it's been cycling for 2.5 weeks now (of which the last week with fish food). While doing my research for stocking a few questions came to mind and I figured it might be smart to ask them here to avoid problems later on.

While researching stocking ideas I came across this one:

1x Dwarf Gourami (or betta)
6x Larger Tetra's (for example, black skirts, diamonds, red eyes, lemon)
4x Corydoras (for example, panda's or schwartz)

I especially like the Gourami and the Corydora's. When looking into these fish I encountered a few possible problems. Some say Corydora's need very soft sand-like gravel, while others say they will do just fine in gravel that's a bit rough. My gravel obviously isn't very soft, but I wouldn't say it feels sharp either. I've added a photo of my gravel and wonder what you guys think.

I've also read different things about the Gourami. Some say it's a difficult fish to keep, others say it will probably do fine in a 15 gallon. Looking at my tank & stocking, would this be a good idea?

If these fish would be a bad idea, are there any alternatives you guys would recommend? While I like the 'bigger' Gourami and Corydora's, most 15 gallon stocking's I've seen consist primarily of many little fish (Neon tetra's etc). Since it's my first tank and a small one too, I am especially looking for fish that aren't very hard to keep.

But wait, there's more! I also noticed that the leaves of one of my plants (Echinodorus) are looking a bit damaged, as you can see on the photo. It has been like this for some time now, and I wonder if this will go away, or if it would be better to change this plant for a new one to prevent rot etcetera.

And last but not least, here in Holland the API Freshwater Test costs over 30 euro's here when ordered online (instead of 17 dollar in the US). Any fellow europeans that know some good & more affordable alternatives?

I know these are quite some newbie questions, but thanks in advance for any answers
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7489.jpg
Views:	178
Size:	151.7 KB
ID:	200819   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7493.jpg
Views:	112
Size:	127.1 KB
ID:	200820  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7496.jpg
Views:	114
Size:	171.6 KB
ID:	200821   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7490.jpg
Views:	101
Size:	112.0 KB
ID:	200822  

__________________

__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 12:05 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Samzter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 3,625
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tank-o-Fish View Post
Hi there!

I recently got my first tank and it's been cycling for 2.5 weeks now (of which the last week with fish food). While doing my research for stocking a few questions came to mind and I figured it might be smart to ask them here to avoid problems later on.

While researching stocking ideas I came across this one:

1x Dwarf Gourami (or betta)
6x Larger Tetra's (for example, black skirts, diamonds, red eyes, lemon)
4x Corydoras (for example, panda's or schwartz)

I especially like the Gourami and the Corydora's. When looking into these fish I encountered a few possible problems. Some say Corydora's need very soft sand-like gravel, while others say they will do just fine in gravel that's a bit rough. My gravel obviously isn't very soft, but I wouldn't say it feels sharp either. I've added a photo of my gravel and wonder what you guys think.

I've also read different things about the Gourami. Some say it's a difficult fish to keep, others say it will probably do fine in a 15 gallon. Looking at my tank & stocking, would this be a good idea?

If these fish would be a bad idea, are there any alternatives you guys would recommend? While I like the 'bigger' Gourami and Corydora's, most 15 gallon stocking's I've seen consist primarily of many little fish (Neon tetra's etc). Since it's my first tank and a small one too, I am especially looking for fish that aren't very hard to keep.

But wait, there's more! I also noticed that the leaves of one of my plants (Echinodorus) are looking a bit damaged, as you can see on the photo. It has been like this for some time now, and I wonder if this will go away, or if it would be better to change this plant for a new one to prevent rot etcetera.

And last but not least, here in Holland the API Freshwater Test costs over 30 euro's here when ordered online (instead of 17 dollar in the US). Any fellow europeans that know some good & more affordable alternatives?

I know these are quite some newbie questions, but thanks in advance for any answers
I would classify that gravel as sharp, but others may say different. Imo Id either switch gravel or skip them. Most if you keep good, pristine water, you might be able to keep cories. I don't think you would have a issue with a DG. For the tetras, I'd swap for one of the following: cardinals, neons, glow lights or harlequin rasboras. I think the deeper bodied tetras really need 30g tanks. Apart from the , it looks like you've done your research and have a beautiful tank!
__________________

__________________
Samzter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samzter View Post
I would classify that gravel as sharp, but others may say different. Imo Id either switch gravel or skip them. Most if you keep good, pristine water, you might be able to keep cories. I don't think you would have a issue with a DG. For the tetras, I'd swap for one of the following: cardinals, neons, glow lights or harlequin rasboras. I think the deeper bodied tetras really need 30g tanks. Apart from the , it looks like you've done your research and have a beautiful tank!
Thanks for the compliment on the tank! I'm happy with it too, although I'm planning to add 1 or two plants before putting in fish.

Switching gravel is not a favorable option since the tank was a present, including most that is in it. Maybe I'll have to look for an alternative then. I like your idea of the Harlequin Rasboras or Glowlight Tetra's, will look into them. One of these days I got to check the available stock of my LFS anyway. Thanks a bunch for thinking along!
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Fishlover3578's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 841
Honey sunset gourami from Petsmart only gets 2 inch and does great with my cory cats guppies and snails . He is a bright orange color
__________________
Fishlover3578 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Coursair's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Francisco East Bay Area CA
Posts: 7,922
I think the gravel is ok for Cories, not ideal, but if it's kept clean it should be ok.

I would also vote for smaller fish. Threadfin Rainbows are pretty fish. I love mine. They just need small food.

Harlequins have always been very easy for me. Also Cherry Barbs. Just make sure you get some girls, not just the Red boys.

Do you have root tabs for your plants ? Swords are heavy root feeders.
Are you adding plant food ?

What lights are you using ?
__________________
My 10g Shrimp Jungle My 10g Rimless My 5.5g CRS Tank They are a work in progress
Vid of my Shrimp Jungle
~ Tina
Coursair is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Thank you both for the input.

I came across Honey Sunset Gourami's too, not sure if my LFS has them.

Those smaller fish suggestions look good too. I don't have root tabs. And ehm, which of the fish previously mentioned are swords exactly?

As for plant food, I do have a nutrient soil beneath the gravel. As for the lights, all I know is that it is one 15W tl that came with the tank. A problem with the plants could be I treated them a bit wrong at first (didn't remove spongy stuff and old roots, and moved them around a few times), the roots are a bit brownish now instead of white, don't know if that's a bad sign.
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 01:00 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
The plant on the far left with the leaves that are purple underneath is Purple Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternataa) is not a true aquatic plant. If you leave it in the tank it will eventually begin to die and rot.

As already mentioned the Sword plant needs to have root tabs as it draws almost all of it's nutrients via it's roots. Also with Sword's any damaged leaves should be cut off close to the base so the plant doesn't waste energy on damaged leaves.

With having a 15g tank have you ever considered doing a nano fish tank? I have both a 55 and 24 gallon tanks that are nano fish tanks. With nano fish you can do many more fish and have a very active little tank. Nano fish I keep are:

Hara jerdoni "Dwarf Anchor Cat"
Petruichthys sp. "Burmese Rosy Loach"
Micronemacheilus cruciatus "Pygmy Multi Stripe Loach"
Nannostomus rubrocaudatus "Purple Pencilfish"
Sundadanio axelrodi "Blue Form Neon Rasbora"
Boraras briggitae "Chili Rasbora"
Dario dario "Scarlet Badis"
Dario sp "Junita Hill"
Pseudepiplatys annulatus "Clown Killifish"
Pseudomugil cf. paskai "Irain Red Neon Rainbowfish"

Plus there are many other really pretty nano fish. You can also keep small shrimp species like Red Cherry Shrimp and many other types with nano fish also.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 01:50 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Just found out a few days ago that plant wasn't completely aquatic, didn't know it was definitely bound to rot though. Guess I'll have to find an alternative for that one too then. The roots of the sword plant are bedded in nutrient soil underneath the gravel, do I still need root tabs?

And you know what, it might be a good idea to go for a nano fish tank indeed. I like bigger fish a tad more, but in such a tank they might look a bit misplaced, little fish might look better. Plus with a bit of luck they'll hide in the submarine every now and then . Does a nano tank mean I can pick more different kinds of fish, instead of the usual 2 - 3? Or does every fish need a handful of their own kind anyways?

Maybe I'll drop by the LFS tomorrow to test the water and make a list of a few possible fish. Anything I should definitely pay attention too when looking for a few fish to start the tank with? Of course I'll do some research on them at home anyway before buying.

Cheers for the help!
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2013, 03:12 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Yes Swords need root tabs even in dirted tanks. My largest dirted tank is 220 gallons and any Swords, Crypts, and Bulb plants get root tabs.

Most nano fish don't reach more than an inch, which "sounds" big but remember your talking about thin bodies, little fish that some don't even reach an inch. So yes certain types of nano fish need a small school of 6 but say 6 Chili Rasbora's wouldn't even make up the body of an adult neon tetra. My two little types of Loaches look little compared to the Oto's I have in the nano fish tanks.

Just for an example in my 55 gallon nano fish tank I have:

30 Chili Rasbora's
30 Neon Rasbora's "blue color species"
12 Scarlet Badis
12 Burmese Rosy Loaches
6 Pygmy Multi Stripe Loaches
10 Clown Killifish
12 Aspidoras (a small cousin in the cory family)
6 Oto Cats

The tank is very active but even with that amount of fish the bio-load is very low because they are such small bodied fish. Here's a link to my album for the 55g when it was first set up. I need to get some current pic's now that the plants have filled in and the tank is fully stocked.
Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community - Rivercats's Album: 55g Planted- Nano fish.

You could do something like Clown Killifish for the surface area or Spotted Blue eye's. Then couple mid schooling species like Chili Rasbora's, Celestial Pearl Danio's, or Ember Tetra's. There are tons to choose from. Then a group of the small Loaches for bottom activity. Even some small shrimp. You can have a busy tank with a small bioload which is great.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2013, 04:13 AM   #10
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Okay, will get me some root tabs then.

Your tank looks good! And that's quite a lot of fish indeed, more than 90 . Much activity with minimal bioloud sounds ideal. My tank is situated in the corner of the room so often I will be looking at it from a bit of a distance, I might go for the 'bigger' nano fish then since some of them may be a bit too small.

Thanks for the list of fish, they all look good. I'll take it down to the LFS later today and check what they've got!
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #11
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Okay, so today I went to my LFS to have the aquarium water tested and check out some fish. All in all, not a great succes. The Kh is apparently too low (around 4) and the nitrate is still too high, probably been over-doing the fish food thing. They talked me into buying Sera KH/pH plus and Sera Bio Nitrivec, which should basically be bottled bacteria that process nitrite etc. Weirdly they couldn't give me used filter media or something. Ah well, I don't expect much from it though. Should I still add a bit of fishfood to maintain current and new bacteria?

As for the fish: they do have quite some variety. I noted down all relevant fish in my phone, but due to a very weird bug the whole note disappeared when I got home, yay for technology. After going through some databases I think I recovered most of the names, although I can't seem to find some rarer ones unfortunately.. However, these are the ones that looked nice & appropriate:

Chinese Gold Danio
Five-banded Barb (or Black tetra instead)
Neon tetra

Also nice:

Bleeding hearts
Harlequin rasboras
Wagtail platy
Cardinal tetra
Marble molly
Black molly
False penguin tetra
Aplocheilichtys normani (not sure if correct & can't seem to find the English name)
Otocinclus, although I wonder whether this one's a good idea

When I started googling around a bit I noticed many of these are a bit on the large side. And the five-banded bard, for instance, apparently needs special food. Too bad, because I liked that one. And the danio turns out to be a coldwater fish. Are there any fish / combinations possible here that would be a good match? I'm particularly curious about what would make a hardy starter fish and also would match many others, since I'm planning on buying a few of those starter fish when the tank is ready, and take it from there. Would the chinese gold danio be a good first choice for my tank? And any idea how many different fish, eventually, would be wise?

Man, this fish-keeping is quite some work, and I don't even have one fish yet. Thanks in advance for thinking along guys
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2013, 06:27 AM   #12
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Okay, I've did some research and I think the Cardinal Tetra would be the best fish for me to start off with. Not too big and doesn't need that much water, eats normal fish food, relatively hardy. A little more hardy than Neon Tetra's apparently, although a bit bigger which isn't optimal in my case.

Please correct the above if I'm wrong though. Would it be wise to get myself 5 of these when the water values turn good? And would this leave room for some two other schools of small fish?
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2013, 10:58 AM   #13
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Your Kh is fine at 4! In fact in a planted tank that is perfect. Not so low that you have to worry about fluctuations in your Ph. I wish my water was that good! You need to return that Kh/Ph product for sure and please don't use it. That Kh is also great for most fish.

As for the nitrates... what was your reading? Also if your having nitrate readings and no ammonia or nitrites your tank is cycled. All you need to do to lower nitrates to an acceptable level of 20ppm or lower is to do WC's "unless" your tap water has nitrates. Honestly you need to get your own test kit, "not" test strips as they are often unreliable. I would also return the product for this they sold you!

Remember fish stores are in business to sell you what they can and of course they are going to have a product to sell you for everything THEY convince you is wrong! Did they do the testing in front of you? Did they tell you the numbers of all readings? Do not rely on what they tell you to be fact. Not saying they don't know what they are doing BUT as I said they are in the business to sell.

As for the fish the Aplocheilichtys normani, Norman's Lampeye does fine in temps up to 78F. They are the perfect size for your tank as cardinals are way too large.

Oto's are not a good idea to add to any new set up. They need to be added to a tank that is mature, at least 4 to 6 months. They can be quite delicate if you get wild caught ones as they are often caught using cyanide to stun them in order for easy capture. You can add some later on.

If you were to get some small shrimp species and the Lampeye's you'd have a nice little tank.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2013, 12:10 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Allright, thanks for clearing that up! I already had a bad feeling about this Kh/Ph thing, didn't open it yet and explicitely asked about the exact number. I can't say the same about the nitrate, or nitrite, tbh I don't know what she exactly tested for . What I do know is that it was a Tetratest kit, so I looked it up and it either was around 50mg/l nitrate or 1.6mg/l nitrite. Yes, I really need a testkit, haha... Will order a liquid test kit soon.

You are right about the bussiness aspect. Guess I've got to learn to say no to stuff like this, haha. They did do the tests in front of me. Didn't tell me the numbers until I asked them though. I also asked if they had any filtermaterial or gravel for me from established tanks, the woman looked at me like I was asking something very weird.

About the fish, I'm quite surprised that the cardinals are too big for my tank since most websites say even 10 gallons is enough. Ah well, I'm in for happy fish so I guess I'll have to think even smaller, haha. Those Norman Lampeyes sound quite good according to this link. Only thing I'm not positive about is whether the fish I saw where truly this one, hah. If I'd go for about 5 of these lampeyes, would I have room for some 10 other fish too?

Oh, and I just did a 50 percent WC. The best thing would probably be to cut off the fish food now right? Edit: I googled some more and apparently I should keep going with the fish food since the ammonia and nitrite will eventually drop to zero anyway.
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2013, 12:42 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Here are links to a couple AA cycling articles that should help you out with cycling.

Tips and Tricks For Your Fastest Fishless Cycle! - Aquarium Advice

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice

If you go with the Lampeye's you could get more fish "depending" on what ones you would choose. If you go with nano fish you could do 10 more. Ask the store when you return the items if they can special order any nano fish for you.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2013, 02:53 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Having read that I should probably have gone with ammonia. Ah well, I'll keep adding pinches of fish food and check the levels when I get my hands on a test in a week or so.

I'm not sure how nano the next fish will be, let's see how these lampeyes go in this tank. Still enough time to think about it anyway. Thanks again for the help!
__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2013, 09:25 AM   #17
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
So, last weekend I finally recieved my test API Master test kit (which turned out to be fairly expensive, 40 euro incl. shipping, a tad more than the 16 dollars incl. shipping in the USA). These results came out:

pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 40 - 80 ppm

Looked cycled to me! Some plant leaves fell off and there was still a bit of fish food lying on the gravel, so that probably explained the bit of ammonia. Last night I did a 80% water change and two hours ago I got myself 10 Norman's Lampeyes. Can't say I'm disappointed! They are doing quite well and are already curious and playful. Looking very good too!

My only concern at this point is the plants. As you can see on the pics, my amazon sword brown is still going brown, even though I added root tabs some time ago now. The leaves of an other plant are quite dull too. The other two are doing fine though. My thinking is there might be something wrong with their roots, or with the gravel / substrate.

Anyways, I'll keep removing occasional dead leaves and if I don't find a cause and it gets worse, I'll have to replace those plants with more hardy ones I guess. Right now I'm happy with the fish though Great idea to get these small fish, Rivercats. Looks way better than a few large ones.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7923.jpg
Views:	46
Size:	115.5 KB
ID:	202598   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7922.jpg
Views:	52
Size:	144.5 KB
ID:	202599  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7921.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	92.8 KB
ID:	202600   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7918.jpg
Views:	43
Size:	157.3 KB
ID:	202601  

__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2013, 10:28 AM   #18
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
The brown on the sword leaves looks like diatoms. Can you just rub it off gently between your fingers? Diatoms are very common in new set ups and are self limiting. Once they use the excess silicates in the water they will go away on their own. If you only run your lighting 6 hours daily this will help keep the amount of them down. Plus you can get 2 or 3 nerite snails that will gladly keep your tank clear of them.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2013, 10:59 AM   #19
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Holland
Posts: 58
Hey, you're right! It can be rubbed away very easily, looked a lot worse than it is. I've been considering some snails already, might get some then.
__________________

__________________
Tank-o-Fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
15 gallon, advice, first tank, question, questions, stock, stocking, tan, tank

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off








» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.