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Old 10-12-2006, 08:26 PM   #1
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New to aquariums.

Hi folks,

I recently inherited a 30-40g tank from the previous owner of our home. I've always wanted to start a tank but never really had the time/space.

The population of the tank is currently:

1 red-tailed shark
1 pearl gourami
1 common? pleco
2 small silver fish (danios maybe?)

I was told by the previous owner that the shark was fairly aggressive and I've confirmed as such by researching him, but what I was also told by him is that the pleco (who is quite large) is aggressive as well. Haven't seen him do much other than stick his mouth on the side of the tank.

Have had the tank for about 1 month and so far so good. Have cleaned it once a week so far with a python I purchased. I believe normally this is done once a month or so but the tank was a little extra dirty.

Last weekend I decided to add my first fish (I was told 1" of fish per gallon as far as stocking goes), a striped raphael catfish who I really liked the look of.

A couple of concerns/questions...the shark torments the catfish when it comes out to feed, he hasn't actually hurt him but he swims very close to him and follows him around and nudges him occasionally. The catfish eats and goes back to hiding. How normal is this and will it stop once the catfish gets a little bigger?

Secondly, I have read that sand is good for the catfish to burrow in etc...there's just normal gravel in there now, what type of sand would I use and what's the best way to lay it out/add it and how much? Also, how does one clean the sand as the python would likely suck it up?

Thanks in advance. =)
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:01 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

You have a good cleaning schedule going on. Once a week is what I recommend.

In regards to your stocking, the Pleco grows far too big for your tank. You may want to consider taking him back to the lfs. A smaller pleco like a bristlenose would be well suited for your tank size. If the Shark is showing overly aggressive signs, you may want to reconsider having him in the tank. The Gourami an excellent choice for the tank size that you are working with. If you return the shark you will have more stocking possibilities. Danios are also great community fish.

Don't rely on the 1" per gal guideline. It is only accurate for smaller fish peaceful fish.

I have never owned a raphael so I can not comment on his behavior.

Sand is excellent for freshwater tanks. If you are wanting to change out the substrate, I would use Pool Filter Sand. It is cheap, heavy, and looks very nice IMO. It can be purchased at your local pool supply store. It normally has rounded edge grains so double check before purchasing to make sure it is not sharp sand. It costs (around here) about $6 per 50 lbs.

Since pfs is heavier it does not get sucked into the python as easily. I actually aquascape with the python. It pulls it up but if you turn the syphon to an angle it will fall back out of the tube.

HTH
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips!

I guess part of the issue is since I inherited the tank from someone and the fish have been in there for a while I'm not sure what to do about returning fish that either might get too large or too aggressive. The pleco I have is quite dark with spots, I presumed this was the common pleco but I could be mistaken. The previous owner might not have known the size he'd grow to.

I just fed the fish and watched the tank behaviour with the light off for about 1 hour, the shark moved about eating just about everything and chasing the 2 smaller fish away if they got too close to the bottom of the tank. Unfortunately, my raphael did not come out to feed which concerns me that he may already be stressed out by the shark. Anyone else out there have this particular fish combination?
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:04 PM   #4
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I own a striped and a spotted raphael. If I did not purposely turn my tank upside down once a month to look for them, I would NEVER see them. Raphaels are very reclusive, if you want to see them be active, then you will need moonlights...I still need to get moonlights. If your red-fin is being agressive to your raphael..your red-fin is in for the shock of his life. Raphaels are some of the most armored fish available. Mine is about 6 inches long, and can cause me pain if he wants to. Rest assured that your red-fin will not harm the raphael. (BTW, I also have a 4 inchred-fin shark, of course my tank is much larger)

I normally dont expect to ever see my raphaels swimming around, cause they dont nomrally come out until after the tank lights have been off a few hours, and because I use timers on my lights, they are in hiding long before the lights come back on.

The one thing that the raphael does need, is a very secure spot, that is completely dark for him to hide in, these guys detest white and yellow lighting....tehy will remain active under blue (moonlights) and red spectrum lights.

Is it possible the red-fin will stress teh raphael, yes, but I would say from my experience, that the raphael does not care about what else is in that tank. I have watched my larger raphael physically push around my bichir to get to food, and also nidge every other fish and shrimp and Apple snail out of his way if he is going somewhere.
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:58 PM   #5
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Your tank actually sounds fairly well-stocked to me considering the species you have. If you consider the adult size: shark=5", pleco=17"+, gourami=4", catfish=5" and the two small fish, you are already over the gallon rule. But that is a very general rule not taking into account aggression, environmental preferences, and bioload. If I were you I get rid of the pleco and consider adding one more gourami or more danios (if that's what the existing fish are).
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:18 AM   #6
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Ok, so I determined that my tank is 32g and from the pictures and descriptions I have seen, my pleco seems to be the sailfin pleco, which means he's going to get way to big. I'd love to keep him but I don't think we'll be upsizing the tank for a while...question is...what exactly do I do with him? I don't really know how old he is (he's about 5-6 inches now).

And what species of pleco/algae eater would be a suitable replacement for the tank size?
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:40 AM   #7
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You can take him to any local fish store. If you want, call around and ask them what they would do with him to make sure he got the right home, and then choose where you take him.

A Bristlenose Pleco is a good choice. I just got one myself, and apparently they will only get to around 5 inches. Other choices are pitbull plecos, which are even smaller and I believe clown plecos stay fairly small as well.
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