36 gallon stocking ideas?
I um, made an account on this forum site just to ask this question. I'm very sorry if the thread is in the wrong section, I'm new to this forum ^^'
I have a 36 gallon tank and though I won't be stocking it right away, I need to plan out the tank before I go out and buy any fish to make sure all the fish in my future setup can live comfortably and healthily together.
I think it's a 36g bowfront, (the man on craigslist said it was 25 gallons but it's much bigger than my old 30g) but the measurements say the tank may be 39 gallons, which is believable because it looks gallons bigger than my 30g.
Anyways, 36 or 39 gallons, what should I stock my tank with? The only fish residing in there now is a baby striped raphael catfish. He's only 2" long as of right now.
I know since raphaels can get up to 6 - 8 inches I won't have a lot of stocking options, but I'd like to have at least a few other fish than just him. The fish can't be too small either (like endlers or some kinds of tetras for example) since when the raphael gets bigger he may be able to eat them.
I also prefer top dwelling fish so that my raphael won't have to share the bottom of the tank with other bottom dwellers when he gets big.
I really want some unique fish. I've kept all kinds of small freshwater fish before like livebearers, cories, dwarf gourami, etc. I just.. want different fish.
I love catfish but other than otos and cories I'm not sure what other catfish I can put in a 36 gallon that won't get too big, and aren't impossible to find.
I've been mainly interested in a few tetras. My favorites are the rummynose tetras and the bleeding hearts. I know a raphael may be able to eat tetras but the bleeding hearts look wide enough to avoid that.
I'm just looking for smaller, peaceful, yet cute/pretty/unique fish to keep in a community tank. I know I'm being very picky but I've been constantly looking over options and I've come up with nothing.
Oh and also, my water is more on the harder side (6.8-7.0+ pH I think, I'll have to test again) so softer water fish are out of the question. The temperature is currently 78, but the heater is adjustable so I'll be willing to change it to 75-77 if any listed fish need cooler water.
Any help is extremely appreciated, thank you!