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Old 06-14-2008, 12:19 AM   #1
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Acceptable fish & plan for my tank

I'm cycling a 14 gallon starter at the moment. Would it be acceptable to have three Kuhlis, three Platys, and an African Butterfly? I'd probably start with the Platys and once I'm sure the tank is stable add the Kuhlis and the Butterfly.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:09 AM   #2
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no, yes, and no

1. Kuhli loaches grow to 4" long. A 14 gallon aquarium is too small to keep a kulhi loach in, and three in a 14 gal would really be pushing it. Loaches also need LOTS of cover (hiding places) in the tank--caves, crevices, thick clumps of plants--and a sand substrate (rather than gravel) in order to really be happy & thrive.

2. Platys will be fine in a 14 gal. Try to get 2 females & 1 male, or if you don't want babies, get 3 of the same sex. However, if you get 2 males and only 1 female, the males will harass her nonstop which will stress her out and likely lead to a very early death.

3. African Butterfly Fish grow to 4-5", which again is too small for a 14 gal tank. They are also reasonably difficult fish to care for, as they tend to be finicky eaters, many will refuse to eat anything other than live food (small insects, live bloodworms, etc.)

Also if you are new to a hobby, a good rule of thumb for stocking fish is to research how large fish get at their full adult size, and then stock the tank so that as adults, you have approx. 1" of fish for each gallon of water.

So your suggested stocking plan would yield:

3 kuhli x 4" each = 12" of fish
3 platys x 2.5" each = 7.5" of fish
1 ABF x 5" each = 5"

TOTAL = 24.5" of fish in a 14 gal tank... too much. While it is true with some experience and a very good filtration system you can push the bubble of the 1" per gallon rule some, it is not recommended that an inexperienced aquarist try that, especially not with a new tank setup.

In general I like the idea of your tank plan (a few bottom dwellers, a few mid-dwellers, and one surface dweller), I just think the particular ones you chose are not ideal for the size of your tank.

For a single showpiece top-dwelling fish (or mostly top-dwelling), perhaps you could consider a dwarf gourami. It is a common fish that any LFS should have, comes in various colors ("neon blue" is the most commonly seen), and only grows to about 2" at full adult size. Another possibility would be a single male or female betta (fighting fish), which in my experience I have found to be very good "citizens" in community tanks. Your only concern would be, if you get a male, that there are no other colorful, long-finned fish in the tank that he might mistake for a rival male betta. But otherwise, a betta would be a nice addition too.

As for the bottom, it is a litle more complex as most bottom-dwellers are schooling fish yet you don't want to overcrowd. If you can find them in your pet store, you could try 5-6 pygmy corys or dwarf corys. If you can't find those, then maybe 3 or 4 of the smaller of the "regular" cory species (something like Leopard, Sterba, Adolfo's, etc. corys). If possible avoid the Bronze and Peppered corys, as they can grow larger than some of the other varieties I've mentioned. (BTW, sadly some aquarium stores will just lump together all of their corys in one tank and sell them as "cory catfish" without even knowing which varieties they have, so it can be tricky getting the variety you want if your LFS isn't of the best quality). Another approach for a bottom-dwelling scavenger to help with "clean up" of extra food on the substrate would be to get one of the large, nice snails that pet stores often sell (apple snails, though they go under various other names including mystery snails), or a few ramshorn snails. If your tank has live plants you want to be sure you get a snail that won't munch on your plants, but if you have all plastic then that isn't a concern.

Good luck with your tank, and keep us posted on how you progress!
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:46 PM   #3
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Well, initially I was going to do a beta tank, but people were telling me that the filter will be providing too strong of a current for the beta to be able to cope with. I would still like to do a beta if it is possible in a filter tank.

A question about fish inches: is it the actual length of the fish, or the cubic inches of the fish. It would seem to me that using the same rule of 1 gallon per inch of fish would vary depending on the shear mass of the fish i.e. a 5 inch fish that was both wide and/or deep like a Gourami, goldfish, etc would require a different amount of water than a fish that is long but not wide or deep like a kuhli.
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:35 PM   #4
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mollies and platies always work well together. and if you dont like that mix you could do mollies and the smaller tetras (neon, cardinal, rummynose, etc) or smaller barbs (cherry barbs) but yeah stick to the 1 inch of full grown fish per gallon rule. it is possible to somewhat over do it if you have live plants and better filtration though.

Here is a great website for all the fish info you could need. you could probably find most of these fish at your LFS
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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The 1" of fish per gallon estimate is based on a slim bodied fish.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:13 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the info and help. It's much appreciated.

I'm proud to announce the recent arrival of Sammie the Splended Beta. Right now he is laying low in his nice large 5 gallon Tupperware quarantine tank (I needed something with a cat proof lid--thus no large open topped bowls.

My cats have remarked on his presence, but are far more interested in sampling his fishy smelling food.

He and I will become acquainted while he enjoys his landscaped plastic abode (hey, it's gotta be better than the small container he was in a the store, right?) and my tank finishes its cycle.

He and a group of White Cloud Minnows I think will be happy in my tank (the Minnows are yet to come).
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:00 AM   #7
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Well, initially I was going to do a beta tank, but people were telling me that the filter will be providing too strong of a current for the beta to be able to cope with. I would still like to do a beta if it is possible in a filter tank.
Correct. From what I've been told by the betta keepers Bettas can't deal with a filter that will produce even a moderate current. They struggle to swim against it because of their long flowing fins. There are filters that can accommodate Bettas.

I'm sure the betta-keepers will add to this thread with some suggestions on brands.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:37 PM   #8
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If the filter proves to be too strong and you have a hang on back type, you can cut a water or small soda bottle to put over the outflow and slow down the flow. Here is a link with pics: PetFish.Net Articles And Reviews / Filter Currents: A Betta's Worst Nightmare

I use this on tanks with HOBs and alot of plants so they don't get uprooted. I've used it with Bettas as well.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:42 PM   #9
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Thanks so much, Kristin!!! I am preparing to move my betta to my 10 gallon tank that is cycling right now and I was worried about the water current. That is a perfect solution and I love the diagram!
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:52 PM   #10
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AFAIK the Kuhli's would be OK in a smaller tank, but they like lots of current.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:45 AM   #11
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Anyone else start doubting their ability to differentiate colors when staring at the color strips and the test tubes on the testing kit? I haven't spent so much time trying to figure out which two colors are the same since pre-pre-k.

Thanks for the filter idea, Just. If it looks like Sammie thinks the current is too strong, I will definitely try it. Right now he is having fun exploring the various items I'm putting in his Tupperware lodgings to keep him occupied. He enjoyed exploring the glass maison jar, now he's got a coffee mug and a round hoop to swim around and explore. I know, I need to go back to the fish store and buy some actual fish toys.

I do have one other concern, though. I live in the land of Air Conditioning and 100+ Weather. At night my apartment cools down to 76-78ish, but during the day, it can get up to 85+ in my apartment. His water probably is not experiencing as much of a swing, but I'm still concerned that this can stress him out. However, I really can't do much about the fact that I live in a sauna. Any suggestions? Is this something I need to worry about?
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JustOneMore20 View Post
If the filter proves to be too strong and you have a hang on back type, you can cut a water or small soda bottle to put over the outflow and slow down the flow. Here is a link with pics: PetFish.Net Articles And Reviews / Filter Currents: A Betta's Worst Nightmare

I use this on tanks with HOBs and alot of plants so they don't get uprooted. I've used it with Bettas as well.
So simple, yet brilliant!
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:02 PM   #13
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Anyone else start doubting their ability to differentiate colors when staring at the color strips and the test tubes on the testing kit? I haven't spent so much time trying to figure out which two colors are the same since pre-pre-k.
There are certain kits that simply give me fits trying to read, and it's even worse for those that have some form of color blindness. I'd love to get one of those meters that gives you a digital readout of the results, but unfortunately they cost a pretty penny.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:07 PM   #14
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The test kit I use (API) also has hard to read cards at times. Sometimes the colors are so close that I can't tell which reading to go with....
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:59 AM   #15
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I have the API too, and the Nitrate and the Ammonia are extremely difficult for me. I've finally given up trying to be 100% correct and just settled on writing 2-4ish for the ammonia as it really doesn't matter at this point in my cycle if I'm more accurate than that.
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:28 AM   #16
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I have the API too, and the Nitrate and the Ammonia are extremely difficult for me. I've finally given up trying to be 100% correct and just settled on writing 2-4ish for the ammonia as it really doesn't matter at this point in my cycle if I'm more accurate than that.
I found the same thing as I'm new and have an API kit. It also seems that the nitrite blue would stain the test tubes a little, so if I used that one for ammonia it would be slightly green with a known zero ammonia source. I need to get some of those little test tube pipe cleaners or something to clean them with.
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:50 AM   #17
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I found the same thing as I'm new and have an API kit. It also seems that the nitrite blue would stain the test tubes a little, so if I used that one for ammonia it would be slightly green with a known zero ammonia source. I need to get some of those little test tube pipe cleaners or something to clean them with.
I have not seen any staining at all with any of the test reagents. The test tubes are glass, and designed to not absorb the chemicals, so rinsing after each test has proven to clean mine perfectly. I figure that by the time I run out of testing chemicals, I will have to buy a new kit anyway, so that will force me to swap out the tubes and caps. The caps are the only real concern to me, but only because I have had them leak on me while shaking the Nitrate test. I have determined that those reagents are not a happy mix with my skin...
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