29G stocking/pairing

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Dec 5, 2023
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My youngest is really starting to get into fish, after having g kept a betta a while we though the upcoming holiday was a great time to step it up. I loved keeping fish when I was younger but im quickly learning there was a lot about it that I didn't understand at the time so I want to make sure I'm doing it right this time around. I already have a 29 gallon cycling, with a decent amount of live plants. I'm trying to figure out a stocking setup for it. I have two little kiddos so I'd like to work in a pair of maybe pearl gouramis or cocaktoo apistos so they can each choose one. Throw a half dozen rummy nose for me because I love the way the school .. or shoal... I think school is correct for them right? And then add some corys or kuhli loaches for a clean up crew. My question being, is this to many fish? Is this setup taking full advantage of the height of the 29s or should I look at replacing the rummys with higher up gents like hatchets? Will a pair of "larger" fish as a focal point be a bad idea and should I just stick with 1?
I wouldnt do a pair of pearl gourami. You will find the male will harass the female and she won't enjoy the relentless attention. You normally want to go 1m/3f so the attention is spread out a little.

So of the 2, the apistogramma would be a better choice. I would say your tank is big enough for your cories/ loach to find their own space when the apistos are breeding.

I would go with a bigger group of tetras. They will be happier in a group of 10 or 12 than 6, and your tank will support a group that size, along with your apistos and a small group of cories or loach, whichever you choose.

School or shoal? Id say school is closer. Shoaling is a closer knit group than schooling. Tetras are social and prefer to be kept in groups, but arent really shoaling or schooling. They will school up if they feel threatened or stressed, but if they are happy in their environment they will spread out in the aquarium.
Thank you! Would that same advice apply to dwarf gourami? And in that same vein, are there better options for a pair than Apistos? I'm pretty open for the "main fish" spot, as long as there are 2.
I would really avoid dwarf gourami. Its estimated that 1/3 of dwarf gourami sold in the aquatics industry are infected with iridovirus otherwise known as dwarf gourami disease. Its 100% fatal with no cure. And once the disease is in your aquarium the only way to get rid of the virus is to break down the tank and disinfect everything to prevent the virus infecting all future fish. Its just not worth the risk unless you can first isolate the fish in quarantine for at least a month.

Honey gourami are safer. They are also smaller and you could go with 4 fish, 1m/3f comfortably with your other plans. Generally gourami are 1 or 4 (or more), unless you go for single sex. If male the tank needs to be big enough for each of them to find their own space but thats not what i think you mean by a "pair".

I like apistos, but if you wanted some other options there are honey gourami as above if you are happy with 4. Bolivian rams. Kribensis. A pair of angelfish could just about go in 29g tank.

You could go with 2 german blue rams (or 1 of their colour varients) if you upped the temperature to 28c. The rummynose tetras will do good at that temperature, and khuli loaches too i think. Not corys at that high though.
I did some looking, I like your honey gourami suggestion! Seems like that live with almost any tank mate. I may stick with just 1, I don't know if I'm experienced enough (or have the extra tanks) to treat them right if they mate. I appreciate the help!
I have 1 male honey gourami, he seems fine without other honeys, with some guppies as tank mates. You could always start with one, and get him some lady friends at a later date or add another male to see if they get along. I do think 2 male honey gourami would work in your size aquarium, although they possibly wont buddy up.

I would say a honey gourami is more of a novice fish than dwarf cichlids.
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