36 Gallon stocking ideas!

OuiBonjour

Hi guys ! I'd like to fill a 36 gallon tank with some medium size Americans.

I'd like to avoid couples in order to prevent agression during breeding. I don't mind some territoriality but I don't want two fish killing everyone in the tank because they have fry.

I do love Rams and Apistos, but I'd like to go a little bit bigger (unless some of them could go with bigger ones ?). I know I'm limited with my tank size, but I'm not expecting Green Terrors, Texas, Tapajos or anything like so.

I'd like suggestions on how to stock it with more than one medium center piece. I'd like to have 2 or 3 different medium fish (not same species) and maybe a school of smaller ones if possible. I'd also like my tank to be planted and have a lot of hiding places and territories. I know some of the fish I like are bad with plants, but we'll see!

Here some examples of fish I'd have in mind and/or in the size that I'd like :

- Rainbow Cichlid
- Nanacara Anomala ( I love both genders but I kinda prefer the dark tones of the female)
- Convict (regular)
- Yellow Dwarf Convict
- Cryptoeros Cutteri // Cutter
- Firemouth
- (this one is out of subject, but if it could work with one or two others, why not) -> Pearl Gourami

I also like the amazing look of the Geophagus Tapajos, so I'm open to smaller species of eartheaters too.

I'm also open to other types of medium fish I might not know about. But I'd like to avoid shelldwellers, Tangs, and mbunas for now.

Could I put one individual from two of those species ? Would 3 be too risky size-wise ?

I know a lot of them are considered very territorial, but I'm takin a guess that they might be a little bit more mellow if I go all males (or all females) and all different species ?

As for schooling fish that could go with them (if they could), I'm open to pretty much anything except Skirt Tetras. I kinda like the look of most Pencilfish.

Any suggestions of combination?

I'm also open to stocking ideas that would include only one of them instead of two or three if it's a bad idea to have two, but I'd really like to have two (like a female convict and a female Golden Dwarf and some pencilfish ?)

PS : tank is 36" long
 

carsonsgjs

I think you could probably keep a single rainbow cichlid with another fairly placid cichlid like a keyhole with no issues. Neither grow much bigger than 4-5 inches (more likely to be 4) and both are considered to be relaxed in terms of cichlid aggression. Just create some territories for them with the way the tank is set up and you should be fine.

I have each of these in my main tank and they get along well.
 
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OuiBonjour

Thanks for the suggestion ! I love the Rainbow, but I find the keyhole a little less appealing. Do you think another one in the list could fit with a Rainbow ?

I know some are considered aggressive, but from what I read it's mostly when they form pair or have fry, so if I keep singles maybe I could put a nannacara anomala or a convict with the Rainbow ?
 
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carsonsgjs

Thanks for the suggestion ! I love the Rainbow, but I find the keyhole a little less appealing. Do you think another one in the list could fit with a Rainbow ?

I know some are considered aggressive, but from what I read it's mostly when they form pair or have fry, so if I keep singles maybe I could put a nannacara anomala or a convict with the Rainbow ?
I have heard that convicts are fairly aggressive even if they arent breeding, although i cant speak from experience on that.

if it helps, i also keep a single female t-bar cichlid in the same tank and have found her to be relatively peaceful. Of course with cichlids there are no guarantees that they will be easy going - sometimes it depends on the character of the individual fish.
 
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TClare

Yes, I don’t think a convict would be a good idea with other cichlids. I have some Cichlasoma amazonarum that are quite peaceful except when breeding, they do get a bit bigger though and I don’t know how available they would be. A blue acara might be another option (similar in size) but agreed, individual cichlids can vary greatly in dominance and personality. South American and Central American cichlids do generally naturally inhabit different types of water, but I believe many people successfully keep them together in aquariums..
 
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OuiBonjour

I have heard that convicts are fairly aggressive even if they arent breeding, although i cant speak from experience on that.

if it helps, i also keep a single female t-bar cichlid in the same tank and have found her to be relatively peaceful. Of course with cichlids there are no guarantees that they will be easy going - sometimes it depends on the character of the individual fish.

I understand for the convicts. I like your idea about the T-Bar, I kinda forgot about them but I do like them too!

It could be a combo that I'd like : 1x Rainbow and 1x T-Bar. With those, I imagine I could not add another cichlid, just some schoolers that are not too small correct ?

Also, since T-Bar are Cryptoheros (Sajica)and are fairly peaceful (with individual exceptions), would you think it could be similar with a Cutter Cichlid (Cuterri) instead if they do happen to be more easily found in my area ?

Or maybe a Cryptoheros Nanoluteos ? (the smaller, yellow ones)


Yes, I don’t think a convict would be a good idea with other cichlids. I have some Cichlasoma amazonarum that are quite peaceful except when breeding, they do get a bit bigger though and I don’t know how available they would be. A blue acara might be another option (similar in size) but agreed, individual cichlids can vary greatly in dominance and personality. South American and Central American cichlids do generally naturally inhabit different types of water, but I believe many people successfully keep them together in aquariums..

Okay, understood with the convict. It saddens me, but I understand I'm limited size wise. Do you think the yellow dwarf convicts (Cryptoheros Nanoluteos) would be as bad an idea ? I sometimes read that they are often less agressive than regular convicts, do you think it's true ?

Cichlasoma Amazonarum and Blue Acaras are awesome, but I have the feeling they might get a little too big for a 36" ( I had them in mind for a future project of 48" tank ). However, maybe the Nannacara Anomala could do ? I'm asking because "Nannacara" sounds like Nano-Acara/Dwarf-Acara and also because the male actually looks like a smaller Blue Acara hehe

I forgot to differentiate between Central and South Americans in my list of favorites Americans, but I would indeed prefernot to mix them unless the parameters are very close or could overlap easily (do they?)
 
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carsonsgjs

I understand for the convicts. I like your idea about the T-Bar, I kinda forgot about them but I do like them too!

It could be a combo that I'd like : 1x Rainbow and 1x T-Bar. With those, I imagine I could not add another cichlid, just some schoolers that are not too small correct ?

Also, since T-Bar are Cryptoheros (Sajica)and are fairly peaceful (with individual exceptions), would you think it could be similar with a Cutter Cichlid (Cuterri) instead if they do happen to be more easily found in my area ?

Or maybe a Cryptoheros Nanoluteos ? (the smaller, yellow ones)




Okay, understood with the convict. It saddens me, but I understand I'm limited size wise. Do you think the yellow dwarf convicts (Cryptoheros Nanoluteos) would be as bad an idea ? I sometimes read that they are often less agressive than regular convicts, do you think it's true ?

Cichlasoma Amazonarum and Blue Acaras are awesome, but I have the feeling they might get a little too big for a 36" ( I had them in mind for a future project of 48" tank ). However, maybe the Nannacara Anomala could do ? I'm asking because "Nannacara" sounds like Nano-Acara/Dwarf-Acara and also because the male actually looks like a smaller Blue Acara hehe

I forgot to differentiate between Central and South Americans in my list of favorites Americans, but I would indeed prefernot to mix them unless the parameters are very close or could overlap easily (do they?)
Ive not kept cutteris or yellow convicts before so cant speak from experience, sorry. I was actually looking at a tank full of cutteri last week - they are nice but i have it in the back of my mind that in terms of temperament they are like convicts. Not sure whether i have that right or not!

Hopefully other members will be able to share their experiences to help you along.
 
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OuiBonjour

That's okay! Thanks for your insight :)

We'll see what others think. But I also like your idea about the Sajicas!

Edit : Wow, I just found out about Thorichthys Aureus (Blue Flash), or even the Eliotti/Maculipinnis, anyone has an opinion on them ? They're marvellous and based on what I just read they're relatively peacefull when not breeding. I love them!

Apparently, they're even shy and not aggressive towards their own, except when breeding.
 
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TClare

They do look very nice I agree, Sajica would be good too. I also don’t have experience with the others you mention, I agree that not mixing SA and CA is best.
 
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OuiBonjour

Alright ! Just to be sure, in those that I mentioned to be liking, which ones are CA and SA ?
 
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TClare

Nanacara is South American, sajica, Thorichthys and Cryptoheros are Central American.
 
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OuiBonjour

Okay thanks! So I'm pretty sure my first choice is a Thorichthys, either Red Cheek or Blue/Red Flash. Nanacara was my favorite as the second one, I'm sad to see it's SA.

I think it would either be a Sajica, or either a Cutteri or Nanoluteus if I'm told they're less agressive than regular convicts. In fact, If I'd want to go with the yellow of the Crypto Nanoluteus, maybe I should go with the pacific Rainbow who is also CA.

Lets say I go Thorichthys and either Sajica/Rainbow, what dithers or schoolers should I get ? I don't want Skirt Tetras. I often read Swordtails but I'm not a fan. Maybe if Swordatails work I could go with platies but they might be too small ?

I love the shape and looks of Torpedo Barbs and Red Pencilfish, but the first are too big and the latter are (maybe?) too small. Do you have a suggestion in the middle ?

Otherwise, would tiger barbs be too aggressive and nippy for those two pacific cichlids ?

I could also think of those weird rainbowfish with very long fins that seem to come out of strange places at weird angles (example blue eyes rainbow fish) ?
 
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TClare

I think the reason swordtails are suggested is that they occur naturally in the same region as well as being compatible with the cichlids. The wild type ones are actually quite attractive - if you can get them. The red pencilfish are lovely, but probably too small and they are from a completely different biotope, normally they would do better in softer more acidic water than the CA cichlids. Astyanax characins would occur naturally with these cichlids, not sure off hand which species though.
I don’t have any experience with tiger barbs or rainbow fish, maybe someone else could comment?
 
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OuiBonjour

I checked some picturees of wild swordtails, and I agree that some of them have a great look. Not sure how easy those would be found though. Still open to other suggestionsd as well. Aslo just found out about Anomalochromis Thomasi, those look nice as well !
 
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TClare

Yes, it looks interesting and is apparently quite peaceful. I don’t know much about it but perhaps it could be kept with a kribensis in an African set up. Personally I would not mix it with CA cichlids.
 
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GlennO

If you're concerned about the temperament of C. cutteri you could substitute with a C. spilurum. I've not kept cutteri but I found spilurum rather mild mannered (outside of breeding). At one time I had spilurum, sajica & A. multispinosa together (and a few others).

A complicating factor with these CA's is that they can hybridise so to ensure that you avoid breeding activity and the aggression that accompanies it you should try to ensure that they are all the same sex.
 
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OuiBonjour

Oh I didn't know they could hybridize. So even different species ? I like the Spirulina too, they ressemble the convicts and the cutteri, I like the idea :)

You had those 3 in what tank size ?
 
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Hellfishguy

Nanolutea are pretty mellow, but like all cichlids will become aggressive when breeding. I kept mine with Columbian tetras, which I had to remove when my nanolutea pair spawned.
 
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GlennO

Oh I didn't know they could hybridize. So even different species ? I like the Spirulina too, they ressemble the convicts and the cutteri, I like the idea :)

You had those 3 in what tank size ?

It was a 55. Yes the different species can hybridise, even species within different genus’s. Convicts x Firemouths for example.
 
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TClare

In the 36 it would probably be better just to
have 2.
 
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OuiBonjour

Thanks both for clarifying. After reading more about CA hybridisation, I realized that most convicts would even try to breed with a live plant if given a chance ! Lol

So I'll make sure to get 2 males only. And TClare : don't worry, I'm set on having only 2 in my 36 !

I've been suggested Macaw Cichlids (Nicaraguan Something) too, as a "frenemy" for my potential Ellioti. What do you guys think about that one ?

I'm pretty confident my first one will be an Ellioti/Masculi— as the first one, but still thinking about the second one.

I love the Nano Cryptoheros, the Rainbow, the Sajuca and the Macaw so far!

Still open to other suggestions though :)

Oh, and would a pleco fit in this, or by it size it would get too crowded ? And if one could fit, which ones would work ?

Thanks again guys!
 
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GlennO

IMO the Nicaraguensis grows too large for a 36” tank. A BN would be ok but common Plecos are also too large.
 
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TClare

Yes, the nicaraguensis gets to about 10”. I think any of the others on your shortlist should be fine. I do have a soft spot for spilurum (now Cryptoheros spilurus), I remember seeing them a lot in Belize where I spent a year a long time ago. I really like their blue eyes...but choose the one that most appeals to you....I quite like the idea of using fish that would naturally occur together. Apart from the swordtails and some Poecilia species the most common schooling fish were Astyanax (I think A. anaeus). And there was an interesting predatory pike livebearer, Belonesox, no idea if you can get them for aquaria Or if they would suitable, would have to research that... I can’t remember what catfish occurred there but I will try to find out. Otherwise a BN pleco should be fine.
 
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GlennO

I do have a soft spot for spilurum (now Cryptoheros spilurus), I remember seeing them a lot in Belize where I spent a year a long time ago. I really like their blue eyes...

Yeah their blue eyes are very attractive. Males also get a nice subtle yellow tinge over their front half and a cute little nuchal hump when mature.
 
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OuiBonjour

Okay, thanks all for the info! If I get more questions I'll get back to you :)
 
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TClare

Okay, thanks all for the info! If I get more questions I'll get back to you :)
And let us know what you decide!
 
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OuiBonjour

Ellioti is my first one for sure! As for the second one, I'm still hesitating between the Rainbow, the Spirulus, the Nanoluteus, and (I'll get some rocks thrown to me I believe) a Red Jewel.

I know they're technically African, and very violent when breeding, but from what I read they're pretty pacific when they're not paired ("they" excludes the5-star general that I've been told to stay away from) and their parameters seem to overlap perfectly.

But I know Cichlid Soups are not encouraged.

In fact, I'm also wondering if I could get a Pearl Gourami as a "Frenemy" for my Eliotti.
 
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Linda1234

I've kept nanacara for several years. They are quite peaceful and sa. They go well with any other peaceful cichlid like most species of aspito.
 
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TClare

I am not sure about the jewel cichlids, they are from west Africa with natural water parameters more similar to SA than CA cichlids (Soft and neutral- acidic I believe). However, with tank bred individuals this might not matter too much. But they do have the reputation of being very aggressive even when not breeding. I am not sure as I have never kept them, but it may be worth doing more research.
 
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OuiBonjour

I am not sure about the jewel cichlids, they are from west Africa with natural water parameters more similar to SA than CA cichlids (Soft and neutral- acidic I believe). However, with tank bred individuals this might not matter too much. But they do have the reputation of being very aggressive even when not breeding. I am not sure as I have never kept them, but it may be worth doing more research.

You are right, I double checked and the Jewels are 6.5 to 7.5, while Ellioti are 7.5 to 8.0 on a lot of sites. However, on a few other sites I see 7.0 to 8.0. But I agree that when they're bred in tanks, especially in the same city as mine, the PH would be similar I'd think.

However I'll read more about their aggression level when single before considering them!
 
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