44g South East Asian Build


Hello! I’m building a low tech South East Asia ecosystem in my new UNS 90p 44g tank. I’ve chosen all native plants, driftwood, fish, and substrate to replicate a slow moving stream. Currently my tank is going through a fish-less plant-less water cycle with Brightwell Aquatics bacteria additives while I finalize my plant and fish selections. This is my first build over 26g so I’d really appreciate another eye or two to make sure I’m not overlooking anything or my big worry, overstocking on either fish or plants.

Substrate from CaribSea: Eco-Complete, red - Super Naturals Sri Lanka (for a smoother top layer) - Super Naturals Torpedo sand - Malaysian Driftwood

Plants: total of 33 to start (is that crazy?)
Background: 9 Hygrophila (compact, siamensis, corymbosa), 3 Cryptocoryne (balansea), 3 Rotala (roundifolia red)
Midground: 1 Nymphaea Stella, 9 Crypocoryne (petchii, mioya, wendtii brown), 6 Microsorum Pteropus (typical and trident mini)
Foreground: Cryptocoryne (parva)
Floating: Hygrophila (difformis)

Fish: 9 Kholi Loaches, 9 Longfin Danios, 3 Pearl Gourami (1 male 2 female), 7 Harlequin Rasbora, 3 Rabbit Snails
(I was going to do a betta sorority build with shrimp but since both are known jumpers, I didn't want the added risk with a top-less tank)

Tank Specs: 36 x 18 x 18 with oase biomaster thermo 350 and Hygger Advanced 24/7 for lighting 26W (I'm worried this is too low lighting for a heavily planted low tech tank)?

Other Additives: Thrive C fertilizer (has some co2) - Seachem Matrix filter media - Seachem Equilibrium (my water is from a soft water tank and has 0 GH)

Water Specs: PH: 7.6 KH: 10dKh GH: hoping for 4-6dKh

I appreciate any suggestions (particularly regarding the number of plants) or encouragement if you like what you see!


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I love Asian fish, so I bet this will be great!
I just personally would skip the Danio. They aren't South East Asian, and more of a cold water species. I would either up the number of Rasbora, or lookfor a different type of rasbora. Rasbora borapetensis are from Thailand, so they would fit into a SE Asian tank. I kepe mine with mu pearl gourami and kuhli loaches.

Also I wouldn't worry about the number of plants. You can have as many or as little as you'd like, obviously the more the merrier lol.

Also too bad you already got the Super Naturals Sri Lanka, because you can go to Lowes or Home Depot and get the same thing for $5 for 50lbs.


I cant wait to see the progression of this tank!!!
Also that UNS 90p is a beautiful tank. Uns is probably my favorite of the high end fish brands!


Ohh interesting! I thought Danios were found in South East Asian fish, at least that is what I've come across in my research. Though I agree that they have the lowest water temp of my fish, particularly compared to the Pearls, so it's valid to assume I wouldn't see a Danio and a Pearl too often in the same natural habitat. Thanks for the recommendation on Rasbora Borapetensis! Having two rasboras of different body shapes would be a cool contrast. Good tip on Home Depot! I'll keep that in mind next time.

How do you like your Kholi Loaches? I'm a bit worried about them being prone to disease, I've read some people only add 3 at a time (plus quarantine) in case of illness, instead of buying all 7 or so at once. Is this what you have done too? They are such cool little guys and so interesting to watch, I'm really excited to have some!

Thank you both wrs2 and Bruinfishkeeper for your support! I'll be sure to post photo updates as the tank develops : )


I haven't had any issue with my Kuhli loaches. Other loaches yes, Kuhli's no.


1 Month Update: my tank so far is doing well, I never had an diatom or green algae outbreak (knock on wood) and my plants are steadily growing. My Nymphaea Stella took off and already has three lily pads! I'll have to look into propagating her. So far I have 14 Harlequin Rasboras and 2 Siamese Algae Eaters who happily school with the Rasboras between foraging.

I'm still working on the water parameters a bit, I've been dosing Seachem Equilibrium with each water top-off of or change but my GH still reads at 0 or 1, so I need to test if my test kit is broke or if I need to add more Equilibrium powder. I also am concerned about my Nitrates being consistently low at 3-5. I've been doing only 5% water changes every 2 weeks which is less than I'm used to, but I'm honestly worried about completely depleting the nitrates which I read the plants use for healthy growth. I just added more harlequins so hopefully that boosts the nitrates some. Lastly, my PH is relatively high, at 7.6 + (I don't have a high PH test kit), but it's a bit darker than 7.6 so I'm guessing around 7.7 or 7.8. It seems stable and the fish don't seem to be affected so I'll probably not worry about PH.

I've attached some photos : ) I'm really love how the school of Rasboras look in the tannin water with the green and pink/red plants. Kholi Loaches next and then when the plants have grown more, enter the Pearl Gouramis!


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