Aquascaping A 240g Aquarium

KeyboardCat

So, I'm planning on getting a 240 gallon aquarium, sometime this summer, for my fish that will outgrow my current tanks (and some new fish, if I had everything I planned to stock the 240 with, my tanks would be overstocked.) . I want to aquascape it. I've never aquascaped an aquarium before, so I can't do anything too hard (or expensive) I'm afraid plants would be uprooted by my bichirs, or pimelodus blochiI catfish, so it's going to have to be hardscape only. I have fish from both africa, and south america, so I want to combine aspects of both habitats. Half of my stocking is going to live on the bottom of the aquarium (bichirs, ropefish, bgk, pimelodus blochii, sun catfish), so it should have a lot of hiding places. I'm planning to use sand as a substrate, (just fyi). So, anyway, ideas as far as aquascaping, and product recommendations are welcome.
 

TexasDomer

What will be the final stocking of the tank?

Google pics of "hardscape aquarium" rather than aquascaping - aquascaping generally refers to the use of plants, but hardscaping is with just rocks and wood.
 

Nataku

With many bottom dwellers you will probably want some good sized rocks and driftwood. Lay the rocks before adding any sand, same with the driftwood, to make sure any burrowers don't shift the sand under the rocks or driftwood and cause them to fall. You could try some plants like anubias and mosses tied to the driftwood or tucked in crannies if you did want a little bit of green in there. They won't really get dug up if they aren't in the ground.
 

KeyboardCat

I entered it into aqadvisor, according to it, this will work.
5x Bala shark
6x Silver Dollar Tetra
1x Sun Catfish
1x Senegal Bichir
1x Ornate Bichir
5x Ropefish
1x Featherfin Catfish (He's the reason I can't get plants, he loves eating them)
1x BGK
3x Pimelodus Blochii
Would this be overstocking, or is Aqadvisor right?
 

TexasDomer

Aqadvisor isn't usually accurate.

What are the dimensions of the tank?
 

KeyboardCat

Aqadvisor isn't usually accurate.

What are the dimensions of the tank?
It's 96 x 24 x 24.
 

Nataku

I wish I could get my featherfin catfish to eat plants. The guppy grass and jungle val in his tank is going crazy and he's not doing a darn bit to help keep the plant mass under control.
 

KeyboardCat

I wish my featherfin wouldn't, lol. It ate every last plant in my 45g aquarium.
 

TexasDomer

I didn't look at temperature compatibilities, but I would think that stocking could be fine with enough hides for the bottom dwellers.
 

KeyboardCat

They're compatable with temperature. How stocked would the tank be though? understocked, or fully stocked?
 

TexasDomer

Make sure you're using reputable sites like Planet Catfish, Fishbase, and Seriously Fish. Most other sites I've found aren't reliable (like don't use Aqadvisor's temperature requirements or LiveAquaria's).

I'd say you're fully stocked on species, but you could likely add a few more silver dollars. Remember that they're going to look tiny in the huge tank as juveniles, but you should stock around their adult size - I think that as adults, these fish will fill your tank.
 

KeyboardCat

They're compatible, I checked all of them (except bgk on the aquarium wiki, it doesn't have a profile on Seriously Fish). How many more Silver Dollars could I add without overstocking?
 

TexasDomer

Use Fishbase if SF isn't available - not sure where the wikI gets their info

I would think 8 or so SDs would be fine (10 would likely be okay too! - you don't have a lot of upper/mid dwellers).
 

KeyboardCat

Do you have any ideas for how I could hardscape the aquarium, so that the bottom dwellers will have enough hiding places?
 

TexasDomer

Lots of rocks and driftwood. You could have rocks and driftwood along the sides and the back, with some open space in the front middle.
 

KeyboardCat

Instead of a few more silver dollars, what if I added a flagtail?
 

TexasDomer

I would still add more SDs - it'll help them be less skittish. If you want a group of flagtails, I'd do them instead of the balas or SDs.

EDIT: Unless you just want one flagtail? Then I think it'd be fine to add and still have 8-10 SDs.
 

KeyboardCat

Yes, I meant just one. Are there any bitter plants, that SDs, or a Featherfin Catfish won't eat?
 

TexasDomer

Anubias and Java fern are usually pretty unappetizing.
 

aussieJJDude

Anubias and Java fern are usually pretty unappetizing.
And the good thing is that will these you can grow them on decor and prop it off the substrate to allow maximum amount of surface area for all your bottom dwellers!

I would suggest trying to keep the bottom as open as possible, and planting heavily with plants that will grow on the decor. (Bolbitis may be another good choice... and mosses?)

I'd reccomend having some duckweed as well, the SD will love tI munch on these and keep them off your plants. Id also reccomend veggie clips and trying to keep a veggie/fruit on there at all times so they don't decide to take out your expensive buffet!)
 

KeyboardCat

Do any of these need special lighting or care? I've heard that Flagtails can also eat plants, would it eat the Anubis, or Java Fern too, or would the taste keep it away? I love the look of plants that float on the surface of the water, with long, dangling roots, are there any plants like that, that fish won't eat? Also, if I added live bacteria, as soon as the tank was ready to cycle, would it be possible to skip several weeks of cycling the tank?
 

aussieJJDude

Do any of these need special lighting or care? I've heard that Flagtails can also eat plants, would it eat the Anubis, or Java Fern too, or would the taste keep it away? I love the look of plants that float on the surface of the water, with long, dangling roots, are there any plants like that, that fish won't eat? Also, if I added live bacteria, as soon as the tank was ready to cycle, would it be possible to skip several weeks of cycling the tank?

No, a lot of the plants I suggested are rather easy to care. Same for the anubias and java fern.

Anubias and java fern have bitter tastes, which keep most fish away. As for the other plants, they may snack on them if not fed enough greens. If you have a veggie clip with some veggies/fruit at all times, it will reduce the chance of your fish eating them.

Duckweed floats on the water, but doesn't have the long trailing roots. However, fish love to snack on it, so I would consider having a small colony in a bucket outside or such so you can always harvest a portion for the fish to eat. Another plant which may work are dwarf lettuce, but they may nibble at them or any floating plant for that matter. You could always do fake floating plants?

Those quick starts do reduce cycle time, but I personally don't like using them so I'll let someone else comment.
 

TexasDomer

You can add bacteria, but it won't instantly cycle your tank - it'll still take a few weeks. Patience is very important in this hobby; rushing things like cycling and adding fish prematurely can kill fish.
 

KeyboardCat

I was thinking about arranging driftwood (probably spiderwood) in large, tangled piles, simulating a river current pushing them into place, and plant Anubias and Java Ferns heavily around these clumps, although also around the rocks, providing natural caves and hiding places. Does this sound like a good idea, or not?
 

TexasDomer

That sounds great!
 

KeyboardCat

My second idea is to cover the bottom of the tank in plants, driftwood, and rocks (enough so that the fish would be visible, and the fish would have a lot of hiding places), and keep the upper half of the tank fairly clear, so that the flagtail, bala sharks, and silver dollars would have plenty of room to swim.
 

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