Community Advice Please

Celloman1

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Ok, so I'm a "noob" in the sense that fishkeeping has only been in my life for just over a month. However, to my credit, I have an impulsive and "file-system" brain and have spent HOURS researching freshwater fish, fully learned about the nitrogen cycle, and have driven my wife crazy with "fish stuff" - I told her I'm trying to give my 3 year old son the best fish experience possible and at least fish don't poop on the floor like a dog!!

Now for the serious stuff - I have two tanks and they were both purchased from Facebook.

29 gal planted tank with standard hood light, good filter, great heater, fake rocks, red substrate (inherited), temp 80-82, pH 7.5 - this tank was fully cycled for the past 2 years
- Currently has: 1 Angelfish (big boy, 6" tall), 2 blackskirt tetras, 1 whiteskirt tetras, 1 molly, 2 platies, 1 pleco (4"), 1 bristlenose catfish (2")
These fish have been together for just over a week now in utter peace - I bought the tank with Mbunas but converted to a tropical community after about 2-3 weeks.

20 gal fake plant tank with standard hood light, good filter, great heater, fake rocks, light brown substrate (inherited), temp 78-80, pH 7.5 - this tank was just setup from a 5 gal tank the other day - used the same filter media, water, decorations, etc.
- Currently has: 1 male betta, 1 whiteskirt tetra, 2 other tetras (I forget their names)

In the 29 gal tank, the whiteskirt became suddenly aggressive 2 days ago towards the blackskirts, but no other fish. I moved the other whiteskirt from the 20 gal tank into the 29 gal tank and the aggression went down a bit - the tetras started swimming more like a school as well!

My question is, given all the fish I have, what combination would others recommend? The angelfish will stay in the 29 gal and the betta will stay in the 20 gal - aside from that, I'm open to suggestions. (Would like to add something into the 20 gal as it only has 3 fish now) I made a spreadsheet with the types of fish I have and their temp/pH requirements, and everything seems so similar. Everyone has different opinions and I totally get that - just would like to hear from other actual fish owners. I was thinking about putting the 2 platies with the betta in the 20 gal (maybe adding more?), switching the 2 tetras from the 20 gal to the 29 gal so they're all together, and adding 1-2 more mollies to the 29 gal as well. THANKS IN ADVANCE!!
 

maggie thecat

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Bettas are not generally great community fish. They can do okay when young, but as they mature they become territorial. Fish masacres have been known to happen.

Tetras and all shoaling or sxhooling fish need to be in groups of at least six. Oddballs will often group up to make up their numbers, but like with like is generally preferred .

Platy and molly don't need to be grouped.

The angel is fine as a single.

What kind of pleco?

So, my suggestion is;

Get the betta his own ten.

Put the tetras in with the angel and the pleco. Increase the tetra number to defuse agression. Unless the pleco is a common. In which case take him back and get a bristlenose.

Put the mollys and platy in the 20. The bristlenose can stay with them.
 

TexasDomer

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I would do things a bit differently, for temperature and behavioral compatibility.

In the 29 gal:
1x Angelfish
1x Molly
1x BN pleco (assuming that's what you mean by bristlenose catfish)
8x of unknown tetra, if compatible
Keep temp 76 - 77 F (higher is too high for BN pleco)

In the 20 gal:
6-8x Black/white skirt tetra (adding more can help reduce aggression)
2x Platies
Keep temp 75 F (78 - 80 F is too high for these species)

I'd rehome the larger pleco, assuming it's a common. I'd also move the betta to his own tank.

Can you take a pic of the unknown tetra, the pleco, and the bristelnose catfish for us? We can help you ID them and determine suitability.
 
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Celloman1

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Yes, I will take photos when I get home tonight - thanks for the replies so far! Another question, we don't have the room (or funds, according to my wife) for another tank, like the 10gal that is being recommended for the betta. Leaving the betta in the 20 gal for now, what fish options that we currently own would be ok in there? So far, he's been fine with the 2-3 tetras, but willing to make changes of course! Does that tank need a bottom feeder?
 

maggie thecat

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You could get a divider (or make, the hardware store can provide plexiglass) for the 20 gallon. If you don't do that, invest in as many plants as as much decor as you can to breakup lines of sight.

If you divide the tank then you need to be examining 10 gallon stocking options. But seriously , a starter 10 gallon kit runs in the are of $35.00. Less on sale. They are often free on Craigslist etc. I can appreciate the space issue, but this is a fairly small cash outlay for fish.

And though I am not a fan, many people keep bettas in 2.5 gallon containers. You may have a perfect glass bowl gathering dust in a closet. Just add a heater and a sponge filter.

Bottom feeders are a choice, not a necessity . Even if you have one, you must still do maintenance .
 

TexasDomer

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The issue is that the skirt tetra don't have much temperature compatibility with the angel, and they're often nippy, which is stressful for the angel. The same issues exist between the skirts and the betta. And the platies aren't really temperature compatible with the angel or betta either. So I would either give the betta his own tank, or rehome some fish. Once you rehome some fish, you would have room to get more.

You could do something like this:

29 gal:
1x Angel
1x Molly
8-10x Temperature compatible cories (C. aeneus, C. splendens, or C. aeneus) or kuhli loaches
8-10x Temperature and behavior compatible schooling species (one species, like harlequin rasbora, cherry barbs, cardinal tetra, lemon tetra, etc.)

20 gal:
8x Black skirts
2x Platies
8-10x Cories (one species, more options for species as there are many cool water cories) or kuhlis

Or if you won't give the betta his own tank (or rehome him):

29 gal:
Same as above

20 gal:
1x Betta
(if you must have something else with him, 8-10x temperature compatible cories (C. aeneus, C. splendens, or C. aeneus) or kuhli loaches)

So then you'd be rehoming the skirt tetra and the platies.
 

SegiDream

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Honestly a betta could be fine in a 5 gallon. The absolute minimum would be a 2.5g tank. Larger tanks are more forgiving and don't make fast swings in parameters, and Bettas like a little space so 5g is often preferred at minimum.
 

Mom2some

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What happened to the 5 gallon tank you moved the stuff into the 20 gallon from? That would work well for the betta alone!
 
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Celloman1

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The 5 gallon tank is sold...we needed to recoup some of the money we've spent that wasn't in our budget.

So my angel doesn't move around all that much....could this be due to the fact the skirt tetra can be nippy? They have never nipped at him, as he is huge compared to them.

Wouldn't cherry barbs be nippy too? The LFS (not a big box store, but family-owned with over 200 tanks) said barbs were not a good idea.....not sure which is accurate lol.

If I keep both my bottom feeders (photos coming very shortly) where should they go?

What would ideal temps be then for each tank?
 

maggie thecat

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Barbs is a big family of fish that range in temperment. Check out the Barb subforum to read up on some of the more common types.

Cherry barbs are, in the main, peaceful fish. Tiger barbs, on the otherhand, live up to the name, and are generally considered a fish for experienced keepers.

To determine your tank temperature , look at the care sheets for each type of fish and go from there.
 

TexasDomer

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I would use Fishbase and Seriously Fish for temperature info. The Fishlore care sheets can be inaccurate.

In the fish world, size doesn't always matter. Small fish can bully bigger ones.
 

Hunter1

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maggie thecat said:
Barbs is a big family of fish that range in temperment. Check out the Barb subforum to read up on some of the more common types.

Cherry barbs are, in the main, peaceful fish. Tiger barbs, on the otherhand, live up to the name, and are generally considered a fish for experienced keepers.

To determine your tank temperature , look at the care sheets for each type of fish and go from there.
My experience with cherry barbs is they are very peaceful, and have very small mouths for their size.
 

TexasDomer

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Pleco (likely common). The other cat I can't quite see, but judging by the body shape, it's one that will get too big for your tank. I'd rehome them both.
 

TexasDomer

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Have you rehomed any fish yet? I would fix your current stocking issues before adding more fish.
 
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Celloman1

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Tetras replaced with Cherry Barbs in the 29 gal - Angelfish got 1 of them for a snack but seems to be doing ok now.

Betta is still alone in the 20 gal - looking for Harlequin Rasboras now.

Will probably re-home the current pleco and catfish.
 
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