Critique (or Approve Of) This 45g Build!

nbalaw2016

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Hey everyone,

I have been setting up a 45g tall tank for the past couple months and am now ready to fully stock it. As of now, it has one blue gourami, two german blue rams which appear to be a pair now, and one flagtail porthole cat (dianema urostriatum), and there are no issues. The tank is kept at 81, overfiltered with a filter rated up to 75g, 15% water changes twice weekly at minimum. Please let me know what you think of this setup, assuming I have good luck with the tempers of the individual fish I obtain:

2 angelfish
2 german blue rams (pair)
4 bolivian rams (two pairs)
1 blue gourami
1 flagtail porthole
3 regular porthole (dianema longibarbis, my understanding is that these are a bit smaller than the flagtail variety).

The tank is well planted and would have decent hiding spots for the rams as well as mid-level plants for the portholes to rest on. I'm open to Sterba's corys in lieu of the portholes if the consensus is that a few of them will be uncomfortable in this size tank.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
 

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What is the GPH of the filter? Often companies say that they are suitable for much larger tanks than they actually are. You need a filter that turns over 8-10x the tank volume every hour so for a 45 gallon tank you're looking at a filter with a GPH of 360-450GPH

What are the dimensions of the tank? I don't think a 45 tall would have a large enough footprint for so many cichlid pairs.

I would stick to one angel, especially in this tank size. If two pair up they may become aggressive towards their tankmates. If they don't pair up they may be aggressive towards each other.

There is no temperature overlap between the GBR and the Bolivians. GBR need 80f+ while Bolivians have a maximum temp of around 77f.

Is the blue gourami a threespot gourami or a blue dwarf gourami? If it is a threespot it will need a tank that is at least 36" long.

The flagtail will need a 48" tank while the normal portholes will need a 36" tank. If your tank is less than 36" then cories may be best.
 
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nbalaw2016

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BottomDweller,

Thanks! Very helpful comments. The dimensions are 36" x 24" x 12" (I'm eyeballing the height).

It's a threespot, so that's fine. I will consider rehoming the flagtail before it starts to grow more and then just getting four normal portholes. My LFS shouldn't have a problem with this swap.

I can adjust to one angel, not two, and then I guess the only outstanding question is whether I should rehome the german blue ram pair, lower the temp to 77-78, and get two bolivian pairs, or keep the temperature at 81 and get one more german blue ram pair.

EDIT: Thanks for the catch--the filter is only rated to 300gph, so I will consider adding some supplemental filtration.
 

Dechi

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You need a filter that turns over 8-10x the tank volume every hour so for a 45 gallon tank you're looking at a filter with a GPH of 360-450GPH
Is this filtration volume specifically for cyclids ? Usually in freshwater 5x the volume of the tank is a very good ratio.
 

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Is this filtration volume specifically for cyclids ? Usually in freshwater 5x the volume of the tank is a very good ratio.
Sorry I don't know what cyclids are.
I think 8-10x per hour is the general rule for freshwater tanks for internal and HOB filters. You can get away with less for external canister filters though since they have a much greater capacity for filter media.
 

Dechi

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Sorry I don't know what cyclids are.
I think 8-10x per hour is the general rule for freshwater tanks for internal and HOB filters. You can get away with less for external canister filters though since they have a much greater capacity for filter media.
Cyclids are a family of fish. The rams are cyclids. I’ve always heard 5x the filtration, even for heavily planted tanks. Maybe as you say this is for canister filtration. That’s what I use.
 

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Cyclids are a family of fish. The rams are cyclids. I’ve always heard 5x the filtration, even for heavily planted tanks. Maybe as you say this is for canister filtration. That’s what I use.
For the flow rate canisters need less than others. I've heard that 5x is around what is recommended for sumps, 7x for canisters and 10x for HOB and internals. But I still like more than that, especially since I keep some fish that need more flow. If the tanks stock isn't a lot then between 5-10x is fine. You also have to remember that the flow listed on the box isn't what you tend to actually get when its been running on your tank. Also the family of fish that include rams, apistogramma, oscars and such are called cichlids - you just made an error in the spelling.
 

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A 45 gallon tall's dimensions are usually 36x12x24 (LxDxH), if so you have 36x12 inches of surface area. That may be a stretch for 3 pairs of rams... my personal favorites are the Bolivian Rams, but if you like the German Blues, then go with them - 2 pairs of either of them. I don't like mixing, but it is more a personal preference. Just a well experienced fact: Bolivian Rams are very well at 78-80F! I have them regularly at 78F, when breeding, I am raising to 80C - same for angelfish.

The right flow in a planted tank is when the leafs of the plants are slightly moving... key word is slightly. The trick is to get most of the leafs doing so... You should be able to this with 4-5x/hour. For this I prefer multiple smaller filters. HOBs are fine, but will get the CO2 out of the tank (would be better if the plants could use it). Canisters are my favorites, if you have multiple of them, you maintain only one at a time. I like to use pre filters for both HOBs and canisters.

Do not mix corys or plecos with the rams if you want baby rams.
 

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A 45 gallon tall's dimensions are usually 36x12x24 (LxDxH), if so you have 36x12 inches of surface area. That may be a stretch for 3 pairs of rams... my personal favorites are the Bolivian Rams, but if you like the German Blues, then go with them - 2 pairs of either of them. I don't like mixing, but it is more a personal preference. Just a well experienced fact: Bolivian Rams are very well at 78-80F! I have them regularly at 78F, when breeding, I am raising to 80C - same for angelfish.

The right flow in a planted tank is when the leafs of the plants are slightly moving... key word is slightly. The trick is to get most of the leafs doing so... You should be able to this with 4-5x/hour. For this I prefer multiple smaller filters. HOBs are fine, but will get the CO2 out of the tank (would be better if the plants could use it). Canisters are my favorites, if you have multiple of them, you maintain only one at a time. I like to use pre filters for both HOBs and canisters.

Do not mix corys or plecos with the rams if you want baby rams.
Bolivians are my favourite too. I also don't like mixing, both because of the temperature and because of personal preference too.

Bolivians are definitely a cooler water fish. Around 75 degrees is ideal for them. As with most fish the temperature shifts in their natural habitat during the cooler and warmer months. So they can withstand lower and higher temperatures. With that said it would be ideal for them to be kept at lower than 80 while it would be ideal for GBR to be above it. For breeding a higher temp would be fine but as this is a standard community tank rather than someone activity trying to breed the fish it is best to stick to fish that are compatible. I always like to recommend the fish based on the temperature they are best suited for, not just the temperatures they can live with.

I have mine with a pleco and the breed constantly, I have heard that other peoples plecos and corys can be a bit of a nuisance though.
 

Zka17

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Bolivians are definitely a cooler water fish. Around 75 degrees is ideal for them.
I cannot accept this! Maybe mine's are already used to 78-80F, but hey, I have them for 4+ years and they are breading like crazy...
 
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nbalaw2016

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So what I'm gathering is that the best setup would be:

1 angel
4 bolivian rams
1 blue gourami
4 portholes (1 flagtail for now)

kept at about 76-77 degrees.

Based on some of the comments here, I could also chance keeping both a pair of GBRs and a pair of Bolivians at 80, pushing 81, though the Bolivians may not be too content with year round 80 degree temps.

Thanks again for the comments!
 

Feohw

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I cannot accept this! Maybe mine's are already used to 78-80F, but hey, I have them for 4+ years and they are breading like crazy...
A fish won't drop dead because its water is a bit too warm. They will still live, breed etc. But that doesn't mean that that temperature is ideal for them, or that they should be recommended to be kept at that temperature. Bolivians come from a place where their water is not as warm as that of the GBR. They are, undeniably, a cooler water fish - again that doesn't mean they won't live and breed in warmer water. Their water is cooler and so that is what they should ideally be kept in. An aquarium should really be set up with the health and comfort of the fish in question.
So what I'm gathering is that the best setup would be:

1 angel
4 bolivian rams
1 blue gourami
4 portholes (1 flagtail for now)

kept at about 76-77 degrees.

Based on some of the comments here, I could also chance keeping both a pair of GBRs and a pair of Bolivians at 80, pushing 81, though the Bolivians may not be too content with year round 80 degree temps.

Thanks again for the comments!
So you are another bolivian man! Great! Look into how to sex them as many find it quite difficult. Many people here can lend a hand if you are unsure of which gender you get.
 
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nbalaw2016

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Now I'm considering a small 15g tall tank for my GBR pair! This hobby really is addicting.

As a follow-up question: If I did want to keep Bolivians with the GBRs for say a month or so at 82 degrees, would that be a serious problem? I'd then rehome the GBRs into a new, small tank set as high as 84-85 just for them, and gradually reduce the 45g down to 77.
 
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BottomDweller

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As a follow-up question: If I did want to keep Bolivians with the GBRs for say a month or so at 82 degrees, would that be a serious problem? I'd then rehome the GBRs into a new, small tank set as high as 84-85 just for them, and gradually reduce the 45g down to 77.
I don't think that would be too bad for just a month or so. 80f might be more comfortable. For a pair of GBR you would need a 20 gallon long.
 

Mr. Kgnao

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In my opinion, all this nonsense about appropriate volume per hour turnover is quickly becoming the Seniors Letzte Stunde of fishkeeping; you're filtering waste and waste by-product, not simply water volume. By this argument a single betta, fine with the weakest of HOBs in a 5 gallon, would need 100 times the filtration if kept alone in a 500 gallon tank. This is so superficially preposterous that it could only be supported by someone (people trying to sell you higher profit margin filters) arguing towards some particular interest (selling higher profit margin filters), truth be damned.
 

Dechi

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Cichlids?
Yes, cichlids. My mistake. I never had any...

For the flow rate canisters need less than others. I've heard that 5x is around what is recommended for sumps, 7x for canisters and 10x for HOB and internals. But I still like more than that, especially since I keep some fish that need more flow. If the tanks stock isn't a lot then between 5-10x is fine. You also have to remember that the flow listed on the box isn't what you tend to actually get when its been running on your tank. Also the family of fish that include rams, apistogramma, oscars and such are called cichlids - you just made an error in the spelling.
When I say 5x, I mean the actual water processing, not the output. For example, the « pump performance » on my Fluval 407 is 383 US gal/h and the filter circulation is 245 US gal/h. I use this number. So with my 45 gallons, I get 5.4 times the volume of my tank per hour. If I were to use the pump performance, then I would get 8.5 times the volume, but it wouldn’t be exact.

A Fluval 407 for a 45 gallons is a lot, I really don’t think I need more than that.

When you say 7x for canisters, do you go by the pump performance number of the filter circulation (smaller) ? It can get confusing quick, I just want to make sure I use the same numbers as others do.
 
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Feohw

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When I say 5x, I mean the actual water processing, not the output. For example, the « pump performance » on my Fluval 407 is 383 US gal/h and the filter circulation is 245 US gal/h. I use this number. So with my 45 gallons, I get 5.4 times the volume of my tank per hour. If I were to use the pump performance, then I would get 8.5 times the volume, but it wouldn’t be exact.

A Fluval 407 for a 45 gallons is a lot, I really don’t think I need more than that.

When you say 7x for canisters, do you go by the pump performance number of the filter circulation (smaller) ? It can get confusing quick, I just want to make sure I use the same numbers as others do.
Sorry I should have been more clear. I'm talking about the turnover rate. The amount of times the volume of the tank passes through the filter per hour. Depending on the type of filter and the level of stock, 5x-10x is recommended. Type of fish matters too obviously. For instance 10x turnover with a sump would be overkill. But with a HOB it would be just fine.
 
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