Danio behavior, review stocking plans, floating plant questions 30 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by JoannaB, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember


    I have recently started my first freshwater tank. It is a 30 gallon acrylic tank with Marineland Eclipse 3 hood and a secondary sponge filter (Hydro 3). Two weeks ago I successfully completed a fishless cycle, and bought the first six fish: 3 regular zebra danios and 3 glofish. I continue to montor the water quality with an API Master test kit, and all parameters appear satisfactory (no ammonia or nitrites, nitrates do no climb too high, water is slightly alkaline - just barely on the border between ph and high ph of test kit, temp 74 Fahrenheit). We have sand substrata, a sunken ship, driftwood, and a few Java Ferns, thus far.

    My three questions:

    (1) I thought danios are mid- to upper-level fish? My danios are very active and appear happy, but they mostly stay about three inches above the sand, weaving between the plants and in and out of the sunken ship ornament, and only occasionally going to mid-level or surface. (Even when my son and I feed them, they prefer to move close to the bottom and wait for the flakes to drop, only occasionally rising to surface). The reason why I am concerned about this, though the fish appear happy, is because our stocking plans are for bottom dwellers after this, and the danios were supposed to be the upper-level fish.

    (2) For this 30 gallon tank we are planning the following fish in addition to the current 6 danios: next week planning to buy an albino long-fin bristlenose pleco (both because we do have quite a bit of brown algea, and because it appears to be a cool fish). After that, a month or so later, we want to get 6 Cory cats (not sure yet which). And then a month later, get 30 cherry shrimp along with some Java moss. Any concerns about this stocking plan? I was at some point considering guppies, but decided against them due to the danios fin-nipping - I hope the long-fin bristlenose pleco will be ok? Also at some point I was considering getting a school of 10 neon tetra, but got concerned when I read about neon tetra disease, since we do not have a quarantine tank, and not planning to get one currently - yes, I know we are taking a risk, but this primary tank already cost more than we originally planned to pay. Also for now our power filtering the hood has stopped working twice due to sand, so I am planning to cover the intake with a stocking sometime soon, definitely before getting the shrimp. However, due to this concern, I am thinking that our main constraints are bottom surface area 30x12.5 and the strength of our secondary filter (the sponge filter).

    (3) Would it be a good idea to get surface floating plants? If so, which do you recommend? I read about duckweed, but am concerned that it grows like a weed.

    So far, our six danios appear to be very happy, active, healthy fish. I have researched a lot, but am still very much a newbie.

    Thanks for your advice!

    Joanna B

  2. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    glad to hear you did a fish less cycle, your fish will thank you for it!

    Your tank sounds great and something that I'm sure the fish will enjoy. The temp while a bit low for some fish is fine for the danios.

    ok so onto the questions

    1. Danios are usually all around the tank, put your bottom dwellers in, the danios will move to other spaces of the tank. I have 5 in my 20 that always loved the bottom, then I added cories to the tank, boom the zebras went to the middle, I added some black skirt tetras to the tank, and the zebras took over the top level of the tank. Yes they still swim all over the place but they primarily reside in the top 1/3 of the tank.

    2. I am not at all concerned about that stocking plan, just be aware your other fish will prey on the shrimp unless you give them plenty of hiding spaces like grass or other file leaved plants for them to hide in, around, and on. I would also not worry much about the zebras nipping at anything in the tank, the pleco will happily defend himself when needed, and the cories will most likely be the star of the tank and keep things in line.

    2b. Your filtration I do agree is going to be a partial issue, those in hood units always seem to have problems. I would recommend upgrading to either an HOB style or a canister but leave the sponge filter in the tank. I realize this is an expensive hobby and you already have spent so much but really the equipment will typically outlast the fish in the tank.

    3. Plants are always a great idea! Duckweed and any floating plant can take over a tank and it happens regularly, usually we in the hobby do one of the following with it, sell it, throw it away, put it in the garden as a fertilizer, crush it up and put it into home made fish foods, feed it to goldfish. I personally think that any plant is a great addition to your tank, provided you can meet the plants requirements as well. There is a lot out there on plants so for now I would stick to some of the simple low light hearty plants such as java fern, java moss, naja, anubias, swords, Vals, Crypts. Most of these can grow in almost any light and without much for additional needs to the tank (thou your swords and gals would really appreciate root tabs).

    You are on a great track and keep on reading, there is no better way to learn than to ask questions!
  3. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you for the fast reply! Glad to hear that the danios shall adjust, and that the bristlenose pleco will take care of himself. :) Yes, I fully expect the cories to be neat - cories were actually the fish species that I first fell in love with. Yes, I know that shrimp may be at risk, which is why I am planning to get a bunch of java moss for them to hide in, but if that does not work, both my son and I will understand, since we also enjoy a good shrimp dinner. We already have Java ferns, but I will continue to think about floating plants - thanks for the other plant suggestions. I will research HOB filter, but in the meantime I shall also try the stocking to see whether it reduces the sand in filter issue. Thanks a lot for the advice and reassurance!
  4. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    glad to help! So many here understand that all ya need sometimes is that agreement that you are heading in the right direction.

    I also think that the stocking should really help the filter getting clogged altho you may need to watch the stocking. What some of us do is to cover the intake with a sponge for the aqua clear filters this also gives you some additional bacteria storage and a pre filter for your filter.
  5. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Follow-up question on HOB filter: I looked at option of HOB filter upgrade based on your recommendation here, and I am a bit confused how one could hang such a filter on the back of the aquarium while retaining a hood lid, or is this not possible? I am not willing to have an open aquarium since I have two very active sons, and thus feel that the hood provides the fish a certain degree of protection. ;-) If I could attach an HOB filter somehow without having to forgo the lid of the Marineland Eclipse 3 hood, I would be interested in upgrading the filter. If so, should we get one that is designed for a larger size tank (for example AquaClear 50 filter for 30 gallon tank, or would an AquaClear 30 be recommended? If I cannot replace filter without forgoing lid, then I hope the stocking idea will help resolve the sand in filter issue. Thanks again!
  6. mawelch74Valued MemberMember

    I recently acquired a tank with hood and filter from a friend, also an AquaClear HOB filter. Now, he'd previously used this so it was already done for me, but there may be cut-outs or punch-outs on the back end of your hood to allow for filter, heater, etc to be hung there.
  7. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    With the eclipse system hoods there is no easy way to add one, I would honestly sell that hood system if it continues to give you some problems. The only other option I can easily see with that hood is either an in tank filter (which is actually worse than your hood filter) or using a canister filter, which is a bit pricey but would offer the BEST filtration for your tank.
  8. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you! I think I will get the stocking and perhaps a sponge to put around the filter intake soon, and then wait a while and see whether that solves the problem with the filter sufficiently. If it does not, I will research either replacing hood or canister filter as options. However, thus far, the Eclipse hood is working well most of the time, and my only concern would be if the filter were to get clogged if we were on vacation and had a less knowledgeable person coming in to look in on the fish - it might be too much to ask someone else to figure out how to declog a filter. However, as long as we are not on vacation, since I have a second filter which is technically strong enough to take care of this size tank on its own, I am not too worried. And frankly the declogging is not that much effort for me, and while the excitement of it all is probably a bit stressful on the fish, but I am not too worried about that either. thanks again for your replies!
  9. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Hey if the system works go with it, and I really do hope that the sock or sponge solves the problem for you and you enjoy the hood filter system for many years to come.

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