Figuring Out The Right Stocking Levels: Barbs & Tetra's

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Forums' started by ikolbyi, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. ikolbyi

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    This is an established 7 month old 55 gallon planted tank. When initially stocked life was grand the first month or so but now the Barbs no longer swim unless they feed, they sit together in the same left corner of the tank and never come out.

    I've been reducing fish in the tank to get my stocking levels under 100% per AqAdvisor in hopes it would spur my Barbs to actually swim the tank, this is what I came up with:
    (1) Fresh Water River Asian Clam
    (3) Zebra Nerite Snail
    (2) Spotted Pictus Catfish (Pimelodus pictus)
    (1) Bulldog/Rubbernose Plecostomus (Chaetostoma milesi, L187b)
    (1) Clown Plecostomus (Peckoltia Vittata)
    (6) Columbian Blue/Red Fin Tetra (Hyphessobrycon columbianus)
    (2) Siamese Algae Eater Fish (Crossocheilus oblongus)
    (8) Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)

    Prior I had 7 Tetra's and 3 Pictus Catfish

    When I had 7 Tetra's they chased and harassed the Barbs - at least one of the Tetra's was doing that. With only 6 Tetra's the Barbs are left alone.

    When I had 3 Pictus cats they didn't swim, one stayed on the left side of the tank, one in the middle of the tank and the 3rd on the right side of the tank, and they never crossed those boundaries. When I reduced them to 2 at least they come out of their 'spots' and swim a little more. Their behavior defies what I have read being a schooling fish. They act more territorial than anything else.

    So far no change in the Barbs behavior.



  2. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I'd rehome the clam, first off. They don't do well in most tank setups (requiring a more specialized setup) and they often die and create an ammonia problem.

    I'd rehome the pictus as well. As they're very active and should be in a larger group, I wouldn't keep them in anything smaller than a 75 gal (18" wide).

    Do you really have Peckoltia vittata, or do you have the clown pleco, Panaqolus maccus?

    I would actually add more of the tetra and the tiger barbs, as well as the SAEs.

    Don't listen to Aqadvisor. It's not accurate.
  3. OP

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    To answer your Pleco question is it 'Peckoltia vittata' or 'Panaqolus maccus' - I'm not sure. I looked online at both photos and the fish is similar to both. He changes color often, when on the wood very dark in color but when on rock lightens ups considerably. (see below photos)

    Regarding the clam, he/she has grown since having in the tank, must like it.

    Regarding the Catfish, if not Pictus (and not Corydoras), what are my options? Looking for 2 -3 catfish other than Cory's and Bumble Bee. Had Cory's - not my cup of tea and Bumble Bee you never saw them, 100% hidden.


    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  4. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Looks like a Panaqolus to me. The Peckoltia also isn't referred to as a clown pleco. I'd rehome it - it doesn't have a lot of temperature overlap with the other fish.

    If the clam is growing and doing well, great! Just be sure to check it often to make sure it doesn't die on you.

    What about this?
    4-5x Hoplos
    1x C. milesi L187b
    8-10x Colombian tetra
    10x Tiger barb
    4x SAEs
    1x Clam
  5. OP

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    That many fish won't overstock my 55 gallon tank? To me it already looks crowded. The Hoplos also get larger (about 1 inch) over the Pictus.
  6. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I don't think so. The hoplos are less active than the pictus. You can leave out a species if you want.
  7. OP

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    The Pictus in the tank are not very active neither. Is the Hoplo my only other option?

    Regarding the Pleco, the store had him labeled as a 'Clown Pleco', he has not grown much at all and definitely smaller than the Rubbernose/Bull Dog Pleco and seldom leaves the wood - another words behaves like a Clown. Both Pleco's and the Clam are original fish in this tank and thriving.
  8. OP

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    So I threw in the towel and returned the Pictus Cats and exchanged them for 3 Rainbow Panda Garra (Garra flavatra). I also returned the Tetra stocking levels to 7 and upped the Tiger Barbs to 9. It's only been 24 hours but the Barbs are behaving more like barbs and the 3 Garra's are like Abbott and Costello drunk on Redbull and Vodka - do they ever stop swimming all over the place clowning around?
  9. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Definitely not your only option. There are many bottom dwellers that would work.

    So unfortunately, the garra aren't super suitable for your setup. They really should be in a moderate to high flow setup that has rocks with algae on them for them to browse on.
  10. OP

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    I have plenty of rocks in the tank, that is not an issue, in addition the substrate is fine rock/gravel as well. As for water flow, only the canister filter is providing flow. These 3 fish appear to prefer the glass over rocks.

    If they don't work out my options seemed limited because the smaller catfish are all nocturnal it seems and the loaches are too large or require a minimum of school of 5+. It seems the only loach option is Hillstream.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  11. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Hillstream loaches wouldn't work for the same reasons as the garra.

    You have a lot of other catfish or loach options. You'll still see many nocturnal fish during the day.
  12. OP

    ikolbyiValued MemberMember

    I once tried a bumblebee cat a long time ago, never ever saw it unless I used a flash light (which I know fish hate) past 10pm. I might as well have posted a picture of him on the tank otherwise you would never know he was in the tank. What catfish (maximum of 2) do you recommend?
  13. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    What about porthole catfish?