Good Starter Fish for 29 Gallon?

  • #1
I just received a 29 gallon tank and I have been doing some research. These are the fish I would like to eventually end up with

Black KuhlI Loach
African Leaf Fish
Tiger Barb
Black Skirt Tetra
Pictus Catfish

I'm not sure on numbers for all of them, but I do know I'll probably need 4 or 5 Tigers.

It has been running for about 4 days and I would like to add starter fish. I'm just not sure which one to get first. I read barbs are good, but tigers are not because they can be territorial. Loaches are not tolerant either.

I have a 2.5 gallon with some shrimp and snails. That's been set up for about 4-5 weeks now with a moss ball plant. I put the moss ball plant in the 29 gallon to help that okay?

One more question (I know, too many, just bear with me) are there any other fish I could add with these? I want to make sure my schooling is right, but I would like as much variety as possible, of course

Please tell me if any of these are wrong. I know I want a variety of middle swimmers and some sort of catfish.
  • #2
the leaf fish will eventually eat all the smaller fish. they are predators and are very good at what they do. the pictus cat has a minimum required tank size of 70 gallons. and lastly (this is a personal hatred) the tiger barbs are not going to work. I have 12 and they still pick at other fish instead of there own group. may I suggest going to to get a general idea of what is going to work.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I did aqadvisor and it didn't mention any of them picking at each other

I have aqadvisor open right now with all 5 of those species and it has no warnings showing up. I'm trying to do screenshots and it's not working (technology is not my friend).

Since the tiger barbs are so aggressive, is there another type of schooling fish that would be better?
tropical fish lover
  • #4
the leaf fish will eventually eat all the smaller fish. they are predators and are very good at what they do. the pictus cat has a minimum required tank size of 70 gallons. and lastly (this is a personal hatred) the tiger barbs are not going to work. I have 12 and they still pick at other fish instead of there own group. may I suggest going to to get a general idea of what is going to work. is not always reliable
  • #5
not always but it deff. is a great place to get an idea. @capnkt626- did you also include the tank size into the calibration?
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I put in tank measurements and filter. It said nothing was wrong except I might need a bigger filter which I already figured.

I was really hoping to build a tank around the leaf fish because they seem awesome. But now that I've looked it up more, it seems that there's very few compatible fish for it. I may nix it, which stinks, but I would rather have the diversity.

I still love the loaches and black skirt tetras. I guess now I just need a better type of catfish. A long time ago, I did a basic tropical community tank (guppies, mollies, etc.) and I'm looking for some different fish.
  • #7
have you considered a large school of cory catfish, or are you looking for a more wide mouthed catfish?
  • #9
bala sharks get over a foot long. rainbow shark is a good idea though.
  • #10
HI capnkt626 welcome to FishLore!

What about rainbow Sharks or a school of Bala Sharks?

Neither of these fish are suitable for a 30 gallon tank

You are recommending a school of fish that can potentially grow to 13" long fish (balas) and 6" long fish (rainbows) in a tank that in probably 30" long?

Please do you research.

Bala Shark

Rainbow Shark
  • #11
wouldn't recommend sharks for a 30 gal tank

I got some neno tetras, guppies, n cory cat in my 29 gallon tank. would definitely recommend the nano tetras
  • #12
are u just looking for schooling fish? if your not I would suggest rams. they are pretty peaceful, beautiful, breed quit easily and there are a few species depending on the parameters of the tank u could probably add some rams I wouldent go with more than one pair though they might get a little territorial. p.s. german blue rams are my favorite
  • #13
I wouldn't recommend German Rams as a starter fish. They are very sensitive and need a well cycled tank. Bolivian Rams are supposed to be hardier fish and would probably be a better option, although they might also need a fully established tank. Your idea of Black Skirt Tetras was good. Also, Danios are frequently used when cycling because they are very hardy.
  • #14
corys are pretty cool too, they school together and they are always foreging around. there are loads or different kinds too. alough they are kind of mindless, they remind me of those little green aliens on toy story lol. but they are still pretty cool.
  • #15
Hello and Welcome to Fish Lore!

Adding plants (Moss Balls) to a cycling tank is perfectly fine.

  • Thread Starter
  • #16
so right now I have on my list loaches, black skirts, and cories. I'll start off with black skirts.

why does the pictus need such a large tank? he only gets 4 inches right?
  • #17
why does the pictus need such a large tank? he only gets 4 inches right?

As for AqAdvisor.. if you find misinformation, notify the site owner. He cannot fix it if people do not report it. Also check his notice at the bottom of the page for new fish keepers (a lot of people seem to miss that).
  • #18

I personally would pick either the kuhlis or the cories, not both. They both should have at least 6 each.

Black Skirts would be great - could even mix some of the white/gold skirts as well. Same species.

Pictus cats need a bigger tank because they are very active and can get up to 5" (not 4). I've found a couple sources saying they can get even bigger than that, though I'm not sure how true those are.
  • #19
I am brand new to the hobby of fish keeping. Bought a 25 gal aquarium and set it up about 1 1/2 weeks ago. Have not started adding fish yet but was planning to cycle WITH fish. I have been reading and researching fish, cycling, etc.. Ugh. Lots of information out there. Feeling pretty overwhelmed. Every time I think I have a good handle on things (i.e. appropriate fish for community tank) I read something new that makes me rethink my stocking decision. SO - I thought I would ask for help from the good people on fishlore.

Ok - to start my tank - I was considering adding 2-3 platies. Another conundrum here: I don't want any fry. Should I get 3 males? I realize that they are peaceful beings and have read that the males should do well together - but still question that idea. Suggestions would be great. After my tank cycles (I promise to check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels (daily to start? until the cycle is complete)) I was considering adding black skirt, cardinal, or neon tetras (group of 6+). Leaning toward black skirt as I have read that cardinals can be difficult and somewhat nippy. Have also read that neons do not like well lit tanks (mine is fairly well lit). Any recommendations regarding these tetras? If the bioload allows - I would like to add a honey or pearl Gourami. Finally, I will be adding a Bristlenose Pleco. I have been told that the Pleco should be added last (?). After all of my research, I realize that this will be a slow process (adding fish) in order to ensure that the fish are happy and thriving.

So - in all - that would be 2-3 platies, 6 black fin (or other) tetras, 1 honey/pearl Gourami, 1 Bristlenose Pleco . I just did the math here and I assume that a Gourami would probably put the bioload over the edge in a 25 gallon tank - BUT - would love to get feedback from all of you experienced members.

Finally, I have noticed some growth (bacterial vs. algae?) on the piece of driftwood that my husband bought from the LFS since it has been in the tank. It looks sort of feathery and clear. The wood was rinsed thoroughly before it was placed. With this in mind - do I need to do a water change before I add any fish?

I apologize for the very long post. Just trying to get as much info. as possible before starting this endeavor.
  • #20
Never apologize for giving a lot of info, especially when it's carefully written. You've answered a bunch of questions people would ask.

You should be able to do males only with the platies. I've not heard of people having problems with such. I know next to nothing about black skirt tetras, but I do know that, for various reasons, cardinals and neons are a bit more difficult than presented at pet stores. I would go with a honey gourami in a tank that size. They grow to less than half the size of the pearl gourami. Bristlenose should be fine. Just realize that this is going to up the amount of water changes you'll need to do, as plecos produce quite a lot of waste and can spike the nitrogen content in the water. Not a horrible thing, just means a bit of extra work.

Most driftwood isn't fully "cured" when it hits the shelves, and still has stuff that some aquatic bacteria thrives on. They go through bacterial blooms that are generally harmless to fish. This will go away on its own, and you shouldn't have to worry about it, other than the fact that you might find it unsightly until it resolves itself.
  • #21
Welcome to FishLore!!
  • #22
Black Skirt tetras are nice. I have a few of them myself. If you don't plan on getting slow moving fish with long fins (Angel fish) than you should be fine. I've had the for a few years and they are nice fish to have as long as you have a gang of them.

I thought about getting a honey gouarmI but I was told they have a temper, but that was from a LFS so I opted for a pearl one, which I really like watching.

Kudos for doing research!
  • #23
Thanks for the good information. I will keep that in mind with the Pleco. I really wanted Corys but my husband bought, and installed large gravel before we found out that Corys don't do well with that type of substrate. Good to hear on the driftwood. Thanks again!
  • #24
I considered an Angel but leaning more toward a Gourami. Noted - on the black skirts and other long fin fish. Thanks for the info. I will do a little more research on the honey vs. pearl. Geez - seems like the research could be a never ending project! Fun but sort of overwhelming!
  • #25
I would give two likes to to sirdarksol for having mentioned, quite rightly, that you have done your research, and pointing out that one can never ask too many questions--the only foolish question being, IMO, the one you fail to ask, for fear of appearing foolish--not's that that is going to happen on this forum, I have good reason to believe, having asked so many questions myself, and having noted them all well were received; the point here seeming to be the wish to help, not score cheap points. In short, this is a friendly site more interested in helping, above all.
Having said that, I do think that neither neons nor cardinals are noted as being fin-nippers, and that of the two, I think it cardinals who prefer rather subdued lighting
As well, most plecs are quite hardy--perhaps you are thinking of oto's when worrying over new tank conditions? Plecs do leave quite a trail in there wake, to be quite polite in phasing, but W/Cs and water testing are two things that you can never overdo, and with regard to BNs, as my wife told me on our honeymoon, a certain degree of ugliness does add character. I am still hoping that she was speaking of Humphrey Bogart.
If Pearls seem too large for you, Dwarf gouramis are perfectly lovely.
Very Nice to Meet you, and a Great New Year to You----rick
  • #26
Thanks for the info on the tetras. As you know - there is SO much information out there on SO many different sites - it's hard to know what is accurate! That's why I wanted to post here and chat with experienced folks. Someone at the LFS told me about the Corys/substrate issue. He mentioned that the large gravel could scrape their whiskers off, leading to infection, etc.. The Bristlenose certainly is an interesting looking specimen. I wasn't crazy about the idea initially but it is definitely growing on me; all that character! I like the idea of the Pearl as I've read that they are good fish for beginners and quite forgiving. I will take a look at the dwarfs as well. Thanks for the info. and for the welcome. Happy New Year to you as well!
  • #27
You could look into dwarf gouramis - bigger than honeys but not as big as the pearl. The flame red ones are really cool. They make a good community fish providing you just keep the one male.
Louis Morissette
  • #28
I'm a beginner and i'm super entertained by my Angelfish... I would recommend that one, however I don't have much experience with other breeds such as Gouramis.
  • #29
I would not recommend Dwarf Gourami as they are much more fragile and less hardy than pearl or honey.
  • #30
I would think a school of cories would be fine in that tank! They prefer sand, but do fine with gravel. Honestly, I would rather have 5-6 little fish zooming around the tank and scavenging rather than one large one that sits on the glass or what not, sucking it all day. Of course bn move around and such, but I have heard they can be shy and make a mess of tanks.

I have a dwarf gourami and he is the best!! Next to my angelfish Marty and the coriesi, francisco the dg is my favorite! Just don't tell my gbr rigoverto I would get the platies first, then tetras, cories or what ever you decide on and then the dg. Pick the most active with the boldest color. At the store, mine had the brightest coloration and wouldn't stop swimming the sides of the tank. He is the same at home and even comes and says hI to me, not even one bit shy! He is the sunset? Color? He's red/orange with blue stripes.

Also, may I suggest the use of tetra safestart? I would either use that to do fish in cycle, or atleast 20% water changes daily. Also I agree, you can never ask too many questions!

If you want an algae eater, I suggest nerite snails. Either them or oto catfish work great! I prefer the nerites, because you see them more and they do a better cleaning job.
  • #31
Welcome To Fishlore!

Hope to see some pics of your tank soon Best of luck!
  • #32
Great! Thanks for all of the good info. I will research a bit more on the Cories myself. I would love to have a few of those guys - just want to make sure it is a good environment for them. I do like the idea of the Pearl since they are pretty hardy. Thanks for confirming the order of stocking fish. That's what I had in mind.

I will take a look at the Tetra safestart. Still a little hesitant about the tetras as I keep reading that they can be difficult to keep. I tested the PH in my tank last night. My first reading was 7.6. I re-tested with the "high PH" test (since I was at the outside range for the normal kit) just to make sure that I was not beyond. Second test came back 7.4. Geez. Will test again tonight and take some to LFS this weekend. It looks to me as though that 7.4-7.6 range is pretty high for most of the tetras. More research to be done.

Thanks for the info on the snails. Will take a look this weekend at LFS. I assume they would need to be added last?

Thanks again!

Thanks. Will keep you posted on the progress. Purchasing first fish this weekend!

Thanks. Noted. Definitely interested in hardy fish at this point.

I am interested in Angels as well. Just depends on what type of tetras I end up with (if at all) since some can be fin nippers, I'm told (black skirt).
  • #33
I wouldn't worry too much about the pH. As long as they're acclimated to it, most fish can be in different pHs. Also, 7.4-7.6 is a very average pH that is great for a large variety of fish.

What about rasbora fish? Is you want an angel, id suggest some harlequin rasboras. However, the angel will put a lot more on your bioload than a smaller gourami. Also dwarf gouramis can be pretty hardy, just choose a healthy looking one. They are very colorful as well. You could also look into some fish like: apistogrammas, killifish, rams(such as german blue, bolivian, golden, electric blue-although its best to wait atleast 6 months before adding these more sensitive fish), other fish of the like.

I am thinking of upgrading my 15 gal to a 25, and will have 5 cories, about 8 cardinal tetras, a pair of german blue rams and maybe either a platy or two or my dwarf gourami I also have several nerite snails. Hopefully this helps you kinda see what can go in there
  • #34
I am definitely interested in Harlequin Rasboras. I will take a closer look at them.

I have a new dilemma: Went to the LFS today with my very excited 4 year old son in tow in order to look at and purchase 3 platies. I tested the PH again before we left the house and then had it tested at the LFS. Unfortunately, the person working in the fish department was not at all knowledgeable and said the the PH was "somewhere between 7.2-7.8" and went on to say "that's a little high". Anyway - I started wondering why it might be high and mentioned it to my husband while posing the question "I wonder if that is typical all over town for tap water?". He proceeded to tell me that he was told that our tap water is normally 6.0-6.6) He also reminded me that when he set-up the tank several weeks ago (a Fluval 25 gallon kit) he added the chemicals (ENTIRE contents of both bottles) that came with (as directed by the LFS). He said that one was a water conditioner but couldn't remember what the other one was (he thought it was something with aquarium salt). I have looked up the tank kit on-line and it is supposed to come with a biological enhancer (bacteria) and a water conditioner. Not really sure why either of those would increase the PH.

SO - I obviously can't buy fish today as I need to get the PH issue situated. My concern is, obviously, that if our tap water is 6.0-6.6 (will test shortly) it will change the PH in the aquarium as I carry out water changes. Argh. Should I do a couple of 50% changes in the next few days to adjust the PH? I hate the thought of adding something to adjust the PH every time I do a water change (particularly since some of the fish I am interested in seem to do best in water with a PH <7.6). So it seems that it would be best to get as close to that 6.0-6.6 as possible. Any suggestions would be incredibly helpful. I am going to post this as a new thread as well, in order to increase the number of responses. Thanks!
  • #35
You could try adding driftwood. It will help lower it a little. also, it seems that some new tanks have a higher pH than the tap. It usually seems to lower as the tank cycles. Unsure why. This is just from what I've heard others say. Don't use a chemical to lower pH, it will stress the fish much more as it can cause fluctuations in the pH. Fish like consistency. Good luck!
Roxie Brookshire
  • #36
I live on a limestone aquifer. Believe me when I tell you I empathize. Apparently I have some of the hardest water in the US.
The options I have are as follows:
Driftwood (as Scoutfish suggested)

Add peat (either in substrate, a fine mesh baggy, or in the place your filter media goes)
pros: lowers hardness more effectively than driftwood, low tech, not that expensive
cons: dyes water a yucky tea color, can be messy

Water Pillow
This seems to me pretty much a commercially prepared form of peat. I have not tried I don't know much about it.

Stocking Fish that like hard water
This limits our options a bit and requires research and planning.

Reverse Osmosis filtration.
This is prohibitively expensive for myself but perhaps not for you. Reverse Osmosis is called R.O. for short. You can either buy containers of RO water OR if you are pretty plump in the pocket you can buy an RO unit and make your own. I have heard tell of folk building RO units but I am neither handy nor patient soooooo I have not tried this yet either.

Good luck though!

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
  • Question
Top Bottom