Recommendations for Two 125's Stocking


Hey all!

For the past couple months I've been planning out a large-ish fish project of which I hopefully plan to begin starting near the end of the summer. It has gone through various variations of what exactly I wanted to do, starting with multiple smaller freshwater tanks, transitioning into partial fresh and partial saltwater, then into fully saltwater, and it seems it has come full circle settling back at these two 125's. Whether this has been the result of dissatisfaction with what I had, or simply a surplus of free-time leading to boredom, and filling that free-time with planning new stocking lists causing the countless revisals I'm not sure, but thankfully the beauty of planning prior to purchasing is nothing is concrete in any capacity, so therefore there's no harm and no foul in constant changing of heart regarding these plans.

What I've come to is two 125-gallons (72.5" x 18.5" x 23.4"), both being relatively similar to one another, being relatively densely planted with a large amount of manzanita wood tangle, although I'm unsure whether or not to include any rocks within the hardscape simply because I doubt I can source any rocks that would be scaled proportionally to the tank while looking natural alongside the rest of the tank, at least not for a price I'd find reasonable odds are. I also plan to include a moderate amount of leaf litter and other botanicals within both tanks, one more so than the other as I'd like it to be a tad bit more acidic. Both tanks will have a moderate flow utilizing powerheads, however not anything too strong by any means, and each having three Aquaclear-110's for filtration, as although I'd prefer a sump or canister, I'm paranoid of a leak, so I believe three 110's per tank should hopefully suffice alongside the heavily planted setup.

As for actual stocking, one tank is more or less a collection of miscellaneous fish of interest to me, while the other I tried to center mainly around African species with a few exceptions, however the origin of each species being within similar/the same region is not at all a concern to me, but simply rather the compatibility of all species together as a whole.

For the African Tank, the current planned stocking is as follows:
1x Spotted Congo Puffer (Tetraodon schoutedeni)

1x Leopard Ctenopoma (Ctenopoma acutirostre)
1x Starry Night Cichlid (Paratilapia polleni)
1x Elephant Nose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii)
1x Teugelsi Bichir (Polypterus teugelsi)
1x Hinge-mouth Fish (Phractolaemus ansorgii)
3x Lesser Spiny Eel (Macrognathus aculeatus)
5x Marble Gar (Boulengerella maculata)

My main concern for this tank at the moment is mainly the Spotted Congo Puffer, due to it not attaining a size where I'd feel comfortable housing it along the likes of the Marble Gars and the Starry Night Cichlid without being seen as prey, however its relatively round shape makes me feel as though it could work without issue, but I may very likely be mistaken in this reasoning. Other than the puffer, my only other possible concern with this list would be it pushing the bioload, but with the given quantity of plants and rate of water changes I perform (twice weekly around ~35%-50%), I'm unsure whether or not it would be an issue. I'm aiming for the pH of this tank to be near neutral if not slightly acidic (6.8-7.0), because as far as I'm aware none of the species within this list cannot thrive within a more neutral setting, and for stability purposes I'd rather maintain a pH that would not require any additional modifications or additions to my tap water.

As for the more miscellaneous species tank, the list goes as follows:
1x Armored Bichir (Polypterus delhezi)

3x Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus)
4x Striped Pike Characin (Boulengerella lateristriga)
6x Freshwater Clouded Archerfish (Toxotes blythii)
6x Centipede Knifefish (Steatogenys duidae)

8x Trifasciata Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata)

As for this tank, the only concern I have is the Striped Pike Characin with the Toxotes blythii, both being surface dwellers I'd fear the Characin becoming aggressive with the Archers as they mature, although again I may be mistaken in assuming this. Other than this, at least at the moment I feel the species listed would work well together, at least that is what I hope the case is. This tank I aim to keep slightly more acidic than the African tank (6.5-6.6) simply to meet the more acidic needs of the Centipede Knives without going outside of the ideal range for any of the other species listed.

If you have any thoughts, recommendations, or comments you'd like to share regarding these tanks please feel free to share, as I'm open to any modifications or additions to what I've planned out so far, and I'm grateful for any advice or feedback given. Thanks!

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