Setting Up Tank For Someone Else. General Stocking Questions.

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by pigeonmaster, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. pigeonmasterNew MemberMember

    So my sister has a baby on the way in about a month, and the baby's room is nemo themed. I thought, you can't have a fish themed room without actual fish, so I'm going to be setting up a 19 gallon bow front in the room. Obviously it won't be saltwater tank because my sister knows nothing about fish and I'll only be there every one or two weeks to do water changes. There will be a light timer and food timer so that she doesn't have to do anything. I will also bring bloodworms every time I come for water changes. I just have some stocking questions since my tanks have been established for years since I was a kid and I don't remember anything at all about whether I had success keeping the new fish alive that many years ago.
    I showed her some fish and she likes guppies, platys, mollies, Dianos, plecos, gouramis, and pretty much any tetra.

    -My first question is which fish would be the most hardy and able to survive in such a young tank. I heard dianos are pretty hardy but I want to be sure because my goal is to have absolutely no deaths. I will be cycling the tank for at least two weeks before adding fish, and I'll be using bio material taken from one of my tanks that's already full of bacteria. After cycling, I plan on only starting with about 3 fish to 'test the waters'.

    -I've also never had mollies and from what I understand, they're brackish. I know people keep them in freshwater, but do they thrive in it? If not I'll just skip them and go with platys.

    -I've avoided livebearers for years because I had them once and two turned into 100 in no time. I know many people just let them breed and either let the babies be eaten or sucked into the filter, but I want to be humane. So I plan on only getting males. Is it alright to have only males though? Or will they be very aggressive and miserable without mates? Years back when the last of my livebearers were dying out of old age and I only had a few males left, they were chasing each other around and trying to stick each other constantly.

    - Is 19 gallons acceptable for a pair of dwarf gouramis? I've never had gouramis, so I don't know their temperament. Sources online say they're peaceful, but I'd rather hear what you guys have to say.

    - Are the fish listed above high stress? My first tank was a 10 gallon a very long time ago and I remember the neons and cherry barbs would dart to the corner and hide as soon as I walked in the room. I know a 19 is a small tank and I want to make sure I choose fish that aren't too jumpy so they won't be stressed out all the time.

    - I've had bristlenose plecos, but not rubber lips which are what she wants. Will two rubber lips play along well in such a small tank?

    - I want to put in many live plants for hiding spots as well as to help keep nitrates in check. The tank will just have a regular single 18" bulb fixture on it, so I need some low light plant recommendations.

    -I've always had well water, so I've never had to worry about chlorine. But my sister has tap water, so I want to know if it's true that you can just leave a bucket of water sitting for a day and the chlorine will evaporate. If that's a myth, I can just bring buckets of my water for changes. I did test her tap water today and the test did not reveal any chlorine. That doesn't make much sense that city water would test negative for chlorine, so I'm questioning my test strips.

    Anyways... I know I've written a long list of questions, but I want to do this right. My goal is for the fish to never die of anything but old age, and I've been very successful the last decade with that. I'm here asking questions because I know that starting up a new tank often kills a few fish, and I want to avoid that at all costs. Thanks!
    -Additional Question (edit): I want to bring a few of the plants from my main tank into the new tank, but I do have pond snails. They're not quite an issue anymore in my tank because the clown loaches are keeping the population in check, but I always see eggs on my plants and I don't want to transfer any to the new tank. I've heard about dipping the plants in a bleach solution, but are there any more specific ideas out there?

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  2. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    1) I've found platies to be hardier than danios

    2) Mollies found in shops today thrive in freshwater, there is no need for brackish water though they need 29 gallons minimum.

    3) All males are fine

    4) No but you could have just one. A pair of honey gourami would be ok though, they are much more peaceful.

    5) No they are pretty calm. Without knowing much about it I'm guessing your cherry barbs and neon tetras were stresssed becauase they both need 20 gallons abd groups of 6+ which would overstock a 10 gallon. You may want to skip the zebra/leopard danios though, I've found them to be hyper active and stressful to

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  3. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember


    6) A rubberlip pleco would need a bigger tank.

    7) Java fern, java moss and salvinia do welll in low light. To reduce nitrates you want fast growing plants like salvinia. Pothos is meant to be good for lowering nitrates but I've never tried it.

    8) strips aren't generally accurate. Evenif you have no chlorine i would still treat with a dechlorinator like prime which helps in other ways too.

    Seting up a tank shouldn't kill any fish unless you do a fish in cycle, i always do fishless cycles.

    Here's some ideas for stocking
    1 Male guppy
    2 Male platies
    1 Honey gourami
    8 CPD or neon tetras
    8 Panda cories
    2 Nerite snails

    1-3 Male guppies or endlers
    1 DG
    8 Ember tetras
    8 Kuhli loaches
    2 Nerite snails

    Edit: Could someone merge the two posts ive made please? Thank you
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  4. DanjamesdixonWell Known MemberMember

    I'd steer clear of the food timer. I've seen what they do to tanks when used temporarily, let alone permanently.
  5. pigeonmasterNew MemberMember

    I understand the risk of under or over feeding. I just came up with the idea of pre-measuring the correct amount of food in one of those pill boxes that are labeled for every day of the week, and my sister could just put in the pre-measured amount of food every day.
  6. pigeonmasterNew MemberMember

    Thanks for answering each question. I've decided to start with a pair of platys, and forget the mollies, gouramis, and plecos all together. I think the tank would look just fine with some fancy guppies, endlers, and swordtails now. Perhaps I'll add a few panda corys after the tank is well established as well. I'll probably get a single mystery snail and nerite snail at some point too. I've never had kuhli loaches but I looked into them and I think I'll have some for my own tank. Thanks again!
  7. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Swordtails would need 29 gallons.

    Cool. With the livebearers (endlers, guppies, platies) you want all males, all females (though they will still breed for a while) or at least 2 females for every male so that tbe females get a break and don't get harassed to death by the males. I have 3-4 females for all my male livebearers.
  8. pigeonmasterNew MemberMember

    Ive never had swordtails. Why do they need more space than platys? I thought swordtails were just more fancy platys.
  9. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    Sorry if this sounds abrupt, I don't mean it to, but what does your sister think about you setting up a fish tank for her/her baby? It's all well and good you deciding that a Nemo themed bedroom needs a fish tank and promising to do all the hard work, but it'll be your sister who's paying for the electricity and looking st them all day.

    Also,saying you (General you) like certain fish species, isn't the same as saying "they're the fish I want for my baby's nursery/bedroom".

    I'm really sorry if that's raining on your parade, but if you're only going to be there every week or 2 for water changes, your sister has to want the fish just as much as you do.
  10. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Swordtails get a lot bigger than platies. Platies get to about 2 inches where swordtails can get to 6 inches (though they seem to vary a lot, some bigger than 6, some smaller than 6)
  11. pigeonmasterNew MemberMember

    She definitely does want the tank. I brought up the idea and she was very excited about it. I'm not chosing the fish. What I had her do is look through lists of fish online and tell me what she likes. Then I narrowed down that list to fish that are easy to take care of and communal.

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