Stocking a shallow softwater tank

ruud

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Hi all,

Although I haven't been that long on this forum, I always wanted to ask the famous stocking question. So here goes!

What could I possibly add to this tank?

The reason why I selected this tank for the question is that it is a complete oddball for me as it has no plants. The tank is situated in my basement in a very quiet location.

Aquarium
  • Open 8.5 gallon/32,4 liters shallow tank
  • 24 inch / 60 cm in length, 12 inch/30 cm deep, 7 inch/18 cm height
This used to be my near-blackwater Chocolate Gourami tank but after the last one passed away I gave up on blackwater and especially the high temps. The ADA La Plata sand, the Talawa wood and exotic and local botanicals are still present. I don't regard the tank to be a habitat display, but rather a nature scape...without plants.

Water
The temp has dropped to 17 Celcius / 62-63 Fahrenheit minimum during winter nights and 23 Celcius / 73-74 Fahrenheit during summer days. I am willing to attach a canister filter with integrated heater and crank up the minimum to 21 Celcius / 70 Fahrenheit, but that's about it.

Water conditions are still soft water but haven't measured in a long while. Based on my tapwater specs and around 60 tap : 40 RO water ratio, as well as the leaves and botanicals, I guesstimate around 5 GH and 6 PH. Depending on species, I will measure my parameters and could alter this slightly by changing the tap : RO ratio. That would not be a problem.

Technology
Currently a small Eheim internal corner filter and no lights. I borrowed the Twinstar light unit just to take an image. I was thinking of adding two LED spotlights on both sides. The one I could position above the filter outlet will create a great rippling effect. The LEDs will be controlled by dimmers.

So what fish could I add?
I strongly prefer species-only tanks, but if very compatible and fitting the tank, I am willing to add a second species. But although the footprint is decent, it is still only 8.5 gallon, so I lean strongly towards species-only.

The tank offers a great environment for Caridina shrimp. Depending on fish species, I might add a dozen from any of my other tanks.

Last note: it is an open tank. Fish that disperse or forage sometimes above the water line are obviously out of the question.

Last note after the last one: I have a species in mind. Curious to see if others come up with the same one.
 

Fishstery

Truthfully the only cold water fish I can think of small enough may be some white cloud mountain minnows which add a subtle pop color but will look very natural in a nature scape. Alternatively I think this would make an absolutely BA caridina only tank.

Edit I forgot about celestial pearl danios as well which are shrimp friendly
 

PAcanis

How about some Chili Rasboras?
Found in blackwater
Slightly acidic
Dark substrate
68F minimum

Maybe throw in some low tech floating plants.
 

Rye3434

Or instead of Chilis, Kubotais. Similar requirments like PAcanis said. The neon green would really pop in there
 

ruud

WCMM I associate with fast flowing river scapes; can't see them swimming in this tank; Celestials with a bit harder and stagnant water, bright (sun)lights and lots of vegetation; Chilis more with blackwater and somewhat warmer water; Kubotai....yes, a good candidate and one that should go fine with Caridina (sure, they'll go after shrimplets); but it is not the one I had in mind though.
 

Fishstery

WCMM I associate with fast flowing river scapes; can't see them swimming in this tank; Celestials with a bit harder and stagnant water; bright (sun)lights and lots of vegetation; Chilis more with blackwater; Kubotai....yes, a good candidate and one that should go fine with Caridina (sure, they'll go after shrimplets); not the one I had in mind though.
I was going to recommend sparking gouramis until I noticed your temperature. I think with lower temps you may be limited on stocking choices. Sparkling gouramis would look amazing in there but their lowest temp range is 72F

Ember tetras?
 

MacZ

If it wasn't for the temperature and the slightly too high KH, I'd have a long list of fitting species.
 

ruud

If it wasn't for the temperature and the slightly too high KH, I'd have a long list of fitting species.
I expected you to suggest Apisto commbrae.
 

MacZ

Haven't kept them, also haven't seen them available anywhere, so they are off my radar. Their temp minimum is a bit higher than your's (yeah... well you could do it with a heater: 20°C).

But thinking of it... simple good old A. borellii.
 

ruud

Keeping and breeding Dario's in 5 different planted tanks for years, so I'll pass on any Badidae species.

So I actually had the commbrae in mind as I can get one from a private owner...but I'm still in doubt as I have zero experience with anything South-America (well, except for ember tetras a long, long time ago).

Kubotai feels comfortable. Perhaps not as interesting, but for me, it is always to complete scape that matters, so, yes, think I made up my mind :).
 

MacZ

So I actually had the commbrae in mind as I can get one from a private owner...but I'm still in doubt as I have zero experience with anything South-America (well, except for ember tetras a long, long time ago).
If you can get A. commbrae this is definitely an option to consider. I wouldn't pass on that.

The tank is maybe a bit on the small size for Apistos though, so more than a pair or a trio isn't going to fit in the tank. At least you've got the structural necessities done.
 

ruud

I was going to recommend sparking gouramis until I noticed your temperature. I think with lower temps you may be limited on stocking choices. Sparkling gouramis would look amazing in there but their lowest temp range is 72F

Ember tetras?
A friend of mine has Sparklings. They are way on top of my list to someday live in one of my main displays. Somehow, I don't see a group of Sparklings in a 8.5 gallon tank (apart from lack of heating and lack of plants).
If you can get A. commbrae this is definitely an option to consider. I wouldn't pass on that.

The tank is maybe a bit on the small size for Apistos though, so more than a pair or a trio isn't going to fit in the tank. At least you've got the structural necessities done.
It is tempting. I can get my hands on a pair, but what if they start breeding!
I already find managing Dario fry a daunting task (with adult male Dario's being highly territorial).

(Those very large, new Catappa leaves I added in the front of the display last week, make the tank look smaller than the 60cm/24 inch length it has.)
 

MacZ

It is tempting. I can get my hands on a pair, but what if they start breeding!
Apistogramma are not social fish, you could get away with a single specimen.

(Those very large, new Catappa leaves I added in the front of the display last week, make the tank look smaller than the 60cm/24 inch length it has.)
I myself have a 60x30 footprint here, that's why I said maybe a bit on the small side for Apistogramma. I wouldn't keep any Apistos in that tanksize anymore except single males or with the option of separating the fish at any given time.
 

ruud

Thnx for sharing thoughts everyone.

Kubotai en Caridina shrimp it is.
 

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