Stocking my 180 gallon tank - do these fishes sound reasonable?

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
I have a 180 gallon right now. I'm undecided if I should do saltwater or freshwater. I decided to figure out different stocking ideas and started with freshwater since that's a familiar territory.

Here's what I came up with, although I'm worried I over did it. I can reduce school sizes and eliminate the swordtails and guppy.

Top dweller:
8 marble hatchet fish

Top/mid-level dwellers:
8 zebra danios
5 swordtails (1 male, 4 female)
1 guppy (male)

? dwellers:
2 German blue rams
6 assassin snails

Mid to bottom dwellers:
10 cardinal tetras
8 discus

Bottom dwellers:
8 panda corydoras
1 sultan pleco

This list seems like so much even for 180 gallons. I would gradually add the fish of course, and would stop if it seems like I'm over doing it. But also when I look at the tank it's huge so maybe it's good.

What do people think of this stocking idea? What changes would you make? I wouldn't mind substituting something for a gourami (or 2 if they should have pairs) but forgot when I worked out this current stocking possibility.

I used a stocking calculator and this puts me at 77% stocking capacity with 22% weekly water changes. I may want to do less fish for that reason alone. 20% water changes on a 180 gallons doesn't seem like fun.
 

FinalFins

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,133
Reaction score
7,890
Location
Queen's Berry, the Newer York
Heyo,

First thing I notice is the zebra danios/panda corydoras/guppies with GBR and discus.

Dont think livebearers in general make good tankmates to discus.

Yeah its not going to work, because the temperature differences.

If you want discus you need to commit the whole tank to it. If you want to buy 2.5 inch discus prepare for daily water changes. If you buy adults it will be pretty expensive.
 

FreshwaterHG

Well Known
Member
Messages
923
Reaction score
697
Location
Oregon
FinalFins said:
Heyo,

First thing I notice is the zebra danios/panda corydoras/guppies with GBR and discus.

Dont think livebearers in general make good tankmates to discus.

Yeah its not going to work, because the temperature differences.

If you want discus you need to commit the whole tank to it. If you want to buy 2.5 inch discus prepare for daily water changes. If you buy adults it will be pretty expensive.
I agree with this. You could definitely fit other fish in the tank with discus but I would do more research into good tank mates for them. I believe the list may be limited due to the temp.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
OP
GuppieLuv

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
FinalFins said:
Heyo,

First thing I notice is the zebra danios/panda corydoras/guppies with GBR and discus.

Dont think livebearers in general make good tankmates to discus.

Yeah its not going to work, because the temperature differences.

If you want discus you need to commit the whole tank to it. If you want to buy 2.5 inch discus prepare for daily water changes. If you buy adults it will be pretty expensive.
Okay, thank you. So zebra danios and corydoras are not good with GBR or discus? So I could do either the zebra danios and cories or the rams and discus?

Wow, so with discus I should expect much more maintenance then? Is it daily forever or just until established?
 

FreshwaterHG

Well Known
Member
Messages
923
Reaction score
697
Location
Oregon
GuppieLuv said:
Okay, thank you. So zebra danios and corydoras are not good with GBR or discus? So I could do either the zebra danios and cories or the rams and discus?

Wow, so with discus I should expect much more maintenance then? Is it daily forever or just until established?
I’m in no way a discus expert but I’ve done some research into keeping them because I’m also hoping to someday. I believe they are fairly sensitive and since they are large, have a higher bioload. These together result in more water changes. Since you have quite a large tank you may be able to do them less frequent but it’s still more of a time investment then lots of other tropical fish. I also believe if you get them young (less expensive) you will have to do even more water changes till they get older. Anyone who’s an expert on this feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
OP
GuppieLuv

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
I don't know how good this site is but this is where I got some of the ideas:

Part of me writing this out is to help me :)
Discus - 80-86 F (27-30 C); PH 6.5-8.5; 1-8 dH

Cardinal tetras - 73-80 F (23-27 C); pH 5.5-7.0; 2.0-6.0 dH
Marble hatchet fish - 75-80 F (24-27 C); pH 5.5-7.0; 4.0-12.0 dH
Small pleco such as bristle nose - 68-77 F (20-25 C); pH 6.0-8.0
Corydoras Sterbai - 70-77 F (21-25 C) (Pandas are 68-77 F or 20-25 C, any reason they don't work?); pH 6.0-8.0; 2.0-25.0 dH
Assassin snail - 70-80 F (21-26 C); pH 6.5-7.5; 2.0-15.0 dH
German Blue Ram - 78-85 F (26-30) but best if 80-81 F (27-28 C); pH 5.5-7.0; 3.0-6.0 dH

So to have everyone happy I would need to keep it 80 F (27 C) although that will be a little warm for pleco and corydoras, despite them being recommended. Is that ok or should they not be a recommendation for discus? pH should be 6.5-7.0. Hardness 3.0-6.0 dH.

I'm going to look more into discus and see if it's something I'm up for. The cost isn't an issue, but I need to make sure their care is something I can maintain.

I'm open to getting rid of the discus as an idea and having the rams as my centerpiece fish and do a larger cardinal tetra school. Especially since it sounds like discus are better off ~85 F and I'd like to stay with only weekly water changes, especially with a 180 gallon.
 

Nataku

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,798
Reaction score
1,116
Location
Florida
Experience
5 to 10 years
Okay so discus are WARM water fish. And I'm not talking like 78-80 warm. Expect to keep a discus tank around 82-84. Most other fish will not handle this temp and will die. So, if you want discus, understand that you must set up the tank to their needs as their are very sensitive.

Given that, of the fish you list, the only ones that can handle the temps that discus need are GBR and cardinal tetras.
However, I can suggest some other heat compatible options for you for some of the other fish:
Panda corydoras are cool water cories, instead you would want to pick one of these species: c. Aeneus c. Sterbai c. Adolfoi or c. Brochis.
Pleco wise, I've never kept a sultan pleco so I don't know if they are temp compatible. I know that bristlenose plecos are compatible to the higher temps.

Warm water schooling fish could be: green neon tetras, von rio tetras, lemon tip tetras or rummy nose tetras. Personally though? I'd up your school of cardinal tetras because one big school is way more fun and you've got plenty of room in a 180 gallon.

I'd push for a stock more along the lines of
8 Discus
20 of any one species of above listed corydoras.
1 bristlenose pleco (I like em longfinned personally)
50 cardinal tetras
6 GBR ( 3 m/f pairs)

Also, how to make a water change way easier and be rid of lugging buckets forever? Look up a python water change.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
OP
GuppieLuv

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
Nataku said:
Okay so discus are WARM water fish. And I'm not talking like 78-80 warm. Expect to keep a discus tank around 82-84. Most other fish will not handle this temp and will die. So, if you want discus, understand that you must set up the tank to their needs as their are very sensitive.

Given that, of the fish you list, the only ones that can handle the temps that discus need are GBR and cardinal tetras.
However, I can suggest some other heat compatible options for you for some of the other fish:
Panda corydoras are cool water cories, instead you would want to pick one of these species: c. Aeneus c. Sterbai c. Adolfoi or c. Brochis.
Pleco wise, I've never kept a sultan pleco so I don't know if they are temp compatible. I know that bristlenose plecos are compatible to the higher temps.

Warm water schooling fish could be: green neon tetras, von rio tetras, lemon tip tetras or rummy nose tetras. Personally though? I'd up your school of cardinal tetras because one big school is way more fun and you've got plenty of room in a 180 gallon.

I'd push for a stock more along the lines of
8 Discus
20 of any one species of above listed corydoras.
1 bristlenose pleco (I like em longfinned personally)
50 cardinal tetras
6 GBR ( 3 m/f pairs)

Also, how to make a water change way easier and be rid of lugging buckets forever? Look up a python water change.
Your stocking suggestion sounds amazing. I like this idea if I do the discus route. 50 cardinal tetras yes please. I heard that GBR can be aggressive if you do something other than just a pair. Will multiple pairs be ok since it's a bigger tank? They are beautiful so I'd be thrilled if I could have more. I really like the corydoras adolfoi.

Oh and thank you for suggesting the python water change. I've been thinking I have to look into a doable way to do them with such a big tank. My 20 gallon was no issue since you just scoop out a couple gallons and replace them with jugs I kept full with ready to go water. This is a new experience.
 

Marclj1

New Member
Member
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
GuppieLuv said:
Okay, thank you. So zebra danios and corydoras are not good with GBR or discus? So I could do either the zebra danios and cories or the rams and discus?

Wow, so with discus I should expect much more maintenance then? Is it daily forever or just until established?
Dude just enjoy the discus. They are the best ones and super complicate with the fighting sometimes and the food and the water and well... anything. If you mix too much up with the stock and something goes wrong with another breed, the discus could all just die. I keep rams with mine and they all like the really warm temps plus rams are only aggressive with their own species. My discus doesn’t not Care about them at all. Discus can be really shy fish or really aggressive. Stick to rams as they are normally not deep in color and your discus won’t have to fight anyone to eat. If they are scared they will just stop eating and die from other fish aggression sometimes. But really enjoy the work for the discus and keep them stable. If you can get a pair and mate them
 

Nataku

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,798
Reaction score
1,116
Location
Florida
Experience
5 to 10 years
GBRs maintain a relatively small 'footprint' of territory around their chosen site, which is usually under a thick plant like an amazon sword or a cave (clay pots work great too) or a driftwood piece. So decorate the tank with plenty of spots they can claim and they should have no problem each claiming a roughly 2 foot section of the tank.

C.Adolfoi are pretty corydoras and they tolerate the high heat rather well. They look great shuffling through the sand substrate in a group.

Yeah the python is a life saver. You can either drain the water down a sink or out a window, whatever is close. My 220 I usually drain out a window because of where it is, although most of my other tanks go down a sink. But being able to refill the tank straight from the tap? Absolute game changer. So worth it.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
OP
GuppieLuv

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
SouthAmericanCichlids said:
I just run it straight out my window. If you have one.
Nataku said:
GBRs maintain a relatively small 'footprint' of territory around their chosen site, which is usually under a thick plant like an amazon sword or a cave (clay pots work great too) or a driftwood piece. So decorate the tank with plenty of spots they can claim and they should have no problem each claiming a roughly 2 foot section of the tank.

C.Adolfoi are pretty corydoras and they tolerate the high heat rather well. They look great shuffling through the sand substrate in a group.

Yeah the python is a life saver. You can either drain the water down a sink or out a window, whatever is close. My 220 I usually drain out a window because of where it is, although most of my other tanks go down a sink. But being able to refill the tank straight from the tap? Absolute game changer. So worth it.
There is a window nearby I can use and fortunately the bathroom sink is about 15 feet away

Okay, thanks! So I can probably get one pair at a time then? That way I'm not overwhelming the tank with too many at once. And I can continue to work on growing plants for more hiding places among driftwood and other items over time then.

Which would you say is a reasonable order to start getting fish? Once it's cycled and all the levels are where they should be. Since the discus seem more fragile I probably wouldn't want those as my first fish. Maybe start with cories? How many is reasonable for a 180 gallon tank?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
OP
GuppieLuv

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
Marclj1 said:
Dude just enjoy the discus. They are the best ones and super complicate with the fighting sometimes and the food and the water and well... anything. If you mix too much up with the stock and something goes wrong with another breed, the discus could all just die. I keep rams with mine and they all like the really warm temps plus rams are only aggressive with their own species. My discus doesn’t not Care about them at all. Discus can be really shy fish or really aggressive. Stick to rams as they are normally not deep in color and your discus won’t have to fight anyone to eat. If they are scared they will just stop eating and die from other fish aggression sometimes. But really enjoy the work for the discus and keep them stable. If you can get a pair and mate them
Okay, thanks for the advice. I think I got carried away trying to fill a big tank when I don't know how and tried for too many different varieties.

I'm glad to hear rams get along well with them!
 

FinalFins

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,133
Reaction score
7,890
Location
Queen's Berry, the Newer York
No start with discus. Get them as early as possible and start water changing them if they are juvis. If anything make it a only discus tank until they are grown and then add fish. Water changes are needed to make them big and grow.
 

Nataku

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,798
Reaction score
1,116
Location
Florida
Experience
5 to 10 years
Discus first if you want discus. They are such a sensitive fish and require so much water changing when they are young, it is best to put them in first and get some size on them, and then add the others.

I would go 8x discus first - yes all 8 at once, you're going to be doing daily/every other day water changes on a 180, the parameters will be maintained by that just fine.

After they've had a few months to grow and put on some size, add the corydoras, they will gobble up a good bit of what the discus miss. Discus are messy eaters - but you'll be doing frequent water changes to clean up after them.

After that I'd add the cardinal tetras. Either all 50 at once or in two batches of 25 each. Honestly compared to discus the cardinals don't have much bioload and your water change schedule from the discus should help mitigate any possible shift in parameters from their addition.

Then add the rams. All 6 at once, let them pair up and sort out territories on their own. By adding them all at the same time you won't end up with one pair trying to claim the entire tank as their own because they think there are no other rams.

The only ones I'd possibly swap orders on is the corydoras and the discus but honestly, do your daily water changes with the discus. The constant fresh clean water keeps them happy and growing. And then any other fish will love it too. Discus are a commitment to water changes. If you can't or don't want to do that, consider something other than discus.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
OP
GuppieLuv

GuppieLuv

Active Member
Member
Messages
232
Reaction score
1
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Experience
5 to 10 years
FinalFins said:
No start with discus. Get them as early as possible and start water changing them if they are juvis. If anything make it a only discus tank until they are grown and then add fish. Water changes are needed to make them big and grow.
Nataku said:
Discus first if you want discus. They are such a sensitive fish and require so much water changing when they are young, it is best to put them in first and get some size on them, and then add the others.

I would go 8x discus first - yes all 8 at once, you're going to be doing daily/every other day water changes on a 180, the parameters will be maintained by that just fine.

After they've had a few months to grow and put on some size, add the corydoras, they will gobble up a good bit of what the discus miss. Discus are messy eaters - but you'll be doing frequent water changes to clean up after them.

After that I'd add the cardinal tetras. Either all 50 at once or in two batches of 25 each. Honestly compared to discus the cardinals don't have much bioload and your water change schedule from the discus should help mitigate any possible shift in parameters from their addition.

Then add the rams. All 6 at once, let them pair up and sort out territories on their own. By adding them all at the same time you won't end up with one pair trying to claim the entire tank as their own because they think there are no other rams.

The only ones I'd possibly swap orders on is the corydoras and the discus but honestly, do your daily water changes with the discus. The constant fresh clean water keeps them happy and growing. And then any other fish will love it too. Discus are a commitment to water changes. If you can't or don't want to do that, consider something other than discus.
Thank you so much, that is very helpful! If I decide I'm up for discus and want a freshwater tank I'll follow your advice.

Question, so as I add fish I will need to quarantine them. The discus will go straight in, but the corys, tetras, and rams will need to be quarantined. How big of a tank do I need for that? I have a 20 gal and 55 gal although I was hoping to make the 55 a saltwater if I make the 180 freshwater. I'll make the 55 gal the quarantine tank if that's what I need to do of course.
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

Active Member
Member
Messages
447
Reaction score
258
Experience
4 years
Well to keep 50 neons in there for a while would be a little heavy stocking. I would say go for the 55g. I'm not familiar with saltwater. But if you don't need certain equipment for salt which you do fresh, I might say go with the 20.
 

Nataku

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,798
Reaction score
1,116
Location
Florida
Experience
5 to 10 years
If it's a 20 long that's bare bottom and being used for quarantine, 50 cardinals in there will be fine for the month it takes to quarantine. Just keep up on the water changes. Which if you get discus, you'll be a pro at by then.
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
191
Guests online
2,504
Total visitors
2,695

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom