Stocking "Non-Ordinary" Fish

butauri

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I'm recently starting up a 55 gallon tank that will be heavily planted that I'd like to be a community. It has a soil substrate and CO2 will be added after I get a new CO2 tank. I've always had smaller tanks with the well... typical fish.

Maybe I'm just crazy but I've grown tired of cory's, guppies, danios/minnows, mollies, platies, and the like that you can find at a LFS. I feel like a jerk or like I'm under-appreciative of these species but I'm so tired of seeing them. I'm soooo tired of having them. Making a community tank is stressing me out even more because on top of finding these more common fish to be boring, finding more interesting (or at least more colorful) fish that can be housed together or in a 55 gallon tank seems close to impossible.

I'm interested in discus slightly but they're pretty expensive considering the fact that they like to be kept in groups. I thought about getting eels (I've never had them) but they are too big. It's the same with knife fish (I really would like a bgkf). Arowana are nice but obviously too big.

I'm not sure. I'm just at a loss. I'm at the point where even clams seem slightly interesting because I've never had them before.
 

fishguy122

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I'm guessing you're into 'oddball' fish. I too love the weird fish and not things like generic guppies and platies.

Personally, if you'd like a bottom dweller that is awesome looking, colourful and has a good 'attitude', look into stiphodon gobies.

Discus would be a nice upper level fish....perhaps you could also do some pencil fish to go with them? Or a butterfly fish?

Can you describe what type of fish (ie their look and colours etc) you like and I'll try to find some types you like.
 

TexasDomer

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What about halfbeaks? You could get a nice sized group of them, and they're not common at all. You could do something like this:

10x halfbeaks (2 males, 8 females)
10x Celebes rainbowfish
20x kuhlI loach
4-5x pearl gouramI (1 male, 3-4 females)
 

jpm995

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Elephant noses are as freaky looking as you can get. Dragon gobies are weird and peaceful. Dwarf frogs are funny as some clowns. Glofish [or even zebra danios] with their endless energy are fun. Try to pick one out in a group and follow him, it's near impossible. As mentioned glass cats are attention getters. I always liked African Butterfly's, they have attitude and are very graceful swimmers.
 

Redshark1

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I'd get a fish with personality that you can have a kind of bond with because it you care about it and are proud to own it, it will help to keep the interest and water changes going!

I'm thinking Puffers or Loaches. There's some great catfish I'd like to keep.

You could go another way and get into plants and aquascapes.

Or maybe not fish but Axolotls, Frogs, Jellyfish, OctopI (well maybe not Octopi!).

Take some time and give it some thought and it could be the best aquarium decision you ever made.

Or maybe aquaria aren't for you and you need to build a motorbike!

I'm the wrong one to ask as my first fish were Clown Loaches and I still have them and haven't got bored once!

Also, I regret going the soil route because I had to accomodate some fish in my planted tank that churn it up so that the water is often cloudy.
 
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butauri

butauri

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You guys are giving some good advice. Some of these, I've heard of but didn't think of before. But don't halfbeaks need brackish water? And I like butterfly fish but I hear they're pretty aggressive.

I'm not going marine yet (I'm thinking about getting another tank in the future) but I'm definitely interested in it.

I also wouldn't say I'm bored of aquaria. I'm more of a person that likes new things constantly. I rearrange my room about once every few months, I usually quit monotonous jobs. I'm just that type of person. I still enjoy the hobby, I just want to spice it up.
 

DavoleBomb

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South American Leaf Fish are cool, but they are super expensive and finding tank mates might be difficult.
 

Redshark1

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butauri said:
You guys are giving some good advice. Some of these, I've heard of but didn't think of before. But don't halfbeaks need brackish water? And I like butterfly fish but I hear they're pretty aggressive.

I'm not going marine yet (I'm thinking about getting another tank in the future) but I'm definitely interested in it.

I also wouldn't say I'm bored of aquaria. I'm more of a person that likes new things constantly. I rearrange my room about once every few months, I usually quit monotonous jobs. I'm just that type of person. I still enjoy the hobby, I just want to spice it up.
Totally man! Understanding yourself is more important than understanding the fish and a lot more difficult for most of us!

How about breeding fish. I got into this and you always have something more to achieve, another species to try and breed!

Now I have the knowledge and skills to do things well so I concentrate on doing a good job with the fish that I know are my favourites. But I still have time for others.
 

TexasDomer

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jpm995 said:
Elephant noses are as freaky looking as you can get. Dragon gobies are weird and peaceful. Dwarf frogs are funny as some clowns. Glofish [or even zebra danios] with their endless energy are fun. Try to pick one out in a group and follow him, it's near impossible. As mentioned glass cats are attention getters. I always liked African Butterfly's, they have attitude and are very graceful swimmers.
Most elephant noses get too big for a 55 gal. Same with dragon gobies. I wouldn't put an ADF in a 55 gal - it's too high, and you're severely limiting yourself with fish.

butauri said:
You guys are giving some good advice. Some of these, I've heard of but didn't think of before. But don't halfbeaks need brackish water? And I like butterfly fish but I hear they're pretty aggressive.

I'm not going marine yet (I'm thinking about getting another tank in the future) but I'm definitely interested in it.

I also wouldn't say I'm bored of aquaria. I'm more of a person that likes new things constantly. I rearrange my room about once every few months, I usually quit monotonous jobs. I'm just that type of person. I still enjoy the hobby, I just want to spice it up.
Butterfly fish aren't aggressive so much as they'll eat whatever comes to the surface and will fit in their mouths. I had one and loved him. Such a beautiful and unique fish! If you stock with larger fish, you shouldn't have issues. You could do something like this:

1x African butterfly fish
2x Kribensis
10x Congo Tetra
10-15x other African tetra (Alestes sp., etc.)

And halfbeaks are fine in hard freshwater.
 

aliray

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Elephant noses are shoaling fish and need to be in groups making them totally unsuitable. They would need a Huge tank . hampalong can tell you more. Alison
 

hampalong

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Here's a brief thread about Hephelump-noses...
 

jpm995

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I kept a single elephant nose for about 7 years in a 150 gallon community tank and he seemed fine. The only pain was feeding. He liked live tubifex worms. He would eat flakes but other fish beat him to them.
 

TexasDomer

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jpm995 said:
I kept a single elephant nose for about 7 years in a 150 gallon community tank and he seemed fine. The only pain was feeding. He liked live tubifex worms. He would eat flakes but other fish beat him to them.
Define "fine." Surviving isn't the same as thriving.
 

jpm995

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TexasDomer said:
Define "fine." Surviving isn't the same as thriving.
By fine I means acting very bold, always hunting through the gravel bed for food occasionally chasing away another fish if it got between him and his beloved tubifex worms. When I got him he was thin, after settling in he got a rounder shape. The whole tank was his domain, he didn't seek out hiding spots although the tank had many.
 

TexasDomer

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You see a lot different behaviors when kept in a group (as they are naturally found in the wild), as mentioned in the link above. I'm sure there are some great sources out there detailing their wild behaviors. Just don't want people thinking that keeping them singly is recommended!
 

hampalong

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Trouble with most fish is you can't tell if they're 'fine' or not. You can tell that they're eating, active and physically healthy, but you can't tell if they're slightly stressed or not, or 'relaxed' in their environment.

There are many species of fish that are often kept badly, on purpose or through ignorance. The fact that a fish kept wrongly lives a long life doesn't make it right. Trouble with elephants is loads of people keep them singly and people who want to keep one then think it's ok. Semaprochilodus are another victI'm of this, a shoaling fish that is nearly always kept singly.

I say if a fish lives in a group in nature, keep it in a group.
 

jpm995

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hampalong said:
Trouble with most fish is you can't tell if they're 'fine' or not. You can tell that they're eating, active and physically healthy, but you can't tell if they're slightly stressed or not, or 'relaxed' in their environment.

There are many species of fish that are often kept badly, on purpose or through ignorance. The fact that a fish kept wrongly lives a long life doesn't make it right. Trouble with elephants is loads of people keep them singly and people who want to keep one then think it's ok. Semaprochilodus are another victI'm of this, a shoaling fish that is nearly always kept singly.

I say if a fish lives in a group in nature, keep it in a group.
I disagree. These fish in a group usually are in lakes of 100's of thousands of gallons. Fish kept in our tanks are in a tiny cramped area even in large tanks. There's no escape from a dominate fish. We don't even know why some fish are found in groups, some may do it for protection others may do it to find mates, some just because their food source does. Many times having a group just spreads the aggression around, does that sound ideal? If you have a sw tank with a remora do you need a shark for him to be 'happy'? Stress in fish is almost always caused by fighting with other fish or poor water quality. Tank size to me is a more important factor.
 

TexasDomer

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jpm995 said:
I disagree. These fish in a group usually are in lakes of 100's of thousands of gallons. Fish kept in our tanks are in a tiny cramped area even in large tanks. There's no escape from a dominate fish. We don't even know why some fish are found in groups, some may do it for protection others may do it to find mates, some just because their food source does. Many times having a group just spreads the aggression around, does that sound ideal? If you have a sw tank with a remora do you need a shark for him to be 'happy'? Stress in fish is almost always caused by fighting with other fish or poor water quality. Tank size to me is a more important factor.
I disagree with you. Yes, our tanks are smaller than their natural environment, and that's why it's so important we're very careful to make sure the tank environment is suitable and conducive to a healthy and thriving fish. Keeping fish that are naturally found in large groups by itself is not helpful to the fish, and it seems a selfish excuse to claI'm that you're reducing conspecific aggression. If you don't have a tank large enough for a group, don't keep that species. Simple as that.
 

jpm995

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Don't want to hijack this thread but would like to make a point. A good case could be made that all keeping of fish and most pets in general is morally wrong. We're taking animals out of the wild and keeping them in confined quarters for our viewing enjoyment. Is it better that one confines a fish used to swimming in a lake in a 30 gal tank than another that keeps what is considered a schooling fish as a single specimen? I suspect both are wrong but my selfish excuse is that by all measurable parameters the fish seem healthy and content.
 

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