90 Gallon Tank Stocking with gouramis & south american cichlids

dbblackdiamond

Hi,

I currently have a 20 gallon tank and I am ready to step up to something a little bigger and based on my available space, I have chosen a 90 gallon tank. The tank will have some driftwood, lots of plants and rocks. I have been doing some research on stocking options and I have settled on something like this:
6 x Angelfish: 4 silver angels and hopefully 2 veils (black or otherwise)
3 pearl gouramis
2 moonlight gouramis
3 honey gouramis
2 Geo tapajos
2 German Blue Rams
2 Bolivian Rams
2 Apisto cacatuoides
2 Apisto Veijita
5 corys (maybe more, but not sure if they will compete for space with the rams and the apistos)
1 small pleco (maybe as I am not a big fan of plecos) (most likely bristlenose)

I might add 3 dwarf gouramis, but I am not too sure yet. I am afraid that they might go after the fin of the veil angels.

The water parameters in my 20 gallon tank are usually around 7 for the PH, 6dKH, and a temperature of 80F (27C) and would be similar in the 90 gallons. I have done a fair amount of research on all of these fish and I think they should be fine together, but I haven't seen this kind of mix before, so I thought I would ask more knowledgeable folks to confirm. Could I add more GBR or Bolivian or Apistos considering they are bottom dwellers? The tank will be 48" x 18" x 24". I also realise that I could go with fewer, but bigger fish in a tank that size, but honestly, I like medium sized fish (in that 3-8" range).

Thoughts? Any suggestions are be welcome and appreciated. :D
Thanks a lot,
Bertrand.
 

MacZ

6 x Angelfish: 4 silver angels and hopefully 2 veils (black or otherwise)
3 pearl gouramis
2 moonlight gouramis
3 honey gouramis
2 Geo tapajos
2 German Blue Rams
2 Bolivian Rams
2 Apisto cacatuoides
2 Apisto Veijita
5 corys (maybe more, but not sure if they will compete for space with the rams and the apistos)
1 small pleco (maybe as I am not a big fan of plecos) (most likely bristlenose)
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not going to work out. Too many species with too different requirements. You completely ignore the fact that most of them are territorial (at least when breeding), so any pairs are out of the question, but with many of these species only male-groups are not feasable either.

Some options, that would work:
- You could do one species of gourami with one species of dwarf cichlid. (here pairs are possible)
- You could do angels with one species of dwarf cichlid. (only pairs of dwarf cichlids possible)
- You could do angels with Geophagus.
- Corydoras will only work with dwarf cichlids provided the dwarf cichlids won't breed, so 1-2 solo males without any females would be all that's possible, but then you could also keep the Corydoras in appropriate numbers (about 10-15).
- If you are not into plecos anyway, then leave it out. No requirement to have one and they only add bioload.

Now one could bring forward the idea that there is a lot of room. Well, unless it is structured the right way, so there are possible territory borders, it is not. And be assured, fish will not always see the same root as a border that we intend, and will take as big a territory as they want. An average Apistogramma male will require a 60cm diameter territory, a pair of rams might want to defend up to 80cm diameter for themselves. A breeding pair of angels may push all other fish to 1/4 of the tank.
While some of the species are not even really aggressive within their species (bolivian rams and honey gourami), some are just aggressive within the species (like german blue rams, apistogramma cacatuoides and pearl gourami), most of the other species have been regularly or at times been observed enganging in interspecies aggression.

Some hints for decoration and plants:
Gourami require dense surface vegetation (floating plants, Vallisneria, Nymphaea, pennywort, Elodea) and high reaching driftwood for structure is not a bad idea.

Angels do quite good with high growing plants (Vallisneria, Nymphaea), and also driftwood either reaching up to the surface or reaching down into the water.

Most dwarf cichlids prefer dense vegetation (amazon swords, Elodea) to hide between, also lots of driftwood, twigs and leaf litter. Most of these species require access to the substrate as their mode of feeding is chewing sand. So no floor covering plants. Caves are not always a requirement unless you plan on breeding. Breaking the lines of sight is important though, so the fish can evade each other.

Corydoras like rather open sand areas with some driftwood as cover. No real caves, just a piece of wood with enough space for the whole group to rest under.

Geophagus, similar to Corydoras also prefer open sand, some dirftwood and some rocks. The name literally means Eartheater, I guess that speaks for itself.

Even in a tank this size I find it hard to give all the species what they require without having to cut down on the number of species and specimens.

Well... that's it for the time being.
 

dbblackdiamond

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not going to work out. Too many species with too different requirements. You completely ignore the fact that most of them are territorial (at least when breeding), so any pairs are out of the question, but with many of these species only male-groups are not feasable either.

Some options, that would work:
- You could do one species of gourami with one species of dwarf cichlid. (here pairs are possible)
- You could do angels with one species of dwarf cichlid. (only pairs of dwarf cichlids possible)
- You could do angels with Geophagus.
- Corydoras will only work with dwarf cichlids provided the dwarf cichlids won't breed, so 1-2 solo males without any females would be all that's possible, but then you could also keep the Corydoras in appropriate numbers (about 10-15).
- If you are not into plecos anyway, then leave it out. No requirement to have one and they only add bioload.

Now one could bring forward the idea that there is a lot of room. Well, unless it is structured the right way, so there are possible territory borders, it is not. And be assured, fish will not always see the same root as a border that we intend, and will take as big a territory as they want. An average Apistogramma male will require a 60cm diameter territory, a pair of rams might want to defend up to 80cm diameter for themselves. A breeding pair of angels may push all other fish to 1/4 of the tank.
While some of the species are not even really aggressive within their species (bolivian rams and honey gourami), some are just aggressive within the species (like german blue rams, apistogramma cacatuoides and pearl gourami), most of the other species have been regularly or at times been observed enganging in interspecies aggression.

Some hints for decoration and plants:
Gourami require dense surface vegetation (floating plants, Vallisneria, Nymphaea, pennywort, Elodea) and high reaching driftwood for structure is not a bad idea.

Angels do quite good with high growing plants (Vallisneria, Nymphaea), and also driftwood either reaching up to the surface or reaching down into the water.

Most dwarf cichlids prefer dense vegetation (amazon swords, Elodea) to hide between, also lots of driftwood, twigs and leaf litter. Most of these species require access to the substrate as their mode of feeding is chewing sand. So no floor covering plants. Caves are not always a requirement unless you plan on breeding. Breaking the lines of sight is important though, so the fish can evade each other.

Corydoras like rather open sand areas with some driftwood as cover. No real caves, just a piece of wood with enough space for the whole group to rest under.

Geophagus, similar to Corydoras also prefer open sand, some dirftwood and some rocks. The name literally means Eartheater, I guess that speaks for itself.

Even in a tank this size I find it hard to give all the species what they require without having to cut down on the number of species and specimens.

Well... that's it for the time being.
MacZ: Thank you so much for the detailed reply. It truly helps me see where I went wrong. I also feel that I need to give me additional information about the aquascape I am planning and see if that changes anything.

As I mentioned the tank will be 48x18x24. Because of where it will be located in the room, it will be a peninsula type tank. My plan is to divide the tank length-wise into 2 areas separated by a valley:
The first area will have driftwood with lots of branches creating lots of caves and shooting up into the aquarium. Some of the wood will be covered with moss, anubias and ferns. Intermixed with the wood will be tall plants, such as foxtails, vallisneria, moneywort, water wisteria or amazon swords to create some sort of separation between the front and the back of the tank.

The second area will be elevated in the form of a hill length-wise with rocks on both sides of the hill, forming caves and hideouts. I am also toying with the idea of small flower pots on both sides, but not sure I will have room. The top of the hill with again be planted with tall plants to create that visual separation between front and back. Some of the rocks will be covered in moss and additional low plants.

The valley between the 2 sides will be fairly bare with just sand and no plants.

The reasoning behind doing the aquascape this way is to create visual barriers that will help fish claim their territories and not feel threatened by the other fish.By having caves on both sides of the "hill" and the driftwood at the other end of the tank, I was hoping to create enough territory for the rams and the apistos. What are your thoughts on this? Is there going to be enough room for the rams, the apistos and the corys there, even when the rams are breeding?

By having the tall plants separate the tank length-wise, I was hoping to create enough separation for the angels and the gouramis to coexist, but I see what you are seeing. Do you think I could do a single veil angel and increase the number of gouramis, like 5 pearls and 3 moonlights and drop the geophagus? Or could I still keep a single geo?

Thanks a lot again for the very helpful insight.
Bertrand.
 

MacZ

The valley between the 2 sides will be fairly bare with just sand and no plants.
Leaving a "valley" in the middle will do the opposite of what you want. To us it might seem like a divider, to fish it is free realestate. They can see each other on the opposite sides and somebody will try to keep the whole zone as their territory. The scape sounds awesome but frankly not good for territorial fish.

By having the tall plants separate the tank length-wise, I was hoping to create enough separation for the angels and the gouramis to coexist, but I see what you are seeing. Do you think I could do a single veil angel and increase the number of gouramis, like 5 pearls and 3 moonlights and drop the geophagus? Or could I still keep a single geo?
Fish do not stay where we want them. Different fish will also prefer different places. While to angels Vallisneria might pose a veil and a barrier, gourami will rather hide in the thicket.

In any case, after converting the dimensions once more I think the tank is actually too small for angels or geophagus.

Otherwise I'm asking myself if you have really read what I wrote.
 

Natalie666

I think it would be best to either have one of the cichlids you want and two compatible schools, one of the gouramis you want and two compatible schools or the gouramis, a bottom dwelling dwarf cichlid, and one-two compatible schools. Honestly? In the end it’s up to you. All I suggest is that you use common sense, take your sweet time adding fish and do research, take some advice from the guy above me and from other people, and quarantine your fish! The shape of your tank sounds awesome and if you made a journal thread on here and added pictures as you built it up, that would be awesome and more people can give advice/support as you go along your journey. Good luck!
 

dbblackdiamond

Leaving a "valley" in the middle will do the opposite of what you want. To us it might seem like a divider, to fish it is free realestate. They can see each other on the opposite sides and somebody will try to keep the whole zone as their territory. The scape sounds awesome but frankly not good for territorial fish.


Fish do not stay where we want them. Different fish will also prefer different places. While to angels Vallisneria might pose a veil and a barrier, gourami will rather hide in the thicket.

In any case, after converting the dimensions once more I think the tank is actually too small for angels or geophagus.

Otherwise I'm asking myself if you have really read what I wrote.
Thank you for the help. It has been very educational for sure and I will re-read what you wrote.
I think it would be best to either have one of the cichlids you want and two compatible schools, one of the gouramis you want and two compatible schools or the gouramis, a bottom dwelling dwarf cichlid, and one-two compatible schools. Honestly? In the end it’s up to you. All I suggest is that you use common sense, take your sweet time adding fish and do research, take some advice from the guy above me and from other people, and quarantine your fish! The shape of your tank sounds awesome and if you made a journal thread on here and added pictures as you built it up, that would be awesome and more people can give advice/support as you go along your journey. Good luck!
Thank you Natalie666 for taking the time to respond. I'll dive a little more into what you said.
 

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