Work In Progress: Freshwater Community Stocking List

bettafish2816

Well everyone, I decided that (in order to allow further procrastination from my school work) I would make a Freshwater community stocking guide. I would love all of your input on specific fish, as I have not had personal experience with all of them and am going on information gleaned from others for lots of these kinds of fish.

Before thinking about stocking, if you've just bought your tank please cycle it before adding fish
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle - How Mother Nature Cleans House in Aquarium

There are often lots of questions asked about community set ups, what kind of fish you can keep with other kinds of fish, what you can put in X gallon tank, etc. This guide attempts to answer some of those questions as simply as possible. Oh, and this is also limited to freshwater tanks (brackish in a few places, but will be noted specifically). This guide also will NOT deal with certain kinds of cichlids as that really requires another guide in and of itself, unless another member wants to contribute to that particular part.

Stocking an aquarium can be hit or miss sometimes, here I have NOT included fish that have (in my personal opinion) a pretty good chance of not working out. However, that does not meant that they can't work together, but I personally am not adding them here for the sake of beginners or those without a back-up plan.

I HAVE included fish that may be best kept by the intermediate/advanced fish keeper for the sake of stocking lists. However, that is not to say that they are impossible for beginners to keep, just that some more research should be done and preparation is an absolute MUST even for the most experienced fishkeeper.

Also, if everyone would please post their suggestions here, I'd like to keep this as easy to use/understand as possible, and it's easier to keep the comments all in one place
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ess-freshwater-community-stocking-list.40165/

A special thanks to Pink, Blub, and MissMTS!
 

bettafish2816

Small Tanks

SMALL TANKS – Personally, I wouldn’t recommend buying these sizes of tanks unless you’re going for ONE smaller fish (excluding the 10 gallon to a certain extent). If you want any kind of community, go with a medium or a large sized tank. They are a lot more forgiving for beginners, and the species of fish that you can house in them increases drastically. I especially would not bother with a 2.5 gallon tank, you can buy a 5 gallon kit for about the same price and it’s much easier to keep the water parameters stable.

Also, I think that it is worth specifically mentioning that IMO goldfish cannot safely and happily be kept in any of these aquariums, even if they are the sole inhabitant. They produce a HUGE amount of waste, too much for any of these tank sizes to handle, and can also get 6 inches or larger.

< 2.5 GALLON

Personally I say nothing. There isn’t enough space for anything in something smaller than a 2.5 because it’s nearly impossible to effectively filter and heat something that small. You could possibly have small shrimp or small snails, but even then I still wouldn't recommend anything smaller than a 2.5 because again, it's really hard to keep these tanks clean and with any amount of filtration/heat.


2.5 GALLON

1. ONE Betta

2. ONE African Dwarf Frog

3. Shrimp

4. Snails


5 GALLON

1. ONE Betta

2. TWO African Dwarf Frogs

3. ONE Dwarf Puffer Fish

4. ONE Dwarf Gourami

5. Shrimp

6. Snails


10 GALLON

1. ONE Betta (two if you get a divider)

2. TWO Dwarf Puffers (if heavily planted, or you can get a divider to save yourself the worry) OR THREE Dwarf Puffers (ONLY if there is ONE Male and TWO Females or THREE Females and is also very heavily planted)**

3. ONE Dwarf Puffer and 3 Otos

4. THREE African Dwarf Frogs

5. SIX of one species of Small Schooling Fish

6. THREE Male Guppies***
THREE Small Bottom Feeders

7. ONE Dwarf Gourami
THREE Small Bottom Feeders

8. THREE Male Balloon Mollies***
THREE Small Bottom Feeders

9. THREE Honey OR Sparkling Gouramis
THREE Small Bottom Feeders

10. THREE Male Platies***
THREE Small Bottom Feeders

11. ONE Platy OR ONE Balloon Mollie OR ONE Sparkling Gourami OR ONE Guppy
SIX Small Schooling Fish

12. TWO Borelli's Dwarf Cichlids****
SIX Pygmy Corycats

*note: Most of the stocking lists for the 10 gallon can include shrimp and/or snails, the exception would be numbers 1, 2, and 3 for aggression, but even then it can be worth a try, sometimes they will be tolerated and sometimes they won't.
**note: It's hard to sex juvenile dwarf puffers, but fairly easy for adults. Males will have a dark line down their bellies and will also have "wrinkles" around their eyes. I personally wouldn't recommend putting more than one male in a tank.
***note: You'll want all males unless you can accommodate another tank for fry, livebearers breed like rabbits, and most females will come to you already pregnant! If you don't mind having fry, then a ratio of one male to two females is best to keep aggression down and prevent one female from getting picked on.
****note: For these you'll want ONE male and ONE female for a pair.

Small Fish

SMALL SCHOOLING FISH
Neon Tetra
Black Neon Tetra
Cardinal Tetra
Emperor Tetra
Head And Tail Light Tetra
Lowlight Tetra
Black Skirt Tetra
White Skirt Tetra
Lemon Tetra
Black Phantom Tetra
Diamond Head Tetra
Buenos Aires Tetra
Rummynose Tetra
Red Crystal Tetra
Bentos Tetra
Vilma's Tetra
Ember Tetra
Red Line Tetra
Yellow Tetra
Pristella (X-Ray) Tetra
Glofish (Danio)
Zebra Danio
Dwarf Spotted Danio
Harlequin Rasbora
Eyespot Rasbora
Hengel's Rasbora
Espe's Rasbora
Galaxy Rasbora
Threadfin Rainbow
Checkered Barb
Cherry Barb

SMALL BOTTOM FEEDERS
Pygmy Corydoras
Most Other Varieties of Corydoras, including the following
- albino
- peppered
- julii
- false julii
- schwartz
- adolfo
- panda
- sodalis
- bandit
- sterba's
- fin blotch
- bronze
- skunk
- guapore
- tail-spot
- tucan
- rio salinas
and to EXCLUDE bronchis corydoras, which get larger than the former cories
Otocinclus
Shrimp (ghost, cherry, etc)
Zebra Nerite Snail
Malaysian Trumpet Snail
 

bettafish2816

Medium Tanks

These tanks give you a lot more room to work with, and are much more forgiving for beginners. Also, all of the 10 and under gallon stockings will work with these tanks, just use the "one inch per gallon rule" to determine how many you can keep (this excludes bettas unless you get dividers, the dwarf gourami that is better housed without another DG in the same tank, and also excludes dwarf puffers, who need 5 gallons per puff and only one male per tank). So, for example, if you could keep 5 guppies in a 10 gallon (at two inches per guppy), then you could keep 10 in a 20 gallon (still 2 inches per guppy). However, this rule in my opinion only applies to fish that will not get larger than 2-2.5 inches, and therefore should be used as a guideline only rather than a rule set in stone. A 12 inch Oscar would never be happy in a 12 gallon tank.

Note: If you plan on keeping an angel in a 20 gallon tank, then it cannot be a 20 long, as it's not tall enough for them. You should have at least a 20 high or a 20 extra high.

20 GALLON

1. ONE Figure 8 Puffer Fish*
THREE Bumbleebee Gobies

2. SIX Medium/Aggressive schooling fish

3. TWO German Blue Rams OR Bolivian Rams
FIVE Small Bottom Feeders OR ONE Medium Bottom Feeder
SIX Small Schooling Fish

4. ONE Angel Fish
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder OR Five Small Bottom Feeders

5. THREE Mollies**
SIX Small Bottom Feeders

6. THREE Swordtails
THREE Small Bottom Feeders

7. ONE Avocado Puffer***

8. ONE of any of the Red-Eye Puffer species***

9. TWELVE Small Schooling Fish (SIX of one type and SIX of another will also work very well)

10. SIX Small Schooling Fish
SIX Small Bottom Feeders OR FOUR KuhlI Loaches

11. ONE African Butterfly Fish
SIX Small Bottom Feeders OR SIX KuhlI Loaches OR ONE Medium Bottom Feeder

12. ONE Goldfish

13. TWO Cockatoo Cichlids****
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder
SIX Small Schooling Fish

14. TWO Kribenisis****
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder
SIX Small Schooling Fish

15. TWO Convicts****

16. TWO BrichardI Cichlids****

*note: This fish has brackish requirements.
**note: Again, you'll want all male or all female unless you want fry.
***note: For more info on these puffers feel free to post a new thread, and also please read PFP's general guide to puffer care, listed below.
****note: For these you will want a pair, meaning ONE male and ONE female only.



29 GALLON

1. ONE Pearl Gourami
TWELVE Small Schooling Fish
SIX Small Bottom Feeders

2. TWO Angelfish*
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder

3. ONE Angelfish**
NINE Small Schooling Fish
SIX Small Bottom Feeders OR ONE Medium Bottom Feeder

4. EIGHT Hatchetfish
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder OR THREE Small Bottom Feeders

5. ONE BaileyI Puffer***

6. ONE Arrowhead/Hognose Puffer***

7. ONE Congo (mirius) Puffer***

8. ONE AbeI Puffer***

9. TWO Figure 8 Puffers

10. TWENTY Small Schooling Fish (again, 10 of one type and 10 of another would work well)

11. TEN Small Schooling Fish
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder OR SIX Small Bottom Feeders

12. TWO Goldfish

13. TWO Keyhole Cichlids****
NINE Small Schooling Fish
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder OR SIX Small Bottom Feeders

14. TWO Bolivian Rams**** OR TWO German Blue Rams****
NINE Small Schooling Fish
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder OR SIX Small Bottom Feeders

*note: The only way I can recommend keeping two angels in a tank together is if they are a pair. Putting in two angels does not mean that they will pair off, the only way to ensure this is to either buy a proven breeding pair (which can get expensive), or buy six juvenile angels (same size/shape/type/etc) and allow a pair to emerge, then re-home/sell/return the others.
**note: You will want to add the angelfish as a juvenile if keeping the small schooling fish in the same tank, angels have a tendency to look at those types of fish as a snack, and raising them together with the tetras/danios/etc from a very young age (the angels as juveniles and the tetras hopefully as close to full grown) will help to prevent that.
***note: For more info on these puffers feel free to post a new thread, and also please read PFP's general guide to puffer care, listed below.
****note: For these you will want a pair, meaning ONE male and ONE female only.


55 GALLON


Schooling Fish Only
1. TWENTY Small Schooling Fish
TEN Small Bottom Feeders OR SIX KuhlI Loaches OR SIX Bronchis Corydoras

2. TWENTY-FOUR Small Schooling Fish
ONE Medium Bottom Feeder

3. TWENTY Medium/Aggressive Schooling Fish

4. SIXTEEN Glass Catfish

5. ELEVEN Scissor-tail Rasboras

Centerpiece/Schooling Fish Combos
1. ONE Angelfish*
TEN Small Schooling Fish
TWO German Blue** OR Bolivian Rams**
SEVEN Small Bottom Feeders OR ONE Medium Bottom Feeder AND THREE Small Bottom Feeders

2. TWO Angelfish***
FOUR Bolivian Rams** OR FOUR German Blue Rams**
TEN Small Schooling Fish
TEN Small Bottom Feeders

3. TWO Blood Red Parrots
TWO Keyhole Cichlids**
TEN Small Schooling Fish
SIX Small Bottom Feeders OR ONE Medium Bottom Feeder

Single
1. ONE Jack Dempsey

2. ONE Red Devil Cichlid

Other than that...
1. SIX Discus

2. FIVE Goldfish

3. SIX Yellow Lab (TWO Males, FOUR Females)
TWELVE Demasoni

4. SIX Yellow Lab (TWO Males, FOUR Females)
EIGHT Zebra Obliquidens (TWO Males, SIX Females)

5. FOUR Yellow Lab
FOUR Red Zebra
FOUR Elongatus
FOUR Zebra Obliquidens
(ONE Male, THREE Females for all of the above)

*note: You will want to add the angelfish as a juvenile if keeping the small schooling fish in the same tank, angels have a tendency to look at those types of fish as a snack, and raising them together with the tetras/danios/etc from a very young age (the angels as juveniles and the tetras hopefully as close to full grown) will help to prevent that.
**note: For these you'll want either a pair (or if FOUR are listed then two pairs), meaning either ONE male and ONE female or TWO males and TWO females.
***note: The only way I can recommend keeping two angels in a tank together is if they are a pair. Putting in two angels does not mean that they will pair off, the only way to ensure this is to either buy a proven breeding pair (which can get expensive), or buy six juvenile angels (same size/shape/type/etc) and allow a pair to emerge, then re-home/sell/return the others.

Medium Fish

MEDIUM/AGGRESSIVE SCHOOLING FISH
Tiger Barb
Black Ruby Barb
Gold Barb
Fivebanded Barb
Sixbanded Barb
Panda/Ember Barb
Serpae Tetra
Colombian Tetra
Praecox Rainbows (Dwarf Rainbows)
Indian Glassfish


MEDIUM BOTTOM FEEDERS
Bristlenose Pleco
Clown Pleco
Queen Arabesque Pleco
Bulldog Pleco
KuhlI Loach*
Bronchis Corydoras*


MEDIUM/AGGRESSIVE BOTTOM FEEDERS
Red Tail Shark
Rainbow Shark


*note: must be kept in groups of no less than 3, wherever "ONE medium bottom feeder" is listed, THREE KuhlI Loaches OR THREE Bronchis Corydoras may be added

Large Tanks

Due to the vast number of fish that you could keep in tanks ranging from 75-180 gallons, I've decided that (for my own sanity) it's probably easier for me to not try to list all of the combinations that I can think of (there would be hundreds). The best thing to do if you want a tank this size is pick a few types of fish that you really like and would want to keep, and then post to see what would be best suited with them. However, I will still finish the list of large schoolers and large bottom feeders. and will also probably include here a list of a few of the fish that I believe shouldn't be put in anything smaller than a 75 gallon tank.

I'm always around to answer to the best of my knowledge any stocking questions that you may have, so feel free to PM me or just post a thread and open it up to the many members who have much more knowledge than I do!

Large Fish

Large Schooling Fish
Silver Dollar

Large Bottom Feeders
Bala Shark

Further Information

Links for some specific types of fish as well as other information will be listed here

Please, please, please do the research before you buy!

- PFP's guide for puffers
Important - General Guide to Puffer Care

- Blub's "Encyclopedia Aquatica" with lots of great info on specific types of fish
The Encyclopedia Aquatica - Freshwater version

- For reference, here are the links to the "cookie cutter" stocking lists for cichlids.
 

bettafish2816

Fish Not Recommended In Most Home Aquaria

List of fish that require huge tanks (i.e. bigger than 180) and that I wouldn't recommend for your aquarium unless you can accommodate a tank of 300+ gallons. I've also included a few species that I believe are just not well suited for most home aquariums not based purely on size, although with proper research can be accommodated.

1. Red Bellied Pacu
2. Black Pacu
3. Arowana
4. Koi (1000 gallon minimum)
5. Iridescent Shark
6. Clown Loaches (yes, the minimum is 75 gallons, HOWEVER they need to be in schools of at least five and IMHO you can't really keep them in anything smaller than a 300 gallon)
7. Mbu Puffer
8. Common Pleco (doesn't need 300 gallons, but gets much too large for most home aquariums and potential pleco buyers)
9. Red Tail Catfish
10. Tinfoil Barbs (similar to clown loaches, one could be kept in a 55 gallon tank at a bare minimum, but they really need to be in a school of at least six, and 6 fourteen inch fish means a BIG tank)
11. Chinese Algae Eater (this is really a personal preference, and I should clarify that this means that I believe that this fish is not well suited for most community tanks, as they have a tendency to latch onto the slime coats of other fish as they grow into adults. however, this fish could live happily in a 55 or 75 in terms of space and bioload)
 

eepruls

This is absolutely a fantastic list you've put together. I appreciate the time it took you to do this. I am currently thinking of what to stock in my small 10 gallon tank and I plan on using your guidelines. You've made it really easy to understand and what can go together. Again, thanks for posting this list!

P.S. I wasn't sure where to post this comment! If you'd prefer not to have comments like mine in this thread, let me know!
 

bettafish2816

you're welcome

it's fine for you to post that here, I just wanted to keep the suggestions separate so that I could keep everything in one place
 

Mike

Are you coming up with this info all on your own or are you using any sources for the info? Just asking because we need to credit the source of the info when used.

Thanks,
Mike
 

bettafish2816

Are you coming up with this info all on your own or are you using any sources for the info? Just asking because we need to credit the source of the info when used.

Thanks,
Mike

i'm not using any source for compatibility or the actual lists themselves except for one that I didn't actually use (I don't agree with the stocking, lol), but I have double checked on the sizes of the fish from several different sites, does that count as common knowledge or do I need to cite those? blub and PFP gave me a lot of the info on the small schoolers and puffers respectively. I'll go back through everything and make sure I haven't used anything that would need to be cited.

EDIT: I went ahead and posted all of the sites that I use on a regular basis and the list that I looked over to be safe.
 

mr. Clown Loach

3 clowns don't need a 300g they need probably like a 110-130g mainly because they average aroun 8-9in in aquaria with the occasional 10in
 

bettafish2816

3 clowns don't need a 300g they need probably like a 110-130g mainly because they average aroun 8-9in in aquaria with the occasional 10in

i'm going to have to disagree with you on that one. not only do many clowns get longer than 8-10 inches, they are also very deep bodied fish and need lots of swimming room. also, although they could survive in a group of three, they're happier in much larger groups than that. and generally people buy them for tanks that are far too small for them.
 

kendrid

I find the results of the 29 gallon section to be very conservative. That's fine but people should know that they can have a few more fish than is recommended here.
 

bettafish2816

I find the results of the 29 gallon section to be very conservative. That's fine but people should know that they can have a few more fish than is recommended here.

hmm, I'll agree with you on that. i've taken a short hiatus from working on this but I'll definitely look into revamping that section thanks!
 

kendrid

hmm, I'll agree with you on that. i've taken a short hiatus from working on this but I'll definitely look into revamping that section thanks!

Stocking levels are hard and there is a lot of opinion involved so keeping a list up to date has to be difficult. Between this forum and others I see some pretty big differences on stocking opinion.

Someone on another forum made a stock application that works but (of course) has errors or people disagree. It is nice to have but it's just a very rough estimate.
 

platy ben

Alex could you possibly do one for a 15G lol, you don't have too but ive got a 15G which will be empty in a few months and I like reading here to decide on my stocking
 

bettafish2816

Alex could you possibly do one for a 15G lol, you don't have too but ive got a 15G which will be empty in a few months and I like reading here to decide on my stocking

lol, I'll definitely think about doing some of the more "unusual" or non-standard sizes of aquariums you could definitely keep an F8 puffer!
 

eiginh

Can you do one for a 40 gallon?

Thank you!
 

Anders247

As mentioned, I have some issues with these posts here. I'll list them:

2.5 GALLON

1. ONE Betta

2. ONE African Dwarf Frog

3. Shrimp

4. Snails
This is fine.
5 GALLON

1. ONE Betta

2. TWO African Dwarf Frogs

3. ONE Dwarf Puffer Fish

4. ONE Dwarf Gourami

5. Shrimp

6. Snails
Only thing wrong here is the DG part. They need a tank 4 times this size imo.

10 GALLON

1. ONE Betta (two if you get a divider)
Fine.

2. TWO Dwarf Puffers (if heavily planted, or you can get a divider to save yourself the worry) OR THREE Dwarf Puffers (ONLY if there is ONE Male and TWO Females or THREE Females and is also very heavily planted)**
Maybe....?
3. ONE Dwarf Puffer and 3 Otos
No, otos need a group of 6+ and a 15 gallon long imo.
4. THREE African Dwarf Frogs
Actually, four.
5. SIX of one species of Small Schooling Fish
Depends on your definition of small. If you mean harlequin rasboras, zebra danios, and neon tetra "small" they wouldn't work. Anything an inch or less would work, imo.
6. THREE Male Guppies***
THREE Small Bottom Feeders
What are the three small bottom feeders? Guppies would be fine.
7. ONE Dwarf Gourami
THREE Small Bottom Feeders
No to dwarfs, and you know already about the bottom feeder thing.....
8. THREE Male Balloon Mollies***
THREE Small Bottom Feeders
Mollies of any type aren't suitable. What bottom feeders?
9. THREE Honey OR Sparkling Gouramis
THREE Small Bottom Feeders
Honeys, would only do one in there personally. And again, what bottom feeders?
10. THREE Male Platies***
THREE Small Bottom Feeders
Platies fine, but what are the bottom feeders?
11. ONE Platy OR ONE Balloon Mollie OR ONE Sparkling Gourami OR ONE Guppy
SIX Small Schooling Fish
Sparkling are a social fish and should be in larger groups. The max and the min I'd do is 5.
12. TWO Borelli's Dwarf Cichlids****
SIX Pygmy Cory cats
Nope, none of these would work.

***Mod Note***
Ander's list and the replies to his list have been moved to a thread of it's own.
Here's the link:
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/stocking-options-for-10-gallons.200264/
 

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