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Stocking ideas for small, planted tank with super-soft water


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Here is yet another, "what should I put in my tank?" thread.  I've read a bunch and I've watched ALL of Cory's videos on the subject. I'd love to read others' ideas, as well as others' experiences and opinions on some of the more challenging fish that might match my conditions (chocolate/licorice gouramis come to mind).

  • My tank: 17-gallon (60P size, so 24" x 12" x 14"h roughly), Eheim 2217 filter, pressurized CO2 1-3 bps
  • My water conditions: pH 6.0-6.4, alkalinity 20 ppm, general hardness 30 ppm.
  • I'm flexible on temperature, but temps in the low-to-mid 70's might be ideal for the plants
  • The fish should be ok up to 80 degrees because my house reaches 78 max in summer.
  • There's a fair amount of current in the front of the tank, but the driftwood and rocks break it up quite a bit so at the sides and back there is a lot less current
  • I don't mind feeding live foods (mosquito larvae are plentiful here through summer and I may end up breeding brine shrimp). It would be nice to not be beholden to live foods though.  I also already have Hikari frozen bloodworms in the fridge, as well as Xtreme Nano and Sinking Wafers.

Some ideas I have: Pseudomugils or threadfin rainbows, chocolate or licorice gouramis, apistos, kribensis, CPDs, emperor tetras (though I think my tank is too small for them...but some smaller variety of tetra), a slightly less-common corydoras.

Picture of the tank so far is below. It's only been running for a month; it will get "greener."  I'd like to let the plants grow in a bit more before I add fish (and definitely no bottom feeders until the carpet is established, or until I give up on it...)

IMG_0229 (2).jpg

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I love the CPD idea (full disclosure I have them stocked in my 60f, pictures below) because you could then remove the heater and get an even more streamlined look. They go well with neocaridina shrimp and, as long as it is well planted like yours, you will be able to get a nice colony.

EDIT: I should note that they are shy, so if it is in a high foot traffic area of your home you may see them less than you would like...



Edited by IanB
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39 minutes ago, IanB said:

I love the CPD idea

Wow, I love your tank!  That format is actually the next tank I want to have...I saw a very cool one in one of George Farmer's "interviews with aquascapers" videos.

I have a smaller heater on the way (the Archaea one at AFA; it's like 4.5 inches long I think).  The one in the photo is actually broken...it's a 10-yr-old 200W Hydor Theo and the thermostat has never functioned. It's set as low as it will go (which is like 69 degrees or something), but it keeps my tank around 77 degrees. I like the CPDs because of the "no heater" thing too...but I wasn't sure how well they'd do in summer, and this tank does get a lot of foot traffic. Also, I love the idea of CPDs and shrimp...but since I don't think I can keep shrimp happily in such soft water, I started looking at fish that would otherwise eat shrimp (it makes sense in my head...)  I do love CPDs though...if I got those, I'd go with a big school in hopes they'd act a bit braver.

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