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Hoping To Get First Tank (Roma 240l) In Next Few Weeks.

Author Topic: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.  (Read 807 times)

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Offline Gbetts

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Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« on: September 07, 2018, 11:41:56 AM »
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Hi Everyone, I retired last year and decided now is the time to get back into tropical fishkeeping, I last had a tank about 45 years ago. So I am just awaiting the ok that the floor of my mobile home will be ok to take the weight of the tank. I am hoping to get a 240 litre tank with 2 x fluval 306 external filters. My water is soft 2.57gbh or 46ppm. The fish on my wanted list are as follows 10 x dwarf neon Rainbowfish, 4 x Pearl Gourami 1m+3f, 6 False Julii Corydoras, 1 x Bristlenose Plec, 4 x Peacock Goby 1m+3f, 1 Pair Keyhole Cichlids, 1 Female Krib, 1 Male Dwarf Flag Cichlid, 1 x Bolivian Ram, 1 Male Cockatoo Cichlid,and if possible 2 x Female Honey Gourami. I know there is a lot of bottom dwellers there but I'm hoping that the cichlids being mainly singletons will all get on. I don't have room for a spare tank so really need to get this right first time if possible. I look forward to your suggestions, advice, etc. Thanks.

Offline Sue

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2018, 03:40:12 PM »
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The first thing to ask is do you know about fishless cycling? Or that live plants - not just the odd one or two but quite heavily planted - is an alternative to fishless cycling?
And do you know about this website http://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ It is the best one for researching fish.


I do have a few comments on your fish list list, which I'll end up taking apart.

I would stick with one species of cichlid. Males will defend a territory even if they are the only one of that species. I know a 240 litre tank will have a large footprint but it is better to stick to just the one species.
A krib is not a good idea with south American cichlids because they won't understand each others' signals, both physical and chemical.
I would prefer to see a tank with a pair of keyholes, or a pair of kribs, or a pair of Bolivian rams or a male with a harem of 4 or 5 female cockatoo cichlids or a pair of flag cichlids. And with the exception of the apistos, the other species must choose their own mates. Buying any male and any female will probably not work.

I would also not mix gourami species. The bigger pearl gouramis would probably intimidate the reclusive honeys.

You water is a bit on the soft side for peacock gudgeons/gobies - their range is 5 to 10 dH (90 to 180 ppm). And having this species in my tank, I would be wary of keeping them with cichlids. The males have territories like cichlids and the two could come into conflict.
Unfortunately, dwarf neon rainbows also need the same hardness, so your water is a bit too soft for them.

I'm afraid I have now destroyed your fish list  :(

The good news is that cories and a bristlenose are fine. And if you cut down on the other bottom dwellers, a group of 10 to 12 cories rather than 6. But a word of caution - cories do not understand the concept of territory. Any of the cichlids or gudgeons could object to cories in their territory and if any spawned they would chase the cories away but the cories will never learn to keep away. They could end up being damaged.


Since you like bottom dwellers, sand is a better substrate than gravel, if you were thinking of gravel. With that sized tank, I would go for playsand, either B&Q or Argos depending which colour you prefer, as it will be much cheaper.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2018, 07:21:03 PM »
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Hi there and welcome to the forum.  :wave:

I don't have any experience with soft water fish, but very excited to hear about your plans for your new tank.  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 07:51:50 PM »
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Welcome to the forum :wave: and back to fishkeeping :fishy1:

As you'll have gathered, knowledge/information is now much greater than it would have been when you last kept fish, but hopefully this will ultimately be very beneficial for you to optimise the health/welfare of the fish you do ultimately decide to keep.
 :D

Offline Matt

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2018, 07:55:44 PM »
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Welcome back to the hobby!!  :cheers:

Not much to add to Sue's comprehensive post, just to say that you may wish to take a look at B&Qs kiln dried sand - no washing required (massive pain in the rear normally!!) and I personally really like the colour too ;)

Offline Helen

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2018, 08:07:52 PM »
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Hi. I have a Roma 240l. It is heavily planted. My water is a little harder than yours - around 90ppm. I have neon dwarf rainbow fish and a bn plec (amongst others). In the past I have had pearl gouramis and cories (though not at the same time). My personal preference is to have more fish of fewer species, so I would suggest either the rainbows or the pearl gouramis. (I think the latter might be more suited to you water hardness)

Btw, if you are using sand @Matt 's suggestion of using an old drinks bottle to put it in the tank is brilliant.

Offline Gbetts

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2018, 02:04:12 PM »
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Hi, George back again. Thanks for your input it's very much appreciated. As for my tank set-up I am hoping to have it fully planted with back/Mid/Foreground plants plus some attached to bogwood and some floating. I was intending to leave it running for two months with just the plants to give them time to grow and take hold. I have two bags of Tropica Plant Growth Substrate and was intending to cover that with Roman Black Sand from Amazon. I was then going to do a fishless cycle before putting any fish in. Not sure about putting them in without this as most first fish Platy's Danios, etc not suitable for either the soft water or temperature. As for fish well it's back to the drawing board. I'd like to stick with the three lined cory's, Pearl Gourami and bristlenose plec.

Thinking now of maybe adding 8-10 Bleeding Heart Tetras, 4 Porthole Catfish and maybe a pair of Dwarf Flag cichlids. According to the thinkfish calculator my tank would be at about 50%.  Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Once again thanks for all your help.

Offline Sue

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2018, 02:38:49 PM »
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If you have the tank well planted you won't need to do a fishless cycle using ammonia. In fact the ammonia may well kill some plants.
Plants prefer ammonia as their source of nitrogen. They take it up faster than bacteria so with a well planted tank the plants can remove all the ammonia made by the fish. And plants don't turn the ammonia into nitrite, they use it to grow.
With well planted tanks all you need to do is make sure the plants are growing well - you suggest waiting a couple of months for this - then add fish a few at a time, monitoring for ammonia and nitrite daily afterwards. If both stay at zero for a week, get the next batch of fish. With 240 litres water it should be safe to add a whole shoal at one go.

As for the substrate, there is some debate as to whether plant substrates are much use because they come with fertiliser in them which gets totally depleted in about a year so you then have to feed the plants as though you didn't use a plant substrate. And some plant substrates release ammonia so you have to wait for that to drop to zero before you can get fish.
Fish that like to dig will also bring the plant substrate to the surface. Cories shouldn't dig too much but I have no idea about porthole catfish, I'm afraid.
You need smooth gravel with cories; sharp gravel damages their barbels and allows infections to take hold. Do you particularly want a black substrate? I've read a lot of comments that most black substrates do not look black when under water, and that fish poo etc is very visible on black substrates. There is also the risk that black, along with dayglo pink and blue, could be dyed or coated with a coloured layer.
This may sound that I'm trying to put you off planted substrates and black gravel/sand. I am  ;D


Bleeding heart tetras sound much better. But in that sized tank I'd get more than 8 to 10  :) Seriously Fish doesn't caution that they are fin nippers so they should be OK with pearl gouramis.
Just to warn you - I have never seen dwarf flag cichlids in a shop (Laetacara curviceps). But I have seen, and in fact once owned, Nannacara anomala, the dwarf golden cichlid, which looks quite similar.
I have not come across pothole cichlids catfish before, but according to Seriously Fish they are very peaceful and won't harm even very small tank mates except perhaps fry. SF suggests either one, or 3 to 6.
One bristlenose is fine. And you already plan to have wood in the tank.


Would you want other shoaling species? There are so many to choose from with soft water  :)

Offline Matt

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 03:42:04 PM »
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Sue is right about the expensive planting substrates but there are cheap ones which are actually quite good... allow me to explain. The expensive substrates are a porous clay containing nutrients which get released as Sue says. Cheaper soils are just the clay. They absorb nutrients from the water column and release them to the roots of the plants.

What you need to look for is a substrate with a high CEC (cation exchange capacity) if you want to go this way. If you decide you want to stick with gravel or sand. I would suggest investing in some root tabs for your plants which will provide nutrients at the base instead.

Offline Gbetts

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Re: Hoping to get first tank (Roma 240l) in next few weeks.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 03:13:19 PM »
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Thanks again Sue/Matt for your help. Have decided to go with the play sand but as I've already bought the tropica plant growth substrate i'll probably put that under the sand to give the plants a kick start as not putting fish in for a couple of months. Thanks for the advice re plants and cycling that will save me a few weeks. As for the fish not sure at the moment. Won't have room if cichlids breed and add extra to the tank so might not go for them which probably just leaves more shoals. Will have to keep investigating and see what turns up. Thanks again for your help, very much appreciated.

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