Ask the WWM Crew
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1/4/09 Hello, hope all of you had a great New Years!! I have a
question, please.. I have just finished putting my substrate , my rocks
and driftwood in my 75 gallon aquarium and will be putting in the water
soon. Is there a formula that will roughly give the amount of water in
the tank minus the decorations; or do I need to actually measure all
the water I put in the tank but using a 5 gallon bucket or something
comparable? I wanted to use a water hose hooked up to my kitchen sink,
but could not measure the amount of water I put in by doing that. Thank
you for your help. James <James, most folks factor 10-15% for the
gravel and rocks in their tanks. You can of course measure the height
of the substrate: if the substrate is basically level and has a depth
of, say, 3 inches in a 30 inch deep tank, then the substrate is taking
up 10% of the volume. It's difficult to be precise without
measuring the number of buckets of water you add to the tank, so
that's really the only 100% reliable way to do things. Otherwise,
don't worry about it too much. Things like medications are produced
to allow for some degree of error, and unless the instructions on the
medication specifically say to take 10% of the volume of the tank to
allow for the substrate, it's something you can safely ignore.
Re: Tank Volume, stkg. 1/4/08 Thanks again Neale, If you don't mind giving me an estimate I would really appreciate it. I have a 75 gallon (measurements 48" long x 18" wide x 18 high. I planned on Corys, angels and Rainbowfish. I know their exact size cannot be determined right now, but if you could please let me know about how many of each would be OK I would appreciate it. I know (at least have heard) that I will be better off with at least 6 angels to all be put in at the same time. Thank you again for your help and advice. James <Hello James. 48 x 18 inches is 864 square inches, so that's your surface area. Divide by ten for each inch of fish, and you have about 86 inches of small fish. Each angelfish is about 4 inches long, and each rainbow 3-6 inches in length depending on the species. Most Corydoras are a couple of inches in length. So let's say six angels (= 24 inches of fish), six Corydoras (= 12 inches of fish), and six Melanotaenia boesemanni at about 4 inches each (= 24 inches of fish). Add all that up, 24 + 12 + 24 and you get 60 inches of fish. That's well under the stocking estimate of 86 inches, but given that these fish are bigger than Neons or guppies, allowing some extra space is now bad thing. Realistically, in a tank with good water current and generous filtration, you can usually keep 50-100% more fish than this estimate suggests, but to start with, this is an excellent way to move forward. Once the fish are settled in you can use your nitrite test kit to check the filter is coping, and your pH test kit to check water chemistry is staying stable. If the fish are breathing normally and have all the right colours and behaviours, you can then add additional fish as you see fit. But as things stand now, with the Corydoras, angels and rainbows, plus perhaps a small algae eater like a Bristlenose Plec, and you're good to go! Cheers, Neale.>
Tank Community Questions. stkg. 10 gal. 1/3/09 Hello, <Hi there> My name is Mark. I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank. I have 1-Powder Blue Gourami (male), 1-Dwarf Gourami (male), 5 different breeds of guppies - 6 guppies in total (3 male/3 female), 2 - Red Eyed Tetra (both female), 2 - Long Finned Zebra Danios (Both males), 2 - Balloon Belly Mollies (1 male/1 female), 2 - Sunburst Platys (1 male/1 female), and a Pleco. <Mmm... the tetras and Danios are schooling fishes... and the Pleco may become too large (starve) here... many (Sucker-mouth South American catfish) species offered in the hobby get too large for a ten gallon volume. Can you find out what species this is?> Now I have had aquariums in the past, but have never had such a variety in the same tank. The only concern I have is my Powder Blue. He just sits in the upper back left corner, near the filter, all day, but will swim around once the light has gone off at night. He is eating, I know that. Any Ideas? <This species, Colisa lalia, does have health and behavioral problems in excess nowadays... but yours may be acting "normally" here> Also I would like to know if the numbers of each species are sufficient. <Actually... no... For what you list, you really need at least twice the volume, and better, two separate systems of larger size...> I was reading other FAQ's on your site, and read that I should prolly have more Tetras and Danios. <Ahh! Yes> I will soon be upgrading to a 45 gallon tank. Any suggestions as far as different fish that would go along well with what I already have, and would bring some more color to the tank. <I would add to your schooling fish species... when you upgrade... and likely add a group of Corydoras species catfishes for excitement and to keep the bottom stirred a bit> I have no idea how many I can put in a 45G. Also What do you think about live plants, versus artificial? <Some live plant material should be part of all captive freshwater systems... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/plttksovrview.htm and the linked FAQs file above> Any input that you could possibly give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. <Glad to share with you Mark. Bob Fenner>
20 Gal Set-up 12/28/08 I think this is way over the limit but I thought I would try anyways. 1 Gold Gourami <Mmm, do keep an eye on this Trichogaster... might become a bully here> 1 Dwarf Gouramis 1 Bristlenose Pleco 2 Upside-down Catfish <Mmm, are social animals...> 3-4 Cherry Barb 4-5 Neons I have two filters and plenty of plants and caves for hiding and such. Think I could pull it off? The tank does not have the fish in it yet. If this set-up is not good, do you have any suggestions. Thanks. <Mmm, I'd likely leave out the Gold Gourami... but otherwise, this mix should work here. Bob Fenner>
Second tank- cycle and stocking questions, 10 gal. FW 12/26/08 Hi, crew! Happy Holidays! <And a festive hello to you, too.> I'm working on plans to set my 10 gallon freshwater aquarium back up and I'm looking for a few quick answers or thoughts. First, my other tank is slightly brackish (for livebearers). What is the best way to acclimate used filter media from that tank for the new tank? <Invariably, the best approach is to "clone" the filter. All filters can lose up to 50% of their biological media without water quality drops. Indeed, many filter manufacturers suggest you replace this much biological filter media every few months to compensate for the fact biological media becomes clogged with silt over time, and however well you rinse it, it never really gets clean, and so doesn't work as well as it did when fresh. So, if you transplant 50% of the biological media from a mature filter to a new filter, you can instantly mature the new filter, assuming the water chemistry and temperature differences are minimal.> Also, I'm struggling to actually choose what I want for livestock. So many choices! <Actually, not that many choices for a 10 gallon system. Things like male Guppies for example shouldn't be kept in tanks this small because of their tendency to be bullying towards one another and aggressive towards the females (being a female Guppy in a 10 gallon tank alongside some male Guppies has got to be a form of torture!). Platies and Swordtails, medium to large Corydoras, most Barbs, most tetras and virtually all cichlids and gouramis would be far too large for a 10 gallon tank. Danios are far too hyperactive for a 10 gallon system. Yes, you could "fit" them in, but no, they wouldn't be happy, and sometimes frustrated Danios become nippy and bullying. When it comes to stocking 10 gallon tanks, the key things are that the fish are small (ideally sub-5 cm in length) and relatively inactive. Good choices including Kuhli loaches, Neons, Cardinals, small gobies such as Peacock Gudgeon, and the "dwarf" Corydoras such as Corydoras hastatus. Do see here for some thoughts: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm I also have a "freshwater reef tank" in a 30 litre system that might be interesting to you: http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Projects/freshwaterreef.html The idea is that invertebrates, rather than fish, become the focus.> The only solid plans are low tech, pretty heavily planted with some slate caves. I think I'd like cherry shrimp but only if I can have a few fish too. <Choose the fish carefully; things like Neons, Whiptail cats, Aspidoras catfish, and small gobies and halfbeaks appear to be fine with my Cherry Shrimps.> I'm okay with fish eating the baby shrimp as the local stores don't like to take extras of stock they don't normally carry. I'll have to order the shrimp via internet if I want them. I just want the adults to be safe. Could I have cherry or gold barbs with the shrimp? <Cherry barbs would be fine in a 10 gallon system and shouldn't do any harm to Cherry Shrimps. "Gold Barb" seems to be a name used for at least three different species. Puntius sachsii and Puntius semifasciolatus would be too large, though Puntius gelius would be okay, with the proviso it (like the Cherry Shrimps) actually prefers subtropical not tropical conditions. Puntius gelius is highly attractive though, and works great in quiet tanks, even though it is a bit delicate.> Or what about a honey Gourami, Betta, or flag fish? <Bettas mix fine with Cherry shrimps, but shouldn't be mixed with anything else except perhaps dwarf Corydoras species and Kuhli loaches. Certainly not with anything barb- or tetra-like for fear of nipping or bullying. Likewise, mixing with other labyrinth fish or dwarf cichlids is usually a disaster. Colisa chuna is a difficult species in some ways, but if you can get quality stock and are able to provide excellent water quality, it is viable in 10 gallons. Florida Flagfish would also be good in a 10 gallon tank, but they're subtropical fish, and need lots and lots of algae to colour up properly. They're often kept poorly, hence few people have seen their naturally stunning colours. In a coolish system with Cherry Shrimps and perhaps White Cloud Mountain minnows, they'd be great.> If these aren't good choices, could you give me some ideas? I have to drive an hour to get to a store with decent plants anyway, I can check what that better store has available and do research before a return trip for the fish. My tap water is pH 7.5 and somewhat hard. No livebearers please, I have plenty. :) <Most tropical fish will be fine in moderately hard, basic water. Do always remember: in freshwater fishkeeping, the precise pH doesn't matter, pH stability does; so focus on understanding your local water hardness.> Also, what should I add first, shrimp or fish? Should I get the shrimp first so they can find all the hiding places? <Makes no odds really, but I prefer to add the shrimps and let them settle in for a few weeks. They keep the filter healthy without disturbing the plants, and also help to control initial algae blooms. Once I'm comfortable the filter is working 100% and the shrimps have adjusted to the tank, then I'd start adding any new fish.> Thanks for any advice! Angela <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Second tank- cycle and stocking questions 12/27/08 Thanks very much, Neale! <Most welcome.> I'm thinking I'll get the shrimp first and then hash out which fish I really want afterwards. See, there's still lots of tiny options for me to choose from. Your freshwater reef tank is really fascinating although I've never seen snails for sale other than apples around here. <Apple snails make pretty poor aquarium residents; best avoided. Some retailers sell aquarium snails online; do research and consider this option. Snails ship well.> I'll see what I can find on my trip to get the plants. There's something inherently awesome about a snail-eating snail! <Clea helena is a wonderful little creature!> Angela <Cheers, Neale.>
Need Help - FW stocking-- need
to read/research 11/21/08
Corydoras, Blackskirts, no
problem yet.... FW stkg. 11/15/08
Beginning Aquarist stocking new
Freshwater 10 Gallon 11-13-08
Freshwater stocking advice 11/12/08 Hello again crew, I just wanted to chime in and ask for an opinion on my current livestock. I have a 46 gallon bowfront with an AquaClear 110 utilizing a sponge, EHFI SubstratPro bio media, and a PolyFilter (for a recent phosphate issue I was battling). I hope to eventually replace this with an Eheim Classic 2217 (or maybe just add the Eheim and leave the AC on as well?). The tank is semi-aggressive and consists of the following: 3 pictus catfish, 1 red-tailed black shark, 15 tiger barbs, 1 albino paradise fish, 1 cichlid (I was given the Latin name for this fish but can never seem to remember it. It resembles, but is not, a ram). For the most part, the livestock was planned, except for the paradise fish and cichlid which I saw when I walked into a new shop last weekend and "just had to have" (rookie mistake I know). Decor consists of several plastic plants and resin rock. The tank is very active, though everyone seems to be getting along well; the barbs stick together, the shark only gets mean when someone gets too close to "his" rock, the cats mind their own business, the paradise fish hangs out by the surface, and the cichlid roams around most of the tank. Would you say this is a proper stocking level? Could I safely add a few more fish? Ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate hovers around 5ppm. I do 20% water changes at least weekly, typically 2x per week. Thanks again, your site is an invaluable resource. <Hello. I wonder if your new cichlid is Mikrogeophagus altispinosus? Looks a lot like a Ram cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) but is a bit bigger, has different colours, and is about a billion times hardier and better suited to community tanks. Anyway, no, your tank isn't overstocked. Provided water quality stays this good, in particular the nitrate staying low, you can perhaps add a few more fish. Do moderate this comment by figuring out what your mystery cichlid is: obviously if it's something huge, like a Severum or Oscar, your tank will get overstocked pretty darn quickly! I'm not a huge fan of hang-on-the-back filters in tanks with medium to large fish or heavily stocked tanks, and you might decide to add a proper (i.e., an external canister) filter to your system in due course. The problem is hang-on-the-back filters suck in water close to where they push it out, so you don't get all that much circulation. Many models tend to be cramped and use specific modules, though the AquaClear ones at least seem to be quite spacious. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: HELP! Numerous sudden fish deaths (stocking Qs) 10/21/08 Hello All! Just writing this to give an update and then a question on moving... <Hello again,> I have recently gotten rid of the 2 angelfish as you suggested and I purchased 3 more dwarf puffers and some live brine shrimp and blackworms ... At that point my original puffer hadn't eaten in 7-8 days. So, To make a long story short immediately after I added the 3 new puffers my original puffer went nuts when I added in the live food and since adding the new puffers he seems a lot more happier and has been eating since then! I've also had 0 deaths which leads me to believe that you were correct when you said that the fish died back so the tank could handle the PH & bio load again. <Cool.> Now on to my next question ... I will be moving in a few months (mid December/January) ... Like stated before I have a 60 gallon long tank ... My fish list is as follows: 3 Bamboo Shrimp 4 Black Neon Tetras 2 Cardinal Tetras 4 Dwarf Golden Puffer 8 Emperor Tetras 2 German Blue Rams 1 Molly fish 10 Neon Tetras <Prefer slightly cooler water than most "tropicals", 22-25 C, and in part this explains why a lot of people fail to keep them alive for long.> 2 Swordtails <Males highly aggressive, so be careful here...> 2 Sunburst Platys <Platies and Swordtails best kept in trios: one male, two females, and multiples thereof.> 2 Tuxedo Platys <I'm not wild about Mollies in mixed tanks because of their need for slightly brackish water to do well. So I'd veto that idea. I'd also be extremely dubious about German Blue Rams: these need very warm, soft, acidic water to do well and mix poorly with standard community fish because of it. Most specimens die within months. I suspect a lot of them are "juiced" with antibiotics and colour enhancers prior to sale, and once they leave the fish farm, they steadily lose health. If you want a sturdy, low-maintenance dwarf cichlid for the community tank, the standout species is Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, the Bolivian Ram. It's easy to keep and very reliable. All this said, do remember Dwarf Puffers don't mix well with other fish for the most part.> My plan was to put all the fish in a Styrofoam "cooler", put my filter media in a plastic bag with water, and leave the gravel in the tank with enough water to barely cover the gravel so the bacteria doesn't die off. <Should work.> I am moving about 5 min from my current residence. And then immediately setting up my tank as soon as it arrives to my new home. Would this be a feasible plan bc I would like keep everything as easy and uncomplicated as possible w/o killing off the bacteria so I wouldn't have to cycle my tank again considering the amount of livestock I have in my tank. <Sounds a good plan. Provided filter media doesn't get dry, and so long as the water is open to the air, the bacteria should be fine for quite length periods, a good couple of hours, at least. Try to avoid dramatic changes in temperature though, so if it's real cold outside, bundle the bucket up during transit to keep the water warm.> Thanks again for all your help! -Nick- <Cheers, Neale.>Aquarium... FW, set up... stkg. 9/26/08
I realize that I haven't done my homework before putting my aquarium together. Sad.
I did read an aquarium book, but most books don't provide enough information on freshwater fish and tanks.
<Don't agree with this at all; any half-way decent aquarium book will cover the essentials on water quality, water chemistry, and stock selection.>
Anyway, glad I came across your website.
I already have a 60 gallon tank with a Rena Filstar xP2 external canister filter with 300 GPH flow rate. I cycled the water with the filter on and no bacteria x 1-2 weeks. Bad.
<You can't cycle a tank without a source of ammonia. An empty tank with a filter is just water sloshing about. Nothing much happens. Might look pretty, but that's about it. The tank won't begin to cycle until there's some ammonia for the bacteria to "eat", and that means either adding livestock (a few, carefully chosen fish for example) or more humanely by adding an inorganic (or at least non-living) source of ammonia.>
Natural color gravel substrate. Added aquarium salt which I have read on your FAQs that it's not needed at all -- will not make that mistake again.
<Salt only helps in specific situations, and shouldn't be added for no reason.>
I've had fish in the tank 4 Neons, 2 cardinals, 3 guppies, and 2 Mickey mouse platy x 2 weeks.
<These fish have much different requirements, not to mention the fact you're overlooking social behaviour. Neons and Cardinals are both schooling fish: keeping less than six of either is cruel. Simple as that. You might not care, but the fish certainly do! Next up, Neons need relatively cool water, around 22-25 C, whereas Cardinals need warmer water, 26-28 C. So any conditions acceptable for the one will stress the other, the result being illness and premature death. Finally, whereas Platies and Guppies need hard, basic water, Neons and Cardinals want soft and acidic water. The latter species especially rarely does well for long in hard water. So again, anything that suits some of these fish will be stressing the others. You absolutely cannot randomly add fish to a system and hope they'll get along. Imagine a zoo that randomly placed polar bears, lions, frogs and peacocks all in the same enclosure. Obviously wouldn't work -- so why expect it to work with fish? Aquarium shops exist to sell fish, and assume the purchaser knows precisely what they're buying. Unfortunately, many shops don't provide "gentle reminders" at time of purchase so that newbie hobbyists can be dissuaded from bad choices. A cynic would make the point that a lot of purchasers don't care, and are happy to replace "cheap" fish every few months, and that approach is profitable for the retailer. Over here at WWM we take the other view, that pet fish should be given a fair chance of survival in captivity. And that means telling people (again and again) to research the needs of their fish PRIOR to purchase.>
Recently, the red MM platy died.
<Will be the first of many...>
Found a bunch of bubbles on the surface a couple days before it died. What do you think happened?
<Uncycled tank, too many fish, no information here about either water quality or chemistry, so could be a variety of entirely avoidable blunders on your part.>
I got another MM platy, 2 dwarf gouramis -- which I am reading will eventually end up dying from disease, and a black Molly.
<You're not supposed to add new fish until you've established why the last ones died.>
Not a good combination -- I found out. So my question is, what should I do with the set up I already have?
<Read, learn, make decisions.>
I will continue to just add freshwater with the water changes to get rid of the salt. But then what of molly? Which way do I need to go? Return the molly and get rid of the salt?
<What's your water chemistry? If it's hard and basic, the Molly may be fine, and adding a small amount of marine salt mix (say, 3-6 grammes per litre) will not harm the Platies or Guppies. It will stress the Neons, Cardinals and Gouramis though. As I say, you need to determine water chemistry, and then choose your fish. There's no "happy medium" any more than there's a happy medium for both penguins and ostriches. Different needs entirely.>
Will my dwarf gouramis get sick faster with the salt?
<Certainly won't help.>
Right now, all the fish are thriving well together, but I don't want a ticking bomb.
<Too late... the selection of fish you have is, let us say, unwise. You haven't cycled the tank, so the next few weeks will be very dicey unless you're regularly doing water changes (by which I mean something like 25% every couple of days) until the ammonia/nitrite levels stay at zero. Cycling with fish takes 4-6 weeks, and things can get worse before they get better. So do your water tests, do water changes, and observe.>
Also, do I have enough circulation and water movement with the filter system that I don't need an air bubbler?
<You're fine as you are.>
What's a good cooling system to purchase? I live in Southern California, and the house can get pretty warm when we are gone for the weekend.
<Neons and Platies do not like temperatures above 25 C, and ideally around 23-24 C. Cardinals, Guppies, Gouramis and Mollies thrive at up to 30 C, so they're less fussed.>
How much fish can I add?
<Don't even think about asking this question until the tank is cycled. Concentrate on removing inappropriate stock, and concentrating on fish that match the water chemistry you have. Then review social behaviour. Livebearers need to be in groups where the females outnumber the males, or you get bullying problems, so that's one factor. Tetras need to be in large groups to thrive. And so on. With very small fish (such as Neons) the "inch per gallon" rule isn't a bad guideline, but whatever you do, go slowly, adding a few fish each month, using your Nitrite test kit to check the filter has adapted to the higher workload.>
I want to add 4 more Neons to have a total of 10 neon/cardinal tetras. I read that they are happiest with 10. Is that true?
<They're happiest in groups of 100+, but 12 will do nicely, though 20 is better in terms of visual impact. These small tetras look prettiest in big groups because they "swarm" nicely, moving in sync around the tank. In smaller groups they just hang about at random, and are rather boring.>
If my dwarf gouramis die, are there any pretty/fancy fish similar to the gouramis that will live peacefully with the fish I already have?
<Depends on what your water chemistry is. If you have hard, basic water, then your choices will be different to soft, acid water. If your water isn't too hard, then Colisa fasciatus and Colisa labiosa are both hardy, peaceful gouramis that are easy to keep. There are other gouramis in the trade, such as gold or blue three-spot Gouramis, Trichogaster trichopterus, but these have distinct drawbacks in one way or another. Three-spots tend to be aggressive, and can make very poor community fish, despite being widely sold as stuff. Anyway, what you're asking about has been covered many times here at WWM; please do review these articles and the FAQs linked from them:
Can I add 2-3 other colorful fish to my aquarium since the filter system is pretty good? Is the water change recommendation still weekly?
Fish Compatibility... FW 8/5/08 Hello! Love the site, tons of information! After reading over everything, I still have a couple of questions if you'd be so kind as to give me some advice. I have a 55-gallon, medium-planted with live plants, lots of caves and dark spots. I have one Whisper Powerfilter60 and an air stone, the temperature stays around 78-80 at all times, and it's been up and running for about a month. I currently have only a 6" Senegal Bichir, a 4" Raphael Striped Catfish, a 4" Blue Crayfish, and several mystery snails of varying sizes. Questions: 1. Should I leave the aquarium light on all day for the plants, or can they get by on filtered window sunlight? <Can work with sunlight, but don't bank on it. To get enough sunlight the tank needs to be right by the glass, and that means water temperature will go up dramatically. Fine in some instances, but not others. Moreover, the plants will tend to grow out of the tank, and the leaves underwater will basically die off. This is what most aquarium plants would do in the wild for at least part of the year. Again, fine if that's the sort of tank you're after (I have one just like this on an east-facing windowsill) but not at all viable for the average community tank.> I don't want to promote algae growth but I want healthy plants. <Sunlight = lots of algae. Again, great if you're after that... the livebearers in my windowsill love it. But not to everyone's taste.> I have a bottle of Flourish that I put a capful of into the tank a couple of times a month...but I recently added more plants (replaced all plastic with live) and I don't want them to die on me so I'd like to make sure everything is set up right for them. I only have about 1" of gravel on the bottom, and they are all weighted down well. <Need more substrate than this. If you're even half interested in growing aquarium plants you have to accept their needs. Would garden plants grow in an inch of plain driveway gravel? Of course not. Nor do aquarium plants. They need at least 5 cm of substrate, and that should be a mix of something nutritious (I use aquatic soil, but there are lots of options) with maybe sand topped off with fine gravel for looks.> Does the Flourish add the nutrients the plants need, or will they also need supplements of iron or potassium? <No idea about this brand; not one I use or see here in England. Read the label/instructions; consult manufacturers web site.> 2. I want to get more fish for the mid-top level of my tank, some active and interesting critters. The bichir I have leaves everyone alone and the crayfish has bursts of busy scavenging followed by long periods in his cave that he defends readily against the curious bichir. <Don't bank on this peace holding forever. Crayfish are no more friendly towards fish than wolves are to buffalo. Sooner or later...> The catfish I've had for years and it doesn't grow and doesn't appear to eat, but it's still alive. <The fate of most catfish unfortunately. What he wants is essentially a mixed diet containing catfish pellets, algae wafers, frozen bloodworms, chopped seafood, and maybe even a few small snails.> I saw on your site that they are social and are unhappy alone, but I cannot for the life of me find another in my area or online so it's doomed to solitude at this point (sadly). It stays in it's chosen cave all the time as far as I can tell, but somehow it's still alive! What would be compatible with these guys? <I'd honestly wait until another Platydoras costatus comes along. They are very commonly traded, but as with most South American wild-caught fish they're seasonal, and appear round about September. Any half decent aquarium shop can place an order for you.> I would like a Black Ghostfish, some Gouramis (how many, sizes, colors, etc?), and maybe something else but I'd like your advice on that. <Your tank is too small for Apteronotus albifrons, and that's also a difficult fish to maintain and feed -- the vast majority die swiftly in captivity. As for Gouramis, I'm fond of Trichogaster leeri, Trichogaster microlepis, Colisa labiosus, and Colisa fasciata as all be hardy, non-aggressive and easy to keep, which is more than can be said for most of the other species offered.> 3. Do I need more or better filtration for my tank? The Whisper60 seems to work fine, but I haven't had the tank long enough to know for sure and I'd like to avoid fish loss or excessive algae growth or murky water (obviously). <My recommendation for a standard community tank is at least 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and ideally 6 times. So check the "gallons per hour" rating on your filter and compare with your tank.> 4. Any other suggestions about any aspect of my tank would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!!!! <Suspect you will need to re-jig the substrate and almost certain double the lighting to get decent plant growth (you need at least 2 watts per gallon lighting).> Lyssa <Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>