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FAQs on Catfish Compatibility

Related Articles: Catfishes,  Sucker mouth Cats/Loricariids, Otocinclus, Callichthyids, Ictalurid CatfishesMochokids/Synodontis, Candirus (Trichomycterids, Cetopsids), Marine Catfishes: Plotosids, Ariids,

Related Catfish FAQs: General, Identification, Behavior, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction,

Most Loricariids are fish friendly. Baryancistrus niveatus

Help: loaches (incomp. w/) African cichlids and catfishes.      8/5/15
Hello, let me start off by saying your web is amazing, it is full of information i have used with great results in my planted tank.
<Gratifying indeed to realize. Thank you for your kind acknowledgement>
ill get to the point in a second, but first some context.
I setup a second tank about 4 or 5 months ago, a custom made 74 gal with a cave in one of the corners for the planned residents.
The tank is decorated with lava
<Hopefully not too sharp edged!>
and river rocks, and very fine volcanic gravel, it is planted with giant Vallisneria, Vallisneria spiralis, Anubias, java ferns, mosses, giant Amazon swords and a single Madagascar Aponogeton, all of them thriving on a low light setup.
Tank was designed for a spotted Raphael catfish, stripped Raphael catfish, 7 glass catfishes, 2 south American bumblebee catfishes, and an African butterfly fish, some of them were added instantly (don't worry, used cycled filter media right from the start and monitored water parameters often). Ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates go from 15 to 20 ppm.
<With you so far>
A few days ago i bought (mistakenly) 3 dojo loaches from the lfs, i kind of went crazy because i love loaches (14 Kuhlis in planted and 5 zebras), big mistake because i hadn't really researched the fish thoroughly and just then realized they need colder waters.
Thing is, i live in El Salvador, where temperatures all year long are between 22 (at the lowest, for a few days only) and 33 C (at the highest, again, for a few days). But my tanks stay around 24-27 C.
<Mmm; the Misgurnis will likely do fine at this elevated temp. range>

Keeping a cold water tank would actually be very expensive as i would need a chiller, what i tried to do is keep some of the windows open to allow for more ventilation and the tank has stayed at 24-25 C for these past days. Loaches are playing and eating well (quite aggressive eaters!) and love to annoy the other tank mates, specially the talking catfishes which they very often stack above of, the catfish are mostly indifferent to this.
there are various caves and some thin and long ones for the Dojos.
Now onto the big problem: A fellow aquarist is tearing down his African cichlid tank due to moving and not having much space in his new home, he gave most of the cichlids already to another aquarist but he has not enough space and so there were 4 cichlids left, he has no one left to give them to that he trusts, so he's kind of pressuring me into it:
<Mmm; not compatible with what you list as already there. Will pick on the Cobitids, Raphael's>
Demasoni, Labidochromis caeruleus, Pseudotropheus saulosi and what i believe is an acei(?). I just started researching on African cichlids, and seems like there are two different types, according to the lake they come from. Are these four cichlids even compatible among themselves?
<Yes; given either crowding, or sufficient space>
i know they prefer high ph and high temperature (though 24 - 26 C should be alright, no?) also hard water.
<Yes; per Lake Malawi conditions>
Through research I've found none of my fish need particularly low ph, so would i be right in thinking they would do well in high ph? right now my ph is 6.7, though i make a mix of tap and filtrated water; tap is 7.6 and filtrated comes at 6.5-6.4.
<You are correct. Incompatible environment-wise as well as temperament>
what i will do is slowly mixing in more of the tap water between water changes. i will probably not raise the ph all the way up to 8, but keep it around 7.6 or around that.
Do you think it is at all possible to pull this off?
<Yes; don't do it. Either another tank, or trading one or the other group of fishes in>
i haven't taken hardness into consideration, and i don't have something to measure it at the moment though a fellow aquarist has (it is rare to find such equipment here). And then what about aggressively? i can add a few more caves and rock but I'm not sure if that will contain those cichlids, i don't want to find my Dojos with their fins all torn down or a glass catfish being beaten to a pulp, it has been quite hard to get these fish (mostly the glass, which i had to go to a neighboring country for). Is it safe, risky or impossible?
<The latter. Will not end well.... eyes missing and worse>
We could take them to local fish store but they are untrustful; they say angels and goldfish are ok together, one tiger barb is ok and they have conditioners that cycle the water "instantly" (they also say most of the bacteria is in the water).
<Tell them; they need help>
They also carry ick quite often in their multi tank system so taking these guys over there is most likely demise, and these cichlids were hard to find too apparently. I like them, though i have never had any cichlid bigger than an Apistogramma or a German blue ram. So i don't know if ill be able to house all 4 of them but if i can house at least two or even one it will be good.
I also don't have the money or time to keep a third tank right now. i will be waiting for your response, thanks for your time and sorry for the long read. Keep up the good work guys!
<I'd try Craig's List and equivalents there.... One group of fishes OR the other>
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Help: loaches African cichlids and catfishes.      8/5/15

Hey, thank you for the fast response, way faster than i was expecting hahaha.
Yes, i assumed it would be impossible, and i planned the "catfish" tank for so long only for a few fish to come and destroy it all.
Lamentably, my friend is yet unsure on what to do about the tank, were it smaller (its a 110 gal) i would have taken it along with the remaining cichlids and who knows, maybe set an African setup of my own.
<This is best>
We will try to see what we do with them, but as a backup plan i can only think of dismantling a broken fridge i have laying in the warehouse and make it the cichlids home, its about 1.5 m long so it is pretty big, i would have to put some weak powerhead i have laying somewhere and probably a bubbler as aerator/filtration until i get a proper filtration system. Could work?
<Oh yes; decades back there were wholesale outfits that used refrigerator linings (I recall Doc Adams place in Long Beach....). They're sturdy and chemically inert... and cheap!>
Anyway, seeing these colorful guys, and my not so colorful guys has kind of made me want to get something more flashy. Most colorful fish i have is my pair of macmasteri and single German blue ram and viejita which are in the planted tank along with the Kuhlis and zebras, controlled aggression with caves and dense vegetation. Anyway, i would like to try a bigger cichlid, if there is such a thing as a cichlid that could get along well with what i have in the catfish tank, that is.
<Mmm; well; there are some more "peaceful" S. Am. Cichlids... Geophagines, Acaras, Festivums and more.... but you only have the 72 gallons... and these might well harass your dwarf cichlid spp.>
As i said my only experience is with the dwarves and they only notice each other, they are pretty oblivious to my Kuhlis and zebras. But i would like a bigger cichlid for the catfish tank, is there a possible candidate?
<Angels are my best suggestion>
I've looked around for information and experiences trying to mix my fish with cichlids but so far nothing conclusive. American cichlids are very abundant so that's why I'm asking, but if any cichlid will bring havoc to my fish then i will probably just stick a boesemanni rainbow school, which will bring me to another international journey for them.
Thanks again, keep up the good work.
<Thank you for sharing, being part of it. BobF>
Re: Help: loaches African cichlids and catfishes.      8/5/15

Alright, thanks.
Acara WONT be in same tank with dwarves, don't worry.
No blues, more T5s.
Will dose micro and macro nutrients made by fellow aquarist.
Will try potting method suggested. thanks.
<Muy bien>
Re: Help: loaches African cichlids and catfishes. And plant nutr.       8/5/15

Ok, ok one last email, I'm really getting a lot of ideas and whatnot right now along with a few popping questions about various things.
First of, there is a blue Acara sale, they are $2.50, there are also wild Salvadorian convicts and captive bred, green terror(though these are huge). I like the blue Acaras, would they do well with the Dojos/talking catfishes/glass cats, etc?
<Yes; likely so; but as stated, I would NOT trust them w/ the Dwarf Cichlid species>
a friend told me he once had a blue Acara that tore to shreds everything in his path, then again i don't know in what conditions he had it. By the way, the "planted" (very dense planted tank) is the one with the Kuhlis, zebras and dwarves, it is a 40 gal, while the "catfish" tank is mildly planted, and is where the new cichlid would go, so it will not bother the dwarves.
<I wouldn't risk it... How many times do I have to key this?>
Now, a question about the planted tank. I have tried Glossostigma twice, failed twice. I have three T5 tubes (24 watts each) and two T8 (30 watts), no T2 for sale, and fish stores sell plants but not proper equipment, it is rare if there is even substrate so most aquarists use soil.
<Tis better>
I also have a blue compact fluorescent
<Of very little functional use>
(15 watts) directed above some alternanthera reineckii, Rotala rotundifolias and some other red plants which i really don't know their names, but they are doing great, i have even propagated them to a few aquarists and they are bright red and orange.
Carpeting plants are another story, they never seem to do well, (Cuba and Glosso). Is the light insufficient?
<Likely so; could be a nutrient deficiency... useful iron, other.... do you supplement?>
i have a DIY CO2 system that runs for about a week pumped through a powerhead, there is soil substrate and i dose Florapride after every water change (every 10-12 days).
<Ah; good>
There is an aquarist who has a lot of planted nanos which are very impressive, Dutch styled tanks with either shrimp or small schools. He says he makes his own liquid fertilizers of macro nutrients and micro nutrients and sells these at about $3.50 the liter.
<Cheap; and worth trying>
he also claims to making something similar to flourish excel though this was harder to make as some of its components are banned in the country. Would these fertilizers do any good if added or am i already dosing everything i need?
<Yes; they well might>
Are my carpeting plants failing due to lack of fertilizers or lack of light?
<.... ? Are we caught up in a time vortex?>
it is a 1.2 x .40 m of area and .30 m of height so its not too tall.
I could maybe get a few more T5s if light is what is missing or a few more blue fluorescents (11000 k if I'm not mistaken).
<... no blue>
Or do you think I'm lacking nutrients, maybe micro nutrients that aren't found in the soil like some metals? copper, zinc, boron? sometimes i wonder if the Glosso is actually getting to the soil, i have a layer of silica sand of about 1.5-2.5 cm above the soil, i sometimes wonder about that with other plants with small roots.
Lastly, more of a question about how these plants work, lets take for example, Ludwigia repens, everybody plants it in soil in here but the plant never roots where it is planted, if you take out the plant it has no roots, it maybe sprouts some near the top parts but never where planted, is this plant actually getting nutrients from the substrate or is it all from the water column?
<Try shallow potting in a more "clay" soil; with fine sand, gravel on top>
Many thanks, I'm sorry to have asked so much today, there were a lot of questions that have been bugging me for a while.
I will be trying Eleocharis parvula today by the way, hope i get it right this time.
Thanks again.
<Welcome. B>

55 gallon tank with catfish, Corydoras et al. cats... comp.    2/2/12
Dear Crew
You may recognize me from various catfish queries in the past, for which you have been very helpful. Since writing last, I have acquired a large (55 UK gallon +)  tank,
<66 US gallons; a very nice size aquarium.>
which houses my Featherfin squeaker, now about 7 inches long, and 3 upside-down catfish. When writing last, I mentioned baby Cory cats, rescued as eggs, in my smaller 10 gallon tank - they have now made it to the big tank, and are nearly as big as their adult orange Venezuela parents; they are very hard to count, but always somewhere between 13 and 17. (They are amazing to watch when they decide to shoal, most often after a disturbance, i.e. me cleaning!)
<I agree, Corydoras are a treat to watch in big groups.>
Since acquiring a bigger tank my fish population has increased, with the addition of 2 lemon Bristlenose (Ancistrus?) Plecos, one juvenile red-tailed shark, and most recently a striped talking catfish. I am most interested in the catfish, and like the idea that they should live a long time if properly looked after. I have looked up the talking catfish on your web pages and have found that they like their own company!
<Yes indeed.>
My idea of keeping fish is to have a few well cared for individuals, and not an over crowded difficult to maintain tank.  I have been trying to find out the catfish capacity for my tank, but have not found any helpful information.
<Difficult to say with catfish of all these different sizes. The objective test is for nitrite -- if zero, the tank is functioning adequately. Even better if the fish all seem happy and active.>
Whilst thinking of the welfare of these lovely animals, I do not wish to bring problems upon myself by putting too many big fish in too small a space. I was wondering if you could tell me if I am at my limit already?
<If you go with the "inch per gallon" rule, that's about 55 inches of fish.
One big Squeaker (~7 inches) and three smaller ones (~3 inches each) makes 16 inches. Let's say 15 of the Corydoras at up to 2 inches a piece, so that's 30 inches the lot when grown. 4 inches for each of the Bristlenose Cats, and another 5 inches of the Red-Tail Shark, makes 55 inches altogether. The Talking Cat will be another 6 inches on that. So, your tank is pretty well stocked now. If you removed some Corydoras to the other tank, and so made space for one or two more Talking Cats, you'd be okay. To be honest, you're probably okay even with the Corydoras in place because catfish aren't terribly active so don't place a huge load on the oxygen level and filtration of the tank. But still, when all these fish are grown up, they will fill out the tank quite thoroughly.>
And if not, how many talking catfish is a good number? Also, I read with interest, an article on your pages referring to talking catfish barbels regrowing ... my fish seems to be missing an outer barbel; it does not appear broken off, or re-growing, just missing as in not there, looks like never was, as there is no damage, and no evidence of a barbel. I guess this is not normal?
<Does vary, and many cats loses their barbels for one reason or another.
Gravel is inferior to sand, but if either gets dirty, it can promote bacterial infections that erode the barbels.>
And is it anything to be concerned about?
<Generally not. But can be clue something is amiss.>
I have read that these fish will eat snails.
<If hungry, yes.>
I am hoping so as I have an infestation of small pond snails (tadpole snails) that I would like to get rid of.
<If hungry, yes.>
I have stopped buying live plants now, and have decided upon plastic, for this reason. I have had a snail problem in both my tanks, and have purchased 5 striped assassin, killer/bumblebee snails for my 10 gallon tank, and they seem to be doing a good job.
I have moved my 2 large elephant snails to the larger tank meanwhile.
<These are fun, too. Likely too large to be harmed by the cats.>
The striped catfish is only around 2 inches long at present so I am assuming it will take a long time for him to polish off all the problem snails.  As the elephant snails are around 4cm long I am hoping they will remain untouched.
<Should be, yes.>
I have never seen any babies of these, so I suspect they are of the same sex.
<Quite possibly. Once you have both sexes, baby Tylomelania aren't far off!
A fun species to breed.>
In  time I am hoping to return the elephant snails to my smaller tank. My concern is that if I then place the Assassin snails into the big tank, will the talking catfish eat these as well as the little pond snails?
<Possibly, but hard to say for sure.>
Your help is much appreciated.
Many thanks.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Furan 2... Mmm, mis-mix, overcrowding of Auchenipterid & Callichthyid cats and small characid food items, in the UK!  5/12/2011
Hello. I am in UK. I have been reading your pages about catfish and Corydoras, for information to help me diagnose and treat a possible fungus problem.
<As in bacterial>
I have 2 small Venezuela orange Corys
<Likely Corydoras venezuelanus>
living in a tank with a young bronze Cory. (I understand these Corys are or may be closely related so can be considered a compatible group.) In this 10 gall (UK galls)
<A small volume... really would be better in something larger>
I have 3 oil catfish (Tatia/Centromochlus perugiae),
<Mmm, Driftwood Cats, family Auchenipteridae...>
2 are babies and one adult. I stupidly added a school of 8 Glowlight tetra
<Food for the latter>
just over a week ago. I can now see that the 2 orange Corys have the start of a fungus on the rear
end top fin (sorry I do not know what the top fin is called). And one of the tetra has raggedy fins, presumably the culprit.
<More a victim...>
I have added Melafix (5 % Tea tree) at 2.5 ml per day for 2 days,
but I do not want to lose the cat fishes.... hence looking for something a bit stronger to treat the tank
with. Is Furan 2 a good choice?
<Not really, no, not here>
I have not used it before, but I see it is mentioned in your articles relating to catfish and fungus treatment. I
have been looking for it for sale online in UK, any suggestions?
"Catfish lover"
<Do search WWM re Neale Monks' (also of the UK) input re eSHa products. I would actually not add a medication here period, but move the Glowlight Tetras to another system. The Driftwood Cats are harassing them at night, and doubtless will consume them in time. For all's sake I'd be looking into
a bigger space for the catfishes alone. Do keep your eyes on water quality here, particularly if you opt to "treat" the system, even with the placebo "Fix"... it will arrest nitrification. Bob Fenner>
Re: Furan 2

Hi & thanks for you reply and advice.
I would like to add that the 10 gallon tank was originally intended as a quarantine tank.
I was setting up a catfish tank, around 30 UK gallons, and started with 4 upside down catfish, the little ones; Synodontis nigriventris, but due my inexperience and the lack of knowledge of the stores where I chose the fish, one has turned out to be a Featherfin squeaker. (!!!)
<Much larger>
I did have the adult driftwood cat in there, but since the Featherfin has been growing, I have moved it (and since obtained 2 more as I am led to believe they like their own sort?)
due to fears of them ending up as dinner. I realise that 30 gallons is too small for the Featherfin, and aim for a larger tank eventually (what is a good size?).
<An uncrowded thirty will suit>
I wanted "something going on" in the 10 galls tank, so purchased the 3 Corydoras. I wonder if eventually it will be possible for all the catfish to share a tank, when they grow big enough not to be eaten by 'squeaker'?
<Not really a good mix. The Synodontis is much more outgoing, faster eater>
(And then the tetras can occupy 10 galls to themselves perhaps.) Seems I am destined to end up with 3 tanks though, as the Featherfin will need re-housing at some point.
Thanks for the Furan advice.... I will just keep things clean and keep an eye on them all for now, although the raggedy glow-light seems less raggedy, and one of the Cory's fungus spots has lessened to almost nothing. (Maybe I was worried needlessly - better this way than to leave it till too late and damage can not be repaired :-)
Thanks again.
<Welcome, BF>
Re: Furan 2   5/15/11

Thanks again for your quick reply.
One more quick question - when the driftwood cats are all adult size, would they be big enough not to eaten by the Featherfin if they went in the bigger tank with the upside down cats?
<A bit of a risk, but better than w/ the Corydoras>
(I assumed you meant that the Synodontis and the Cory cats are not a good mix, but you may have meant the driftwood cats as well.)
<The other two species are not good w/ the Corys, but the Synodontis is likely better than the Auchenipterids>
I was pleased to read that I will not have to re-house "squeaker" ... the volume/capacity sites I have visited online say 30 galls is too small.
<I have kept this Mochokid and others of the family of its size in this volume, for years, happily>
And thanks for your previous advice on eSHa products.... if ever I need the meds.

FW catfishes and shrimp comp. help  6/25/06 - Hello, I am looking at buying some shrimp and was wondering if i would have to remove my 2 bumble bee cats (Microglanis sp) and my Synodontis cat so the poor little guys(3/4 of an inch.) wouldn't be eaten upon arrival. If I did would I be able to put them back. Thank you CJ <It is highly likely that these cats would ingest the shrimp at some point (likely during molts or just when hungry). This is an "either/or" situation. Choose. Bob Fenner>

Big Cat, brackish goby 9/30/05 Sorry to bother you again <no problem> ,but would a Red-Tailed Catfish be a good tankmate for a Violet Goby. I know that a Red-Tailed Catfish gets big and I am prepared for that, but I  have been keeping my Violet Goby in brackish water, I put in one teaspoon per gallon. Right now I have a 20 gallon, but in a week I am getting a 55 gallon. Thanks again for the help.  <As your situation stands you cannot adequately house a Redtail catfish.  This fish grows to over three feet and rapidly outgrow a 50g, you need at least a 240g tank and he will outgrow this as well.  The Redtail cat is also a strictly freshwater species, it will not acclimate to the conditions you are keeping your goby in.  I do not suggest this combination of fish.  Good luck, Heather-LinearChaos>

Guppies and Corys  9/25/05 I am setting up a new freshwater tank (36 gal) and am interested in keeping guppies and Cory cats. I've noticed on this site that a lot of people seem to have this combination. I am actually moving the guppies from a smaller tank due to reproduction. Will the guppy fry be safe in the same tank with the Cory cats or would they turn into a meal? I do have breeding grass for them to hide in which has helped them survive with the adult guppies. <Should do fine together, if a guppy fry is on the bottom of the tank and slow enough to get eaten by a Cory then there was probably something wrong with it anyway.  Corys aren't much for hunting fish and keep to themselves, as long as you provide some hiding places for the fry they should be fine.  Gage>

Restocking, Learning - 08/25/2005 Hi WWM Crew, <Hi, Wayne!  Sabrina with you today.> I've been emailing you a lot lately; sorry for the inconvenience because the problems I've had seemed petty.   <No worries.> I thought Corys would be fine living with goldfish and mine have been doing pretty well.  But I was just informed I shouldn't keep them together because of the different temperatures they live in?   <Quite true.> Anyways, I'm set on just keeping them separate, maybe giving my biggest goldfish (about 2.5 inches) to a petstore, and restocking my tank with the peppered Corys with fish that are compatible. <Sounds like a plan!> I have 4 peppered Corys in a 10 gallon tank so far. I think 1 female and 3 males because one is significantly larger than the other 3. <Actually, a good ratio, if you wish to breed.> They've been chasing her around during these past few days. She (if it's a female) looks like she's trying to swim away from them. Seems like they want to mate with her. Is it stressful to her to be the only female in the tank? <Not really....  Provided, of course, that there is plenty of cover for her to hide.> I want to add maybe 2 more Corys to the school nonetheless. Would that be too much for my tank?   <Pushing it, but they'll be fine.  Corys are VERY social animals.> I've also read some stuff on freshwater livestock and compatibilities saying Tetras (Neons, Cardinals, Black Skirts, Bloodfins, False Rummynose, and Penguins), Platies, Loaches, and White Cloud Minnows? are good for a community tank. <I would skip white clouds, as they are actually a more temperate fish....  prefer cooler water.> I don't want any more bottom feeders or fish that like to hang out on the bottom. <Skip the loaches, then.> I'd prefer fish that stay in the middle of the tank or the top. Also after reading about size and water quantity, how big will tetras, platies, and loaches grow? <Much variance for tetras....  depending upon species, less than an inch to over a foot!  Just research the species you like.  Platies, roughly 2".  Loaches, again, much variance....  from a couple inches to over a foot.  Again, research....> Do they live in the same water conditions as my current Corys? <All but the platies, yes, but even the platies will thrive with you.> Are there any other types of fish I can think about putting in the tank other than the ones I listed? <Uhh....  how big is this tank going to be??> I also don't know how many of those fish I can add along with let's say 6 peppered Corys already in the tank. <As above....  I don't know the tank size (I do recall corresponding with you before, but we go through soooooo many emails daily....  Can't remember every detail!  Mostly, be sure not to go overboard on stocking.  It's always better to have too little than too much bioload.> I don't want to have an overstocking problem like I did with the goldfish. <Ahhhh, very good!> Thank you so much and you guys have been very helpful! <Glad to be of service.> I'm starting to understand more about fish care and also gaining much needed knowledge for future the well being of any future fish! <That, my friend, is why we are here.  Thank you very much.> Wayne <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Restocking, Learning - II - 08/26/2005
Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Wayne!> Thanks for replying! I have a 10 gallon tank. I think it has completed it's cycling phase, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate looks like 20ppm maybe slightly more. <Best to get the nitrate down some with water changes - but otherwise, great.> I have a bubble wall and an action pirate ship bubbler. <No other cover?  I'd recommend adding more stuff for the Corys (and future fish) to help them feel secure and be able to "get away" from one another.  Plants (plastic or live, low-light plants), rock, even very clean, new terra cotta plant pots.> My filter is a hang on back Whisper 20 Power Filter and my tank temperature (and also room temp) is 78 - 82 degrees. When it starts to get colder I'll drop the heater in. <Perfect.> I have the 4 peppered Corys already in that tank and was just wondering how many fish (Corys, Neons probably, or platies unless there are other types that will thrive comfortable even after they are fully grown) <I'd go for platies, honestly.  They are MUCH more entertaining - and durable - than Neons.  Neons can be very, very delicate and sensitive to any changes in water quality.  Platies are VERY forgiving, especially in regards to pH, hardness, and nitrate.  Plus, they come in SO many great colors/patterns.> Are panda Corys more delicate than peppered Corys because <Not really.> I love the way they look. <Me, too.> If they are too delicate, I would probably skip buying them and just add 1 or 2 more peppered Corys. <Well, platies are schoolers and like to be in hoards of their own species (literally, can find them in schools of hundreds, maybe thousands, in the wild!), but they'll play well with other species, too.  Pandas are my favorite, as well.  You could mix these two.> I visited Petco today and if Neons would do well in my 10 gallon tank I saw some neat tetras that were an inch or less in length. The only probably is that they school and I'll have to get at least 5? (read somewhere odd numbers were best) for them to feel comfortable? <Mm, the odd number thing is bologna - it's just important to have them in a school of several.  Again, I'd do platies instead of tetras, here; if you're totally bent on having Neons, yeah, no less than five.> I would like to add some color (blue, red, orange, etc) to my tank that are not bottom dwellers. <Yup, you want platies!  Err, at least, they satisfy your color desires :)  A trio of platies and your small group of Corys would do well in this tank, provided you keep water quality in check.> Lost interest in goldfish because of how messy they are. <Ahh, dig a pond!  You'll get interested again right away.  Goldfish are AWESOME, given the proper environment.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Restocking - III? IV? - 08/30/2005
Hi WWM Crew, <Hi, Wayne!  Ya got me again!> Sabrina answered my last couple of emails about restocking my tank and I didn't give a complete description of what's in my tank (sorry). <No worries.> My Tank: 10 gallon AquaClear All Glass Tank Light Hood Whisper 20 Power Filter w/ biofoam (this black foam that slips in front of the filter cartridge) Whisper 10 - 30 air pump A bubble wall An action pirate ship bubbler 10 plastic plants of different kinds (small - medium) Small fake log with silk plants attached Small Easter Island Statue Small natural color shallow creek pebbles (I think) <Sounds like plenty of great cover for the Corys to feel safe.> I currently have 4 Corydoras paleatus, 3 males about 1 inch long and a female about 1.5 inches long, look like they are doing great. I had 2 of them for a couple of months now and the other 2 for a month or 2. My tank has a regular temperature of 78 to 82 degrees and when winter time rolls around I'll drop a heater in to maintain a steady temp. The ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is rising but I am doing water changes to keep it down around 20ppm.   <Try to get this lower - otherwise it sounds awesome so far.> Now I would like to start adding more fish to the mix. From reading/receiving information from your site, I've narrowed my choices down to a couple fish I would like to add to my tank. I definitely want to add a couple more Corys, either panda Corys or peppered Corys, to my 4 peppered Corys. <Either would be fine, I think.> For tetras, I like Black Phantoms, Flame, Glowlites, Lemon, and Pristella and for Rasboras, I like the Harlequin and Scissortail.  If I were to get panda Corys, how many would I need to get for it to feel comfortable around my peppered Corys. I'm afraid one panda Cory wouldn't school with the other peppered Corys. <Agreed; your best bet is to stick with peppered Corys, and plan some day in the future to go with a larger tank and do a same- or similarly-sized school of pandas.> As for the tetras and Rasboras, how many could I get so as not to overstock my 10 gallon tank. I learned the hard way before with an overstock of goldfish. <So many people do!  Don't feel alone in this!> I know tetras and Rasboras like to be kept in a school of 5 or more. <If at all possible, yes.> Is it possible for me to get at least 2 different types of fish without overstocking my tank? I am thinking of around 5 - 7 Corys total and 2 different schools of tetras and/or Rasboras with 5 or more in each school. <I would go with the 5-7 Corys and one type of tetra or Rasbora....  And just five of those.  A 10g tank just isn't forgiving on water quality once you begin to reach the stocking limits.  And again, if possible, consider a larger tank in the future....  some time down the road....  to have more options.> If you have any other combinations and amounts of the types of fish I could keep I would really appreciate it! <Just as above - pick your favorite of your list (possibly omitting the Pristella for their pretty harsh aggression) and go with five or six of those.  Then in the future, when you're addicted and go up to a 29g or 55g tank, well....  the possibilities are nearly endless!> Thanks again WWM Crew! <And thanks for being such a great, conscientious fishkeeper.> Wayne <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Midnight massacre - help! This last week I have been losing my albino Longfin and zebra Danios during the night. In the daytime these mainly occupy the top layers of my aquarium, but ay night sleep in the cover of numerous plants and rocks. Each morning I find their numbers diminished and some with their tails completely chewed off and bloodied stumps. There is no indication of the culprit during the daylight hours, but I am wondering if my golden algae eaters are to blame as they seem very protective of their personal space. My tank:           300ltr  (80gal) with mix of artificial and live plantings Temp:              21oC      (70o F)  as I have a mix of goldfish and semi-tropicals PH:                  7.0 - 7.1 Ammonia:        0 ppm Fish:                Comets, Shubunkins, Calico Ryukins, Fantails                       Buenos Aires Tetras, Black Widow Tetras, Bitterlings                         Golden Algae Eaters, Chinese Algae Eaters                         Peppered Catfish, Tandanus Catfish                         Albino Longfin Danios, Zebra Danios I have suspected the Tandanus Catfish, but there is only one, a juvenile, no larger than the Danios. Until now, these fish have been socializing quite happily since installing this tank about three months ago. Can anyone enlighten me please? < My money is on the Buenos Aires tetras. These tetras are quite active and have appetites to match. I suspect they are out looking for a little midnight snack and find these albino Danios easy to find in the dark and easy to catch when they are asleep. As these tetras grew larger they have found that they can now eat at least part of these Danios when they catch them.-Chuck>
Re: Massacre
Thanks for your input Chuck. With your advice in mind, I removed the four Buenos Aires tetras to my emergency "hospital" tank, but the carnage continued. Last night I did some torchlight surveillance and located the culprit. It was indeed the Tandanus catfish! Even though he was only slightly larger than his prey, he sure could open wide! Have found out that this breed can grow ENORMOUS, so as he is a native of Australia, he has been removed to one of the dams on my property. Peace now reigns. Thank you once again. < Australian fishes are rarely found outside there native country and so are very rare in the aquarium hobby or in the aquarium literature. You bring out a good point in that aquarists should research proposed tank mates prior to introducing them into their aquarium.-Chuck> Lois

Catfish L 18 and L 46 Hello, my name is Carol. I have a few questions about setting up a new tank. I was hoping to set up a tank so I could have a few catfish. The two catfish I really like are Gold Nuggets and Zebra Plecos.  I was hoping I could have both types in the same tank.  I understand Gold Nuggets are algae eaters and Zebra Plecos are meat eaters; both liking warm, high oxygenated, high filtered, flowing water. I was also hoping to include Fancy guppies (knowing that both catfish like peaceful tanks). <I would think that if the tank is large enough you should be fine. Plecos can become extremely territorial though so the tank does need to be large and do keep an eye on them.> (I have two other tanks...60 gal. with 3 Piranhas and a 60 gal with a mix...6 rummy nose tetras, 6 cardinals, 1 clown loach, 3 skunk Botias, Bala shark and a Pictus. I have had both tanks 2 years now.) <Sounds like you are having fun!> I have looked for both types of fish in local fish stores...sales person didn't seem to know much about either fish and wanted $45.00 for the gold nugget (about 2"),and $95.00 for the zebra (about 2"). Ok to my questions: can the two types co-habitate <Most likely, see above> What size tank is needed (was told a 10 gal would be ok) <I think this is going to be way too small. Most Plecos can easy reach sizes near 1 ½ feet and although it generally takes a while I've seen them reach this length in less than a year. Start with at *least* a 29 gallon, larger would be better.> Do you know where I could get the fish for a reasonable price? <This I can't help with. I've seen some dealers who carry them but that was a while ago and I don��t remember prices. I also can't personally recommend them since I��ve never dealt with them myself. Sorry!> Thank you for your time. <Glad to be of assistance.>

Ghost or Glass Catfish and midget clown loach I had a Ghost Catfish and it died this morning it was perfectly fine except some of its tail was bit of by my Firemouth cichlid.... <Oh oh... these two fishes are not compatible... the Firemouth (and most cichlids) are way too mean to house with an easygoing species like Ghost Glass Cats> The water conditions are fine and I didn't see any visual problems with the fish. just wondering what could have happened. It wasn't to old either it was only like 2 inches long.  <I suspect that the initial trauma and "dark of the night" was too much for your catfish... Look for more "armored" species of catfishes, like the Suckermouth Catfishes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm> Also I have a baby clown loach ( doing fine) but when I got him hw was only like an inch long and he really hasn't grown much at all probably have had him for 4 months now.  <Mmm, loaches are slow growers, but they also need plenty of "high quality" food... Are you making sure yours is getting enough protein in its diet? You might want to look into sinking pellets of sorts here> I had to treat him for Ich right when I got him could the medication have effected his growth (used a malachite green based medication. <You're right. Good input, observation. It definitely could have done so.> Thanks for your help bye <Keep studying. Bob Fenner>

Columbian shark (catfish)  Hi, Would you be able to tell me if the Columbian Shark (Arius seemanni ) will do ok with Oscars and Severums?  <not recommended... quite an unnatural and unfair mix> I know the salinity of the water might be an issue.  <a big issue... plus we are dealing with acidic loving versus alkaline loving differences here. One of the two will suffer in time if the salinity isn't a problem first> How best would you recommend dealing with the salinity? <keep them separate and raise the sharks in increasing brackish water over time> Would it be better for the Cichlids if I kept it lower than what is optimal for the catfish? Will the Columbian Shark do ok at a lower salinity, or can I raise it enough with harming the Cichlids? If so what would be a good level of salinity for all of them to do ok? <I simply wouldn't mix them... but must admit that the cichlids can take more salt than the shark can do without> Thanks in advance, Adam <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Columbian shark (catfish)
Hi, Thanks for the information. My understanding is that these catfish like freshwater when they are young.  Is that correct?  <correct> At what age ( size ) do you recommend making the transition from fresh to brackish and then to full saltwater ? <it should be a gradual process...ever-increasing and co-ordinated with a hydrometer. There is no hard rule about when to be at full seawater if ever. In fact, I do not believe that they need full seawater and can be held nicely in heavy brackish water as adults. As such... I would advise the coordination of a monthly increase in salinity with a hydrometer to climb to heavy brackish by 2 years old> Thanks, Adam <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Columbian shark (catfish)
Hi, Do you think a Jaguar catfish ( Liosomadoras oncinus ) would make a good tankmate for Oscars and Severums. If so, what should I look out for and be careful of (i.e. temperament, water chemistry compatibility,...stuff like that ) ? Thanks, Adam <There are many hardy catfish that are likely to fare well with Oscars however I would recommend bony plated species with cichlids more so in case aggression should arise. Pimelodelid cats are also aggressive and hardy but for their soft bodies they can suffer terribly with scrappy Oscars. Look more toward Hoplos and Plecos. Anthony>

Huge catfish=pissed wife Thanks for the fast response - The web site referred by you is great, eyes sore from so much screen info- going to buy some books before I lose my vision. Once again thanks. Huge catfish = pissed wife <Maybe start with a juvenile huge catfish and she won't notice as it gets so big? Bob Fenner>

Mystus mix with Molly O.K. ?? Your web site has created a semi-Aquarius tech in my wife's eyes. That allowed me to spend more on the species of fish for a 20 gallon fresh water tank. The only problem is that I have Pot Belly Molly's (6) - Zebra Danios (10) - and I just brought and addition, two Mystus (spotted) catfish. I confused them for the Cory Catfish which were good for a mixture within my tank.  <not a perfect match though as most Corys do not favor brackish water ideally. Most are just hardy enough to tolerate it> Being that I add salt to my tank weekly (4 teaspoons non-iodized), would this affect my catfish in terms of ph in the tank ??  <it will not affect the pH but it may irritate the catfish in time. A little salt in the water is most always recommended though for the greater good of the tank> My tank's biological filtering is good, the nitrate/ammonia/and ph level's are set ok for my prior fish set-up. I have a whisper 3 stage filter/undergravel filter. Please help since I am really getting attached to my catfish.  <hmmm... some Mystus can get large if not huge (your mollies might get eaten whole by year's end)... you may need a bigger tank for them anyways. Do check out Fishbase.org for specs on more than a dozen Mystus species to find yours> Thanks. P.S. I have searched other web sites including yours but have not found any reference of a set up mentioned above or anything in general about my Mystus catfish mixed with my first fish or any other fish. Thanks again. <best regards, Anthony>

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