View Full Version : Looking to stock my tank with Semi-Aggressive fish - any suggestions?

04-13-2016, 08:47 AM
Hey folks,

I was communicating with Pierre (thanks, Pierre!), and was hoping to bring this to a broader audience. My goal is to figure out what to stock my tank with given my current setup, then based on what you all recommend, I was going to post a 'Wanted' sign for the Fish Auction on Sunday.

Pretty standard - thought I found a website that had recommendations in the past but can't seem to find those details anymore.

I'm trying to move one notch away from a community tank. I have a 55 gallon tank with Albino Corys (10+), 1 Pleco, 3 Otos, 2 Neon Tetras, 3 Giant Danios, 2 Albino Rainbow Sharks, and 3 long finned Zebra Danios. Right now the Giant Danios and the Rainbow Sharks are the most aggressive fish in my tank. I've had this tank for about a year (upgraded from a 29 gallon that I had for 3 years)

My budget is $10 or less per fish. Any suggestions on Semi-Aggressive Colorful fish that I can add to the above family? Hoping not to get any fish that gets more than 4.5" in size, and also need to know what changes to my water I need (I heard dolomite or crushed coral need to be added), and guess I need to buy live food- I tend to do the flakes and freeze dried shrimp and bloodworms now.

I'm hoping to get Blue Rams, Yellow Bellied Albert, and Emerald Dwarf Rasbora (among a few others from Pierre).

-Jit (still a newbie)

04-13-2016, 09:48 AM
One of my favorite past tanks was stocked with an RTS, Raphael cat, and Tiger barbs (all 3 color morphs). Not sure that helps, but it sounds like you're looking for something similar. Good luck!

04-13-2016, 10:58 AM
You have to be carefull not to mix hard water / higher pH fish with soft water ones. Yellow Bellies Albert is hard water. Also, their size.

Emerald Dwarf Rasbora: The ones I have are wild and need slightly soft to medium hard (hardness 10-20 dGH), slightly basic (pH 7-7.6), temperature 20-24C/68-75F. These ranges replicate the habitat. This is one rasbora that does not fare well in acidic water. Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/profiles/emerald-dwarf-rasbora/ (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/profiles/emerald-dwarf-rasbora/#ixzz45irN1Twa)

Mog Carns
04-13-2016, 11:18 AM
Pierre is one of the most knowledgeable people in the club, so grats on choosing a good mentor.

From your description, it sounds a bit like you might have been "drinking from the firehose"; bombarded with information.

Rift Lake African Cichlids need water additives as they come from mineral rich alkali lakes, but other fish do not need them.
Some species, and several wild caught fishes, need live food, but the majority are quite happy with the prepared.

Unfortunately, semi aggressive doesn't really tell us all that much. Can you be more specific is what exactly you are looking for?
I want to branch out into other fish I have seen...
I want to try cichlids...
I want a badass predator fish...

If you are looking to branch out, tiger or one of the other larger barbs as Len suggested might be the way to go. They do not really require any additional care beyond what you already provide, but they are known to be very bad to nip at or kill other fish. If your group of them is big enough, say 12 or so, they usually keep the aggression inside the group. Not always, but usually. If the group decides to oust an individual, they will beat it til it dies. Most of the predatory catfish get large, but a few synos stay small enough. They will still eat anything small enough to fit in their mouths.

Cichlids can be called semi aggressive. Some are full on predators eating or killing anything in the tank. Some are as docile as to be called community fish. They usually exhibit brood care, meaning you may have fry to deal with... or ignore and the fish will deal with them. Pierre can set you straight on what can be kept with what, and in what ratios.

The badass predator never works out. Avoid the urge. The cool ones all get too big. If you have only a few (or one) tanks, you eventually resent wasting it on one boring fish that is expensive to keep. If you have a hundred tanks, you resent using one of your big tanks to house one boring fish that is as expensive to keep as 12 of your smaller tanks. Eventually you end up paying someone to take the fish away, and even THAT is difficult to find.

What I have had work best for me is to start the plan with one fish species I want to keep, and build the plan from there. Once you have that one species, you know how the tank has to be set up, and you can decide to be single species only, or with other fish that also live in that style environment, AND are of similar size and temperament. A shy fish that requires a lot of plant cover for hiding doesn't work well with another fish that eats all the plants. A fish large enough to fit another in it's mouth will 99% of the time eat the smaller fish. A more passive fish will be bullied to death, or out-competed for food. In your above examples, the Ram is usually fairly passive South American that thrives in soft, acid water. The Albert grows larger than your size requirement, and lives in an alkali Rift Lake. The Rasbora is a microfish that would only find itself in the mouth of the other two.

Good luck!

04-13-2016, 11:48 AM
I'm a bit confused... Do you only have 1 tank?

Are you taking any fish out?

From your current stocking, I'd add 3 more of the giant danios and the zebra danios they will be a whole less aggressive if in a school, as well as happier.

Also as the rainbow sharks mature, they do not tolerate their own kind, so I'd look into rehoming 1 of them.
The neons could be picked on or eaten by them as well.

Fish do better with live food for sure, but all of them will do fine with processed food (not picky eaters).

As to adding something to make the water harder(crushed coral or Dolomite) you only need a little since all your current fish prefer soft water.

Blue Rams could work with the rest of the fish, the shark may show aggression to the ram as they occupy the same part of the aquarium (bottom to middle). Rams are pretty peaceful fish.

The emerald dwarf Rasboras are TINY fish, and are wild caught and therefore prefer HARD water. They are also very shy, so no big Predotors. So I would not add them to the 55!! Especially if you want an semi aggressive tank!

I think the idea of several tiger barbs is probably the best.

04-13-2016, 11:51 AM
Btw, check out www.seriouslyfish.com they've got excellent profiles on a lot of fish, including rare ones. I think their African cichlid site is la king a bit, but everything else has always been great.

Badmans tropical fish is another one of my favorites, they are short and have a summary of all the details of the fish.(temperament, size, care, etc)

04-13-2016, 12:09 PM
If you're wanting cichlids I know Boni is selling golden rams aND dwarf acaras and is going to bringing them to the auction

04-13-2016, 12:33 PM
Looking for new fish is always fun. Most of what has been said here is that the Yellow Belly Alberts would not go with the rest, I totally agree with that. They are an African and require different water chemistry than many of the fish you have. If you're going to maintain the fish you have, other possible tank mates, besides the Blue Rams you have mentioned (I honestly don't know much about Rasbora - I do keep mostly Africans) would be Angels or possible some Apistogrammas. Possibly even some Rainbows (rainbows are very forgiving to the water type they are kept in has been my experience).

Hope this helps.

04-14-2016, 10:48 PM
Thanks all for the feedback. I had a great chat w/ Pierre; I'll be sticking w/ SA Cichlids.

To Jeremy's point, (you're right on the money)- drinking from firehouse with 3 days til auction. I want to try cichlids that are colorful and move around a lot. I intend to keep my current fish. I like my Rainbow Tipped Shark and Neon Tetras, and want to build from there. while I think the Yellow bellied Albert is beautiful, I need to find something from SA that needs a lower PH.

To Tropical's question, I just have 1 tank; wife won't allow me to have more.. Other than selling 9 corys and 1 Rainbow shark (1 is clearly dominating the other; thanks for the tip, Tropical), I intend to keep the rest. I forgot to mention I have 3 juvi Zebra Danios that hopefully will address the aggressiveness. Will keep away from emerald dwarf ras.

Likestofish - thanks for the tip on Boni's sales - I'll reach out to her.

One issue I have - my PH is 6.5, but my hardness is 300; will get oak leaves (per Pierre) or peat to bring down hardness.

To sum it up, after spending several more hours reading after talking to Pierre, my additions will be:
From Pierre:
8 Melanotaenia praecox Juv
Trio *1 male 2 females if possible) of DANIO LEOPARD LONGFIN - Brachydanio frankei
5 shrimps "light brown"

Hoping to get a hold of Boni for 2 dwarf acaras; and need to source 3 apistos.

Hope the above is a better concise reading

04-15-2016, 08:38 AM
That's great, zebra and leopard danios will school together!

With that hard water, definitely don't add any crushed coral, etc. the leaves and peat will lower ph, but I'm not quite sure that they will lower hardness. Are you sure about your hardness? Double check it with a different kit? As it's pretty hard! Also if you have testing kit check your tap water, it might be something in your tank making the water harder.

Btw while cories can be kept single, it's much better if they are in a group/shoal as they are very social. So I'd keep at least 4.

I'd be careful with the shrimp, in a cichlid tank they will more than likely become lunch. I'd test it with ghost shrimp they're cheap, so if the fish eat them, not as bad then if they eat some colorful, more expensive shrimp!

I'd love to see a picture of your set up!

04-15-2016, 09:38 AM
One issue I have - my PH is 6.5, but my hardness is 300; will get oak leaves (per Pierre) or peat to bring down hardness.
Oak leaves, almond leaves (wide very large leaves, not from almond tree ;-) and peat will reduce your pH NOT your hardness. I don't think you need to reduce your pH at this point.

How do you measure your water hardness? I wonder if there is some confusion with TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) which is not just because of hardness but more likely that you need to do a water change at least every two weeks instead of 1x / month.

04-15-2016, 09:54 AM
Oak leaves, almond leaves (wide very large leaves, not from almond tree ;-) and peat will reduce your pH NOT your hardness. I don't think you need to reduce your pH at this point.

How do you measure your water hardness? I wonder if there is some confusion with TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) which is not just because of hardness but more likely that you need to do a water change at least every two weeks instead of 1x / month.

I'm thinking the OP has a KH test kit. A TDS meter is much more accurate!

04-15-2016, 10:35 AM
Im using - http://www.amazon.com/Tetra-19543-EasyStrips-Strips-100-Count/dp/B0053PQWEU if that helps

04-15-2016, 10:37 AM
So the GH or the KH was 300?

04-17-2016, 08:08 AM
the GH is 300 - does that help figure it out? I retested again this morn.