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Re: Plant safe fish for low water levels
> Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 22:23:40 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Jason f Smith <jsmith02 at astro_ocis.temple.edu>
> Subject: Plant safe fish for low water levels
> This may be slightly off the subject but I'm hoping someone can help me.
> I'm planning a paludarium for a 46gal(36x15x20) bowfront. I won't bore you
> all with the details, but (on paper at least) I should have about 12gal of
> open water (not including the water flooding the substrate etc) with a
> maximum depth of 8". Current should be moderate (I'm planning 125-180gph
> canister). The plants will be the major focus, but I hope to have other
> inhabitants as well. Can anyone suggest a few fish species which will a)
> survive and be happy in 8" or less of flowing water b) not disturb/eat
> plants c) handle an average of 220ppm CaCO_3 (apparently this is "normal"
> for Tempe AZ) d) be large enough not to be eaten by frogs/newts and small
> enough not to eat frogs/newts/snails and e) look attractive :)
> Its a tall order I know (the 220ppm+plants has me stumped) but any
> ideas/suggested resources would be appreciated.
> Thanks in advance.
Your water sounds identical to mine, Jason. I have about 200 ppm CaCO3
equiv. hardness with 300 ppm total dissolved solids. That water chemistry
easily supports a very wide variety of attractive, small fishes. Most of the
denizens of your local fish store, for example. 
For example, nearly all of my killies will live comfortably in it, but some
rainforest types may not breed well in it. Most killies aren't too happy
with current, but the ones called Lampeyes love it. [A non-killy Lampeye
twin is the Medakas, and they probably would love it.] Many
*Aplocheilichthys* species of Lampeye come from waters not unlike yours, but
*Procatopus* may prefer softer water for best color. Lampeyes have more
subtle irridescent colors than the usual aquarium fish, so you may not find
them gaudy enough. If the room is bright, they can just glisten, though.
The current is a problem, as is temperature. Depth generally is not if you
keep the fish small and choose the streamlined shapes that like current.
Angelfish or Discus, for example, would be out.
The best, readily available, store-type fish would be White-Cloud-Mountain
minnows, if your tank isn't too warm. They are small, peaceful, brilliantly
colored (when you get them away from the store conditions), but are, like
goldfish, a temperate-climate species that won't enjoy your AZ summers
without AC. I think they love some current. My guess is that they would
suffer at much over 80F.
Many livebearers can tolerate the current and higher temperatures. Look for
longer slender fish, like swordtails. Those can and will eat very small
tender plants, like gloss, but usually will ignore larger plants. Avoid
platys, guppies and mollies. They are more active plant eaters and much less
happy in current.
The perfect native fish would be almost any of the White River Springfish
species, from just north of you in NV. Unfortunately congress wrote the
endangered species act in exactly such a way as to be sure no one could ever
learn the great value of these very attractive fish and hence really *want*
to protect them. BLM-subsidized ranchers just learn to hate them if they
interfere with their "free" water. It is illegal to keep endangered species
and learn their breeding habits, etc., and that is a real pity.
That suggests another attractive fish that is native elsewhere, but an
introduced "exotic" nuisance to the lower Moapa River where it enters Lake
Mead. They sell these Red Shiners as bait for fishing in Lake Mead. They
tolerate warm water and love current. A school of those could be attractive,
too. They are colored identically to the Dwarf Neon Rainbows (*Melanotaenia
praecox*) with irridescent blue sides and red fins. The males are
particularly brilliant when in spring spawning colors.
Most of the sucker-mouth fish come from swift streams. That's what the mouth
is adapted for, clinging to rocks in a current, and not the algae-eating
touted in the stores. Unfortunately, most are not very colorful and some,
like the so-called Chinese Algae Eater, are agressive predators that must be
kept in a species tank.
The most colorful loaches, like the Clown Loach grow slowly, but get huge.
Zebra Loaches might be better, but almost all are from fast-flowing warm
water. These will usually eat snails.
Many SA catfish would prefer softer water for breeding, but easily adapt to
your water. A larger genus, like *Brochis*, the Emerald Green Catfish might
look good. They like current, but you might arrange a rock or two for
sheltered resting space, too. Smaller species of Corys probably would not be
bothered by your other animals, for they all have spines with strong
irritant to quickly teach predators they are off limits. None normally can
or will eat plants. Their gut is too short to digest plant tissue.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. There are lots of really nice
fish for your paladurium available. I'd probably go for a small school of
Peacock Gudgeons, but then I like stranger fish than some. :-)
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntley1 at home_com
"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide
for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated."
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