Catfish-Only Community Tank

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elderpav
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Catfish-Only Community Tank

Post by elderpav »

I thought it would be cool to have a catfish-only community tank. The fish are housed in a 29-gallon with live plants and sand as a substrate. External filter, air stone, heater, and a LED tank hood with blue nightlight. I've had it for a year and it seems to be doing okay. pH is on the hard side, betw. 7.5 & 8.0. The water in my area is naturally hard & it has been a challenge to try to bring it down. In any case, the fish seem to be doing fine. I have 2 Corydoras (C. Julii), a green Bushynose Pleco, 3 Upside-Down Catfish, 2 Asian Glass Catfish (I started out with 4, 2 died early on but the 2 remaining seem to be doing well), and 2 Otocinclus. Overall I'm happy with the setup, but if I had to do it all over again I'd probably not get the upside-down catfish. They're not very attractive, and only come out at night. In fact, the only fish I see during the day would be the Corys, the Otocinclus, and occasionally the Pleco. I love the glass catfish, very beautiful, but I only ever see them at night. I know most catfish are bottom-dwellers, but I know there have to be a few that 1) inhabit the mid to upper levels of the aquarium, 2) are active during the day, and 3) stay small and will fit in a 29-gallon. Any suggestions?
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bekateen
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Re: Catfish-Only Community Tank

Post by bekateen »

Hi elderpav,

Welcome to PlanetCatfish, and thanks for sharing about your tank.

As far as the fish your keeping, I have a thought: If your upside-down cats are Synodontis nigriventris, then I'd point out that they, as well as your Asian glass catfish Kryptopterus vitreolus and your Otocinclus, are naturally found in groups, and it is in these groups that their natural social behaviors are more evident. I'm not saying that you have room for this in the tank you have now, but I think you'd find that the nigriventris, the glass cats and the otos would all be more active in the daytime, and the nigriventris would be out skimming the walls of your tank and any decor like wood, etc., if you kept them in larger groups (e.g., 6-8 or even more of the same kind - obviously not possible for all of them in a 29 gal tank). But in pairs or groups of 3, they will feel more insecure and tend to hide more. That's been my experience with all these species. And of course the same is true for the corys, even though you see them out already, they would be all over the place if you kept them in a larger group. Personally, I prefer to buy corys in groups of 8-12 of a species, but minimum 6 at a time; below is a video of some of my corys in a 75 gal tank, enjoying the water current.

In fact, the only fish you're keeping that is not a shoaling fish is the bristlenose pleco.

Food for thought, that a catfish-only community tank is difficult to establish in a medium sized tank like yours unless you pick species that don't tend to school or shoal. A variety of compatible plecos will probably be your best choice, although most of them prefer more acidic water. Maybe there are some other Asian or African cats to consider? They might like the water conditions better; I don't know.

Cheers,
Eric

Corydoras playing (murmuration) in the water current in 75 gal tank
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FatCatDoorMat
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Re: Catfish-Only Community Tank

Post by FatCatDoorMat »

elderpav wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:04 pm I thought it would be cool to have a catfish-only community tank. The fish are housed in a 29-gallon with live plants and sand as a substrate. External filter, air stone, heater, and a LED tank hood with blue nightlight. I've had it for a year and it seems to be doing okay. pH is on the hard side, betw. 7.5 & 8.0. The water in my area is naturally hard & it has been a challenge to try to bring it down. In any case, the fish seem to be doing fine. I have 2 Corydoras (C. Julii), a green Bushynose Pleco, 3 Upside-Down Catfish, 2 Asian Glass Catfish (I started out with 4, 2 died early on but the 2 remaining seem to be doing well), and 2 Otocinclus. Overall I'm happy with the setup, but if I had to do it all over again I'd probably not get the upside-down catfish. They're not very attractive, and only come out at night. In fact, the only fish I see during the day would be the Corys, the Otocinclus, and occasionally the Pleco. I love the glass catfish, very beautiful, but I only ever see them at night. I know most catfish are bottom-dwellers, but I know there have to be a few that 1) inhabit the mid to upper levels of the aquarium, 2) are active during the day, and 3) stay small and will fit in a 29-gallon. Any suggestions?
I am very biased towards indian cats, so here's what I'd suggest you keep:
8xRama chandramara
6xMystus carcio
along with the rest you already have. The Mystus, once acclimated, will be moderately active throughout the day. Think of the Chandramara as hardy glass catfish versions of Mystus. You need atleast 5-6 glass cats for them to exhibit shoaling behaviour but at this point that's just too much crowding. Pachypterus atherinoides is a shoaling species too but it gets somewhat bigger.
elderpav
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Re: Catfish-Only Community Tank

Post by elderpav »

Thank you FatCatDoorMat. These look like good suggestions. I need to find out more about them tho. Are Rama chandramara active during the day? Do they often inhabit the mid-to-upper levels of the tank? Obviously I'd say I don't have room for any of these now, but perhaps later down the line.
elderpav
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
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Re: Catfish-Only Community Tank

Post by elderpav »

Thank you bekateen for your response. Yes, my upside-down catfish are Synodontis nigriventris. I've got 3 of them, was hoping that would be enough, perhaps not. I started out with 4 Asian Glass Catfish, again hoping that would be enough, but 2 didn't last long & now down to 2, who are doing fine but only come out at night. I started out with 3 Corys, one died within a few days, but the remaining 2 seem to be doing well. I even see some of the behavior displayed in that video you shared. They love playing in my air stone's bubble stream. The Otocinclus are also often out during the day. I might be able to get away with adding a couple more Oto's, since they stay small. But to add more of the other fish I'll have to wait. Perhaps eventually I'll get a bigger tank.
elderpav
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:42 pm
My cats species list: 5 (i:0, k:5)
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Spotted: 5
Location 1: Stansbury Park, UT
Location 2: United States

Re: Catfish-Only Community Tank

Post by elderpav »

So if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably do something like this:
1 Bushynose Pleco
5 Corys
5 Otocinclus
5 Rama Rama (or something similar (like Chandramara chandramara or Batasio tengana or Mystus carcio)

Again this is for a 29-gallon. I may eventually get a bigger tank, which of course would give me more options.
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