Calming tank-mates or skittish fish in higher-traffic locations?

andyroo

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Tell me about tank-mates that might be soothing, calming - I'm thinking angels and/or oscars.

The soon-to-be-finished 7.5' in-wall's at the far end of a hallway with bedroom doors more or less flush at both right & left of the tank - not ideal for skittish fish. Currently it's to house a 14" silver arowana & half-dozen 4" SD's - again maybe not ideal, particularly if plants are to be part of the calming decor/habitat but also the SD menu.
Lighting in -vs- outside has been considered, as has overwater decor: a big empty enclosed lighting space & eurobracing, overwater root/leaf-trailing plants at the sides, reasonable surface current. Zen.

Re. un-spooking specifically: I'm also thinking of black/river mullet (Agonostomus monticola) as they're utterly manic, but aren't particularly spooky-skittish (IME). IE: Can one simply overstimulate the spook response?

That last question's not totally serious, though I'd be curious of people's experiences towards the ends of the bell-curve.
 

tlindsey

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I had a Silver Arowana before it jumped out of the aquarium was pretty stable and tankmates were SD's , Polypterus, and a Datnoid. The aquarium was just a 180 and in my basement which is minimal traffic but if the Arowana saw my shadow it would swim back and forth relentlessly lol but the SD's would only get skittish if I approached the side of the aquarium where they were. I think by having a 7.5 length aquarium will definitely help the SD's because they will have the space to not swim into the aquarium. I would tell everyone in living in the home to walk and approach the aquarium slowly.
 
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esoxlucius

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In my experience if a fish is startled easy and throws a wobbler from time to time, there's not a great deal the addition of other fish will do to all of a sudden put a stop to that behaviour. Others may say differently, and there's no doubting that dither fish can help...sometimes.

I had a chronic case of such behaviour with my chalceus and bala sharks in my 180g glass tank, and they were with other fish. This behaviour continued until I got my 360g fibreglass tank. I put them in that and honestly, it was like i'd flicked a switch. They were super chilled, my chalceus passed recently but my balas are still very much alive and haven't freaked out since they've been in there.

Now I don't know whether it was a tank size thing, could have been a factor. But more likely, in my opinion, that the open view of a glass tank on three sides, which meant they were never hidden from sudden movement and/or shadows was a major factor. My fibreglass tank only has a front window. This gives them much more "privacy" than a glass tank. And I believe this is key with fish that spook easy.

By your description i envisage your tank to be set in a wall at the end of a corridor, so in effect you only have the front panel for the fish to view out? This should, I would have thought, be way better than having your tank out in the open. So your tank position for a start, I think, may give you a good start over a normal positioned set up.

Keep us posted how it goes, and when you're coming out of the bedrooms, don't slam the doors!!! :thumbsup:
 

celebrist

Potamotrygon
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In my experience if a fish is startled easy and throws a wobbler from time to time, there's not a great deal the addition of other fish will do to all of a sudden put a stop to that behaviour. Others may say differently, and there's no doubting that dither fish can help...sometimes.

I had a chronic case of such behaviour with my chalceus and bala sharks in my 180g glass tank, and they were with other fish. This behaviour continued until I got my 360g fibreglass tank. I put them in that and honestly, it was like i'd flicked a switch. They were super chilled, my chalceus passed recently but my balas are still very much alive and haven't freaked out since they've been in there.

Now I don't know whether it was a tank size thing, could have been a factor. But more likely, in my opinion, that the open view of a glass tank on three sides, which meant they were never hidden from sudden movement and/or shadows was a major factor. My fibreglass tank only has a front window. This gives them much more "privacy" than a glass tank. And I believe this is key with fish that spook easy.

By your description i envisage your tank to be set in a wall at the end of a corridor, so in effect you only have the front panel for the fish to view out? This should, I would have thought, be way better than having your tank out in the open. So your tank position for a start, I think, may give you a good start over a normal positioned set up.

Keep us posted how it goes, and when you're coming out of the bedrooms, don't slam the doors!!! :thumbsup:
100% agree, my silver dollars were freaks in my 90 QT. After moving them into the 450 they are very calm. Same with my Bala sharks when they went from my 150 to the DT

WP_20170310_037.jpg
 

jjohnwm

Dovii
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Mar 29, 2019
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I think esoxlucius esoxlucius has hit the nail on the head as far as the feeling of security that is imparted by a solid opaque tank with just one glass side.

On the other hand, if I am understanding the OP correctly, there is a door at each end of the tank and at right angles to it? I can see one or both of those doors opening suddenly by someone exiting those closed rooms. The abrupt motion of a large door, coupled with a possible flash of light or dark and maybe even vibrations transmitted through the floor...might not be taken well by the Arowana in particular. I hope I'm wrong.
 

andyroo

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Apr 17, 2011
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Yes, only one glass panel, with an epoxy sealed cement render texture/finish reminiscent of a granite - the hope is that a startled fish will see it before it bops into it... let's see. The epoxy's got some give compared to glass & its smooth.

Yes, doors at right angles so opening/closing, movement, light & slamming will be issues (along with moving bodies, dogs etc), particularly with the gusty winds around this hilltop house. I've got doorstops in abundance between failed SCUBA tanks & lead weights, & silicone slam-dampener buttons in the door jams might be helpful too.
 
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Backfromthedead

Redtail Catfish
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Cichlids are going to be your least skittish fish. Any kind of characin or large barb has the potential to be skittish. Sometimes if i flip the lights on suddenly in my garage, i just see flashes of silver followed by a cacophony of thuds and glass lids rattling, no doubt from my chalceus and balas rather sensitive panic button.

No doubt a larger tank will help with any species though. Blacking out the sides is a good idea, but an opaque top or lid that blocks out errant shadows and bright overhead lights could also help out a lot.
 

celebrist

Potamotrygon
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May 7, 2013
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Yes, only one glass panel, with an epoxy sealed cement render texture/finish reminiscent of a granite - the hope is that a startled fish will see it before it bops into it... let's see. The epoxy's got some give compared to glass & its smooth.

Yes, doors at right angles so opening/closing, movement, light & slamming will be issues (along with moving bodies, dogs etc), particularly with the gusty winds around this hilltop house. I've got doorstops in abundance between failed SCUBA tanks & lead weights, & silicone slam-dampener buttons in the door jams might be helpful too.
I think pics of a seven foot tank are always appropriate 😉
 

andyroo

Plecostomus
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Don't disagree re photos, but let me get the leak-testing finished, celebrist celebrist . Don't worry, I won't make you wait for the gyprock.

The lighting's set-up & I'm sourcing a
dimmer switch on a timer, Backfromthedead Backfromthedead to set it to come on as I/the household wakes up so the interior is brighter than the exterior/hallway before there's particular activity.
The thing's nearly 7' up the wall at the top, so no issue with overhead shadow. Unfortunately I note that the aro's really (REALLY) uncomfortable with things moving underneath her, such as when I deal with her current under-tank filter... which I'll have to figure out.
The cupboard above waterline is 18" tall enclosed closed empty "light-box" space, so lots of safe-leaping gap, with a vague shelf at the sides where I'll set baby-tears (plants) or something similarly soft with a water-trailing capacity and/or root. Pothos are nice, but big & shading and their clinging roots will eat the paint & epoxy. Let's see, though - a bit of nylon mesh and a stringier vine might be nice, but I still want the light reflected. Let's see...
 
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Icecold Dan

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May 10, 2018
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My tank is in a very high traffic area as well. Three sides are painted black, with only the viewing panel clear.

My Brachychalcinus Orbicularis were very, very skittish when I first added them, to the point that a couple of them hit the walls so hard that it deformed their mouths a bit. Luckily this hasn't caused any long term issues. I don't know if this will be the case with all fish, but after a while, between learning the dimensions of their new environment, and getting used to my wife and I passing the tank on a regular basis, they don't freak out anymore when we pass by. YMMV
 
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