I am about to set up a 55g hillstream setup for my 3 "Highway Catfish", Tachysurus trilineatus. The tank will have dark substrate and rocks with a modified river tank manifold creating the directional current. I am trying to figure out what other fish could potentially live alongside them. I had some ideas of hillstream species that would be interesting, but didn't realize they preferred warmer water. I am new to hillstream tanks, so for some reason I guess I kind of just assumed they were all lower temperatures. Glad I caught that.
T. trilineatus comes from the Pearl River in China, and has a temperature range of 60 - 73 F. I just leave their tank unheated, and it usually runs at about 68 - 70 F (I currently live in Florida). Tankmates don't need to be biotope specific, as the tank won't exactly look like the Pearl River, but I'm having the best luck finding options in that temperature range that actually originate from the same place.
So far the compatible fish I've found are white cloud mountain minnows and panda loaches, both from the Pearl River. I also found zodiac loaches, which look really neat.
I'm not sure how the cats will do with small, potentially edible fish or with similar size/shape fish that occupy the same area of the tank. I will ask on Planet Catfish about that. But unless I find an option I like better, if they won't get eaten I'll probably get some WCMMs.
Fish I'd been looking at that I found out weren't compatible include cobalt blue stiphodon gobies and similar spp., schistura spp. loaches, and panda garras. I love loaches, I'm just a little more of a catfish person, so the floor space in my tanks is generally taken up by my cats. So I've never gotten to keep any. I pretty much like any kind of loach except the "butterfly" hillstream varieties. I especially like species with long snouts and/or bodies. In general, I also tend to be more drawn to fish with high contrast color/patterns.
Does anyone have any suggestions for other fish options that would appreciate a subtropical hillstream setup?
(Also any plants that do well in hillstream setups? My T. trilineatus like to rest in the fake plants in their current QT/holding tank, so I'd like to give them some live ones in their permanent home.)
There are may types of moss. The original Java Moss will work, and the others such as Christmas Moss, and Fissidens will also cling well.
Small, tough plants like dwarf Anubias will be safe in a high water flow.
Bolbitis, a genus of ferns will thrive in high flow.
Any of these can be glued to the rocks and wood using the gel type of superglue. Then these plants will cling and spread around the wood or stone.
The lowest growing types of plants that are used as a ground cover in a planted tank can be tucked in between the rocks. This type of plant might spread a bit, and may need a little trimming, but would look nice between the rocks.
Taller plants like Vallisneria, hairgrass or similar might work in the calmest areas, but are not appropriate in the main flow. These would represent a quite back water part of a stream.
Stem plants with rounded leaves are not appropriate. They do not grow in rapids. The stems are too fragile to support the leaves in fast water movement.
Happy fish keeping!
I will definitely have some moss in the tank, I was planning to check out some neat rare mosses for sale on the planted tank forum and maybe get some of those. I am surprised that bolbitis likes fast water! That explains why its never done well in my planted tanks. I bet my cats would love to rest in some soft, branchy bolbitis leaves. I like the idea of the backwater plants as well, that probably makes for an interesting aquascape. I'll have to think about where it will be calm enough, though. My plan for the tank had the hillstream manifold keeping a fairly uniform current across the whole tank. I did need to go get another large tank at the dollar per gallon sale, either a 55g - 75g, for another existing group of cats. Maybe I'll look for bigger, and give the other group the 55g meant for these fish? I could probably have a more interesting, more dynamic stream layout with the bigger footprint.
So cool to find someone else with this fish! What are the odds? I'm surprised you have glass cats in a river tank, though. I've read they like a balance between calm areas and a little more current. I always imagined that would mean a generally low flow planted tank with areas of higher flow from the filter output in the negative space. If they would work in this tank, that would be excellent. I love them, but can't seem to fit them into any existing set ups. (If only I didn't have tiger barbs! But I love those too.) Good to know the loaches are a good option too, what other kinds do you keep with yours?
In this shape there is more floor space for rounded rocks and pebbles to represent the tumbling stream bed. Plus the depth allows room for some rocks to be piled up across the back like the bank of the stream.
Most of the fish in a really fast stream are not found mid-water, but dart in and out of the pockets around the rocks.
I generally run a canister filter on a stream tank, inlet at one end, outlet at the other, then add the Koralia style water circulation pumps.
I tried the design here in the 'Life in the Fast Lane' article, but did not like the look of the sponges in the tank.
Happy fish keeping!
Although there are calm spots in the tank, the glass cats are almost always directly in the current. They do not like the open water but prefer to hover under some plants. They stick tightly together and are very unique looking.Narelle wrote: So cool to find someone else with this fish! What are the odds? I'm surprised you have glass cats in a river tank, though. I've read they like a balance between calm areas and a little more current. I always imagined that would mean a generally low flow planted tank with areas of higher flow from the filter output in the negative space. If they would work in this tank, that would be excellent. I love them, but can't seem to fit them into any existing set ups. (If only I didn't have tiger barbs! But I love those too.) Good to know the loaches are a good option too, what other kinds do you keep with yours?
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