Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Top Fish to Avoid in a Planted Aquarium

Don’t you hate it when you’ve got beautifully planted tank and your brand-new fish demolishes everything? Keep watching to find out who made it on my list of notorious plant destroyers that you should avoid.

I’ve spent the better part of this year researching the perfect plants, hunting them down, and then carefully nurturing them in a 20-gallon aquarium. After months of growing without interference, it’s now time to add fish. But the last thing I want to do is accidentally add some creature that would turn this lush jungle into a deserted wasteland. I know saltwater fish are usually labeled as “reef safe” or not. So why don’t they do that with freshwater fish and plants? I did a little digging on the Internet and came up with three categories of fish: those that are definitely dangerous to plants, those that might be a little risky, and those that I heard a rumor from a friend of a friend about. So, don’t forget to comment below with any fish or invertebrates you’d add to the list.

The Chronic Offenders

  • Silver dollar fish
  • Monos and scats (brackish water)
  • Buenos Aires tetras
  • Goldfish and koi
  • Many types of African or larger cichlids (e.g., mbunas, uaru cichlids, flowerhorns, oscars)
  • Monster fish in general (e.g. stingrays, large catfish and plecos, pacus)
  • Larger crayfish
Buenos Aires tetras
Buenos Aires tetras (source)

There are many articles that suggest "goldfish-safe" or "cichlid-safe" plants, such as:
  • Anubias, java fern and java moss that can be attached to rocks to avoid uprooting
  • Fast growing vallisneria or hornwort
  • Large potted plants like an Amazon sword
  • Certain floating plants or plants that grow above water like pothos
Planted tank with albino cory catfish, java fern, and anubias
Java fern and anubias attached to hardscape

The Casual Snackers

  • Mollies
  • Florida flagfish
  • Larger gouramis
  • Bristlenose plecos (specifically likes Amazon swords)
Orange balloon molly fish
Balloon molly fish

The Rumored Bad Boys

  • A bala shark tore up carpeting plants
  • Siamese algae eaters mowed down newly planted vallisneria
  • Larger snails such as black devil snails (Faunus ater), Columbian ramshorn snails (Marisa cornuarietis), Sulawesi rabbit snail (Tylomelania gemmifera), and some of the largest species of apple snails (Pomacea canaliculata)
Orange rabbit snail
Sulawesi rabbit snail (source)

Thankfully, none of the fish I got for this community tank are on this list so I think I’m safe for now. Honestly, the greatest danger to my plants is my own black thumb, so ya’ll can be praying for me. 😉

Question of the Day

What fish or inverts would you add to this list? Comment below to share your experiences because I’d love to hear them. Take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!

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