Will this mix of fish work?

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Max Pedley helps a reader choose fish that will mix harmoniously in his tank set up.

A: I am setting up a 112 l tank with sand and leaf litter. There would be plenty of tannins. The fish I was thinking of including are eight C143 corys, a pair of Apistogramma mendezi, and a school of Hemigrammus rubrostriatus. Would this be a good fit?

NHAN, VIA EMAIL

Q: Max says: Seems like you’ve got good taste in fish. Apistogramma mendezi are one of my favourites. 

In a smaller tank (below 100 l) or so, I would seldom recommend mixing Corydoras and Apistogramma. The main reason for this is that the catfish seem to have no concept of territories and will usually repeatedly blunder into those of the apistos, resulting in missing eyes, torn fins and, in rare cases, even death. This is especially apparent if the Apistogramma begin to spawn. Even in larger aquaria, similar issues may persevere.

So if it was my choice, I’d trade the Corydoras out for a small group of Otocinclus or similar small, primarily herbivorous Loricariids which won’t eat the cichlids’ eggs and will keep out of their way. 

Other than that, I think you are planning a fantastic aquarium and even have a little space to add some other characins into the mix if you wish.