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pairs vs singles
I have a 125g tank with 2 silver dollars, 1 jurapari, 3 red head geos, 2 clown loaches, and 2 kribs. I plan on adding 3 more silver dollars and want to add one of the following: severum, chocolate, or nic. My question is if it will be ok to add just 1 or do I need a pair. I'm not interested in breeding but I don't want to buy 1 fish and be unhappy with it becuase I should have got 2, and I don't want to get 2 and have them try to spawn and become too aggressive for the tank. I am also open for suggestions as to alternatives. My only other tank is a 20g with 2 angels and 2 cupidos so I can't exactly shuffle the deck.
IMHO-Stay away from the Chocolate, as I have had 3, they made (even at a small size, try 2.5") a meal of Adult Rams, Orangeheads, Gymno's Etc...I would worry about the Kribs, but if large enough, the tankmates otherwise would be ideal for Coco's. Mine is now a 3" beastie, maybe it's the group I had gotten, but every one was aggro (for a SA)(He now hangs with my less aggro CA's). Sevvies, if Smaller, are Ideal and can be Beauties, I had a pair of Nics, from Scott, and they bred, and were as Scott stated, aggro, but not deadly. I would go with singles, that's what I have done in the past, but here is my 75 (soon - later to be a 5' 100 gal) stocking. Don't let me be the authority on Chocolates tho, Sawboy has some nice ones as well. But I have a buddy (Who is a Biology Prof at Elon in North Carolina) who kept his with Amarillo's & My Beast Cutteri (Think Terminator of Cutteri, The Male was over 6" and Deadly).
7x-Geo Albios (5-7")
1x-Geo Orange Head (3")
1x-L187 (RubberLip Pleco)
1x-L114 (Leopard Cactus Pleco)
1x-L104 (Clown Pleco)
Many, Many, Many Botia/Loaches (Can't even count the number, (Rough estimate) but 10x-Yoyo's, 3x-Queens, 4x-Straita, & 4x-Kubotai)
Filtered heavily, Weekly WC's and Monthly Gravel Vac and Sponge Change)
2x-AC110's (Double Sponge's)
1x-Ehiem Classic 2217
I have had much success with Orangeheads in this tank (Thanks Don), yet The Chocolate almost decimated my stock as well as my Rams. Highly Recommend the Silver Dollars, not nippy and a great shape (Read: Different) I have many SD's and am always looking for Oddballs, yet mine are too large (Read: Bioload) too keep with this mix, When I go to a larger tank, Ill add a group of 4 Heckle Stripe, or Spotted.
"I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself."
(The Stranger - 6/1998)
There is a guy named Chris who can comment with his experience on the chocolates, but I believe he would agree that this is your least attractive option. They are surprisingly very aggressive - looks are deceiving since (in my opinion) they are an attractive fish that is a low-action species. But they can be ruthless. Of course, as with any species, individual fish can vary as far as temperament.
Between nics and sevs, I would go with Nics with those tankmates. Sevs can hold their own and while may not look for a fight, they can stress out tank mates if breeding or territorial disputes arise. Nics I have kept are harmless, even when breeding. I would suggest getting 2 or more nics and even if they breed, I don't think they would inflict measurable damage on those other tankmates. Besides, they look cool. Good luck on your final decision - you should get more views here from folks who can help further.