Help complete stocking of elem. school's 55 gal
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Help complete stocking of elem. school's 55 gal

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Help complete stocking of elem. school's 55 gal
Old 02-24-2009, 01:10 PM   #1
SST
 
Question Help complete stocking of elem. school's 55 gal

Hi everyone,

My son's elem. school has an established 55 gal.non-planted aquarium that has been not been well maintained due to lack of knowledge. I'm going to help them create a "how to" book for feeding and maintaining the tank, and once things are rolling again with regular water/filter changes, we'd like to re-stock the tank. It's the focal point of the lobby and really deserves to shine. Right now it needs some buffing, LOL.

In the tank right now are one each of: giant danio, silver dollar, and clown loach. From doing my research, these are all schooling fish and could all benefit from tank mates.

A. How many of each are recommended to have a happy school?
B. Any other fish recommendations?
C. Will the loaches outgrow the tank? Should we only have 2?

And the big question...Could I convert this from a filtered tank to a natural planted tank (so all they'd have to do is test the water and replace evaporated water) with the plant eating silver dollars in there? I'm just starting to do research about natural planted tanks for my home tank(s) and I'm wondering if it would be a good solution for the school.

Thanks, as usual!
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:35 PM   #2
 
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IMO clowns should always be kept in a group (5 at least) for their ultimate well being and clowns need a much larger tank than a 55gl. You can always convert this tank to a planted tank but as you already know silver dollars love to eat plants. Silver dollars also attain a large size, 8" not being uncommon, and preferably kept in small schools. I think a planted tank with a couple of large schools of two to three different type tetras would look really nice.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
 
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Bear in mind, this is just my opinion............The clown loach needs to be rehomed, he's gonna get to big for that tank.......The silver dollar should be in a school and eventually he is gonna outgrow that tank also......The danio should have a few more danios to school with, but sizewise they would be fine..........Other fish to add?........a small school of serpae tetras, about 5 or 6 Cories, maybe a few pairs of platys, some swordtails, amybe some type of rainbow fish..........IMO, these are all hardy fish and you can get some with very nice coloring, and they will stay active enough to amuse the children..........The plants should be safe from these species, as none of them are known as planteaters (least mine arent).........I would still go with some type of filtration.............I wouldnt leave it all up to the plants.......Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:41 PM   #4
 
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I agree, my brother silver dollar is about the size of a baseball in his 75G right now. You could have multiple schools of tetras. I just bought a school of black skirt tetras and red eye tetras. they look great and with a 55G they could be decent sized schools!!

Keep us updated with pictures if you can!
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:41 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
In the tank right now are one each of: giant danio, silver dollar, and clown loach. From doing my research, these are all schooling fish and could all benefit from tank mates.
First off, the loach is not going to work in a 55 gallon. They can get to be a foot in length and like to group with several of their own kind. A 55 is just not going to be big enough to handle them. I'd take him back to a fish store if at all possible.

The silver dollar is another schooling fish. How big is it and what variety? The larger silver dollars are probably too big for the tank. They are also much like angelfish, rather easy going but if it can fit in their mouth's they'll eat it. If you want to plant the tank I'd definitely take it back, otherwise I think real hard about taking it back.

The giant danio is probably not a problem. It would prefer a tank with a lot of current and other giant danios. Personally I would take him back and start fresh, building up a good school of them will put a pretty decent bioload on the tank and they won't appreciate a heavily planted tank. They'd prefer to have swimming room.

Quote:
B. Any other fish recommendations?
For a school I'd go with something relatively bullet proof. Fish like zebra danios, platys, male guppies. Throw in some tetras and some corys. Lots of color and movement, all community fish, and fairly simple to care for.


Quote:
And the big question...Could I convert this from a filtered tank to a natural planted tank (so all they'd have to do is test the water and replace evaporated water)
No. At least not if you want a planted fish tank. If you want a plant tank with a few fish in it you can do it. The problem is that you need a tremendous number of plants to filter the waste from even a single fish. Look at any of the naturally filtered tanks out there. You'll notice they are all packed to the gills with plants but only a few small fish. Plants are great to add to a tank. Just don't expect a handful to take over the job of your filter. If you want to plant the tank you need to decide just what your goal is. There's a lot that goes into the selection of your light, filter, and even a CO2 system if you really wanna go for it.

You can use a standard light fixture and have a hang on back filter, a few low light plants, and only does something like Flourish Excel for carbon. Alternately you could have canister fitler, 200W of lighting over the tank, and a pressurized CO2 system if you're looking to really over grow the tank. So the real question is what are your goals if you plant it?
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:48 PM   #6
 
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Ooops. I didn't realize "filtered tank" to a "planted tank" meant no filter. I just assumed the filter would stay. Excellent advice Tyyrlym, as always
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:01 PM   #7
 
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How many male guppies can you school together? I've always loved them but i know they breed like mad, but my old LFS told me that all males will not work
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:08 PM   #8
 
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Were it me , I would try and find homes for the current fish if possible for reasons already stated. I would stock the tank with small hardy schooling fish such as pristella tetras, bloodfin tetras, silver tipped tetras, cherry barbs and maybe some gold white cloud minnows. I would also add six to eight cory cats for bottom patrol. I would steer clear of any type shark or pleco except for bristlenose pleco which stays small and loves to eat algae unlike the common plecos that grow to twenty inches and contribute tons of poop.
I work for the local school district and have had some expierience with project or projects such as yours. At the end of the year everybody leaves for the summer break and sometimes pets and aquariums are left for custodians to look after which often times is not something high on their list of priorities with rooms to clean, floors to scrub and wax etc. I have cared for hamsters,gerbils, parakeets,and fish and though I didn't mind ,,perhaps others would not be so inclined. Please make arrangements for the summer months so that fish can be enjoyed for the following year. I'm not sggesting that this is not something you haven't considered, just some food for thought.
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:25 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD44 View Post
How many male guppies can you school together? I've always loved them but i know they breed like mad, but my old LFS told me that all males will not work
They don't school. Guppies really don't seem to care about the presence of absence of others of their kind. You can keep as many male guppies as you care too usually.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:18 PM   #10
 
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I hope they are not just going to "top off" the tank to replace the evaporated water but instead, plan to replace some of the water on a regular basis? What are the plans for the off season? Will someone be stoping by over the summer to maintain the tank? If not, you could keep many of the fish since you'll be moving them to new tanks over the summer anyway. Most of those fish won't reach full size in just 3-4 months.
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