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Suggestions for stocking 55g tank?

This is a discussion on Suggestions for stocking 55g tank? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by andrewr2488 Here is my List of fish as of now 2 Bolivian Rams (Pairs if possible) 13 Neon Tetras 7 Black ...

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Suggestions for stocking 55g tank?
Old 10-31-2009, 09:44 AM   #111
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
Here is my List of fish as of now

2 Bolivian Rams (Pairs if possible)
13 Neon Tetras
7 Black Neon Tetras
6 Silver Hatchetfish
4 C. Sterbai
5 C. Aeneus
6 Black Phantom Tetra

Hopefully thats not too large of a list, It will happen gradually over about 2-3 months time adding first the neon tetras, then the black phantoms, and so on as time goes.. Bolivians will probably come after black phantoms. Still working on my plant list, can you recommend a nice looking red plant to offset all the green?
That fish collections will be fine in your 55g. Plant your tank first, as much as you can. Once planted reasonably heavily, fish can be added, not all at once, but certainly more than in a plantless-tank. I had 95 fish in my 115g the day after initially set up with no issues.

For red plants, there are red leaf swords, hybrids, that are more brownish/red than bright red, and provided light and nutrients are sufficient make a nice contrast; you can see a couple in my current 90g (flooded Amazon forest). There is also a stem plant that is very bright red, Alternanthera reineckii, that is not always easy. Red leaved plants in general require more light to do well, and I haven't tried this latter species for 20 years; I should probably give it a try in my present setup, as I had even less light all those years ago. These are native to SA which I believe is what you're after.

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Old 11-01-2009, 05:10 PM   #112
 
My 50# Bag of Turface Pro League came in Friday. I'm going to rinse it and have it ready for wednesday when the tank setup begins.. Are there any other dwarf cichlids that would be compatible with the boli ram that would share the same water needs? I'm going to buy a light fixture tuesday and have it ready to plant wednesday hopefully. You said the regular filters that came with my emperor 400 are not going to be good for planted tanks since they contain carbon correct? someone said i could just order the clam shell frames and use a certain material for a filter. I'd like to pick at your brain a little more if you dont mind.

How many neon tetras can i add at once assuming the tank is pretty well planted, and how long after planting do i need to wait to add them?

Would a 200 watt heater be too much? I plan on buying a Marineland stealth heater
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:25 PM   #113
 
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Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
My 50# Bag of Turface Pro League came in Friday. I'm going to rinse it and have it ready for wednesday when the tank setup begins.. Are there any other dwarf cichlids that would be compatible with the boli ram that would share the same water needs? I'm going to buy a light fixture tuesday and have it ready to plant wednesday hopefully. You said the regular filters that came with my emperor 400 are not going to be good for planted tanks since they contain carbon correct? someone said i could just order the clam shell frames and use a certain material for a filter. I'd like to pick at your brain a little more if you dont mind.

How many neon tetras can i add at once assuming the tank is pretty well planted, and how long after planting do i need to wait to add them?

Would a 200 watt heater be too much? I plan on buying a Marineland stealth heater
On the dwarf cichlids, yes, I will root through my stuff and send you some suggestions probably tomorrow morning. There are several, just have to sort them out.

Don't know if the Emperor is good or bad, I just recommend removing the carbon in planted tanks. And you had mentioned upgrading, so I agreed the Rena XP2 would be a good choice. But the Emperor may work fine. In the 1980's I had smaller tanks (max was a 55g) with hang-on filters and liked them. The ones I had, had a filter return spout that could be directed rather than the water just falling into the tank, which allowed me to reduce the flow by aiming it along the rear wall. When I moved up to the 90g and 115g in the 1990's I was advised to go with canister for large planted tanks. There must be a pad or filter floss type material in the Emperor; that is the important part as it traps particles. You can always increase the filter floss, just don't have it so thick the water can't flow through.

I've no personal experience with the Marineland Stealth, maybe someone else here does. But a 200w is good, and in a 4-foot tank I would use two heaters, one at either end. Two 200w or two 150w. One should be positioned near the filter outflow (into the tank) so the water gets heated.

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Old 11-01-2009, 08:54 PM   #114
 
I'm debating returning the 400 for an xp2, the 400 is supposed to support up to a 90 gallon tank?
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:15 PM   #115
 
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I'm debating returning the 400 for an xp2, the 400 is supposed to support up to a 90 gallon tank?
If you can, and it were me, I would exchange. The nice benefit of a canister is being able to direct the water flow. Also, the Rena series has an adjustable flow rate which is a step better. The XP2 would work fine on your 55g.

Just my view, I have no reason to doubt the efficiency of the Emperor. I just prefer canisters on planted tanks.

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Old 11-03-2009, 01:03 AM   #116
 
I'm going to try and find my receipt for the 400, and exchange it for the xp2.. If not i'll get the xp2 and sell the emp 400..

So far i have the following
50G tank
Stand with 80g Capacity
400 Filter to be replaced with xp2
Prime Conditioner
Turface Pro league (Red) Substrate
API Test Kit


I'll need the following
Flourish Comprehensive
48" Light Fixture (T5 or Dual Tube)
Light(s)
2 150w Marineland Stealth Heaters
Root Tabs
Filter Media??
Plants
GH/KH Test Kit
2 Hoods (Do I actually need these? I guess since some of my fish naturally jump I should have Hoods?)

I Feel as though I'm forgetting something...

What Filter media do you reccomend be placed in the 2 baskets? On YouTube I saw a video of the correct setup of a Rena xP3, I Believe it was actually a video made by Rena.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:14 PM   #117
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
I'm going to try and find my receipt for the 400, and exchange it for the xp2.. If not i'll get the xp2 and sell the emp 400..

So far i have the following
50G tank
Stand with 80g Capacity
400 Filter to be replaced with xp2
Prime Conditioner
Turface Pro league (Red) Substrate
API Test Kit


I'll need the following
Flourish Comprehensive
48" Light Fixture (T5 or Dual Tube)
Light(s)
2 150w Marineland Stealth Heaters
Root Tabs
Filter Media??
Plants
GH/KH Test Kit
2 Hoods (Do I actually need these? I guess since some of my fish naturally jump I should have Hoods?)

I Feel as though I'm forgetting something...

What Filter media do you reccomend be placed in the 2 baskets? On YouTube I saw a video of the correct setup of a Rena xP3, I Believe it was actually a video made by Rena.
There will be two or three media baskets (there are three on my XP3, probably only two on the XP2 which is plenty big enough). In the first (the first as the water passes through, the lowest basket in the filter housing) you put ceramic discs to gtrap the larger matter. In the basket above you can use the bacteria-colonizing media. Then there are the pads to filter out the smallest particulate matter.

If memory serves me, the Rena does not come with the media. I use the Fluval filter media in my Eheims and Rena filters because it is much the same thing and it is 1/3 the cost of Eheim and 1/2 the cost of Rena media. The Fluval ceramic discs are called "Pre Filter" and the biological media is called "BioMax". Here's a link to the site, they are the first and second items in the left column: Fluval Filter Media

The Rena does come with a black pad of carbon-like fine material that is intended to "polish" the water; I used it for one week then took it out (it loses its effectiveness, just as carbon and stuff do) and didn't replace it. Such things are not needed in a planted tank because they remove nutrients and interfere with the plants. In the same vein, one could argue that BioMAx is unnecessary; I do have it, but I will never replace it. I don't know if the black pad actually did anything to clearing the water or not, but as it was there... but not longterm.

You need some sort of complete cover, be it a hood with light fixtures or a glass cover with individual light fixtures sitting across the top on the tank frame. Fish do jump. Also, water evaporates but a glass cover keeps it mainly in the tank. And dirt and dust are kept out.

Sounds good Andrew. I haven't forgotten about the SA dwarf cichlids, been occupied lately but will post.

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Old 11-03-2009, 06:06 PM   #118
 
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Andrew, here are some possible SA dwarf cichlid species that should have no problems with your water parameters.

Apistogramma borellii
Apistogramma cacatuoides*
Apistogramma commbrae
Apistogramma eunotus*
Apistogramma hoignei
Apistogramma linkei*
Apistogramma trifasciata
Mikrogeophagus altispinosus*

I compiled this listing by researching the water parameters of the various streams and rivers where these particular species are known to live. All of these have been collected in water with a pH in the mid-7 range; the species notated with * also have the advantage of slightly harder water; the others have soft to very soft water notwithstanding the higher pH value. Some of them seem quite adaptable, such as A. eunotus that occurs in waters ranging in pH from 5.9 to 8 throughout the range covering the Rio Ucayali and upper Amazon basins; the pH of specific streams does not fluctuate between these extremes, but various streams within this extensive area have differing pH values.

You can search the individual species online for photos and further information. There may well be other newer species, as most of my cichlid reference books are not exactly recent. Some of these species will probably be next to impossible to find commercially; breeders are a good source, and can often be contacted through forums like this one or more specific cichlid forums or organizations like the American Cichlid Association. A fellow colleague and acquaintance of mine in Vancouver is Lee Newman, the Curator of Tropical Waters at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, and a noted authority on dwarf cichlids; when it comes time and you want to pursue this further, I may be able to ascertain a bit more from Mr. Newman; he has collected several dwarf cichlids in SA and spawned them in his home aquaria, and numerous articles by him are available online. Here's one on the Bolivian Ram:
The Cichlid Room Companion - Keeping and Breeding the Bolivian Ram, Microgeophagus altispinosa (Haseman, 1911)

Hope this is of some use to you.

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Old 11-03-2009, 09:12 PM   #119
 
Yes everything was very very helpful Byron. I read Mr. Newman's article and found it to be very helpful, and quite interesting. He stated he was able to add 4 M. Altispinosus to his 55g tank, Would having 2 M. Altispinosus, and 1 Apistogramma trifasciata be fine? I'd like to have a nice active tank. I'm going to buy a peice of black slate from my lfs thats about 3"x4" for added decor. I have a 2nd bag of Turface on the way. I'm going to ask some lfs if they have the hoods i need. Maybe i could just make some out of acrylic? if not i know one lfs can custom make aquarium products/accessories. I am very excited as i noticed one lfs listed they carry bolivian rams, i think 6 dollars each. I might make a small cave out of slate rock or something similar. One LFS in particular are very knowledgable so I'm going to try and pick at their brain for some layout ideas and what not. They have a beautiful African Cichlid aquarium, i think its a 75g maybe bigger, but its absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for your help, I am buying some stuff to remodel my room so i am having to push back my aquarium by about 2 weeks lol. I'll keep you updated, I'm ordering a Single bulb 48" T5 light fixture tomorrow, would that be a correct one for my setup?
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:49 PM   #120
 
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Originally Posted by andrewr2488 View Post
Yes everything was very very helpful Byron. I read Mr. Newman's article and found it to be very helpful, and quite interesting. He stated he was able to add 4 M. Altispinosus to his 55g tank, Would having 2 M. Altispinosus, and 1 Apistogramma trifasciata be fine? I'd like to have a nice active tank. I'm going to buy a piece of black slate from my lfs thats about 3"x4" for added decor. I have a 2nd bag of Turface on the way. I'm going to ask some lfs if they have the hoods i need. Maybe i could just make some out of acrylic? if not i know one lfs can custom make aquarium products/accessories. I am very excited as i noticed one lfs listed they carry bolivian rams, i think 6 dollars each. I might make a small cave out of slate rock or something similar. One LFS in particular are very knowledgable so I'm going to try and pick at their brain for some layout ideas and what not. They have a beautiful African Cichlid aquarium, i think its a 75g maybe bigger, but its absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for your help, I am buying some stuff to remodel my room so i am having to push back my aquarium by about 2 weeks lol. I'll keep you updated, I'm ordering a Single bulb 48" T5 light fixture tomorrow, would that be a correct one for my setup?
Responding in reverse order...

Light tube is fine, make sure it is a full spectrum tube. In my experience, the Hagen Life-Glo 2 is the best single tube. Zoo Med make a similar but it's not available in T5.

I have glass covers on my tanks, bought from the fish store. They will fit down inside the frame, resting on that lip that runs around the inside of the tank frame. The the light fixture sits over the cover, the ends resting on the frame. The front glass panels slide back for feeding. These are not expensive and have worked well for me for 15 years, better than the plastic hoods. They also allow you more freedom to change lighting if you decide to in future. The glass must be taken off and cleaned every week (at the pwc) as water evaporates during the night and collects on the glass, then during the day the lights evaporate it from the glass, and minerals are left behind. Cleaning it weekly with just a towel will usually prevent mineral deposits from building up which not only block out the light but are very difficult to remove if they "burn" in.

Apistogramma species should not be maintained as single fish, always either a pair or a group, depending upon the species. A. trifasciata is one of the species that does better in a group of one male with 2-3 females. While this species can be maintained in slightly basic (alkaline) water, my reference notes that the fins develop much longer and the fish is generally in better overall health if the water is slightly acidic. I included it in the previous list because it is said to manage in basic water, but in fairness I point this out.

Mikrogeophagus altispinosus is one of the few (maybe the only) dwarf cichlid that fares quite well as single fish. I have had one in my 115g for more than a year now, and he (it wasn't clear at first, too small, but now he is clearly a male, and quite beautiful) is always out and about and seems very content. The tank is large enough that I am considering another one or maybe two, females if I can tell. Two M. altispinosus with a trio of Apistogramma (whichever species) would work fine in your 55g.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 11-04-2009 at 01:51 PM..
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