New to Fish Ownership Help Please - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-01-2010, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Smile New to Fish Ownership Help Please

Hello I recently acquired a 55gallon Tropical Freshwater fish tank. It already had in it 2 silverdollars and 1 other fish that I just cannot remember his name he is black and orange and about 3 inches long. He is not a chiclid or a Barb and Petsmart told me he would only get about 6 inches. We already got 2 common white algea eaters and I know that we are wanting to get two Bala sharks and maybe an Eel not 100% sure on that one though. My tank finishes cycling in one week and I would basically like a list telling me what would be some good compatible semi-aggressive fish that would do okay together. I got a book and it says that too have a good tank I would need to have a good variety of Top Swimmers, Midwater Swimmers and Bottom Dwellers, but I am somewhat at a loss as to what these fish would be. I also am feeding them Tetra Fish flakes as of right now that is what they came with and have given them bloodworms once. Is that food good enough or should I look for something better. The Bala Sharks are going to be the central fish of the tank so I would like to build around them even though I already have a few. When I got the tank it was in pretty bad condition with lots of algea and junk in it. I have taken the tank and cleaned it and all of the current fish are look tons better their color looks better and they are alot more active. What plants should be present and in what amount I have five plants that are pretty much down to their nubs from the silverdollars eating them before I got them. What about objects in the tank? I want to be a good fish owner and do not want to overcrowd my tank. Advice would really be appreciated thank you all so much.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-01-2010, 04:54 PM
kelly528's Avatar

1) Never trust pet store employees. Never Never Never. Always research fish on forums and in books before you buy. Pet stores are out to sell you fish, but we are out to share our knowledge and help you.

2) No bala sharks. They can easily surpass 1 foot in length and need to be kept in schools of at minimum 3. So to even keep balas you are looking at a minium of a 150g setup with bala sharks and nothing else. I have heard horror stories of balas in a 55g who (skittish from being kept only as a pair) would actually thud into the walls and lid of the tank whe people walked buy. This is a good way to break a tank, which is every bit as bad as it sounds!

3) Those common white algae eaters sound like a fish better known as the Golden Chinese Algae Eater. If they are, you need to take them back to the pet store asap. Not only do these fish reach a foot long, they are very aggressive fish and are actually terrbile at eating algae!

4) Beware of plecos. I know you haven't bought one lol but if the pet store suggests one, don't take their advice. This is one of the most common pitfalls newbies fall into. The Common Pleco will reach at least a foot in length and is notorious for latching onto other fish and sucking their slime coat off.

5) The black and orange fish is probably a clown loach. The pet store left out the 1 when they told you how big it would get... their maximum size is actually 16 inches! Furthermore, they like to be kept in groups of at least 3. I think you would be best off reoming this guy as well.

6) Stay away from eels until you have gotten your bearings with fishkeeping.

7) I think you will want to go with fake plants if you are keeping silver dollars because they are notorious for eating plants.

Okay I know that is a lot of info and a lot of fish that you are going to have to take back. Don't let that discourage you... a lot of people got off on the wrong foot with fishkeeping because of the bad info pet stores give them.

Now for some fish you can have in that tank:

Bottom Dwellers
-Corydoras species. Nobody in this catfish genus will get too big for your tank. Most of them will max out at about 3 inches although there are a handful of giant pygmy species that max out at 5 inches and .75 inches respectuvely. These catfish are extremely hardy and as long as you keep each species in a school (at least 4 specimens) everything will be hunky-dory. Just a few of the members of this family are... peppered cories, bronze cories, albino cories, skunk cories, bandit cories, panda cories, laser cories... the list goes on!

-Plecos. Okay I know I gave you the big warning about plecos previously, but once you have gotten a feel for a hobby there are some attractive and relatively small plecos not sold in pet stores. Just google zebra pleco and you'll see what I mean! The bristlenose pleco is another good one. Just be sure not to get a common pleco or any other pleco that grows past about 8 inches! These fish do not school and will be perfectly happy without buddies of the same species.

-Loaches. This family is basically asia's answer to the corydoras of south america. They tend to be a bit grouchy and you will have to be careful not to buy species that won't fit in your tank when they are fully grown but I'm sure you could find a suitable loach species if you do some homework. These fish school and must be kept in groups of about 4 to start.


This group includes mainly tetras, rasboras, danios, hatchetfish and barbs. They will need to be kept in groups of at least 6 and all stay quite small. They make for great size contrast against the centerpiece fish. The majority of shoaling fish will be suitable for your aquarium so you can basically pick whatever you like. Some barbs get a little nippy but other than that your best bet is to just crack open a fish book and flip through the tetra section. Just remember to always double-check compatbility before picking your winner.


You could go with some of the gourami species, or if you work the compatibility right you could even have a pair of angelfish.

I will let other people fill oyu in now because I am tired of typing lol!

Last edited by kelly528; 01-01-2010 at 05:02 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-01-2010, 05:16 PM
Angel079's Avatar
You're naming quite some fish there... Maybe you could look through here and help ID your unknown fish. If it is a clown > Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Clown Loach

I have to completely second & back up all Kelly said about Bala's don't do it!

On the algae eater: does it look like this Albino Plecostomus L-083, Plecostomus | Pet Solutions OR does it look like that? Let's be sure what you have before telling you to get rid of it.

You could add hardier plants that nicely root down into your gravel, I don't see a problem there, I'd gladly suggest some plants if you like live plants.

I'd strongly encourage you to fist be absolutely sure what you have in the tank, what may go back and who may stay. Then after that, tell us your water parameters (in this case needed would be pH & KH) as some fish require soft water, others hard water , so without knowing what yours is suggestion fish could not be so healthy.
Also you wanna stock fish that get along with one another, eg. I'd not keep one clown and cory together. Some fish are peaceful fish, others more aggressive, mixing them 2 will result in stress, stress results to unhealthiness....and eventually a early end, non of this is desired in a new tank.

I'd say determine all this first, then inform yourself, gladly with the help of the folks here, which fish would go well in your water & current stock and then with the knowledge you have go shopping.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-01-2010, 06:22 PM
molliefan09's Avatar
+1 for both replies!!

"Fish are friends not food"
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-06-2010, 05:55 PM
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Do you have any more room for tiger barbs? P.S. they nip eachothers fins as well as others unless you put a school of them, (about six), in the tank. P.S.S. they only get to 3" max and are very in expencive. -NoaDon12
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fish help , new owner , types of fish , what fish food

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