10-30-2008, 04:33 PM
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OK, first thing, while cute, "A penny for your thoughts?" doesnt' tell me much about what thoughts you want. You're prob'ly going to be paying too much in any case. "New 40 gallon tank - looking for ideas." would be much better.
What kind of 40 is it? Long, wide, or high? That'll be a good place to start.
What kind of water do you have? Hard or soft? Sour or Basic? That's a good place to start too, because it's best to go with fish that will thrive in your tapwater with minimal treatment.
Do you plan on planting it? What kind of lighting do you have? What kind of filtration do you want to put on it? What kind of substrate? All of these will suggest stocking schemes that are better than others.
Do you have any other fish? Have you seen anything that you like and really want to have. Given a single fish as a starting point it's fun and easy to build a tank around it (if it will fit at all).
All that said, did I have an extra 40 gallon lying around (and strangely enough, I do) I would be thinking about one of the following:
A small Lake tanganyika community. A big rockpile in the middle with some Julidochromis transcriptus, a shell field on each side with two species of dwarf shell dwellers, one on each side, and if I were feeling really wealthy that week, a small group of Synodontis petricola. Maybe a black calvus to keep the fry population down. Plant the back of the tank with vallisnera (shielding the roots with rocks or the shellies will dig them up). I'll probably put a large, double well HOB and a smaller cannister filter on this, and put crushed coral in one or both.
Another thought is to use some reddish stone and driftwood on each end to create a Montana Badlands sort of look, put in a dozen or 15 tiger barbs and a half dozen Skunk Loaches.
For a neutral wanter set up, some medium gravel, driftwood, and stones to divide the floor of the tank into at least three pieces (no plants in this), and put in a half dozen young Jewel cichlids. Treat them well and they will breed.
A brackish tank, with the floor laid out to look like a WW I battlefield (complete with toy soldiers) and a couple of Figure 8 puffers to play the part of Blimps (and a half dozen bumblebee gobies to pop out of foxholes).
Using styrofoam and concrete, make inserts for the top, back, bottom, and sides of the tank too make it look like a cave. Put down dark sand as the substrate. Put in 8 or so blind cave tetras, a shoal of albino cories, and an albino bristlenosed pleco. Light it with red LEDs.
Set up an Iwagumi tank, with short plants (I'd use Saggitaria subulata) in a fine substrate heaped and sloped around an odd number of large rocks. Put in 3 otocinculus, a half dozen cherry shrimp, and 40 neon tetras.
Howabout a tank of long, skinny fish - farlowella or rineloricaria whiptailed catfish, beckford's pencilfish, and kuhli loaches.
Or you could go with any number of simple communities: Tetras and Cories and (small) Plecos, maybe with some dwarf cichlids. Gouramis and Cherry barbs and Zebra loaches. Dwarf Rainbowfish and Peacock Gudgeons. Firemouths and Swordtails (with a small pleco).
Convicts make for a nice species tank. So do Neolamprologus brichardi or lelupi (The latter two are good in a larger Tanganyika community, but would probably do best in a species tank in a 40.)
I hope there's something you can use there.
If you would please donate the penny to the Banjos for Algeria foundation, I would appreciate it.