55 Gallon for a Classroom Stocking Help
I am teaching an environmental science course and as part of our ecology unit I'm having my students design and set up a 55 gallon tank. The kids (high school age) have decided to go with a community tank with a decent number of fish.
Does anybody have any good/vibrant set ups that have seen/put together in the past? Our budget for fish will be about $60 to begin with. I was thinking some large schools of tetras/rasboras/danios and corys, but after that I'm not sure. Suggestions?
I would need your water parameters first. PH? GH? This means hard or soft water? KH? This the measure of carbonates dissolved in the water some fish prefer more than others
If you're doing it for an ecology unit, I recommend adding some plants to the tank as well. There are a good amount of plant species that do not need very much light at all . Vallisneria are very easy to keep and very fast growers, especially if you have water on the more alkaline side. I find that fish tend to do better in planted tanks, as they feel more secure and the plants will help keep break down the wastes that the fish produce.
As for the fish themselves, it really does come down to if your water is soft or hard. Once you know more about your water conditions then we can help you further decide which fish to keep.
I am putting the parameters in the kids hands, we are going to keep the pH around 7 (6.8-7.2), KH low 4-8, GH 5-10...trying to set it up for a community type tank...but if there are some good suggestions otherwise we could adjust these.
I might come back on Friday (we are setting it up tomorrow) and post what my levels look like...it has been set up in another teachers room, with no filter for a while, I'm going to keep half of the water and rehome it to my room and add a filter. Will add conditioned tap water to the rest, would 2 days be enough time to get a baseline on my levels after just starting filtration? or wait longer.
If that is not an option and you plan on putting all the fish in at once or within a week you will need live substrate (sand or gravel). If only 5 fish for the month any substrate will do such as play sand which like $8 for 80lbs and that is plenty to do the tank
It is best to just let the pH stay at where it is instead of trying to mess with it, as that can result in fluctuations which are bad for the fish. Your water is well-suited for most common community fish. How much flow does the tank have? Some fish, such as danios and hillstream loaches, do better in tanks with a good amount of current while others such as gouramis and tetras prefer calmer waters.
If you are just measuring water hardness and such then 2 days is fine.
I was just going to suggest looking at some native fish. Go for the minnows and dace over the darters. They need a current and are generally less hardy. You should also be able to properly ID the species before you take them home. You don't want to be found in possession of an endangered species. That's a heft fine!
That being said, try looking for an online ID guide. You can also find some care tips here: Biology and Captive Care of NA Natives
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