Community Tank species expansion
So this is what's happening....
I currently have a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium with the following:
2 Irridescent Sharks
2 Angel Fish
2 Columbian Sharks
All are getting along fine, been together for about 3 years now.
I have just commisioned a 350 gallon tank which will arrive in a few weeks and am looking forward to giving these guys a larger home. My question though is what other species could be safely incorporated? I'll likely get rid of the Cichlid and was looking at invertebrates or possibly even rays. Not sure if this is a good idea though.
Wow! My hats off to you for being able to provide an environment suitable to sustain these fish for three years.They will no doubt appreciate the larger tank considering how large they are capable of becoming. The colimbian or black tipped shark is said to do fair in freshwater while young but that they should be housed in brackish (some salt) waters when adult or they develop skin condition problems that can prove fatal(infections). The salt needed may not be suitable for other fish. Rope fish I would think might have difficult time getting food before sharks have consumed most. They are also escape artists as you may already have become aware. Personally I don't believe Irredescent sharks or other sharks belong in aquariums but to each their own. Angelfish are cichlids . What ever you decide I would keep the needs of each fish in mind when contemplating tankmates and I would see to it that the tank was heavily filtered with plenty of water movement.
Oops, well 2 Angel fish and one Blue Zebra Cichlid :)
The ropes do well cuz I feed the sharks mostly shrimp pellets on one side of the tank while dumping blood worms on the other side. The ropes ferret it out of the sand or if feeding shrimp or liver, they tend to grab it and haul it back into their dens.
But yeah, it'd be great to see them grow more. The sharks and the Plecos and the Ropes are all in the 10" range already so it's time for the big tank. I will likely add a third rope to the mix, but after that I'm unsure. Rays seem difficult, but attractive. Crayfish and other invertebrates may be a better, more suitable option though.
A 350g tank might be appropriate for freshwater rays, but you have some other issues with your current stocking list.
3 Plecos - grow to 18" (if you've got common plecos) but this should be no problem in a 350g tank
2 Irridescent Sharks - grow to four feet and are fast swimmers. These things need thousands of gallons and tons of swimming room. Not appropriate aquarium pets. They'll also eat anything that fits in their mouths, including all of your other fish.
2 Angel Fish - It would be cool to set up a big Amazonian tank with angels and huge schools of rummynose tetras, cories, and different types of plecos. Maybe even the rays (nix the cories).
2 Columbian Sharks - These aren't freshwater fish. Young ones can survive in freshwater but as they age they really require brackish or even full marine conditions. They also require a very big tank and are quite predatory.
2 Ropefish - These oddballs are hard to keep with other fish. Small fish will get eaten, while other fish in their size range are usually too aggressive to be kept with ropefish.
1 Cichlid - This is a zebra, correct? If so, it shouldn't be kept in a community tank. It needs hard, alkaline water and a diet rich in vegetable matter. If it has access to the meaty foods you'll be feeding the other fish, it will eat them but this isn't healthy for it. It can develop bloat, constipation and other disorders if it eats too much meaty food.
If I were you, I would get rid of the Colombian sharks and iridescent sharks altogether, move the other fish to the big tank, and turn the 55g into an African rift lake tank for your zebra and a bunch of other rift lake cichlids. Then, you could build the big tank around the fish you'd be putting in there, or even come up with some different ideas altogether.
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