New 55G setup: colorful, active stocking?
Ok, I'm sure this post has been done 10,000 times, but they all have their own specific nuances, and I haven't found one that fits me exactly. Here is my current setup:
55 gallon freshwater tank, 4 days running with 4 small, starter fish -- water tested out good today - cloudiness appeared one day after fish added, and is since cleared. I've been adding "MicroBacter 7 Complete bioculture" which supposedly has kick-started my cycling.
55 gallon regular tank
Whisper 60 and Whisper 30 power filters
Large piece of driftwood
2 live potted plants (looking to add 2 more)
I'm looking to stock it with non-cichlids, and I want fish that will grow large. I like Silver Dollars, but the AqAdvisor program says I need 5 and then I will be at 83% capacity already. I also like Bala Sharks, and other than that I like fish with color. I want at least 3 different species of fish that will get along and some kind of algae eater/pleco.
I'm open to adding more plants/rocks if necessary, and I'm open to spending a little cash on this. Since I'm down to just the fish portion, $100-200 is not out of the question. I don't want any $70 fish though.
Any suggestions/comments are appreciated...but please suggest a complete system :) I've seen these posts before, and I always get lost when one fish is recommended, because I want three or four species that will go together.
Thank you soooo much!
First off Hello & Welcome to the Forum!
You can add a ton more plants to a 55g then just 4 if you like, would make for a nice natural set up :-) (Just be sure to remove the pots and the foam stuff around the plants before planting them in your gravel so the plant doesn't die of root rot).
Well it is difficult to recommend anything not knowing your water eg. Ph and KH (meaning soft or hard water) - Different fish have diff needs :-)
I could think of the following fish - Pending your water parameters as said:
Congo Tetras and a large group of Bronze Cory and Hachetfish
A good sized group of Yellow Lab's with whatever pleco's you like
Rainbow Boeasemans with Danio and Cory
Kissing Gourami with Barbs and Plecos
(If you click on the tap 'Aquariums' you'll see my tanks and see the Yellow Labs and Rainbows in them)
.....there's really about 1 million and 2 options there....if you could help narrow it down by telling us what water you have please?
PS Bala Sharks grow to be about 14" and need a tank size of some 250g so I'd def NOT suggest that fish for you tank :-)
Thanks for the reply Angel....I wish I knew more about the chemistry of my water. I filled it with tap water (I dont have a softener, but not sure what my ph is) and I used a dechlorinator, and now that bioculture. I'm planning on doing water changes with RO water, about 5 gallons per week. I only mentioned bala sharks and silver dollars because that is what we had in my 20g tank as a kid :)
P.S. - I like the Yellow labs! Maybe a school of Silver Dollars, some Yellow Labs, a Plecostomus, and one other species?
Ok, I followed up on the Yellow Law and found the whole Lake Malawi theme seems very colorful and interesting to me. What about 5 each (mostly females) of the following:
Labidochromis Caeruleus (Yellow Lab)
Along with some kind of bottom feeder/algae eater. The AQAdvisor says it is 112% stocked, which it says is good to control aggression. They also recommend 33% water change/week (like 15-20 gallons..is that excessive?)
Anyway, that seems like a very colorful, themed setup. Any comments?
Water changes are there to keep your water in balance to promote a healthy environment for your fish and bacteria. Weekly 33 percent changes would be good to do for most aquariums. I will be doing 25 percent changes on my 29 gallon that I am starting up this weekend.
So no, 33 percent does not seem excessive.
I like dark substrates if you are going to be having colorful fish, I find that it lets the fishs' colors stand out better.
Is there a reason why you're going to use RO water for water changes? If you go with the African cichlids they like high Ph and hard water.
Also, you'll want to consider getting all males. These are very aggressive fish, so having mixed sexes can cause problems: males will be even more aggressive toward one another with females around, females can sometimes be over-harassed by males and, should your fish breed, aggression can be further increased. A male only tank has two main benefits over a female-only tank: male African cichlids generally have more color than females, and sometimes sub-dominant males can take on female coloration, meaning that a fish that appears female in the store may wind up being a male when you get home.
As for bottom-dwellers, if you can find a single Synodontis njassae catfish that would be perfect. These are medium sized (it will likely max out at about 6") synos endemic to Lake Malawi, which makes them perfect companions for the theme.
The odds are pretty good that your live plants will get eaten over time. In my opinion, plant-free Malawi tanks are actually really gorgeous so long as you get a lot of nice-looking rock piles in there. Something like this, for example:
YouTube - African Cichlids Lake Malawi MBUNA December 2008
Ok, so this may be a dumb question - but I didnt see 'Cichlid' anywhere in the literature about the three species that I mentioned. Are they? If so, does that mean that I need special gravel in the bottom as well? I just have 50 lbs of the standard blue gravel you buy at petsmart.
Interesting comment about the all-males. AqAdvisor says 1:4 M:F ratio, but I definitely dont want breeding if I'm already going to have 16 fish in the tank.
As for the RO water, that is just what I was told to change it with. Would tap water with a dechlorinator added be ok? It would save me from buying three 5-gallon jugs and running to the store every weekend!
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