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burnsbabe 07-22-2010 04:24 AM

55g Angel Tank
So this 55 gallon that I have hanging around is really useful for creating hypothetical tanks. I was going to do mbunas, but now want to do angels more. Neither here nor there.

I was thinking about doing a group of baby angels, 5-7 of them, with the understanding that there's a possibility for them to pair off. That's not the ultimate goal, I just know it might happen. Now I'm thinking about tankmates.

I'm thinking a school of some type of tetras and some kind of bottom feeder school. Are Congo Tetras a possibility here or should I go with something more conventional like Pristellas or Black Skirts?

Also, I'm not too particularly knowledgeable on bottomfeeders. Any suggestions for this tank? I'm thinking a little school of corys or something.

Nicknac44 07-22-2010 10:36 AM

From my experience with angels they can be very territorial. I currently have a 30g angel tank and they dont really play nice with anything other than fellow angels or a few other cichlids. I also have a large pleco that the angels dont really bother. Thats about all my input hope it helps.

LisaC144 07-22-2010 11:33 AM

You are right, the angels can pair off so be prepared to rehome the rest if they do. I currently have a pair in my 120g so they are now the only two Angels in the tank.

My Angels and rummynose tetra go really well together. If you'd like another cichlid, in your 55g you can do 2 bolivian rams as well. As for bottom feeders, 8-10 corys would be nice or even a shoal of 8-10 loaches.

burnsbabe 07-22-2010 11:58 PM

Thanks peeps. I guess I just feel like a 55 would seem really empty with just a pair of angels, a pair of rams (which I actually saw at my LFS today and am much more excited about than I was before), and a shoal of bottom feeders. Does that seem unreasonable?

Byron 07-23-2010 12:35 AM

Angelfish are shoaling fish, meaning they live together in groups and they have a social "pecking order" within the group. As you have a 55g, I would get a group of five young angels. Alternatively, a pair will work, provided they are a compatible male/female pair; two males would likely result in one male before long, the group usually prevents this if they are all introduced together and are basically the same age/size.

Be careful which rams you get, if you do. There are two species, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (the common or blue ram) and Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, the Bolivian Ram. They are similar and related, but very different fish. The former require warm temperatures, 82F or higher (which many other fish though Tropical would find too warm long-term, such as most of the Corys) and depending upon their origin are fussy over water parameters. The Bolivian are normal-temperature fish and quite happy from slightly acidic to slightly basic water. These work very well as single fish; a group will work, and could in a 4-foot 55g, say 3 max, as they will set up their territory and defend it. Check out our profiles on both species for more info and photos. You can click on the shaded name to got to the fish's profile page.

A shoal of Corydoras would be good bottom fish (remember the temperature issue if you have blue rams), in a 55g you can have 1, 2 or 3 species combined; minimum 5 of each species is preferred. As well there are some nice small species plecos, and "oddities" like whiptail catfish that are peaceful (very) and well suited to this habitat.

I would certainly have another shoaling fish to help settle the angelfish; they can be skittish on their own. Many of the tetras make fine tankmates, but not the small fish (like neons) as these are likely to become food for the angels as they grow. Congo tetras you mentioned are good, Diamond Tetras are similar; many of the Rosy tetra clade of Hyphessobrycon species will work, check out our characin profiles for these. Those that do well with angels are identified as such in the Compatibility sections.

Angels occur in dimly-lit streams and flooded forest, among tall plants and branches (hence their stripe camouflage pattern) so a planted tank with bogwood and standing branches is a perfect environment. And this suits all the other fish I have mentioned. Floating plants are good to provide some cover and shade which the angels and actually all the others prefer. And the filter should be minimal flow, these are all calm-water fish, not from fast flowing rivers.


burnsbabe 07-23-2010 02:11 AM

Woah! Thanks for the super detailed post. Much of what you told me about the Angels I knew already but the blue/bolivian ram difference was something I did not know. Make me want to set this tank up a lot faster than I was planning on. :-D

So at this (still very early) stage of the game I think I'm looking at:

5 baby Angels
6-8 Congo Tetras (I have a soft spot) depending on availability and price these may become Pristellas or something else
5-7 Corys (I like the Pandas but someone correct me if there's a better choice)
3 Bolivian Rams (several color varieties at the LFS right now)

That looks much closer to what I'd describe as full and it will get that way a lot faster once the Congos and Angels put on some body mass.

Speaking of slow vs fast water, how does this affect filter choice? In a tank as large as a 55 my first instinct is to just get a big canister and be done with it. The output options on one of those are flexible enough to get the job done, right? Or would I be better off with a sponge in each corner since they're so mild?

My current 30 gallon is planted in much the way you describe with wood and plants such as Amazon Swords, Banana Plants, and Anubius. So, I don't think that will be a problem. Anything I missed?

Byron 07-23-2010 11:20 PM

First on the filter, a canister is fine (one recommended for the tank size) as you can use the spray bar to deflect the water onto the end wall and this creates a very gentle flow; or a sponge since you have plants. In a planted tank the only filtration is slow water flow through a sponge/pad to remove suspended particulate matter. The plants do the rest. I use sponge filters on tanks under 50g, canisters on larger tanks.

I don't follow the "colour varieties" of Bolivian Rams, they are only one colour/pattern. The common blue ram has a few variants, the German blue, the gold, can't remember what else. Be careful which you get, the common ram is more fussy as I explained.

Corydoras panda is a species often fraught with problems. Certainly I would only ever introduce this species in a well established tank. Also, they will definitely not tolerate warmer water (such as for the blue ram at 82). Read our fish profile for the reason. There are many species of cory, well over 100 now, and several of those more frequently available are in the profiles.


burnsbabe 07-24-2010 04:00 AM

Thanks again. I saw the rams before I read your post so it may be varieties of blues and not Bolivians that I was seeing. I'll certainly check the scientific name before any purchases.

I also read the profile on the Pandas and came to the same conclusion you did but have found several other options that seem better.

Thanks for the help.

Byron 07-24-2010 01:17 PM

You're welcome.

Just noticed you're in Portland, OR [I have relatives there or actually in other centres in Oregon]. There used to be what I was told was a quite good fish store in Portland; sorry, I can't remember the name and I've never been there myself, but this aquarist from Vancouver made trips down periodically and brought back fish. You may know it.


burnsbabe 07-25-2010 12:44 AM

I'm using The Wet Spot currently. It's on Sandy not far from my house. They seem very knowledgeable.

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