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here is what i have going. found a 55 gallon tank( 48x21x12 ish) and nice stand at a garage sale for 25 bucks. built a homemade hood one piece with a 3 in. devider in center. made sliding glass access for ea. side. could put one 48 in. twin bulb. or two 24 in. twin bulb fixture. lowes has afordable T8 fixtures. i am unsure of proper bulb size (lumens , K's, watts. all confusing). the tank will most likely be a fish only tank. thinking three fire mouths and three convicts. all sugestions welcome.
 

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here is what i have going. found a 55 gallon tank( 48x21x12 ish) and nice stand at a garage sale for 25 bucks. built a homemade hood one piece with a 3 in. devider in center. made sliding glass access for ea. side. could put one 48 in. twin bulb. or two 24 in. twin bulb fixture. lowes has afordable T8 fixtures. i am unsure of proper bulb size (lumens , K's, watts. all confusing). the tank will most likely be a fish only tank. thinking three fire mouths and three convicts. all sugestions welcome.
Welcome to the forum

3 is generally not a good number for cichlids, as it can lead to a pair and a third wheel. I don't have experience with firemouths so I won't say much of anything about them, but convicts are pretty mean. I would make the tank a semi aggressive tank and go with tiger barbs, buenos aires tetras and perhaps zebra loaches for the bottom, plus a pair of whatever cichlid you choose. I've had success keeping smaller bolivian rams with larger cichlids - seems like the larger cichlids don't consider them a threat or anything, so maybe you can throw in a pair of them as well.
 
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