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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I am looking at making an addition to a 55 gallon (48" long) planted tank. I am thinking a slightly larger fish as a centerpiece, either one that can be kept alone or as a pair. Any suggestions would be helpful. Have thought about dwarf gouramis or possibly an angelfish. Always wanted one, yet have been nervous to keep one due to hearing about how sensitive they are (not emotionally, environmentally).

Currently in tank are:
2 Ghost Cats (I am planning to add 2 more)
2 Upside down cats
7 Zebra Danios
2 Mollies
? MTS

PH from tap is approximately 7.6-7.8 and hardness according to our city data is 185. I have been keeping the temp between 76°-78°F.
 

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Hello all,
I am looking at making an addition to a 55 gallon (48" long) planted tank. I am thinking a slightly larger fish as a centerpiece, either one that can be kept alone or as a pair. Any suggestions would be helpful. Have thought about dwarf gouramis or possibly an angelfish. Always wanted one, yet have been nervous to keep one due to hearing about how sensitive they are (not emotionally, environmentally).

Currently in tank are:
2 Ghost Cats (I am planning to add 2 more)
2 Upside down cats
7 Zebra Danios
2 Mollies
? MTS

PH from tap is approximately 7.6-7.8 and hardness according to our city data is 185. I have been keeping the temp between 76°-78°F.
Hi Absntmind,

Welcome to TFK!

What gender are your mollies? What kind of molly? Sailfin? Common? Ballon? Dwarf?

You have: 8 - 12 dGH 140 - 210 ppm medium hard water

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-articles/water-hardness-ph-freshwater-aquarium-73276/#ixzz1uIWw0uE4

Have you thought about having a ONE Kribensis?
If you get a male he would get big but the females are more colorful and peaceful. I wouldn't add any more cichlids with them though. I would not get a breeding pair because they get nasty when they breed.

You could also try a pair of Bolivian Rams, this would work out great! They are beautiful fish. You can get a breeding pair because they aren't too crazy like the Kribensis. I would not keep these with a Kribensis.

If you go with angels I would try for Scalare Angelfish. They are beautiful.

Also I would HIGHLY recommend you getting at least 5 total of each catfish. They like to be in groups and will live longer happier lives. The only problem is you can't do that with your current stocking levels if you wanted Angels.

I would not keep mollies with angels, but that is totally up to you. I would move the mollies into another tank so you can keep the angels.

Scalare Angelfish said:
Compatibility/Temperament: Generally peaceful. Except for a mated pair being maintained specifically for spawning, angels should be kept in a group of four/five or more. Males are territorial and a hierarchy will be formed within a group; all fish in the group should be acquired at the same time to avoid territorial aggression (subordinate fish can be bullied to death) when new fish are added to an existing group. Active tankmates may intimidate angelfish and the stress can make them prone to disease and may cause them to refuse to eat. Good tankmates are non-aggressive catfish, small to medium sized loaches, medium-sized characins such as many of the Hyphessobrycon species such as those in the Rosy Tetra clade, Trigonostigma species of rasbora, Phenacogrammus interruptus (Congo Tetra), Moenkhausia pittieri (Diamond Tetra). Not suitable with anabantids (gourami, betta), active swimming fish (such as danio) or small fish such as many of the tetras and similar fish; should not be kept with discus (for the good of the discus). Angelfish are slow and sedate, and fish inclined to fin nip must be avoided.
Read more: Scalare Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) Profile
Angels can only be bought at the same time, if you don't do that they will fight and kill one another.

For that reason I think it is best to settle the stocking. Decide on what you want to keep so when you get the angels you will be satisfied. If I were you I would consider moving the Molly's because they will bother the angels because they are soooooo active.

So to sum up my suggestions:
  • Option 1 - 1 Male or 1 Female Kribensis - 3 of each Cat Fish
  • Option 2 - 1 Pair of Bolivian Rams - 3 of Each Catfish
  • Option 3 - Remove Mollys - 2 of each Cats - 2 Angels
  • Option 4 - 3-4 Bolivian Rams - 2 of each Catfish
  • Option 5 - 2 Gouramis - 3 of each Catfish
IDEALLY you want 5 of each catfish. If you don't get angels you have more stocking room.

If you want more angels...you need at least 4 and you would need to move the mollys and maybe the upside catfish out of the tank to make more room for the bio load.

:-D:-D
 

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Thanks Termato, that is some good info :) As for the mollies, as long as they are happy I hate to evict them if I don't have to. Would be kind of a dk move to kick some out just to move others in, lol. I'm not sure of the type, though they are short finned (black and white marbled).

With the catfish, I will definitely be adding a couple more for both types then.

The bolivian ram looks like a great option. Is it possible to differentiate between male and female when they are young?
 

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Thanks Termato, that is some good info :) As for the mollies, as long as they are happy I hate to evict them if I don't have to. Would be kind of a dk move to kick some out just to move others in, lol. I'm not sure of the type, though they are short finned (black and white marbled).

With the catfish, I will definitely be adding a couple more for both types then.

The bolivian ram looks like a great option. Is it possible to differentiate between male and female when they are young?
Can you take a picture of the Mollies?

Molly males usually have a bigger dorsal fin and this long fin underneath them which they use for matting.

Molly females have smaller dorsal fins and don't have that fin under them.



For Bolivian Rams it is easy to sex once you know how to do it. There are really two sure ways to sex the Ram.
1 - The first three spikes on the dorsal fin of the male will be long, spiked and black.
2 - Males have a more pointed anal area

Notice on the female how the first two spikes on the dorsal are black and pointy while the male its the first three. bad picture so hard to see.

Also take note that not all males are that easy to tell because that pointy area on the anal isn't alway as defined.
 

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Termato, I believe now that both mollies are female. I went ahead and got 3 more ghost cats and 2 more upside down catfish (totals of 5 and 4). Planning on adding at least one more of each, though the LFS was limited on them today :(

Also took your advice on the Bolivian Rams as well. Me and a worker at the LFS tried to select a male and female but I guess only time will tell, lol. Rearranged the tank and added a bit just to be sure everyone has a space to claim for themselves, and added the new inhabitants this afternoon. So far all is well :) Thanks again for the help!



 

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Termato, I believe now that both mollies are female. I went ahead and got 3 more ghost cats and 2 more upside down catfish (totals of 5 and 4). Planning on adding at least one more of each, though the LFS was limited on them today :(

Also took your advice on the Bolivian Rams as well. Me and a worker at the LFS tried to select a male and female but I guess only time will tell, lol. Rearranged the tank and added a bit just to be sure everyone has a space to claim for themselves, and added the new inhabitants this afternoon. So far all is well :) Thanks again for the help!
Very Nice! That looks beautiful!

I think you got the sex of the rams right but If you get a better picture I'd be able to tell better.

:)

Just a good website to help you keep a good eye on stocking you could use this website just as a helpful guide until you see what your tank can really hold up to.

AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor
 

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Right, First of all I tried to post earlier today on my iPhone at work but it was playing up so only allowed me to post the word good!! lol. sorry.

Second, good call on the bolivian rams, although I am sure I read a thread Byron commented on saying that the male ram needs to pick the female for them to be a pair, but I could be wrong. Hopefully they will be ok! bolivian Rams RULE! I have one in my community tank and he is the coolest most chilled sweet fish ever. love their big lips, they look very cute.

Avoid the Kribensis like the plague! unless its on its own, I made the mistake of having a male bolivian, and a female Krib in the same smallish tank...unmitigated disaster. NEVER again, I learnt my lesson. The Krib went back to the LFS and peace once again resumed. horrible experience though, for everyone concerned.

Wait till those Rams settle in and colour up! they are so white due to the stress, they will soon be all orange and blue, with the purple fins.. such a beautiful fish! I love my ram.

Heres a pic of my ram George!
 

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That is a nice aquarium, good work.:) My one suggestion is floating plants. Those fish will be more relaxed and more colourful with a roof over them. Water Sprite is my own favourite, but there are other floating plants, check our profiles.

Simon is correct on the ram pairing; males select their female and the pair normally bond for life. This does not mean that this male will not accept this female. I don't know what goes through the mind of the male on this, so just be prepared.

And generally, never more than one species of cichlid in a tank, as someone mentioned. It can sometimes work, but usually not.

Byron.
 
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