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i am planing to get a 55g tank very soon i have run a 10g for over 2 years and only lost a few fish. i would like to know what fish i could get to make my tank as stunning as possible. time is not a big deal as i have school but no work, but money is im planing on spending $400 for the tank, penguin 400, and thermometer. i have all other things i will need. i was hoping to only spend $100 over the next 2-6 months slowly adding fish. im hoping for a colorful non-aggressive community tank, DONT WANT ANY SNAILS. would also love to have the tank planted with real plants. thanks any suggestions help.also if you know of anything i should read before going to a much larger tank let me know :)
 

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Do you mean an emperor 400? the biggest penguin is a 350B unless they have come out with something new lately. If you would like to do a planted tank I don't suggest a biowheel filter,personally I would suggest a Aquaclear 70, or a 110 if you plan to overstock the tank.
 

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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you with us.

To answer your question on fish, we need to know your water parameters. |Hardness and pH of the tap water. Some fish are adaptable within reason, some are very specific as to water chemistry. You can find this out from your water supply folks, many now have a website with data posted.

Brief comment on filters, for a planted tank I would go with a small canister on a 55g. You will not want much water movement and canisters are best at this aspect. Also, the plants do the filtration and the filter is secondary just to move the water around and remove particulate matter. If you select fish that need some current (many do not), a canister is adaptable enough that this is possible at one end without creating a torrent down the tank.

Byron.
 
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You can find your hardness from your local water suppliers website. If you do not know what to look for on the site, just post a link and someone will help you out. And as redchigh said API makes a great master test kit which is good for getting your pH And everything else you will need down the line.
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But the Master doesn't have hardness, and you won't need it once you know the tap water hardness, so go to the water supply people for that.
 

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First thing to determine since you know the size of the tank, is the filtration. I agree with Bryon and a canister filter like a Fluval 405 would work. There are a few other brands, but start with Fluvals and go from there ... IMO.

Are you looking to do a fishless cycle or a fish-in cycle? Sounds like your looking to cycle your tank with fish so you will need hardy fish ... I used TigerBarbs .... They are hardy, colorful, energetic and a bit aggressive so you'd need to keep them in a shoal of at least 6. Plus they are hardy enough to withstand a range of pH and temperature levels. However, there are other fish you could choose from, I'm sure someone else can give suggestions.

Yes you will need to invest in a good test kit and the API test master's the way to go. Don't worry too much about trying to test for hardness, it'll be what your water change source water is ... most likely your tap. Check with your water company. I'd also look into Seachem Prime as your de-chlorinator / conditioner.

Good Luck
 
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