Overstocked 55 Gal ~ Ca/Sa Mix

Deadlink

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Dec 27, 2019
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9
3
I'm looking for some advice on my first Cichlid Tank.
I've currently got a standard 55 gal aquarium 4ft x 1ft x 1.5ft (H). Its a planted tank, currently housing 6 Congo tetras and will need to house a 5-6 inch Rainbow Shark. The shark is pretty quick and aggressive so it should fit in with medium sized adult cichlids. My concern is more for any cichlids I buy being bullied before they can put on some size/mass, hopefully dithers fix that issue.The plants should grow to cover the whole back of the tank and the duckweed (currently top right) will eventually cover the entire surface.

Upgrading the tank size isn't something I want to do for space reasons, so I'd want fish that can live in this tank for life.I believe that means the biggest fish should top out around 8 inches (10 at the most), depending on how many fish are in there once fully grown. These are my current ideas,mostly combinations of medium sized cichlids or a single medium cichlid with a larger dither school size. Please let me know what could work from your experience :)

#1-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
- 14 Barbs (One group of either Tiger, Moss, Denison, Odessa or Cherry barbs)
Main Fish:
- Jack Dempsey
- Rainbow Shark

#2-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
Main Fish:
- Firemouth
- Red Jewel
- Blue Acara
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

#3-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
- 6 Barbs (One group of either Tiger, Moss, Denison, Odessa or Cherry barbs)
Main Fish:
- Jack Dempsey
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

#4-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
Main Fish:
- Firemouth
- Blue Acara or JD
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

#5-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
- 14 Barbs (One group of either Tiger, Moss, Denison, Odessa or Cherry barbs)
Main Fish:
- Firemouth
- Red Jewel
- Blue Acara
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

If I haven't made it obvious yet the fish I like most in order would be the Jack Dempsey (possibly too big and lowers other options due to size), Salvini, Acara, Firemouth and red jewel.

20191226_220857.jpg
 
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ryansmith83

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May 2, 2008
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Jewels are African cichlids.

Salvini, JD, and firemouths are Central American.

Blue acaras are South American.

I wouldn’t personally mix cichlids from all these different geographical regions in the same tank, especially a smaller tank. I also wouldn’t try Salvini with tankmates in a tank that size because they will likely take over.

I think the JD will grow too large eventually. As a single wet pet with some dithers it might be okay.

Personally I think a group of firemouth growouts might be the best bet, or a group of acara growouts. You may need to thin the numbers as they grow and pair because a mated pair of either of these will take over the tank.
 

tlindsey

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MFK Member
Aug 6, 2011
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Ohio
I'm looking for some advice on my first Cichlid Tank.
I've currently got a standard 55 gal aquarium 4ft x 1ft x 1.5ft (H). Its a planted tank, currently housing 6 Congo tetras and will need to house a 5-6 inch Rainbow Shark. The shark is pretty quick and aggressive so it should fit in with medium sized adult cichlids. My concern is more for any cichlids I buy being bullied before they can put on some size/mass, hopefully dithers fix that issue.The plants should grow to cover the whole back of the tank and the duckweed (currently top right) will eventually cover the entire surface.

Upgrading the tank size isn't something I want to do for space reasons, so I'd want fish that can live in this tank for life.I believe that means the biggest fish should top out around 8 inches (10 at the most), depending on how many fish are in there once fully grown. These are my current ideas,mostly combinations of medium sized cichlids or a single medium cichlid with a larger dither school size. Please let me know what could work from your experience :)

#1-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
- 14 Barbs (One group of either Tiger, Moss, Denison, Odessa or Cherry barbs)
Main Fish:
- Jack Dempsey
- Rainbow Shark

#2-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
Main Fish:
- Firemouth
- Red Jewel
- Blue Acara
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

#3-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
- 6 Barbs (One group of either Tiger, Moss, Denison, Odessa or Cherry barbs)
Main Fish:
- Jack Dempsey
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

#4-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
Main Fish:
- Firemouth
- Blue Acara or JD
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

#5-
Dithers:
- 6 Congo
- 14 Barbs (One group of either Tiger, Moss, Denison, Odessa or Cherry barbs)
Main Fish:
- Firemouth
- Red Jewel
- Blue Acara
- Salvini
- Rainbow Shark

If I haven't made it obvious yet the fish I like most in order would be the Jack Dempsey (possibly too big and lowers other options due to size), Salvini, Acara, Firemouth and red jewel.

View attachment 1399419

Welcome aboard
I agree with ryansmith83 ryansmith83 . Cichlids are territorial and proper space is needed for them.
 
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Deadlink

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Dec 27, 2019
14
9
3
Woah, I was really wrong about this setup.
Is it possible to do a single salvini with dithers to lower aggression?

Or maybe a single firemouth & single acara with dithers?

Im not a fan or mating pairs or growouts where Ill eventually have to rehome. If you guys think a single firemouth & acara works with dithers I'll try that route. If not probably a JD & dithers if my family is okay with an upgrade (after 1 or 2 years)?
 

duanes

MFK Moderators
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Jun 7, 2007
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Isla Taboga Panama via Milwaukee
I also agree with Ryan's entire assessment.
And although many aquarists will keep a single FM, they are (in nature) social fish that seem to me, do best in shoals, show their best colors that way, but as a single, often become hyper-dominant and get aggressive. That said, as a shoal, a 55 would also become too small over time.
I have a friend with an old 10-12"FM male.
 

Ogertron3000

Aimara
MFK Member
Nov 6, 2017
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Australia
Woah, I was really wrong about this setup.
Is it possible to do a single salvini with dithers to lower aggression?

Or maybe a single firemouth & single acara with dithers?

Im not a fan or mating pairs or growouts where Ill eventually have to rehome. If you guys think a single firemouth & acara works with dithers I'll try that route. If not probably a JD & dithers if my family is okay with an upgrade (after 1 or 2 years)?
I think a solo salvini with dithers would work. A few acaras with dithers too would be nice.
Personally I would go for option 3 but drop the JD, if it matters to you then there are more regionally accurate dithers you could get too.
 
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Deadlink

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Dec 27, 2019
14
9
3
My folks wanted to set the tank up asap since I made them keep an empty tank for months (cycling). We decided on a few different schools of tropical fish instead of the cichlids. Probably for the best considering we didn't have the ideal setup for any of the fish that popped out to us.

I am planning on buying a 60 gal for myself in a few months, so I think I'll hang around the forum and do some research.
Thanks for the help and suggestions, I'm glad you guys were able to give me solid advice before I bought anything :D

Toiletcar Toiletcar That was a perfect suggestion but unfortunately Hrps seem hard to come by where I'm from. Ended up going a different direction on this tank anyway but thank you for the suggestion.
 
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