What to stock in a 48x24x36" tall tank

DaveB

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I scored the deal of a lifetime on this magnificent beast of a centerpiece:

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I did not need it, as I have a (formerly thought of as "nice") 180 in my office, but just look at it. And it matches my cabinets too.

I would like to stock this with something that will occupy all levels of the tank, but am having a hard time thinking of what.


In my 180 I keep wild Discus and Geophagus. In the past (many years ago when this site was still easier to browse and search) I kept other SA fish like Altifrons, Arowanas, and Uaru in 7 and 8 foot tanks, Lake Malawi in standard 75s and 90s, and for a while Datnoids and other bigger guys (several distichoduses) in 125s. None of those tanks was nearly this tall/square. I don't feel like any of those populations would be an ideal fit for a tank with these dimensions. The Discus would be good with the full height, but I don't like limiting them to only 4 feet of width. Mbuna would be fine with that footprint, but the extra height would be wasted.

What do you suppose would be a good fit for this tank? I want it to really look amazing, like the way a professionally done planted tank might... but no, I am not at all interested in all the work of a planted tank, especially high tech. (Also, at 36" tall, even the tallest of swords would still not be enough, I think.) Other ideas I have:

1) Low-tech planted, tons of tetras and a pack of Altums (very difficult to maintain though)
2) Africans, but find some big big peacocks to occupy the top (such fish might not love a 4' width though)
3) just get one massive fish with some personality
4) let my roommate set it up as Saltwater (would take a while before it got show-worthy; would be expensive; I have ZERO experience with SW)

Low maintenance is key, because the top of the tank is 6' up and that canopy is NOT easy to move. So I'm not going to stock it full of monsters.

But would love some input on what would make good use of the entire 36" vertical space of the tank.
 

Backfromthedead

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Nice tank. I would stock with a large active cichlid like a flowerhorn or other similar sized active cichlid. Some sparse scaping. Hang driftwood from the top to make the most of the height and floor space.

Discus or altums would certainly love that tank but would most likely be a high maintenance affair with plants like you said.

Or maybe a group of clown loaches. I have a group of 8 loaches in my 36x24x36 right now to grow out, but your tank may be large enough to house a group for life. Be sure to introduce plenty of flow via powerheads or otherwise if you go this route.
 

DaveB

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I have never considered myself a Flowerhorn guy but I do have to admit that's exactly what I was thinking when I wrote #3.

I actually do have 3 fairly hearty fat loaches that are way out of place in the Discus tank... they were there for cycling and snail patrol a few years ago and then I couldn't catch them (and didn't have another place to put them). Fish from the wrong country/region bother me too, so it'd be a bonus to end up going with something eastern that'd live well with them.
 
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Gourami Swami

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Personally think the height would be perfect for the altums idea with some smaller supporting cast. Could be a blackwater biotope with some plants, planted does not have to be high maintenance! Plenty of easy low-light plants which basically take care of themselves. Could just fill the tank with valisneria and maybe some java moss. Those two require little to no care and will fill the tank up for a naturalistic overgrown look. Along with some wood and sand/pebbles, could be an easy beautiful tank IMO.

Single big cichlid would be cool as well of course. Personally I have become less fond of this sort of setup over the years because I enjoy making the tank it's own enclosed community and watching the inhabitants interact. But that's my personal preference.

And last but not least, saltwater would be awesome! Could do a fish only with live rock (no corals) for easy maintenance and have interesting species. Lionfish tank would be cool! Only real difference from fresh to salt is that you have to mix the salt into the water for water changes, which is pretty easy. Reef is where it gets complicated.

Good luck, let us know what you pick! Cool tank size
 
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DaveB

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If I slide it over a few feet (the previous picture was just on the flip side of that same window), it can become the eventual home for the projector (up above) and this spot lends itself well to planted, I think, because of the backdrop out those windows.

I have just never done well with keeping a planted tank that didn't eventually succumb to that thick green dot algae that plecos and otos don't eat.

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I wish this house/room weren't so damn asymmetrical. There's no good way to set up the tank and furniture. I'm even more indecisive about that than I am about stocking this tank.
 

adamsfishes

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Really nice.

That would be a nice discus tank IMHO. Discus use the whole water column so would make use of the 36" height. I wouldn't want anything that
stayed in the bottom third in a tank like that.
 

DaveB

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Well, Discus are my favorites... and I could always just go with a different pack, or domestics, or something like that in back. or hell, even use the driftwood centerpiece from the 6' tank and move them over and do something else in here.

Two tanks of discus can get really pricey really fast, though.
 

adamsfishes

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Ok, didn't know you already keep discus. Since this is a show tank, discus do make sense, and if you have a 6' 180, then you have lots more options for fish in that tank than you do with this 4' tank.
 

DaveB

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Ok, didn't know you already keep discus. Since this is a show tank, discus do make sense, and if you have a 6' 180, then you have lots more options for fish in that tank than you do with this 4' tank.
Yeah... although the 6' was always meant to be temporary until I found a good 8x2+ footprint tank, in which I wanted to do a full SA biotope including an Arowana up top (I miss having an Aro). Which is sort of why I was leaning against doing discus in this one.

But yeah, they really are the best fit.

Maybe I'll do Altums and a pack of younger domestic discus that won't cost nearly as much. And the other one can be the wild biotope (it's hardscape-only, dimly lit, and full of tanins, much more "nature" than "show." This one could be the opposite.
 
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