55 gallons? Here are some ideas

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jm1212

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So you've got a 55 gallon tank, and it needs to be stocked. Awesome!

Make sure to fishless cycle the tank before you add any fish. It will be much less stressful on the fish and you.

For most of the stockings listed, you will need to do 25% water changes at least once a week unless noted in the stock and description of the fish.

55 gallon tanks have a lot of potential, more so then smaller tanks. There are so many options, even if you are a beginner or a seasoned hobbyist. Keep in mind that these stocks are just baselines and can be added onto. Species descriptions will appear once unless any compatibility issues can arise. Keep in mind that these lists are stocked conservatively, so there is still some wiggle room for last-minute additions later down the road.

We’ll start with the beginner stocks

[FONT=&quot]Beginner[/FONT]

Stock 1
[FONT=&quot]6 platys[/FONT]- they are awesome little fish. Peaceful, colorful, hardy, and great beginner breeders, they are really the perfect community fish, and are highly recommended for new hobbyists. They will breed readily in a community tank, but the other fish in the tank will take care of the babies . Males will grow to be around 2 inches, while females grow to around 2¼ inches long.
[FONT=&quot]24 neons[/FONT]- the classic colorful little tetra. They are schooling fish and are happiest in bigger groups. Also peaceful, they will add some activity to the middle portion of the tank. Grow to about 1 inch- 1½ inches long.
[FONT=&quot]8 Schwartz’s corydoras[/FONT]- corydoras in general are peaceful and are most active when they are in groups. Schwartz’s corydoras can be substituted with three-line, peppered, sterbai's, Julii, or panda corydoras. They grow to about 2½ inches long.
[FONT=&quot]1 dwarf gourami[/FONT]- dwarf gouramis are great beginner centerpiece fish for they are colorful and easy to find. They grow to about 3 inches long, but only one should be kept per tank because two males will fight.

Stock 2
[FONT=&quot]6 zebra danios[/FONT]- zebra danios are extremely hardy; some say the most of all freshwater fish. Zebras are hyperactive and like to be kept in groups so they can chase each other around. They get to around 1½-2 inches long.
[FONT=&quot]20 black skirt tetras[/FONT]- another extremely hardy fish. Like neons, they like to be in groups. Grow to around 2½ inches long. They are available in albino, long finned, and albino long finned versions, to help mix it up a bit in your tank. Can be nippy, but is virtually nonexistent when kept in sizable schools. Stay away from any that are pink or blue, as they are dyed.
[FONT=&quot]6 Schwartz’s corydoras[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]1 dwarf gourami[/FONT]

Stock 3
[FONT=&quot]4 guppies- [/FONT]another very well known fish. They are a bit like platys, and they come in just as many colors. A group of all males is advised if you do not want any fry. They grow to about 2½ inches long.
[FONT=&quot]24 cardinal tetras-[/FONT] cardinal tetras are similar to neons, but they grow a little larger and have some more color to them.
[FONT=&quot]12 panda corydoras-[/FONT] panda corydoras are smaller than the other corydoras listed, but they have basically the same behaviors. They grow to about 2 inches long.
Stock 4
12 zebra danios
24 neons
12 panda corydoras


Now were going to move on to the "intermediate stockings. the fish listed are listed here not because they can be considered "hard to keep" (well, some of them are) but because they may have behavioral issues that can conspire with other fish, eat smaller fish, or are just simply a bit harder to find than the "beginner" fish listed. There will be some fish that are listed in the "beginner" section listed here also. Some new fish listed here

[FONT=&quot]Intermediate[/FONT]

Stock 1
[FONT=&quot]1 angelfish-[/FONT] angelfish are some of the more peaceful cichlids, and they are very good looking and colorful. Most angels you will find are domestic-bred and come in hundreds of color forms and even a few fin forms. Do not keep angels with small fish like neons, for they will be eaten, danios, because they are to hyperactive and may nip the angel's fins and stress them out, or with tiger barbs, because they will harass and nip the angel's fins to stumps. Angelfish will generally grow to about 6 inches long and 10 inches tall.
[FONT=&quot]6 marbled hatchetfish- [/FONT]marbled hatchetfish are related to tetras, and they behave much like them in the sense that they like to be in schools of six or more. They stay near the water's surface and will benefit from a group of floating plants or two; the floating plants can also deter them from jumping out of the tank, which is what they are known to do
[FONT=&quot]18 lemon tetras- [/FONT]lemon tetras are very similar to black skirt tetras, for they are schooling fish. Lemon tetras have a yellow hue to them and their bodies are transparent. They stay smaller than other tetras, only getting to about 1¾-2 inches long.
[FONT=&quot]8 corydoras-[/FONT] this term will be used when one of the many species of corydoras can be selected

Stock 2
[FONT=&quot]1 Pearl gourami-[/FONT] pearl gouramis are very peaceful gouramis, even with males within their species. If keeping more than one male, it is advised to keep at least 3 females per male. Pearl gouramis have white speckles along their bodies, and males will develop a rich orange shade on their stomach area when they mature. These gouramis will grow to around 4 inches long.
[FONT=&quot]24 harlequin rasboras-[/FONT] these little fish (they are around 2 inches) are great schoolers for an Asian biotope. Rasboras are natural schoolers, and it is best to keep them in schools.
[FONT=&quot]6 yo-yo loaches- [/FONT]yo-yo loaches are great bottom feeders, and like to be kept in groups. Yo-yos will definitely benefit from having others of their species in the tank, and it is recommended. They have lots of personality, even though they stay around 3 inches long.

Stock 3
[FONT=&quot]1 angelfish[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]24 red eye tetras-[/FONT] a bit like lemons, but they have a silver body with a red edge to their eyes, hence the name red eye. They are super tight schoolers and will make an even better school the bigger it gets. 2 inches is the average for these guys.
[FONT=&quot]12 corydoras[/FONT]

Stock 4
[FONT=&quot]4 pearl gouramis-[/FONT] the group should consist of 1 male and 3 females
[FONT=&quot]18 cardinal tetras[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]8 corydoras[/FONT]

Stock 5
[FONT=&quot]1 severum-[/FONT] sevs are very peaceful cichlids, but can hold their own if kept with the more aggressive South Americans or Central American cichlids. They are great for community tanks with medium sized fish like larger tetras. Severum are available in a couple of color forms, with green, red shoulder, and gold being the most common. They will get to about 8-10 inches long.
[FONT=&quot]16 red eye tetras[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]6 bronze corydoras-[/FONT] bronze corydoras get a little larger than the other listed, for they reach around 3 inches in length when mature.

Stock 6
[FONT=&quot]12 zebra danios[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]18 tiger barbs-[/FONT] tiger barbs are very boisterous fish and notorious fin nippers. They should never be kept with angelfish or other long-finned fish. Tiger barbs need to be kept in groups of at least 12 to distribute aggression within the school well enough, and then even more if you want to keep them with other fish; this keeps the focused on each other instead of harassing the other fish in the tank.

Stock 7
[FONT=&quot]4 sailfin mollies-[/FONT] sailfin mollies are very common in the aquarium hobby, and are generally hardy and good community fish, but, a male can become nippy or aggressive towards other males in the tank if there are not enough females in the tank. The recommended ratio for male: female is 1:3 or more. Males will have the distinct, large dorsal fin which they use as a type of flag. Mollies are very prolific breeders, and even if the fry are left in the tank, some may survive the parents, other mollies, and other fish in the tank. Sailfins will get around 4 inches in length, and it is not uncommon for them to reach larger lengths.
[FONT=&quot]18 black skirt tetras[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]6 corydoras[/FONT]

Stock 8
[FONT=&quot]2 Bolivian rams-[/FONT] Bolivians are not as delicate as German blue or gold rams, but they are still a little water-quality conscious. Peaceful and colorful at breeding time, they are great centerpiece fish. Bolivians get to around 3 inches long. Make sure to get a male/female pair or two females.
[FONT=&quot]24 rummynose tetras- [/FONT]Rummynose tetras are white with red noses, which can be "turned off" when water quality is not to their liking. Rummynoses are a little more sensitive than other tetras such as black skirts. They are pretty tight schoolers and grow to around 2 inches long or a tad more.
[FONT=&quot]8 panda corydoras[/FONT]

Advanced is next; the fish listed here are here because they need to have pristine water conditions or feeding needs.

[FONT=&quot]Advanced[/FONT]

Stock 1
[FONT=&quot]6 discus-[/FONT] Discus are considered the "kings of freshwater fish." They need excellent water conditions and a variety of foods. Multiple or a very large canister filter is recommended, as are water changes at least 2-3 times a week. They like softer water, but since more and more are being commercially bred, it is possible to keep them in higher pHs. Discus will grow to over 6 inches.
6 rummynose tetras
[FONT=&quot]6 corydoras[/FONT]

Stock 2
[FONT=&quot]2 German blue/gold rams-[/FONT] These little cichlids can be very sensitive when it comes to water quality, so a stable tank is a must when keeping them. They like a softer pH and a planted tank. They grow to 2½ inches and have a lot of color for such a small package.
[FONT=&quot]12 glass catfish[/FONT]- Glass catfish are very gregarious and will in fact waste away if they do not have enough members in their school. 6 is a bare minimum, but the more the merrier. Glass catfish will be often seen huddles together and moving in their tight school. These interesting fish have bodies that are transparent. They are very peaceful; almost too peaceful for their own good. They should not be kept with fish that will outcompete them for food, which can easily happen, so they should only be kept with very dainty eaters such as rams. Live foods or frozen foods are a must for these guys, who grow to around 4 inches long.
12 neon tetras
[FONT=&quot]6 panda corydoras[/FONT]

The moment we've all been waiting for...

[FONT=&quot]The Expert Stocking[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]12 chocolate gouramis[/FONT]- Chocolate gouramis are extremely hard to find, and even harder to keep. They need live or frozen foods, a very low pH (for they are still wild-caught), peaceful tank mates, and absolutely perfect water conditions. The low pH should be achieved by using driftwood, lots of it, and the tannins released by dead leaves. This also leads to another issue; the issue of water quality. there needs to be massive amounts of biological filtration to compensate for the rotting plant matter in the tank, and to keep the tank water absolutely perfect. Water changes every two days or daily are essential, and RO water is preferred to keep the pH low. The gouramis should be kept in a group that has a male: female ratio of 1:3. Chocolate gouramis grow to about 2½ inches long


here’s something unexpected...

[FONT=&quot]Species tanks![/FONT] Who doesn’t love 'em?

Species tank 1
[FONT=&quot]65-70 cardinals or neons-[/FONT] a giant school will make for a great display.

Species tank 2
[FONT=&quot]30 tiger barbs-[/FONT] fortunately, tiger barbs come in a couple of color forms so mixing up color forms will be easy

Species tank 3
[FONT=&quot]20 Congo tetras[/FONT]- Congo tetras are one of the biggest tetras available. They grow to around 4 inches long and have long, flowing fins. A large school in a 55 gallon tank will make for a great display.

Species tank 4
25 glass catfish- glass catfish stay huddled in a group, so more can be maintained in a 55 than Congos even though they reach the same size.

There are so many possibilities with species tanks... You can have a species tank for pretty much any type of tetra in a 55 gallon, as with rasboras such as harlequins.


Breeding Tanks

Breeding Stock 1
1 pair of severum- sevs can be great parents to watch, and a spawning pair will breed frequently

Breeding Stock 2
12 platys or guppies- these guys breed more than rabbits

Breeding Stock 3
1 pair of discus- breeding discus can be harder than keeping them, but raising the fry and seeing them prosper is well worth the work.

Breeding Stock 4
1 or 2 pairs of angelfish- only with a divider. Otherwise, they will fight frequently.

Breeding Stock 5
1 pair of brichardi cichlids- these cichlids from Africa grow to about 4 inches long. They have a unique way of breeding in that every subsequent brood helps raise the next batch of fry.

Good luck with your tank; if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the forums.

-Jon
 

Lupin

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There are plenty other species of loaches to pick aside from Botia almorhae.:)
Botia dario
Botia histrionica
B. kubotai
B. striata
B. rostrata


They're at least better than the clown loaches.:grinyes:

Good article.:)

Comments on Chocolate Gouramis (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides osphromenoides)
I have never seen much difference between the male and the female. How are you supposed to know which is the male and which is the female? The gender ratio is in my opinion not important in this case. Males do not rival each other as much as other labyrinth fish do.

A good alternative to this fish is licorice gourami (Parosphromenus deissneri). They're not a fish suitable for beginners but they are at least a little easier to keep and will prefer live and frozen foods more than dry foods which is unfortunate of course unless you can find some live foods very easily.
 
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Sarge_857

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AWESOME!!!!!!! i love this! i just got a 55 and these are awesome stocking ideas!

i was thinkin a species tank of danios and cories, with a ton of plants!
 

Rbishop

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Nice.
 

jpappy789

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Feb 18, 2007
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I like the beginner and most of the intermediate stockings but some I would say are a little "out of control"...

4 pearl gouramis seems like too much for 55...two is a better number IMO
12 zebra danios and 18 tiger barbs? sounds like trouble...
6 discus and only 6 rummies? even that out more...
stock #2 under "advanced" seems crowded altogether
12 chocolate gouramis??? this does not seem plausible...

and imo ALL of the species tanks seem way too tight. 20 congos? 75 neons!?

the mix of species is good but the numbers seem too high...JMO
 

Hooked Newbie

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Great article JM! The Rummies seem to need a better publicist though! :) I have 20 in a 55 (along with Mahnerti and Robusta loaches and a festivum) and they are captivating to watch!
 

Lupin

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I like the beginner and most of the intermediate stockings but some I would say are a little "out of control"...

4 pearl gouramis seems like too much for 55...two is a better number IMO
12 zebra danios and 18 tiger barbs? sounds like trouble...
6 discus and only 6 rummies? even that out more...
stock #2 under "advanced" seems crowded altogether
12 chocolate gouramis??? this does not seem plausible...

and imo ALL of the species tanks seem way too tight. 20 congos? 75 neons!?

the mix of species is good but the numbers seem too high...JMO
Jpap, we have our own suggestions. I actually think that those are good suggestions even if we have corrections to make.

I should have focused on tank size for 12 chocolate gouramis earlier. I can cause my own problems at times resulting to my own confusion.lol Choccies prefer smaller tanks. 12 would be best placed in a 30g. Assuming the 55g is heavily planted, it'll work otherwise a 30g is much better. These gouramis are very very shy fish. Gender ratios are not a problem, it's the wide space that can easily intimidate them. They after all came from dark waters with dense vegetation. Heavy tannins and low lighting plants are your best bet here. It's either you hate tannins and don't keep this fish at all or get a grip with tannins and learn to love it if you want them.
 

jm1212

Pterophyllum scalare
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Jul 22, 2006
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Jon
Lupin said:
There are plenty other species of loaches to pick aside from Botia almorhae.:)
Botia dario
Botia histrionica
B. kubotai
B. striata
B. rostrata

They're at least better than the clown loaches.:grinyes:

Good article.:)

Comments on Chocolate Gouramis (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides osphromenoides)
I have never seen much difference between the male and the female. How are you supposed to know which is the male and which is the female? The gender ratio is in my opinion not important in this case. Males do not rival each other as much as other labyrinth fish do.

A good alternative to this fish is licorice gourami (Parosphromenus deissneri). They're not a fish suitable for beginners but they are at least a little easier to keep and will prefer live and frozen foods more than dry foods which is unfortunate of course unless you can find some live foods very easily
thakn you for the suggestions...i will keep them in mind for later!

jpappy789 said:
4 pearl gouramis seems like too much for 55...two is a better number IMO
12 zebra danios and 18 tiger barbs? sounds like trouble...
it is better to keep pearl gouramis in a good m:f ratio. it really depends on the fishkeeper, but many advise to keep them in a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio to make sure not just one female is getting all of the attention.
zebra danios should have no problem keeping out of the way of tiger barbs, not to mention that they occupy different areas.


6 discus and only 6 rummies? even that out more...
stock #2 under "advanced" seems crowded altogether
12 chocolate gouramis??? this does not seem plausible...
discus require very good water quality... then again a larger number of rummynose would probably be a good idea. chocolate gouramis are acctually pretty small for gouramis. keeping 12 in a 55 will leave them plenty of room. plus, as lupin said they tend to be more sedate.

and imo ALL of the species tanks seem way too tight. 20 congos? 75 neons!?

the mix of species is good but the numbers seem too high...JMO
20 congos would surley use all of the space, but as a tetra species tank there really are no "aggression" boundaries when there are different species put together. as for neons, i have seen 100 or more suggested. neons make faily little waste and keeping 75 in a 55 gallon tank should not pose a problem as long as one does not neglect any maintinence.

then again, opinions are what this place is about. thank you for your comment, it will help with any future articles!
 
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