Centerpiece for 65 gallon?

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Fascinated newb
Jul 29, 2008
Tacoma, WA
Real Name
I'm looking for a centerpiece fish for my 65 gallon tank (36"x18"x24"). Something with a big personality in the 5-7" size range that won't majorly tear up my plants or eat my cardinals and kuhli loaches. Not really interested in an angel, had them before and despite getting huge and beautiful, they just hovered in the back and weren't really interactive. Leaning towards some kind of cichlid if I can find one that fits the above parameters, I love the personality of some of the non-angels I've been around. I've read a lot of mixed things about electric blue acaras, t-bar cichlids, and rainbow cichlids as suitable for this kind of community, and my daughter fell in love with a parrot cichlid at our LFS that followed her around though I think it would get too big/aggressive. I would love to hear some of your thoughts and ideas!

The tank is relatively low light, mostly cryptocornes and Java fern for plants, lots of driftwood, sand bottom, an AC 70 and 110 for filtration. My current stock is 6 kuhlis (4 relatively young ones and a pair that are my oldest lived fish at 12 years so I really don't want them too stressed out), 5 cardinals (2-5 years old, so as chunky as they're going to get), a couple female German blue rams, an albino bristlenose, and a gold gourami. The gourami occasionally chases the rams but overall likes to chow down then mind her own business in an area she claimed behind some driftwood and the GBRs hang at the bottom so most of the time I only see the bristlenose and the cardinals. Also planning on phasing out the cardinals for diamond tetras as they pass.

Thoughts and recommendations would be appreciated!

Lalo J.

AC Members
Mar 8, 2020
If you are looking for something that size, I would choose the electric blue acara, however I'm not sure it is a good idea to combine them with any variety of rams, maybe your choice should take into account having a fish that is not going to cause problems with the rams, I had angels as the centerpiece in my 65 gallon tank.
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AC Members
Jun 10, 2021
I have kept Blue acara since earlier this year, They are peacfull, personable, eat out of my hands... But cardinals would be lunch, sorry. the garaumi and ram are your "center peice fish" I dont suggest that you add a big personallity fish, or at least i dont know of anything that would suit your situation. Maybe a dwarf pleco and or a Brown ghost knife fish.