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Advice for 55 gallon aquarium

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by AndrewG, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. AndrewG

    AndrewG New Member

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    I have a 55 gallon aquarium I have been planning on setting up, and am looking for advice on a few things about it. I am going to stock it with a red tailed shark and three blue gourami for sure, so my questions were:


    1. What tank mates would work with these fish?



    The Gouramis are going to be the main show, as they tend to hover around the middle of the aquarium and are a gorgeous blue. Fish I am looking for are schooling ones that are colorful but different shades than the shark and gouramis, but I also want them to not be aggressive or nippy so they don’t nip at the gourami’s feelers. I really like barbs, specifically golden barbs, but most species I find tend to be nippy.


    2. What kind of plants would work well with these fish?



    Although I’ve cared for fish before, I’ve never had a planted tank and it’s something I want to do for this one. However, I know absolutely nothing about freshwater aquarium plants.



    3. What color gravel would work well with these fish?



    I’ve always liked the look of black gravel, but I want my red tailed shark to be able to stand out and I feel it would get lost in the black. I’m looking for more earthy and natural colors, and bright colors like blue seem artificial to me



    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Fishguy13

    Fishguy13 New Member

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    how about some tetras, like neon, cardinal, bleeding hearts or some livebearers but make sur the suit the needs,
     
  3. Lunar Jetman

    Lunar Jetman Chatroom Moderator
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    If you want barbs, try getting a reasonably sized shoal so they focus on each other rather than other fish.

    I currently have 7x Red Tailed Rainbowfish, 19x Neon Tetra, 7x Bronze Corys and 10x Rosy Barbs. The Barbs are quite active but tend to chase each other around and leave the rest of the tank inhabitants alone.

    I've got "normal" colour gravel and this looks fine to me. I have a plain blue background as well which works well.

    With regards to plants, you need to think more about the conditions of the tank first, e.g. dimensions and lighting you have. Some plants need lots of light whilst others less. Once you establish this, you can decide which plants to go for.

    Also, what are your water perameters?
     
  4. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    Be careful with the redtail shark they can be aggressive. I would not go with anything that stays under an inch.

    Just about any tetra would work just pay attention to max size. Many barbs can work as well. Some are a little nippy. Rosy barbs are pretty cool.

    Natural colored gravel would be best. So tan/brown. Sand can work well too if you're into that.

    I'd recommend painting the back of the tank. It hides the wires and really makes the fish's color pop. I usually paint my tanks black, in your case maybe a dark blue would be better so the redtail shark doesn't get "lost." Black might still work well.

    Is this tank currently empty? Like no water in it? Have you kept fish before and are you aware of how to cycle?
     
  5. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Welcome to TFF.

    In my view you are beginning with two species that are trouble from the word go, and it will not be easy to find tankmates.

    The Red Tailed Shark is not a general community fish. Very aggressive with its own species (it probably lived in solitude except when breeding) and as it matures is often aggressive with other fish especially those resembling it and those with vertical stripes. Should be kept solitary (one fish per tank) with carefully-selected upper-level tankmates like the larger barbs and rasbora. Bottom fish (loaches and most catfish, and cichlids) should not be included with this species.

    The blue gourami, Trichopodus trichopterus, is probably the most aggressive of the small/medium sized gourami species. It is usually reasonably peaceful with robust fish such as the quieter barbs, loaches, larger catfish. Like all gourami species, the males are territorial, becoming aggressive when ready to spawn; this species though takes this to new levels. And as the fish matures, some remain relatively peaceful while others become somewhat nasty to other fish. Best when kept in a male and female pair. Normally, active fish such as barbs are not suitable with gourami which are sedate, but this species of gourami is the exception.

    Before suggesting species, it would help to know the water parameters. The GH (general or total hardness) and pH especially. If you do not have these tests, contact your water authority, perhaps on their website the data is posted. Some fish have quite specific requirements when it comes especially to the hardness of the water.

    Plants are less demanding than fish, though the lighting is key. Knowing your tank lighting will help us here. The GH is relevant too as this is the prime source of the "hard" minerals calcium and magnesium.

    The substrate needs to be chosen once you know the intended fish. Some have a need for sand, others are fine with gravel provided it is not too large a grain (this can cause biological problems in an aquarium). The filter also enters the picture, as a strong current may be needed by some fish but quite the opposite for other species. Building a community aquarium that is successful requires a lot of thought. :fish:
     
  6. AndrewG

    AndrewG New Member

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    I haven’t set the aquarium up yet, I want to get everything planned before i start.
     
  7. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    How do you plan to cycle the tank?
     
  8. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Addict

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    Hello, and welcome to the forum! :hi:

    You definitely need to cycle the tank, before adding any species.

    “Red Tailed Sharks” are not community fish.

    If you are looking for bottom dwelling fish, then I would go with some Cory cats.

    As far as plants go, I would recommend these easy, beginner plants.......

    • Java Fern
    • Anacharis
    • “Lacy” Java fern
    • Anubis
    These are very easy plants to grow, and care for.

    I would recommend checking with your LFS (local Fish Store) for plants and fish.

    I strongly encourage you to enter the July TOTM contest, by clicking the banner at the top of the screen. Thank you! :) :thanks:
     
  9. AKfish

    AKfish Fish Fanatic

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    IMG_20190710_192319.jpg IMG_20190710_192319.jpg sorry bad pic. My brother has two males with little issue. He used to have a third that died not too long ago that was a yellow. They have a few Rosie Barb's and some blood fin Tetra with them along with a three line Raphael cat a couple Albion Cory cats and a little male bristle nose pleco. I think most Barb's besides maybe tigers would work well. And most Tetra would also. My suggestion would be make your best efforts to get two females and one male. This may encourage more territorial behavior in the male. But less aggressive towards each other. If your male chases your females around it's not a concern. They do that when they mate so its normally not aggressive as much as the mood strikes the male. Having three males in a 55gal will give you a a showdown now and again but they establish dominance and its not bad. I would highly recommend a dark even black substrate. Also painting the back and even sides black makes a huge difference. Not just in looks. But "be the fish" and picture being in your tank stairing out into and endless abyss. As people we understand the concept of a tank. As a fish they don't and everything around them is a potential threat. But a black back and even sides gives them a sense of security. For example I have a Valentina catfish. Still a baby and really wants to hide. I painted the back of the tank just the other day. She now comes out swimming along the black back. Totally different fish due to the added security it provides her. Also for some but not all fish a light substrate or background makes them washout. Where as a darker will make the colors more bright and vibrant. Not always the case but happens often enough. I don't think you will lose your shark in the background. I actually think the fins will pop even more and they are plenty active. So you should see him swimming all over the tank. Hope that helps you decide. All the best.
     
  10. AKfish

    AKfish Fish Fanatic

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    Forgot about plants. My brother has silk plants. And I'm not for sure on this but I know they pick at the cucumber/squash/peas..... And whatever over veggies we put in the tank. May mean they will tear up live plants. I would definitely look into hat before hand.
     
  11. AKfish

    AKfish Fish Fanatic

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    Sorry to post again. But if you do paint your tank. And I assume you know outside of the tank lol. But I highly recommend plasti dip by perfomix. It's basically plastic comes in a spray can easily used and you can peal it off the tank. So if you want to try a new color or simply don't like it. Just take it off. All the best to ya. Also I believe a rainbow shark is a little smaller as an adult then the red tail. The rainbow has all red fins instead of just the tail. Due to aggressive nature maybe the rainbow would be a better fit. I believe similar aggression from both but smaller size in the rainbow. Could have them mixed up though.
     

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