Does this stocking work?

🐠 October TOTM Starts Now! 🐠 Tank of the Month!
Click here to enter!


Fish Fanatic
Apr 5, 2023
Reaction score
I’m about to get a 55 gallon tank. So far, I have two main plans for it.

Plan A stocking
-13 female betta
-18 neon tetra
-2 BN (Calico and Blue-Eye Lemon)
-7 Ember Tetra (If space allows)
-7 Rummynose tetra (If space allows)
-7 Albino Cory Cats
I’d also like black neons, but I’m pretty sure I’d be overstocked

Plan B stocking
- 4 angelfish, either koi or gold veiltail
- 2 BN pleco (Calico and Blue-Eye Lemon)
- 4 Bolivian Rams (If space allows)
- 7 Albino Cory Cats (If space allows)
- 12 Rummynose tetra
- 7 Black Neon Tetra (If space and size allows- not sure if the angels will see them as a snack or not)
- 1 male betta or dwarf gourami
I’m also considering a Ropefish, but I’m worried about them eating the Rummynose. If I have space, I’ll do a small school of Columbian Tetra

So, which is the better tank? Are they overstocked?
Some of these are shoaling/schooling fish, and need larger groups. You have the space to provide the better environment, so more of some (and none of others) is kinder to the fish. This applies to the Rummynose (these need 15-20 in whichever combination). Corydoras catfish (I would not do fewer than 15 in this tank, and more would be good, one species or more provided you have several of each species), Black Neon Tetra (12 minimum, more even better), Columbian Tetra (10+ but this species has issues depending what is in with it).

Male bettas are best on their own in their own tank, they are not community fish even though some sometimes act like they are at least initially. The female sorority I would not mix with any of the other fish either.

Angelfish have very demanding needs, and a group of six or more, never 1, 2, 3 or 4. However, they are not small fish at six inches body length with a vertical fin span of 8 inches. They will like be male and female, and a pair may form, then it can be game over for the others. Thre just is not space in this small (to the fish) a tank for this to play out naturally as it does in the habitat.

Bolivian Rams...a solitary ram is much better, unless you can acquire a bonded pair. They do not accept any mate. And with two males, this is rather a small space for adequate territory space. I had one of these lovely fish in a 5-foot tank and there was no doubt but that he considered the entire tank his, and the other 150+ smaller fish knew it.

Dwarf gourami is prone to iridovirus which cannot be cured. You have space here for Pearl Gourami in a group, it is a beauty; tankmates have to be non-active and non-nippy, which applies to any gourami.
Angelfish don’t school or shoal, and they’re cichlids. Are you sure they need that many fish?
Don’t really like the look of pearl gourami- would a blue or gold gourami work?
No cories: it’s not wide enough for that many fish. I’m fine increasing school/shoal sizes on the other fish, though. Betta seemed like a stretch anyways.
What kind of problems do columbian tetras have?
I had similar thoughts when I set up my 55 gallon, but most turned out to be a little unrealistic for the situation. I would just start by cycling and then adding a group of shoaling fish you like. Unless you're married to a sorority tank, probably just skip it. They rarely work and are often best with betta specialists. I've seen people keep angel fish successfully in these tanks, but idk if it's worth the stress if you're not super into them.

I ended up with a really large shoal of harlequin rasboras, siamese algae eaters, a dwarf gourami, and a pair of apistogramma cacatouides that bred for me constantly without issue (tank was VERY planted). Also some shrimp and snails. Loved that community tank and it was always interesting to watch

if you're really glued to these thoughts, then go with idea 2 but start slow and without the angelfish. Maybe you'll decide you don't need em!
I started my 55 gallon with 2 angelfish, along with several of types of fish. One of them didn't make it but one of them did and I've had that one since the start (my profile pic is the original angelfish). It has been by itself in the tank for a while, along with the other fish types.
I added another angelfish to the tank about a month ago and at first the single angelfish was aggresive towards the new angelfish. The existing angelfish recently got stuck in a large castle decoration that I had to push it out of and it had and lost it's ventrical fins and had some scrapes on it side from the ordeal. It's has since healed on the side and the ventrical fins are coming back slowly. Both the angelfish now are pretty nice to each other and swim around together.

And yes, I've removed the castle trap from the tank.
I just looked up stocking ideas and saw the angelfish idea. Sorority was my original, when I was planning for a 40 gallon tank. If the angelfish won’t work, I won’t do it, but it’s really my favorite of the plans. Really fast-moving fish behind a bunch of angels, low light, and a bunch of plecos to be cute/ugly in the bottom…is there any other fish where I can get that effect?
Also, exactly how large is a ropefish mouth?
I have a panda garra, you could probably do several. But I don't think common plecos are a good idea unless you have 75 gallon + tank. Or at least not when they get full grown.
It’s not common. Bristlenose. The morphs are usually shorter than normal BN’s…usually about 5 instead of the normal 6 inches?
Can’t do panda garra. They need high flow.
I've had success with fish that don't prefer a faster flow. The flow comes from one side of the tank so they can avoid it if wanted. Some like to occasionally swim into the flow regards if they don't normally like a fast flow. I'm about to try some baffles that directly flow to see if that helps as I think the flow is too much atm. Hopefullly my panda garra will be ok with it and I think it will since the flow will still be directed on one side of the tank but towards the back instead of the front.
Cory like a good flow, right? I'd avoid Angelfish.

I love having Cory & they need a good gang so if it was be I'd go for a gang of Corys with the plecos. Then up mid-top a few fun schooling fish.
Eh, I’m just going to give up on the school of Cories then, that’s way too many fish. They can go in another tank. Find something else for the bottom. Still on the fence about the garra: it’s a black sand substrate, and the garra would most likely disappear. Will probably just add ever-more plecos.
Last edited:
Eh, I’m just going to give up on the school of Cories then, that’s way too many fish. They can go in another tank. Find something else for the bottom. Still on the fence about the garra: it’s a black sand substrate, and the garra would most likely disappear. Will probably just add ever-more plecos.

Honestly I like my fish bring a bit camouflage haha

But Corys are a joy to keep so if you've another suitable tank I can't recommend them enough.
I might also do a school of like 11 panda cories, they’re supposedly pretty small for cories. Either that or some otos, but I’m worried about them sucking the slime coat off my fish. All I’m really hoping for is bottom activity, since plecos don’t like to come out much.
Last edited:
Also, would a grown-out cardinal tetra be eaten by the angels or not? I’d like to have some shimmer in the tank.
Angels aren't true schooling fish, but they are very social. I have five of them in a 150 gallon tank, and they constantly interact with each other in fascinating and entertaining ways. But they are semi-aggressive, and keeping them together only works if they have enough space to get away from each other when they want to. I've kept a single angelfish in a 30 gallon, but now that I know more I wouldn't do it again. I'd say a 55 gallon would be too small for a group, and keeping a single one just doesn't seem very kind.

Have you looked into pearl gouramis? they have a similar visual effect to angelfish, sort of silvery and graceful, but they are smaller, much more peaceful (the males can get ornery when they're breeding), their colors are even prettier in my opinion, and you can keep a group in a planted 55 gallon: one male and two females, or two males and three females. They like floating plants.

Add a school of cories and a school of tetras or rasboras and you'd have a beautiful tank.

By the way, panda garra do enjoy flow, but don't require it. I've had them thrive for years in a tank with very little. They inhabit intermittent streams in the wild, so as long as the water is clean they're pretty adaptable and easy to get along with.

Most reactions