New 5ft tank

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Jan 8, 2018
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Hi guys, after about 10 years out of the hobby I recently got the urge to get another tank. I went to the shop the other day with the intention of getting a 240 litre tank, but then got a bit carried away and bought a 425 litre one instead. I've bought a 500w heater and a fluval FX6 to filter it and it should be arriving in a week or two, so now I've got a few weeks to decide what I want to stock it with! In the past I was obsessed with oddballs and South/Central American cichlids. The only problem was the biggest tank I had back then was 4ft and only 37 US gal. I was forever buying fish like fahaka puffers, bichirs, Oscars, piranhas and then trading them in for another oddball or cichlid when they outgrew the tank. I know that's not exactly responsible fish keeping but back then I was a bit of a moron (some might say I still am). Anyway, now I'm getting back into the hobby I want to do it properly, but deciding what route to go down is proving a difficult task. I'm torn between either...

A) a busy community tank with shoals of different fish and a few larger stand out fish as the centre piece. Although deep down I know unless the centre piece fish are personable and have loads of character I'll probably want to move onto options B and C in the end.

B) South American or Central American cichlids. My old Oscar was the best fish I ever had but there would have to be a bit more going on in the tank this time. Any recommendations on tank mates if I went down this route again?

C) Oddball tank. Some kind of bichir, maybe a group of pictus cats, but then what would you recommend for the rest of the tank? That'd be a lot of action on the bottom and then a big empty space above.

The one route I know I don't want to go down is Malawi's. I know a lot of people love them but they're just not for me.

I've looked around a few fish stores recently and the amount of species they now stock that I hadn't even heard of 10 years ago is incredible. It makes it so much harder to make any decisions!

Anyway, there probably won't be anymore progress or updates on the actual aquarium for another few weeks but until then any suggestions would be great.



Sep 18, 2011
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I like A

I have a RTBS, a BN plec and 16 Harlequin tetra.

All live in a 5ft tank happy as larry, with a few shrimp and snails as maintenance crew. With quite a lot of plants that i let go to a degree. I wanted rambling stream rather than set piece.

The good bit is the RTBS is happy with no competition, although he is very much top dog. The harlequin being in a big group, that may well get bigger shortly. I'm thinking 20-25 would be even better. Shoal properly, with a large group with some braver souls round the edge.

One or two love playing in the powerhead flow they do it for hours, swim round behind, then drop into the blast. Swimming away from the head. They go like bullets, then do it all again.

So, my choice is A, with 3 fish types in 5ft tank. Its what i have.

Chief Brody

Fish Fanatic
Dec 30, 2017
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Thunderdome. Just get whatever you want and whoever survives survives. You'd be surprised what you end up with. I'm currently stocking 5 breeding pairs of kribs, 2 crenicichla regani, 2 small clown knives, small group of native killis, a morgunda gudgeon and two 8" spotted gars. So far they all get along. There's even 3 or 4 balls of fry. I want them to use the fry as a food source. I've done this before in another tank where I actually removed the parents after they spawned to feed some baby sunfish I caught over the summer. Definitely helped them put on some weight and the kribs spawned again immediately in the new tank so... it's the circle of life

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