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Old 01-25-2004, 09:15 AM   #1
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Good morning! My wife and I are going to be setting up a 55 gallon fw aquarium within the next few weeks. We need some advice on setting up a great environment for our fish friends. We were thinking of getting some clown loaches (we both had these in our single days and loved them!) but wanted to know which other fish would go well with them. I know that we should buy at least 3 but with such a big tank were thinking of adding a few more. We also like Parrot Fish (we saw these at the LFS) and was wondering how they would do with the clowns.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!!

I look forward to getting to know all of you on this board!


Jim
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Old 01-25-2004, 11:17 AM   #2
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Hiya newlyweds and welcome to Aquariumadvice

Wheee! A new 55g *grin* what to do, what to do.

Coupla ideas/suggestions/comments:

I'm not sure if you are aware of the controversy surrounding Blood Parrots. They are not a natural breed; no one knows how they are bred (the breeders in Asia aren't talking). Because they are so mutated, they are prone to certain health problems; the most serious is the mouth, which becomes more deformed as they get older. Some reach a point where they cannot close it. If you buy them, make sure you buy ones which are yellowish orange, or red. The other colors? Are artificial; the fish are dyed. Its really unhealthy for em; some become ill because of it and all of em lose the dye anyway after a period of time. We had a post about em recently; you can check it out here: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=15977 . On the other hand, Parrots are cichlids, and like most cichlids they are really personable.

Clown loaches; yay! What fun they are; I have 3 in my 55g, along with 3 yoyo loaches. Do be sure to include some caves for them as they need a "safe place". And I don't know if you are aware, but mature clown loaches which are well kept top out around 12 inches long! My largest one is just over 4 inches long; he put on at least 2 inches in the past 6 months (and is a big fat baby LOL).

What sort of fish are you interested in? It will help us help you guys is you can give us an idea of what you're looking for; there are SO many fish to chose from!

Do you have an understanding of the nitrogen cycle? I'm guessing you do, but if not I strongly suggest you read this article: http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html . It explains what the cycle is and how imperative it is to understand it. Oh, and see if your lfs carries Bio-Spira. Its the only product on the market which cycles a tank instantly; you add it with your fish to a new tank, and while you still need to test your water, should keep ammonia and nitrites to a minimum if not to zero.

Are you considering a planted tank? Let us know; theres all sorts of info you'll need for that too

HTH!
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Old 01-25-2004, 11:45 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for the quick post! I've been doing some reading on here and would love to have a planted tank. How does that work with the loaches since they like low light? Since I've had them in the past, I know to offer some good hiding spots. I was thinking of getting 3 clown loaches but want to add some interesting tank mates. Any suggestions on that?
I need to do a bit of reading on the whole cycling process. I was wanting to start the tank out with a few plants, get them going and then add fish. Good idea?
I love all the different varieties of the loaches and read some interesting stuff on their personalities. How many fish can a 55 gal hold? I also have an emply 29 gal that I'll be needing to do something with but need some advice on those as well.
I'm not really into the smaller "common" fish like guppies etc. I like active fish. I like silver dollars but have never had them so am unsure about them.

I kinda figured the colored parrot fish were dyed. My lfs has a large tank set up with a couple of blood parrots, silver dollars and a huge pleco!

I am definitely getting some clown loaches and would like advice on some interesting and fun tank mates for them. Any input on plants would also be appreciated.

TIA

Jim
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:35 PM   #4
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newlywed...

As far as plants are concerned...the types of plants you can successfully grow will depend in large part on how much light you will be able to provide. (Light isn't the only factor but it is a major jumping-off point in making your selections.) You will need to figure out how many watts of light per gallon of water your setup will give you. Anything less than about 2 watts per gallon (110watts over a 55 gallon tank) will put you in the low-light range, though I've heard that the wpg rule breaks down a bit for larger tanks.

Low-light plants include things like Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus), most of the Cryptocoryne species, Anubias, Hornwort (Ceratophyllum submersum) and a few others.

Once you get into the moderate- to high-light levels then you can grow many more different varieties but you also run into the problem of providing adequate CO2 to the rapidly growing plants. Many aquatic 'gardeners' use CO2 injection systems, which involves additional expense.

Planning...planning...planning!

You might also check out Rex Grigg's FAQs. (Be aware that he is a self-admitted curmudgeon! ) Here's a link to his site:

http://members.dsl-only.net/~rex
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