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View Poll Results: waht to do with a 55gal?
growout/breeder 0 0%
discus 5 20.00%
planted 1 4.00%
africans 4 16.00%
big fish 0 0%
FOWLR 10 40.00%
shrimps ahoy 3 12.00%
other, suggest something 2 8.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-12-2008, 10:36 AM   #1
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what to do with a 55gal?

I'm planning on putting in a small pond in the yard this spring for my militaristic little red eared slider, Bismarck. It'll be a 100gal preformed clack plastic one. Fist of all, if you know anything about ponds, please give me a hand and take a look at this thread.

Now, this is going to leave his 55gal open...A side effect I hadn't really considered until now. I figure I've got a few options.

1) I could make it a growout tank. Currently my only growout is a 29gal. This would let me raise a good deal more fish...if I can ever get the things to survive at all that is. haha.

2) I could make a discus tank. Discus are foreign territory to me, and frankly they scare the crap out of me, but dang they are pretty. If you think I should get discus, I have a few questions. How many should go in a 55gal? Do I need ro/di? I've looked into ro/di water and it simply sounds way out of my budget, not to mention a pain in posterior.

3) Another planted tank with angels and such. I already have a 75gal right next to the 55 gal that is just like this, so I'm not too keen on this idea.

4) African cichlids. I used to have these in my 75gal. They were cool for a while, but got old quick. Other than the colors, they all look and act the same. Not very dynamic.

5)Big fish. An oscar or something? Though, I'm not sure a big oscar would have room to turn around in a 55gal. They are only 12" deep. Plus I like to decorate my tank nice...so I dunno.

6) FOWLR. I'm way too poor for a reef...ever. I'm probably too poor for saltwater in general. Convince me I can set it up for under $200 and I'll think about it. lol

7) Massive shrimp colony. I don't think my girlfriend would ever want to go into my room again, sorry shrimp lovers.

8 ) your ideas
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:59 AM   #2
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I would go for a nice species tank.

55 gallon is big enough to do many cool fish.

I like Oscars
Fresh water sharks
I nice flower horn or green terror.

If you want to do another planted could always do Rainbows if you have not done them.

I like those a lot

If you can do salt water under 200 i would be impressed. My understanding is 1lb per gallon of live rock where i come from cheapest live rock is $6 per pound x 55 is over 300. but if theirs a away that would be the best of both worlds salt tank and a planted tank
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:04 AM   #3
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yeah, I just put in the FOWLR for kicks. I didn't figure it would be possible. haha
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:17 AM   #4
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A rainbow tank would be excellent!!
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:37 AM   #5
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Here is a picture of my Red and regular Bosemani rainbow incase you have not seen them before



and my Gourami's

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Old 12-12-2008, 01:24 PM   #6
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With a 55, I would recommend three options or routes:

1. A different style of community tank, centered on clown loaches and tiger barbs. (I just imagine that would be a very cool display.) This would be different from angel based Amazonian biotope.
2. You could do a ruffian tank of Central American cichlids, depending on more knowledgeable posters' advice: I'd be thinking Jack Dempsey, earth eater, and convicts: the compatibility is where I can't help you. These would be interesting guys--nearly as big as oscars, but much more comfortable in a 55 (if not together).
3. Here's an underrated option: a mixture of rock and shell dwelling Lake Tang cichlids, with shell and rock based decor. Availability would be an issue, and you'd have to research compatibility quite strongly, but some combinations here could be spectacular.
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:51 PM   #7
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Old 12-12-2008, 03:24 PM   #8
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I say go SW and the FOWLR. I already answered your question.
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:28 PM   #9
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yeah, I posted on both forums to get more opinions
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:36 PM   #10
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Nothing wrong with that.
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:14 PM   #11
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I think going with discus is a great option to explore. You will want to keep the tank bare bottom and you will want to purchase between 6-10 3-3.5" fish and grow them out to 4.5-5+". Discus do not need soft acidic water but acidic water is helpful in preventing ammonia/nitrate poisoning and soft water is almost a necessity for breeding. However, if you have hard alkaline water like mine, discus will still do well (unless they are wilds), and hard water is especially helpful when growing out fry (good for bone structure supposedly).

IME a 55g is not a great tank for discus because they like to be in groups of 5-6+ and a 55 is pushing the limit for that number of adult discus. There isn't enough swimming room for adults, but it's perfectly suited for growing out juvies. An idea of mine would be to grow out 6-8 juvies and then transfer them to your 75g and move your angels and other inhabitants (if necessary) to the 55g. That would give you a chance/opportunity to rescape the 55 into a planted tank. A 75g is much better suited for adult discus IMO.
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:21 PM   #12
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I have heard about them needing a bare bottom tank. Is this just to make it easier to keep clean? I personally despise the look of a bare bottom tank. Don't know why...just hate it. As far as moving my planted tank to the 55gal...that would be rough. First the labor of moving everything...my back hurts already. Next, my 55gal is on an iron stand, so no neat oak cabinet to hide all my ugly CO2 stuff. I also like the extra depth the 75gal provides for scaping.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:07 PM   #13
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Discus grow out tanks are nearly always bare bottom and this is because it is easier to keep clean, easier to see how much is being fed/eaten and ease of water changes since you don't have to worry about sand/gravel going everywhere when new water is put in the tank. It doesn't NEED to be bare bottom to grow out juvies but it should in my eyes as well as those of many discus experts. I'm by no means a discus expert (yet) but this is one thing I know should be done when raising juvies.

You could transfer the discus to the 75 and keep the plants I thought you might like the look of the tank how it is right now and didn't want to add anything to the mix. Discus and angels will be fine provided that the discus are large enough. I had 15 dollar size angels in my 100g with 12 discus (until I sold some angels) and never had any problem with angels going after discus or vice versa. Some people say not to mix angels and discus but that is more dependent on individual fish and size of the discus more than anything. It's also thought that angels can hide pathogens that may be harmful to discus while not being harmful to angels. If you are interested in discus make sure you obtain high quality specimens. If you don't, you will most likely end up with stunted/diseased fish that will cost you a good deal of money, time, frustration, and you won't have a good experience with discus making you think that they are harder to keep than they actually are. The relatively high cost keeps most people away from them but if someone would spend $10 on a GBR for example that would live 3 years, is it really that much more to spend $30-50 on a nice fish that will live 10 years on average? That's how I justify spending the extra on these beautiful fish. That and knowing that they are "smart" fish that take an interest in their surroundings. They are one of the more intelligent fish IME and that seems to be true of most cichlids.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:12 PM   #14
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so I could put discus in my planted tank? I suppose I wouldn't have a problem movign the angels over to the 55. I'm sure i could make the 55 into a decent little medium tech tank...something to consider
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:16 PM   #15
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Discus in a planted tank is not a problem at all. I just didn't know what you had in the 75 that would need to be moved to make it work. That's why I suggested moving things from that tank over to the 55 and then you could "start new" with the discus in the 75 and add fish as you see fit in the future.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:22 PM   #16
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hmm *scratches chin thoughtfully.* So far FOWLR and discus are ahead in the polls, they are also the ones I am most closely looking at. I looked at the discus at aquabid and it was a little overwhelming. way too many types. haha. I have no idea what I'd want. Probably one of the stripier types, I'm not a huge fan of the solid colored ones.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:36 PM   #17
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Stay away from AquaBid for discus! I can't stress that enough. There are only a couple of sellers of discus on AB that have good stock. Mike Beals (username: CODISCUS) is one of them. I'd seriously consider Mike or Kenny Cheung @ Kenny's Discus (not on AB as far as I know) for your discus. Kenny is getting in a shipment of discus at the end of this month and there are some pretty nice ones. I'd take a look at it if I were you. His service and prices are unbeatable for the quality. You'll be able to get up to 18 3.5" or so fish shipped to you via FedEx overnight for ~$95. That price is "'high" but you'll be looking to spend that no matter where you get your discus. His lower prices help to offset the cost of shipping and it's well worth a good look at his stock IMO. His stock mainly comes from well known breeders in Asia and he'll be able to trace the lines of his fish. Here's a link to his upcoming shipment as well as older shipments that show prices along with the fish offered. I'm not a big fan of the discus out of water pics or the ones where they are in tubs. It helps me to visualize their color when they are IN the tank. Anyway, here ya go:

Preview of Dec Christmas shipment with many hi-body strains - SimplyDiscus (upcoming shipment)

Preview - upcoming November Chan Kok Eng shipment - SimplyDiscus (another upcoming shipment)

October Forrest shipment for sale with many quality blues - SimplyDiscus (one from October)

September shipment II of Chan Kok Eng ready for sale with many nice Red strains - SimplyDiscus (September shipment)

I think the 3R's in the Sept. shipment and some of the white butterflies in his other shipments will make you think twice about solids. I even some some really nice shaped/colored blue diamonds in his October shipment I think it was.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:46 PM   #18
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you are right, those 3R's are very nice. Are the listed prices per fish or for a group?
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:35 PM   #19
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The prices listed are always per fish unless stated otherwise. The pictures are of the actual fish from the actual shipment so there is no guessing as to the quality. What you see is what you will get. He will even take pics and send them to you before shipping the fish so if you don't like a certain fish or pattern on a particular fish he may find something more to your liking.

3R's are one of the pricier strains. You can get a ~3" 3R for probably around $70 and a blue diamond of the same size would run you maybe $22-30. Some higher grade albinos like albino red gold diamonds can be well over $300 for a 3" fish. Kenny's fish, and most others are "undersized" so if it says 3" it's probably closer to 4". They usually go by SL rather than TL on the site whereas a local fish shop might go by TL rather than SL. A 3" blue diamond at a fish store for example would be 3", sometimes less, and I'd bet you'd pay $50 for it EASILY and they quality would be questionable. If you are looking for a group of 6-8, the shipping cost will easily be offset and the variety and quality available is simply unbeatable. Trust me, give Kenny a call or email him. He's very personable and friendly. He will answer all of your questions, will talk to you on the phone, and will call you to make sure that you received your fish in good condition, will help you acclimate them, etc.

On a side note, if those prices were per group, I'd have about a hundred tanks setup in my house! Kenny's prices are extremely reasonable, which you'll see when you shop around and compare his quality to the other guys. He ALWAYS sells out and many people comment that he undercharges for his fish, even after they purchase from him. The fish from his supplier also seem to have a pretty high rate of pairing up, which is why I thought about getting rid of my current stock of discus and growing out a group of white butterflies or something else in hopes of obtaining a pair.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:38 PM   #20
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mk, well in a few months if I decide to go that route I'll ask him about it.
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