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Old 12-08-2020, 12:43 PM   #1
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Choosing a Centerpiece Cichlid

Hi guys! So I've never posted here before, but I need some help deciding on a good centerpiece cichlid for a 55 gal tall. It's my dad's tank, but he's a doctor on the front lines of this pandemic, and he hasn't had the time or stamina to take care of the tank this year. It makes him sad because he loves watching the fish, but it's just too much work for him now. So for Christmas I'm remodeling his tank and taking over its upkeep so that from now on he can just enjoy! I have tons of experience with freshwater communities (that's what we've had since I was a kid, and I have 4 tanks like this running right now at my house), but I have no experience with cichlids. My dad loves having a true centerpiece fish, but isn't a big fan of the traditionals like angelfish and gouramis. I want to give a more peaceful cichlid a try as a centerpiece fish with larger schooling community fish, and was wondering which would be the best choice as I'm getting conflicting information. The options I'm considering are the following:

Electric Blue Acara
Polar Blue Parrot
Severum
(Only 1 of any of these because I do not have the space to be breeding cichlids and I don't want any spawning aggression - unless I can do like an EBA and a Severum or something, I wouldn't be opposed to that)

Current stock:

X-ray tetra (1 of these is currently surviving in my dad's tank, and I'm going to give him a school either way - though if the consensus is that they won't hold up to the cichlids I'll just adopt the x-rays lol)

Common pleco (old as dirt)

Clown loach

Other schooling fish I'm considering to go with them:

Gold barbs (or any cool barbs really)
Odessa barbs
Rainbow shark
Congo tetras
Swordtails
Corys
Hoplos
Syndontis

These are the ones I'm picking from so far (obviously not all of them, these are just the options on the table), but I'm open to suggestions! Thanks in advance for any help!!

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Old 12-08-2020, 01:25 PM   #2
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I have a blood parrot, a severum and an eb acara in different tanks. Imo they all are beautiful centerpiece fish. I'd rate them in aggression this way, from most to least. Parrot, severum, acara. Out of those 3 my parrot is the bossiest. He pushes his tank mates around (other large cichlids) and generally runs the show. He doesn't cause any real damage due to his beak like mouth. The severum is next, and occasionally shows some attitude but only when getting messed with first. My acara is very chill. That being said, cichlids are temperamental and ev1 is different. What works for one person, may not work for you and vice versa
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Old 12-08-2020, 01:26 PM   #3
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I have 2 albino heckelli in another tank, they are pretty and very laid back. Never aggressive
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Old 12-08-2020, 01:28 PM   #4
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Odessa, congo and Denison barbs are good tank mates ime
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Old 12-08-2020, 01:29 PM   #5
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I also keep corys and buenos Aires tetras in some of my tanks with cichlids
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Old 12-08-2020, 01:30 PM   #6
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Swords and some barbs can be fin nippers tho
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Old 12-08-2020, 02:13 PM   #7
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So should I stick to one of these guys, or should I do an EBA and a Severum or some combination like that?
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Old 12-08-2020, 02:31 PM   #8
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If it was me, I'd do a gold severum or an eba, both are pretty. Then build a community around it. Both would be OK for a 55g, but then your cutting down on the number of smaller fish too. And, you don't wanna create such a bio load that you have to be there every 5 days doing a water change/vacuum
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Old 12-08-2020, 04:11 PM   #9
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That’s definitely a good point, thank you so much for all your help! I can’t even tell you how many different times I’ve posted this question in different forums and gotten zero helpful responses - just people telling me I should do an all African cichlid tank and suggestions like that that clearly aren’t what I’m looking for. I really appreciate you for actually answering my question!! Lol
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Old 12-08-2020, 05:04 PM   #10
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Your welcome and good luck!
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Old 12-10-2020, 05:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliebankston View Post
I have a blood parrot, a severum and an eb acara in different tanks. Imo they all are beautiful centerpiece fish. I'd rate them in aggression this way, from most to least. Parrot, severum, acara. Out of those 3 my parrot is the bossiest. He pushes his tank mates around (other large cichlids) and generally runs the show. He doesn't cause any real damage due to his beak like mouth.
Heya Charlie. My tank jewel is a blood parrot as well. I'd very much like to read about your experiences with your parrot, things like known age, size, temperament, etc. I ask this because my parrot, Micky, has been a very interesting animal in a few respects.
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Old 12-10-2020, 05:32 PM   #12
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Well, this goof ball is about 7" with the head of a bowling ball. We've only had him about 6 months, my wife had one previously that lived for about 10 years. They say they're not very aggressive, but I've found both to be pretty bossy or downright nasty. The one now shoves the similar sized oscars around with his huge melon head. They bite him, to no avail, but oscars aren't really made for fighting either. So they make good tank mates since no one gets damaged.
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Old 12-10-2020, 05:35 PM   #13
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The one she had before killed a common pleco (not easy to do) then ate him. And killed his blood parrot tank make. He was def meaner than the current one. He lived a good life all by himself, just like he wanted. The current one is in a tank with the 2 oscars, and juvies of the following: black belt, fire mouth, convict, pearl scale and jack dempsey
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Old 12-10-2020, 06:15 PM   #14
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The one she had before killed a common pleco (not easy to do) then ate him. And killed his blood parrot tank make. He was def meaner than the current one. He lived a good life all by himself, just like he wanted. The current one is in a tank with the 2 oscars, and juvies of the following: black belt, fire mouth, convict, pearl scale and jack dempsey
Did the one wife owned have teeth? One of the unpleasant aspects of their hybrid nature is inconsistency. I'm responsible for two juveniles now. So I'm hoping that there aren't any nasty surprises. Has your BR exhibited unusual intelligence?
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:02 PM   #15
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The one now has no teeth, she said the old one prob didn't either cuz he would peck her. Not teeth like my red tiger mota anyway, lol. He's not very smart, it took him 6 months to learn the alphabet
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:05 PM   #16
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I'd say the most inquisitive is the mota, the oscars are the biggest clowns and the red devil is the grumpiest
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Old 12-10-2020, 11:02 PM   #17
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The one now has no teeth, she said the old one prob didn't either cuz he would peck her. Not teeth like my red tiger mota anyway, lol. He's not very smart, it took him 6 months to learn the alphabet
Okay, that was funny. I asked about intellengce because Micky has exhibited some unusual characteristics from time to time. If I put my hand in the tank and hold it the right way, like I'm holding a potato, he'll swim into it and shiver around. I didn't train him to do this or motivate him in any way, besides laugh when he did it. He also helped to rehab my rescue pacu, by staying near her when she got freaked over something and started to turn more black than usual.

This was his most interesting characteristic, because the pacu was a dangerous fish. She eat 4 large ornamental fish from the tank I rescued her from, and 15 fish I (foolishly) bought to to keep her company. Of the 15, 12 were tiger barbs that I used early on to help cycle the tank. Micky survived and was the last fish in the tank when we got the rapidly growing pacu rehomed.

It seems that Big Micky is an anomaly!
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Old 12-10-2020, 11:04 PM   #18
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I'd say the most inquisitive is the mota, the oscars are the biggest clowns and the red devil is the grumpiest
I wish I had more space for fish.
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Old 12-11-2020, 08:39 AM   #19
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Okay, that was funny. I asked about intellengce because Micky has exhibited some unusual characteristics from time to time. If I put my hand in the tank and hold it the right way, like I'm holding a potato, he'll swim into it and shiver around. I didn't train him to do this or motivate him in any way, besides laugh when he did it. He also helped to rehab my rescue pacu, by staying near her when she got freaked over something and started to turn more black than usual.



This was his most interesting characteristic, because the pacu was a dangerous fish. She eat 4 large ornamental fish from the tank I rescued her from, and 15 fish I (foolishly) bought to to keep her company. Of the 15, 12 were tiger barbs that I used early on to help cycle the tank. Micky survived and was the last fish in the tank when we got the rapidly growing pacu rehomed.



It seems that Big Micky is an anomaly!
That's awesome! That's so cool when they interact like that. When I was 17 and getting into aquariums, there was no petco etc. A guy had a fish store near my home town. I now know he cared nothing about teaching fish keeping, he just wanted to make a buck. I had 6 or 7 tanks. I had a pacu. In a 20 gallon. And he never mentioned it would get 3' long. I also had an Oscar in a 29g. Sad. They both only lived about a year. So many things I did wrong not knowing
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Old 12-11-2020, 08:54 AM   #20
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I wish I had more space for fish.
Me too! I'd really like another 75g with a Texas cichlid in it. But, no room. Oh well, maybe I'll win the lottery
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