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Old 03-17-2014, 11:30 PM   #1
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60 Gallon Cichilids or Peaceful community?

Hello everyone! This is my first post on this forum, so please allow me to introduce myself. I got into aquariums about 3-4 years ago when I brought home a crayfish after fishing. I made him a nice home in a ten gallon, fed him guppies and mollies, and slowly upgraded. My last tank was stocked with cichilids, but I only had them for a couple months because I had to move unexpectedly so I gave them to my friend (who has a very impressive set up 20+ tanks stocked full of crazy huge fish like piranhas, a 6 foot long catfish, a "school" of oscars. He also had to do plenty of water changes :P).

So, now that I am finally set up in my new place, I have aquascaped a 60 gallon aquarium with sand, gravel, and rocks from the river nearby. (Ironically, the same river that I caught the crayfish that got me into aquariums) It is also "moderately planted" but once the plants grow in, it should be considered heavily. The tank is also over filtered, with a sump tank.

That brings me to my problem, I cant decide on what type of fish to keep! I keep going back and forth between a couple large cichilids (such as Jack Dempseys) or a peaceful community with shrimp, african dwarf frogs, tetras, and other small schooling fish.

I like cichilids because they are large beautiful fish, and it is a lot of fun to watch them grow and eat little feeder fish. Also, I like raising feeder fish a lot more than blackworms that stink up my garage :P. They also are more like pets, rather than a bunch of schooling tetras that could care less. The unfortunate thing is, my aquarium is a "beauty aquarium". It is something that sits sorta in the middle of my house, so I am worried that just having two or so fish in there would be interesting for me to take care of, but I want guests to be able to look at it and enjoy it as much as I do. All of the interesting aquatic creatures such as crystal red shrimp, frogs, oddball fish, and gorgeous schools of smaller fish also might be more "exciting" for me.

So, I guess thats why I created this account on this forum :P. So, if you would be willing, step into my shoes for a second and let me know what you would pick if you were in my position, and why. Or any other comments/concerns/etc.

Thanks so much for your help! It is greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-18-2014, 01:58 AM   #2
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First let me say sorry that nobody answered you more promptly--Hum, Hum! Actually people here are very helpful and a good group of folks for sure.

A 60gal is a large tank for a community with primarily smaller fish. It can be done but it is a balancing act for sure. As for larger cichlids, my first thought is there go this persons plants, most of the cichlids will do a great job pulling them up and rearranging them. There are some smaller cichlids that would look nice say some Black Veil Angels and some Keyholes maybe? You could throw in a large school of larger tetras like B&As or red eyes. Another way to go is with one or two pairs of apistogammas and then schooling fish above live penguin tetras, black neons, head and tail lights and maybe a school of cherry barbs half regular and half albino.

If you really want peaceful community, get either some nice sailfin mollys or swords. For color and fun, add 6-10 male Endlers. You can add female Endlers and your swords or mollys will have plenty of live food. Next, get a nice size school 8-12 penguin and another 8-12 head and tail light tetras. I'd add 6 rosy barbs, long finned if you can find them. For the bottom, add red cherry shrimp, blue and yellow shrimp, say 10 each and for good measure 10 Kuhli loaches. Toss in a pleco and you got yourself a tank. I'd add a few different colored mystery snails and maybe a gaint ramshorn or two. You could also get away with 6-8 pigmy corys as they stay off the bottom and are too small to bother adult shrimp.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:21 AM   #3
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I second the above recommendation. You don't have to pick between cichlids or a community. Dwarf cichlids like apistos, keyholes, rams, kribensis, and angels can be kept in community settings with the right tankmates. That allows you to have more than just a couple fish, but still get the color and personality that cichlids bring
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:09 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone for the great ideas!!

I have created two lists of possible tank stockings, one peaceful and based off of henningc's idea (thank you for the advice!), and the other with dwarf cichilids.

Peaceful:

6 Swordtails

10 male Endlers, 6 female

10 Penguin Tetras

10 Head and Tail Light Tetras

6 long finned Rosy Barbs (lfs has them I believe)

10 of Red Cherry, Blue, and Yellow shrimp

Pleco (still deciding on the species)

10 Kuhli Loaches

8 Pygmy Corys

A couple pretty colored snails to help clean the algae

Dwarf Cichilid:

Either 1 pair of Apistos or Bolivian Rams

4 Angelfish

10 Red Eyed Tetra (thinking of adding another schooling fish as well)

6 Sterba Cory Cat


I believe the dwarf cichilid setup I have might be stretching it a bit due to aggression, but I just thought I would give it a try and see what you guys thought.

So, what do you guys think of those two setups?

Here's the setup for my tank as well, that way you dont have to read through the first post again:

60 gallons, planted, large rocks, gravel area and sand area (separated) over-filtered with sump.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:14 PM   #5
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Angels and apistos or bolivians are quite commonly kept together. As long as they're added together near the same time while young and have nicely broken lines of sight the success rates are decent. I'd give it a shot

Honestly, either of the stock lists you're considering sound like they'd be very nice tanks and sound workable. The cichlid tank would have more personality, but the peaceful tank would be more colorful. Go with the one that appeals to you most!
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:45 PM   #6
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Test the water before adding fish to make sure that the rocks didn't introduce any unwanted chemicals.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:44 PM   #7
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If you go the peaceful route, I'd change the endlers numbers to a 1M:2F ratio, so like 5M:10F. Other than that it looks great. For dwarf cichlids, you may be able to get two pairs in addition to angels, and another small schooler. IMO cardinals would be nice, and they should work with the angels IF the angels are introduced at a young age.
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Old 03-19-2014, 02:16 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses everyone!

I have tested my water for any chemicals, and I have also tested the rocks/sand/gravel for any unwanted metals etc.

I will also change the ratio of endlers as well.

I had a couple more questions I would like to ask, and I might be changing up the dwarf cichilid tank a bit.

First, would the rams or appistos eat shrimp? I'm not asking because I'm concerned, I'm asking because I was going to supplement their diet with feeder shrimp lol. I know the angels will!

And second, I was thinking about changing the angels out with some gourami, I'm just a bit worried I might get an angelfish with an aggressive personality, and I don't really want to have to worry about him eating my tetras or trying to bully my apistos or rams. Because then I would prolly have to go through the ordeal of returning him to the pet store an hour away lol. Do you guys know of any fish that might be a better fit?

Also, will feeding the fish feeder shrimp increase their aggression towards other tank mates?

Thanks again for all the help
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Old 03-19-2014, 04:34 AM   #9
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Gourami would work equally well, just make sure you stick to only one male. Opaline gourami are my personal favorites, but pearls are beautiful as well and are a little more peaceful.

The rams may or may not go for the shrimp, depends on the shrimp size and the ram personality. Feeding shrimp does not increase aggression towards their fishy tankmates
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