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Old 01-04-2011, 12:19 PM   #1
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Help me pick a mid/high level fish!!!

I've got a 55 gallon aquarium with a bunch of bottom dwellers (a few yoyo loaches, a bushynose pleco and four dwarf cichlids (kribensis x2 and apistogramma agasizzi x2). The aquarium is planted with eco-complete substrate. This tank has been set up for a few years - so it's cycled and everything. It's kind of empty because I had been too busy to do much with it. I'm kind of obsessed with bottom dwellers. I love loaches. But... I've got more than enough of those. Every time I look at fish to try to figure out what to put in, I get back to those. So - basically all i know is bottom dwellers. What would be a good lively fish that would add some color and hang out more towards the top? It's a heavily planted tank, overfiltered with a large canister, but I do keep it a little warmer for the cichilds and yoyos.

I was at the local fish store and they had some denisonii barbs which really caught my eye. Actually at first I thought they were artificially colored, which I didn't like. But... I'm thinking full grown they'd need a bigger tank? Because I would need a minimum of 3... and they're 25 dollars each.... and I think they like cooler water...

I like the dwarf cichlids because they seem to be more active and have more personality. But I've got more than enough of those and they stay on the bottom.

So - any suggestions? Here's a list of what my local LFS has if that's any help. I want something a little bigger - and colorful. I have researched, I just can't think of anything that would work.

New Fish Shipments at Trilby Tropicals

I saw some Geophagus Tocantins as well - which are really cool looking fish - and have seriously tempted me to get another tank just for them. But... I don't want to go there... yet...
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:07 PM   #2
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Denison's would be fine in a 55, but they are pricey!

Off the top of my head, Congo tetra, espei rasbora, white clouds, bosemani rainbows... school mid to top pretty well. I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch, but it's a start.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:07 PM   #3
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Based on that list you linked, You could try going with some Killi's or Rainbowfish. My biggest concern is compatibility with your dwarf cichlids - because most fish can adjust to a less-than-perfect temp, ph, or hardness - but if they get bullied then there's really no way out of that except to separate them.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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Yeah. I'm worried about the dwarfs a bit too. I've got a lot of "caves" and things built in among the plants, and they seem to be mainly concerned with the territories they've created down there. But I agree- that is a concern. I think I just get overwhelmed when I go to look at fish. The fish store has a LOT of fish - and I know a lot about fish, but I always end up liking something and then not knowing how big it will get, etc. I've had Congo Tetras before - and I really do like them - but they're the one fish I have not been able to do well with. I don't think my water is agreeable with them. I've had aquariums for a long time - and I've had trouble with no other fish. I just can't keep the Congo Tetras alive. They do well for a while, but... yeah. I don't know. They are very pretty though when they get bigger. I kind of wanted to try something different though.

I've looked at rainbows before - but know nothing about them. There seem to be a huge variety of them as well. I'd like to get a somewhat larger fish - something bigger than 2 inches. Which ones get the most colorful/are largest? Do they need to school? I have had Celebese Rainbows before - but that was probably 7 years ago. I think those stayed pretty small. I like scissortail rasboras as well, but I'd like to get away from the black and white fish.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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The Denisons - how many would i need to get? Is 3 enough for them to be happy? That's still a 75 dollar investment... and since I've never kept that fish before it makes me a bit nervous.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:12 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about the congos, they are great fish but I do understand "unicorn fish".... GBRs don't do well for me even with perfect water for them. Can't figure it out....

As far as rainbows, they need a school. Most get pretty large, but bosemanis, gertrudae, celebes, and a few other harder to find species stay fairly small (2-4 in).

3 Denison's would work, but like all barbs more is better and will spread their heirarchal madness out more. I've only kept them once, but they seemed pretty easy and not picky. I definitely understand being nervous about dropping $25 a fish.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:18 PM   #7
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After reading a bit about rainbows, I feel the problem I've had with them is that I haven't really seen any full grown full color ones. I've seen them a lot in pet stores, and have never seen any that are really "striking" to me. Sounds like the Congo Tetra. They always look kind of boring in pet stores - but when I've had them they've gotten beautiful quickly. The males get the longer fins and turn a rainbow color.

After reading this:
Rainbow Fish
I think I am leaning now towards rainbows. However the article recommends keeping at least 10-15 of them to make sure they're not too shy! Is this serious? I can't get that many fish in a 55 gallon... Anyone know what a minimum school should be for them to be active and happy?

They seem pretty hardy as well, which is good. I'm a pretty experienced aquarium keeper - however having a fish that is a little forgiving is a nice thing to have.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:21 PM   #8
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One more question about rainbows. They are a schooling fish - but will they school with other species of rainbow? Like if I got 4 of them... 2 of 2 different species... would that work? Or should I stick to all one species of rainbow?
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:13 PM   #9
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10-15 isn't necessary. It looks stunning, but a smaller school of 6-8 will be fine. I've kept bosemani, celebes, kamaka, and gertrudae in those numbers and they do fine.

You will be better off with more of the same type. They may loosely associate with other species, but true natural schooling/schoaling will be confined to the same (or very similar) species. Kinda like tetra or cories...
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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Go for an Aussie rainbow! lol
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