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Old 06-19-2014, 11:19 PM   #1
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55 gallon freshwater with vibrant look

I have recently purchased a 55 gallon aquarium kit and I want a freshwater tank that is as vibrant and eye catching as a marine aquarium. I've gotten used to my 20g but all I have are mollies and platys and I want something different. Even if I have fake decorations I would like some ideas of bright and playful fish or inverts. I'd like a lot of fish to take up space. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:00 AM   #2
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With a 55 I'd recommend looking into doing a rainbowfish tank with boesemanis, turquoise, praecox, etc. They're bright, active and flashy and can be real attention stealers especially around feeding time. For decor I'd go as natural as possible with driftwood, lots of live plants, and so forth. This way the fish stand out more amidst the darker tones of your tank. There are some great planted rainbowfish tanks on YouTube you should check out for inspiration.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:23 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot! Now I know this is a big debate but can I go sand or should i stick with gravel substrate
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:30 PM   #4
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Sand is easier to clean but if you don't have enough flow in your tank there will be a bit of a buildup of detritus on the sand bed. It's all just personal opinion because one way or another the same amount of nutrients will be in the water column.

Sand does happen to be easier to keep live plants in though imho.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcas3 View Post
I have recently purchased a 55 gallon aquarium kit and I want a freshwater tank that is as vibrant and eye catching as a marine aquarium. I've gotten used to my 20g but all I have are mollies and platys and I want something different. Even if I have fake decorations I would like some ideas of bright and playful fish or inverts. I'd like a lot of fish to take up space. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Invert-wise, Dwarf Crayfish are bright orange and very fun to watch.

Fish wise:
Threadfin Rainbows are colorful and have very active fin flicking displays when kept in good numbers. All rainbows tend to be very colorful and active, but Threadfins have the coolest displays imo.

Loaches aren't very colorful, but are very active and playful. Don't keep them with crayfish though, as they'll tend to eat the crays when they molt.

Kribensis Cichlids, Apistos, or Rams are all very colorful and interactive.

Tetras, Rasboras, and Barbs have a wide variety of colorful and active options, such as Harlequin Rasboras, Chili Rasboras, Cardinal Tetras, Congo Tetras, Filament Barb, Cherry Barb, etc.

If none of these catch your eye and you want something totally different, you can always do a DIY GloFish tank like this (old pic, before I fully stocked it):
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input! Just out of curiosity if I were to put power-heads for flow in with sand would this change the species of fish I could get?
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:02 AM   #7
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High circulation usually goes best for more riverbed style species, which are typically not very colorful because there's less color in their environment to blend in with. Hillstream loaches and other more streamlined species are more common in the high flow environments, while flashy colors and long decorative fins are more common in the lower flow ones. Anything with long, flowy fins will struggle in a high current tank.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:46 AM   #8
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Rainbow fish can be colorful but this usually happens when the males are kept with females. The males will display their bright colors to get the attention of the females.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:57 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input! Just out of curiosity if I were to put power-heads for flow in with sand would this change the species of fish I could get?
Go for 10x the tank volume per hour and that will be just fine except for fish that absolutely needs slow flow in their tank such as a betta.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:25 AM   #10
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What about inverts with a powerhead?
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:42 AM   #11
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If you want a power head in a 55 just go with Mbuna.

Simple...
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:10 AM   #12
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What about inverts with a powerhead?
If you're asking about small inverts such as Neocardinia like RCS and Caradina like CRS then they will often get sucked into powerheads and filters unless they are large inverts. Most others should be okay.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:04 PM   #13
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Okay thanks everyone
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