55 gallon tropical community tank

  1. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    My parents, back in the day, used to be avid aquarium enthusiasts and we have since acquired their 55 gallon show tank. Currently there is a male betta (Admiral Ackbar) and a female bristlenose plecostomus (Professor Nubbins), though our final stocking plan will include: one angelfish, either a dwarf gourami or two apistogrammas of some sort, six platys, eight tetras, six cory cats, a nerite snail, a bamboo shrimp, and Professor Nubbins. Ackbar will stay in the big tank as long as he behaves himself, but I predict he'll end up back in the 10 gallon tank before too long.
  2. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    you may be surprised, in a well fed tank he may not be as much of an issue especially if there is a place he can call his. You may have some aggressions with the gourami thou.

  3. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    We weren't set on having a gourami. We like the powder blue ones, but we wouldn't be devastated if we couldn't have one, and if we had to choose between a DG and an angelfish, we'd definitely go for the latter.

    I thought DGs were only aggressive towards conspecifics, do you think we shouldn't get one?

    Also, here's a picture of the tank. Sorry it's so washed out, my camera does that.

    Attached Files:

  4. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    personally I don't have a thing for them at all and I would do the angels over them any day.

  5. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    When I tested the water today (thoroughly beating the bottles of testing solution against various surfaces), the ammonia tube showed only a slight hint of green, while the nitrate tube was the darkest I've seen it (to be honest the 10 and 20 ppm boxes on the chart look identical to me, so I'm not exactly sure which it was).

    I did a 30%ish water change on Sunday and Friday night, and maybe 20% this morning, so I'm surprised how high it is. Does this mean the tank is properly cycling? Where is the safe zone for nitrates? I know ammonia and nitrite should be zero, but I'm not sure about nitrate. Should the levels also be zero?
  6. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Most people aim to keep nitrates at 20ppm or lower( although some have it in the tap and go a bit higher) in a cycled tank you should show nitrates, usually the only way it is 0 in a cycled tank is if you have a ton of live plants. I would say you are probiblly a day or two away from being cycled, just as soon as you get a 0 reading on the ammonia.
  7. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    Awesome! Thanks :)

  8. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    well, once the ammonia is gone I would give it 2 more days to ensure that your nitrites are gone as well. I have not seen any test results in your posts about them, NO2.

    To me with the tests, I really don't do many any more, and I think a lot of the fish keepers on here will tell you the same, we do them when things look wrong or things look off. Once you get your maintenance cycle in line the results will be about the same on a regular basis.

    That being said I'm not saying to not test, just after a few months of regular testing you may find that you can almost predict the results. Once you can get to that point I would back off on it and just keep up with your maint.
  9. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I've actually never gotten a reading for nitrite. I was testing every other day, so I'm assuming I missed the day when the nitrite spike happened. (Unless there's something wrong with the bottle for some reason.)
  10. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    It could be, a lot of times they do come and go quickly but I can usually see them for a few days when it happens. Either way you should be good once the ammonia disappears but theres always a safety factor

  11. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I'm planning to quarantine the platys for two weeks anyway, so hopefully everything should be safe by then. :)
  12. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    I figured she may have missed them since she started with some established media.
  13. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I suppose I did forget to mention that part! I moved the media over from the established 10 gallon, along with the betta and the pleco. Although, I'm already getting nitrate readings for the new 10 gallon filter, without having gotten nitrite readings...
  14. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member


    Well, unfortunately I wasn't a day or two away from being cycled, as the darn thing still hasn't cycled yet. I'm testing the water daily and treating with Prime, but because there's ammonia in my tap water, every time I do a water change, I'm dumping a bunch of ammonia in. I've gotten a couple "0ppm" readings, but it still takes about 5 days for the ammonia to drop to zero, so we're not in the clear yet.

    I've been discussing it in another thread, but one of the male platys is being picked on by another. He hasn't been eating, so it was suggested to add a few more females (there were two males and one female) in hopes that the bullying would subside. We added three females yesterday; unfortunately he still hasn't really come out of hiding. The new females all seem healthy and active; they're much larger than the fish I have currently.

    It's crazy how much of a difference a few fish can make...Initially there was a pleco and a betta, and my tank usually looked empty. We switched the betta with the three platys that were quarantining, and it seemed like there was so much activity in the tank in comparison! Now we add three more, plus the couple ghost shrimp we moved from the 2.5 gallon, and it seems like the tank is always bustling with activity. I can't imagine what it will look like once there are tetras, cories, an angel, and possibly a gourami in there. It seems like our tank will never be fully stocked, though! Hopefully it cycles soon.
  15. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    hopefully it cycles soon as well. Also keep in mind, if you think the tank looks full then leave it as it, I have had a few tanks at times that looked well over stocked but could handle more fish from all thought. then again I have had another that never looked at all over stocked but needed some work. There is a lot to stocking a tank beyond what sounds good on paper.
  16. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    You'll get there! If it is any concelation we are feeling your pain, we just set up the 125gal on Thursday. Going to be a at least acouple more weeks before we can put more fish in...a 125gal looks really empty with only 10 small tetras in it.
  17. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    I definitely don't think it looks full yet, I'm just used to the tank looking empty! I am reconsidering having a "secondary" centerpiece fish though. The plan now is platys, tetras, cories, and an angel (plus the pleco, snails, and a few ghost shrimp that are in there now). We were thinking of a DG but at this point I'm thinking that it may be full enough without. The only problem is that all the platys are orange or red, so there aren't any cool colors in the tank, which is why we were thinking of maybe a powder blue DG.

    I can imagine! We want to upgrade to a bigger tank like a 125 someday in the distant future, but for now the 55 is definitely keeping our hands full.
  18. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    You will think the orange and red looks a lot better once the other fish are in there, they realy stand out.
  19. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    You can get some really nice looking angels too, some koi ones or even some nice pearl scale angels.
  20. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    At least we're planning to add some cardinals (we were thinking neons, but apparently cardinals are more hardy and also get a little bigger, so they hopefully won't get eaten by the angel), so there's a little bit of blue.

    Petsmart started carrying angels but they always look like complete garbage...we saw a tank of them at Petco yesterday and pretty much all of them had no fins because they had been nipped off. You think they'd notice and maybe realize they shouldn't be keeping so many in one tank....but then again our LFS has a huge tank with a zillion angels in it and they all look fine.

    (We've been avoiding buying fish from the LFS for the most part, not because they aren't knowledgeable (they saved us from putting a common pleco in a 10 gallon), but because they only have a two day return guarantee...our BN pleco came from there and she's doing great, as have all our snails, but I'm still a little leery. I know that Petsmart's fish surely aren't as healthy, but I know that if they die, I can get new ones no questions asked. Still have mixed feelings about the whole thing.)

    I don't know any of the fancy names, but we sort of like the black-and-white marbeled ones, and the black striped ones. I'm thinking since we have so much orange, we'll probably not get the koi ones (but I do think they're really pretty). I've heard of blue ones, but I'm guessing they're "designer" angels and not fit for my poor college student budget ;)