So I did a thing...55 gallon equipment & stocking suggestions

  • #1

So I've got a few questions...

Why do they make these stands look so sketchy??? It doesn't LooK like it could hold 500lbs.. I'm doing the leak test now, guess we'll find out!!

I might want to move it into my bedroom, what kind of filter would be best and still be quiet?

Additionally, does anyone know if this stand can hold a sump tank? Does the sump need to have all 4 sides supported by the thick black bars (aka basically another 55gal tank)? Or do you think I could use my old 20 tall (with the short ends of the tank not being supported)?

Is there any specific equipment you'd recommend ie. Heater, filter, lights? I have to upgrade all my equipment, everything I have is for the 20 gallon lol

What should I put into this huge tank?!
- my husband wants a shark thing. Is there one that can go in here?
- plant suggestions?

Thanks for all the input!!

  • #2
Yay. Congrats!!

55 has so many stocking options: community with an angelfish or two, a rainbow fish tank, cichlid tank with splashes of colour, and on and on.

is that stand from a store/manufacturer or made to order? I’ve not seen one like that before...
  • #3
Yes, you have a ton of stocking options. A community tank with a pair of a Apistogramma would be pretty cool.
As far as filtration, if you’re looking for quiet, I would run a canister.
I would not have any of the sump tank hanging over the edge, you’re just running the risk of cracking the tank from the added stress
  • #4
A lot of the equipment you'll get will depend on what you choose to stock.

By sharks, I'm guessing your husband is talking about Red Tail Sharks and Rainbow Sharks. While they can go in a 55 Gallon, they are known to be territorial and aggressive fish once they reach maturity. If you got one for this tank, you would probably only be able to keep a few other fish that stay near the top, like Danios or Barbs.

Look into Barbs. A lot of them look like sharks, especially the Denison Barb, aka the Roseline Shark. They would be a bit more manageable in a 55 Gallon, but they're also really expensive. Cories also kinda look like sharks if you squint at them.

For plants, I'm partial to good old Java Fern attached to decor. There's just something beautiful about a plant growing on pieces of decor.
  • #5
Congrats on new tank !

We set up a 55 gallon African cichlid tank last July. It has 13 Mbuna, 2 Tanganyika and 3 Peacocks in it.

For stocking, there are infinite possibilities with a 55g. You're working with a large blank slate!

My first thought is to suggest looking into an all-male Mbuna tank. They have been very colorful, entertaining and hardy fish to keep.

In my experience, the Mbuna haven't been as aggressive as they are usually made out to be. I bought them when they were 1 3/4" - 2 1/2" in sized. They are now probably 2 3/4" - 4".

I think one of the keys when selecting all-male Mbuna, is to avoid some of the more aggressive ones and try not to get 2 of the same kind, unless it's considered to be one of the more docile variety.

If you want to look into the African cichlid route, in my opinion its easier to get all-male african cichlids when ordering online. My friend and I have made a couple of purchases from both Imperial Tropicals and Live Fish Direct last year. The fish arrived as advertised and all healthy without Ich. Another online site I suggest to consider is Quinn's Fins. They have an excellent variety of African cichlids, and prices for ones in the 2"-3" range are some of the best I've seen. They only sell what they breed as well. I haven't bought from Quinn's, but I will in the future.

Let me know if you want suggestions for stocking an all-male Mbuna tank. Honestly in my experience, they have been far easier to keep compared to what I thought it would be.

If you don't want to go with cichlids, may I suggest some Rainbowfish along with some Tetras and some bottom dwellers.

The Imperial Tropicals website I mentioned before has a huge selection on Rainbowfish. Their site is good to use as a reference for learning about all the different types. I've got 2 BoesmanI and 2 Australians in our 75 gallon assorted community tank. They grew quick, about 4" now and have been hardy and non-abrasive towards their tankmates.

Male Rainbowfish will show more color than females. Some ones that have nice coloring in my opinion include: Boesmani, Millennium, Turquoise, Neon Dwarf Praecox, Emerald and Australian Rainbowfish.

Selecting 2 or 3 types and getting 3-4 each would make for a great looking tank. They do well in planted tanks also.

For a hood, look online orvat Petco for Aqueon Vera-Top hinged glass lids.

For lights, consider the Beamswork DA series LED light bar found on Amazon. They come in 6500k and 10,000k color, and the "DA F-Spec" adds a couple of green and red lights, supposedly good for plants. The Beamswork offers an optional plug in timer, that independently controls the blue and white LED's.

I've used their EA series F-Spec 48" light w/ timer on a 75 gallon with zero problems for past 2 years.

The DA series are a lot brighter versus their EA series. Amazon lists all their specs. In my opinion, the Beamswork brand offers very good value for the performance.

For heaters, the Chewy website has Aqueon Pro 300 watt heaters on sale for around $28. I've user an Aqueon Pro in our 75 gallon without issues. They have lifetime warranties also. If you live near a PetSmart, they will price match the Chewy website. Also, Ehiem Jager makes very good heaters as well. Online, the Ken's Fish and Jehmco websites has good prices for the Eheim heaters.

For filtration, it really depends on your stocking, your budget and preference. For example, 2 large sponge filters run off a decent air pump and a Penguin 350 on sale (new Penguin 375 Pro was just released) would filter a 55 gallon just fine. Or a single Aquaclear 110 and either 1 or 2 large sponge filters for a heavier stocking will work. Canisters are not necessary, but there are many options for those.

As for a sump, a 20 gallon high would be good, or get a 29 gallon from Petco if they are still running their $1/g sale.

If you were to put a sump on the bottom, I would screw 1x4" slats front to back on to the bottom rail where the sump goes.

Or just build yourself a cabinet/rack. There are plenty of ideas online. Most DIY stands I've seen are over built, which isn't a bad thing really.

I built our 55 gallon cabinet with a 2x4 frame, then skinned it w/ 1/2" birch plywood and trimmed it out along the top and bottom.

Currently I'm building a cabinet for a 65g (roughly 36"x18") made only from 3/4" oak plywood and have the same basic trim as the other cabinet. It's screwed together with pocket holes and glued where any two pieces meet.

I like wood cabinets because you can hide all the supplies and everything inside them.
  • #6
Also, when considering new equipment for the 55g, if you live near a PetSmart I recommend downloading their app. They have an in-app game where you can earn 10%, 15%, and 20% off coupons for instore purchases.

A 20% off coupon + a price match to their website or Chewy's website can get you excellent deals!
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
is that stand from a store/manufacturer or made to order? I’ve not seen one like that before...

I bought the tank used and it came with the stand. The seller said they came together.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Congrats on new tank !
We set up a 55 gallon African cichlid tank last July. It has 13 Mbuna, 2 Tanganyika and 3 Peacocks in it....

Thank you for all that helpful information!! I've decided to get the 525GPH Polar Aurora 4-stage canister filter with 9 watt uv sterilizer (a bit over kill imo, but the husband thought it was fancy lol and now I can use it on a future upgrade).

Does anyone know if the Graysky 200 watt adjustable/ submersible water heater (on amazon) is a good option or not?

I'll have to wait a little while to get a light because I want to get a really nice one that has the gradual timer that mimics the sun rise/set. I'll just use my current "so~so" light from my 20 gallon tank until I have some extra $$$!

There are so many options for stocking!! I'll have to thing long and hard about it lol for now, I'm envisioning a large school of rummy nose tetras with some kuhlI loaches, and a few large centerpiece fish. I'm also interested in the baby whale, dolphin nose, and the butterfly fish, and my husband is still interested in a shark like fish, but all the ones that were mentioned weren't doin' it for him. Even the Bala Shark! (I know that a bala is too big for a 55) we also looked at some corydoras and loaches and other barbs to see if there was a "shark-y" enough fish. He likes the yo-yo loach, but not for his shark needs lol

Well, thanks again for your help and keep it coming!! I would LOVE some more suggestions!
  • #9
The planning for stocking takes the most due diligence, but it looks like you're definitely on the right track to a great tank.

I agree that "shark like" fish will usually outgrow a 55g. Maybe consider the synodontis petricola (grows to 4") or synodontis multipunctatus (grows to 6-7") which are African catfish. They are not as "shark like" as a Bala Shark, but look a lot meaner than a Corydora! Ha . LINK to pictures of synodontis petricola. The petricola are a "dwarf" synodontis and although from Africabln rift lakes, they are not aggressive. If properly fed, they shouldn't go after small fish like neon tetras. A couple of those would do good in a 55g.

I keep the khulI loaches you mentioned and in my experience, they are very entertaining fish to keep. Given a lot of cover or places to hide, they become comfortable with their surroundings and will come out during the day and be visible active. They don't school necessarily, but they are social and like to be in groups. I would suggest 6-8 at a minimum and 10-12 would be great in a 55g. Being so small, they have a very small impact on the overall bio-load. 8-10 of those would probably still produce less waste than only one of the Mbuna in our 55g

The Polar Aurora is the same brand as Sun Sun and in Europe. All Pond Solutions (APS). Members in the forum here report they are very good value oriented canisters that when operated properly, are trouble free.

Here is a YT video about the SunSun version you purchased....

I looked at that heater you mentioned. I am not familiar with the brand.

Caveat Emptor !

It's not so much the brand that appears sketchy, it's the price. $5 for a 200 watt aquarium heater sounds hinky to me. For example, there are quality and value oriented brands in the aquarium industry sold on Amazom such as Beamswork, Nicrew, Aquaneat etc etc that don't have the brand recognition of companies like Fluval, Eheim, or Aqueon. But they aren't selling items for pennies on the dollar. Usually aquarium heaters in the 200w range go for $20-$40.

You can buy what you want, but in my opinion and experience, any product priced (no matter the category its in) 75% lower than the average price of equivalent equipment and from an unknown manufacturer sounds too good to be true.

A heater can be a vital part of an aquarium's ecosystem. Maybe the specific temp the tank is kept at isn't as important as the heater keeping the temp within a range without a large +/- fluctuation. Also, if the heater fails and stops heating, the temperature drops and most fish will just slow down their metabolism and when the fishkeeper notices and brings the temp slowly back up, everything is usually OK.....

On the other hand, if the thermostat that controls the heater fails and stays on, the heater has the potential to elevate tank temps past the mid 80's (that most fish will tolerate) and up past the 90's or possibly more given enough time.

This create a situation of undue stress, slightly reduced oxygen level in the water and eventually death.

Any brand of heater has the potential to fail and stay in the on position. Like any man-made mechanical or electrical item, there is always a chance of a failure.

My experience in life tells me that statistically, there is less chance of failure in mass produced items manufactured and designed by companies who have been in business for a long time, versus the same item selling for 75% less than average retail from a company that is unknown.

Granted in some cases, company "X" will purchase B-stock, over runs, or discontinued items from reputable sources for the purpose of rebranding them and selling them at a discount. In instances such as this, the consumer can buy a normally higher priced item with the same quality and function
at a substantial discount.

This may be the case here, but after a quick Google search, I couldn't find any other aquarium supplies offered by Graysky.

If you're considering buying this heater because of price point and you're trying to keep on a budget, I definitely 100% understand this.

If this is the case, my advise is to take some money from another budgeted item and put it towards a heater manufactured by at least a company that sells other aquarium supplies.

Besides the 2 heaters I suggested in my previous post, another option is on the PetSmart website with a 200w Eheim Jager heater on sale for $21 and change. Their cashier will price match their own website (usually their online prices are better than in-store prices, but not all the time).

Eheim heaters are considered by many to be one if the more reliable and lo her lasting heaters.

If you live near a PetSmart, I would suggest to download their app on your phone and play the in-app game, a generic and easy Aquatic themed version of Candy Crush. You can earn 10%, 15% and 20% off coupon codes for in-store purchases. Yoi could score an Eheim Jager 200w heater for about %17 with the coupon and have a reliable heater for years to come.

I didn't intend to go on a long rant. LOL. Just wanted to present my reasoning of why that heater looks hinky and the ramifications of a failure of this particular type of aquarium equipment.

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