55 Gallon Tank Stocking Question

inari

Hey guys,

I have stupid hard water so hard that either I need to consider an RO/DI system or get cichlids. I am exploring the latter. My question is that I always see cichlid tanks that are stuffed to the gills (no pun intended) with fish. They seem to have little room to move about which seems off to me! What is the general rule of thumb for stocking a cichlid tank? Given that my water sits at about pH 8.4 and KH/GH 20+ I think they would be a good candidate, but I am not sure about the care and experience level needed. Any help would be great. If you have any specifics for this size, let me know as well I am open to any fish as long as they are colorful.

thanks!
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

Hey guys,

I have stupid hard water so hard that either I need to consider an RO/DI system or get cichlids. I am exploring the latter. My question is that I always see cichlid tanks that are stuffed to the gills (no pun intended) with fish. They seem to have little room to move about which seems off to me! What is the general rule of thumb for stocking a cichlid tank? Given that my water sits at about pH 8.4 and KH/GH 20+ I think they would be a good candidate, but I am not sure about the care and experience level needed. Any help would be great. If you have any specifics for this size, let me know as well I am open to any fish as long as they are colorful.

thanks!
All of my fish except for one are from the Amazon. And I have 8.2-8.4 ph water. The only fish that doesn't work for me in my water are lemon tetras, they always die (but only as they are being added not after). But other tetras are fine. So the point is, fish are very flexible with ph.
 

carsonsgjs

The idea of african cichlid tanks being overstocked is to deal with aggression issues. Helps spread it across a wider group so one fish can’t dominate the tank. Some species will work with others, others won’t. Male/female ratio is also important.

Plenty of others on here that could offer some suggestions if you needed a place to start your research.
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

A201 chromedome52
 

A201

African Cichlids aren't for everyone, so if one goes that route be prepared for hard learned lessons in aggression management.
Stocking depends on the size of the tank & species desired.
Just for example; 10 Aulonocara Peacocks would be fine for a 55 gal. while the same tank would house maybe 20 Mbuna. A 55 gal. might hold 5 or 6 small Haps, but only 3 Predator Haps.
It just takes a lot of research before you take the plunge.
You water parameters are spot on for African Cichlids. Keeping them is challenging & rewarding.
Their colors rival marine counterparts.
 

Bwood22

Hey guys,

I have stupid hard water so hard that either I need to consider an RO/DI system or get cichlids. I am exploring the latter. My question is that I always see cichlid tanks that are stuffed to the gills (no pun intended) with fish. They seem to have little room to move about which seems off to me! What is the general rule of thumb for stocking a cichlid tank? Given that my water sits at about pH 8.4 and KH/GH 20+ I think they would be a good candidate, but I am not sure about the care and experience level needed. Any help would be great. If you have any specifics for this size, let me know as well I am open to any fish as long as they are colorful.

thanks!
A201 is spot on.....And we overstock to create enough chaos that results in a more peaceful environment for all. These guys are very territorial and they will claim a spot and defend it. Rearranging decor will become part of your routine maintenance as it throws them because you just changed their world around and now their spot is gone.

If you want stunning colors and slightly bigger fish then my vote is Peacocks there are some smaller haps that you could mix in just fine.
But if you do that just do your research and I would stay away from Nimbochromis, Buccochromis or anything else that exceeds 9-10+ inches. Your 55G is only 12 inches wide so keep that in mind. It's probably best that your fish are able to turn around and swim the other way .
 

inari

A201 is spot on.....And we overstock to create enough chaos that results in a more peaceful environment for all. These guys are very territorial and they will claim a spot and defend it. Rearranging decor will become part of your routine maintenance as it throws them because you just changed their world around and now their spot is gone.

If you want stunning colors and slightly bigger fish then my vote is Peacocks there are some smaller haps that you could mix in just fine.
But if you do that just do your research and I would stay away from Nimbochromis, Buccochromis or anything else that exceeds 9-10+ inches. Your 55G is only 12 inches wide so keep that in mind. It's probably best that your fish are able to turn around and swim the other way .
I was going to laugh about the 12 part and making sure the fish can turn around, but then I realized that there are people who don't consider that....
 

Bwood22

I was going to laugh about the 12 part and making sure the fish can turn around, but then I realized that there are people who don't consider that....
I had a laughing emoji after that sentence...not sure why it didn't post.
 

inari

Do most Cichlids have a male/female ratio to minimize aggression?
 

Bwood22

Do most Cichlids have a male/female ratio to minimize aggression?
You mean African Cichlids I assume.
Tanganyikan? Not as much so as Malawi or Victorian.

If you are going to keep Africans I would just go all males unless you want to breed. Then I would put them in a specific build at a ratio of 4-6 females per male.

This can be more difficult in an Mbuna setup because they are not as sexually dimorphic as peacocks and haps.

Going with all males completely eliminates one point of agression to worry about. There will be no females to fight over. And the males (peacocks and haps) are where the best colors are.
 

jmaldo

"Great" to see your doing research. You have gotten some sound advice.
I have kept a number of different fish, about a 1.5 years ago wanted a change and always "Admired" the coloring of the male Africans. Had no real experience with them and had similar questions. Thankfully, the members here especially A201 were so helpful and guided me.
Fast forward, its been a year and my all male tank of Africans is doing fine. But... as mentioned most have grown to between 5-6", still need to up size the tank.
Take a look at the thread in my signature. Long read but some "Good" info on selecting stock.

"Good Luck" going forward I will be following.
 

GlennO

Just FYI it doesn't have to be Malawians. If you'd rather a more lightly stocked tank consider Tanganyikans. There are other options too for very hard water. Livebearers would be fine and many Rainbowfish and Gobies. You could also consider a brackish tank.
 

Bwood22

Just FYI it doesn't have to be Malawians. If you'd rather a more lightly stocked tank consider Tanganyikans. There are other options too for very hard water. Livebearers would be fine and many Rainbowfish. You could also consider a brackish tank.
No doubt, I think a 55G Tanganyikan setup with a shelldweller city (of multis) along the substrate would be freakin' amazing to watch. Throw in some julis and cyps to fill the rest of the space in the water column.
That would be a fun tank to sit and stare at for hours on end.

Livebearers are cool...im partial to endlers and guppies myself. There's alot you can do with a 55g planted and scaped. Those livebearers are gonna start makin babies and it could turn out pretty cool.

But if you want the stunning colors, and when your friends show up and their jaws hit the floor....go Malawi.
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

No doubt, I think a 55G Tanganyikan setup with a shelldweller city (of multis) along the substrate would be freakin' amazing to watch. Throw in some julis and cyps to fill the rest of the space in the water column.
That would be a fun tank to sit and stare at for hours on end.

Livebearers are cool...im partial to endlers and guppies myself. There's alot you can do with a 55g planted and scaped. Those livebearers are gonna start makin babies and it could turn out pretty cool.

But if you want the stunning colors, and when your friends show up and their jaws hit the floor....go Malawi.
Though you can get some awesome colorations, I sometimes just search fancy guppies just to look at all of the varieties, examples which I've found:

https://i0.wp.com/cabritonyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Types-of-Guppies.png?w=794&ssl=1
Albino Blue Tail PAIR
Albino Full Red TRIO
https://www.leafyplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/lace-guppies.jpg
 

inari

Though you can get some awesome colorations, I sometimes just search fancy guppies just to look at all of the varieties, examples which I've found:

https://i0.wp.com/cabritonyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Types-of-Guppies.png?w=794&ssl=1
Albino Blue Tail PAIR
Albino Full Red TRIO
https://www.leafyplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/lace-guppies.jpg

There are some absolutely stunning guppy colors no doubt there, but I always have a hard time telling male from female and I don't want to wake up one morning to a billion fry that will get sucked into my filter -_-. I am stilling kicking around the African Cichlids, but I'm still a bit unsure. They are beautiful fish either way.
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

There are some absolutely stunning guppy colors no doubt there, but I always have a hard time telling male from female and I don't want to wake up one morning to a billion fry that will get sucked into my filter -_-. I am stilling kicking around the African Cichlids, but I'm still a bit unsure. They are beautiful fish either way.
Female has a back fin on the underside, male has a stick-like thing where the tail should be.
 

Bwood22

Female has a back fin on the underside, male has a stick-like thing where the tail should be.
Yes livebearers are super easy to sex.
Just check the shape of the analfin.
I have attached a very detailed drawing that clearly displays the difference.


SmartSelect_20210919-203737_Samsung Notes.jpg
 

inari

Yes livebearers are super easy to sex.
Just check the shape of the analfin.
I have attached a very detailed drawing that clearly displays the difference.


SmartSelect_20210919-203737_Samsung Notes.jpg
Very scientific, do you have a reference for this, I'd like to see if they have such detailed drawings on other fish as well.
 

Bwood22

Very scientific, do you have a reference for this, I'd like to see if they have such detailed drawings on other fish as well.
This is actually my life's work. All of my material is original.
Here is a species guide I have been working on.


SmartSelect_20210924-175453_Samsung Notes.jpg
 

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