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Kenyan's avatar

What cichlids are best for a 55 gallon bow front tank?

Asked by Kenyan (295points) May 31st, 2009 from iPhone

Even though im only 17 i consider myself to be a fish hobbiest. I would like to know your opinion about what are the best african or south american cichlids

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17 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

I gotta ask. Why cichlids?

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

My brother kept an oscar for a number of years. It was pretty interesting, it almost had a personality of sorts.

Kenyan's avatar

@uberbatman. I chose cichlids because that is what im used to and they have some pretty interesting behavior habits but if have any other suggestions i’d love to hear them

El_Cadejo's avatar

Well to start, i work in a fish store so im constantly around these fish plus i hear a lot of stories from people. IME these are very dirty and aggressive fish.Compatability is usually a pain too because of the aggression, what fish is going to eat what. I mean maybe you want aggressive animals, but i think theirs better routes to take.I also think on a whole, cichlids are pretty ugly.

If it were my tank, id just go saltwater with it.

As far as suggestions go, do you want a community, semi-aggressive, or aggressive tank?

Kenyan's avatar

@uberbatman. I would love to go saltwater but im a little worried about maintaining the water quality. I agree that some cichlids are not very attractive but they do have some with vivid color. But it seems like all saltwater fish are beautiful..gosh im torn lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Kenyan you have prior fish experience correct? Salt isnt as hard as people make it out to be. Really. As long as you do your 10% water change every week and dont overstock it, you’ll be fine. Salt only gets complicated when you start playing with corals. Thats when you have to start testing for alkalinity calcium magnesium and all that other good stuff, but for fish only, its all the same. Id actually go as far as saying maintaining a salt tank would be easier than cichlids because theyre cleaner and you can put snails, crabs, starfish, and a million other things to clean up after the fish in the salt tank. :)

The whole myth of salt being hard comes from people who impulse buy and stock tanks with animals they shouldnt so then they have problems and of course its the fish, not them lol. As always research research research. As long as you read up on the fish you want before getting it (really what you should do regardless of what kind of water) , you’ll be fine.

Kenyan's avatar

@uberbatman. Thanks you really helped me out. Do you have any recommendations for starter saltwater fish?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Kenyan No problem. As far as recommended fish, that depends greatly on what route you want to take with the tank aggression wise. I do however highly recommend against damsels. These are often sold as starter fish and used to cycle tanks. IMO this is a cruel practice as you probably know when a tank goes through a cycle its ammonia level spikes so your subjecting the fish to near toxic water for some time. It will probably survive, but still no need to torture a fish for no reason. (best way to cycle is just throw in a couple pieces of cured live rock) Another problem with damsels are is they’re very very territorial and have been known to kill fish much larger than them just by constantly picking on them and nipping them until the big fish stresses out and dies. Which leads to the third problem with damsels, they’re really fast fish and near impossible to catch. So once they go in that tank, they’re probably not coming out unless you pull all the rock out.

I would probably start off with a goby or blenny. They’re easy fish to care for and they arent very expensive so your not putting in a huge investment into something you dont definitely know you’ll stick with. Plus theyre really good tank cleaners :)

Here’s a compatability chart for salt water so you can get a general idea of what you want to do.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

The only cichlids I like are Angels

elijah's avatar

I have a neon blue (aka electric blue) Jack Dempsey and he is beautiful. I had a few African cichlids also but he killed them. He was supposed to be a more docile fish but apparently he isn’t.
Trust @uberbatman when it comes to fish. He has helped me before :)

El_Cadejo's avatar

@westy81585 angels aren’t cichlids….

@elijah those neon blue dempseys are really nice lookin arent they? Shame he went all ape shit on your other fish…. then again that is what they do heh. Hows your tank been since we last spoke about it?

Kenyan's avatar

@uberbatman. Im planning on starting mt tank when im out for the summer because im still in school, but i have been doing research and just as you said, some websites say that damsels are good starter fish. I wonder why those websites say that even those fish are very territorial

El_Cadejo's avatar

@westy81585 Wow your right. Did not know that.I knew they came from the amazon, but i thought they were a completely different family. Thanks for that little bit of info :)
angels are so much nicer than all the other cichlids lol

@Kenyan a good site to check out is wetwebmedia . Theres tons of info on there. You should also probably sign up to a saltwater forum. I gained a good bit of knowledge on saltwater fish from such forums by reading other peoples experiences. Good luck with your tank, if you have any questions down the road feel free to PM me. :)

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

@uberbatman haha, yah i was surprised too. You can really only see “cichlid behavior” from them when you put a bunch of them together in a tank.

And the reason they’re my pick is cuz I usually don’t like cichlids, but they’re so very un-cichlid-like.

irishfish12's avatar

Severum can be good for your 55g tank.

As you have experience of oscar u will find no difficulty in keeping severum

It has many species such as Green,Golden,Turquoise etc.Once you try and I’m sure you ‘ll just love this species.


Yardgnome's avatar

My wife and I are wanting to set up a 55 gallon saltwater tank. What will we need as far as filters and heaters any help would be greatly appreciated

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