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    Any suggestions for my 55g 208l tank. Current inhabitant being that royal. Was thinking maybe an electric blue jack Dempsey but I’ve read they can be skiddish? Any other thoughts?



    Royal pleco likes soft water. JD is a Central America fish, so will prefer a much harder water. It’s not impossible to keep them together, but far from ideal.

    The royal pleco will be much happier with some friendlier tank-mates, smaller shoaling fish such as a tetras and friendly south-american cichlids, such as Geophagus sp “Red Head”. This particular species doesn’t grow very big, as well as being quite a pretty one.

    Corydoras are also a good companion to mot fish, in a group of six or more.




    I wouldn’t go for tapajo geophagus in a 55G they get 8-10″ and prefer to be in groups or atleast pairs which IMO would be to much for a 55G. I would go for a pair of acara maybe Aequidens Metae/twin spot acara or Cichlasoma portalegrense/port acara and then a group of shoaling fish like emperor or congo tetra.



    Are we talking about the same species here? The one I’m thinking of will reach 6″, maybe a bit bigger. But yes, they should be kept in a group, so it may be a bit on the heavy side for a 55g tank.

    I’m talking about this fish:

    Cichlasoma portalegrense is probably not a good one to keep in a warmer tropical tank, as it’s a central amercian species that want about 18-24’C (64-73’F [roughly]), rather than the 25’C+ of a true tropical tank. Royal pleco won’t be happy at the lower temps.

    Aequidens metae is a better choice for a tropical tank. I have no idea if this is easy to find or not, as I generally don’t look at these type of fish.




    I was thinking you meant these
    Which IMO get to big.

    I never knew that i always thought they when South American but fair enough they wont be a good option then.

    I dont think there massively common but they still pop up quite often and some LFS should be able to order them in.



    It seems like the link that I just edited in [actually I thought I’d completed the edit two minutes after I wrote the original reply] and SeriouslyFishy are quite different. I double checked with Weidners “South American Eartheaters” – the bible for Eartheaters – and it says “Rarely exceeds 20cm”, so that’s some sort of middle ground betwen this sites’ and the one I linked to.

    [And I thought these had been described, but I can’t find any reference to it].

    There are some described species of Geophagus that may not grow so large, but I’m not sure how true the sizes are – the samples may not have been mature – this happens from time to time…




    The link wasn’t there when i read it and it was atleast a few minutes after you posted.
    Ive never kept them so cant really say what there max size is i was just going by wht ive ready. I know they can get over 6″ though because theres a pair about 6-7″ in swallow aquatics (east Harling). I still think even if they only get 6″ they would be a bit a bit to much for a 55G because they like to be in groups so i think a smaller pair of south American cichlids would be a better choose.



    Thanks you two, you can keep em comming if you like I really have no preference I just liked the ebjd because the look. Small schooling fish are cool to



    Theres a few different options.
    1) you could go for a big shoal of small fish say something like 30 small tetra or 15 rainbow fish and 20 corys

    2) go for a few small fish and some bigger ones something like
    4 festivum cichlids
    2 keyhole cichlids
    2 bolivion rams
    10 corys
    20 tetra or rasbora

    3) a few bigger fish like
    pair of acara or maybe a small group of cupid cichlids
    15 congo tetra or 10 rainbow fish.

    Any of them look any good?



    I was thinking about maybe adding 5 Odessa barbs? Any thoughts a Lps just got a few in today there very appealing.



    Odessa barb is a nice fish, but again, I’d suggest that it’s preferring lower temperatures than the true tropical tanks.




    I agree with Mats. If it was me i would set it up as a SA biotope which tetras and cichlids.



    Doing “bitope correct” tanks is definitely a nice idea – but it’s actually a lot harder in practice, because the different types of fish that we see in the shops often come from different parts of the natural biotope, so whilst they may come from the same mile of river, the plecos often live in the riffles where the water is very fast-flowing, and the tetras and cichlids in the more quiet parts of the flow.

    What I’m trying to say is that diamond tetras and Panaque maccus (clown pleco) may well come from the very same bit of river, but they probably only meet when they are put in an aquarium, because they actually live in different parts of the same bit of river. [I’m not sure if this particular example is that great, but I think you get the idea].

    What is important is to consider fish that likes the same conditions:

    * Water hardness – or more technically, the mineran content/conductivity of the water.
    Depending on what kind of river the fish lives in, it will prefer either soft or hard water. From memory, your water is fairly soft – this is actually easier to deal with, because it’s easier to ADD some hardnes than to remove it.

    To remove hardness, you have to use something that de-ionises the water, typically an RO unit – at least if we are not concerned with reducing lime-scale buildup in washing machines, but making life for the fish better. Many people have water softeners on their water system, but this is not at all useful for the fish, as it just replaces the calcium and carbonate with salt (sodium chloride), which doesn’t help the fish at all.

    Most south American fish prefer soft water.

    * pH

    This measures whether the water is acidic or alkaline. Acidic water has a pH under 7, alkaline is above 7 – and exactly at 7.0, it’s called neutral.

    Hard water is usually alkaline, soft water is usualy acidic, because the minerals that make up hardness are normally alkaline. Because of this, it’s hard to make hard water water lower in pH – the only feasible way is to make it soft first!

    Most south american fish prefer slightly acidic water.

    * Temperature.

    Depending on the natural habitat, some fish prefer higher temperature, and others a bit lower. Temperature also affects the oxygen levels and the metabolic rate of the fish.

    * Flow.

    Some fish prefer rather still water, others like the water to flow quite quickly. Realistically the flow in a home aquarium is nearly alway “slow” compared to rivers in nature, but if you have heavy duty filters and pumps to circulate the water, then the some fish won’t like that, and if you haven’t got enough water movement, others wont like it much at all. Chaetostoma (rubbernose pleco) for example can not deal well with slow-moving water, because they, like some sharks, can’t pump water through their gills when either they or the water isn’t moving. Angel-fish, on the other hand, belong to the graceful fish that don’t like it if there’s a lot of flow in the tank, but they stand quite a bit of movement without too much trouble.

    * Plants.

    My personal standpoint is that heavily planted tanks are for plants, and you choose fish to go with the plants. A moderately planted tank works well with most fish, but some fish cause problems for plants – they eat plants, or dig them up, etc. So it’s worth considering if your plans for plants work with the plans for the fish.

    * Decorations.

    Some fish like wide open spaces, others like hiding spaces. And of course, material of the decorations is sometimes important. Wood can lower the pH, but it’s also part of the nutrition for certain types of plecos.

    * Tankmates.

    Obviously, they need to get along. If you have aggressive fish, the others need to be able to withstand a bit of damage – either by being able to fight back, or get away. It’s also good to think about territory and general behaviour:
    Are they going to all live in the same space (at the bottom, at the top, in the caves, etc, etc)? If so, perhaps they don’t work that well together… Some fish prefer a bit of calm, others can be quite rumbunktious.

    * Feeding:

    If you have some fish that REQUIRE a high protein diet, and others that require a low protein diet, you may set yourself up for a problem.
    Even if they eat the same thing, feeding can be a problem: if you have some fish that are very fast at getting to the food and some others that are slow and shy, they are probably going to get problems…

    Sure, if the fish come from the same river, then they will probably have similar water conditions. But not guaranteed. A fish that lives in a small mountain stream flowing into a larger river will most likely be several degrees lower in temperature, and a forest stream with slow-moving water may be quite acidic, where the main river (which is usually what is recognised in “this fish comes from the Rio X basin”). It obviously varies even more if the fish are just from the same country.

    But the key is that the fish should be able to live together in the same tank, whatever the origin.




    Yeah I have been reading the enjoy lower temps, thanks. I could put a couple cichlids, any suggestions on type?



    Thanks Mats,
    I understand its incredible difficult to find fish that are perfect, just an example my tank set up right now has a good current and strong waterflow from the two powerheads, the royal loves them. Finding other fish that require the same current, same water temp hardness and so on is difficult. Fortunately I have you to tell me when I am wrong or right

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