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Cookie Cutter Setup for 40-gallons (long)
(48x13x16 in / 122x33x41 cm)
by the CF Moderators
40 gallon aquariums are excellent for beginners. The reason for this is two-fold. Many of the species and combinations suited for this size are forgiving and can tolerate a learning, yet eager caretaker. Secondly, the size is small enough that maintenance is not overwhelming but large enough to ensure considerable stability.

The following combinations are many and varied; therefore, it does not make sense to comment categorically here on substrate or decorations. Please research each setup's specific requirements. Items to consider are diet, substrate, plants, rocks, and caves. A reliable heater, preferably 150W, is always an important consideration.

There are many methods for filtering a 40 gallon aquarium adequately. Some recommended filters are: AquaClear 500, Filstar XP2, Fluval 204, Emperor 400, Eheim Ecco 2233, or H.O.T. Magnum 250. All of these methods would benefit from an airstone.

Angelfish Aquarium

    •  Pterophyllum scalare - 1 pair
    •  Rasbora heteromorpha "Harlequin" - 8
    •  Carnegiella strigata "Marbled Hatchet" - 6
    •  Botia macracanthus "Clown Loach" - 2



Tanganyika Mini-Community

Select 1 pair from each group (max of 2 pairs):
    •  Altolamprologus calvus or compressiceps
    •  Neolamprologus leleupi or cylindricus
    •  Julidochromis or Chalinochromis species
    •  Telmatochromis vittatus, bifrenatus or
          brichardi



Tanganyikan Sand-Sifter Setup:
    •  Xenotilapia papilio or flavipinnis - 6
    •  Paracyprichromis brieni or nigripinnis - 8
    •  Altolamprologus calvus or compressiceps pair
    •  Phyllonemus typus - 4



    •  Altolamprologus calvus or compressiceps pair
    •  Neolamprologus buescheri pair
    •  Shell dweller pair of choice -
         'Lamprologus' (Shellies) brevis,
         multifasciatus (group), meleagris,
         ornatipinnis, ocellatus, speciosus,
         similis (group), Neolamprologus signatus




Victoria & Malawi Combo

    •  Astatotilapia latifasciata - trio
    •  Pseudotropheus saulosi - 7
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2


    •  Pundamilia nyererei - 5
    •  Labidochromis caeruleus - 5   
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2




Lake Malawi Aquarium

    •  Pseudotropheus socofoli - 5
    •  Metriaclima estherae - 5
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2


    •  Metriaclima sp. "Msobo" - 5
    •  Cynotilapia afra - 5
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2


    •  Placidochromis electra - 4
    •  Copadichromis azureus - 4
    •  Synodontis nyassae - 2



Mixed New World Aquarium

    •  Thorichthys callolepis - 4
    •  Aequidens pulcher - 2
    •  Capoeta tetrazona "Tiger barb" - 6
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2



Central American Aquarium

    •  Archocentrus centrarchus - 1 pair
    •  Hemmigramus caudovittatus "B.A. Tetra" - 6
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2



South American Pike Setup

    •  Crenicichla regani - 2 pair
    •  Hemigrammus pulcher "Garnet Tetra" - 10-12
    •  Brochis multiradiatus "Hognose Catfish" - 5-7
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 1



South American Earth Eater Setup

    •  Guinacara geayi - 1 pair
    •  Hemmigramus caudovittatus "B.A. Tetra" - 6
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2


    •  Gymnogeophagus australis - 2 pair
    •  Hyphessobrycon pyrrhanatus "Red-Back Tetra"         - 6-8
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 1


    •  Gymnogeophagus rhabdotus - trio
    •  Gymnocorymbus ternetzi "Black Skirt Tetra" -         8-10
    •  Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2


    •  Gymogeophagus meridionalis - trio
    •  Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma "Bleeding Heart        Tetra" - 8-10
    •  Chaestostoma milesi "Rubbernose Pleco" - 2



Asian Aquarium

    •  Etroplus maculatus - 6
    •  Telmatherina ladigesi "Celebes Rainbow" - 6-8
    •  Brachygobius sp. "Bumblebee Goby" - 2



West Africa Aquarium

    •  Pelvicachromis taeniatus - 1 pair
    •  Nanochromis transvestitus - 1 pair
    •  Synodontis nigriventris - 6


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