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Hello all, I am new to the forum and come with lots of cichlid-related questions.

A few years ago my cousin got four tiny red oscar cichlid fish that he kept in a 40 gallon tank. He took wonderful care of them until he began to loose interest/went off to college. My grandmother eventually took the fish in and cared for the tank. She has recently passed and since the fish are still alive, the tank has fallen to me to care for. We just got the tank moved and the fish relocated to my apartment, but I have an immediate concern.

The fish have grown, quite substantially since they were first acquired. In fact, they're enormous. And while they appear to swim around perfectly happy in their tank- I'm fairly certain the tank is too small for them. My admittedly limited research has found that adult cichlids require SIXTY gallons of water PER fish. Which would mean, I would need a 240 gallon aquarium to accommodate the four that I now have. :eek:

Considering I am not in any position to go out and drop $1000+ on a new tank, I'm wondering if I have any options at all. Here's the thing: even as these fish grew inside this 40 gallon tank, my cousin, and then my grandmother were VERY good about not over feeding them- they did religious water changes and monitored ammonia, nitrates and all that jazz. It's probably why they've lasted as long as they have. So thus far, they appear to be doing just fine as they've apparently been this size for a while.

Since I not only can't afford, but have no room for a large aquarium in my apartment- if I acquired a 55 gallon tank, would it make it a BIT easier on them? I am well aware that 55 gallons is not 240, but I have to do the best I can with what I'm given... and I just can't spend $1000 on these enormous tanks.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
The fish are not acting aggressively. They have been with each other for at least a couple years now. They swim up and down and seem perfectly happy.
 

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A standard 55 is pretty narrow and depending on what kind of 40 gallon you have the 40 may be a better foot print for the fish.

What are the dimensions of your 40?

The one thing the 55 gives you is more water volume which helps keep the chemistry in balance.

If you are looking to upgrade to another tank I would consider either a 60 gallon (48" x 15" x 18") or a 75 gallon before you drop the cash on a 240g. I'd skip the 55 completely though. It is probably my least favorite tank.
 

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