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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

You probably want to shoot for 15 cichlids max in a 55G.

Best for fry control are Synodontis multipunctatus and they are good in groups of five.
 

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Eupterus is a more solitary Synodontis. It is not from the Rift Lakes, but rather from the rivers. I have no experience with their fry patrol abilities.

Would you consider Synodontis lucipinnis a.k.a. dwarf petricola? They are smaller and less expensive, but still social fish that are good in groups of five.

To tell you the truth, we usually consider acei to be on the large side for a 55G and better in a 75G. But red zebras work well in a 55G.

You could think in terms of 3 species with 1m:4f of each if one of the species is red zebra.
 
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