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Chief Cichlid Breeder98 said:
:fish: :fish: :fish: :fish:
i am planning on getting a 55g tank which i will have cichlids in. what kind of cychlids should i get??
i want bright coloured and not aggressive fish which live in a comunity. :popcorn:
please reply :dancing:
Welcome to the forums, hopefully we'll be able to get you in the right direction and help you get a tank that meets most, if not all your goals. rgr4475 sent you in a great direction with the cookie-cutter set ups, but before i even went that far i would do a little introspection and research before i saw something i loved but found out wouldn't fit my needs.

First look at the goals you set out originally:

1. Looking for peaceful, non-aggressive community fish - Cichlids are intelligent, social animals who will form hierarchies amongst themselves, and many times, with non-cichlid tankmates. As with almost any other intelligent, social animal as hierarchies will be established and there is almost certainly going to be some aggression present as mates are chosen, territories are claimed and defended; dominance and submission is going to occur with almost ALL cichlids as they sort out their roles within your tank. Part of this dynamic is why these fish are so popular, because they have a lot more personality than many common community fish. However, even some of the more docile cichlids will seem to be aggressive punks when you compare them fish like tetras, mollies, and guppies. If you're looking for a tank where you will never have to rescue a distressed fish or keep an eye out for trouble regularly, cichlids might not be the right fish for you. Keep that in mind before you look too far.

2. Color - There are a ton of gorgeously colored cichlids, however, many of the best looking fish rate very high on the aggression scale. Keep that in mind when looking at the cookie cutter set ups and take the time to look at the profiles of anything that might interest you. This site is loaded with a ton of helpful information, don't be afraid to utilize it.

3. 55 Gallon Tank - This will be a limiting factor for some of the larger growing cichilds from all the continents. 55 is a GREAT tank size, don't get me wrong, but it will limit a lot of what you can keep in it due to size and numbers constraints.

And then a couple of side points to consider:

4. Filtration - You hadn't mentioned what your filtration plan was, but cichilds are messy little poop machines, you'll definitely want to consider overfiltering above and beyond what the filter companies state their filter is capable of handling. Most will recommend a gallons per hour of 4-10x your tank size when selecting your filtration...don't rely on the size of tank the box says it will work for when selecting. Gallons per Hour, while certainly not a perfect system, gives you a better idea of how hard that filter will work to clean your water.

5. Water parameters - It's a great idea to find out what your water parameters are before you fall in love with a cookie-cutter set up. If your water is 6.0 and very soft out of the tap, then if you decide to keep Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyika you're most likely going to want to buffer your water...which is something you'll have to do with every water change. Some people don't mind that at all...some people find having to add baking soda and epsom salts to get water just right with the weekly water change is too much of a hassle. That same 6.0 water, however, would be wonderful for certain South American cichlids. It's a good idea to know the pH, kH, and GH of your water out of your tap so you know much work you'll have to put into keeping your water conditions ideal for your pets. Having a test kit before you even purchase your tank that can measure those parameters is often invaluable when selecting fish.

Hope this helped a little! Sorry it was so lengthy!

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When you are ready to take a break from doing research on fish, PLEASE check out the library section and read up on the nitrogen cycle, and cycling your new tank. Understanding this information now will save you a lot of trouble, and starting your tank off right will make the experience much more enjoyable in the long run.
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