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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I really appreciate the generous advice of everyone on this forum. I think I've convinced my girlfriend to let me get a bigger tank (after being informed that my 29 gallon was likely insufficient for much other than my firemouth). I am looking on craigslist and unfortunately no 40-gallon breeders are forthcoming it seems. I was able to find one 45 gallon, but its the high version (24" tall, only 36" long).

My question is, should I try for a 55 gallon, despite my transportation issues (I think it'd be a very tight squeeze in my car), or would something like a 45 gallon work to permit me to have my firemouth in there, along with some other fish? Are there any cichlids that like the top areas of a tank? And what would i need for a breeding pair of firemouths and some other fish?

I was considering something like a couple of yellow labs as more active, higher water cichlids, but I know its frowned upon to mix Africans and CAs, despite the somewhat similar water chemistry. Would that hold true even for firemouths and the peaceful labs?
 

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Can't help with the fish, as I'm just learning about them myself...but as for the tank issue...if you really want a bigger tank you could ask a friend with a truck to help you out, rent a truck yourself from [car-rental-place-of-choice], or get a u-haul.

When I picked up my 120g I wish renting a U-haul would have been an option. We had to pick it up on the 4th of July, so rented a regular truck for almost $100 (Enterprise, only place that was open). U-hauls are about $20.
 

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It's always best to get as big a tank as possible and a 55 will give you a lot of options. Also since the 55 is such a popular size you can always find good deals on them.

See if you can have someone with a truck or a bigger car help you out. Your firemouth(s) will appreciate it.
 

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I fit a 55 gallon in my 96 sunfire, and another time I fit a 30 gallon with the stand. It doesn't have a very big backseat, but you would be suprised what you could make work.
 

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Most hatchbacks can hold a 55 gallon, even if you don't rent a truck. A bench back seat would work also. Don't pay too much for the tank, I think Walmart has the 55G tanks for under 200 brand new. You should be able to find a whole setup on craigslist or something like that for that or less. I bought both my 75 and 100 through ads there, $250 and $400 respective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I finally was able to get a good deal on a tank on Craigslist and now I have a 55 gallon in my living room. I have a couple of questions though.

First of all, the house I am in is old and isn't quite level. It's not off too much, but I am worried with all the weight of a 55 gallon, whether there is some way to level it off.

Second, should I attempt to attach the tank to my stand a little better? It's one of those metal stands, and there doesn't seem to be a lip or anything on the edge to hold the tank in place. I guess inertia would probably keep it on there, but coupled with the leveling issue I am slightly worried about this as well.

I am still curious about stocking, as well. One thing I was considering doing was basically setting up three areas, one on each end and one in the middle, with caves and rocks, with more open space on the sides. Or perhaps just two of those territories. I was also considering mixing sand and finer gravel for something a little more natural to the cichlids (and something my firemouth can mouth around).

Then, for stocking ideas, I was considering the following that hopefully someone will help on. I already have the one firemouth, so in addition to him, I was thinking:

1 JD, 1 Convict, maybe some swordtails or something for dither
or
1 Blood Parrot (I know it's a hybrid, I won't buy the dyed version, I just feel bad for these guys and I want at least one to have a chance at someone who will take care of him), 1 of either Curviceps or Flyer or Rainbow (depending what I can find) and either tetras or swordtails
or
open to suggestions.

I know this is a lot, feel free to answer some, all, or none, and as always, I appreciate all the advice! :)
 

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Hmmmm, for a metal stand, you could use plywood under it, on the end that is sloping down/up whatever, or shims I reckon.

Metal stands are ok, and it can worry you, but it will probably be fine if you can level the tank and stand off.Although, if you can (a) find a wood stand or (b) build a wood stand, this would work better, and possibly help you have a better feeling in your gut.

Now, stocking, The firemouth will definately work, even 2 or 3 if you want, but 1 firemouth, and 1 jd, with some dithers, and small fish, is about all you'll be able to do.
Blood Parrots are like, out of the option, b/c JDs can get over 12" and FM tops 7 inches if your lucky. Adding a convict is, a possibility, but most would say no, b/c the FM, JD, and the smaller fish would probably do it full, but there is always a possibility, and you are most welcome to try, b/c it's your tank. I hope you plan on turning over IMO 500 gph or so, and that'd be sufficient enough. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You think I could just put some plywood beneath the lower side then? I suppose it'd be unlikely to slip with all that weight on it.

As for the stocking, I was basically thinking either the JD plan or the Blood Parrot plan, not both because I know the Blood Parrot is too big and wouldn't stand a chance against a JD anyway. My idea basically was a Blood Parrot, a smaller and less aggressive cichlid, the FM, and some small fish. As for other ideas, I think I'd like to get at least one other type of cichlid, and then I'd like to have some smaller fish for top water tank activity purposes (I'm flexible on these, tetras, barbs, swordtails, etc.). And maybe a bottom dweller to help clean up.

Thanks!
 

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You can get small pieces of wood at your local building supply store called "shims" to level your tank out.

As far as your stocking list goes I think you should stick with Firemouths then some target fish for them. A 55 is really too small for a full grown Jack Dempsey. I know a lot of people do it and suggest it, but it's really not cool. The Jack is just too big when it's full grown. I wouldn't suggest anything that gets bigger than 6 inches for a 55 gallon, primarily because the tank's depth is not very big.

I have no doubt you will get people saying "go for it" on the jack dempsey. I even see people recommend Green Terrors and Red Devils for 55's, but it just goes against my philosphy of making sure my fish have plenty of room to feel comfortable in.

Forget the Blood Parrot, they are garbage fish.
 
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