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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been out of the cichlid hobby for a while, tried Reefkeeping and that turned out too time consuming and too expensive. Right now the only tank I have is a 28 gallon cube with 2 Blue Rams.

I am currently in process of re-finishing my basement, I'm planning on building a 120 gallon tank into the wall on a corner between the pool table room and the laundry room. I wanted to do a colorfull, agressive, larger fish aquarium. I was thinking about making the tank a Jack Dempsey tank, question is what tankmates will the dempseys not eat? Can I have smaller cats and algae eaters with them?

I like to make my tanks as self sustaining as possible, only having to do the occasional water change. Like my 28 cube is planted and has 5 ottos and a clown pleco thus I never have to clean the tank, just change the filter floss and change the water.

If JDs are not a good idea for a large planted tank with smaller tank cleaners, I'm open for suggestions, I'm going to have a planted substrate, a decent ammount of low light plants, a few rocks, and a couple pieces of large driftwood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well after doing some more research it appears that live plants are not a good idea with JDs, and I will be using a sand substrate. Also, I've kinda determined I will only want 1 JD and then have a few other species as I want a diverse tank.

Okay so how does this sound? The tank is a 120 gallon 48x24x24 I will have a DIY styrofoam rocky background, a sandy substrate about 3-4 inches deep, a couple large pieces of African Root Driftwood, some rocks, and a few fake(realistic) plants.

If I go with 1 Jack Dempsey, 1 Firemouth, 1 Gold Severum, 5 Giant Danios, 4 Redtail Sharks, a pair of bristlenose plecos, and 5 upside down cats, will that work?
 

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Hi jschwab45212,

Sorry I did not respond to your first post; I do not have experience with live plants and was not sure what your options were.

The cichlids you have listed should work together. The giant danios should be fine as well. But adult JDs may eat them occasionally; however, once my CA/SA cichlids reduced the school to what they deemed an "appropriate" size they stopped attacking them. It seemed like they were only frustrated that they were in their way.

Although I do not have experience with the other non-cichlid fish, I am concerned with the high quantity of medium to large growing bottom dwellers. I am not sure where 4 red tail sharks (which like to claim territory), 5 upside-down catfish and two plecos will fit in on the floor space with you JD and Firemouth claiming their own territory.

Are there specific reasons you choose these fish? Perhaps consider replacing some with fish that would inhabit the upper water column. Again I do not have experience with these non-cichlid fish, so perhaps someone else can provide additional advice.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No specific reason I chose the red tail sharks, just trying to think of something large enough the JD wouldn't eat and add some more color and diversity to the tank. The plecos and the cats are for clean up. The don't have to be upside down cats, I could go with smaller cory cats but would be worried about them becoming a meal.

What would be some other high water dither fish that the larger cichlids won't eat?
 

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Hi jschwab45212,

In addition to giant danios, I use tiger barbs with approximately the same success rate. Other options would be Austrailian rainbows; I have not kept them but do know they grow to a decent size.

Perhaps I should not suggest this, but if you are looking for color maybe think about roseline sharks. Traditionally an expensive fish, I have seen them at chain pet stores at reasonable prices. I did not think they could work as a dither, until I saw full grown Roseline at a LFS that were an extremely robust 6 inches. They are fast and like schools. Just make sure you can grow them out in another tank or they start off larger than your cichlids; I have heard they are slow growers. Mine seem to be growing at a typical rate.

Another option with less color would be silver dollars.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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my input here would be that rts are not good in groups. They are very territorial with their own species and i just Cant see four fully grown ones workin together. Rainbows can be great as they are very fast and get too about five inches. Maybe festivum or angels?
 

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they are bottom feeders if so spend a lot of the time in the bottom parts of a tank. They also like their own cave or such. Never seen mine go above the half way mark of my tank. And in my experience they are semi aggressive to other bottom dwellers but really aggressive to their own kind. Hope that helps. Love my one thou.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok so how does this look?

1 Jack Dempsey
1 Firemouth
1 Gold Severum
1 Redtail Shark
5 Giant Danios
4 Tiger Barbs
2 bristlenose plecos
4 Peppered cory cats

Is that too many for a 120 gallon?
 

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My Firemouth would destroy corys, but my jack wouldn't bother them i dont think. Depends on the individual fish, if the corys were in first and a decent size then they might leave them alone for a while.

Corys like company. In a big tank like that 4 will get lost. I'd get like 12 if i was going to try it :)

And every RTS i've ever known has been a little bully.
 
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