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I have two empty tanks in my house :eek: but they are in need of being filled.

I had Africans for a long time and after a couple of years my last male died the other day... leaving the 55 gallon empty. I also have a 75 gallon that has been sitting in my garage for going on a year that I suppose it would not be any harder to really set up than the 55 gallon. For the time being I was only going to get the 55 going... and then maybe just get bunches of livebearers to put in the 75 for fun.. but I could reverse these two without a problem.

I was thinking about a large school of cardinal tetras... and then some rams (not sure if I want to go with blue or bolivian yet.. they are both gorgeous!)... this will be my first planted tank. I wanted some larger type centerpiece fish.. Discus scare me and Angels will eat the cardinals.. anybody have any other suggestions? I do have 3 keyholes in my other 29 gallon that I would love to move to give a little more room (they are currently in the tank with 3 diamon tetras that have killed everything they have ever been with.. but the keyholes and rubberlip pleco)... I just worry about the keyholes with the rams since they both tend to like the bottom... although I have had my keyholes for about 8 mos and none of paired up so my guess is they are all the same sex (or maybe they are just too crowded)

Anybody have any suggestions?
 

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I have a 55G built around Bolivian rams and absolutely love it. (Can't help you with plants, though...I kill them.)

Here's my stocklist, but keep in mind it's way overfiltered, and I've got lots of tanks to move inhabitants to if need be:

3 adult Bolivian rams (2 females, 1 male - male spawns with both, the girls have territories on either end of the tank)

10 or so young Bolivians - not breeding age just yet

4 gold rams (1 male, 3 females)

4 scissortail rasboras

4 Buenos aries tetras

4 dojo loaches (will have to be removed once they grow, but are small now and a nice addition to the busy tank)

4 albino cories

This is my favourite tank to watch - very active, and very entertaining.
 

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i have keyholes and rams, just keep in mind they might want to share similar territories. if you have lots of plants and driftwood, everyone should be happy :thumb:

keyholes may go for your cardinals you never know, i havent lost a rummynose or penguin tetra to predetation yet. the only thing mine went for were real small corys.
 

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Angels! With a pair of blue rams!

I have two angel tanks. In one, a pair of large but stunted angels (rescued from a 10 gallon tank!) live peacefully with a school of rummynose tetras. My absolute favorite tetra. Just a thought . . . My other angel tanks has black phantom tetras, which definitely won't get eaten because of their shape. They are very attractive with the females having red on them.

As someone who started into planted tanks last year, let me give you some start-up advice to save you heart-ache later:

Start with Eco Complete or Flourite substrate. This makes all the difference in the world for giving your plants a good start. You can mix with regular gravel to stretch it, but it makes it easy to plant and gives enough nutrients to the roots that you can reduce the fertilizers you put in the water column (where they are accessible to algae).

In such large tanks, I'd definitely recommend using presurrized C02 from the start. Don't let the algae get a foothold. This is much easier than I thought, and not expensive. I did start with the store-bought yeast/sugar type, but that doesn't work well and is out of the question in your sized tanks. Use the tank with a regulator and diffusor. Good substrate, good C02 and good lights (see next point) will help you grow great plants and not great algae.

As for lighting, I'd recommend you shoot for 2 watts per gallon (WPG) to start. This will allow you to grow low to medium light plants without going for a high-light somewhat more difficult type set-up. There are many suitable plants for such a set-up, including: java fern, crypts, anubias, swords, onion plants (crinium) and maybe even some swords. Plant heavily from Day One and then add fish (after cycling).

Otos (added after the tank is established) and a bristlenose pleco will help deal with any brown or green algae that forms.

Hope this helps!
 
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