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Rush3737 02-07-2013 01:09 AM

Which option sounds better to you guys?
Okay, here's my situation. I'm currently working through setting up my first planted tank, a 75g. Once that's completely I'll have two other tanks to work with, a 29g and a 55g. In one of the tanks I plan to have Cichlids and 2 Plecos, and in the other I plan to do planted with barbs and potentially a few other fish.

My initial plan was to do the 29g as the Barb tank, but reading about them now there are a few species of Pleco (including the Bristlenose that I really like) that can be kept in the 29g. Now I'd love to be able to plant the 55g as that gives me more room to work with, but not sure if it's practical to keep Cichlids in a 29g tank. I know there are a lot of smaller species, but do you guys think I'd be able to do 6, 8, or maybe even 10 smaller Cichlids in a 29 with 2 plecos?

And of course... any other ideas from those far more experienced than myself?

HybridHerp 02-07-2013 02:57 AM

Which option sounds better to you guys?
You can't even really do 10 small cichlids in a 75 (assuming small is like convicts)
Maybe rams or appistoes

What are you wanting on terms of small cichlids anyways? In a smaller tank, African shell dweller cichlids would be small and could work.

Rush3737 02-07-2013 03:47 AM

The type of Cichlids I get can kinda be determined by which tank they go in. And by small I mean the ones that at full size don't get over 6". I had figured they'd have to go in the 55g, but was just trying this other option out as I'd love to plant the 55g.

The other factor is that I have the 29g set up with gravel and normal lighting. Currently the 55 tank has no substrate and a very dirty top and light.

If I plant the 55 I have to buy a new light anyway and I have a bag of STS to put in there.

If I plant the 29 I have to take the gravel out, throw the good top and light away, and clean the 55 equipment best I can.

In short, it would be less hassle to keep the 29 the way it is and put the fish in there, but I just don't know if it's possible.

Rush3737 02-07-2013 04:18 AM

And I should mention, I'd have no problem having only 4 Cichlids in the 29g tank, I'm just worried about aggression with that small of number.

HybridHerp 02-07-2013 05:07 AM

in a 29, with decent sized cichlids (think convicts) I'd only recomend doing a single pair....anything more than that would be pushing it imho.

However, look at my 75 gallon thread. I have a trio of rainbow cichlids (stay under 6 inches) and plan on having another cichlid pair and getting some more angelfish as well. You can totally have a planted tank with smaller cichlids.

In fact, I don't see why you don't just plant both tanks? I can easily suggest some cichlids that would work well with plants for you if you'd like...and I feel like most cichlids that are under 6" can work very well with plants as well.

for example, you could do your 29 planted with maybe a pair of HRP or rainbow cichlids or keyholes or something, then in the 55 have a mob of little fish, or do the 29 for little fish and the 55 for plants and certain cichlids that could work with your desired level of planting. For example...I could see you doing something like a pair of HRP with a pair of rainbows in a 55, then have some sturdy dither fish of your choosing, like larger bodied tetras or barbs or other schooling fish, and call it a day.

And I'm not even saying that cichlids need to be kept in low tech tanks either, you can totally have cichlids with plants in even a densely planted high tech tank (what I'm doing), its not just all java fern and anubias with them.

So really, to make this easier, decide on what kind of cichlids interest you, and then I can better recommend ideas to you about that.

Rush3737 02-07-2013 05:53 AM

I'm hesitant to plant the Cichlid tank because I also plan to keep the two plecos with the Cichlids, but if you think it will work I might end up trying it.

And one of the issues is there are so many Cichlids and I don't know exactly what I want yet. But it does look like that doing them in the 29 is a bad idea. So I'll continue as originally planned and do the Barbs in the 29g planted, and put the Cichlids + 2 plecos in the 55 gallon.

If I'm looking at Cichlid/Plecos that are plant friendly what are some colorful options you might suggest beyond the two you mentioned? Also would it be possible to do at least 6?

HybridHerp 02-07-2013 03:53 PM

I mean, you could do six if you wanted to do smaller things in a 55, such as appisto species (I know nothing about them though other than they get to be 3" or so) or Rams of some sort.

Or angels/discus....but those might not be what you had in mind as cichlids for the time being.

If you wanted cichlids that got up to 5" I'd only do 4, six might be pushing it (though tbh I'm not sure), but as for plecos, there are a few that would work in a 55 with plants. I know that any of the numerous bristlenose pleco varieties and species would work, outside of that though I am a bit unsure (though I'm also looking for a pleco so we have a similar issue). One thing I'd say though, is that if doing any sort of pleco with plants, especially more delicate plants, is that you should make sure the plants are established well first before adding the pleco....otherwise that might be a good deal of replanting once things get accidentally uprooted.

MikeS 02-07-2013 04:08 PM


Originally Posted by Rush3737 (Post 2467666)
I'm hesitant to plant the Cichlid tank because I also plan to keep the two plecos with the Cichlids, but if you think it will work I might end up trying it.

BN plecos are great in planted tanks. Not sure why you don't want them in with them.

Green_Flash 02-07-2013 11:05 PM

I pick plant the 29 and cichlids in the 55. They will like the extra space and swimming room.

Rush3737 02-08-2013 01:10 AM

I've read several successful stories of people having 10+ Cichlids (all 4-6" max) in 55g well filtered tanks, with reports that those numbers also greatly reduce aggression. Is there some reason you guys seem to think that's a really bad idea? I know the typical rule, but in doing some searches in other areas it seemed like this would be okay and I'm just wondering why you folks are saying it's not.

I love BN Plecos, and so maybe I'll put a pair of those in my 75g and keep others in the Cichlid tank if I leave it un-planted.

PlantedTankLover 02-08-2013 03:28 AM

What about doing shelldwellers?

Rush3737 02-09-2013 02:02 AM

Never really looked into them specifically. I'm flexible on what kind of Cichlids, as long as I can have a nice active tank with several different species. I do really like variety inside a tank and that's why I'm trying to get more than 4 in a big 55 gallon tank.

Mattymo92 02-09-2013 06:03 AM

I think you should just plant the 55 and do cichlids in the planted tank! ( assuming you are getting cichlids that are plant safe...) Im pretty sure that most African cichlids for example dont do well with plants. In either case I would put the cichlids in the bigger tank due to their territorial nature... whether it is planted or not. They are alot of fun to watch though! I have Bolivian rams and a golden ram in my planted 25 right now and it works out great! I also used to have a 55 gallon African tank a long time ago. The plants always got dug up so I gave up on that and just stuck to rock hardscape with crushed coral substrate and thats it.


- Matt M.

Rush3737 02-10-2013 04:54 AM

Hmm. That's an interesting idea.

Right now I had planned on moving my 29g fish to the 75 temporarily while I planted it... your idea would allow me to ditch planting the 29g and save me a lot of trouble.

I very much like it, now I just have to search and make sure a wide enough selection of smaller plant friendly S. American Cichlids are available to suit my taste, thanks!

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