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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a new 55 gallon tank (great deal on a second hand full planted setup), and am in the process of getting it set up. It will be fairly densely panted throughout a good portion of the tank with driftwood and an extensive cave structure that contains multiple caves. Part of the reason I got it was because I wanted a real planted tank. The other reason is that I wanted to move up my catfish to a more suitably sized tank.

THIS handsome fella is Dexter. He is an Asian Bumblebee Catfish, Pseudomystus siamensis. Right now he's a 4" fish, but he's still got a little growing to do to reach his full length, 6" without the tail. He's a nocturnal, bottom dwelling fish and probably my favorite.

I've read up on Asian Bumblebees pretty extensively, but most sources have the same information. They recommend either peaceful american cichlids (which I don't dislike, but have no interest in getting), larger cyprinids, or larger characins. I've also seen places that say tank mates no less than 3" can work. Otherwise, not terribly specific.

So based on all my research and personal preferences, the fish I've decided I like most that should suit these conditions is a Denison Barb (/Rosaline Shark/Red Line Torpedo Barb). I've found a store locally that has them, as well as one that could order them for me, and I was also told that PetSmart gets them occasionally for cheaper than either of those shops. I'm pretty set on getting these guys, despite the expense. I'm thinking a school of six.
My second choice would probably be Tiger Barbs, as I've always liked them, but have been deterred from getting any in the past by their bad reputation. However, for this tank, it seems like they'd be a decent choice. I'd probably get a school of 8 - 12.

In addition, I have a couple other fish from existing tanks that I'd like to move up to my 55:
A Rosy Red Minnow, a 3" fish, that I've had since I began keeping tanks and who is the reason I started at all
A Red Tailed Black Shark, currently about 3", who also ought to have more space that he currently has
And two bristlenose plecos, one albino and one regular, who I got from a friend that accidnetally started breeding them. These guys are great - they keep their current tank spotless. They're still young now though, only about 1.5" each.

So stocking would be:
- 1 Asian Bumblebee Catfish, Pseudomystus siamensis (4"/6" current/max size)
- 1 Rosy Red Minnow, Pimephales promelas (3"/3" current/max size)
- 1 Red Tail Black Shark, Epalzeorhynchos bicolor (3"/6" current/max size)
- 2 Bristlenose Plecos, Ancistrus sp. (1.5"/3" current/max size)
- 6 Denison Barbs, Puntius denisonii (?/6" current/max size)

Opinions on these choices? Will that put me at my max capacity, or do I have room for any other fish? By the inch per fish rule, this will already put me a little over. And big fish should be given space, right? If I've got more room, would it be enough to get some tiger barbs, and would those even be a good match for this group? Also, I could always leave it at just one pleco and keep the other in another tank.

Thanks for any help!
 

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The rosy red will be a catfish snack. Denison barbs really need a much larger tank than a 55, they're active open-water schooling fish. Rainbows would be a better option for the tank size. Tiger barbs will also be eaten sooner or later, bumblebees have a wide mouth and a big appetite.
 

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I wouldn't put any torpedo-shaped fish in that tank. I know you said that you're not interested in peaceful american cichlids, but your best bet might be something with a deepr body shape like an angel fish or severum. Unfortunately severums can get big and you'd need some significant filtration/water changes on a 55 gallon tank to accomodate the fish load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Rainbows I've done before and only had trouble with. It was a fight to keep them, though I chose rainbows for my beginner fish, so that may have contributed to my problems. Beautiful fish though. But my preference in rainbow species is more so towards the smaller ones...
I don't know, I might consider some turquoise and boesemanis...

This is going to be hard for me to settle on, then, if torpedo shaped fish are out. They tend to be the ones I favor. Aside from bottom dwellers that is, but those are out for obvious reasons. I was really excited about the denisons too. :/

Why would the rosy red get eaten and not the plecos, or had you overlooked them? They have the same max size, and the minnow's already about hit it. I'd think another bottom dweller would be a quicker meal than a fast open water fish. Or is it because the plecos would be awake to avoid him?

And cichlids...if you could convince me of any, it would probably be angels, but even those I just am not as drawn to. And all the pretty flowing fins on angels would make me nervous with a bumblebee cat and redtailed shark in the tank...

Anything else in that size range? :/ I've also considered swordtails in hopes that Dexter would be content just picking off the fry, and while I like them better than, say cichlids, I still prefer other fish to them. But if they're my best option, I guess that'd be fine.

I thought about another bumblebee as well. Even though I know they've never been bred in captivity, I'd love to have another and figured if I got a female, maybe I'd get lucky and stumble across some ideal breeding conditions. Extremely unlikely, but you never know.


Frankly, at this point, if I can't find another fish that's out in the day and occupies the mid - upper level of the water collumn, I'd rather just stick with the fish I've got...as much as it feels like a waste to let my tank sit so empty. I don't want to get a fish I'm not interested in for the sake of occupying tank space.

Any other predatory fish that get about that size and occupy the mid - upper levels? I do love catfish and I've seen some cool similarly sized predators... I'd really rather have a small school of something, but just one or two bigger fish would be better than an empty looking tank...and maybe I'd find another fish I love as much as this one.

Oh, if it helps at all - my water is fairly alkaline, pH somewhere in the 7 - 8 range (test strips, getting a kit, need to try again) but I'll have driftwood in the tank that should lower the pH, and I might add peat as well. I was aiming for a temperature of about 76 degrees based on the needs of my catfish and my chosen plants.

((And sorry to sound so negative...you can see why this has been difficult and frustrating for me...))
 
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