55 gallon tank decoration ideas

55 gallon tank decoration ideas DEFAULT

55 gallon fish tanks are a great choice for someone who wants to get creative, as there is plenty of space to fit in some larger fish.

Maybe you want some large freshwater Cichlids, or perhaps a selection of colorful marine fish.

You can set up the tank however you like.

Anyone can care for this tank. Its large size makes it easier to keep the water clean, so beginners will find it easier than they would with smaller tanks.

We will walk you through everything you need to know about starting a new 55 gallon tank, from how to set it up to stocking suggestions, and much more…

All About The 55 Gallon Fish Tank

55 Gallon Tank

A 55 gallon aquarium provides far more stocking options when compared to smaller aquariums, like 10 gallon tanks.

You could choose freshwater fish, saltwater fish or even get creative with something like a paludarium.

Large tanks like this are easier to maintain since the more water you have, the harder it is for pollutants to build up. They take longer to clean though – so you will need to set extra time aside for wiping the larger glass walls and performing bigger water changes.

This is not difficult however, even beginners will be able to maintain a healthy tank if they pick some hardy fish. More experienced aquarists will enjoy filling the tank with some temperamental species, like aggressive Cichlids.

As you might have guessed, big tanks cost more. Expect to pay $200 or more for a new 55 gallon one. This number will rise if you have to buy your equipment separately.

It will weigh more too. Once filled with just water, it will weigh around 600lb. The weight will increase even more once you add the decorations and fish.

55 Gallon Fish Tank Equipment

Aquarium Heater


This is the most crucial part of any aquarium. A filter is responsible for cleaning the tank’s water. This includes both mechanical filtration (removing debris) and biological filtration (using bacteria to convert harmful chemicals).

A tank without a filter will quickly become toxic for your fish as pollutants build up in the water.

There are many kinds of filters to meet different needs. These include: canister filters, HOB filters, sponge filters and undergravel filters.

Your new tank will likely come with a filter. You need to make sure that you don’t overload your tank with fish, so that the filter can cope with the amount of waste being produced.


This is another important piece of equipment. Heaters are used in most freshwater or saltwater aquariums. Exceptions include cold water tanks or areas where the surrounding temperatures are warm enough.

When buying a heater, the packaging should clearly indicate if it is suitable for a 55 gallon aquarium.

The temperature is set to meet the needs of your fish. When planning a community fish tank, the preferred temperature ranges of each species need to overlap.

Heaters are easy to install, they just sit on the wall of your aquarium, usually using suction cups.


A tank’s lighting setup is more important than you might think. In the wild, different species of fish will come from areas of varying light.

Therefore, you should compare the lighting preferences of each species in your tank (just like you would with the temperature).

Lighting is even more important if you plan on keeping live plants. They require light for photosynthesis, but they may need certain wavelengths or intensities. Corals need light for similar reasons.

Standard aquarium lighting is usually fine for most species. The bulbs are usually part of the hood and can be changed if they are unsuitable or expired.

Other Equipment

There are many additional pieces of electrical equipment, such as pumps, UV sterilizers and automatic fish feeders. These are not necessities, but they can help you solve certain problems.

You will also likely need the equipment below for your fish tank too:

  • A tight-fitting lid is a handy feature that is found on most tanks. You never know when a fish might try to jump out of the water.
  • Some people choose to buy a stand for their aquarium. Many models have a stand designed specifically for it, so you can be sure that it can support the tank’s weight when full.
  • You will need some equipment for cleaning your tank. A gravel vacuum removes waste from the substrate, nets are used to remove dead fish and simple pads or scrubs wipe algae from the aquarium walls.
  • Substrates and decorations are common sights in an aquarium. You can choose these based around how you want the tank to look, but you need to consider the needs of your fish too.

What Fish Can You Keep in a 55 Gallon Tank (Stocking Ideas)

55 Gallon Reef Tank

A 55 gallon tank offers plenty of freedom when choosing fish. There is enough space to fit some larger species, whereas smaller tanks restrict you to little ones.

The first question when choosing fish is: what type of tank do you want? Both freshwater and saltwater aquariums are valid options, each offering a different selection of fish.

Starting with freshwater fish, Cichlids are a great option. Most are colorful and exotic, like Peacock and Cockatoo Cichlids. However, many people are put off by the aggressive and territorial behaviors that are often associated with Cichlids. Oscarsand Convict Cichlids are a couple of infamous examples.

Gouramis are a popular alternative. They are much less aggressive and many varieties, like Pearl Gouramis, also display some lovely colors and patterns.

Another option is to create larger shoals of some smaller species. A group moving together can be a truly impressive sight. Guppies, Neon Tetras, and Zebra Danios all work well.

Plenty of saltwater favorites will easily fit in your 55 gallon fish tank. These include Blue Tangs, Clown Fish, and the vibrant Mandarinfish.

Damselfish, Coral Beauties and Butterflyfish are some other, colorful saltwater options. Diamond Watchmen Gobies and Blennies will occupy the bottom areas of the tank, clearing up excess food sitting on the substrate.

Fish are not the only animals that can go in a 55 gallon tank, invertebrates make great pets too. Shrimp and snails are the most common options. There are many species, such as Ghost Shrimpor Nerite Snails.

You can also add plants into the mix, or even make a paludarium. Plants are a great way to raise oxygen levels and provide another form of shelter.

Some plants are easier to care for than others. Beginners may be best off with hardy Hornwortor Dwarf Hairgrass. More experienced aquarists might prefer trying Rotala Green or Cyperus helferi.

55 Gallon Tank Setup Ideas

Setting up a Fish Tank

There are two main types of tank: freshwater and saltwater.

No two tanks look the same though, since you are able to design your tank to meet your own personal preference. Freshwater tanks are perhaps the most varied. There are lots of decorations available in pet stores, some are comical and others fit a certain theme. The possibilities are endless.

A popular option is to produce a natural looking aquarium, filled with live plants, rocks and bogwood.

Saltwater tanks are a little less varied. Most will contain an assortment of corals because they are the natural home of most marine fish.

Corals can be swapped out for decorations and plants if they are out of your price range. It’s important to note that saltwater aquariums in general are more expensive.

A tank can always be used as a paludarium if you only want to care for plants. Or maybe you want to try some more exotic animals, like crabs.

Buying Your Fish Tank

Tank Set Up

One thing that most people don’t consider when buying a tank is what it’s made of. Most are made from glass, but some stores offer acrylic alternatives.

Glass is considered the higher quality option, as acrylic is easier to scratch.

Acrylic can lose its clarity over time too. This is most noticeable in direct sunlight, as a yellow tinge may gradually appear. Glass is the best long-term investment as you will probably never have to replace it.

So far, it does not seem as though acrylic has any advantages. The main reason that you might want it, is because it’s lighter. If you are unsure about the strength of you stand, acrylic is the safest option.

You might also want to consider the shape of the aquarium. 55 gallon fish tanks are not always rectangular. For example, some are designed to fit in the corner of a room. If you have restricted space at home, try searching for more effective aquarium shapes.

Once you have chosen the one you want, check it for visible signs of damage to prevent issues later on when setting it up.

How to Setup a 55 Gallon Fish Tank

Set Up a 75 Gallon Tank

Setting up the Tank

To set up a new 55 gallon tank, you usually start at the bottom and work your way up. This means the first thing to do is add the substrate.

Gravels and sands are filled with dust particles, so you need to rinse them first. Run water through the substrate while agitating it with your hand, do this until the water runs clear. Add a layer to the bottom of the tank, aiming for it to be 0.5-1 inch thick. Now you can place your decorations on the substrate, rinsing them first.

The next step is to pour in some water. Before doing this, make sure that you are happy with the placement of the aquarium.

Treat the tap water with dechlorinator to remove the harmful chlorine. The bottle should indicate how much you should be adding.

A marine tank will need artificial saltwater. This is done by combining purified water and sea salt, to produce the salinity that you need. The salt might take a while to dissolve so leave the water for a day.

Lastly, you can add the equipment. Each piece should come with instructions describing how to install that particular model. Rinse each device and the internal media of the filter before adding them.

Cycling the Tank

Toxic ammonia is released into the water via fish waste. This is broken down into less harmful substances by bacteria, so you need to culture bacterial populations before adding fish. This is known as cycling the tank.

The cycle follows the nitrogen cycle. One group of bacteria converts ammonia to nitrite, and then another group converts nitrite to nitrate. Nitrate isn’t toxic in low quantities, whereas the other two compounds are.

Cycling can take 2-8 weeks to cycle a 55 gallon aquarium, but most of the process is automated. Add an initial 2-4ppm of ammonia, and then add an additional 1ppm every few days.

Use a water testing kit every week to check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels of the water. After two weeks, nitrite levels should spike. Once ammonia and nitrite levels reach 0ppm, the cycle is over.

You can now slowly introduce fish to the aquarium.

The process we have described is fishless cycling. Cycling with fish is considered unethical since you are actively exposing the fish to harmful conditions.

Adding Fish

Stocking Suggestions for a 55 Gallon

Don’t add too many fish at once or you risk kick starting the cycle again (since there will be too much waste for the bacteria to handle.

To add fish you first need to turn off the aquarium light and let the plastic bag float on the water’s surface for 15 minutes, to acclimate the fish to the new temperature.

Open the bag and add half a cup of your tank’s water every 15 minutes for one hour. This will acclimate the fish to the new water parameters.

Use a net to remove the fish from the bag and release them into their new home.

Don’t let any water from the bag enter your aquarium, to avoid introducing pollutants or diseases. Leave the light off for a few hours. The moving process is stressful for your fish, dark conditions will help them to relax and get used to their new environment.

How to Maintain a 55 Gallon Fish Tank

Maintaining a Fish Tank

Water changes need to be performed every 1-2 weeks to maintain a healthy aquarium. Luckily, they don’t take much time.

Use an aquarium vacuum to siphon roughly 30% (16-17 gallons) of the water into a bucket. Use this water to rinse and clean the equipment in your tank, then get rid of it.

Never use tap water for cleaning or you will kill the beneficial bacteria in the tank.

Replace the water with fresh tap water that has been treated with dechlorinator. It needs to be a similar temperature to the aquarium water, as a sudden temperature change can cause stress and disease.

If you see algae starting to grow on walls or decorations, scrape it off with a pad. This will just take a few minutes every couple of days. If the algae are left to keep growing, it will soon get out of hand.

Any equipment that you use for cleaning the tank must be solely used for fishkeeping.

Cloudy Water

New setups are prone to cloudy water as it’s easy to trigger a mini-cycle. This may happen if some common mistakes are made, like an excessive water change or the introduction of too many fish at once.

In this situation, the cloud is a sudden bloom of bacteria. It should pass on its own within two weeks.

Alternatively, the cloud could be dust in the water. This is just a matter of substrates and decorations not having been rinsed thoroughly before being added. The cloud will gradually reduce over time.

Algae can cause cloudy water too, indicated by a slightly green coloration. You can remove the algae by performing extra water changes and keeping direct sunlight away.


Going for the biggest tank you can afford is usually the right choice. If you are new to fishkeeping, 55 gallons might seem intimidating but it will be easier to care for than smaller tanks.

The process of setting it up is pretty much the same as any other tank, except you have more freedom to choose what you want to keep inside.

Your fish will have plenty of swimming space, which will keep them happier. If the tank is regularly cleaned, they will thrive.

Whether it is a species only or community, freshwater or saltwater, a 55 gallon fish tank will make a great attraction for your home.

Which size tank do you have? Let us know in the comments section below…

Sours: https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/55-gallon-fish-tank/

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With that out of the way.

The best part of owning a fish isn’t just the fish itself, but decorating the tank!

With so many cool aquarium decoration ideas out there as to what would make the best tank, it might be hard to think of what will be best. That’s why we’ve provided you ten of the coolest fish tank decorating ideas to get your creative juices flowing and fish tank poppin’.

All should be pretty affordable and shouldn’t require breaking the bank. The most important thing is creativity and an artistic vision for your fish, after all.

Further Reading: Liven up your aquarium with some great fish tank decorations. Find the latest fish tank decor ideas.


Our Top 5 Aquarium Decoration Ideas

Of all the ideas below, our top idea is one of the FASTEST and EASIEST things you could add to your tank. Oh, did I mention it also absorbs nitrates, phosphates, and other organic waste from the water.

1. Blue and Pink Spongebob Paradise

Fish Tank Ideas - Blue and Pink Spongebob Paradise

Photo Credit Twitter

The attractive contrast between the blue and purple pebbles instantly draws the eye.

Aquarium Maintenance Checklist [Free Guide]

The color variation between the plants adds a more diverse color palette to this aquarium decoration idea while drawing attention to the beloved pineapple home found under the sea, a reference to the famed kid’s show Spongebob.

The bridge is another inexpensive feature you can add to the tank, making it seem like your fish are trekking to and from their pineapple home every day.

It’s a dazzling tank that’s sure to add vibrancy to the room it’s in while making your fish happy.

Want this look? Here’s what you need:

  1. SpongeBob SquarePants Pineapple House
  2. Pink and Blue aquarium gravel
  3. Small bridge ornament
  4. More fish toy options

2. Bam-Buddha Forest

Aquarium Decoration Ideas - Bam-Buddha Forest

Photo Credit Twitter

A zen little tank with an intelligent vibe to it and difference in the usual vegetation you’d find in tanks.

Bamboo will easily stay in the water and hold up well over time—and add a wonderful feature to any interior design.

Besides, by being compact, your fish can easily swim past the stalks while still giving the tank a full forest feel. And the Buddha itself can be found in most fish stores or online.

While the variety of shapes or positions differs, the Buddha elicits a calming vibe with clarity and quietness. And, who knows, decorating your tank with the Buddha can bring you good karma.

Want a zen tank? Here’s what you need:

  1. Buddah aquarium ornaments
  2. Bamboo shoots
  3. Earthy beach tone aquarium gravel

3. Beach to Jungle

Fish Tank Decoration Ideas - Beach to Jungle
Photo Credit Twitter

The best part about this tank is that it gives your fish a little bit of variety. If a fish wants a little space, it can go to the plant-sparse side of the tank, or if it wants to hide, it can go into the “jungle.”

Therefore, it gives your tank a dynamic contrast that both you and your fish will enjoy.

Getting the sand and different plants shouldn’t be too expensive since a variety of plants found in the fish store will do. Alternatively, if you want something more authentic, you can buy live aquatic plants to adorn your cool aquarium.

Whatever you decide, this tank will feel like a living portrait in your home or office.

Want this look? Here’s what you need:

  1. Carib Sea Super Natural Moonlight Sand
  2. Seachem Flourite Live Plant Substrate
  3. Universal Rocks
  4. Aquarium Driftwood
  5. 6 Species Live Aquarium Plants

4. Yellow Submarine

Freshwater Fish Tank Decoration Ideas - Yellow Submarine
Photo Credit Twitter

The chaoticness of this tank is the most intriguing thing about it.

With the variety of plants and an awesome yellow submarine in the corner, it feels as if the submarine crashed on the shore of an exotic island, giving the tank an adventurous tone to it. The fish can swim around the plants or stay more towards the top for more breathing space.

Also, the yellow submarine is a nice nod to the Beatles song, so if you’re a fan of them, then you’ll love this fish tank idea.

Love the Beatles? Here’s what you need:

  1. Imagitarium Yellow Submarine

5. Eastern Forest Getaway

Fish Tank Design Ideas - Eastern Forest Getaway

Photo Credit Twitter

With the diversity of what appears to be living plants, this tank gives an authentic feel to the interior design of any room that I’m sure you and your fish will enjoy.

The plants grow to the top of the tank couple with shorter plants close to the gravel provide a nice vertical contrast that’s sure to draw eyes and nods of approval.

The Japanese looking temple and rock structure give the tank an ancient look and provide a calm, chill vibe to the overall aesthetic.

Perhaps getting the living plants will cost a bit more money, but it will be worth it when it ties together the overall style of the tank.

Want this look? Here’s what you need:

  1. 6 Species Live Aquarium Plants
  2. Japanese Garden Bridge
  3. Japanese Garden Castle

6. Super Mario Fish Tank

Cool Fish Tank Ideas - Super Mario Fish Tank
Photo Credit Twitter

Gamers will appreciate this next design.

The 8-bit structures of the staircase and castle are replicas of the structures found in the original Super Mario Bros game. The Goombas, small original Mario, and even floating bricks and question boxes are also a reference to the original game, which I’m sure will draw laughs out of all your guests who see it.

With a Super Mario Bros inspired tank, there’s no way you can’t invite people over to play the game, making this tank a nice aesthetically pleasing tank as well as a reason to invite people over.

While it may be difficult to find pieces of the game to buy, you might be able to make replicas out of Legos or other plastic craft pieces.

All in all, it’s an expertly decorated tank that your fish will love.

Sorry, But Our Princess Is In Another Tank…Here’s what you need:

  1. Super Mario Brothers Action Figures Set
  2. Classic Lego Set

Tip: A lot of aquarists use Krylon Fusion Paint in their aquariums to seal or paint homemade decorations. Kyrlon Fusion comes in a few colours as well as clear. Read our post DIY Homemade Decoartion Ideas and learn how to prepare any DIY decorations you’re thinking of putting in your tank.

7. Floating Rock Planet Fish Tank


We’ve been talking about things to put on the bottom of your tank, but finding decorations to hang from the top is a genius and horrendously unexplored idea.

By hanging rocks from the top of the mesh cover, you can give your tank the appearance of a different planet, one unhindered by the restrictions of gravity. Your fish can swim under, over, or around the rocks, and probably be stimulated by the novelty of it.

You and your guests will be too since this is an awesome fish tank idea that you can do a lot with—perfect for the man cave!

Recreate Pandora…Here’s what you need:

  1. Magical Floating Garden Kit By Sun Grow

8. Aquascaping

90x45x45cm planted dragon stone aquascape

The best part about this tank is the symmetry. With the walk perfectly aligned in the middle, with plants growing on either side of it, you get an artistic tank with a space of environmental greenery thrown in.

By using real plants, the authenticity will be a pleasant sight to see as well as being better for your fish’s health. Overall, it’s a difficult task to accomplish, but it is amazing if you can pull it off.

I know you want to try it!… Here’s what you need:

  1. Skill
  2. Patience
  3. And this book – Sunken Gardens: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Freshwater Aquariums

9. The Log Cabin

Cool Fish Tank Decoration Ideas - The Log Cabin
Photo Credit Twitter

By attaching a hollowed-out log to your tank (wherever you decide to put it), your fish can enjoy swimming in and out of it while you’ll enjoy the clever pun.

It’s an easy addition to add, and the log can be found online or at most fish stores.

If you have a Betta…Here’s what you need:

  1. Zoo Med Floating Betta Log

10. The Tiny Fish Home

After a hard day of swimming around and eating food, your fish will want to come home, lay down on the la-z-boy, and watch the evening news… or so it appears with this awesome fish tank, made out of an antique television.

The tiny recliners, coffee table, lamp, and even TV, this fish tank will be amazing if you can find an antique TV to put your tank in, decorated the way it is in the picture.

Even if you can’t, finding or making small chairs, tables, and couches will be cute enough on its own for your fish’s literal home.

Build your dream home…Here’s what you need:

  1. Miniature 1:48 Scale Plastic Dining Room Furniture Set Suite

Those were some of the coolest fish tank decorating ideas around. Get inspired and add some new decorations to your fish tank today!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Can I Decorate My Fish Tank?

You can use different substrate combinations like sand, gravel, and soil. Or use rocks, plants, and driftwood for a natural-looking tank. Or even try toys or lego. Check out our Aquarium Ideas on Pinterest.

How Can I Make My Fish Tank More Interesting?

To make your tank more interesting, create a theme or setting — for example, an underwater castle or Buddha shrine. You can even recreate your favorite star wars scene.

Can You Put Plastic Toys In A Fish Tank?

Yes, most hard plastic toys and figurines can be placed in aquariums. However, if you’re not sure if they will be safe for your aquarium, you can protect them by using an aquarium safe sealant. Read our post on DIY Homemade Decoration Ideas.

Further Reading: Check Out Our List Of Essential Aquarium Equipment For More Great Ideas.

If you enjoyed this post please share the image below on Pinterest so others can enjoy it as well. Thanks for your support.

Cool Aquarium Decoration Ideas

Sours: https://www.tropicalfishcareguides.com/fish-tank-decorations/cool-fish-tank-decoration-ideas/
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Aquarists choose their preferred fish depending on a number of factors. There are those who like some fish due to their colors, shape, size, ability to live with other tank mates, size of the aquarium and many other factors.

Favorable conditions, right temperature, adequate space, enough hiding spots, a functional water filter just to mention a few, will ensure your fish is happy and healthy.

There are some fish that do well in smaller tanks, while others need a bigger tank for them to live comfortably.

Best Fish for 55 Gallon Aquarium 

In this article we are going to discuss 10 best fish that you can keep in a 55 gallon aquarium comfortably.

1. African Cichlids

African Cichlids

African Cichlids are tropical fish originally found in Lake Tanganyika, Malawi and Victoria. Africa Cichlids belong to the Cichlidae family, which includes a diverse group of fish.

Many of the Cichlids are found in Africa, but they can also be found in Asia, and South America. African Cichlids are common among aquarists because they are active swimmers available in vibrant and different colors.

Each species of the African Cichlids has a different unique pattern and colors. They are also flexible and adapt easily to new environments, hence are capable of surviving any mistakes aquarist beginners make.

African Cichlids are active swimmers. They will follow movements that they sense outside the tank. They are also good feeders, and can eat beyond what they need.

They can be aggressive and very territorial, which can lead to fights that can cause death to the weaker fish especially when they are mating.

The size of the aquarium will depend with the size and species of the African Cichlids. However, 30 gallons of water tank are enough for most of the smaller species and 50 gallons for the larger species. The more African Cichlids you add to the tank, the larger the tank should be.

The water in the aquarium should be moving with a water temperature of around 75 to 85 degree Fahrenheit and PH level of 7.8 to 8.6.

Since African Cichlids love to dig, make sure you add fine substrate at the bottom of the tank, and a few hiding rocks.

2. Angelfish


There are two types of Angelfish, freshwater Angelfish belongs to the Cichlidae family and marine Angelfish that belong to the Pomacanthidae family.

Freshwater Angelfish are originally found in Brazil’s Amazon River. They are popular among aquarists due to their ornamental form, calm demeanour in comparison with other Cichlid and ease of care.

These types of fish are known as angelfish owing to their wing-like shaped fins. Their appearance and attractiveness earns them the label, ‘King of the Aquarium’ among many aquariums.

Angelfish live comfortably in aquariums with water temperatures between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit and a PH level of 6.8 and 7.8.

They require a larger aquariums, of at least 55 gallons of water, since they can grow quite large.

3. Goldfish


Goldfish are originally found in East Asia. Over the years, the goldfish have been bred to produce many varieties of goldfish in different colors and sizes.

Goldfish are among the most common type of pet fish kept by both beginners and experienced aquarists.

They are commonly available at affordable prices in most pet stores, can adapt easily to new environments and their bright and shiny colors make them a perfect choice for aquariums of both hobbyists and breeders.

Common goldfish, which are among the largest species, require a minimum tank size of 40 gallons to 55 gallons tank for a pair.

However, other varieties of goldfish, such as fancy goldfish, can comfortably live alone in a 20 plus gallons tank, and 30 plus gallons tank if they are a pair.

The ideal temperature ranges for common goldfish is between 66 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and for fancy goldfish should be around 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

The water in a goldfish tank should be de-chlorinated or you should buy aquarium water from a pet store.

In the wild, goldfish eat aquatic plants, insect larvae, crustaceans, fish eggs and other smaller fish. On the other hand, at home you can feed them flaked fish food and pelleted fish food.

Ensure your goldfish’s diet is balanced for a healthy goldfish lifestyle.

4. Gourami

Gourami Fish

Gourami are freshwater fishes and are members of the Osphronemidae family. They are naturally found in slow moving rivers, swamps and canals of Asia, from Pakistan, India to Korea.

Gourami are unique fish that can breathe at the surface of the water through the aid of a labyrinth organ, which acts as a lung.

This alteration has allowed Gourami to comfortably live in shallow, still and poor oxygenated water environments.

For most species of Gourami fish, a minimum size of 30 gallons of water is ideal, however, some species are large, for instance kissing Gouramis and require 55 gallons of water tank.

Gourami live comfortably in a water tank with a PH level of 6.8 to 7.7 and water temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Male Gouramis are highly territorial fish, therefore it is advisable to put them in different tanks, but female Gouramis can bear with each other in the same tank.

Most Gouramis are omnivorous. You can feed them tropical flakes, shrimp pellets, tropical granules and color flakes. However, other types such as kissing Gouramis are herbivores, and can thrive on food such as algae rounds.

5. Tetras

Neon Tetra

Tetras originally come from freshwater bodies in Africa, Central America and South America. Tetra is a common name of many small fish that belong to the Characidae biological families.

They have a small adipose fin between the dorsal and caudal fins, which differentiates them from other small freshwater fish species.

Many tetras such as neon tetra have vibrant colors and are easy to keep in an aquarium.

Tetras are social types of fish. They love to live in groups, either of the same species or different species. While living alone, they can get stressed and lead an unhealthy life.

Tetras can comfortably live in a water tank of at least 30 gallons of water. The water should be acidic with temperatures of about 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the wild, most tetras are omnivorous. They feed on algae, insect larvae and other small invertebrates in water. In an aquarium, you can feed your tetras fresh flake foods.

6. Barbs

Denison Barb

Barbs are colorful, active swimmers and hardy fish. They are social fish that thrive well in small groups of at least five fishes.

While choosing a tank mate for your barb, consider fish that are active as well and can tolerate the energetic barbs.

Long finned fish, are subject to bullying from the barb fish, therefore they should not be kept together with the barb.

There are a variety of barb fish species such as, Black Ruby Barb, Denison Barb, Gold Barb, Rosy Barb, Tiger Barb, Tinfoil Barb, Zebra Barb, and among others.

Barbs can live in a tank size of 55 gallons of water or less depending on the species size and the number of tank mates. Most barbs prefer soft acidic water that is cool and well oxygenated.

7. Rainbowfish


Rainbowfish are naturally found in the lakes, streams, rivers and swamps of Australia, some parts of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

They thrive in an aquarium of water temperature ranging from 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a PH level of 7.0 and 8.0.

Rainbowfish are active swimmers, therefore, they require a water tank of at least 50 gallons to allow them have enough space to swim freely.

There are different species of rainbowfish.

8. Ram Cichlids


Ram cichlid is a species of freshwater fish. It is originally found in the savannahs South America, Columbia and Venezuela.

Ram cichlids has been used widely in the studies of fish behaviour.

These species, is a member of the Cichlidae Family and a common species in aquarium trade. The common  variety of Ram cichlids kept by most aquarists include; ram, German blue ram, blue ram, butterfly cichlid, dwarf butterfly cichlid, Ramirezi, Ramirezi’s dwarf cichlid and Asian ram.

In their natural habitat, ram cichlids live in shallow waters with a low current. Therefore when setting up a tank, you should replicate this to ensure they are healthy and comfortable.

The best temperature range for ram cichlids is 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a PH level of between 6.0 and 7.5.

Depending with the ram cichlids species, a minimum tank of 10 gallons aquarium is suitable. To add more ram, add 10 gallons of water for each ram. Ram cichlids are suitable for community aquariums.

9. Discus Fish

Discus Fish

Discus fish are found in the lakes and forests of the Amazon River basin. These places mostly experience flooding, therefore, Discus Fish have the capability to adapt to extreme water changes.

Discus fish thrive in warm water with a PH level of 6.0 and 7.0 and temperatures ranges of 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Discus fish can grow large, therefore they require a bigger water tank of at least 55 gallons.

Discus fish can be hard to rear especially for new aquarists. They require constant care, very high water quality, and regular water changes.

10. Oscar Fish


Oscar fish are also part of the Cichlidae Family. They are found along the Amazon River in Brazil, Peru, French Guiana, Columbia and Ecuador.

There are a variety of Oscar fish and many more have been created through the process of selective breeding.

The Oscar fish, although they are colorful, they are infamous among aquarists. This is because they are highly territorial and very aggressive.

The ideal water tank for Oscar fish has a PH level of 6 to 8 with water temperatures ranging from 74 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oscars like to dig, therefore, you can add soft substrate at the bottom of the tank. Oscars can be stressed out if kept in small tanks.

An ideal water tank for Oscars should be at least 55 gallons.

Stocking Ideas for 55 Gallon Fish Tank

When you stock any size aquarium, you need to take in consideration the types of fish you want to put together.

You should avoid housing aggressive with peaceful fish. The peaceful species might get bullied or even eaten by the aggressive ones.

So here are few ideas on how I would stock a 55 gallon or bigger aquarium. I’ve also included some fish that are not in the above list, but can be housed in a big tank:

African Cichlids Tank Only

  • in a 55 gallon tank you can add 10 middle size cichlids
  • don’t keep African cichlids with other fish types if possible
  • a good filtration is necessary because of high waste production

Angels and Tetras

  • angelfish might be aggressive towards smaller tetra fish types, though if you keep a large school of tetras they will be safe.
  • you can add 4-6 angelfish and a school of 12 neon tetras in a 55 gallon aquarium – you can add aquarium plants and drift wood too
  • 6-8 angelfish with a big school of 15-20 ember tetras might also work well

Discus and Tetras

  • discus and neon tetras are a really good combination for a beautiful planted aquarium
  • in a 55 gallon fish tank you can house up 6 discus and as school of 10-12 neon tetras
  • or 6 discus fish and 6-8 diamon tetras
  • or 6 discus with a school of 30-40 ember tetras
  • make sure you don’t keep aggressive tetras with your discus
  • also consider a good filter, because discus fish are very picky to water quality

Barbs and Rainbows

  • you can do a combination of barbs and rainbowfish. Although barbs are aggressive, they will get along with rainbowfish.
  • you can keep a school of 6 tiger barbs and 6 rainbowfish a 55 gallon tank
  • or you can add 6 rainbowfish and 10 cherry barbs

Oscars Only Tank

  • in a 55 gallon tank you can house one oscar fish – I wouldn’t recommend adding any other fish or another oscar because it might not work out very well

Goldfish Only Tank

  • you can house up to 6 goldfish in a 55 gallon tank
  • would not recommend keeping other fish with them, because they are very messy and have special water requirements
  • a very good filtration and frequent water change is required to keep water parameters under control

Community Tank

  • you can setup a 55 gallon community tank with following fish species:
  • 2 angelfish, 10 rummy nose tetras, 6 swordtails, 6 mollies
  • or 6 angelfish, 10 guppies, 6 corydoras, 1 bristlenose pleco

Livebearers Tank

  • in 55 gallon you can house only live bearing fish – make sure you cull the population time to time to avoid overcrowding
  • 10 guppies, 6 swordtails, 8 balloon mollies, 6 platies

Rams in a Community Tank

  • ram cichlids get along with guppies really well – just make sure your rams will get the food they need
  • in a 55 gallon aquarium you can add a pair or ram cichlids and 10-15 guppies
  • or a pair of rams with 10-15 neon tetras
  • or a pair of ram cichlids with 6-8 angels

I could go on with the list, but there are endless variations of how to stock a 55 gallon aquarium.

Equipment for 55 Gallon Aquarium

While stocking your 55 gallon fish tank, there are equipment that you will need to maintain it and keep it a healthy and safe environment for your fish.


Different species of fish will require different amount of light depending on their native areas. Lighting is not only important for the fish, but more so for the plants.

Aquatic plants will need different light wavelengths and intensity to facilitate the process of photosynthesis.


Filter is the most critical equipment of any aquarium. Filters provide mechanical filtration and biological filtration to ensure the water in the tank is clean and healthy for your fish.

There are different types of filters, HOB, sponge, undergravel and gravel filters. To ensure your filter is not burdened, make sure you do not overstock the tank with many fish.


A heater will regulate and maintain ideal temperature levels for your aquarium. When buying a water heater, make sure it is suitable for a 55 gallons aquarium.

Set the temperature to meet the needs of your fish. However, you will not need a heater if the surrounding temperatures are warm enough for your fish, or if your fish require cold water temperatures

There are many other equipment that you can add to your aquarium. Most of them are optional. For instance you can add water pumps, UV sterilizers and automatic fish feeders in your aquarium.

Other equipment that you can add include, a lid for the aquarium, a stand to support the tank, decorations and substrate.

Wrapping Up

55 gallon fish tank is a large fish tank that will allow you to get creative and to keep a large variety of species of fresh water Cichlids.

A larger fish tank, such as 55 gallons aquarium, is easier to maintain compared to a smaller fish tank.

This is because there is more water in the aquarium which means it is harder for pollutants to build up. However, it will take longer to clean its surfaces and its decorations.

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Top 6 *IDEAS* for your 55 Gallon fish tank

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