What to Raise In a 55 Gallon Aquarium (Besides Fish)?

If you’ve opted for an aquarium that can host between 40 to 60 gallons, you have made a great choice as large aquariums are the ideal option for beginners.

A 55-gallon tank is massive and can house a variety of large fish such as freshwater Cichlids or other colorful marine fish. There is also enough space to keep plants, gravel, and other underwater creatures.

What Can You Keep in a 55-Gallon Tank Besides Fish?

Fish aren’t the only creatures or living things that you can stock in your tank. Invertebrates, animals without backbones, such as shrimp or snails, are pretty good options for starters to keep in a 55-gallon tank.

The most commonly stocked invertebrate species in 55-gallon tanks are Ghost Shrimps or Nerite Snails.

You can also throw in a few plants into the mix as they help raise the oxygen levels in your tank. A paludarium is a great option, considering the size of the aquarium.

While most aquarium enthusiasts opt for plants such as Cyperu Helferi, it’s better to start off with plants such as hardy Hornwort.

What Fish Can You Store in a 55 Gallon Tank?

A 55-gallon tank offers the opportunity of selecting any type of fish you want. It has enough space to support larger fish species, while smaller aquariums limit you to little fish.

When it comes to freshwater fish, Cichlids are the best option as they are colorful and exotic. Some great types of Cichlids are Peacock and Cockatoo Cichlids. However, certain people feel like Cichlids such as Oscars and Convicts display extremely territorial and aggressive behavior.

Also read: What Fish Can Live with Convict Cichlids?

For those who don’t prefer Cichlids, Gouramis are a great alternative due to their huge variety and significantly less aggressive behavior. For instance, Pearl Gouramis are aesthetically pleasing with their various colors and patterns.

For those enthusiasts who don’t want to stock large fish in their 55-gallon aquarium, they can introduce large shoals of small fish species. Shoals of small fish moving together can be an insanely majestic sight.

Small fish such as Neon Tetras and Guppies are a great option. Some other saltwater fish that your tank can easily accommodate are Blue Tangs, Mandarin Fish, and even Clownfish.

Tank Requirements for Shrimp and Other Invertebrates

There are certain tank requirements that shrimp and other invertebrates need to thrive. These requirements can be divided into two main categories.

Primary Requirements

Shrimp have a few basic needs. They require a filter that is able to keep the water super clean.

They also require the perfect water parameters and water temperature in order to survive in the tank.

Secondary Requirements

The secondary requirements include the size of the tank. For starters, a 55-gallon tank is a great option for them. You will also have to add a lot of plants, driftwood, Chola wood and Beeramid to your tank.

Shrimps also require snails and other fish to survive in a tank. Other requirements include frequent water changes, food, and other supplements, and also mineral stones.

Shrimp also love hiding places as they usually bundle up and hide in nooks and crannies. So, make sure to add different toys where they can hide.

The best part is that a 55-gallon tank contains enough space to fulfill all the requirements of invertebrates.

Additionally, the ideal number of shrimp you can add is 5 to 10 shrimps per gallon of water. So a 55-gallon tank can accommodate about between 270 – 400 shrimps.

Setting up Your Tank

A 55-gallon tank will require a little more effort to set up than a smaller tank. You’re supposed to initiate the process from the bottom and work your way to the top. You can start the process by adding a substrate at the bottom of the tank.

Gravel and sand have to be rinsed before being added to the tank as they contain dust. You’ll have to run water through the gravel while rinsing it with your hand until the water is completely clear.

Now, add a layer of gravel or sand at the bottom of the tank. This layer is supposed to be about 0.5 or 1 inch thick. The substrate will then be ready for the placement of the decorations.

The next step of this process entails adding water to the aquarium. Since the fish tank can get pretty heavy once you add water, ensure that you’re happy with the placement of the tank before doing so.

You will have to treat tap water with some dechlorinator before adding it to the tank to get rid of any harmful chlorine. Read the instructions on the bottle to know how much water you need to add as it depends on the size of the tank.

If you’re setting up a 55-gallon marine tank, then you’ll require artificial saltwater. Artificial saltwater can be created by mixing purified water with sea salt to get the salinity you require. However, you might have to leave the salt in the water for at least a day to dissolve.

Finally, you can add the equipment to your tank. Every piece usually comes with a set of instructions, explaining how they’re supposed to be installed. Don’t forget to rinse all the devices and media before installing them.

Adding Fish and Invertebrates

When it comes to adding fish and other invertebrates to your tank, you need to be really careful. Adding too many fish at once will enhance the risk of initiating the cycle again as they’ll let out too much waste.

Before adding the fish, shrimp, and snails, you will have to turn off the light of the fish tank. Then, let the plastic bag that contains these creatures float on the surface of the aquarium for at least 15 minutes, so that the fish and invertebrates get used to the water temperature.

Keep opening the bag and fill it with half a cup of your aquarium’s water every 15 minutes for at least an hour to acclimate the fish to the new tank. You can then use a net to let the fish out of the bag in the new tank.

Remember not to let any water from the bag out in your new fish tank as it can bring along a world of pollutants and disease. Also, keep the light off for a while as the dark conditions will enable your creatures to relax and get used to the new environment.

The Bottom Line

55-gallon tanks are an amazing option for those aquarium enthusiasts who love getting creative with their fish tank.

A 55-gallon fish tank offers far more space to keep fish in comparison to small aquariums like 10 or 20-gallon ones. If you have a 55-gallon fish tank, you can stock your aquarium with fresh and saltwater fish and invertebrates like shrimp or even incorporate something as creative as a paludarium.

However, 55-gallon tanks take a little longer to clean as they have larger walls.

But on the plus side, large aquariums are easier to maintain as they host more water and the more water a tank contains, the more difficult it is for pollutants to build up.

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