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Okay, so a little background, because why not. I was resetting up my 55 gallon aquarium to be a community planted tank which I had a very clear vision for that mostly consisted of guppies. My wife who had never really shown interest actually seemed into it this time. She surprised me one day by calling me up out of the blue and asked if she could add a Betta to the tank. I tell her to ask the LPS she was at what they thought, but I didn't see why not. So she comes home with a single male Congo Tetra they talked her into paying $20 for. I'm pretty livid about this but okay, it is what it is. Except ONE Congo? Nope that just won't work sure this one was mature so a higher price tag, whatever. I hop in my car and head to the closest big box. Congo Tetras $5 a piece, buy four get one free. Perfect. 

Fast forward a bit, needless to say my guppies can't colony breed because the fry are getting gobbled up. My wife in the meantime has fallen in love with Cichlids, specifically Mbuna and Buffalohead. Wait Buffalohead... A diabolical plan begins to form in my head. Why don't we set up a Congo themed tank?! It's genius! 

So here's where you fine #FishFam come in. I'm looking for stocking ideas. Plants, inverts, and fish. Specifically something like Congo versions of Corydoras. Are there Corys in the Congo? So me other type of small catfish to help with clean-up? 

It's a 40 breeder, pH 7.6, running 2 sponge filters and a Tidal 55. Light is a Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED 36"-42". Stock is currently 5 mature Congo Tetras and 5 juvenile Steatocranus Casuarius (Buffalohead Cichlids). There are two Crinum Calamistratum and an Anubias on driftwood. I'd like add a Red Tiger Lotus and some Val (maybe Leopard Val). 


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From my books there is a form of Azolla that is native to the Congo, but unavailable to the trade here in the U.S., and Azolla caroliniana is probably also on AL's list of illegal species, as is probably water hyacinth, which is quite common now in the Congo but even there considered an invasive species from South America. One other option that is native to the Congo but probably won't make you happy, because I know it would not make me happy, is plain good old duckweed. Then again you could just declare it a "Congo inspired tank" and use red root floaters as I've actually seen quite a few professional Aquariums, and Zoos do in their Congo "biotope tank".

Here some more aquatic plants to consider besides the Anubias, Vallisneria, and Crinum, somewhat biotope correct: Bolbitis heudelotti, Ammannia senegalensis, Aponogeton distyachos (from South Africa but closely resembling an Aponogeton form from the Congo  that is not available in the trade).

I had previously bookmarked this link about a Congo inspired tank that I found interesting:


Edited by Jungle Fan
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Thank you both for your help and input on my question. I do already have Red Root Floaters, so it would just be a matter of propagation and transferal. Right now apparently we're having an issue with the Buffalohead snacking on the Crinum so I'm going to wait and see before I add anything else but will definitely look into the afore mentioned Bolbitis, Ammannia, and Aponogeton. I'm also very seriously considering Nymphaea Zenkeri (Red Tiger Lotus).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update for you guys since you were helpful before. I ended up picking up some catfish, but not going with Synodontis. Instead we got 5 of these from our LPS https://aquaticarts.com/products/debauwi-catfish. They're in quarantine now. We also got a tiger lotus, and I ended up with duckweed mixed with my red root floaters so I'll probably add some of that as well. 

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On 8/13/2021 at 6:03 AM, BlueLineAquaticsSC said:

African waters fern and anubius. African banded bard and the African red eye tetra (not the common red eye tetra you see) and my favorite, Ropefish 

Those African Banded Barbs are pretty cool. I don't think the Ropefish would do very well with the Buffalo head though.

On 8/13/2021 at 6:02 AM, Colu said:

Debauwi catfish are great mid water shoaling Catfish



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