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Wet Pet for 55gal

Lee Miller

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I work at a group home for children in state custody and I just got the green light to bring up a 55gal aquarium for my office.

I already have a 10 gal community tank, a 5 gal betta condo, and I want to have an awesome nice 55gal setup too.

I had thought about keeping a rainbowfish community since the are very colorful and active, but the thought just occurred to me that I could have a "wet pet" that the kids could name and interact with. 

What suggestions do you have? I am open to other community type setups too.


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That could be a cat-astrophe. So far our local feline tuxedo clad aquarium inspector has not conducted an aquarium lid safety test yet, thank goodness! However I suspect it might be because he can surveil all of his aquarium channel big screen tv directly from his cat tree, and who would jump when you can lounge?

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So many things that could be done there 🙂 . Attached photos of some of the cichlid I mention and a couple puffers I have kept and photographed. Both puffers are asking for food  in the photos. The hairy puffers get very excited for attention and of course meals. I am pretty partial to the puffer and many cichlid species for a wet pet level of interaction. They all are pretty observant and responsive in my set ups.

I had a Spotted Congo Puffer (Tetraodon Schoutedeni) before that was very sociable and generally allowed other fish to coexist in the tank.

A group of hairy puffer (Pao baileyi) has worked for me but feeding can be problematic if the food is a little too big.

Mekong River Puffer (Pao palustris ) they are pretty intense as a group and might be a bit over the top in their occasional chats for that setting but the colors are awesome. 

I have considered a larger group of pea puffers in a big planted tank before, something like 8 in a 55 gallon, My guess is they would likely establish territories and have all kinds of shenanigans in there between themselves. That kind of set up would also have the potential for surviving fry to be discovered with the right plant cover, limited other tankmates, and mulm / microfauna to grow on.  


Crenicichla Regani dwarf pike, Molwie Krib pair, or Bolivian Ram Pair are pretty great. 

Crenicichla Orinoco dwarf pike are a little more of a species tank but also fairly interactive -- they love food. all day any day any type they are in.

A large group of silvertip tetra would likely be a crowd pleaser. Not quite the wet pet nameable option but watching them follow fingers on the glass always makes me think how fun that would be for everyone of all ages. 


Bolivian Ram.jpg

Female C.Orinoco.jpg

P.Palustris Female.jpg

P.Baileyi M.jpg

African Butterfly Cichlid.jpg

Moliwe Krib pair.jpg

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Yeah as @Guppysnail said, I have a very social and friendly Featherfin Catfish, named Pooka. She greets me when I come near the tank, excitedly pressing her whiskers to the glass and swimming around upside down. She'll also let me hand feed her. I have her housed in a 40 breeder, but I wish I could have her in a 4 ft tank; a 55 gal would be great for one.

Here's some videos!




I do want to caution that they are classed as semi-aggressive, and Pooka hates every other large-ish fish I've tried her with. They're also very territorial, and want their own cave. And she has a habit of nipping at the platies she's housed with. But they can be a great odd-ball type wet pet if allowed the time to build trust. 

Edited by H.K.Luterman
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