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55 gal stream tank - Longear question

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#1 kiahw

  • NANFA Guest
  • Missouri

Posted 13 September 2021 - 07:17 AM

Hi everyone, long-time lurker first time poster here. First off, you guys are awesome and I have learned so much just by lurking so thanks for what y'all do. Second, please feel free to redirect this post if it's more appropriate somewhere else (I don't consider myself an 'advanced' aquarist but this seemed like the best fitting board).


Okay, so, I am relatively new to keeping an aquarium. Have done some upkeep on one for work, but have never established my own. Husband got me (finally!) a 55 gallon for my birthday. It is almost done cycling and I have spent a lot of time planning the community. However, the hub really, really, wants me to keep a Longear. I have nothing against them, they're one of my favorite stream fish, but I'm concerned about their aggressiveness in a community tank with other stream fish.


The other species I'd like to keep are:


Red Shiners

Southern Redbelly Dace

Rainbow and/or Greenside Darters

Some topminnow, unsure species yet


I don't personally think it's a great idea, but I've found some mixed info and would love input. If there is a way to make it work I'd be tickled. I also plan on planting the tank and am worried about the Longear tearing up the vegetation. 


Any input is appreciated.



#2 Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb
  • NANFA Member
  • Chattanooga, TN

Posted 13 September 2021 - 07:29 AM

If you want any smaller community fish with a Lepomis, dollar and orangespots are the only real options imo. They are also the only 2 that are plant safe to my knowledge.

You could also substitute the Lepomis with Enneacanthus, all of which are community safe and very attractive

#3 JasonL

  • NANFA Member
  • Kentucky

Posted 13 September 2021 - 06:51 PM

I have kept Longear and here are some options.  Better odds of community tank success keeping just 1 Longear in a heavily structured 55 gallon as you are doing.


1. Luxilus species should work.  Depending on where you are in MO Bleeding Shiners might be readily available.

2.  Logperch would be your darter of choice and should work.  Maybe a large Greenside if you can find one locally.

3.  Red shiners should work as they are tough and get bulky over time.

4.  Larger Spotfin and Steelcolor Shiners should work if you can find them.

5.  Most madtoms should work.  Bullheads get too big for this type of tank.

6.  A very large (I.e. 3 inch) single Blackstripe or Blackspotted topminnow should work if you are lucky enough to find one that big. Studfish get even bigger but can get aggressive.


I think you are pushing your luck with most smaller Notropis, Dace, and darter species.   Plenty of other options above besides these imo.


Good luck!

#4 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
  • NANFA Member
  • Ohio

Posted 13 September 2021 - 07:57 PM

I would agree with Jason on the heavily structured tank settings and only 1 longear. I have a 3.5" longear in my tank with spotfin shiners, an adult female rainbow darter, a bluntnose minnow and 3 rusty crayfish. To keep the other smaller fish safe / saf-ER, that longear needs its own structured territory to call its own. The other fish need cover as well. Darters, as long as they're not too small should be OK with sufficient cover to hide in. You may want to consider artificial plants, but other members have had success with keeping live plants in their tank with longears and other sunfish.


Best of luck with your tank!


The Grumpy Old Man.

#5 kiahw

  • NANFA Guest
  • Missouri

Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:02 AM

Thanks everyone!

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