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In this post, we’ll share a few Centerpiece Fish for a 29 Gallon Tank that will be sure to create an awesome community tank.

Designing a home for your fish is like collecting a little bit of magic that nature has to offer, and putting it in a glass tank. And with a 29-gallon, you get a bit more freedom than you do with smaller tanks.

It gets your fish more place to swim and offers you a decent amount of space to do some aqua scaping.

It’s usually a good idea for beginners to start with a 20-gallon tank the larger the tank the easier they are to maintain.

With a 29 gallon, you get significantly more stocking options. You can choose relatively larger fish and larger schools.

But before we go on any further, there is a common question about a 29-gallon tank that many people ask. And that’s;

What’s the difference between a 29-gallon and a 30-gallon tank?

29-Gallon vs. 30-Gallon Tanks

29-gallon and 30-gallon are so similar in size, does that one extra gallon really make that much of a difference that there are two different standard sizes?

This is a natural question to ask, and the answer is very simple.

A 29-gallon is basically the taller version, and 30-gallon is a wider version. The exact dimensions may vary from vendor to vendor, but a 29-gallon tank usually has less “footprint,” and more depth whereas a 30-gallon tank is wider and has relatively more swimming space and its comparatively squat.

While they both have their pros and cons, they are more or less equal, especially if you are stocking them with smaller fish. The taller 29-gallon one has an edge if you cleverly stock it with top, middle, and bottom-dwelling fish.

That will give your tank a lot of activity, and with fish on every “level” of the tank, it will look full. On the other hand, a 30-gallon tank will give your fish a little more area to cover.

Some Equipment I Use For 29 Gallon Tanks

Every tank needs to be equipped with some essentials. Their particulars can be different for different fish, but their presence might be necessary for every healthy and thriving fish tank.

5 Beautiful Choices For Centerpiece Fish For 29 Gallon Tank

A lot of fish that can be kept in a 29-gallon fish can also be kept in 30-gallon, so there is a lot of overlap between the fish choices for the two different tanks.

Here are some good centerpiece fish for your 29-gallon tank;

1. Angelfish

Angelfish Centerpiece Fish 29 Gallon Tank

The Angelfish is easily the most popular choice for the tall 29-gallon tanks.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 6 inches For both males and females
  • Temperature range: 74 – 84 °F (ideally around 80 °F)
  • PH range: 6.0 to 7.5 (soft water to moderately hard)
  • Social Behavior: Can be kept single, in pairs or trios. It exhibits shoaling behavior.
  • Tank size: 29/30-gallon. They prefer taller tanks.

Despite being classified as semi-aggressive, angelfish is one of the most common and beloved fish among the aquarists. The common angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare) belongs to the family of Cichlidae. It has a distinct and beautiful leaf-like body, laterally compressed, and accented with long flowing fins. The anal and dorsal fins are almost transparent and triangular in shape. The fish bears little resemblance to its marine cousins.

The freshwater angelfish come from the central Amazon river basin. Thanks to a lot of selective breeding in captivity, the common angelfish is available in a variety of colors and patterns. Some of the most common ones are Pandas, Green Flame, Koi, Longfin Leopard, and black. The common natural species has a silvery body with black stripes on eyes, body, and tail. The fish swims all over the tank and gets near the surface when its feeding time.

But perhaps the best part about the angel is its quirky personality. Many fishkeepers believe that no two angelfish are the same when it comes to behavior. Some live happily alone; most form strong nuclear families. Most angelfish will eat any fish small enough to fit into their large mouths, but some do tend to leave smaller tank mates alone (maybe the vegans of the angelfish). They are curious in nature, aggressive in feeding, and very active. Angelfish is technically an omnivore but lean more towards a live and frozen diet. But it will eat flakes and palettes with just as much enthusiasm, and maybe even eat the share of its tank mates as well.

Angelfish is relatively hardy but susceptible to stressing out if there is a change in water parameters. So with this fish in the tank, make sure you are cleaning the substrate thoroughly, and the filter is strong enough. It prefers a planted tank, but in the shape of an arena: Plants on the edges and swimming space in the middle. Substrate doesn’t matter unless you are planning to breed the angelfish. As for tankmates, it cannot be housed with fin nippers. It’s long flowing fin provide a perfect nipping target, especially for relatively larger nipping fish. Smaller nippers only manage to take a few bites before becoming a bite-sized lunch themselves. They can be housed with medium-sized fish like Bala sharks, dwarf gouramis, plecos, and cory catfish.

2. Marlier’s Julie

Greater Cleveland Aquarium 01-22-2015 - Marliers Julie 2
Julidochromis Marlieri, Spotted Julie, or Chequered Julie is another Cichlidae that can liven up your 29-gallon.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 5.9 inches (Females are larger than males)
  • Temperature range: 72 – 80 °F (ideally around 80 °F)
  • PH range: 7 to 8.5 and it should not fall below 7 (moderately hard to hard water)
  • Social Behavior: Single or pair. Larger groups should also be in pairs.
  • Tank size: 29/30-gallon for a pair. It can be kept singly in a smaller tank, but preferably not smaller than 20-gallon.

Marlier’s Julie hails from a great African lake (Lake Tanganyika), the second largest lake in the world. It has a long, eel-like body and streamlined dorsal fins. The body is black in the base and has white and golden spots of varying sizes all over the body. The spots get smaller on the tail. It’s a fast swimmer and a very active fish. It’s not a bottom dweller per se but usually swims near the bottom area. So if you are keeping any bottom dwellers, make sure they aren’t slow or shy swimmers, because they might get bullied by this Julie.

The fish is an active swimmer, so a decent current will suit it very well. The water can get a little brackish, but it can’t tolerate fluctuations in the water parameters. Also, it comes from a very oxygen-rich environment, so make sure you are feeding enough oxygen in your tank. In their natural habitat, the bottom of the lake is littered with porous rocks and has a lot of crevices. So you can use clay pots to mimic caves and crevices and generously decorate the tank with rocks. The presence or density of plants won’t really matter to this fish.

It’s an omnivore and would love a well-balanced diet. If you are preparing the main course of flakes and pallets, throw in some delicacies like Cyclops, brine shrimps and water fleas as well. And feeding a few times a day would be better than feeding large portions once. They fit well with Cichlidae of similar origins like Altolamprologus, some fast swimming livebearers (this Julie might pick on slow swimmers), danios, swordtails, and Australian rainbowfish.

3. Pearl Gourami

Pearl gourami
Pearl Gourami is a beautiful and peaceful Asian fish that is perfect for community tanks.

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 4.5 to 5 inches
  • Temperature range: 74 – 82 °F
  • PH range: 6 to 8 (Can survive in a wide range of water hardness, from soft to hard)
  • Social Behavior: Can be kept alone or in pairs. It doesn’t school, and males get territorial. So if you are keeping more than a pair, keep more females than males.
  • Tank size: 29-gallon minimum

This top to middle dwelling peaceful fish comes from the slow-moving swamps of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It can survive a wide variety of water parameters, making it perfect for beginners who are still struggling with establishing a proper tank. It’s cherished for more than its hardiness and accommodating nature, as it’s one of the most beautiful fish in the aquarium business. It has a thin and oval-shaped body. The base is light to reddish-brown in color, with a black bar starting from the mouth, dissecting the fish in half, almost all the way to the tail. The body is generously dotted with pearly dots. Breeding males develop a distinct red lower region, especially the throat and the belly.

The fish comes from slow-moving waters, so low-flow water, a heavily-planted environment with a lot of room to swim, would suit it well. It’s also a labyrinth fish, so it needs adequate space between the lid and tank (or no lid at all. It’s happy with its life and is not a jumper) to breathe. While they don’t really mind the substrate selection, since they live the “high” life in the tank and don’t come down much, a dark substrate aesthetically compliments their beautiful pearly bodies. They are one of the least picky eaters you will find and will eat almost anything you put in the tank, apart from small fish, they are too peaceful for that.

One important thing to note about the pearl gourami is that it doesn’t do well in cold waters. Make sure the heating system is adequate enough to keep the temperature near eighty. As for tankmates, it can be housed with a wide variety of peaceful fish. It gets really stressed around boisterous tank mates. Males of the same species don’t play very well with each other. A pair might live happily ever after, and females are much more peaceful than males. The ideal scenario is to keep one male and more females. The fish stays happily with small Tetras, danios, dwarf gouramis, platies, and guppies.

4. Swordtail Fish

Swordtail fish (Red)
It’s a tough but fair fish. The swords stay sheathed unless it confronts one of its own (especially males).

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Size: 5 to 6.3 (males stay around 5 to 5.5 inches, females are usually larger)
  • Temperature range: 65 – 82 °F
  • PH range: 7 to 8.4 (Moderate to hard)
  • Social Behavior: Small groups, one male few females
  • Tank size: 20 gallons minimum, 29-gallon for a community tank.

The name swordtail refers to a wide variety of live-bearing fish. One thing that’s common in all different types of swordtails is the distinct sword-like tail fin in the males of the species. The fish come in a variety of different colors, red and green swordtails being the most common ones. Red swordtail has a striking uniform red coloration on its whole body. It’s a South American fish, specifically from the Atlantic slopes of Southern Mexico.

A 29-gallon will be enough for a small group to keep the swordtails happy, as one male with three or four females. They swim all over the tank and add a lot of activity to a community tank. They are aggressive jumpers (not suicidal, just for the kicks), so the tank should have a lid. A well-planted tank with a wide variety of decorations and moderate lighting will be perfect for them. They are omnivores but prefer a plant-centric diet.

As a very peaceful fish, it can be housed with a number of other fish in a community tank without any “swords drawn.” Platies, mollies, and angelfish are good matches. Tetras are not because they nip at the long flowing tails. Peaceful bottom dwellers like cories and Kuhli loaches can also make good tank mates, but keep the bioload in mind.

5. Glass Catfish

glass catfish
It’s a very distinct looking transparent fish to add a weird twist to your 29-gallon tank.

  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: 2.5 to 4 inches (A similar species ranges from four to six inches in size)
  • Temperature range: 74 – 79 °F
  • PH range: 6.5 to 7 (moderately hard)
  • Social Behavior: Shoaling fish, keep at least 6 of them together.
  • Tank size: 29-gallon minimum

The delicate nature and a relatively higher degree of care befit the name of the glass catfish. The fish has a transparent body that lets you see the bones and organs inside, and weirdly enough, the appearance is beautiful and not as gross as you would have imagined looking inside a body would be. Unlike other catfish that are known for their hardiness, this fish requires some extra care.

The first thing you have to do is keeping the parameters steady. This fish won’t respond well to sudden changes in parameters. In fact, it won’t respond at all as it will be floating belly up. So make sure the water parameters stay steady, keep the water clean, and don’t introduce anything in the water that you aren’t certain of. They primarily swim in the middle, but they have long glowing barbels that are very sensitive and can get hurt on sharp gravel. So use either sand or fine gravel as a substrate. A planted tank gives them places to hide, and they feel more comfortable.

They are omnivores but can take a little time getting used to the flakes or palette based diet. Initially, supplement their feed with live and frozen items. Once they take to flakes and pallets, you can lessen the amount of live feed, and the burden on your wallet. They are very peaceful and do well in community tanks, especially with fish like pearl danios, mollies, and swordtails.

Final Words

Building a 29-gallon community tank can be an amazing experience, especially if you are matchmaking a lot of peaceful fish. You can add color and life to your tank by complimenting your large centerpiece fish with small schooling fish. Or you can keep one or two large schools in the tank. Many small fish are more eye-catching when they are behaving in their element in large schools.

Whatever the configuration you choose, make sure not to overstock your tank. Many new aquarists tend to get over-ambitious with larger tanks and overstock them. It not only puts pressure on your filters and require frequent cleaning and water changes, but also stress out your fish. Make sure you have considered the bioload before planning your stocking.

Further Reading About Centerpiece Fish:

Beautiful Ideas For Centerpiece Fish For A 29 Gallon Tank