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Old 03-25-2004, 04:12 PM   #1
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Cichlid Tank

any ideas on setting up a cichlid tank... what type of fish, how many and other creative thing to do. I have a 55g tank and want to do something different, but keep it fw.

thanks
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:36 PM   #2
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Which type of cichlids?? There are many to choose from. I have an 80 gal Mbuna tank and I was trying a Lake Tang tank, but the tank mates really didn't want to be together and they each got separate tanks .
Here is a great link: http://www.mongabay.com/fish/species_index
Check out cichlids by area. Some of them are sooooooo aggressive; they're not worth keeping. As a group, Mbuna are active and territorial. There are peacock cichlids--different type of "pecking order" from the Mbuna. Then there are Lake Tang and New World/South American cichlids.
There is also the cichlid-forum.com. I am a member, but I spend all my time over here
Start researching and ask Qs as needed. You will have a great tank as long as:
1-you don't impulse buy your cichlids (done that, Horrific results )
2-you don't listen to LFS employees and you have your own research to back up your purchases (did that too )
3-whatever group you decide on, decorate the tank to their specifications.

HAVE FUN!!
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Old 03-26-2004, 06:51 AM   #3
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55 gallon is perfect for mbuna with a sand/rock setup. I have a pic in my gallery of my 30 gallon setup, but I need to take an updated one, I have a few different types of algae growing in the tank now, and is the coolest tank I have ever seen (of course, I have a biased opinion ) I have 3 yellow labs and 3 kenyii in the 30 gallon.
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Old 03-26-2004, 06:55 AM   #4
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What are your water parameters? Hard? Low pH? That will help dictate what type of cichlids would work best for you (unless you want to change the water parameters, but that can be a pain).
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:01 AM   #5
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thanks for the help. right now my water parameters are fairly normal, and was wondering what you meant by "changing water parameters can be a pain"?

The sand/rock set up looks really cool but what aerates the sand? and do the fish you have in there "get along"?
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:29 AM   #6
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Mbunas are aggressive fish...a better way to put it is "tolerate each other." However, they don't do any damage to each other. They occasionally show signs of aggression (chasing, locking mouths, etc.).

Making my water parameters match those of a fish's natural habitat isn't really a pain for me--but I don't mind the weekly trips to fill up 2 5-gallon jugs of store bought ro water, adding all the necessary additives to the water, vigorously shaking the huge heavy jugs over my head (or lower depending on how strong I'm feeling ) to mix all the additives, waiting an hour or so and then shaking again, testing the water, leaving the jugs either in the sun or in the shade to get the temperature close to the tank temperature, and then hefting the jugs up and over the lip of my fish tank to refill the ten gallons I siphoned out (yes, I said weekly ).

It's easier to just test your tap water for GH and KH, and then try to match the species with your tap water. Generally speaking, harder high pH water is for African lake species, softer low pH water is for South American cichlids. There are exceptions, this is just a very broad generalization based on the most common cichlids available in a lfs.

To aerate the sand I stir it gently every two weeks.
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Old 03-26-2004, 12:17 PM   #7
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My Mbuna are in a tank with Lace Rock, Texas Holey Rock and slabs of basalt. The base is a small gravel that the cichlids move all over the place. Fish: 4 Pseudotropheus zebras (1 blue, 1 white, 2 orange), 2 Pseudotropheus ?s, Red Top Zebra--Pseudotropheus Sandraracinos, Lemon Yellow (Electric Yellow)--Labidochromis caeruleus, White tail--Gephyrochromis Aceii, Rusty cichlid-- Iodotropheus sprengerae, Powder Blue cichlid--Pseudotropheus socolofi, one confused Blue Acara—Aequidens pulcher Striped River Catfish--Mystus vittatus, and one ugly Synodontis.
And we just added a male and female Pseudotropheus something. I need to take better notes at the LSF
It's a very active tank. The majority are juvies, but the mature ones (Acara, blue and white zebra and socolofi) are doing fine. Blue zebra is acting like a horny male teenager displaying for EVERYONE. The way the rock is arranged, everyone has a place to hide. After three years, I believe my fiancé and I have finally got a good mix of fish in there that can tolerate each other and stand up for themselves as they mature.

As for water parameters, the pH is at 7.7 and we have crushed coral that will be added to the filter when we get around to it I know things are well in the tank—socolofi has been gravid twice in the past three months. Last time she lost her brood (stress we believe caused by a Jack Dempsey that DID NOT belong in that tank), this time she is in QT and we’re hoping to see fry in three weeks. The first she successfully brooded young was last summer and we put her in QT (the father was white zebra, this time we don’t know).
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Old 03-26-2004, 05:08 PM   #8
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man you guys are great for help... my pH generally is around 7, and maybe a little higher (not sure of the accuracy of the kit I have ) and I have a lot of small gravel in the tank, it sounds like that may be good for one type of set up, but I need to make sure i match up my fish right with my tank... correct?
but i have to be sure to add some "caves" for them to hide in right?
thanks for the help, you guys are at least saving me the 20 dollar it may cost to buy a book and the frustration of realizing the book did not help at all
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Old 03-26-2004, 06:00 PM   #9
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What is your KH?

With such a neutral tap..you need to know its buffering ability too. It can affect how many water changes you have to do , how many odd spikes you can get. And using ph up and down can be affected harshly by that. I have an acidic 7 usually. buy I lost my buffers lately and it has affected my older stable tanks. I wasn't aware until the other day. I don't test kh very often.

So far you are shaping up to S. America as your conforming list.
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Old 03-26-2004, 06:24 PM   #10
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i have no idea of my KH... i don't even own a kit to test that... i'm going to kill myself for asking this next question... but... how critical is knowing the kh?
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