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Old 11-18-2010, 06:26 PM   #1
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Smile "Pride Rock" - 90 Gallon Planted African/South American Cichlid Journal

Hi everyone

I thought that it was time that I share one of my tanks with everyone. This is a 90 gallon aquarium that houses African cichlids (Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika) as well as some South American cichlids. I know, they shouldn't be mixed together. I don't have a problem with them co-habiting thus far (as the SA are juvies still), and they will eventually get separated.

This tank is called "Pride Rock" as it mimics the rocky slate structures found in Africa while being enclosed with the thick plants of South America. The pairs are always breeding and dancing away on Pride Rock. It's interesting as each cichlid seems to have their own terroritory, but nobody has claimed the top of Pride Rock. Let the mating rituals begin.

More details of this tank will follow as time progresses. Feel free to post any questions or comments as I go along.

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Old 11-18-2010, 07:07 PM   #2
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That is a nice looking tank!
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:20 PM   #3
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Very nice Chizer. I love fully planted tanks like that. Are you running CO2 on this tank? What kind of lighting?
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Old 11-19-2010, 02:31 AM   #4
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Ooh! Beautiful tank, man! Nice background of vals.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:17 PM   #5
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Equipment Setup
  • Tank Dimensions - 48" x 18" x 24" 90 US Gallons (122 cm x 46 cm x 61 cm)
  • Light Fixture - JBJ Formosa DX-JG3 Triple Fan System Power Compact (4 x 65 Watts)
  • Bulbs - JBJ 6500K (about 4 years old now and never changed out)
  • Photoperiod - 2 bulbs only for low light @ 12 hrs / day
  • CO2 - No CO2 (except from the fish)
  • Substrate - Carib Sea Eco-Complete (It's hard to vacuum this stuff because a lot of the sand is a fine particle)
  • Temperature Control - Ebo Jager TruTemp 200 Watts
  • Circulation - Tunze Turbelle NanoStream Pump
    Filtration - Eheim professionel 3 electronic (sponges and lots of bio media), Hagen Fluval 404 (sponges, ceramic rings, activated carbon, zeo-carb)



I firmly believe that over filtering your tank is a good thing. The Eheim has a built in stream component that simulates a wave motion. That combined with the Tunze pump puts a lot of circulation through out the tank. It also keeps the sand bed nice and clean so that you only have to vacuum around the pits that the Cichlids dig.

The light fixture looks good above the tank but I wouldn't recommend this unit to anyone. The JBJ ballast don't seem to last long, but the bulbs seems to be okay. The reflector is just one giant highly polished U shape and probably has a lot of restrike (unlike ahsupply.com nice little reflectors). The are noisy and can be changed out with silent ball bearing computer fans, but I'll do that when the fans actually die. It comes with two switches and two separate 6 foot long cords. Each switch turns on either the front two or back two PC bulbs.



The best thing about this light fixture is that it comes with mounting legs that allow you to swing the entire light fixture up and out of the way. The only down fall with this is that it blinds you as you are trying to do maintenance.

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Old 11-19-2010, 08:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fort384 View Post
Are you running CO2 on this tank? What kind of lighting?
No CO2 and 2 x 65 Watt Power Compacts with some very old bulbs. 12 hour photoperiod.

Thanks for the nice comments.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:07 PM   #7
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Plant List
  • Anubias barteri var nana - roots are buried into substrate and tied down with fishing line weights as you know Cichlids love to dig and move stuff around
  • Anubias barteri - sitting on top of slate stones
  • Java Fern (microsorum pteropus) - tied to 2 different pieces of driftwood, tons of little babies and as you can tell, it is rather quite dense now
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii brown - right side of tank
  • Vallisneria spiralis - thick jungle all the way along the right throughout the back middle of the tank (This is where females that are holding / fry like to hide out)
  • Hygrophilia corymbosa angustifolia - left back through middle

The question that I hear a lot is, can plants survive with Cichlids? The answer is yes. You just have to choose the plants wisely. You need to make sure that you put in some tough disgusting tasting plants that have some strong stems. Sure the leaves on my plants get chewed up, but that doesn't happen often. For the most part, they will leave the plants alone.

I also find that the plants don't get uprooted at all. That could be I am using 100% eco-complete and have a 2 - 3 inch deep sand bed. If you have this problem, use anchors to hold the plants down or plant the stems/roots where they don't intent to make a cave.

Hygrophilia corymbosa angustifolia
This is a stem plant that grows thick stems. The leaves are a bright green and are very long. This plant has grown to over 4 ft in my tank and can quickly make a 90 gallon tank look like a 10 gallon.



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Old 11-19-2010, 09:41 PM   #8
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Very very nice Chizer! Beautiful plants. I don't think I have ever seen such clean algae-free plants in a med-low light tank with no CO2. What kind of fert regimen are you using? Are you doing EI? What do you dose if anything?

Do you have a cleanup crew of any kind (SAEs, Amano shrimp...)?

To me, for the tanks I have ran, fish have been secondary to the plants, so I have never really looked seriously into running a cichlid or discus tank. However, I have seen great planted examples of both lately and it is inspiring.

I know what you are saying about the substrate... for ease of use, easy cleaning, and looks, I love straight up aquarium gravel. But after using ADA aquasoil, it would be tough for me to go away from a planted aquarium substrate...

Anyways, thanks for sharing, and keep the pictures coming! Some day when I get out of the military and stop moving every 3 years, I am going to get a giant FW planted tank and start a giant reef tank (after I convince the wife that we NEED it of course).
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
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What kind of fert regimen are you using? Are you doing EI? What do you dose if anything?
Each week as part of my weekly maintenance regime, I clean the glass, then vacuum out 10 gallons of water. I then dose 5ML of Seachem Flourish. Every second week, I dose 5ML of Seachem Iron. The uptake on these plants is very minimal and they are all very low light demanding plants.

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Do you have a cleanup crew of any kind (SAEs, Amano shrimp...)?
There is no clean up crew. Maybe Cichlid fry are keeping the algae at bay? lol. Actually, you will see signs of algae on the other plants when I post some photos of them. This is especially apparent on the delicate leafs of the Anubias and Cryptocorynes.

In this particular tank, the plants come second to my fish. Just because I love the behavior of the fish and these plants seem to compliment them fairly well. Especially since it is surrounding the "Pride Rock". In my other community planted tank, the fish are second to the plants.

ADA substrate is extremely rare in Canada. Unless you are willing to pay the hefty prices for shipping, everyone seems to be using eco-complete, flourite and mineralized top soil.

That is pretty cool that you are in the military. But, the moving every 3 years must be tough. I understand why you have the smaller nano tanks now. Your setup is quite awesome. Too bad you can't get deployed to work in a special bio-dome where aquaponics is your main goal.
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Old 11-21-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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good job.. looks awesome
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