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Old 07-07-2018, 01:08 PM   #1
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Thinking about switching to Mbuna tank from SW, maintenance question?

Hi all,

Thinking about giving up my SW 40B after a velvet outbreak and to be able to have more fish for my kids. 40B so prob dwarf species, penguin 350 biowheel and 2koralia 750s current w 200aqueon pro heater.

Iíd love to have a colorful tank, even if it had a few fake plants.

So in SW, crabs and snails keep your glass/sand clean. Anything similar in FW?

How often do water changes happen and seems higher % over SW?

Iím open to other hardy fish for ease of maintenance. Iíd prob clean my 6 mo old base rock thatís in my sw to re-use if possible.

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Old 07-07-2018, 06:25 PM   #2
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Hi all,

Thinking about giving up my SW 40B after a velvet outbreak and to be able to have more fish for my kids. 40B so prob dwarf species, penguin 350 biowheel and 2koralia 750s current w 200aqueon pro heater.

Iíd love to have a colorful tank, even if it had a few fake plants.

So in SW, crabs and snails keep your glass/sand clean. Anything similar in FW?

How often do water changes happen and seems higher % over SW?

Iím open to other hardy fish for ease of maintenance. Iíd prob clean my 6 mo old base rock thatís in my sw to re-use if possible.

Attachment 309552

not sure about freshwater crabs but snails are a yes to being a great cleaning crew in FW. malaysian trumpet snails will burrow in the substrate cleaning it and ramshorn will stay above cleaning plants,rocks, glass and anything else with algae on it.



water changes will need to be frequent and somewhere in the range of 30-50% per week if not a bit sooner. alot of water movement and great filtration will help greatly. cichlids are messy.



you need a good amount of cichlids to keep down on aggression or you will end up having them slowly die off as the pecking order gets established. minimum i would go 8 cichlids but it would be much better with 12. 40 gallons is on the small side of tank sizes for cichlids but as long as you give enough hiding places and keep up on maintenance i think they will be ok. like you said dwarf species will be best for that tank.



personally i gave up my mbuna cichlid tank because it just didnt seem large enough, i couldnt keep live plants in there because they chewed them to pieces, i couldnt have a dirted planted tank because these cichlids are diggers.
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:43 PM   #3
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not sure about freshwater crabs but snails are a yes to being a great cleaning crew in FW. malaysian trumpet snails will burrow in the substrate cleaning it and ramshorn will stay above cleaning plants,rocks, glass and anything else with algae on it.



water changes will need to be frequent and somewhere in the range of 30-50% per week if not a bit sooner. alot of water movement and great filtration will help greatly. cichlids are messy.



you need a good amount of cichlids to keep down on aggression or you will end up having them slowly die off as the pecking order gets established. minimum i would go 8 cichlids but it would be much better with 12. 40 gallons is on the small side of tank sizes for cichlids but as long as you give enough hiding places and keep up on maintenance i think they will be ok. like you said dwarf species will be best for that tank.



personally i gave up my mbuna cichlid tank because it just didnt seem large enough, i couldnt keep live plants in there because they chewed them to pieces, i couldnt have a dirted planted tank because these cichlids are diggers.


Thanks! 12 would be awesome and a number I had in mind. A lot better than then 5 non active marine fish I had lol.

Feel like freshwater maintenance is more work but guess not since I can buy fish for $5-8 and use a bathtub for water change/tip-off. Figure 10-20 gallon wc isnít bad vs the 4g I do w saltwater lol.
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Old 07-08-2018, 08:03 AM   #4
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I'd go nerite snails.....About a half dozen. Get filtration that turns your tank over about 10 times an hour minimum. Mbuna are more aggressive cichlids so like nad said you should up the numbers to calm aggression. As for cleaning...... cichlids are fairly heavy waste producers on top of your maxed out stocking so be prepared to change 35-40% water changes a week minimum. This will depend on your water parameters which should be tested weekly before your water change to gauge amount of water to change and frequency. Probably fake over real plants with cichlids. Most mbuna tanks are rockscaped. Create a lot of little caves or hiding spots with rock for them to hide.
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:21 AM   #5
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Sorry about your Oodinium outbreak. I went through that a couple years ago. Velvet is much easier to treat in a FW tank. Limestone is great for Mbuna. Some advise not to reuse rock from a SW tank. Be sure to rinse it off thoroughly.
Try to compile an all male Mbuna tank. No need to amplify aggression with a mated pair.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:03 AM   #6
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Thank you all!!! Still debating if I want to throw in the towel on SW, wifey is ready for fw and more fish lol. Iíd just dry out my reef rock and most likely get some new rock at the local landscape place since I read so cheap and PFS for bottom.

38 days fallow out of 76 so by the time I break everything down and refill/cycle may be easier to give sw 1 more shot and just pay more attention when selecting fish. The 4 gallon vs 15g water change makes me think, then the aggression. Why do the prettiest fish (IMO) have to be mean!
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:14 PM   #7
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Changing over is a big decision. Ages ago I kept a SW tank. Like most, I had my triumphs and loses. After a few years, I got a little bored with it, tired of the expense and relative fragileness of SW fish. I donated most of the fish to the local zoo. My Clown Trigger was traded in at my LFS for a grouping of Discus, which was all the rage at the time. Been a FW enthusiast ever since.
As for African Cichlids, they essentially are reef fish and are a lot more durable than any SW species. A 40 gal. Might be a bit small for African Peacocks or Haps. A 75 gal is a good starting size for them. A 40 gal. would probably work for smaller Mbuna. Snapped a few pics of my 2 y.o. OB Peacock, young adult German Red Peacock and my baby Livingstoni Hap.
I don't believe SW fish look any better than these. I apologize for the low quality cell phone pics.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing V227!

How active are Mbuna? I had 2 clowns that hid in a corner of the tank and hosted the heater lol. Boooooring
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:58 PM   #9
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My sw fish are so much more active than my fw! Just throwing in my .02. Fw though I have a heavily planted tank with an angel and keyhole cichlids and some tetras and cories. Itís very relaxing but very slow. Whereas my clowns (albeit they donít host a heater lol) move a lot as well as my wrasse and potters angel. But I find Mbuna and Africans in general extremely boring. But thatís just my .02 and Iím sure losing everything to velvet is brutal . Good luck whichever way you end up going
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:39 PM   #10
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It's a non stop game of chase with Mbuna, dashing in and out of caves and crevaces. Finding that desired aggression balance can sometimes be difficult, but once obtained the high speed action can be very entertaining.
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