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Old 02-05-2004, 02:30 AM   #1
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African Cichlids

I'm not new to keeping fish, but I've never kept an African cichlid tank and I need info. I'm wanting to use a 20H tank with a Penguin 125 BIO-Wheel hang on filter.. I need to know what substrait, what kind of rocks, how to take care of the water(including how to prepare it for the fish), and any suggestions on what kind and how many fish.. ANY help will be appreciated!!
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Old 02-05-2004, 03:33 AM   #2
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There are lots of africans in the smaller sizes that could work in that tank. Some yellow labs or some shell-dwellers off the top of my head. A 20 high will be trickier than a 20 long though, less 'floorspace'.

The key with rocks is caves, and blocking line of sight. Out of sight, out of mind most african cichlids prefer smaller gravel to sand, I believe.

They will also be happier with more alkaline, hard water. I keep my ph a hair above 8 & gh and kh both in double digits.
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Old 02-05-2004, 04:43 AM   #3
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Water

How do I get the water that way? (And keep it there?)
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Old 02-05-2004, 10:30 AM   #4
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I agree with having the 20 long instead of the high.

From my experience, the more floorspace you have, the more caves and rockshelves you can put in. They need that type of stuff. The more the better.

Keep in mind that the labs can get up to about 4-5" and may eventually need a new, larger home. The shell dwelling labs are great for a smaller tank though. I had a spare 10 gal that I wanted to put something in (still using as a QT tank for now though; saved some lives with it, decided to keep it). Here's the thread with some really good links contained within...

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...188&highlight=

Another option would be just using a bigger tank... (african rift lake cichlids are great fish when you have ample space for them...)

I use a crushed coral substrate to raise my Ph and hardness. Out of the tap my Ph is 7.0, with the substrate it is around 7.8 I wouldn't advise using chemicals to change the Ph. Even though they will indeed change it, it is another thing that you will have to...

1. invest in (gets pricey real quick like)
2. potentially mess up (losing count of how many drops you just put in)
3. have things out of your control (what if you got the bad batch?)
4. using a substrate that keeps your Ph high is a self sustaining option

Basically the less chems in the water, the better (IMO).

Argonite also raises Ph, but is more like sand (I like my coral and so do my fish)
Anything that is some form of calcium carbonate will work, texas holey rock (not a substrate) is great for africans; lots of caves/holes and it's a big ol' hunk of limestone (raising the Ph).

Keeping the water conditions right is actually the easy part (as long as you keep up on regular maintanence). From my experience, the trick is dealing with thier rambunctious behavior
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Old 02-05-2004, 11:56 AM   #5
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I understand that crushed coral works well, but I don't like using anything taken from wild reefs but that is me.

I use this recipe and it works great. If you are doing weekly water changes, and your water starts on the high side of 7ph it will be plenty stable, and you can dial it in right where you want it.

if you want some deep knowldege about water chemistry read this article
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