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Old 01-24-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
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Cichlid tank Scavenger?

Hello all. I have 2 peacock cichlids, and two kenyi cichlids, a pleco, a rainbow shark, and a kuhli loach. The water is crystal clear, and there's no significant algea growth... however, every time I feel them there's always food that makes its way down to the sediment, and it builds up over time. I vacuum the gravel once a week during a water change, but I was hoping for a more effective scavenger to clear out the rocks so I may not have to vacuum as much.

I've tried getting 20 ghost shrimp or so... figuring 5-10 would get eaten right away, and the other 10-15 could stay alive for a few days and clean up, but every time I add them, it becomes a massacre. They're all eaten within an hour.

I tried a crayfish, thinking he's a bit larger with his pinchers, he may be able to fend off the peacocks. He did well while the lights were on, but when I woke up the next morning I found his tail under the pleco, and his upper half being shared by my kenyis. Any idea what kind of an interesting scavenger I can get that can survive in a cichlid tank?
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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Synodontis catfish maybe?
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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Feed less, problem solved.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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I agree w feed less. With sand my mbuna sift through it.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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It's not really a major problem. No significant algea or growth. I feed once a day, and from time to time will miss a day. I have white substrate which is the major problem. Makes every little thing show up in the stones. I hate to swap the substrate out because I dont want a cycle. Just want something that can poke its little hands into the stones and pull stuff out haha.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:58 PM   #6
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MTS would do the trick. I bought 10 MTS a month ago and now I have easily over 100 and they eat almost everything. Very beneficial, but if you keep overfeeding, the MTS could overpopulate in your tank.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:19 PM   #7
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If you have a leftover food issue you are overfeeding. It may not seem like it...
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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MTS would do the trick. I bought 10 MTS a month ago and now I have easily over 100 and they eat almost everything. Very beneficial, but if you keep overfeeding, the MTS could overpopulate in your tank.
I tried mystery snails, but they always get killed. Never eaten, but I just go look in the tank after a couple days and they're laying in the substrate with their trap only partially closed.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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Switch to sand. Waste will sit on top and if your filtration is efficient enough it will get sucked up. Easier to keep clean IMO.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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Switch to sand. Waste will sit on top and if your filtration is efficient enough it will get sucked up. Easier to keep clean IMO.
The peacocks do go down to the substrate to pick stuff up, but its usually in between the larger stuff. I'm always so paranoid about cycling at all if I switch substrate. There seems to be such a perfect balance (water is perfectly clear, all of my numbers are good whenever I test, no fish deaths in months... unless its live fish food) so I hate to mess that up at all.

I remember hearing a long time ago about using "sandblast sand" after a thorough rinsing. They said its perfectly round which makes digging and sifting gentle on their bodies, and its heavy without much dust so it shouldnt get picked up by the filter. Thoughts on that?
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:42 PM   #11
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Oh, and I also overkill with filtration. My filter is rated for 50 gal and I've only got 29 gal.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:46 PM   #12
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The peacocks do go down to the substrate to pick stuff up, but its usually in between the larger stuff. I'm always so paranoid about cycling at all if I switch substrate. There seems to be such a perfect balance (water is perfectly clear, all of my numbers are good whenever I test, no fish deaths in months... unless its live fish food) so I hate to mess that up at all.

I remember hearing a long time ago about using "sandblast sand" after a thorough rinsing. They said its perfectly round which makes digging and sifting gentle on their bodies, and its heavy without much dust so it shouldnt get picked up by the filter. Thoughts on that?
Pool filter sand is the way to go. It's heavy enough to sink instantly, quick to wash before putting in the tank and it's inert. Many people have switched substrates no problem. You just have to watch for a mini cycle in the first week or two after. Nothing an extra water change won't fix.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #13
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Oh, and I also overkill with filtration. My filter is rated for 50 gal and I've only got 29 gal.
How many gallons an hour does it filter. Thaw filter rating (50g in this case) doesn't say much. I have read you want 10-12 times the tanks volume turned over an hour in a cichlid tank. So that's 290g/h.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #14
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240G I figured that was way overkill! I had a higher speed filter and the salesman talked me into this one because filter is designed to pass half the water through the media twice.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:57 PM   #15
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Or pool filtration sand?
Yes. PFS is what you will see around the site. It's silica sand and it's awesome for tanks. Cheap too.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:03 PM   #16
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Is there a brand that works best to use? I've made a point to always buy something that specifically says its aquarium safe on the packaging, so I dont like risking getting something that doesnt specifically say "aquarium safe" unless someone else has used it with success. I have white gravel now and I hate it, as it shows EVERYTHING. I vowed next time around that I'm going to use something dark.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:23 PM   #17
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Is there a brand that works best to use? I've made a point to always buy something that specifically says its aquarium safe on the packaging, so I dont like risking getting something that doesnt specifically say "aquarium safe" unless someone else has used it with success. I have white gravel now and I hate it, as it shows EVERYTHING. I vowed next time around that I'm going to use something dark.
Idk any specific brand but all silica sand works. It comes in a whitish color to darker tan. I think I have heard there is black but don't quote me on that. There is the blasting sand you mentioned but if you get the slag then it can be quite sharp. That's why I've always avoided it. I have black quartz sand from my LFS. Cost me a pretty penny but it's very striking. FYI black shows up poop nearly as much as white IME. Check out the pics in my profile. I have PFS in the 100L, black quartz in the 40L and play sand in the others.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:59 AM   #18
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Idk any specific brand but all silica sand works. It comes in a whitish color to darker tan. I think I have heard there is black but don't quote me on that. There is the blasting sand you mentioned but if you get the slag then it can be quite sharp. That's why I've always avoided it. I have black quartz sand from my LFS. Cost me a pretty penny but it's very striking. FYI black shows up poop nearly as much as white IME. Check out the pics in my profile. I have PFS in the 100L, black quartz in the 40L and play sand in the others.
The playsand just makes the tank look dirty to me. Idk but that's just how it looks in my mind, but both the black quartz and the PFS look great. I'll have to find an opportunity to see them in person, those may be my solution.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:11 PM   #19
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The playsand just makes the tank look dirty to me. Idk but that's just how it looks in my mind, but both the black quartz and the PFS look great. I'll have to find an opportunity to see them in person, those may be my solution.
If I could do it again I'd go PFS in the ones with play sand. I highly recommend the other two.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:17 PM   #20
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Play sand makes everything dirty and continually raises dust. Pool filter sand calms down much more quickly.

By the way, your kuhli needs buddies, like at least another 5 or maybe even 10.
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