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Old 01-04-2010, 11:37 AM   #1
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Tank Journal - 225 Cichlid Habitat

For any of you who enjoy my 135 FOWLR thread

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...lr-124418.html

I've got another one for ya! Same customer has an empty 225g w/ dual overflows and acrylic sump. Here's what it looks like





He had about 2 dozen really good looking Discus in the tank, a relative of his maintained it, and moved away, then there was a flood in our area and the water quality tanked, and he started losing them one by one until they were all gone. It was very sad to see. So now the tank is empty, I'm the artist with the aquatic brush, and it's my bare canvas.

I started this thread about egg crate under the substrate and decided it was time to start this journal, and this project soon

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ml#post1062845

So to continue the conversation in that thread, I'll start off with my response to the last post:

you going to be in charge of maintaining the tank?

I sure hope so, the last batch of discus he had were all killed off one by one.

you could just use chop sticks when water changing to mix it up

Funny, since it's a Chinese restaurant!! The only problem I see happening with the PFS is algae growing on the top and detritus building up between water changes. The previous setup for the discus was no substrate, but he has a 5g bucket full of clear glass beads (about 1/2" diatmeter) that look pretty cool, and he wants to use them again. I thought, why not put the beads on top of the PFS for a cool effect, maybe make some piles here and there. Cichlids would have fun moving those around.

The Algae might not be much of a problem, since it's not going to be a planted tank (at least not long term - I have a ton of Asian Marshweed and I am going to put in when I fire it up) so I do plan on using carbon or zeolite in the sump to keep that under control, or maybe I'll just let it grow and get a bristlenose pleco. But will any pleco have a problem trying to clean algae off of fine sand?

MTS hide for the most part during the day and come out when the lights are off

Hmmmm...might be able to sell that idea to him.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:52 PM   #2
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Filled & aquascaped - 1/18/2010

Well today, I finished rinsing out the sand, which took about 3 hours (200 lbs). I went in and removed all the old return tubing (which made absolutely no sense, whatsoever, and was rigid and brittle) installed new tubing, clean the base and sump, wiped out the tank, cleaned the lid, adjusted the jets, dumped in the sand, started filling, and then the owner and I added his rock and some of my rocks in for an initial aquascape. We filled it all the way, fired up the sump, and put the lids & light on. Here’s a pictorial step by step:

Empty, clean tank


Added sand, 200 lbs


Fill started


Filled and aquascaped


Lids & lights – this fixture is 10,000k only, actinics are off


Sump return piping


Sump in operation


I brought the bio-balls home and rinsed them out and picked out the busted ones. Now I am going to clean out my C-360 and swap out ½ of the bio-balls and ceramic rings and mix them in with his and put them in the trickle. I totally spaced out de-chlorinating the water, so I have to do that first. Oh yeah, and put his heaters back in. Also have to take a stick and stir the sand, bubbles trapped in it, which I suppose will work their way out on their own, so maybe not. The cold water here is 55F!! I don’t suppose that bacteria on my bio-balls and rings will die from temperature shock, will they? I suppose I could acclimate the bio-balls, but that just seems silly. I also will take the sponge from my 10g and squeeze it out into another sponge or something and stuff that in with the bio-balls. I figure all of that and leave it for a week and the bio-colony will be thriving. I’ll dose with Ammonia and test it until I start getting Nitrates, then it will be time to stock!

As far as the pump goes, it might be big enough after all. It’s a pretty generic looking pump, so I have to look closer at it, but I think it’s about 1200 GPH. Before, when the tank was running, I noticed that there was hardly any flow of significance, but then again, it had 4 time the tubing, 3 T’s, and a UV sterilizer. So I think it may be good for now.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:09 PM   #3
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so maybe i missed this, sorry if i did, but what are you planning on stocking in this? or should i say what do they want you to stock?
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:27 PM   #4
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It's going to be a Cichlid tank, Africans, my faves are Zebra, Lamprologous Brichardi, and Electric Yellows. But we'll see what he wants to pick out.

Quick update, I decided to install the heater and bring it up to temp first, I did read that bacteria are susceptible to temperature shock just like fish.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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This is gonna be awesome. Can't wait to see how it turns out. However, Brichardis are from a different lake than Zebras and Electric Yellow Labs.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:32 PM   #6
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It looks like it is going to be a fantastic tank. I do agree that you should discourage him from mixing cichlids from different lakes.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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My only suggestion would be to add more rocks. I think the brichardi will do fine in that tank. Just give them plenty of small holes (conch shells work great) to breed in. I saw a tank at a local breeders shop that had them in with mbuna and they all got along great. Ive also heard that the tank will cycle faster if the heat is cranked up a little high. Never heard about the shock, though that makes sense
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:35 PM   #8
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Sounds good Floyd. Although I'm a SW guy I think I'll enjoy this one.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:36 PM   #9
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Yeah, I thought about that. I also read that in a large enough tank, if you overstock it, more passive fish will get 'lost in the crowd'. Anyways, it's still a work in progress. Thanks for the comments.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:43 PM   #10
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There is some truth to that floyd. You dont necessarily want to overstock it, but you want it good and full. You also want to make sure you have a good male to female ratio for most of the fish, something like 1m to 4-6fm. In a tank that big, you have ALOT of options
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
There is some truth to that floyd. You dont necessarily want to overstock it, but you want it good and full. You also want to make sure you have a good male to female ratio for most of the fish, something like 1m to 4-6fm. In a tank that big, you have ALOT of options
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:01 PM   #12
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Oooh! I like it, it's pretty!
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:36 AM   #13
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If discus were kept before, I might be curious as to GH and Kh of water that will be used for water changes. Moderately hard water might work for cichlids but wouldn't want water too acidic. Might need some calcerous rock ?
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:13 AM   #14
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Like I said, the tap water comes out at 8.8+ and in the tank, 2 hours after the fill, it was 8.3 ish. Going to test tap and tank water today for KH GH pH etc when I go to put in the bio-balls. And I'm adding crushed coral to the sump.

I can't say what he was doing as far as water changes % wise with the discus, but he didn't even own a test kit. He had a jar of Discus buffer and some food, and his uncle used to maintain the tank until he moved to Texas
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:56 PM   #15
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Exclamation Possible screw-up!?!?!?

Ok, so the Ace Hardware was closed, I searched and search and finally found Clear Ammonia, the ingredients on the label listed "Ammonium Hydroxide, Surfactants" compared to the lemon-scented stuff that had "ionic surfactant" and "anionic surfactant" along with a bunch of other stuff. I shook the lemon-scented stuff up and it foamed up a bunch and stayed foamy. I shook the ever-living stuff out of the clear ammonia and there were no bubbles whatsoever at the top, all the bubbles were big and broke immediately at the surface. I shook it really, really hard and got some funny looks from some passer-bys!! I figured this was fine. I didn't know how strong it was, but I had put bio-balls and rings from my filter in along with his, and I didn't want it to go too long without a food source. I added 2 teaspoons to the tank (effective water volume of 250 gallons). I then took the stuff home and used a dropped into a 5g bucket of RO/DI water with a power head running and put 3 drops in, which tested 0.25ppm. 9 drops 0.75 ppm. 24 2 ppm. There was no evidence of foaming or oil-slick look at the surface whatsoever. Thankfully, before I added any more, I read about surfactants.

So, with the minimal amount added (I calculated that it was just enough to bring the ammonia level to 0.25) do I really need to empty out the whole tank and clean it? Please tell me I don't and there is something that can remove such a minimal amount of surfactant, like activated carbon or something like that!!!

By the way, I'm going to Ace and buying the right stuff.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:17 PM   #16
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ummm... i wish i knew Might pm jsoong (he must be some kind of bio chemical engineer or something with some of the stuff he says)... From what i understand, surfactants are surfactants, and not good for fish. Im sure there is something you can use to remove it from the water though, im just not smart enough to know what
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:54 PM   #17
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I've been doing some reading up on surfactants. Dissolved organic compounds (DOCs) are considered a surfactant, and if you google 'protein skimmer surfactant', that's exactly what a protein skimmer removes: surfactants. And only surfactants. In fact, in theory, as long as you could get the surfactant into the water (off any surface), a skimmer should remove it.

I just got back from there, here's what I observed:

No film on surface of water of inside of tank
Bubbles at surface (when created) pop quickly
Samples taken from both surface and beneath, when shaken vigorously, do not foam at all
Ammonia tested at 0.25 ppm, which is what I calculated that it should have been right after the 2 tsp dose last night (20+ hrs ago)
I picked up a bottle of the Ace Hardware brand (which is much stronger) and added 7 tsp, which brought it up to 2 ppm and I will test again tomorrow night.

I'm guessing that if those surfactants killed off my bacterial colony on the bio-balls and rings from my system that I added, that will still be at 2 ppm. If the surfactants were enough to wipe everything out, I'm guessing that nothing will grow until they're out of there, right?
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:08 PM   #18
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I thought the surfactants were like soap, and therefore bad for the fish?
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:17 PM   #19
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Well yes and no. Soap has surfactants in it, but surfactants doesnt have soap in it. All surfactants do is decrease the surface tension of water to make it more pliable in a sense (im sure Floyd can give a better definition). I found a link from another forum regarding surfactants in the aquarium. Maybe Floyd can decipher this better than me, it all looks like college "blah" to me lol... Science Links Japan | The Complex Effect of Surfactants and Ammonia on Himedaka Oryzias latipes.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:07 PM   #20
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I just heard back from someone that used the exact same product - Homelife Clear Ammonia - and did the exact same thing - 2 tsp in a 75g, then switched to Ace product - did a 50% PWC and scrubbed their decor, and had no problems at all. I feel a wave of relief.

I will still be contacting Super Valu (the makers of Homelife products) in an attempt to find out what kind of surfactant they use. I Wiki'd surfactant and as it turns out, there are all kinds for all uses, and some are worse than other.
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