Cichlid system - please give advice
I have recently fallen into a bit of luck and was given some aquariums. Then my wife agreed to let me set them up in an area and make it into a fish room if I can do it for pretty cheap.
Here is what I have decided to do with them and the whole family (my wife and kids) are excited about it and wanting to help.
One tank is becoming a display tank out of the fish room and I have that one covered: the others are going to be used for education and fun for us. We are loving our African cichlids so decided to set up a tank for an mbuna and one for a peacock and try our hand at breeding them. I feel comfortable that we can do that with what we have researched but now it is setting up the aquariums for very low cost. That is where I am trying to figure things out.
I want to build a rack and put two 30 gallon tanks up on that rack, one for each type of fish, as breeding tanks. Then I want to split a 20 gallon in half using aquarium safe glue and a piece of glass in order to make two 10 gallon tanks for fry.
This is where I have questions. Does anyone know of a good, strong rack that is cheap to build? I have looked and seen lots of tutorials but does anyone have any advice based on what they have done?
Next, in order to set up the breeding tanks I need a few things. I was thinking of pool filter sand for the substrate with terra cotta pots as caves and maybe a couple rocks around. Can anyone speak to that? I also am looking for cheap filtration and to either build my own or use sponge filters with some air stones for movement. Can anyone speak to that or help me figure out exactly what would be best? I will have to buy a heater but does anyone know of a good budget one? The lighting is confusing to me. Since this will be a fish only can i get away with a cheap light fixture or would other lighting be better? Any diy ideas on this one?
Next is the fry tank. I will use sponge filters on this so if the questions above are answered I think I have a good idea on this. I will be treating the two sides as separate tanks except maybe for the lighting.
The grow-out tank is a 90 gallon with scratches but I have everything I need for that.
Any advice on what types of fish to do this with?
Any advice is needed and wanted. Thank you in advance for your help.