Aquarium Setup • converting a 150 gallon saltwater to African Cichlids

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converting a 150 gallon saltwater to African Cichlids

Postby gusto » Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:32 pm

Hello everyone,
I currently have a saltwater tank it's a 150 gallon reef ready tank with a 30 gallon sump, what would be a good way to convert it for African cichlids. I used to have a 75 gallon african cichlid tank about 5 years ago and decided to switch to saltwater. then I upgrade to the 150 but lately I've been thinking about converting it to african cichlids, I've just been very busy and saltwater does take up a lot of time and also you really cant mix species so I have to feed a different diet to each fish everyday and I have about 7 fish in the tank and it's considered overcrowded by some.

1) can I use the sump as a wet/dry and how would I convert it to that. I have 2 compartments separated by baffles.

2)would I need some type of mechanical filtration.

3) would I need some kind of canister filter

what would be the best way to convert this tank to a african cichlid tank. what I want to go for is Lake Malawi Mbuna, Peacocks with some Texas Holey rock and some white or black sand.

It's a 150 gallon RR
30 gallon sump
protein skimmer ( which I know I cant use)
4 x 96 watt power compact. ( probably will only use 2 bulbs at a time)

Thanks Gus
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Postby StngStr » Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:26 pm

take the saltwater fish/creatures out, drain saltwater, fill with freshwater, cycle tank, add fish.

Maybe add a couple HOB AC 110's if you don't want to use the sump.

Simple as that.
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Postby gusto » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:10 pm

Thanks,

I wish it was that simple, I don't think a couple of AC 110's will be enough filtration for a 150 gallon tank, I had more when I only had a 75 gallon. I was think about converting the sump to a wet/dry and adding a fluval fx5.
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Postby StngStr » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:58 pm

Just because you HAD more, doesn't mean you NEEDED more.

The AC110 is rated for 500 gallons per hour of filtering and up to 110 gallon tank. Two of them should be plenty for a 150.
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Postby gusto » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:41 am

I understand what your saying, but I tend to use more filtration because I just feel most of the manufacturers underrate there products and it's always better to have more filtration then less. Sometimes with Mbuna you have to overcrowd the tank a little to stop aggression.
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Postby mittzgame » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:52 am

gusto wrote:I understand what your saying, but I tend to use more filtration because I just feel most of the manufacturers underrate there products and it's always better to have more filtration then less. Sometimes with Mbuna you have to overcrowd the tank a little to stop aggression.


You're right on with all of the above.

I'm not well versed in wet/dry's but you can continue to use the sump as is (after cleaning out all the saltwater). There is nothing wrong with a sump at all, only, arguably, a touch less bio filtration. As for the mechanical part- which you'll definitely want- I would just put a few layers of quilt batting (polyfil, etc) where your water comes in, you could fill half the baffle with it, then put bio-balls (or whatever your choice is) in the last one and a half baffles.

You won't need to add any filters to this if you don't want to, canister or otherwise. The sump keeps the display tank clutter-free and I wouldn't want to disturb that. But that's me. Some might suggest an additional filter, we'll let them chime in.

You really don't have to change anything with your tank except get the saltwater out. Clean your sand, boil/bleach your rocks, and put new fresh water in. (Unless, of course, you wanted to change things around for varieties sake)

I have two large powerheads running an under-sand jet system which I swear by. And if you're cleaning out the tank and starting new, I'd highly recommend it. It would cost less than $10 in pvc parts plus the cost of powerheads. This keeps the poo from settling so that my filters can pick it up and keep it from being a mess in the tank.

:thumb:
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Postby gusto » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:30 am

have two large powerheads running an under-sand jet system which I swear by. And if you're cleaning out the tank and starting new, I'd highly recommend it. It would cost less than $10 in pvc parts plus the cost of powerheads. This keeps the poo from settling so that my filters can pick it up and keep it from being a mess in the tank.


Thank you for your input, can you please explain the under-sand filter. I figure while I'm redoing the tank I might as well do it right. It's not a underground filter is it?

so with the sump all I have to do is add some filter floss and some bio-ball and it should be good to go. I guess I will have to come up with some way of setting it up because it's basically a 36" tank with 1- 24" camber a few baffles and a 10 inch chamber for my return section.

as for the rocks I'd like to just make my live rock- base rock and use that, but I really like the look of texas holey rock, maybe I'll use both and just put the texas holey rock on top, but will the base rock buffer my water any like the Texas holey rock?
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Postby basinpup » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:33 am

StngStr wrote:Just because you HAD more, doesn't mean you NEEDED more.

The AC110 is rated for 500 gallons per hour of filtering and up to 110 gallon tank. Two of them should be plenty for a 150.

I have 2 AC110s on my overstocked 55g mbuna tank, so I'd recommend more than that for a 150g.
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Postby mittzgame » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:05 am

The Under-Sand Jet (USJ) in not actually a filter. Its just a jet system strategically placed so that you virtually eliminate the dead spots in your aquarium. It works basically the reverse of a UGF. The water is sucked in by the power-head and pushed out of each jet, usually located under/behind rock piles, so that the poo can't settle.

Here it's called a under-gravel jet system, but it is the same thing, functioning the same way. It will explain in detail and give you some good pictures of how it works.

If you go to the DIY forum and look up some old posts about them you'll get a lot of info on what others have done and the different ways to achieve your goal. I personally prefer the closed-loop design, where your pvc makes a continuous loop with the powerhead with your jets coming off at various points. It allows the water pressure to remain more consistent out of each jet, instead of less pressure out of the jets farther away from the pump.

As for the sump you could silicone in some supports along the sides of the baffles that would hold up pieces of eggcrate which could hold your different layers of media. That would only take a few minutes and probably be quite effective.

For the rock- isn't live rock expensive? If so, I might look into trying to sell it. If you don't care, you just have to clean it and make sure the salt is all washed off. I'm not sure if it would buffer, I feel like I've heard that it might, but I really don't know. Same with your sand, just make sure its rinsed very very well to get all the salt out.

Hope that helps :thumb:
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Postby gusto » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:32 am

Thank you , That article helped out tremendously, I just have to see if I can do that with also putting eggcrate on the bottom to support the rocks.

As for the live rock, it is expensive but I have an outbreak of aiptasia which is a pest anemone that is very hard to get rid of completely and I just wouldn't want too sell it to anyone, I must have gotten it from a piece of rock I brought into the tank. It's one of the reasons I'm switching back, It just seems in saltwater theres always something your battling.
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Postby hollyfish2000 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:27 pm

Hey, when do we get to stop talking rocks and filters and start talking about what fish you're going to stock with!! :-)
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Postby gusto » Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:31 pm

Soon I hope, I just want to make sure the set up is correct, I've just learned the hard way when you don't plan it out it ends up costing you more time, money and aggravation.
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Postby gusto » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:42 pm

I have a few more questions, what would be the best way to clean my live rock to make it a base rock, I know live rock is expensive but my rock now has aiptasia on it which is a pest anemone.

also I have an ro/di unit should I use ro/di water or is that not necessary.
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Postby Hoosier Tank » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:02 pm

I would think boiling the rock should work, I can hear the anemone squealing now... As far as the ro/di system goes I don't think it nessesary, whats you tap water test like?
Oh and 1 more, search for "Sump" or "wet/dry" here and you will get more articles than you can shake a stick at!!! Lots of people use and are very happy here.
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Postby StngStr » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:56 pm

basinpup wrote:
StngStr wrote:Just because you HAD more, doesn't mean you NEEDED more.

The AC110 is rated for 500 gallons per hour of filtering and up to 110 gallon tank. Two of them should be plenty for a 150.

I have 2 AC110s on my overstocked 55g mbuna tank, so I'd recommend more than that for a 150g.


As do I. :)

Just saying that it's not CRITICAL to over filter.
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