Aquarium Setup • I'm coming back!

New to the world of cichlids? For discussion on how to set up new tanks, including placement, filtration, substrates, water, etc. No stocking discussions here.

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I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:13 am

Hello everyone. About a year ago I had to sell my cichlids and take everything down due to a big change in my home and the addition of another baby. But now that everything has settled down and I have my office set back up in another room, I am ready to dive back into it. Last night I went out and bought another 75 gallon tank! Its going to take me at least a few weeks to get it setup because this time I'm not using buckets/garbage cans for water changes, which is what I did last time. I'm putting a mixing valve in my house and running a dedicated water line to this tank. I want the maintenance to be as simple as possible.

However, my main reason for the post is to get some stocking suggestions. The last time I had a mixed Mbuna tank with between 16-20 fish. But this time I want to keep the numbers lower and I want to do a species tank. I am strongly considering a Demasoni tank but does anyone else have suggestions for an interesting species? And also what kind of numbers and M to F ratio should I shoot for? I am probably going to buy them sexed this time although I haven't decided firm on that yet.
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:23 pm

Welcome back!

Low maintenance and demasoni don't go together. Yellow labs or Acei. 3m and the rest females. It's pretty hard to find mbuna from a reputable vendor sold as sexed.

You want 20 Lake Malawi in a 75G to manage aggression even in a single species tank.

How are you going to deal with chlorine?
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:21 pm

I'll use a neutralizer for the chlorine, like Seachem Prime probably, I'll just put directly in the tank. Those neutralizers work very rapidly I believe, like basically instantaneously.

Why do you say Demasoni aren't low maintenance, in what regards? If you are talking about aggression I don't mind that. I have enough experience with Mbuna now that I can deal with fish aggression issues. I'll make changes/removals if necessary. When I said low maintenance I meant in terms of water changes and filter cleanings. My last tank setup had an FX6 and separate reactor that I built and I was doing water changes using a 55 gallon Brute garbage can. I'm not going through that hassle again. I actually just figured out that I can connect my Python hose directly to my shower head, which is literally 10 feet away from where the tank is going. Therefore I can drain and refill the tank directly from my shower/tub. Its going to be SO MUCH easier.

If I go the Demasoni route what is your suggestion for M:F ratio and how many fish total? FYI I buy from <vendor name removed> (if you google it you'll find him), he's a very reputable breeder in Florida. I have purchased all of my fish from him in the past and he has been amazing. He has sexed Demasoni for $15 ea (mid sized 2-3").
Last edited by DJRansome on Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Cichlid-forum would like to keep Review type information in Reviews and out of the forums.
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:04 pm

I find removing the rocks frequently to net sick/aggressive/victim fish/manage aggression to be a lot more work than water changes. They are more susceptible to bloat due to aggression than other species. Maybe if you are not saving fry and stock 5 Synodontis multifasciatus for fry patrol and are good at judging what is normal aggression and what is starting to stress them you will find them easy. I would try for 3m:17f.

Note: other mbuna are easier than demasoni. You will note they have level 2 difficulty to keep in the profiles.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:42 pm

OK I think you might have talked me out of them. What about a Saulosi colony? Or Afra Reef? I like barred species if you didn't notice lol.
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:32 pm

Saulosi would be my pick. Afra (now zebroides) have dull females.

You could try the Metriaclima dolphins. They look like giant demasoni. I hear they are skittish, but in a species tank worth a try if you like blue bars.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:06 pm

So I have the tank all setup now and just received a large live filter sponge from Angel's Plus that I threw in my HOB. I still have a Marineland 360 canister on its way in the mail that is going to be my main filter, but for now I'm running this HOB I got with the tank.

Unfortunately I cannot find any Saulosi's for sale. There are four different breeders that I buy from online and none of them have Saulosi in stock :-? . I've decided to go with another mixed tank similar to the one I had last time, I think I'm going to start with 4 each of Cobalt Blues, Red Zebras, and Yellow Labs. Then at some point I'll add some Afra Jalo Reefs as well.

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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby shiftyfox » Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:50 pm

Tank looks great, love the rocks.
I think most members would advice on 5 of each fish 1M 4F
Then when you put your forth species in - 20 fish total.
Red Zebras and Labs could cross breed.
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jun 12, 2020 6:08 pm

I would skip the estherae with the labs (as shifty mentioned) but also with the cobalt blues (really Metriaclima callainos).

I would add rocks, but they ARE pretty.

Keep in mind that Cynotilapia afra Jalo Reef are not Cynotilapia zebroides Jalo Reef.

Could it be that you cannot find Saulosi because you are looking for Pseudotropheus saulosi but they are now called Chindongo saulosi?
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Fri Jun 12, 2020 6:36 pm

DJRansome wrote:I would skip the estherae with the labs (as shifty mentioned) but also with the cobalt blues (really Metriaclima callainos).

I would add rocks, but they ARE pretty.

Keep in mind that Cynotilapia afra Jalo Reef are not Cynotilapia zebroides Jalo Reef.

Could it be that you cannot find Saulosi because you are looking for Pseudotropheus saulosi but they are now called Chindongo saulosi?


You would ADD rock?!? Theres a lot of rock in my tank man, like hundreds of pounds of it. Maybe you can't tell from the picture but it goes basically from front to back and side to side, there are at least 6 separate caves with no line of sight to others. Also, I don't want to add too much more because I am hoping not to have this tank for too long - I'm looking for a 5 foot tank. As you can see in the photo the stand I have it on is actually 60"x18". Its not a common tank size but I have a wanted ad on craigslist for a 120 gallon 5 footer (60x18x24). They pop up once in a while for sale. Once I find one I'll go crazy with it.

Also, I don't keep fry so I'm not concerned about cross breeding.

About the saulosi - I wasn't searching for the name. All the breeders I buy from have a list of all the fish they stock. Only one of them even carries Saulosi normally and they are out of stock at the moment.
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jun 12, 2020 6:43 pm

It's not a cross breeding concern between estherae and cobalts, it is aggression. Same genus, both a solid color in spite of the fact that one is orange and one is blue, they view each other as competitors.

The higher up the tank you can stack rock for mbuna, the better. I usually leave one Python-width between rock and glass all around.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:52 pm

DJRansome wrote:It's not a cross breeding concern between estherae and cobalts, it is aggression. Same genus, both a solid color in spite of the fact that one is orange and one is blue, they view each other as competitors.

The higher up the tank you can stack rock for mbuna, the better. I usually leave one Python-width between rock and glass all around.


Yea I get it, Mbuna love the rocks, hence their name. But I also like to see my fish occasionally lol. The very first time I setup a Mbuna tank I basically filled the entire tank with rock and I never saw the fish. :lol:
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Location: NY

Re: I'm coming back!

Postby shiftyfox » Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:08 am

One improvement for very low cost, paint the back of your tank black.
Will look ten times better when you add fish.
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Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:36 am

shiftyfox wrote:One improvement for very low cost, paint the back of your tank black.
Will look ten times better when you add fish.


I did that with my first 75 and was going to do it again but decided not to for the same reason I stated above - I am hoping to replace this ASAP with a 120 gal 5 footer. I will definitely paint that tank.
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Location: NY

Re: I'm coming back!

Postby gillmanjr » Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:04 am

So originally I put one 50 lb bag of pool filter sand in this tank. Its the first time I've used pool filter sand for one of my tanks and I have to say, I really like it. It looks really nice, its clean, and its cheap. But I had also already ordered 20 lb of argonite for the so-called pH buffering capability (which I'm not entirely convinced of to be honest) and now that I've added it I'm disappointed with the way it looks. I wish I had just kept the pool filter sand. I know one thing for sure, from here on out its pool filter sand only for me, in any and all tanks I have in the future.
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