General Aquaria Discussion • General Intro

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General Intro

Postby johnnymax » Thu May 23, 2019 9:15 am

I did not see a section for introductions, so I am posting it here.
I am in the planning stages of setting up my first cichlid aquarium. I am trying to do it on a tight budget, because I have to many other interest that take resources, so I am going as DIY as I can. All I have is a 75 gal tank for this project, so I have a lot to make. BTW, I have three aquariums running, but nothing special. A 20 gallon guppy tank, 5 gal shrimp and a beta tank I set up for the wife. I think I collect unwanted tanks and people just give them to me. I have 6 more tanks I could set up ranging in size from 10 to 75 gal.

Here is what I need to do
1. Build a stand. I have had this tank for a year and really wanted to set it up, but I was not confident enough in my carpentry skills to make a stand the would be perfectly flat and level. Then I saw where some people put foam under their tank. Now it is GAME ON! :)

2. Build a cover. I plan to make it from cedar fence boards. I think I can glue them together, cut out sections and inlay plexiglass for light to sit on and doors for feeding.

3. Build a light hood. I plan to make it out of cedar also, but I want to put small light fixtures in it so I can use the cheap DollarTree LED light bulbs. They are made by Sun Beam and I have them all through my house. They are bright, cheap and east to replace. I have 4 I retro fitted into the hood on my 25. It works great.

4. Build an air driven filter. It would be much cheaper to just buy a sponge filter (which I may do initially) but I want to pass the water through a sponge, then through bio material and activated charcoal. I have not found a small one that does that inside the tank. I am "old school" all my tanks are under gravel filtered. This will be my first venture to a different type of filtration. I have always been picky. I set up a tanks scape and do not want it to change. Since cichlids pick up substrate and spit it out and move it, I am resolved to just let them have at it.

5. Substrate and hardscape. I may just buy a bag of pool filter sand $4 for 50 lbs. as far as rocks I may be forced to go to a garden center and buy rocks. I want very light colored substrate and rocks.

Final thoughts
This project is a major paradigm shift for me. I have done aquariums the same way I have done them since 1972 when my mom helped me set up my first aquarium with an under gravel filter. Like I said, "I am old school" born in back in the 19 hundreds. It is a whole new world now! :o
I decided to join this forum so I can post my plans and get feedback from people who know much more about cichlids than I do.

I informed my wife yesterday I was setting up the 75g aquarium. She's like "WHERE ARE YOU GONNA PUT IT!" In the living room right under the flat screen TV mounted high on the wall. "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE AQUARIUM THERE NOW! Move it.... Well, she did not say anything more, I am now past that hurdle... But, it need to make it look nice. She likes blue and yellow, so I may lean toward blue and yellow cichlids... At first anyway :wink:

One other thing and don't be too hard on me. But, I am going to start with cheap fish from the new Walmart. If I don't kill them I will start putting money into fish.

I have been searching and reading posts here for quite a while before I decided to join.
Cheers,
I work so I can buy things, give things & do things...
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Re: General Intro

Postby DJRansome » Thu May 23, 2019 5:51 pm

Sounds like you are not doing Africans. What cichlids are you planning?
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: General Intro

Postby johnnymax » Thu May 23, 2019 6:04 pm

Actually, I am doing Africans. They have a take full. I need to snap pictures so I can try to identify them.
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Re: General Intro

Postby DJRansome » Thu May 23, 2019 6:18 pm

Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

You don't want to buy assorted cichlids that are together in a tank. They can be the most aggressive cichlids that are fairly difficult to be successful with. They can also be hybrids (no scientific name on the tank so they can't be held responsible for misrepresenting pure fish).

The least expensive way to stock an African tank (Lake Malawi I assume) would be to buy unsexed mbuna. But they like to be in large groups of the same species, so being able to get 8 or more that are of the same species. Difficult in a assorted tank.

In a 75G tank think in terms of 4 species with 1m:4f of each (avoiding aggressive species). Buy 8 unsexed juveniles and rehome extra males as they mature. So start with 32 fish and end up with 20 fish. You don't lose $$ when you rehome the males because you buy them at $8 as juveniles and sell them at $16 as adults.

Yellow labs and acei with 1m:9f of each would make a nice yellow and blue/purple tank.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: General Intro

Postby ken31cay » Thu May 23, 2019 6:25 pm

My first tanks had undergravel filters too :D
450gal male peacocks & haps, Frontosa
180gal Trewavasae Chilumba & Kenyi
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Re: General Intro

Postby johnnymax » Thu May 23, 2019 10:05 pm

I did stop and take a picture of the fish at Wally-World. Normally when I make a big setup like this (for new fish) I don't get in a hurry. Normally I have the tank set up for at least a month. Throw a little food in and a squirt of microbes.
Here is the picture I snapped. Not sure what kind they are. They are pretty small. I just wanted to save them from being bought by someone and being put in a gold fish bowl or a one gallon pickle jar.
Image
I guess I could get fish from Petco, or Petsmart, but they are mixed also. Otherwise I have to drive a 100 miles to Houston
I need to learn what type they are and what is compatible.

Thank you for the tips.
I work so I can buy things, give things & do things...
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Re: General Intro

Postby DJRansome » Thu May 23, 2019 10:16 pm

I see aggressive fish that are not easy to keep. Consider ordering online. The cost/fish tends to be lower than an LFS, to the point where the total cost is often less, even after shipping.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: General Intro

Postby johnnymax » Thu May 23, 2019 10:39 pm

I think I will hold off on deciding what fish. I like your suggestion DJRansome. I have a long way to go before buying fish. Like I said step one is build a stand for the tank. What are a few good sources to order fish online so I can be looking?
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Location: Buna, Texas

Re: General Intro

Postby DJRansome » Fri May 24, 2019 6:53 am

PM sent.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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