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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 60g planted tank that I'm about to upgrade to a 125g tank I got for 100 bucks. I need help figuring out everything I will need for this tank.
1. Substrate - do I need a special substrate (sand, gravel, special caribsea substrate) I think I like tanks with darker substrate to hide poop
2. Filtration- I am thinking about running either a fx4 and a 303b sunsun I already have. Or maybe a fx6 and the sunsun 303b as extra biomedia
3. Lights- right now I have a 48" 10k beamworks led from eBay. I figured I'd have to get a larger light since the tank will be a 72" tank. But it won't have to be anything special since I won't be growing plants.
4. Stock- I really know nothing about African cichlids but from what I've seen I really like peacocks and haps,or just a male only peacock tank sounds like a good idea from what I've read.
What is the clean up crew in these tanks though, I'd rather stay away from a 2ft long common pleco.
How do I stock it I'm sure every fish I'll buy will be a juvenile at first so does that mean I try and stock all 30 fish up front so there aren't any aggression issues from adding new fish in periodically?
4. Decor- from what I've seen other than the substrate a pile of bigger rocks across the bottom just to give it a little more than an empty tank seems normal
5.accessories- other than probably two heaters for a big tank like that will I need powerheads, air stones, spongefilters etc??? How much flow can these fish take without causing issue
 

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Substrate mostly depends on your aesthetic tastes, but you can use it to affect water chemistry if you need buffering in your water (your water has naturally low KH and you don't wanna mess with it) you can use a crushed aragonite substrate (which is light in color) to do that job. I like a light substrate, and I don't like monkeying with water chemistry (I got 4 small kids, that's enough monkeying for me!) so I use a mix of pool filter sand and aragonite and I'm thrilled. So that's a tradeoff between the look you want and the chemistry you're willing to keep up with.

I use a sump and haven't been in the canister filter market for years. Hopefully someone else will chime in. Most agree that 2 canisters is ideal because then you can clean them on an alternating schedule without disturbing your biofiltration too much. I like two canisters because I'm an engineer and a failsafe/redundancy makes engineers happy.

I've seen some reviews on the Beamswork lights and they seem a little bit flaky (sometimes an LED or two will die) but given that you will have a fish only tank, that's probably tolerable. You have a planted 60g, so I assume you know about lighting.

Typically, cleanup is handled by some kind of synodontis shoal or bristlenose plecos, so you can easily avoid the giant common pleco and have some fun little cleaners in your tank. Synodontis multipunctatis, synodontis nigriventris, Ancistrus sp., synodontis lucipinnis, and synodontis eupterus are all common choices. If you haven't already read the library article here on all-male tanks and some of the cookie-cutter stock lists, start there. You can determine what fish will be your centerpiece and then work out from there. When you have a good idea what you want, the locality forums here are a great place to get specific stocking advice.

Decor - Yup.

Accessories - air stones are never a bad idea. These are oxygen-loving fish. Many people keep a sponge filter going in their main tank just so they'll have one cycled and ready to use on a quarantine or hospital tank. Since you'll have canisters, you could always just grab a handful or two of biomedia from one of those and use it in whatever emergency tank you need. Most of these fish like and/or love a good flow to play in, so you can use power heads to blow debris up off the substrate or to create surface riffling with no problem.
 

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Blizowman1 said:
1. Substrate - do I need a special substrate (sand, gravel, special caribsea substrate) I think I like tanks with darker substrate to hide poop
Black sand does not hide feces well and may cause the fish to color down. Not a whole lot of medium color sands around. Pool filter sand is a natural color, cheap and easy to maintain with it's 20 grain size.

Blizowman1 said:
4. Stock- I really know nothing about African cichlids but from what I've seen I really like peacocks and haps,or just a male only peacock tank sounds like a good idea from what I've read.
Read the all-male article in the Cichlid-forum Library to be sure you want the cons along with the pros.

Blizowman1 said:
What is the clean up crew in these tanks though, I'd rather stay away from a 2ft long common pleco.
Feed less. Synodontis are a great addition to the tank but the cichlids themselves will clean up just as much food as Synodontis.

Blizowman1 said:
How do I stock it I'm sure every fish I'll buy will be a juvenile at first so does that mean I try and stock all 30 fish up front so there aren't any aggression issues from adding new fish in periodically?
Buying juvenile can be a problem for an all-male tank. Females look alike across the peacocks and even among some of the haps so once you mix them, you will not be able to rehome the females...you won't know which species is which. Consider buying adult males. Once you have the 72" tank think in terms of 18 adults that mature <= six inches.

Blizowman1 said:
5.accessories- other than probably two heaters for a big tank like that will I need powerheads, air stones, spongefilters etc??? How much flow can these fish take without causing issue
Don't exceed 10X GPH hourly. I do not use powerheads or air stones but they are not bad, just not necessary if you have enough filtration with your canisters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I found a site <vendor name removed> and they say that they've been in it so long that they can pretty much pick out male juvies for you when you order. And I've been told many times to keep like 30 in my 72" long tank
 

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OK go with that advice then. I doubt if you are going to get consensus...you pretty much choose your advisor and go with what they say.
 

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Back in 2011 I had a 125g all male peacock / hap tank.




I'll answer some of your questions based on my experience in red below.....

Blizowman1 said:
I have a 60g planted tank that I'm about to upgrade to a 125g tank I got for 100 bucks. I need help figuring out everything I will need for this tank.
1. Substrate - do I need a special substrate (sand, gravel, special caribsea substrate) I think I like tanks with darker substrate to hide poop
- Believe it or not light colored will show less poop. On my 125g I used pool filter sand. I used a FX5 and made a spraybar out of 3/4" PVC and the sand stayed spotless between weekly water changes.
2. Filtration- I am thinking about running either a fx4 and a 303b sunsun I already have. Or maybe a fx6 and the sunsun 303b as extra biomedia
- I had a negative experience with 2-FX6s I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Both pumps had a horrible droning hum. On my 125g I ran a single FX5 and had no issues with humming, bio or mechanical filtration.
3. Lights- right now I have a 48" 10k beamworks led from eBay. I figured I'd have to get a larger light since the tank will be a 72" tank. But it won't have to be anything special since I won't be growing plants.
- I ran a 48" Coralife 4 bulb fixture. I personally liked the shading on the ends of the tank. It gave it more realistic look.
4. Stock- I really know nothing about African cichlids but from what I've seen I really like peacocks and haps,or just a male only peacock tank sounds like a good idea from what I've read.
What is the clean up crew in these tanks though, I'd rather stay away from a 2ft long common pleco.
How do I stock it I'm sure every fish I'll buy will be a juvenile at first so does that mean I try and stock all 30 fish up front so there aren't any aggression issues from adding new fish in periodically?
- I didn't need a clean up crew. My guys ate every bit of food and the spraybar kept the tank spotless. As far as males I purchased all mine already colored up so I was guaranteed a male. The last thing you want is one or two females that looked like a male juvenile when picked out.
4. Decor- from what I've seen other than the substrate a pile of bigger rocks across the bottom just to give it a little more than an empty tank seems normal
- I used 3x resin rocks.
5.accessories- other than probably two heaters for a big tank like that will I need powerheads, air stones, spongefilters etc??? How much flow can these fish take without causing issue
- I ran 2x Koralia Evolution 750s. They're different than a typical powerhead. The flow is a lot more spread out. I aimed one down the side middle and one towards the intake to push poop towards it.
Blizowman1 said:
So I found a site <vendor name removed> and they say that they've been in it so long that they can pretty much pick out male juvies for you when you order. And I've been told many times to keep like 30 in my 72" long tank
I purchased a lot of my colored males in my videos above from them (The German Red and Taiwan Reef were purchased form my LFS and the pink albino was purchased form a member here.). When I did deal with them they had very nice and healthy fish but I would never trust someone to pick out a juvenile as a male unless it's showing some type of color. The last thing you want is a female or two in a tank full of males.
 

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If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

The vendors I use are right 99 44/100s percent of the time but the males are not juveniles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So here's another question if I'm using pool filter sand in this 125 then how much arganite needs to mixed into the filter sand to produce a sufficient buffering affect, and what benefits would drilling the back of the tank and using a overflow box and sump
 

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Do you know if you need to buffer your tap water? If you haven't already, buy a GH (hardness) and KH (alkalinity) test kit, I use the API brand.

Do you currently have an aquarium test kit and if so, which brand and type?

I'll let others respond regarding using a sump.
 

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If you haven't done some already test your tap water.

Depending on how low your waters pH is I personally wouldn't buffer as long as the pH is stable.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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Blizowman1 said:
Idk the gh or kh but the ph stays around 7.2-7.6, I could get a kit for gh and kh
What test are you using to test? Strips or a liquid solution?

7.2 is low but 7.6 is ok.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have a api master kit for freshwater, it's just so hard to tell the colors apart sometimes. That's kind of why I just thought I'd use some Aragonite so I wouldn't really have to worry about it that mich
 

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I have had aragonite in my tanks for 10 years and the pH has not changed one point.

The KH test is not shades of color, and the other members are right, you need to know if the KH is high enough to make your pH stable, or if it is not.

It would not hurt anything if you use crushed coral in one of your filter trays, but if you don't know if your KH is bad to start with, how will you know if it improves when you add the crushed coral?
 

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Blizowman1 said:
I have a api master kit for freshwater, it's just so hard to tell the colors apart sometimes. That's kind of why I just thought I'd use some Aragonite so I wouldn't really have to worry about it that mich
I hear you on the colors...sometimes it's hard to tell.

You're checking your water 24hrs later too right? If not let it sit for 24hrs and then check your pH.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok so I'm gonna order a gh and kh kit today so I'll come back with my results, what are the proper levels for a cichlid tank
 

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I would not worry about GH. If KH is 7 or higher then your pH should be stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If my kh is 7 or higher my ph will be stable, so that means adding crushed coral to the substrate would keep the tank ph at around 8? Sorry to keep asking but it's starting to get confusing
 

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A stable pH of 7.6 is good for African Rift Lake cichlids. To see if it will be stable at 7.6 without additives, you will check KH.

You would not add crushed coral to the substrate. You would add it to your filter to replace some of the media in one of the trays. You can try to do this if your KH is less than 7 but if it is already 7 then not necessary.
 

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As for your sump question, it comes down to aesthetics and maintenance hassles. A sump enables you to put more of your "stuff" in the cabinet below so you only have the overflow and return in the tank, and any powerheads. You don't need airstones or bubblers because the overflow oxygenates the water as it moves into the sump, and heaters are in the sump. Also, you don't have to clean canisters, which for some is a major plus. You do have to swap out filter socks or floss or whatever you're using for mechanical filtration, but I find that easier to do in my sump where I just reach in and switch socks instead of having to shut off a canister and haul it out into the back yard/bath tub. Some like the quietness of canisters over sump overflows, which can be noisy depending on the kind and how much you fiddle with them. Mine is a herbie and not very fiddly. I also take advantage of the sump to run a continuous automatic water changer (a drip of tap water in the return chamber and a siphon drain from the biomedia chamber) with a dosing pump delivering dechlorinator to the return. The drain goes out from the back of the sump and stand cabinet through a hole in my external wall and drips into my yard. If you have designs on any of that sort of thing, a sump is good for that. Lots of folks love their canisters, though, and find them simpler to manage, even though the cleaning is a bit of work.
 
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