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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there let me thank you in advance for any help that you can offer me. I am very new to fish keeping and would like to do things right. I have inherited my husbands old tank that I am going to tansform hopefully into a Mbuna paradise. The tank is 60"x18"x23.5" and he told me that it holds 120 gallons. It has an oak stand and cover that I plan on using. The only other thing that I want to use are the two heaters that he already had. I do want to install a diy background, I have been looking at all of yours and I want one!!! I also think that I am going to use pool filter sand for the floor with some eggcrate just incase I add in some rocks.

So after all of that let me get to my first question, I have about 300 dollars to spend on a filter and I want some ideas from you guys. I have considered the Fluval FX5 and then also adding in a UGJ system that runs off of a submersible pump. I have also considered going with a diy wet/dry filter and also UGJ. The last setup I was thinking of was two smaller canister filters one at each end. What do you guys think???

My second question would then have to be how many fish would you stock in a tank this size? I am planning on lots of caves in my diy wall so they have thier own spaces. I am also planning on stocking smaller fish, those that might only reach 4".

Any tips that you can lend are much appreciated thank you!!! :fish:
 

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CONGRATS!
IMO the FX5 would be a good single canister to use and fits into your budget. However the benifit of two smaller canisters is that you can alternate cleanings and never loose the majority of bacteria to keep you cycle consistant. With a tank that size a W/D sump is definately a possibility however, unless you go the DIY route I doubt you can fit that into your $300 limit with the Sump, Overflows, bio media, pump, and plumbing needed.
HTH!
 

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I'd rather have two filters, one on each end, so you can change filter media out on an alternate schedule, and have less dead spots in a tank that size.

I wouldn't go with UGJ with Malawi cichlids...They'll uncover it constantly with their digging and it will make you insane!

Until you decide what species you are interested in and what filtration you will have on the tank, it's hard to advise on stocking numbers. Browse through the profile section and let us know what catches your eye, and then we can help you with stock numbers!

You're lucky, that's a great size tank to start out with!

Oh, and welcome to CF! :D
 

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I actually would encourage you to do the UGJ system. I have it in my 125 (with sand substrate) and couldn't be happier with how well it helps with water movement and keeping the substrate clear of excrement. I covered the jets and the top part of the pvc with sand though, so when it was uncovered it would be much less noticeable. Also, I generally put a small rock in front of jets that aren't under a rock pile. They look like scattered boulders on the lake bottom and hide the pvc.

I second the vote for two or more filters if you decide to not go with the wet/dry (that would be my first option if the tank was drilled). I have two AC110's and an eheim 2217 along with my UGJ system powered by two Rio 1700's and my substrate is as close to spotless as you can get!

I would suggest checking out craigslist for filters. I got both of my eheims from there (and one of the AC110's) and all they needed were two new o-rings and one new impeller. So for $25 in new parts and $50 for the filters, I got two high quality canisters that would've cost hundreds at a LFS.

Deciding what fish you want is the hard part- there are just so many options! If you're having trouble deciding where to start and the profiles are overwhelming you, you can look at the "Your Tanks" section of the forum and see what others have to give you a jumping off point.

Good Luck :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the tips. I think that I am going to start searching for some good deals on two smaller canister filters!!! I like the idea of changing them at different times to keep the cycle going, and then also the additional water flow that they will create.

Mittzgame how did you get the sand to cover the pvc? I am thinking that the added water movement would be good, and that some of the jets I maybe able to cover with the diy background and also a couple diy rocks in the tank.

I browsed through the profiles a little and there were a couple fish that caught my eye they were Cynotilapia afra (Cobue), Pseudotropheus sp. "Elongatus Chailosi", Metriaclima sp. "Membe Deep", Metriaclima sp. "Blue Reef". Now you all know that I am new to this so I guess I will kind of describe what I am trying to get. I am looking for a tank with a lot of color and activity, but with smaller fish.

Once again thank you all for your advice!!!
 

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We used silicone because we were too anxious to get going on it and that was all we had at the time. We should have used Epoxy though, and if you do I would highly advise doing so. Make a workspace for yourself out of plastic sheeting or something. We epoxied it while it was all assembled but you can do it unassembled for easier handling, just put tape around the ends that will be going inside an elbow, etc. Spread a decent bed of sand out on your work surface and after you coat the pvc in epoxy press it down into the sand and coat all sides. I only coated the top half and regret not spending the extra time to do the whole thing, as I should have. I think you'll be quite happy with the results, you'll barely notice it if it does get uncovered and it'll function wonderfully.

Good luck!
 
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