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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for imput, criticism, advice for my proposed setup.

Here's what I'm looking at doing:

72 Gal African Cichlid tank

Sand substrate

Canister filter. Marineland, rated for 100 Gal tank

Quality heater of appropriate wattage.

Texas Holey rock, and maybe some "Cichlid stones"

Artificial hollowed out tree. (the wife likes this one) and I'm not opposed to it.

The biggest question left is in regards to plants and lighting.
We've been told that African Cichlids will eat the plants. Yet I see on this forum, that some people are growing live plants in their Cichlid tanks.
If live plants are not too difficult to maintain, I'd get a T5 HO light.
If plants really wouldn't do well, we'd go with a LED light.
Also, realizing that along with live plants and flourescent lighting comes algae, and that the LED lights don't encourage as much algae growth.

Type of scavenger fish to have if algae is not a problem.

Hopiing that everyones advice will help us avoid any bad decisions before we make them.
Thanks

Jim
 

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Sounds good to me. I'd add a powerhead/something to circulate a bit of water in the tank itself.

Have you started thinking about what fish you want yet, more specifically than just Africans?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not too much. I guess it would be easier if they had easier names. You know, like 3 swordtails, 2 guppies, and 3 angelfish.

Right now, just thinking that we want the more colorful ones.

I'm too new to it to realize which ones are from the same lake, or even if and when it matters.

Is it a compatability issue, or more a preference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
On reading another thread, I guess I'd be better off starting with a couple of peaceful species.

Here is what I saw in another thread:

3-4 is not a lot for one species of mbuna. It can be done, but in my experience it makes for a more interesting tank if you keep a larger group of one species. It is closer to how those fish live in the wild, where they live in very large groups, and you will see more of their natural behavior. I know that most beginners think the more species they cram into a tank, the more interesting it will be to watch, but in my experience that's not true.

For a 75G I would pick 2-3 species, and stock a large group of each. Also, it's probably best to stock all comparatively peaceful mbunas, or all of the 'more active' types - to put it mildly

My latest mbuna setup was a 75G with a breeding group of yellow labs and a breeding group of M. lanistacola - both very peaceful. I think I started with a dozen yellow labs and six or seven lanistacola. The tank was densely planted, and both groups multiplied prolifically in the setup. A wonderful tank to watch!
I'm not setting out to breed anything, but, if it just "happened" that would be cool. That's how i ended up raising some Angels, years ago, well, OK, maybe decades ago.

Uh-oh, this was supposed to be just one nice sized tank in the den, and I don't even have the tank yet, and already it's expanding. Well, maybe one more tank in the family room. Wonder how long before I take over a room in the basement.
 

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If it is a 72 gallon bowfront thank, i would recommend stocking it like ti's a 55 gallon rather than the 'closest' 75 gallon.
 

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Hi. I'm a beginner too, and I have lots of plants in my 125. Right now my fish load is low, with 6 Labidochromis caeruleus and 6 Iodotropheus sprengerae, both pretty peaceful. I have Java ferns (never bothered). hornwort (never bothered), Rotala indica (nibbled a bit by the I. sprengerae), and anacharis (frequently uprooted, but growing well and I keep replanting). I put in a fresh lettuce leaf, (romaine or red leaf) every day, and the fish eat that by preference to the growing plants.
 

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First of all, thanks for quoting me. It's always nice to see people actually read the stuff I write :lol:

Regarding breeding, most cichlids, and definitely mbuna, will breed if you have a male, a female and a bit of water for them to swim in. Since there is really no way to stop them short of killing them, when you buy them, you must take their breeding behavior into consideration.

Regarding plants. It's a common myth that all cichlids eat plants. Even folks who know that's not true will often claim mbuna eat plants, but that's also not really true. Mbuna are vegetarians and in the wild they eat mostly algae that grow on rocks. To get enough nutrients that way, they spend the better part of any day scraping algae off rocks. In a tank environment they continue that behavior, which makes them look like they constantly suck on everything you have in the tank, including life plants if you have any.

When people don't have enough light, or the wrong light, or the wrong plants, or anything else happens that makes their plants die, they remember seeing the mbuna (who they know to be vegetarians), 'nibble' on those plants all day long. The obvious conclusion is that the mbuna ate the plants.

However, in a properly set up tank with healthy, hardy plants, the mbuna will simple scrape any algae off the plants, which actually helps the plants to grow. I have never seen mbuna eat plants like Anubias, Java Fern, Amazon Sword Plants, Valisneria or Cryptocoryne. They might break and rip apart fragile plants like Java moss, Cabomba, and other stem plants. The shredded plants will create a mess, and can block your filters, so those plants are not recommended.

The hardy plants I listed will grow well at about 1 Watt per Gallon of fluorescent lighting around 6500K for about 8h per day. For my 75G, I am using a cheap, double strip 4' shop light from Home Depot with two T8 Phillips 6500K tubes. I've always shied away from the expense, but there should be suitable LED options as well. Regular T5 would of course also work, but I am not familiar enough with HO to say if that wouldn't be too much light and boost algae. I have had tanks ever since I was a kid, and I have always battled with algae in those that did not contain life plants. If I have life plants in a setup, I can usually make sure that the plants successfully out-compete the algae for nutrients, which really helps the keep the algae down!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You say that the formula for breeding mbuna is male+female+water.

If the fry are left in the tank, will they grow up with the rest of the tank, or what will happen.

This has really peaked my piqued my interest because I've always had a hard time just keeping fish, Seems I always tend to want to breed them too.
 

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Jimring said:
You say that the formula for breeding mbuna is male+female+water. If the fry are left in the tank, will they grow up with the rest of the tank, or what will happen.
If the fry find enough hiding spaces in plants and in your rock work, they can grow up in the tank. If not, the parents will eat them.

BTW - my formula is of course a bit over simplified, since mbuna are harem spawners. 1male+1female+water will more likely equal the male killing the female than them spawning, but you got the gist of what I was trying to say.

Jimring said:
This has really peaked my piqued my interest because I've always had a hard time just keeping fish. Seems I always tend to want to breed them too.
Being able to observe their breeding behavior is a huge part of why so many people keep cichlids compared to for example tetras. By and large, cichlids are a lot easier to spawn. Then you can trade fry with your friends, form cichlid clubs, have sites like CF to talk about it with folks in far away places, and so on. In short, that's how you get the cichlid hobby :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After looking through the cookie cutter list, we've decided, tentatively on the Pseudotropheus saulosi and
Labidochromis caeruleus .

Do I need some sort of scavenger to go along with those?
 

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Jimring said:
After looking through the cookie cutter list, we've decided, tentatively on the Pseudotropheus saulosi and
Labidochromis caeruleus .

Do I need some sort of scavenger to go along with those?
That's a fair bit of yellow as both the labs and female saulosi are yellow.
Keeping things peaceful, I might add 3 or 4 acei, or, on the less peaceful end, perhaps 4 or 5 socolofi.
Bristlenose plecos are generally recommended for mbuna as algae eaters, however they can still be hit or miss as more aggressive mbuna can end up killing them. Their chances are better if added along with juvi mbuna at the same time.
If you're looking for fry 'hit men', consider synodontis multipunctatus.
 

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Jimring said:
After looking through the cookie cutter list, we've decided, tentatively on the Pseudotropheus saulosi and
Labidochromis caeruleus?
Agreed that you'll have too much yellow there. Lab and saulosi females don't look the same, but there will be a ton of yellow.

I would scrap the saulosi in favour of a different blue-barred species; Pseudotropheus demasoni, Cynotilapia sp. "hara" or a striped Metriaclima zebra.

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Those are all nice alternatives. I think I'll go with one of them.

Just wondering now; Maybe I shouldn't be too set on a particular type of African.
I'd guess that only a small percentage of all the Lake Malawi species will be available in my area.
 

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Jimring said:
I'd guess that only a small percentage of all the Lake Malawi species will be available in my area.
That's the key. Unless you're ordering online, it's often easier to tell us what you can get and get advice based on that!

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ordering online...

How are they shipped? does it work out OK?
Seems like temperature during shipment would be an issue, summer and winter.
 

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I haven't done it myself but I've heard more good than bad. There's a thread here from a member who just shipped in the cold.

kevin
 
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