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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am in the very beginning stages of setting up a new Mbuna Tank. This is my first time and I had some questions on getting the ball rolling. I did do some research on this site prior to starting however, I just want to make sure that I understand what I have read/learned.

So Far I have decorated the tank, added my substrate(Play Sand), Got water up to temp.(89ish), got my bubblers running, Hooked up my filters and added water.

Here is the general information of my current tank setup:
Filtration: (2) Emperor 400 Power Filters
Air Pump: Whisper 100
Heater: 300w
Lighting: (2) 40w T12
Substrate: Tan Colored Play Sand
Rocks: Assortment of Various River Rocks with lots of Nooks and Crannys for hiding...
Background: Currently Blue w/ Plants Picture
Plants: (1) Fake Plant
Feeding: No Fish Yet.
Other: Fake Driftwood with lots of Holes and hiding places; 28" Bubble Bar and Fake Coral w/ built-in Airstone

Well I got some used filter media from my brothers already established tank and added that to my filter. I also added some ammonia to start the filshless cycle since I haven't yet decided on what fish I am going to add. I also added Proper pH8.2...

I than tested the current tank water parameters with API liquid tests and the results are as follows:
pH: 8.2
kH: 232.7
gH:268.5
Ammonia: 0.50ppm
Nitrite: 0.0ppm
Nitrate: 20ppm

Also, if you want to know, I also tested my water from the tap(well water):
pH: 7.5
kH: 89.5
gH: 179
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

I guess I am just looking for feedback or suggestions on what I am doing right or wrong and what to do next.... Thanks in advance for any replies as they are greatly appreciated!! :thumb:
 

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Sounds good so far... What should happen is a great rise (spike) in ammonia to start with. Because the bacteria in your filter are probably not matched to the ammonia in the water. After that, the ammonia should go down and nitrites should go up. After that, nitrites should drop and nitrates should go up... .5 ammonia and 0 nitrites could indicate the first spike about to happen. 20 nitrates however would suggest nitrites are beeing converted already. Now you should keep and eye on the values and as soon as ammonia and nitrites stay 0, you are there.

With a seeded filter you could have added some fish right away.
 

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Wait wait wait...

Did you really mean 89 degrees or did you typo and actually mean 79 degrees? If you really meant 89 degrees then that is too much. Mbuna like the water to be between 76-82 degrees. Also your KH and GH levels seem high to me.

What test kit do you use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First off, thanks for the replies!! :D and yes, Irked, I did make a typo, lol, i meant 79 degrees not 89.... sorry.

I am using API Freshwater Test Kit and I also bought the API gH & kH liquid test kit.... Speaking of test kits, I also have the quick dip test strips from API and all of the values seem to pretty close to my liquid tests except for the gH & kH? I wonder if I am not using it correctly? They're not incredibly off but the discrepancy was enough to catch my attention. The test strip reads lower values for gH & kH.
 

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Ultimately it's your tank, and you can do what you want........... but if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't mess around with adding buffers or other treatments if not 100% necessary. Assuming you're buying fish locally, they'll likely be acclimated to your local tap water, rather than the "optimum" pH of the Rift lakes. Besides, if you just use tap water, that makes things more stable. If you're constantly adding buffers, you'll have to keep a really close eye on things to make sure the pH isn't fluctuating or anything like that. Consistency in water parameters is FAR more important than trying to modify your water to a certain point. My $0.02.

Otherwise everything else looks good. You might consider a canister filter at some point. I think you're fine right now, but once everything gets big, you might want to add a canister.
 

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Just wanted to make sure you rinsed your play sand really well? Also bubblers aren't that effective at putting air in the water. I would suggest some kind of surface agitation (not sure if the emperors do this or not, not familiar with them really) to help keep a layer of film off the top of the water to help gas releases and also just to mix the water nicely so there aren't any hot or cold spots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
mithesaint said:
Ultimately it's your tank, and you can do what you want........... but if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't mess around with adding buffers or other treatments if not 100% necessary. Assuming you're buying fish locally, they'll likely be acclimated to your local tap water, rather than the "optimum" pH of the Rift lakes. Besides, if you just use tap water, that makes things more stable. If you're constantly adding buffers, you'll have to keep a really close eye on things to make sure the pH isn't fluctuating or anything like that. Consistency in water parameters is FAR more important than trying to modify your water to a certain point. My $0.02.
That seems to be consistant with other feedback I have recieved and I am somewhat glad to hear it. I don't want to have to worry about always adding stuff to the water all the time, for both inconvience and financial reasons. Also, I now understand that having a consistant pH is much better for the fish.

So, should I keep adding ammonia to my tank or just wait untill the ammonia I put in already is processed?
 
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