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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i use to have a tank set up with red oscar's. i had the tank set up for a few years and then had an outbreak of some disease that killed all but one. i knew there was no way to add more fish so i got rid of him and the tank. I am now excited to start my new tank! it has been about 4 years now since my last. I am definitely wanting to start a cichlid tank and im leaning towards a Mbuna tank. i really enjoyed the oscar but i think a 55 gl tank isnt quite big enough and im looking for less aggressive fish. as of now im thinking yellow labs, red zebras, and Pseudotropheus saulosi. Im thinking i could probably have 3 to 4 of each specie considering they are not very large cichlids. does anyone have any other suggestions? im open for any ideas. My other decision im trying to make is if i want sand or gravel. my last tank was gravel and *** never used sand but love the way it looks. if i used sand what type should i use and how hard is it to keep clean? is normal play sand sufficient? My last tank to cycle it i used some type of bacteria stuff to speed the process up. i have no idea what it was called but i still let the tank set for 2 weeks before adding fish. Should i use additives like that to speed up the process or should i let it go naturally and have a couple hardy fish to help speed it up? i want to do this right and not rush anything. *** read some about bio-spira. is this stuff good and is it true you can add your fish even a day after using it? i appreciate any help you all can give me!!!
 

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A 55 is a good size for mbuna, especially the fish on your list. Saulosi females are bright lemon yellow, you wouldn't need labs (unless you just like them!). Saulosi and Red Zebra would look nice. You could add a third species of 1m4f and be just fine. People here say you can have up go around 20 fish in a 55.

Play sand works but Pool Filter Sand is so much easier, and cleaner. Keeping it clean is pretty easy, and over time you'll vacuum out the micro particles and it gets easier and easier.

You can use additives or not, it's really up to you. The important thing is to not add fish until your tank is perfect, as long as you do that you're good. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thank you so much for your help. i could see how the yellow labs and female Saulosi would look very similar. What other species would you recommend? when i get my tank all set up and ready for fish would you recommend that i buy all the fish that i want at the same time to introduce them all while still young?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How about the Cobalt Blue Zebra? would the red zebra, blue zebra and saulosi all work well together? i think they would make a nice looking tank. from what i understand they will need lots of rock and caves. is it ok to go out to a creek to find these rocks as long as i clean them well? is there a special thing i have to do to help the tank support all the extra weight from the rocks?
 

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I wouldn't mix m. callainos (cobalt zebra) with m. estherae (red zebra). Their body shapes are very similar. Both are Metriaclima. Their size are about identical. Both can have nasty attitudes. I just dont think it would work out. That being said i have been surprised 100s of times about what people have that work out (even though most of time its probably only for the short run).

What about:

P. saulosi
M. Callainos (cobalt zebra)

and either
I. Sprengerae (rusty) OR
Perlmutt
 

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Cobalt and Red zebra would probably crossbreed. If you do not want to keep fry then it would probably work. Acei is a bit too big for a 55 but it could work if you went with a smaller number like 3. Or you could switch out red zebra for another orange fish like Rusty then the cobalts would work.

Introducing them at the same time is best but most likely not possible given availability. Just don't add one fish at a time to avoid aggression.

Creek rocks should be fine, just boil them or use a bleach solution and make sure they have no left on it before you put it in the tank.

A filled 55 gallon weighs ~450lb with just water. Nothing really is needed but some people recommend using eggcrate. I have about 100lb in my 75 with no special support and it was used for 8 years as a reef, then the rocks were taken out, and now that I'm doing mbuna the rocks are back, so going on 9 years without any special support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I really like the rusty cichlid, i have not looked at those before. I think i will go with the cobalt zebra, saulosi, and rusty. is it a good idea to only stick with 3 different species? Because im really liking the Acei too. when i go to buy these fish is there really any way to tell the male from female when you buy them while their still young? i know the saulosi turn blue as they get older when male but when young is there any other way of knowing. if so am i suppose to get more female or male? im not really looking to breed, that might be something ill try in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
one more thing i was wanting to ask is the cycling process. I really want to do this all right without rushing it and having an unhealthy tank. From what i have read the best way is to be patient and ad 3 or 4 hardy fish and give the tank 8 weeks to cycle. Can you guys tell me how you cycled yours and how it all worked out for you in the end? i read on one site that for a cichlid tank tiger barbs are a hardy fish that could be used for the cycling process because when your ready to add the fish you want they usually work fine with cichlids. does this sound accurate?
 

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Here are some articles from the forum library that may help a lot. I like to start new things with things that give the least trouble and then work into the more difficult later.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/species_for_beginners.php

Some other really good info:
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/species_for_beginners.php

Check out the aggression charts at the end of this item. I find them right on.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/haps_vs_mbuna.php

Creek rocks will work for the tank. Wash off any really gross stuff mud/dirt, set them in water with 1/2 cup or so ( 2 glugs?) bleach for overnight. This gives time for the bleach to react and soak into any snails, etc. with hard shells. Next day, rinse and set them out to dry. Once totally dry the bleach smell should be gone. This shows you the chlorine has blown away into the air. Good to use. Quick safe and easy. Cheap, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for all the info i appreciate it!!!
 
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