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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am starting up a new 125gal frontosa tank. I plan on a colony of 5 to start. What type of filter should I get? I hear over the top filters are not a good option. So Should I only use a canister filter? If so what size? How many? I want to do this right. I had one frontosa before and I used a over the top and had success keeping the fish alive. I keep reading that the FX6 is a good filter to use. Also what would you recommend for food? Flake? Pellet? Live? I am a beginner in need of solid advice. Thanks for any help given!
 

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In a 125, my preference is for a sump, but nothing wrong with canisters if you are not familiar with sumps or don't want to go that route. I've heard good things about the FX series, but have no first hand experience. I've run my tanks on the old ProII Eheim filters, and if I was buying new, I'd take a look at the Eheim classics.

For food, I always fed my Frontosa NLS cichlid pellets, augmented with frozen mysis shrimp as they get older and closer to breeding size.
 

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My Frontosa colony in my 125g is filtered by a single fx5. Works pretty well without pushing them around too much and filters well to keep the parameters in check where I can keep it to WC's every 10 days. Thats with 10 frontosa from 5"-13" as well as numerous leleupi and calvus/comps.

I fee NLS pellets like nodima does but I also feed flakes, algae wafers, Omega one shrimp pellets, and then once per week I feed frozen thawed krill. Only thing to be careful with is feeding too much floating pellets, try to feed mostly sinking stuff. Frontosa can get something called "float" which is caused by gulping too much air trying to take floating pellets so I only feed floating stuff rarely to mine.
 

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When I had a 180 gallon tank with frontosas I used a combination of canister and hang-on-back filters. I no longer have that tank. I am back with frontosas again and use two AquaClear110s on a 6 foot long, 135 gallon. Either/both types are fine. Who said not to use hang-on-back and why?

I feed my frontosas New Life Spectrum and North Fin pellet food. I use that for all my African cichlids. Been using NLS for 13 years and North Fin for two years. On rare occasions I feed my adult frontosas raw shrimp (previously frozen). Not on a regular basis and not very much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What does NLS stand for? I haven't really had anyone say not to use over the top filters. I just read most people use the FX^ or some sort of canister filter. What does everyone use for gravel?
 

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NLS = New Life Spectrum (that's the brand name). In my frontosa tank I have tan play sand, but I recently started using tan pool filter sand and I would use pool filter sand over play sand now if I could redo it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So sand over a finer gravel? Also how many pounds would you recommend? 100lbs? 150lbs? Do you think over the top filters are a bad idea? Is canister the way to go? I currently have 2 Marineland 350's to use on the tank. Those are rated for 75 gallons each per hour that's 25 more gallons per hour then tank size. I just really want to do this right!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also how long should the tank be set up before I introduce the first fish? what color gravel is best as well? Darker lighter?
 

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With hang-on-back filters you want close to 10x turn over per hour. Two AC110s give 500x2 = 1000 gallons per hour so on a 125 gallon tank that would be 1000/125 = 8x turnover per hour. I would not want to go much less than that for H-O-B.

Canisters can get by with less turn over per hour from what I understand.

Frontosas dig less than other cichlids. I find young frontosas enjoy digging some but not so much with the adults. I only keep a half inch in my frontosas adult tank.

I see some people put almost 2.5 inches height of sand in a 24 inch tall tank. It seems like such a waste of space. Even for Malawi cichlids I would not go over one inch of sand depth.
 

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By the way - have you done African cichlids before? Do you have other fish tanks running at the moment? If you answer no to both of these questions - I am not sure Frontosas are the best first fish to start out with.
 

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So sand over a finer gravel? Also how many pounds would you recommend? 100lbs? 150lbs? Do you think over the top filters are a bad idea? Is canister the way to go? I currently have 2 Marineland 350's to use on the tank. Those are rated for 75 gallons each per hour that's 25 more gallons per hour then tank size. I just really want to do this right!
Personally yes, most cichlid keepers (myself included) prefer sand over gravel. It just looks more natural, waste will sit on top of it making it easier to clean so the waste does not fall down between it like gravel, and some cichlids like to sift through sand as well, so I always prefer sand over gravel. Far as how much I am somewhat the same as punman and I like about 1"-1.5" depth of sand at the most so in my 125g 6ft tank I used 100 lbs of sand. HOB filters are okay, personally I like canisters but that's just my preference, there's nothing wrong with HOB's a lot of guys use them.

Also how long should the tank be set up before I introduce the first fish? what color gravel is best as well? Darker lighter?
Have you cycled the tank? if not then be sure to read up on cycling a tank first and that will tell you what to do and when to add fish once it is cycled. There's a fishless cycling how to in the library section here on the site. For sand color I tried white and found it washes out frontosa too much, I tried black and it made the blue in them pop nice but I wasn't a fan of the overall dark them of it in the tank, so I went with tan sand which shows their colors nice yet has a very natural look as well to it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have done cichlids before. I have a tropical tank right now. I had african cichlids. just love the way these look and want to have success.
 

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Good, when you are set up and ready to go, just add half of the media from an existing tank and you will be ready to go. Just start with a few fish and don't feed too heavily the first week.
 

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Your journey sounds a little like mine..Started with tropical fish in my teens, then it was Haps/Peacocks, followed by Tropheus , and then Frontosa

I kept 5 Frontosa Kitumba in a 150 gallon tank with the following.

2 Eheim 150 watt heaters
Crushed Cral substrate
Undergravel jets I constructed from PVC and pwered by 2 CAP pumps
One HOB Acquaclear 150
One Eheim 2217 Canister
LED lighting

Our hobbie is always evolving with somone coming out with a better mousetrap. I didn`t at the time but now have a Fluval FX4 on the tank and suggest you might add one or even go with an FX6. Overfiltering to me is always better.

I kept Frontosa Kitumbas in the 150 for 8 years and I only fed mine NLS larger size Cichlid Formula. Mine grew fat and sassy in this setup.

Good luck in your journey.
 

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I have had my 6 foot 125 gallon Front tank for about 4 years
Started off with 8 juveniles, which have turned into a very prolific breeding colony of 2 males and 6 females
The filters I have are an Eheim Pro 3 Cannister plus an Aquaclear 110 HOB filter
For gravel I have CaribSea Cichlid sand, and I feed a combination of NLS, Northfin, Omega One, Hikari, and frozen foods, plus earthworms in the summer

It is the first time I have kept frontosa and they are constantly breeding so they must be enjoying the setup as far as I can tell
 
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