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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks, so this will be my first post and I it's a biggy.

I am 100% new to cichlids and have not kept fish for many years, and now I am trying to jump back in with both feet.

A little about me, 35-year-old Army prior military guy who tends to go big when they latch on to something. I am getting back into this because I remember it being peaceful. I am not home enough for a 4 legged friend to give it the socialization it deserves, and my HOA shot down my Koi pond (which is likely for the better as we do have a raccoon population that would be an issue).

All of this being said, and spending the last month or so jumping to dozens of aquarium shops around northern Virginia, I have come to only one conclusion, there are as many opinions on cichlids as there are types of cichlids, and most stores in northern VA rather try to convince me to go saltwater then help me plan and execute a crowded new world cichlid tank. On top of that what people say make suitable tank mates has swung drastically leaving my brain a steaming pile of mush.

Many of the fish recommended I researched and found would grow to crazy sizes full grown, and even before then eventually eat my cichlids. (mostly the cats that were recommended, even had one guy recommend an arowana sp. as a top swimmer) All this to say I want to make sure what I put into the tank will be there for the life of the fish.( excluding any one who develops to much of a mean streak.

Before even diving into what type and how many, and the biggest reason for this post (the help me adopt post will come later) I need some help tracking down a decent tank builder or manufacturer for the space. I have a landing that my old wood burning stove sat on which we are getting rid of. The money that would have been spent replacing the chimney liner and stove will be instead going to a tank and stand to fill out the risen pad of the stove.

The foot print is roughly 60 inches wide and giving some space between the wall 28 inches deep I could go as high as 36 inches on a 30 inch stand but would prefer if it stayed in the 30 range with a nice topper. I know there will be a ton of opinions on tank size, and brand and I will take them all into consideration, please also share any brands I should stay away from in this size range.

Thanks a ton,

Will
 

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I only buy Aqueon and they do not make a 60" tank. Some of the higher end manufacturers are out of business.

Are you thinking about African Rift Lake cichlids? You can do 4 species in a 48" tank and if that would be something you would consider, the 75G is an ideal size IME.

Stick to the rectangle shape, avoid corners, cubes and bowfronts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Was looking at med sized new world's with maybe a couple big boys, likely plan to overcrowd a bit.
 

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Angelfish, severums, festivums, and geophagus are all large fish which mix well together. The key is having enough of each species to dilute any aggression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like my tap water tossed me a curve ball, maybe Africans would be more responsible gH 150 kH 50. PH7-8
 

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Do you mean pH 7.8 or between 7 and 8?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some where between the two. I used strips. My mother has a tropical community tank...3 of them, she said 7.1 she's about 2 miles from me in one direction, my brother has a salt water his reading was 7.6 2 miles in another direction.
 

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Strips were used in both cases? It is a really big difference.

Anyway your primary question was the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was the only one who used strips, they both used a digital read out. Mine fell between the colors for 7 and 8.
We're close together but very different areas northern na is wired like that, could it have anything to do with the age or materialof the pipes?
 

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If the test materials are old it could impact. Also you want to test the water coming out of the pipes you are using to fill the tank. With a fresh liquid reagent test kit. The API Freshwater Master Kit is a good one to start with.

Not all the SA or CA need pH=7.0...research the various species you like to see what ideal water for them are.

Discus like the soft water, but you did not mention those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Discus are beautiful, but from what I've read, I am not ready for them at all. Africans will be fine I think, SA were my option based on tank mates, but I think I was just trying to do to much to fast I'll be happy with the Africans, after all I was after color and personality and Africans have it in spades.
 

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Acrylic is way more expensive and harder to maintain IME. You either love them or hate them. SeaClear is sold by Petco. Glasscages seems to be mixed reviews.

For Africans if it is 7.6 that is not terrible, but if it is 7.0 you will have to play with additives and match parameters carefully when filling and changing water. Doable, but best if the true pH is 7.6 (or higher) from your pipes with liquid reagents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If it helps my budget for tank and stand is 2-3k(including every thing that will go in the tanks but not livestock)
 

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Money does not appear to be a problem. Have you decided whether you want glass or acrylic? To me that decision is by scratchability….glass is scratchable enough, I would not buy acrylic even if it was cheaper.

Do you want the stand and canopy to be furniture quality? Since you mentioned a canopy, I'm guessing yes.
 

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So now the problem is if you NEED a 60" tank, who makes a quality one. IDK the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wellllllll I got to thinking if I found a stand that could straddle the landing I could go bigger, but I'm not sure if that's an option on a stand structurely.
 

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What about extending the landing? Aqueon 72" 125G would be my pick for a tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yould be talking big money to make it look right, which would shoot a hole in my tank budget, it's a brick and stone landing. I'll ask some of the higher end shops around dc about stands and tanks when work gets less hectic. I still need to finalize my list of haps and peacocks and finalize my clean up crew.
 
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