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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a newbe. I have a 55 gal tank. I purchased 8 jack dempsies. Not knowing much about them. After reading up on them I know my tank is going to be over crowded when they mature. The tank has 3 filters. Undergravel, canister and an overflow. If I keep them well fed and change the water often enough, is there a chance they will live and be content? I would hate to get rid of any of them, because of each of there different personalities and the way they change colors with there moods. They all eat out of my hand. I really can't at this time afford a nother tank. Any information or suggestions would be appreciated!!
 

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Nope, there's no way those fish will live happily or peacefully in that 55-gallon tank. Welcome to the world of Central American cichlids. :) Jack Dempseys are a really neat species, but they have quite a bit of conspecific aggression. Once a male/female pair inevitably forms, they will become very territorial and will need that entire tank to themselves. One pair only will work in that 55g tank, and get ready to expect a ton of fry.

To keep all 8 of those fish together you'd need hundreds and hundreds of gallons. You can either get rid of all but a male and female now, or wait until a pair forms then take the rest back to the shop. It's very difficult to keep just two males in your size tank because of their aggression level, and eight full-grown JDs would be unthinkable. Males reach about 10" adult length with females being slightly smaller.
 

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Also, not to be the bearer of more bad news but... that undergravel filter is not very effective in cichlid tanks. Most cichlids like to excavate through the substrate which will stir up a lot of nasties from the undergravel filter, releasing them into the tank and rendering your undergravel filter less effective. It might be best to get rid of that filter while your setup is relatively new.
 

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Welcome to the forum, hinesb. :wink:
Natalie has given you some excellent feedback, and I can't agree more with what she has suggested for you and your jack dempseys. I am also in agreement about getting rid of the undergravel filter.

BV
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thank you for your feedback. i looked at and am going to purchase a 125 gal tank.
any suggestions on the best filtration for the bigger tank?
 

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Why does everyone hate on undergravel?

I have had my undergravel going in my 55 for almost 2 years, not problems, heavily stocked with a jack dempsey and a bunch of cons, mostly full grown

now it may not look as clean and pretty all the time, but it seems to work, so why no undergravel?
 

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Two reason you usually don't see undergravels with cichlids. Most species dig, and as soon as the plate is exposed the water tends to flow into the filter there instead of the gravel ... path of least resistance.

Second, many cichlids are messy eaters, and the gravel tends to get clogged much easier with an undergravel than with HOB or canister filters.

Both can be overcome though, they just require a lot more effort than other ways of filtration. I'm lazy. :D
 

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Under Gravel Filters use the gravel as filter media... so they, by design, make the floor of your tank dirty. So they create a little more involved maintenance.

I like to use sand as this keeps the waste on the surface of the substrate as opposed to hidden inside of it. With the waste right on the gravel in clear sight I can't get away with putting off maintenance. Out of Sight Out Of Mind becomes the enemy when using gravel and even more so when using Under Gravel Filters.

That is, in addition to the main point which DwarfPike described with the exposed filter plate rendering the Under Gravel Filter almost useless...

It's also extremely difficult to get the crud out from under the filter plates without breaking down the whole tank. The crude (mostly poop) therefore sits under the plates and continues to break down therefore continuing to increase the nitrates of the tank.
 

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How about a reverse flow ugf? What that be a good filtration system?
Reverse flow ugf will still suffer the same problems as a regular flow ugf. As has been mentioned digging cichlids will expose the plates rendering the ugf inefective. It's a fact of life with these fish.
hinesb welcome to the forum :thumb:
 
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