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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi guys and gals im looking into setting up an African cichlid tank. I have had a few fish tanks a few years ago including a 6ft discus tank which was my pride and joy until it started leaking. I have been looking at getting at getting a juwel rio 450. Will I need to add a second filter or will the built in filter be able to handle the bio load? Would i be able to house them with one or two bristlenoses?
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

This is a 60" long aquarium so you can house many species of African cichlids. What is the GPH of the built-in filter? Shoot for 8X to 10X GPH.

1-2 bristlenose will usually work with African Rift Lake cichlids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hi thanks for getting back to me the filter that's fitted has a turn over of 1000l per hour /219 gph the tank has a capacity of 508 litres/117.9 uk gallons so I by my working out even if I put in a second juwel xl filter I wouldn't have enough gph is that right?
 

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Agree you will only get 2X with the internal filter. I prefer external filters...can you purchase the aquarium without all the other stuff?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
my fiancé wanted a tank with internal filters as we have just put a new carpet down in the flat and she is worried about leaks but I guess I will have to fit a external filter any recommendations?
 

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Not sure what you can get in the UK but I like the Rena Filstar canister filters. I have 2 XP4 filters on my 125 gallon tank. 14 years and no leaks yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I haven't seen those in any of my local stores, I have used the ehime pro 4's before but they are 1250l per hour filters so even that would only get me 4x tank turnover per hour would that be enough in conjunction with a powerhead. they gave me too much flow on my discus tank so they should be sufficient right?

how hardy are mbuna when compared to discus these are low - medium maintaince fish?

yellow labs are the fish I really want are they too difficult for a beginner mbuna keeper?
 

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Yellow labs are not too difficult. You need a lot of fish in a 60" tank if you are doing mixed gender (good for beginners). Like 25 individuals.

You could also do 1m:11f yellow labs and 1m:11f acei for a nice beginner tank.

Don't buy filters in LFS...no selection and high prices. Looks like Fluval is available there...what about Fluval FX6?

If you measure maintenance by how often and how much you have to change water? Discus are 100% daily and mbuna are 50% weekly. Not need for plants so that is less work.

The mbuna are more active than discus...so I imagine more monitoring to ensure individuals are not harassed and you may have to remove extra males as they mature and cause trouble. I've never kept discus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My local store gives me near trade prices on most items apart from live stock as my brothers company handles there distribution, I will definatly have a look at the fx6. i'm getting a £300 discount on the tank and stand setup so i would preferer to use my local store where possible.

i am thinking of building small caves from slate and aquarium silicone, "maybe a slate tower block" is that a bad idea?

i'm glad that i can keep a bristlenose and some yellow labs would 4 species of fish with about 6 of each be a good idea?

I'm looking forward to making my own fish food as i used to make it for my catfish

discus were great but they were extremely hard work. everything had to be perfect, i would say i spent an hour a day on maintance. i would do a 25 litre water change probaly everyday when they were spawning and every other day. they were worth it but i don't want to be doing that amount of maintance now. I'm glad they don't need plants as i had my fill of that with my discus and catfish setups. The fact that they will like my tap water rather than having to use ro water. basicaly if you farted in the same room they would go of colour
 

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sandrock said:
how hardy are mbuna when compared to discus these are low - medium maintaince fish?
I kept Discus for 2 years and switched to africans about 18 months ago. I would say mbuna are many times more hardy than Discus, though there are a few species that require slightly more care. Only 50-75% weekly water changes & periodic tank maintenance required for most africans, depending on bioload & how much you feed them.
 

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sandrock said:
i am thinking of building small caves from slate and aquarium silicone, "maybe a slate tower block" is that a bad idea?
Just be aware that if/when a fish dies you may need to disassemble your rocks to find the fish that passed. I wouldn't have any decor in there that would be too hard to remove temporarily when needed.

discus were great but they were extremely hard work. everything had to be perfect, i would say i spent an hour a day on maintance. i would do a 25 litre water change probaly everyday when they were spawning and every other day. they were worth it but i don't want to be doing that amount of maintance now. I'm glad they don't need plants as i had my fill of that with my discus and catfish setups. The fact that they will like my tap water rather than having to use ro water. basicaly if you farted in the same room they would go of colour
LoL tell me about it :) . I love the experience I gained keeping Discus but I'm actually enjoying keeping africans way more.
 

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I prefer 3D rocks and no silicone....just stack them. From fist sized to head sized.

The fish like tight spaces and it will look more natural.

I did try an assembled cave stack in a utility tank once. It was great for a few weeks, but at cleaning time there was no way to clean it in the tank and removing it cause a giant mess when all the debris sluiced out. Fun to try things though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have orderd some egg crate for my aquarium (hopefully enough and im getting a 2 litre bottle of water conditoner deliverd in the next couple of days.
next up on my job list is picking a substrate im thinking of useing sand as it should be more natural /preferable for the fish. i havent used sand before is there anything i should be aware of when using sand.
other than cucumber, courgette and peas is there any over veg i can give them?

all being well i can pick the tank up at the weekend.
 

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My fish don't eat the veges much...be sure you siphon anything they leave after a few hours.

The plecos like salt-free canned green beans. (Nice and soft.)

But they may not eat the algae if you give them easier foods.

I like pool filter sand. No problems with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
picked the tank up at the weekend and got myself a second filter for the tank as well an ehime pro 3 1200xl, a lot of slate and a couple of bags of samoa sand. I forgot how heavy these tanks can be after getting it into the house.Its taken me ages to get everything washed and scrubbed. I have washed the sand a few times but the waters still cloudy, I know it will clear but I am inpatient.

im going to use a couple of socks with some fish in to rot down to cycle the tank do these bacteria in a bottle actually work?

so far I have picked out a couple of species for my tank that I am researching,

these are most likely to make it into my tank

calico bristlenose, x1
yellow labs (Labidochromis caeruleus yellow )
yellow tail acei (Pseudotropheus acei.)
synodontis petrecola x??? - for birth control

below are fish I am researching but are not guaranteed for the tank,

Pseudotropheus demasoni - really like the zebra patterns on these
Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos.
bidochromis joanjohnsonae.
Tropheops chilumba.
Iodotropheus sprengerae
Hongi - Labidochromis sp. "Hongi"
 

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Five synodontis...beware the seller calling them petricola as they are usually lucipinnis. Luckily lucipinnis are great too.

The sprengerae are a good beginner fish.

I would stick to 4 species for this tank. One labidochromis so you are done since you have the yellow labs.

Tropheops is aggressive...I would skip them.

Cyaneorhabdos Maingano or demasoni would work. Both are aggressive and need extra females. 1m:7f for the Maingano. 15 demasoni after removing extra males...these are a lot of work so choose them if you are determined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have been thinking would an all male tank be a bad idea? It would help with unwanted babies and in theory lower aggression as there are no females to fight over. Would it work or just be a blood bath as I am not interested in breeding if it would be something I would give a great deal of thought too.
 

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It lowers aggression if you have the right mix...but an all-male tank takes trial and error and changing out fish for the first year or two to get a mix of fish that can get along. Also it is difficult to do with mbuna (due to aggression and lack of variety in colors) and works better with haps and peacocks.

Last thought on all-male...you may not be able to get every fish colored to his full potential. There will be a pecking order and those 1 or 2 fish at the bottom may have subdued colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Okay I will go for a mixed tank then I'm nervous about sexing the fish and getting the ratios right

I am leaning more to avoiding the synos as I'm worried that adding them will leave me short of space to have enough mbuna to reduce aggression

So I have come up with the following fish as my current stocking plan it may change as I keep seeing new fish I like

Calico bristlenose
Yellow labs
Yellow tail acei
Metraclima sp zebra chimula
Rusty chiclids

Would these work together?
 

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Sounds OK. Synodontis do not count in the 20 you want for the cichlids. Do 1m:4f of each. Usually you cannot buy mbuna sexed reliably, so what we do is buy 2X as many as we want females, and rehome extra males as they mature and cause trouble.
 
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