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looking to set up my first cichlid tank and need some advise

1824 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  hollyfish2000
Hey everyone, My name is Jamie. I'm new on here. I have been reading the past couple days and from what I can see you people know your stuff. lol. I am wanting to start my first cichlid tank. It is 150gal. I just went and got my water tested and my p.h is around 7.2 and the hardness is between hard and very hard from the test strip readings. I was wondering what kind of fish I would need to look at to have some happy fish. and any other input you guys might have. Thanks. :thumb:
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Given your pH and hardness, plus at the size of your tank I'd be looking at some central american cichlids for it ... lots of good colors, lots of interactiveness (what people call personality).
hey Jamie welcome to the forum and to keeping cichlids. :thumb:

I agree with dwarfpike that your tap conditions look good for a central american tank but there are a couple things to I would encourage you to consider.

First and foremost, I would not let your tap water parameters define what you keep. You should spend some time in the stores and online and decide what kind of cichlids or fish you like best and make your water work with it. You will find several great articles on how to change ph, gh, and kh to suit your needs no matter what you are keeping. I think you will find the hobby much more rewarding if you pick your own stock rather than letting the tap dictate it.

Secondly, with regards to your tap test, if you tested it right out of the tap it may not have been that reliable of a test. Sometimes there are trapped gasses like CO2 that can give you a ph reading that will change after the gasses escape. For an accurate read, put some tap water in a bucket and test it the next day. In some cases there is no change between the two readings but sometimes there is!
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I agree with tannable75 too ... I rather keep fish I like over what's determined by my tap water ... though usually I can find what I want to fit it. It will depend on how much you want to play with your water though, I know many aquarists that burn themselves out of the hobby becuase they picked discus or apistos when their tap water is better suited for lake tangs ... or vice versa ...

luckily my tap water fits my favorite group of fish, but I know this is a rare occurance. Which is good, as I rather enjoyed this quote though I apologize to whomever wrote it I can't remember whom atm ... "Aquariums are my hobby, not water chemistry." :D
My tap water is about 6.5 out of the tap after 24 hours and I just adjust for my Africans, which I keep very successfully. Decide what you want, there are plenty of options to adjust water.
Test strips are not very reliable. And if you're serious about this you should have liquid test kits of your own so you are able to monitor your own water. So that would be a good first step.

Secondly, it is very easy to increase tap pH for African cichlids with buffers that are specifically made for Malawi lake fish. So if you are interested in them, it is easy to adjust the water higher. You can also add crushed coral as your substrate and limestone rock, which also helps you maintain a high pH. It is much more difficult to lower pH consistently and I would not recommend it.

African cichlids are relatively easy and hardy. They are colorful and if you are careful about aggression, they are great to watch. They don't require plants and the difficulty they bring. You have a nice large tank and would lots of options in terms of what do to. One thought is a male peacock/hap show tank. That would be fantastic in such a large tank. (That is what I have but, alas, not in such a large tank.)

I'm going to assume you're already done your homework in terms of how to cycle the tank . ..
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Hollyfish2000, i'm also a new member trying to start a 135g Africian Cicihlid tank. Was just curious when you mentioned male peacock/hap tank do you mean an all male peacock and hap tank.
ps. don't mean to hijack your thread Totalimmortal363 :)
Yes, one good option is an all male tank of peacocks and haps. You can also have labs, p. acei and "rusties" in this set-up because they are very mild mannered mbuna (and gender in these groups doesn't matter much in my experience). The key to an all male tank is making sure your males don't look like each other, and to get them when they're at least mature enough to know they are male. Adding even one female by mistake can cause a lot of of havoc. You also have to be willing to remove fish that doesn't go with the program. I've been very lucky with my tank and have very little aggression (just an occasional chase). I've even got a mellow Red Empress, which is somewhat unusual.
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