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I would like to start this by saying, I have been raising African Cichlids for almost 30 years. It gets tiresome reading so many posts about how wrong others are for the way they set up their tanks and how one thing is so much better than the other.

I hope new Cichlid owners realize, so much of what you are reading is just opinion, as is what you will read below. To all the old timers, quit making it so difficult for the newbies. My way is more risky than some others and is by no means the only way.

My tank: Way to many fish; didn't realize this until the Friday Disaster when I lost my 55 Gallon to a big leak. Needless to say everyone is till alive and thriving in the new 55.

Substrate: have always used aquarium gravel. Should I use sand? Probably. Never had problems with gravel other than the fish love moving it around.

Decor: Caves and more caves and lots of the silk type plants that petco sells. Sorry, I want lots of color. Most of the caves can't be seen from the front because of all the fake plants. Fish seem to love all the hiding places.

Water testing: I don't and I haven't in 25 years. Set up tank, get filter going and used the API Quick Start to get cycle going. Waited three days, added fish. Because of my travels with the U.S Air Force, I have set up a few tanks. Now that I am a retired from the Air Force, my current tank has been set up for eight years (well until Friday). I did have the water tested recently at Petco (employee I trust) just because of all the hoopla I have read on here. Needless to say, good to go.

Now the most important part of this post:

Filtration: We need to remember, for most this is not about whats best, it's about what someone can afford or maybe just about what fits in the area where the tank is located.
My tank thrives using an Aqua Clear 70 and Seachem Tidal 75. Yes, they are hang on the back filters. The Aqua Clear has the course sponge, a thin layer of Poly-Tech Super Filter and as much biomax as I could put in it. The Tidal 75 has the course sponge, polishing media (blue and white), matrix carbon and matrix bio media.

African Cichlids: This part, I am not so proud of. Primarily peacocks, my favorites. Otherwise, it's quite the alphabet soup of Africans. Every now and then I run into aggression problems and intend to switch over to all peacocks as I can. I have started re homing fish and when I have enough space, I will order some online for the first time.

Maintenance: Just do it, Just do it!!!! There are no short cuts. Do regular water changes, clean the filter media in tank water. If you need to use the tap because the filter is so dirty, make sure you have another filter that is established.

Why do I think my system works? Because my tank looks like the fish are floating in air, I rarely lose one, have not had one disease in my tank in the eight years this tank has been set up and they mate like rabbits.

None of this is rocket science, there are several right ways to do it. Some expensive, some not so much. Keep it simple and start slow!!!!!!
 

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An application of KISS. An old rule that still applies. What you are doing isn't much different than what I and many long time fish keepers do. The reason is simple. It works! This hobby doesn't have to be difficult. keep the water clean and you will be successful.
 

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Haha, nice rant. I agree with some of it but you are always going to have disagreement, but I do have some points.

1. Forum is a lot better than most. There are no idiots who demand your water numbers before considering the problem in spite of obvious irrevelance in EVERY. SINGLE. THREAD. And then suggest you use Seachem Prime, the best product ever made, which they are sure you have somehow managed to avoid hearing about before buying a 150 gallon tank. And no mods who delete or move or merge posts randomly with no explanation and don't even explain why/where they went or even admission they are responsible. And no peta fanatics telling you a single goldfish requires 125 gallons.

2. Considering your tank is in a mess now, getting some testing kits is a good idea.

3. It was working before but now it's a new tank and probably not doing ideally, so regardless of testing I would probably take the opportunity to get rid of whatever fish you absolutely don't have to keep, or get a new aquarium - or do both.

4. Cichlids don't need a mountain stream and tons of thorough maintenance. Regularity is the most important thing, and if you have that then you don't have to know yourself out on maintenance even with much more sensitive fish and invertebrates.

But ultimately yeah there is a range of opinion in any group. Somewhere in the range is the answer that works for you and also many things people don't recommend can work but you can only figure these things out by using your brain and trying them yourself after intelligently looking at all the possible itfalls.
 

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I am fairly new to this forum and lack the expertise and experience of the OP, but I have observed that there are tons of people who post here here who not only want to be told what to do, they want to be told how to do it. It is hard then, to fault those who do exactly that.
 
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