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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So much to my wife's bemusement I abandoned 260lb of granite and bought 120lb of smooth lava rock, only the roundest least abrasive pieces were selected, I am aware of their drawbacks but they make nice high safe structures and have the look I want

I bought an Aqua One Oak 240 l (60 gal) 48x16x25 aquarium

I painted the back black

I have one aqua one 850 with an Inlet behind the main rock stack to draw water through rocks and a spray bar above pointed at the surface agitating the surfac 850lph

I have an all pond solutions 1000ef + (UV bulb) with inlet in opposite corner and spray bar facing forward across tank front 1000 lph (total combined 1850 lph 7.7x turnover)

I have a 300 watt heater next to the aqua one 850 inlet

I added the 100lbs of lava rock in one main mound mound with two peaks

A small mound in the left corner

Giving hopefully 3 territories

I have an 8000 lph power head aimed forward behind and in front of the mounds

There is space for siphon in front and behind most of the rocks give it take 1 or 2 touching the glass but to get the height I had to do this (they will be coming out as I remove fish and will clean then)

Arogonite and Cichlid sand salt and pepper mix

The lighting comes as standard with the aqua one but has white and blue moon

I had a cycled Oase 300 going onto this but it broke during the cross over so I had to quickly switch out the cycled media and seed one of the new filter sponges

I lost 2 synos lucipinis in the transfer to a new tank which legit made me cry they are my favourite, I have narrowed it down to using a very basic (and yet expensive tetra Tap safe) I under dosed the new water) I have now ordered some Seachem prime and know to dose for entire tank each water change and not only the replacement water

I have added some moss balls and will see how these go with the mbuna

I am giving it one more week to monitor water levels I only have basic home testing strips which give me readings of
0 nitrate
0 nitrite
7.5/8ph
180 kh
120 gh

I have also taken a water sample to my local tropical specialist and they have given me thumbs up from their testing kit

All being well next week I have a 3 hour car journey to visit a rift lake specialist where I plan to purchase
6 F1 white top hara (only 6 available atm) 6-7cm
8 yellow labs 4-5cm
8 rustys 4-5cm
3 syno lucipinis 8-10cm

I am also going to take some cycled filter media from the breeder to add to my new filter to help with the bio load jump

I will grow these out Remove the problem males and add some more white top haras when some become available

I am sad that I can't work demansoni or maingano into my beginner African Cichlid aquarium but life is long and I will get another tank one day

15 fish planned finished stock (plus 5 synos)

:) I hope any of you who are stuck indoors enjoy the pics and I will update this as I add stock :)
 

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I like the new rock lay out a lot!!

I highly recommend you purchase an ammonia test kit since the strip test you have doesn't include it.

A zero nitrate reading means your tank is NOT ready for fish so if you can wait to get fish either do a fishless cycle using ammonia to dose or take a chance on a bottled bacteria product and follow the instructions exactly. Do not rely on a sample from your fish specialist to provide enough beneficial bacteria for the new bio-load of fish.

Also follow the dosing recommendations on Prime as it will vary on both the amount of chlorine or chloramine in YOUR water supply and whether you are changing water via the bucket method or directly filling via a hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So I get a zero reading even on my 6month established soft water aquarium so my faith in these test strips is Now completely gone

I have ordered an API ammonia testing kit

I will wait for it to come and fingers crossed I'm all good and the 0 is just a false reading :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There should be bacteria already from a cycled filter I had it on the syno tank for 2 months before the upgrade it was going straight on but it broke so I just switched the internal media and sponges into a new filter so fingers crossed enough bacteria was saved to have me running cycled but we shall see in a few days
 

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I can't tell as the colors are very close to one another and I've never used test strips before.

Glad you were able to cancel and get the Master Kit!! You can always save the test strips for GH and KH as long as they are within expiration date AND have been kept as per label directions.
 

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Regarding territories, when stocking 3 males think in terms of 6 territories or more. Although your fish will probably decide what is a territory differently than their human and you have a fair number of rocks. IME the males don't like the territories near the sides from some reason...for me that is where the holding females lurk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
DJRansome said:
Regarding territories, when stocking 3 males think in terms of 6 territories or more. Although your fish will probably decide what is a territory differently than their human and you have a fair number of rocks. IME the males don't like the territories near the sides from some reason...for me that is where the holding females lurk.
Oh really? Ha ha fussy fish, well I will be deconstructing and reconstructing this while removing fish and deep cleans I will watch for cues from the establishing males and re build with them in mind as long as their preferences aren't too different to mine :) after all I am bankrolling them ha ha :p
 

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Better to plan on not rearranging the rock. A new aquascape can makes things worse instead of better, at least for a couple of weeks/months. Remove and replace the same...maybe 1X per year if disaster happens.

Rocks in before substrate so no deep cleaning. Allow python-width all around between glass and rock piles and ideally have one pile on the end that you can divider-off and shoo the fish there. Then just remove that one rock pile to catch them.

Your bankroll is lost if they kill each other. The fish are the boss as opposed to the fishkeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
API master test is here and results are good (I think)

Aquarium water
PH 8
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrate 20 ppm
Nitrite 0.25 ppm

This is safely cycled now right?

Sadly U.K. has shut down retailers And requested we all stay home except for food and work during this pandemic so I cannot go and get the fish for a while
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just an update to my aquarium

I'm now Confident the water is cycled :) To assist I added some media from my soft water community aquarium filter

I've added a 2nd wave maker aimed at the surface to increase oxygenation

I've ran the aquarium 24/7 lighting and managed to get a nice algae bloom on the sides and rocks ready for grazing

I have bought cleaned and added some smaller rock to make 2 piles where fry might possibly survive (I would enjoy to see the odd fry make it even if it's 1 in 100)

Finally I have a digital thermometer coming in the post

I have bought my first Malawi's arriving Friday 03/04/20

8 x unsexed 4cm White top Hara
8 x unsexed 4cm Yellow Labs

2 questions

1. What time do you run your lights,

I was thinking specifically can I set mine to be on when I'm in the house before work for a few hours and on again when I'm hone after work for a few hours meaning they will be off over night and midday, Instead of 8 hours I'd have 4hrs a morning 4hrs evening etc saving electricity and excess algae growth

2. Is running my thermo heater vertical an issue I see lots at 45' angles and google is giving me mixed reviews thy it is or isn't necessary, does anyone here have it vertically I have in next to the inlet and outlet of my right hand filter so gets plenty of water movement passed it
 

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Congrats on the cycle!!! I would monitor both ammonia and nitrite once daily or every 2 days for the next few weeks since you are stocking with 16 fish approx. 2" big.

Lighting cycle sounds just fine if you like. A timer would work well if you already have one.

Vertical installation of the heater is just fine, some people run it at an angle because the heater may be too tall for the tank they have. Just be sure the heater thermostat section has free water flow around it and the bottom portion of the heater is not buried in substrate.

What type of digital thermometer are you getting? The stick on the tank kind tend to not be very accurate IMO. I've used the regular floating type and just remove from tank after checking temps but now use the type with a probe usually for kitchen use since I have multiple tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes it is a fluval edge stick on,

I have a kitchen temperature probe so I can definitely do spot checks with that too

Yes the thermostat is in flow and not buried :)

I will do every other day checks for ammoni and nitrite spikes

:) many thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update:

6 labidochromis caeruleus juveniles (will add 2 more when I add 3rd species)
8 cynotilapia white top hara

Added
Water parameter checks being done every other day :) now time to sit and enjoy :)

Question, What would you add as a 3rd species, not asking strictly what would work as I've researched that thoroughly I'm really asking your personal preference what would you add to a 60 gal 4ft tank as a 3rd species :)
 

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This is 48x12. I would not do demasoni with 2 species already in the tank. Elongatus may need more room than 48x12.

Sprengerae was originally recommended. Latifasciata? Maybe. I have not seen them in 48x12 maybe too rambunctious for hara to color well but could be worth a try.

Albino socolofi?
 
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