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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I would do a piece on setting up my new tank, which has been a labour of love so far.

I've been keeping Cichlids for the past 6 or 7 years now, but always had mbuna in a 200L tank. Recently I had a leak from a canister filter (slight nick in an o ring) which resulted in water damage to the stand. I don't trust it now, due to the damage, so decided to replace it.

Instead of another tank stand, I found a large (1.6 metre long) oak sideboard for sale locally, second hand. Just after that, I ordered a custom built tank from a local company that would sit nicely on it, complete with opti white front and glass panes for the lid. Delivery of the tank took months as COVID did what it does best and disrupted the business. Eventually though, it arrived over three months later.

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I then got some nice strong wood and set about strengthening the sideboard. I effectively created a new frame for it to sit on to bear most of the weight being pushed downward, as well as adding some vertical strengthening inside it.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After that, I ordered some 3D background sheets to put at the rear of the tank. I got what I considered a bargain on eBay, four sheets (more than enough) for around £40.

I used the sheets to create a column either end to hide the filter inlet pipes etc.

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Then I fitted them all to the back of the tank and added sand substrate.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It was then time to add the rest. At the moment, I have reused the rocks from the old tank, but may swap them out at some point. I've fitted my Eheim Ecco canister filter to the tank, swapping it from the old one.

I obviously added the air stone too, with the fish going in last.

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Please excuse the internal filter on the left, it's a temporary thing. I've ordered a Fluval fx4 that should be fitted within the next few days. I will be reusing some of the filter media from my other filter to get it going.

At the moment it just has a small group of Phenochilus starfires in there. They are only young and still growing on, but the males are starting to look good already. Unfortunately, it looks like I have 5M and 6F, so I intend to sell a couple of those males, much as it will probably pain me to do so!

I still need to sort out the lighting for this tank, and I'm looking at getting an LED clip on style unit that is on a flexible stalk and can simply be moved out of the way for maintenance. The other plan is to add a small group of Taeniolatus red empress as the second set of inhabitants, hopefully with only one or two males :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here is a quick pic of the starfires as they are starting to colour up nicely.

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That pic was taken in the old tank by the way. Probably worth mentioning that there is a yellow pleco in there too, keeping an eye on the algae growth for me
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I'm pretty much all done now. I have added the Fluval Fx4 (wow, no need for a wave maker with them as the flow is incredible) and got rid of the temp internal filter. I then eventually added the LED lights.

The new fish (all F1) arrived from a top supplier in the UK. I've added six Red Empress (2M - 4F for now) and a couple of female Star Sapphires to help with the male to female ratio. I've sold two of my male Sapphs to a guy locally, although typically as soon as they went, a couple more started to colour up, suggesting that I may still have up to five males!!
 

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Do you anticipate the more aggressive empress impacting the level of color you will get with the phenos?

What are the dimensions of the tank?

This fish look good and I do like the background.
 

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Wow, that's really beautiful work. Nice job! =D>
Oooohhh.... and, I've got questions!
- As per 'DJRansome': tank dimensions?
- can't see the heater - did you go inline with it? (discharge canister hose?).
- What kind of rocks did you use?
Once again, that's great work. Thanks for sharing! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Evening all.

Can't remember the exact dimensions of the tank, as it was built to fit the 1.6 metre long cabinet with an inch spare front and back. It's about 1.4 metres long though.

The heater is just hidden, and is laid down behind the rocks on the left hand side.

I'm not sure about whether one set of fish will impact the others. Everything I've read suggested those two fish should be peaceful enough together, and when I've asked breeders and others who know more than I do, none have suggested I would have any real issues. I must admit that since putting them together, neither group are as colourful as they were when alone, but I had put that down to them getting used to the new surroundings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh, I forgot about the rocks!

It's some sort of slate that I had in my last tank, mined somewhere in the UK, but don't ask me where as I've had it years.
 

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Empress have a rep for being on the aggressive side and sapphire on the timid side.

Some big fish for a five foot tank, but they should be impressive.
 
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