Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a 55 gallon tank. It is not fully cycled yet. Its been running for almost 2 months now.

Filters: Marineland 400 Biowheel and an Aquatech 20-40 gallon
Medium sized subtrate
Silk plants and a few pieces of large driftwood

PH 8.0

I am wanting to set up strictly a cichlid tank. Looking at mostly Tanganyika and Malawai Lakes, mainly Malawi.
I currently have 2 dojo loaches, 2 bristlenose plecos, and 2 dwarf blue gouramis. I'd like to keep the dojo loaches, but I dont mind getting rid of the other 4 if they won't suit well with the cichlids. Thoughts?

My main questions are these:
Do cichlids do best with very fine substrate, or will the medium sized pebbles that I have now suffice? If I swap out the substrate, I assume I will be starting the majority of the cycle all over again?
How do they like driftwood? Would it be best to swap it out for rocks and create caves for them?
Thank you for all the help with this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Rocks. A lot of rocks. I would also suggest promoting green algae so they can do their thing and graze.

I will let someone else answer your other questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
morrismorris said:
Rocks. A lot of rocks. I would also suggest promoting green algae so they can do their thing and graze.

I will let someone else answer your other questions.
Thanks for the response.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,332 Posts
Pool filter sand is my choice, I now have it in all of my tanks. The fish like to sift through it looking for food. Changing substrate shouldn't hurt your bacteria, most of its in the filter. I've changed substrate twice already and never experienced any issues.

For mbuna I would fill the tank with as many rocks as possible, making plenty of caves. I've also used driftwood before without any negatives.

Your dojo loaches may not have a good time with mbuna though.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,501 Posts
I'd leave out the Tangs with Malawi as well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,048 Posts
The problem I see is removing a few fish in an uncycled tank, then slamming it with mbuna. You'll encounter problems.

Try to source some established media, or start fresh with returning your current fish, and doing a fishless cycle. For your first foray, do not mix rift lakes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Iggy Newcastle said:
The problem I see is removing a few fish in an uncycled tank, then slamming it with mbuna. You'll encounter problems.

Try to source some established media, or start fresh with returning your current fish, and doing a fishless cycle. For your first foray, do not mix rift lakes.
Thats actually exactly what my thought was as well. I'm going to start completely fresh. Im going to remove and re-home the fish that I have, completely clean out the tank. Put new sand, rocks and filters, and do the fishless cycle.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "do not mix rift lakes"? I'm guessing you're referring to don't mix driftwood in with this?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
james1983 said:
Pool filter sand is my choice, I now have it in all of my tanks. The fish like to sift through it looking for food. Changing substrate shouldn't hurt your bacteria, most of its in the filter. I've changed substrate twice already and never experienced any issues.

For mbuna I would fill the tank with as many rocks as possible, making plenty of caves. I've also used driftwood before without any negatives.

Your dojo loaches may not have a good time with mbuna though.
How deep do you have your sand? And do you deal with air bubbles that get filled with toxic gas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,332 Posts
glickster89 said:
james1983 said:
Pool filter sand is my choice, I now have it in all of my tanks. The fish like to sift through it looking for food. Changing substrate shouldn't hurt your bacteria, most of its in the filter. I've changed substrate twice already and never experienced any issues.

For mbuna I would fill the tank with as many rocks as possible, making plenty of caves. I've also used driftwood before without any negatives.

Your dojo loaches may not have a good time with mbuna though.
How deep do you have your sand? And do you deal with air bubbles that get filled with toxic gas?
Pretty thin, maybe an inch. Between vacuuming and the fish sifting it stays turned over pretty good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
james1983 said:
glickster89 said:
james1983 said:
Pool filter sand is my choice, I now have it in all of my tanks. The fish like to sift through it looking for food. Changing substrate shouldn't hurt your bacteria, most of its in the filter. I've changed substrate twice already and never experienced any issues.

For mbuna I would fill the tank with as many rocks as possible, making plenty of caves. I've also used driftwood before without any negatives.

Your dojo loaches may not have a good time with mbuna though.
How deep do you have your sand? And do you deal with air bubbles that get filled with toxic gas?
Pretty thin, maybe an inch. Between vacuuming and the fish sifting it stays turned over pretty good.
Awesome...thanks. My last question about pool filter sand. I haven't yet found a siphon that attaches to any of my sinks faucets, so I have been currently doing the old school manual siphon with buckets. How would this work with cleaning the top surface of pool filter sand? I assume I would keep the hose about an inch or so from the top of the sand, but I still envision sand getting sucked up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
glickster89 said:
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "do not mix rift lakes"? I'm guessing you're referring to don't mix driftwood in with this?

Thanks
I believe he is referring to not mixing Tangs with Malawi mbuna. Should choose one or the other. Although while you mention it, I wouldn't put driftwood in a mbuna/Tang tank. They like hard and alkaline water. Driftwood will make the water more soft and acidic. Plus it's not really something they run into in their natural environment too much (mbuna especially). Keep the décor simple. Sand for substrate and large rock piles that algae can grow on is all they need and what they like best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thornsja19 said:
glickster89 said:
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "do not mix rift lakes"? I'm guessing you're referring to don't mix driftwood in with this?

Thanks
I believe he is referring to not mixing Tangs with Malawi mbuna. Should choose one or the other. Although while you mention it, I wouldn't put driftwood in a mbuna/Tang tank. They like hard and alkaline water. Driftwood will make the water more soft and acidic. Plus it's not really something they run into in their natural environment too much (mbuna especially). Keep the décor simple. Sand for substrate and large rock piles that algae can grow on is all they need and what they like best.
Got it. I was deciding between Tangs and Mbuna but I am doing 100% Mbuna. Understood about just sand and rocks. Makes it easy too. Filtration wise- Am I good with what I have?Marineland HOB 400 biowheel as well as a 20-40 gallon aquatech for extra filtration. Also do you guys use carbon in your filters?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,501 Posts
We don't use carbon unless we are removing medication or if the tap water is discolored.

To decide whether you have enough filtration, you look up the gallons per hour (GPH) of each filter. You can look at the specifications that came with the filter, or Google the name of your filter and gallons per hour.

A common guideline is 8X to 10X GPH. So for a 55G you want between 8 x 55 or 440 and 10 x 55 or 550 gallons per hour.

Check out the Cichlid-Forum Library for videos on cleaning sand. Check out the Python "No-Spill Clean and Fill" for a siphon that will attach to your faucets (many adapters) and both drain and refill your tank with 78 degree water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Another question:
My 55 gallon tank does have the plastic rim along the sides, so it is not rimless. The stand that it fits on does not any sort of center support. All the support is on the edges and 4 corners. How much weight in rocks do you think I can add? (along with 50-75lbs of PFS)
Thanks!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
40,501 Posts
Tanks are always supported at the edges/corners only...you can fill the tank solid full of rocks and stand on top without breaking the glass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Started the fishless cycle today. I understand you all dont recommend using carbon in your filters, unless removing medications, etc.
Does that include starting this fishless cycle as well? I picked up some fluval foam filter in place of the carbon ones. Just making sure this is okay to use when starting a new cycle. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am about halfway through the cycle. I do have one question hoping to get answered.

Im in the nitrite testing process, so I am doing daily water changes while testing for nitrite, and then adding the ammonia every other day. I was adding dechlorinator to the water after each water change, but then thought it was unnecessary because I dont have any fish in there and it was just a waste. I was then going to add in enough of the dechlorinator for 55 gallons once the cycle was done. But now I am thinking that was a mistake by not adding it after each water change.

Is that chlorine killing off all the good bacteria that I have been building up in my filters? I hope I didnt screw this up. Nowhere on the fishless cycle guide did it state about adding or not tap water solution during the water changes since there's no fish. Thanks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,846 Posts
Why are you doing water changes during a fishless cycling? I reread the article and it recommends a small water change IF the nitrite is very high.

What are the results for nitrite now?

I don't think you need to add a dechlor product during the fishless cycling procedure since there should be minimal disinfection levels at the tap water.
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top