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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after a couple years of keeping tropical fish I've decided to switch to cichlids and need to make a few changes to my aquarium before stocking and I needed some expert advice on a few thongs I'm not sure about.

First off I was thinking of using silica sand and wanted to know if that was a suitable substrate?

I have a tetra heater for 30-60 gallons and need to know if that's an ok heater or if I should get another.I've never had trouble keeping the temp at 78 so I think I'm ok.

I have a hang on back tetra filter that houses two carbon cartridges and need to know if that's adequate filtration for my 55 gallon tank or if i should add another filter or just replace the one I have completely.

Also I need to know if I need some other form of water movement.I have two big airstones which keep the surface disrupted pretty well I think.

I want to use Texas holey rock but was wondering if that's something easily gotten from a local rock quarry or does it depend on what area of Texas your in?
My last question is while switching to sand I have two blood parrots and I want to remove them from the tank and haven't any clue how to go about it safely.I've had them for awhile and definitely don't want anything to happen to them.I've kept them with labs in the past for a short stint so I know they'll do just fine with the cichlids I'm wanting to stock my tank with.
I appreciate anyone that posts on here and can offer Amy help or advice.thanks ahead of time!
 

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I currently have 4 blood parrots in my malawi tank, havent had any problems yet. but I will be removing them once I find them a new home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good to hear pork_chop!mine are paired off and are forever digging a nest inside my alligator head so I'll probably have to give some thought about rehoming them there might be a lot of aggression with them defending their hiding spot.I'm going with some more peaceful Malawi species so I feel like they'll be fine.I'd gotten some mixed cichlids which I returned to the pet store and they had no problem with them and there wasn't a lot of aggression so I think they'll be fine.I only returned the cichlids because they weren't exactly the ones I needed.
 

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You said you decided to switch to cichlids. A blood parrot is a South American cichlid. Are you switching to Afican cichlids? If so, then silica sand will do just fine. I use pool filter sand. It's not too fine, cheap and pretty clean right out of the bag. Before using any sand as a substrate, you should rinse it. http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/sand.php

If the heater you have now, is successfully heating your tank, then there is no need to change it. I try to keep my African tanks around 80 degrees or so.

I have never used Tetra filters before. So I'm not sure if your filter cartridges just hold carbon or if it's a combo of carbon with a filtering pad on top of it. The reason I ask is because carbon alone is pretty useless in a fish tank unless removing medications that you may have dosed with. I have Emperor 400s which has a combo of carbon covered by blue filter pads on top of it. If yours is similar to mine, then continue to use it. Hope this didn't confuse you.

If you plan on keeping african cichlids and depending on how many you plan to keep, you may want to invest in another filter. Africans can be pretty dirty. You could ad another HOB or maybe some type of canister filter.

As far as water movement, you are probably ok with what you have. Air stones don't really move water but they do disrupt the surface some. Your HOB filter should be disrupting the surface pretty good as well. Canister filters not only filter, but also moves water in the tank as well.

As far as the Texas holey rock, some LFS carry them and I know you can buy it online. I've never used it, so thats the extent of my knowledge on it.

For removing your parrots, check with your local fish store. Some stores will buy them from you, give you a store credit or just take them off your hands. You may also consider selling them on craigslist. Although some may have success keeping blood parrots with african cichlids, the do have different water parameters than Africans so I would advise against it.

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask and also check out the library section of the site. Tons and tons of good info there. Good luck!
 

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k.lytle said:
I want to use Texas holey rock but was wondering if that's something easily gotten from a local rock quarry or does it depend on what area of Texas your in?
What part of Texas do you live in? Theres a place in Houston that sells it for .11¢ per lb. but its filled / caked with mud etc. so youll have to clean it off really good. I cant think of the name of the place off hand but its a landscaping place off of hwy 249 around the Spring area heading towards Tomball. Also call up other Houston landscaping companies and ask for limestone rock with holes in it because they dont always call it TX holey rock. That word is mainly used in the aquarium world. You can always take a road trip and head out to the Austin / San Marco area and pick it for free. :D You can load up a pickup or uhaul and sell what you dont use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rgr4475 Thanks for your help.my filter only holds a carbon pad so I'm assuming I just need touy a new filter.I'll be rehoming my blood parrots because I do want to set up an thanAfrican tank and the water parameters are too different.would you recommend your emperor filter?

60gallon I live in the Dallas fort worth area so I was hoping I could find se close to here.=) although I might wind up just ordering some online if I can't find it locally.thank you!
 

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k.lytle said:
rgr4475 Thanks for your help.my filter only holds a carbon pad so I'm assuming I just need touy a new filter.I'll be rehoming my blood parrots because I do want to set up an thanAfrican tank and the water parameters are too different.would you recommend your emperor filter?

60gallon I live in the Dallas fort worth area so I was hoping I could find se close to here.=) although I might wind up just ordering some online if I can't find it locally.thank you!
Yes I have ran Emperor filters for years. I have 1 emperor 400 on my 55 along with a fluval 305 canister filter. On my 180g, I have two Emperor 400 along with 2 other canister filters. Aquaclear makes a good filter as well but I have never used them. I would say those two are the most popular HOB brands. When you first set up the emperors, they can make a little noise or rattle. After a short period of time they "break in" and become quieter. Again, I have never used Tetra, but that combined with an Emperor 400 on your 55 should work well. Check and see what else you can run in place of the carbon pads in your tetra. Stay away from ammonia removers or anything else like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok I'm going to go with an emperor 400 do you think that is sufficient water turnover for my 55 or would you add another?I read on my tetra hob and it says its not recommended for use with sand so I guess I'll be getting rid of it anyways =) when I change filters would you let it cycle for a week with the gravel before making the change to sand so my levels don't go haywire?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok thanks rgr4475 I found my instruction manual for my HOB tetra and it just said it wasn't recommended but I think it'll be fine like you said as long as its far enough from the bottom.if the carbon filters that I've been using aren't good by themselves could you recommend a filter to put inside my tetra?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah sorry I was meaning just to ask that in hopes anyone else might have any clue about them.thank you for your help I appreciate it and will hopefully have my tank all set up soon!=)
 

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If it were me I would get the new filter first,let it run on the tank for at least 4 weeks to get established,in that time I would locate the rocks,get them cleaned up and ready to go in,I would also decide in those 4 weeks what fish I will get and arrange to rehome the parrots the same day I change the substrate and get the new cichlids,good luck :)
 

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newforestrob said:
If it were me I would get the new filter first,let it run on the tank for at least 4 weeks to get established,in that time I would locate the rocks,get them cleaned up and ready to go in,I would also decide in those 4 weeks what fish I will get and arrange to rehome the parrots the same day I change the substrate and get the new cichlids,good luck :)
+1
You definitely want to run the new filter with the existing one for awhile to get a good BB growth in the new filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
How many pounds of rick is safe to put in a glass 55?also what's safe to put in the bottom?egg crate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well I ordered my emperor 400 yesterday and should have it in by the end of the week.what kind of media would y'all suggest I put in the media holder?also I need to know how many pounds of rock I can safely have in my aquarium and what I can put in the bottom to prrotect the glass?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well I got my new filter in yesterday and installed it, I had to cut one of the intake tubes in half so it wouldn't sit on the bottom.
I'm using renstar foam and quilt batting in the media holder.that seems to be the way everyone else is going with.
I also have some holey rock ordered so I'm on my wayto getting this tank setup.
 
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