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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've currently got 3 freshwater community tanks that have been up and running. Luckily I just had another 50gal end up in my possession (48 x ~18 x ~13) . I was going to go for a 4th freshwater community, but realized I'm cutting off a whole section of my LFS and think I'm going to go with cichlids. I've started cycling the tank for about 5 days. I used some established tank filters to introduce bacteria and I'm using eco-complete complete planted aquarium for my substrate with one lonely sword plant from an established tank. I have more decor soaking and getting ready to be introduced.

I've been spending a lot of time reading and everyone seems to say something completely different to start off. After spending 2.5 months or so getting my 37 cycled, I've started out the entire tanks with RO water (which is in this 50). I've been able to "starter fish" cycle. but I've read different opinions with a cichlid tank. Some say fishless cycle, others say put some cheap fish that will soon be sacrificed. I'm wondering which is preferred?

Also I've read to stock the tank rapidly (and to overstock, rather than the 1" to 1 gallon rule) because of territorial issues.

I guess to put it more specifically, have I gone to far in the setup intending it to be a freshwater community to change my intent for it to be a cichlid tank? If not, what is the best step to take next? to allow cycling with or without fish? and if with, should i use fish that will end up being cichlid food or start off the bat with cichlids (and if so, how many, and at what rate?)

Thanks for any guidance.
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