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I am getting a new 55g setup today and have never had fish before. How the heck do I set this thing up properly for cichlids? I breed frogs and snakes but this is my first try at fish. From what I have heard, cichlids are a good starter fish. Please help!!!! It won't hurt my fealing if you treat me like an idiot because when it comes to fish, I am. -
 

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Have a look here and try to work out what you're more inclined to. Also check out this to see what a lot of people think will generally work in a 55.

As for set up, there isn't a wrong way but a few things can get you in the right direction. Most people here recommend using a canister filter with a hang on back filter. Cichlids are pretty messy so they need effective filtration. Most cichlids like sand, but this is not necessary. Most, including myself, would recommend pool filter sand. It's cheap, precleaned, and looks great. You would only need one 50lb bag for your tank most likely and 50lb is always less than $10. You just need to rinse it out a bit and you're good to go. It looks tan in the bag but with good lights it looks more white.

Once you get a better direction of what you want to keep, we can better help you with more specific details. Good luck!
 

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Initially, just make sure there's no chlorine in your tap water, if there is, use a dechlorinator. Seachem Prime is a good choice.

Before you add fish, you need to cycle your tank. This is probably the best source of all the information you need in one place.

That's really all you have to do to get your tank set up. It's easy once you get the hang of it, don't let this intimidate you!
 

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We alll have to start somewhere. Google stting up a cichlid tank. You should be able to find something.
 

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hey KY lets start with your water parameters and go from there. that and wat you like to look at. be it rocks logs and plants.. or rocks and colorful fish. theres soo many possibilities you need to isolate some. personally id start with a moderate planted setup. with logs and maybe some SA/CA pair. then maybe some tetras and cories to fill it in. most is readily available locally.
 
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