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Hi all. I've taken a recent interest in aquariums (I had a few tanks a few years back, but they had to go. long story...) and was thinking of setting up a tank in the 40-60 gallon range. I would want to have mbuna (please forgive me if I spelled that wrong) in the tank. I've done a little bit of research, but I have a few questions. I have made my fair share of mistakes in the past and want to do things the right way this time.

1. Is 55 gallons a decent size for mbuna? Is it possible to go a little smaller?

2. How much can I expect to spend on a tank, lighting, stand, sand/gravel, rocks, filtration, and all other necessary components?

3. What are the necessary components for the tank and to keep the fish healthy?

4. Where do I start once I have the necessary components of the tank?

5. What are some good species for beginners?

6. Any other advice to avoid any costly mishaps would be appreciated.
 

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1. 55g is the standard beginner tank, it seems. I think if you're going 4', you may as well go 60g, since you get a few more inches in width. You can do a 3' tank (40 breeder or something similar) but your options are VERY limited. No smaller.

2. Depends how much you find on craigslist and where you get your rocks. You can find a full set up on CL for less than $1/gallon and get rocks for $.08/lb or less. Or it can be up to $10/gallon if it's all new.

3. Filter, heater. Rocks are more or less necessary. Substrate is somewhat optional, but you may as well grab a back of pool filter (silica) sand. It's cheap.

4. Cycle the tank. Articles about fishless cycling can be found in the library section.

5. Most mbuna that aren't in the Melanochromis genus. Find what you like and go from there - we'll help ya out ;)

6. Keep asking questions, keep researching, and be ready to invest some time and money in the beginning to do it right. You're off to a great start already.
 

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I would say 55 is standard as well for mbuna, keeping about 3 species of mbuna in it. I wanna say that the LFS near me has a set up of a 55 gallon with light and filter and hood for a little under 300, I would search Craigslist for a better deal. Like dielikemoviestars said, filter, heater, light, rocks are important in mbuna set ups, sand works great.

Pretty much repeating everything moviestars said, cuz he is spot on haha. Look at any mbuna you like and that are accessible to you, then go from there. Have fun, don't be shy :thumb:
 

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If you are limited to 4' length I too think you should seriously consider a 60g tank. The extra width is very nice. You could also go with a 75 gallon but those are just taller and more of your arm gets wet when you have to do maintenance :D

I had a 60 for a few months. It was the perfect 4' tank imo.

Shop craigslist for a great deal.
 
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