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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am now in the process of aquiring my first new Tank and I have decided to go the Malawi route. I am a complete beginner...

This is what I am doing:

2000x800x450mm Tank
2 x 1000L/hr powerheads
1 x 1300L/hr UV light filter
1 x 1600Lhr Cannister external filter
2 x 300W heaters
4 x 6ft Fluoresents

Water here in Cape Town is soft, so I must do something about that. Rocks from the beach? Crushed shell from the beach?

Like I said, I am a complete beginner, but with the setup and startup cycle that will take a while, I have a lot of time to do some research, ask lots of questions, etc.

I have visited a few shops here in CT, but they all seem to have different ideas. This is very confusing, so I have decided to rely on my own reading and wonderfull forums like this one. If I read that the startup cycle will take a long time (4-6 weeks) and the LFS's tells you "no, only 24-48 hrs", then I tend to believe the forums. Everybody says; "go slow", so I intend to go slow.

I hope to make plenty of posts and ask plenty of questions, so please bear with me.

Anybody here from Cape Town, South Africa?

Best Regards
Jean
 

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That is a good size tank to start with! (About 6.5'x31"x18" for you non-metric folks). That works out to about 185 gallons.

Looks like you have a good amount of light and filtration too.

Here is an article about how to buffer up soft water.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php
The beach rocks probably won't do much. The smashed up shells will probably help some.
Here's an article on rocks that are safe to use too...
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/rock_metals.php

Do you plan on cycling with fish, or doing the fishless cycle?

What are planning to stock it with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1st water test tonight!

I am not so worried about the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites yet, but I want to get the pH, gH, kH and Temp. as perfect as possible for the Malawis. Is there an article somewhere descibing ideal conditions?

thx
Jean
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi,

Test last night:

Temp: 28C
pH: 8
kH: 6
GH: 6
Am: 0.5mg/l
Nitrite: 0,0mg/l
Nitrate: Strange, but I could not get a reading. I tested twice, but the vial stayed clear...

I need to get the kH up to 7 or 8 and I have added 5kg's of crushed coral, I'll check again tonight..

The tank has now been up since Saturday. Do I have to clean the filters or how would I know when to clean it? Water is crystal clear...

Regards
Jean
 

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Sounds like you are right on track.
Not surprising that you get no Nitrate reading because you havn't started to cycle your tank yet and there will be no nitrates. Good to know there is none in your tap water though.
So those readings are essentially your tap water or have you done anything to it yet?

Here is a good article on hardness and how to raise or lower it.
http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/hardness.htm

I'm not sure what your asking about cleaning the filters???
You don't clean them. You need to get that tank cycled. (Nitrogen cycle)
Are you gonna add some "sacrificial" fish to do that or are you wanting to do a fishless cycle?
If your doing fishless, add household ammonia with no surfactants until you have about 5ppm. (you will know if the ammonia has surfactants in it by shaking the bottle, if it gets sudsy like soap, don't use it).
Read this article: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/f ... ycling.php

You will also want to get some bacteria started in that tank, to speed up the cycle. You can use a filter off a well established tank to help.
Read this: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/jump_start.php

That should start you out....
 
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