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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a 54 gallon corner tank from marketplace a few days ago. I’m pretty new to fish keeping in general, and I did not realize the mess this tank was. Fish either came with the tank or he would flush them.

Apparently he had consolidated tanks or put some aggressive fish in with some peaceful community fish for some other reason. He posted the tank for sale two months ago, so I figured the tank mates were fine. There were four swordtails (all moved today, after one of the males had his tail nipped and was bullied overnight) and two rainbow fish (still in the tank). There are two cichlids and a yellow Chinese algae eater about 3-4 inches long.

Tank parameters
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20
pH 7.4
Temp 79F
We’re on well water that’s pretty hard, though I haven’t tested it.

Filter is a HOB; seller said it was rated for 65 gallons. I modified it by removing the carbon cartridges and replacing with coarse foam, then mesh bags filled with bio rings and the used floss cut from the old cartridge, then new filter floss. I also added a sponge filter that’s supposed to be rated for 55 gallons.

You can see the rock cave type decorations; these also both have air stones attached.

1. Do I need to remove the rainbow fish and/or algae eater sooner than later? Might the CAE live for a while in a tank with mbunas? I have read the accounts that this species can reach 11” and become so aggressive that it sucks slime coating off of other fish. My kids call him the weird janitor fish. 😆

2. Can I get an ID on the cichlids? The darker one I am pretty sure is a melanochromis auratus female? The other a bumblebee or a Kenyi male?

3. What do I need to create a suitable long term home for these cichlids? Is a 54 corner large enough for a group of cichlids? I estimated that this tank (27.25” along one side) has about (3.14*27.25*27.25)/4= 580 sq in of surface area along the bottom. Thinking of removing the tree decoration in the back corner and replacing with more stacked rocks, maybe made of calcium carbonate to give a little boost to the pH?

4. Tank mates, other mbunas? I would love suggestions and advice. If yes, was thinking maybe 15-18 total is what this tank could house?

5. Would the current filtration be enough if I stocked heavily with mbunas? Or else recommendations? I’ve never used a canister filter.

Thanks for any advice. I’m afraid I may be in over my head.

https://flic.kr/p/2mNdCmi
 

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Welcome to C-F!!

I couldn't tell from the pic but I assume you mean Madagascar Rainbowfish and not rainbow cichlid? Not ideal with those 2 Mbuna cichlids which look like a male Auratus or hybrid and the bumblebee or Pseudotropheus crabro.

I don't recommend adding Mbuna cichlids to the tank due to the shape of the tank because as the cichlids chase each other they will run out of room quickly. You could try and rehome the 2 existing cichlids and then decide on what fish you want to keep or you can keep them and hope for the best until they pass on.

I can't offer any advice on the CAE as I haven't ever kept them before.

Good call on modifying the existing HOB and adding a sponge filter.

Did you want cichlids for this tank once you figure out what to do with the 2 existing fish? You may be limited by the tank size and your well water parameters so hopefully another member with comment.
 

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I don't see the rainbow fish...what kind are they? The corner tank is not ideal for african rift lake (Lake Malawi) mbuna like the auratus or the bunblebee so I would lean toward rehoming THEM as opposed to the rainbow fish. For Lake Malawi cichlids you want more length...as much as 72" would be ideal for a group of auratus and both the auratus and the bumblebee can be troublesome fish...maybe not attractive enough when mature to warrant investing in them.

With a pH=7.4 your water is not THAT hard. The not-too-high pH may open options for you to choose fish more suited to your tank size and shape.

Find the brand on the HOB filter and Google to see what the GPH is. Gallons Per Hour. When you removed the carbon filters (and anything else you removed) you might have removed some beneficial bacteria so monitor your ammonia and nitrite for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
About rehoming the cichlids … I live in the middle of nowhere. There’s a petsmart 45 minutes away, and the nearest quality fish store is probably closer to 2 hours away. I don’t think I’ll have much luck in trying to get a store to take them. How does one go about finding a new home in this situation?
 

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Yes those are Rainbowfish and not cichlids. Ideally they would go in a community tank with other non-cichlids, just monitor to make sure they aren't harassed by the cichlids and be prepared to move them if they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I’ve been monitoring my cycle since Sunday when I set up the tank. Ammonia is always 0, nitrites always 0, nitrates were 10 in the evening after all the stirring things around and has stayed at 10 since then.
 
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