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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to start an african cichlid tank and I need a lot of help.

I'm at a bit of a loss at where to start, to be honest. Size wise, I was thinking of getting a 4ft, 240l tank, what kind of filter would I need? Also what kind of flow do they like?
I know alot of my questions are going to be subjective to the kind of fish I want to keep, but I'm a bit clueless on what my options, are they any guides out there on the different lakes?

I don't have much on my water readings, last time I checked my tap water, it was around 12ppm nitrates.
This is what my water company has to say on my water hardness.

Your water hardness
271 mg/l CaCO₃

19.00 English degrees or degrees clark
27.14 French degrees
15.20 German degrees
2.71 mmol/l
15.20 Grains per US gallon
19.00 Grains per British Gallon

This means your water is classified as hard
I greatly appreciate any help.
 

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Go to the Cichlid-forum Library and read the articles on Tank Set Up.

Get a test kit with liquid regeants that will do pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and test your tap water. The nitrates already in your tap water will make keeping your nitrates low a challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DJRansome said:
The nitrates already in your tap water will make keeping your nitrates low a challenge.
As in not recommended?
What can I do about the nitrates in my water? Am I looking at using RO water?
 

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I don't think you will need to use RO water. The test results from the water company don't always match up with what you actually have at your home so testing yourself would be a good thing.

Starting out with 12 ppm of nitrate in the tap water is not ideal but also not the end of the world, it may just require more frequent water changes to keep the nitrate as low as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

Filtration wise, is it better to have 1 big filter, or 2 smaller ones?

Is it wise to maybe look into a sump?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The tank I'm looking at is 295l.
Would 2 x Fluval 406 Canister Filters do the job? They're rated at 1450 lph.
 

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I would double that level of filtration.

I like 2 filters in case one has a problem, but 1 filter will do the job just as well.

I prefer canisters to sumps for their quietness.
 

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That seems like an overkill to me...anyway, I have a very good experience with fluval FX6. But I have 2 of those on a 1000+ l aquarium...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I was getting excited, went out to have a look at some tanks today.
Come home to find JBL Pro scan kit had turned up, so gave my tap water a go.



I can't believe my nitrate levels, talk about a punch below the belt. :(
 

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DEL 707 said:
Thanks for the replies.

Filtration wise, is it better to have 1 big filter, or 2 smaller ones?

Is it wise to maybe look into a sump?
How about two large filters or a large sump?

Don't skimp on filtration.
 

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DEL 707 said:
Well, I was getting excited, went out to have a look at some tanks today.
Come home to find JBL Pro scan kit had turned up, so gave my tap water a go.



I can't believe my nitrate levels, talk about a punch below the belt. :(
As for nitrates maybe consider plants and look into anaerobic bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On advice, I decided to go get a liquid test kit to confirm the results.



Not great, but definately not 40ppm
 

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I would definitely consider a good number of medium fast growing plants to help with your nitrate. Plants are not easy at first and require dedication and persistence (at least for me) but extra water changes are a pain too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Would it be worth upgrading the Fluval 406's to FX4 filters?

Since I'm aiming to get Mbunu, I don't think I can keep plants in the actually tank, but I was hoping to add some sort of hanging basket around the top of the tank to hold pothos. Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well been having a serious think about it all.

I'm still a little worried about my water quality and wondering if I should be investing in a sump. Not for filter material, but for nitrate eating plants?
I emailed the company I'm looking to buy from for a picture of the tank top, so that I could see how much room I would have to play with.



No room at all to play with to put on a hang on overflow, so I would need a drilled tank.
I either do that myself and risk damging my tank, or pay for a marine tank which is pre-drilled. Problem is, with a drilled tank, plus sump and piping I'm looking to add another £300 on top of the price.

So I'm at a bit of a crossroad, pay £800+ for a tank with a sump, or just get a normal tank.

Basically comes down to, am I worrying too much and should I save myself £300?
 
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