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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have a well-established 80 gallon freshwater non-cichlid tank that I'm thinking of converting to a Cichlid tank. Currently the tank is inhabited by platys and guppys mostly. I think those guys will be finding a new home soon.

Question 1: Do I have to re-cycle the tank? Since it's already set up and there's already a good nitrogen cycle going, can I just move the platys and guppys out and then put in some PH raising buffer chemicals, wait a day or two for that to normalize and then move in some Cichlids, or should I reset the whole tank?

Question 2: From what I've read, cichlids prefer rocks and branches to hide in, is that correct? As opposed to lots of plants for cover?

Question 3: The substrate I have now is rather sharp-edged; should I change that out for something more smooth-edged?

Thanks!
 

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1. No, you don't have to recycle it. Depending on what you end up putting in it, you don't need pH buffers, either. I'd leave it empty as little as possible.
2. Depends on the cichlid type.
3. Again, depends on the cichlid type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
dielikemoviestars said:
1. No, you don't have to recycle it. Depending on what you end up putting in it, you don't need pH buffers, either. I'd leave it empty as little as possible.
2. Depends on the cichlid type.
3. Again, depends on the cichlid type.
I was thinking Angelfish, but I'm not sure. I'd love any suggestions you might have for a cichlid newbie! :)
 

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There are lots of different cichlid species that live in lots of different environments and have developed different behaviors and specializations. For anything you say in general about cichlids, there is probably one example to prove it's not true for all of them.

What you have heard about hard water, high pH, and a rocky environment is a stereotype for cichlids from the African rift lakes - Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. Angelfish come from the Amazon basin in South America. The natural environment of Angelfish is characterized by soft, slightly acidic water, and lots of plant growth. The Angelfish's slender body has evolved to allow them a life between the big leafs of dense growth of Amazon sword plants. Most Angelfish you see in a shop today have been bred in captivity for many generations. As a result, they have adapted to no longer need these exact conditions, but they would certainly do well in such an environment.

A fairly general truth about cichlids is that they dig, but Angelfish defy that stereotype as well. I have never seen them interact with the substrate at all, and would say it really doesn't matter to the fish at all what you put in the bottom of the tank. Store bought Angelfish should do very well under the same conditions as platies and guppies, and there should be no need to especially cycle an already established tank.

Lastly, Angelfish are comparatively peaceful as far as cichlids are concerned. They can do quite well with community fish like platies and guppies. Granted, the Angels will catch some of the fry, but assuming adequate plant cover is provided, I think in a tank as large as 80G the lifebearers might be able to sustain a colony in the long term in the presence of the Angelfish. Certainly an Angelfish would not attack a healthy adult platy of guppy, and the lifebearers might be very useful in a planted Angelfish tank for algae control.
 
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