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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hopefully getting my fish (Labs & Dems) on Friday or Saturday. So I have some questions.

* The store I am getting them from uses Omega One. From reading here, I would rather use NLS. Should I buy some Omega One and slowly switch over, or can you just switch it?

* I will have both omnivore and herbavore, can they eat the same food? Should I use something with the NLS?

* After I put them in my tank, how many days should I wait before I feed them?

* Do I aclimate them with lights on or lights off and for how long?

* When I aclimate my saltwater fish, I make sure that my salinity and the salinity in the bag are exactly the same. (Usually takes about 1 1/2 hrs). Fresh water is a little different, should I be matching the PH?

* Is there a "first aid" kit I should have on hand? Particular medicines and cures of ick, bloat etc?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm excited and nervous. Any extra advise for a newbie is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks
 

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Good questions! :thumb:
zoie said:
* The store I am getting them from uses Omega One. From reading here, I would rather use NLS. Should I buy some Omega One and slowly switch over, or can you just switch it?
You can just switch it, although it may take the fish a bit of time to adjust to eating pellets instead of flakes.
* I will have both omnivore and herbavore, can they eat the same food? Should I use something with the NLS?
That's why NLS is great- it's well suited for veggie and meaty eaters.
* After I put them in my tank, how many days should I wait before I feed them?
I would wait 24 hours, then feed very lightly- only a few pellets. Then, if they eat, feed a bit more on Day 2. Don't worry too much if they're not interested in food for a few days.
* Do I aclimate them with lights on or lights off and for how long?
Lights off for the first couple days to let them get used to the new digs. If these are tank raised fish, they'll adjust pretty quickly (compared to wild caught, anyway). [/quote]
* When I aclimate my saltwater fish, I make sure that my salinity and the salinity in the bag are exactly the same. (Usually takes about 1 1/2 hrs). Fresh water is a little different, should I be matching the PH?
Is your home tank already cycled? If not, we need to have a whole different conversation. But, assuming that your biofilter is well established, and your water is suitable for African cichlids (pH above 7.5, well buffered, hard water) then just match temperature. If you tank is not currently suitable, you should wait a few more days and get those details ironed out.
* Is there a "first aid" kit I should have on hand? Particular medicines and cures of ick, bloat etc?
Well, I always have metronidazole and Epsom salt on hand, and I use heat and kosher salt for ich. Make sure you have test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, GH, and KH. Also- always use a good dechlorinator with every water change... Oh, water changes will be different from saltwater tanks- freshwater tanks benefit from frequent, large water changes (I do 50% every week or two in order to keep my nitrate readings below 20 ppm).

Are there any other fish in the tank? What size tank is it and what filtration are you using? What are your current water parameters?
 

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zoie said:
I am hopefully getting my fish (Labs & Dems) on Friday or Saturday. So I have some questions.

* The store I am getting them from uses Omega One. From reading here, I would rather use NLS. Should I buy some Omega One and slowly switch over, or can you just switch it?
Just switch
* I will have both omnivore and herbavore, can they eat the same food? Yes Should I use something with the NLS? Not required, but you can.

* After I put them in my tank, how many days should I wait before I feed them?
24 hours
* Do I aclimate them with lights on or lights off and for how long?
Off, 1 day
* When I aclimate my saltwater fish, I make sure that my salinity and the salinity in the bag are exactly the same. (Usually takes about 1 1/2 hrs). Fresh water is a little different, should I be matching the PH?
Float the bags to equalize temps. Check the bag water pH and compare to tank. If the bag water pH is considerably lower than the tank water, I don't recommend drip acclimating. If this is the case, I would net them and add to the tank. If the pH is nearly the same, you can drip acclimate if you like. I'd probably test the bag water for ammonia first. Either way, do not add any bag water to your tank.

* Is there a "first aid" kit I should have on hand? Particular medicines and cures of ick, bloat etc?
I stock Maracyn I&II, Melafix, Metronidazole and Clout. There are plenty of alternatives.
Sorry for all the questions, but I'm excited and nervous. Any extra advise for a newbie is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
triscuit said:
Good questions! :thumb:
zoie said:
* The store I am getting them from uses Omega One. From reading here, I would rather use NLS. Should I buy some Omega One and slowly switch over, or can you just switch it?
You can just switch it, although it may take the fish a bit of time to adjust to eating pellets instead of flakes.
* I will have both omnivore and herbavore, can they eat the same food? Should I use something with the NLS?
That's why NLS is great- it's well suited for veggie and meaty eaters.
* After I put them in my tank, how many days should I wait before I feed them?
I would wait 24 hours, then feed very lightly- only a few pellets. Then, if they eat, feed a bit more on Day 2. Don't worry too much if they're not interested in food for a few days.
* Do I aclimate them with lights on or lights off and for how long?
Lights off for the first couple days to let them get used to the new digs. If these are tank raised fish, they'll adjust pretty quickly (compared to wild caught, anyway).
* When I aclimate my saltwater fish, I make sure that my salinity and the salinity in the bag are exactly the same. (Usually takes about 1 1/2 hrs). Fresh water is a little different, should I be matching the PH?
Is your home tank already cycled? If not, we need to have a whole different conversation. But, assuming that your biofilter is well established, and your water is suitable for African cichlids (pH above 7.5, well buffered, hard water) then just match temperature. If you tank is not currently suitable, you should wait a few more days and get those details ironed out.
* Is there a "first aid" kit I should have on hand? Particular medicines and cures of ick, bloat etc?
Well, I always have metronidazole and Epsom salt on hand, and I use heat and kosher salt for ich. Make sure you have test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, GH, and KH. Also- always use a good dechlorinator with every water change... Oh, water changes will be different from saltwater tanks- freshwater tanks benefit from frequent, large water changes (I do 50% every week or two in order to keep my nitrate readings below 20 ppm).

Are there any other fish in the tank? What size tank is it and what filtration are you using? What are your current water parameters?
Yes, my tank cycled like 10 years ago :lol: There are NO other fish in the tank (I donated them so I could start getting the water ready for cichlids).

Tank size: 4' long, 13" wide and about 12" tall.(about 33 gal) I have a Whisper filter for a 55 gal, I use 2 ready filled filters, a bag a purigen for 100 gal tank, I'm adding a sponge to the filter and I have a power head on the other end of the tank to help with water flow.

Water Parameters:
amonia:0
nitrites:0
nitrates: 20 before a wc, 10 after (doing 8 gal 1x a week)
temp: 79
chlorine: 0
PH: 8 (although after I added cichlid stones it went up to 8.6) will work on that
GH: 180 ppm
KH: 180 ppm

I have been working on the water for about a month. The PH out of my tap is 7.6. Either my KH or GH was only about 60 ppm. After fiddling for a bit I figured out if I added 3t. baking soda and 1 Tbs. epsom salt with each wc it brought my reading to PH:8 KH and GH 180.

Thanks for all the advise and answers!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
GTZ said:
zoie said:
I am hopefully getting my fish (Labs & Dems) on Friday or Saturday. So I have some questions.

* The store I am getting them from uses Omega One. From reading here, I would rather use NLS. Should I buy some Omega One and slowly switch over, or can you just switch it?
Just switch
* I will have both omnivore and herbavore, can they eat the same food? Yes Should I use something with the NLS? Not required, but you can.

* After I put them in my tank, how many days should I wait before I feed them?
24 hours
* Do I aclimate them with lights on or lights off and for how long?
Off, 1 day
* When I aclimate my saltwater fish, I make sure that my salinity and the salinity in the bag are exactly the same. (Usually takes about 1 1/2 hrs). Fresh water is a little different, should I be matching the PH?
Float the bags to equalize temps. Check the bag water pH and compare to tank. If the bag water pH is considerably lower than the tank water, I don't recommend drip acclimating. If this is the case, I would net them and add to the tank. If the pH is nearly the same, you can drip acclimate if you like. I'd probably test the bag water for ammonia first. Either way, do not add any bag water to your tank.

* Is there a "first aid" kit I should have on hand? Particular medicines and cures of ick, bloat etc?
I stock Maracyn I&II, Melafix, Metronidazole and Clout. There are plenty of alternatives.
Sorry for all the questions, but I'm excited and nervous. Any extra advise for a newbie is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks
Thanks for the answers! I will look into the Maracyn 1&II, Melafix Matronidazole and Clout. I don't even know what they are for, but I will learn :wink:

Thanks again!!
 

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Yes, my tank cycled like 10 years ago :lol:
Excellent- :thumb: sorry if I underestimated your fishkeeping experience- I just wanted to make sure we covered the basics along with the specifics for keeping cichlids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
triscuit said:
Yes, my tank cycled like 10 years ago :lol:
Excellent- :thumb: sorry if I underestimated your fishkeeping experience- I just wanted to make sure we covered the basics along with the specifics for keeping cichlids.
Not offended in the least bit. I am learning that cichlids are totally different then regular fresh water, I am done assuming, so I now consider myself a newbie. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I forgot my ? about the clean up crew. What should I get and how many? As far as snails, placos, catfish etc.
 

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Bristlenose plecos usually do well in an mbuna tank. Personally, I like algae. Even better, I like to watch my fish go vertical nose-down and chomp it's way across algae covered rocks ;)
 

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Another vote for bristlenose, a good fit since your tank is smallish and you have to overstock to manage the demasoni aggression. I still have enough algae for everyone, even with the BN.

I found my mbuna either eat the snails outright or harass them until they die by knocking them off surfaces and nipping off their antennae. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
o.kay hopefully the LFS has bristlenose and how many should I get- 4?

Thanks guys!!
 

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Just note that clout is a strong blue color and will stain your silicone and other plastic items in your tank. If you have to use clout definitely do it in a small hospital tank.
 

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One bristlenose is plenty for a tank your size. I only have two in my 72" tank. You want to have SOME algae for them to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
dotbomb said:
Just note that clout is a strong blue color and will stain your silicone and other plastic items in your tank. If you have to use clout definitely do it in a small hospital tank.
Thanks for the tip!! I usually medicate in a hospital tank, but I do appreciate the info!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
DJRansome said:
One bristlenose is plenty for a tank your size. I only have two in my 72" tank. You want to have SOME algae for them to eat.
Great, thanks.
 

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Yes, my tank cycled like 10 years ago Laugh Out Loud There are NO other fish in the tank (I donated them so I could start getting the water ready for cichlids).
I just skimmed this post so sorry if I missed something,
but:
if your tank has gone more than a day without fish in it then it may no longer be cycled. The beneficial/nitrifying bacteria in your filter need fish, (fish waste), to keep them alive.

If you have any doubts about it being cycled you might check into something like Dr. Tim's One and Only. It will get your tank instantly cycled. Or if you have some media from an established tank that you can jump start your tank with, that will work as well.

And I vote for bristlenoses, too. Love those fish!

Robin

My s.petricolas also are fairly good at cleaning.
 

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Robin said:
I just skimmed this post so sorry if I missed something,
but:if your tank has gone more than a day without fish in it then it may no longer be cycled. The beneficial/nitrifying bacteria in your filter need fish, (fish waste), to keep them alive.
I have to respectfully disagree with the above. When cycling tanks I've gone several days without feeding the bacteria with no harm. There was also a thread in another group on this forum where someone was being advised by the moderators that their tank was likely still good to go after not having had fish in the tank for a couple of weeks. I can't vouch for this last claim but have personal experience with not feeding the bacteria for several days routinely without ill effect. I also had an exchange with Dr. Tim when I was first cycling a tank and he said (I'm paraphrasing) that people overestimate how much and how often they need to feed bacteria to keep it alive.

If it's been a while since the tank had fish in the tank, you could put in 1 ppm of ammonia just to get confirmation that your readings for ammonia and nitrites are 0, 24 hours later and that the tank is cycled.

If the filters, substrate and decorations are allowed to dry out, that's a different story.
 

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dotbomb said:
Just note that clout is a strong blue color and will stain your silicone and other plastic items in your tank. If you have to use clout definitely do it in a small hospital tank.
Also note that Clout and Metro are often used to treat the same problem. Clout is a much more aggressive intervention that's harder on the fish (but necessary if you don't catch the problem in time). If you intervene early, Metro causes less problems.

Robin's signature (under the "Bloat" section) has some good articles about using the two medications.

BTW great questions, Zole! I was asking most of the same ones a month ago when I set up my Tropheus tank. I wish I could have seen this thread then. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
zimmy said:
Robin said:
I just skimmed this post so sorry if I missed something,
but:if your tank has gone more than a day without fish in it then it may no longer be cycled. The beneficial/nitrifying bacteria in your filter need fish, (fish waste), to keep them alive.
I have to respectfully disagree with the above. When cycling tanks I've gone several days without feeding the bacteria with no harm. There was also a thread in another group on this forum where someone was being advised by the moderators that their tank was likely still good to go after not having had fish in the tank for a couple of weeks. I can't vouch for this last claim but have personal experience with not feeding the bacteria for several days routinely without ill effect. I also had an exchange with Dr. Tim when I was first cycling a tank and he said (I'm paraphrasing) that people overestimate how much and how often they need to feed bacteria to keep it alive.

If it's been a while since the tank had fish in the tank, you could put in 1 ppm of ammonia just to get confirmation that your readings for ammonia and nitrites are 0, 24 hours later and that the tank is cycled.

If the filters, substrate and decorations are allowed to dry out, that's a different story.
You don't mean the ammonia I clean my floor with do you? And if you do, how would you measure ppm? I haven't changed my filters since my fish were in it. The readings have stayed the same, the nitrates go up to 15 or 20 then down to 5 0r 10 when I do my water changes.
 

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zimmy,

You're right. I've never heard anyone give an exact length of time for how long the bacteria will survive without food--at least not beyond what has worked for them.
I tend to advise people to err on the safe side. Many years on this forum has taught me that more often than not people think their tank is cycled when it's not. And when you're adding new fish to a tank--fish that are likely already stressed-- you want to avoid any kind of additional stress.

But perhaps we can get Dr. Tim in on this discussion and see what he has to say. There's probably no-one that knows more about cycling tanks than he does. :)

Robin
 
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