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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I have a custom built aquarium with the following dimensions : Length : 240cm, height : 50cm , depth : 40cm , so it's holding about 450L, but as you can see, it's quite long and not very deep and high.

Now, my question to you, experienced forum members is... will it do for a mbuna tank ? I have doubts that this shape will be suitable for them. Where is what I am afraid of : because of the shape, they will have to spread quite a lot on the horizontal, which will decrease the fish density needed to maintain Aggression at a lower level. To compensate for this I will need therefore to add way more fishes than the holding volume will allow.

Will this be the case or it's everything just in my head and I shouldn't worry about it ?

Thanks in advance for your help !
 

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NICE!

I think that long tanks are great for Mbuna. They say that the average Mbuna chase is 3 feet or about 91cm, so I find that in a longer tank, the fights are really likely to stop after the chase-away. It's somewhat shallow, but that should not affect mbuna too much. With the exception of some certain species like Acei, they tend to stay low. I believe that what you'll find is that they spread out along the horizontal and claim territories.

The reality is that nature is extremely flexible. I find the terms used are also very flexible. When you say overstocked, how many fish were you thinking of putting in this "unusual" aquarium? What species?
I personally would put a bunch of fish in there, and understand that I'll need to make up for the crowding with lots of water changes.
 

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50cm is the height? That is 19 inches, plenty high for mbuna. Always cover the tank for mbuna regardless of the height. I would not worry about the extra depth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DJRansome said:
50cm is the height? That is 19 inches, plenty high for mbuna. Always cover the tank for mbuna regardless of the height. I would not worry about the extra depth.
Depth is almost 16 inches (well, 15 on the inside) , the length is almost 8 ft.

So, here is the short story about this aquarium. I built it sometimes in January, cycled until March (took a looooong time) and added about 25 Tropheus Red Rainbow Kasanga after that. I wanted to get all the same size, juveniles, around 1.5 - 2 Inches in size, but I got everything from 1,5 to 4 Inches. After half of the middle sized ones died between April and June (no bloat, no nothing, one by one stopped eating and withdrew in a corner until dead or bullied to death by the others), I added another 16 juveniles, all around 1,5 inches. Back to 30 Tropheus. In 3 weeks down to 10.
Until now, I have no clue what went wrong. Water parameters were always perfect, did everything right. I have experience in the hobby, but it was my first try with Tropheus. My only thought is that the colony did not form properly because of the different sizes that I started with.

Now, the aquarium sits empty in my living room waiting for a new start.. thinking to go back to mbuna, but I never had this aquarium shape before.
I want to go with a single species or a maximum of two, maybe Pseudotropheus saulosi.
I have a continuous water change system, so I don't worry much about overstocking, but I wouldn't put more than 40 fish in there, but even so, males will have the chance to establish territory and it's gonna be a headache from there ...

Here is a pic of my tank before I emptied it..
20210223_071553.jpg


Do you guys have any suggestions ?
 

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It may well have been bloat with the trophs...bloat does not always or even often result in bloated looking fish.

Maybe try some mild mannered mbuna like yellow labs and acei? 20 of each?
 

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Beautiful tank size - always thought that an extra long tank would really be a wonderful set up to allow additional horizontal distance and therefore help with some aggression issues.

Also, agree with others, your description of the Tropheus die off sounds exactly like bloat. So frustrating to experience, my condolences lost a mature colony a couple of years ago, heartbreaking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
nodima said:
Also, agree with others, your description of the Tropheus die off sounds exactly like bloat. So frustrating to experience, my condolences lost a mature colony a couple of years ago, heartbreaking.
Yes, it might have been bloat. I treated the whole aquarium with metro in a few days after I saw that some of the fisch do not eat, but it seems that it did not help at all.

Anyway, I think I am going to try a 2 species mbuna.. the Yellow Labs and the Pseudotropheus Acei , around 40 in total.
The thing with the rocks is .. I can't really add a lot more, those are big rocks in there and are heavy as ****. I think I have around 200kg (450 Pounds) in total and I don't know how much more my stand will be able to take. Maybe I need smaller rocks to be able to form more caves, but would the Yellow Labs and the Acei be happy with the current rock formations ?

I will keep you posted, after the cycling is done (again).

Thanks for your input.
 

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Why not swap out the big rocks for smaller ones...the stand should hold the tank solidly filled with rocks assuming it was commercially built for a fish tank.

If you can't change the rocks, I would do haps and peacocks, mixed gender.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Everybody,

So, after a short summer break, in which the aquarium was left completely empty and dry, I managed to set it up again. I changed the sand from a ridiculous fine quarz sand (0.1-0.3mm) to a marine sand (two thirds 1-2mm and one third 0.3-1.2mm) (it's called Fiji White Sand from ATI) and added a couple of fake rocks with caves in them, I hope it will provide some extra hiding spots.
Please let me know what you think about the rocks arrangement. Will this be enough for the yellow labs and acei ? I hope that the length of 8ft will also help ..

Please ignore the dirty front glas...
IMG_6149.jpg
 

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Nice!
For longer tanks (like yours certainly is) I'm kind of a fan of the so-called 'Two Towers' structure (my apologies to LOTR fans).
For this, build up tall, somewhat elegant structures that are sited at opposite ends of the aquarium (Extra credit if one side is slightly smaller than the other - asymmetrical!). Build up one of those bad boys to the water's surface (or even slightly beyond). Place some scattered, smaller rocks in the middle/between the Two Towers - or just an open expanse of sand.
You'll have a winner! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So.. now that my tank is fully cycled, I am going to add in some cichlids. I have a breeder in the area which recommended me the following stocking :

12 x Pseudotropheus Acei luwala
12 x Labidochromis caeruleus
10 x Melanochromis maingano
10 x Pseudotropheus Saulosi

All around 3 to 4 cm in size (between 1 and 1 and a half inches) . What is your opinion regarding this ? Should I worry about the Maingano being to aggressive in relation to the others , or is it a good combination overall ?

By the way, here is what I find interesting: 4 to 5 ppm of added Ammonia are zero the next day, Nitrite also zero, but Nitrate is almost never going above 25ppm, even after doing this 3 to 4 times in a row, without water change.. Does this mean, my filters are able to process nitrate this good ?

Thanks!
 

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I would not rely on your filters to process nitrate. It is possible if your tank is not well oxygenated, but that is not something freshwater tanks usually have or want.

Personally I like more contrast between my species...the yellow labs and the saulosi females both tend toward the yellow...what about white labs instead?
 

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White labs are a great idea. I'd also say Labidochromis sp. "Perlmutts" are gorgeous fish that will add even more variety to the tank, though I think they're a little more aggressive than the L. caeruleus.
 
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