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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am extremely stressed and unsure of what to salvage of my aquarium set up, so that something could survive in it or if I should sadley cut my losses and just give up and throw EVERYTHING out and be done with it. I feel like it is my fault and I messed everything up and feel terrible.

I have a 40 gallon breeder tank with stand. And fluval sky pad lighting system. I had two newts off different species in this set up for 15 years and recently both died of old age.
I figured I would just get new newts but people in the house suggested it would be nice to have fish.
I cleaned tank and did a few water changes and it sat for a while. I thought I would put some catfish or guppies in there and test my luck.
That is not what ended up happening.
I ended up spending over 400 dollars on sand canister filter limestone and volcanic rock. Oh test strips food and four chiclids that hid under rocks and then died three days later.
I know. I'm an idiot and feel bad.
Guy at the pet store said I would most likely need a new tank but he would test my water for me.
The question is, if all this new stuff rocks sand filter have Ben in this tank, are they salvageable? If I buy a new tank?
He seems to think if I give up and just get rid of everything, put all the old gracel and stuff in, I could just put newts in the tank once again.
Part of me just wants to throw it all out but maybe not I guess because I'm on here.
The man at the pet store did not know about hardness and limestone and I figured that out on my own.
Also cichlids like a little bit higher ph and he told me internet was wrong so idk. I would like to salvage something so it's useful and I don't really know what to think after talking to the man at the pet store I feel hopeless.
 

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Oh wow.... that DOES sound frustrating. :(
Sorry to hear you're having these problems. But well, don't feel too bad and I wouldn't be QUITE so hard on yourself. I think just about every long-term contributor here on C-f has made a real bone-head decision at one time or another in this Cichlid-Keeping game, that they have seriously regretted.
Oh yeah.... and I've definitely got a few 'beauties' of my own. :roll:
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So, the best thing about this is - it doesn't seem like you're really ready to just give this thing up. Pack it in? Nawwww.... And, most importantly - just WHAT have you learned from this? I've gotten myself in all kinds of trouble by 'learning' from my successes. REAL Learning for me has almost always happened after those failures.
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Let's unpack what you've got so far.
- A 40 breeder aquarium. Not bad. There are some interesting options you can try with a tank that size.
- A canister filter. WHATIZIT?
- Sand substrate. What kind? Pool Filtration Sand. Play Sand? A specialty made, ($$$) Aragonite sand mix?
- Rocks and more rocks. Limestone based? Oh, so what are they really? Texas Holey Rock? Mountain Lace Rock? Dragon Teeth Rock (from Mexico!)? And your 'volcanic rock'. Hmmmmm, okay.... is that pieces of 'Red Lava Rock'. So-called 'Feather Rock' (15 grit sandpaper texture, used mostly in landscape applications). Or maybe, big chunks of pumice?
- Have you measured your Tap Water? If not, get a decent test kit and check your water for general PH and esp. for Nitrates. A water hardness test kit will up the priceyness of this game a bit - but, it is kind of nice to see just how hard (or soft) your Tap Water actually is.
- Four Cichlids. Uuhhh yes, dead ones now, but well.... What species were they? Adults? Babies? Is it possible they died of water shock caused by extreme differences in water chemistry from the dealers tanks and your aquarium?
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Alrighy then. I believe that looks pretty good for a start at least. Send us some answers and tell us what you've got. We may have some help to get you started out again - and successful this time! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi yes I do not want to give up your right.
I had two baby electric yellows
Two baby Auratus
API test strips. All came back well except hardness was not quite where I wanted it.
Lava rocks from petco. Red and black. Three Flat shale pieces that I stacked to make places for hiding. Holey limestone rock from eBay as I could only find replicas from pet store. I will be honest it's not in the tank yet as I just ordered it.
PennPlax 500 cascade filter
Just standards aquarium sand from petco.
I added alge killer and at some point and heard now online that was a no.
Fishes were kind of hiding and then coming out to eat and swimming around a bit in the after hrs but today egh. Suddenly not well.

Was thinking perhaps I tried to do too much at once and fish were stressed.
Thinking maybe let the setup sit for a while empty and cycle it as if it were new and then try again?
Man at the pet store says I need to buy a brand new aquarium but, idk he knew what he was talking about some things but other things he was wrong.
He kept telling me you can't put water in a reptile tank also but I had to tell him newts are amphibians multiple times not reptiles. So hoping for hope.
I tried to search about repurposing a tank for fish after newts but all I get hits for is people putting newts and fish toghther and cohabiting them.
Yes I love this tank and set up I think it's great. I thought it would be a nice home for something as my two newts rip enjoyed it for so long.
Also I have the wand for the filter across the surface agitating the water just barely.
No air stones even though people pressuring me to put plants and air stones in. But I read cichlids do not like currents or plants.
The manat the pet store gave me prime and told me to put in ten drops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update
The three fish looked dead now are upright swimming around.
I'm sure they will die but idk what this means.
One is in freezer rip.
 

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Ah yes....
And you have received what I believe is quite possibly, BAD ADVICE from the 'man at the pet store'.... Yeah. it was a few (many....) years back, but I've certainly been there, and done that one too.
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It seems highly likely your fish died of Ammonia Shock, caused by un-cycled aquarium filtration. You need to grow out a colony of beneficial bacteria that just love to eat and process organic waste caused by your fish. Ammonia is one of those, and is definitely a fish killer. This C-f article will help, (homework already!!?). And, will help to explain what may have happened with your newly set up tank and those dead Cichlids,

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... _cycle.php

I like your rocks. The sand seems good-to-go. And, your filtration will work just fine for this size aquarium. And no.... Cichlids DO like a bit of movement and water current in their aquariums (some much more than others). Cichlids will esp. like the water OXYGENATION generated by that water movement. And no, if the former occupants of the scratched-out reptile enclosures I've re-purposed over the years are any indication ()Bearded Dragon, Reticulated Python, Boa Constrictor) as use for aquarium sump filtration? Well, it would seem the ol' toxic reptile to fish myth is certainly BUSTED hmmmm?
I actually suspect your 'man at the pet store' wanted to sell you a minty-fresh new aquarium that day.... :roll:
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Now, on to your Tap Water Parameters. PH. Nitrates (any?) and hardness (if you have a kit). This will inform nicely what fish you can have without making many (none) chemistry adjustments to your water. Things are MUCH easier when you can just use dechlorinated water right outta the tap for your aquarium.
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

Agree, bad advice. Two of any mbuna species is likely to be an aggression problem and a 40G is not ideal for mbuna. Keeping them in species groups of 5 or more helps manage aggression.

Auratus are among the most aggressive mbuna and do better in a 72" tank. Trade those in on 2 more yellow labs.

1m:3f yellow labs, or even 1m:4f could be made to work in a 40G which is a 36" tank.

Auballagh is right, cycle the tank without fish first. Allow six weeks for that process before you think about adding fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for your responses.
The two cichlids species were in the same tank at the pet store and when I came home and read about them I thought something was off.I was concerned about the more peaceful ones being with highley aggressive species.
Your right because in the same tank were baby Pictus catfish. The man refused to let me buy three or even two, even though I had three in the past in my youth and they did extremely well.
My eyes were averted to the cichlids in the same tank and it was buy three get one free cichlids so that is how my journey started.
Well off bat I know the ph tested in good parameters for cichlids but sry cannot remember exact numbers. Nitrates where zero ph was 7.0 or 7.5
Hardness steadily increased daily because of lava rocks in guessing.
Temp set at 78
Ammonia unsure of since test did not tell me that is why I ran to pet store to buy ammonia strips to know for myself but was told not to bother and just come back with a baggie of water and sent home with bottle of prime.
Looking back now I will not know if was ammonia or not so I messed up there.
Def good to know about the reptile tank!
I guess I will wait and let it all cycle, receive my Texas holey rock in the mail and add that in there too.
Wait and yep go with all electric yellows probably.
I had a small current fan for my newts to aerate their water. I'm guessing it might be too much.
Maybe buy adults instead of babies so that I know which sex they are?
Feeling much better.
 

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There you go. Re-group! And, it's nice to have a plan in going forward, right? :)
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So, with Fishless Cycling work ahead of you, you will definitely need an Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate test kit to determine how well your beneficial bacteria are growing out for you on your filtration media. Oh, and you're definitely going to need a LOT of patience. If you don't have established aquarium filtration media available to help with the process (innoculation), you are probably going to be down for about 6 or so weeks. That is, until the tank is safe for stocking with your fish.
Because of that, I recommend returning the fish you have now. :(
For the fish you want to keep, your dechlorinated tap water should work out fine. Easy! And, if you are ultimately going to stock with the Electric Yellows (The PLAN, right?). Then I would definitely recommend using the small current fan you had in with the Newts. The Electric Yellows are African Mbuna Cichlids. And they definitely WILL enjoy a good bit of water movement in their aquarium! And yes, getting young adults of those Yellow labs will help a lot in determining males and females. You should keep those Electric Yellows as a 'Harem Group', with one male and Four, possibly even Five females kept with him. In aquariums, African Mbuna Cichlid males can be hard on the females kept with them. Stocking with more females will help to more safely distribute the aggression. :oops:
 

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Adult sexed mbuna are hard to locate, so just buy like 6 unsexed juveniles and return any males that cause trouble when they mature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ordered large pack of test strips that test 7 parameters, and an ammonia testing kit. Will be all set to test tank and also the tap water.
I'm in the forest yet on top of a minimart so wondering if it's well water or public water
 

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Hmmmmm...

Raehdar111 said:
I'm in the forest yet on top of a minimart so wondering if it's well water or public water.
Not exactly sure what that means, but it sure sounds cool. :lol:
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And so really, you just need to check and ensure your source of aquarium water is safe and free of extremes in either excessive softness/hardness or organic compounds (Nitrates). But, if you manage to locate the actual source of your tap water and DO wind up with so-called 'self supplied' water (well water)? Your tap water source may not have been municipally treated with either Chlorine or Chloramine. So, untreated (drinking?) water is not necessarily a good thing for humans... But, if the water tests out 'aquarium safe' with your kit, it can provide some interesting and pretty nice benefits for keeping freshwater fish.
 

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STOP!

May I humbly suggest you might have misunderstood the pet-shop-guy? I will also humbly suggest I may have missed it in reading...

Your sentence "you can't put fish in a reptile tank" is 95% correct. I would say it a different way - "You cannot fill a reptile enclosure with water, it may explode."

Mods - apologies, I'm including a link to the product to illustrate the point, no endorsement thereof or for the vendor.
https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/zilla-critter-cage

This "tank" cannot hold water, but you don't find that out until you read the reviews. It's quite possible that this is what the guy was trying to say. Sorry if I missed in reading, but what brand of aquarium do you have? Was it previously kept full with the newts? I know there are some that are aquatic and semi-aquatic...
 

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Good point El' Hefe.
If he has the 40 Breeder with the sliding screen top on it? Well, that thing has NO business being filled full of water. :eek:
 
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