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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am brand new to cichlids. My tank will be here in about a week, and I am trying to get all my supplies together.

I will be placing Malawi cichlids in my tank.

When it comes to the water quality I know all the basics, you need to add water conditioner, keep ammonia at zero, low nitrates, high PH for cichlids.

When doing water changes do I need to add anything besides the water conditioner? That eliminates the need for an osmosis system right?

Is there anything else I need to add?

-Thank you for your help
 

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If your water will work with Malawi...try to add as few chemicals as possible other than dechlorinator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If the dechlorinator is all I need that's all ill do. When I went to buy it they were suggesting other things so I want sure if I actually needed the other things.
 

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Do you already have a test kit? If so, what brand and type kit.

I recommend also testing your tap water for the same things you test your tank for in order to know whether you need to adjust the water parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That is what I forgot to get. Yes, I need to get a kit. I have one from when I first started fish keeping but it is old and probably getting close to empty. I believe it is the API kit. I know my water is hard water. WIth a high PH level. I have not checked it myself, but we have an osmosis system for our drinking water. (Because our local water tastes terrible) I have looked at getting an osmosis system for this tank. But the conditioner says it dechlorinates the water, so I dismissed that idea and sense a high PH is good I assumed it was all ok. Am I right?

We also have the holey rock which is supposed to help raise the PH as well I believe.

Also with the cycling, I just read somewhere you can use filters from an established tank to help cycle a new tank. Only issues are you have to trust the established tank not to have any diseases. Is that correct? I have a 55 gallon that has been running for several years with no issues. I was hoping to use an old filter to get this tank going. I will probably still let the tank run for a week to make sure everything is going to work correctly.

-Thank you for your help
 

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Along with a dechlorinator, I add a cap and a half of Seachem's Stability with each water change. I am still feeling my way through things though (fish keeping was a lot less technical back in the day) so I am unsure if I need to or not.

I have been proceeding as if everything is an experiment, so I am not married to any one way to do things yet. It's all fluid and subject to change if and/or when necessary.
 

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Dispose of the old test if it's more than a couple years old unless the expiration date is still valid.

I like the API Master test kit AND I also buy the GH (hardness) and KH (alkalinity) tests separately. The GH and KH tests will let you know whether you need to adjust your tap water for the fish. Usually adjusting tank parameters is not necessary but it's always nice to get a handle on the tap water YOU have in your area.

Don't count on THR or substrate to alter water parameters. I don't think they dissolve fast enough to make a difference.

You can move a mature filter or media to the new tank but I don't think the filter from the 55G tank would make much of a dent in the 450G tank. I recommend using the Fish-less cycling method though it can take up to 6 weeks to complete the process but it is a tried and true method for establishing a fully cycled tank. Check the link in my signature for the article.
 

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I would not use Stability for an established tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Deeda said:
Dispose of the old test if it's more than a couple years old unless the expiration date is still valid.

I like the API Master test kit AND I also buy the GH (hardness) and KH (alkalinity) tests separately. The GH and KH tests will let you know whether you need to adjust your tap water for the fish. Usually adjusting tank parameters is not necessary but it's always nice to get a handle on the tap water YOU have in your area.

Don't count on THR or substrate to alter water parameters. I don't think they dissolve fast enough to make a difference.

You can move a mature filter or media to the new tank but I don't think the filter from the 55G tank would make much of a dent in the 450G tank. I recommend using the Fish-less cycling method though it can take up to 6 weeks to complete the process but it is a tried and true method for establishing a fully cycled tank. Check the link in my signature for the article.
I will probably cycle the tank how I did my 55-gallon tank. Maybe add the filter to speed things up a little, hopefully.

Once I get a new testing kit I will test my water. I am pretty sure the ph will not be high enough. What do you suggest to raise the PH? I already have holey rock but I'm sure that won't be enough.

Also, does the GH and KH have to do with the PH? I have the apex and it will test the PH for me.

-Thank you for your help
 

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Hold off on worrying about adjusting pH for now until you can test your tap water. Unless you are buying wild caught fish or fish that require a certain pH to live properly, more than likely you may not have to adjust pH.

Check out This article from the Library for more info and especially the section describing KH or Carbonate Hardness to see how it relates to pH.
 

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Expect fishless cycling to take at least a month. I believe mine took almost six weeks. Worth the wait to have the right bacteria and then you can add all your fish at the same time.

I only add Prime (dechlorinator) to my water. If possible, the less you do to alter the water, the better. Our PH is naturally high in Austin, so I didn't have to worry about that. I thought an osmosis system softens water? (not good for cichlids) But maybe I'm wrong on that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The tank is cycled, and we are adding fish now. Thank you guys for your help. I am only adding Prime to the tank. My PH has been hanging out around an eight so I am happy with that.
 

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Ariana7667 said:
The tank is cycled, and we are adding fish now. Thank you guys for your help. I am only adding Prime to the tank. My PH has been hanging out around an eight so I am happy with that.
Post a pic of that 450.
 

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What's your water like there in California? I live in the Cayman Islands and the public water here is actually RO water, so low pH and extremely soft. For every 20gal I need to add a cup of epsom salt, half cup of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). I also add 1 tablespoon of Seachem Malawi Cichlid salt per every 90 gallons (it's a 180gal tank). You need to check you water pH and hardness since Malawi cichlids need hard water and high pH.

Nice big tank you have, what fish are you putting in there? I get my 450gal acrylic w/sump setup next week. So excited.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
ken31cayman said:
What's your water like there in California? I live in the Cayman Islands and the public water here is actually RO water, so low pH and extremely soft. For every 20gal I need to add a cup of epsom salt, half cup of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). I also add 1 tablespoon of Seachem Malawi Cichlid salt per every 90 gallons (it's a 180gal tank). You need to check you water pH and hardness since Malawi cichlids need hard water and high pH.

Nice big tank you have, what fish are you putting in there? I get my 450gal acrylic w/sump setup next week. So excited.
Our water here is very hard as it is, for my other fish tank I have to do quite a bit to lower the PH to be safe for them. Right now the PH has been hanging out around 8 because of the substrate I have and the Holey rock.

Mainly Mbunas but somehow some peacocks and Haps slipped in. But so far Lake Malawi types.

Here is a rough list of the plan for this tank:
1 Aulonocara sp. Firefish (dragon blood cichlid)
1 Common Pleco
15 Labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow Lab/Electric Yellow)
4 Maylandia estherae (Red Zebra)
6? Maylandia lombardoi (Kenyi)
10 Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos (Electric Blue)
2 Nimbochromis livingstonii
2? Pseudotropheus acei (Yellow Tail Acei)
? Pseudotropheus saulosi (Dwarf-mbuna)
 

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Ariana7667 said:
ken31cayman said:
I get my 450gal acrylic w/sump setup next week. So excited.
What are you planning on putting in yours?
I ordered thirty-nine Peacocks & Haps (all male) from <vendor name removed>, which is in Georgia:

Aulonocara Hueseri 2
Aulonocara Masoni 2
Aulonocara jacobfreibergi - "Eureka Red" 2
Aulonocara stuartgranti "Ngara Flametail" 2
Aulonocara "German Red" 2
Aulonocara stuartgranti "Rubin Red" 1
Ruby Red Ngara flametail mix 2
Aulonocara Lwanda - "Red Top" 2
Copadichromis Borleyi (Red Fin Kadango) 1
Protomelas taeniolatus "Boadzulu Red Empress" 2
Placidochromis Phenochilus - "Star Sapphire" 2
Protomelas Steveni Taiwan 2
Placidochromis Milomo VC10 1
Placidochromis Electra Likoma 2
Aulonocara Baenschi Benga 2
Aulonocara Hansbaenschi red flash 1
Aulonocara Maulana Bi-Color 500 2
Protomelas Spilonatus mara rocks 2
Aulonocara Dragonblood "Firefish" 1
Aulonocara Steveni blue neon 3
Otopharynx Lithobathes Zimbawe Rock 3
 
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