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Thread: Just Started an Africian Cichlid Aquarium

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Lowell, MI
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    Default Just Started an Africian Cichlid Aquarium

    I am new to this forum, so here is the data on my tank.


    My Tank is the Fluval 1000: 275 Liters or 72 U.S. Gallons. Tank size is 39w x 18.75d x 25.5h.

    I have a Fluval 205 and a Fluval 305 filter.

    I black and white supposedly African Cichlid mix subtrate that has little see shells mixed in it.

    I have two large 60 pounds each Holy Rock stones, and a lava rock with three holes.

    About 3 weeks ago I had an aquarium service come and almost totally empty my tank and take my fishes away and then put in the above subtrate and stones. Then I let the filters run for two weeks without changing the filters and no fish in the aquarium.

    About 5 days ago I put in the following, upon the advice of the same LFS (i'm assuming the means Local Fish Store) that came and emptied my tank.

    Labidochromis caeruleus x 2
    Pseudotropheus socolofi x 2
    Placidochromis johnstoni x 2
    Bristlenose Plecostomus x 1

    I am not interesting in breeding, so when/if they breed I so not plan on worrying about any fry.

    So how many fish would you suggest I stop with? I like lots of activity. I was thinking of stoping with 13.
    How many fish should I add at time? 2?
    Any suggestions of what kinds to add or should I add just more of the same?
    Should I add more rocks as I add more cichlids?

    Davidpaul.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forums,

    Personally I would get rid of the Placidochromis johnstoni. They get larger than the others and are predators. Plus they have a different dietary requirement than the others.I would add to the other 2 groups. Try for about 6 of each each. You may get away with another mbuna species. figure out one that you would like and we can help you figure out if its ok.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
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    After I got the fish home and looked online I was a little concerned about the Placidochromis johnstoni. But the LFS who I just spent about $500 at said they would be fine together with the others. So it will be interesting to see what they say when I go to get more fishes form them going to try to stick with the same supplier. If I just left those two Placidochromis johnstoni alone and had them outnumbered by the others groups would that make it better?

    Also it is true that the Bristlenose Plecostomus typically only grow to around 6 inches?

    It has only been 5 days, but I think the Yellow labs (Labidochromis caeruleus) the best.

    Is the any type of fish that is mainly red in color that might work in my tank?

    Plus what should I watch out for as the fish grow in size?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    The johnstoni is a Hap where as the others besides the pleco are mbuna. Most Hap are carnivores where as the mbuna eat mainly and almost strictly veggie based foods. I you feed the mbuna anything with high protein there is a good chance of them getting Malawi bloat. The johnstoni is not a good mix at all with the mbuna seeing as how in the wild johnstoni a eat mbunas. For the red, the only thing that you are going to match are the red zebras but they are more orange to peach color IMO. There are a few peacocks and Haps that are the red ou are probably looking for but again would not be a good match with the ones you have. Personally I'd get 10-15 Demasoni if they are available. They contrast perfectly with the caerulous IMO.
    125g- Labidochromis caerulous, Sciaenochromis fryeri Maleri Island, Protomelas Taeniolatus Male, Cynotilapia Sp. Gallireya Reef (White Top Hara) W/C + F1

    40g- Oblique zebras

    20g long- ocellatus "gold", calvus "white" Chaitika

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Flagstaff, Az
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    Also Welcome to the forum!
    125g- Labidochromis caerulous, Sciaenochromis fryeri Maleri Island, Protomelas Taeniolatus Male, Cynotilapia Sp. Gallireya Reef (White Top Hara) W/C + F1

    40g- Oblique zebras

    20g long- ocellatus "gold", calvus "white" Chaitika

  6. #6

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    Did you cycle the tank?
    Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

    -Benjamin Franklin

    Quote Originally Posted by colorblizzle View Post
    Got her by the proverbial balls for once lol

  7. #7

    Default

    Rusty cichlids are not really red but can become a brownish redish color (thus the name rusty) and yes the bristlenose pleco stays small. 5"-6"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Just got back for the LFS and got 2 of pseudotropheus deep magunga red.

    I am thinking of just adding more Labidochromis caeruleus and Pseudotropheus socolofi until I get to around 18 total.

    As to cycleing the tank, I follow the method suggested by Aquarium Services (the people who came and emptied my tank). First the tank was an operating aquarium for over a year, About 3 weeks ago they came and emptied everything except half of the nasty brown junk under the old substrate. Then put in new Substrate and decoration. We did not empty the two fluval filters, and then we refilled the tank. I let the filters and heater run for 2 weeks before I added my first 7 fish on Monday Nov. 12. Today I did around a 45% water change using a water vac. Then I added the 2 pseudotropheus deep magunga red.

    The LFS did a water test and the results were:

    Nitrate: Trace
    Nitrire: 0
    Total Hardness (GH): 25
    Alkalinity: 300+
    PH: 8.4
    Ammonia: .5

    The water was after the 45% water change.

    I'm not sure I will have the budget to add the fish as quickly as I like but that might be a good thing.

  9. #9

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    If ammonia is above 0, you are not cycled. You should do immediate water changes until the ammonia is 0.
    Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

    -Benjamin Franklin

    Quote Originally Posted by colorblizzle View Post
    Got her by the proverbial balls for once lol

  10. #10

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    +1 metra.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Folks, think about it, the tank needs to cycle - how will the tank cycle with no amonia in it? David, if you are not already familiar with the nitrogen 'cycle' it would be a very good idea to learn about it. Lots of decent links on that in this thread:
    http://www.cichlidforums.com/showthr...-some-articles

    Ideally a tank would already have been cycled (using amonia) for 4 weeks or so before adding fish but we know that is not always how things progress (very many of us, especially the old-timers, have cycled with fish at one time or another). There are a number of products LFS will often try to sell you to help quickly cycle the tank and/or help the fish survive the cycle. I haven't tried all of them and most of the less recent products of that sort didn't really work. There are some newer ones some people swear by, but again, I haven't tried them. One approach I know works is dosing the tank with Seachem Prime every day or two during the cycling process. It neutralizes the toxins while still leaving them available to the nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria to become established on. (Prime is also one of the best water treatment products you can find to use thereafter for routine water changes once the tank is cycled - if your LFS doesn't carry it, see if you can find one that does; alternately I'm sure it can be ordered online.) Salt, at the rate of a tablespoon per 10 gallons, will help inhibit the fishes' uptake of harmful nitrites, and is therefore another useful measure to take (in tandem with Prime) to help fish survive a cycle.

  12. #12
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    Thanks DogWalker.

    So have I done anything correct in regards to the tank?

    1) I hired a professional to tear down by tank and set-up it back up with the new stones and substrate.

    2) They said in my case to wait a week before adding fish, I waited 2 weeks.

    3) I purchased the first batch of 7 fish from the same professional (I did not bring in a water sample at that time, maybe I should have) based on their suggestions.

    4) I waited another week and went to the professionals with a tank water sample which was about 2 hours after a 45% water change, and they tested the water and I specifically asked if there was any cause for concern with the results of the water test, and they said no. I only had budget to buy 2 more fish at this time.

    FYI - I plan on putting around 18 fish in the tank even though my professional is suggesting 20 to 24 to keep the agression down. I am also going to try my best to get into the habit of doing a weekly change and am working on getting a sink in the basement to make the water changes easier. I switched to Cichlids because the natural ph level of my water is high and I've been told that they perfer the higher PH levels.

    Please, my written words have a tendancy of sounding harsh (and I do not mean them to), I just want a healthy tank that I can enjoy watching. So far they are a blast to watch and look heathly.

    True this is the biggest tank I have every attempted to manage, but I have had a non-cichlid 29 gallon in the same house that the fish just thrived in. I also have a cute little 5 gallon aqaurium with 1 beta fish and 3 neons in it. I grew up in a house that had a 55 gallon tropical fish.
    Last edited by Davidpaul; 11-19-2012 at 09:22 AM.

  13. #13
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    It would've been ideal to get a full cycle done on the fish tank first. If neede I'm sure we can provide links if someone already hasn't. Personally I think waiting the week isn't enough to let your tank run but even waiting 2 months with no ammonia in the tank is pointless. Make sure ou are doing daily water tests for ammonia to see how your tank is progressing. Have prime on hand and ready to nullify most of the toxins and be ready to do water changes if the ammonia is too much. Basically waiting the month or so to let your tank cycle is so the tank builds enough bacteria in the filters to be able to handle the fish you are about to put it. Fishless cycling is done with pure ammonia to do the cycl

    I'm not sure what kind of professional you go to but I know a proffessional aquarium cleaner that does a fantastic job at cleaning the tanks but doesn't know crap about giving advise on how to set up and maintain a tank. Any questions you have feel free to ask here and there are people that are more than qualified to stead you in the right direction.
    125g- Labidochromis caerulous, Sciaenochromis fryeri Maleri Island, Protomelas Taeniolatus Male, Cynotilapia Sp. Gallireya Reef (White Top Hara) W/C + F1

    40g- Oblique zebras

    20g long- ocellatus "gold", calvus "white" Chaitika

  14. #14
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    Flagstaff, Az
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    Apologies on some spelling. Typing from iPhone. Also cut myself off on the 2nd paragraph.
    125g- Labidochromis caerulous, Sciaenochromis fryeri Maleri Island, Protomelas Taeniolatus Male, Cynotilapia Sp. Gallireya Reef (White Top Hara) W/C + F1

    40g- Oblique zebras

    20g long- ocellatus "gold", calvus "white" Chaitika

  15. #15
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    Lowell, MI
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    IanR29, Thanks, I will continue to monitor all aspect of the water ceminstry, I have the dip strips tests at home including the one for ammonia. The canister filters should have good bacteria they have being running on the tank for over a year, and I try my best to not disturb the BioMax as I replace the other media in the canster.

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