Converting to a 55G Cichlid tank
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Converting to a 55G Cichlid tank

This is a discussion on Converting to a 55G Cichlid tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi all, My girlfriend and I had a 55G tropical aquarium running since March. Unfortunately, we purchased new fish from PetSmart, didn't have a ...

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Converting to a 55G Cichlid tank
Old 08-16-2011, 10:32 PM   #1
 
Converting to a 55G Cichlid tank

Hi all,

My girlfriend and I had a 55G tropical aquarium running since March. Unfortunately, we purchased new fish from PetSmart, didn't have a quarantine tank and as you may guess, one of the fish we bough was sick. Unfotunately, it took out our entire stock of betas, mollies, shirmp, etc.

So now after feeling defeated for the last two months, we want to begin setting up a Cichlid tank. We were thinking Mbuna or at least Lake Malawi species.

However, here is what we have so far:

55G Tank
2 Typical CCFL lights (we normally left it on 14 hours a day...too long? I've noticed an outbreak of green algae.)
Rena XP2 filter

Typically the water from our tap is 6.6pH. However, we already purchased the appropriate rock to act as a buffer.

My concern is waterflow /fltration. Is the XP2 good enough for the tank? Do I need another canister or HOB filter on top of the Rena? If not, do I need some type of pump to further circulate the water?

Any information is highly appreciated. The world of Cichlids seems so exciting yet so complex!
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:46 AM   #2
 
14 hours with lights on is too long, cut it back to 12 tops probably 8-10 range. I'm not certain as to what your filter is capable of, but with lake cichlids you would probably want to limit your current.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:40 AM   #3
 
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The Rena XP2 is fine on a 55g. No issues there.

Your tap water is a problem though, if rift lake cichlids are being considered. The pH is only one aspect, of more importance is the hardness because these fish need the mineral. Calcareous rock will slowly dissolve raising the hardness, but this is usually very slow depending upon the rock. Fine gravel made from dolomite is much safer and far more reliable. But first, what is the hardness of the tap water? You can find this out from the water supply people, many now have a website with water data posted, or they can tell you.

Assuming the water is soft, with a pH of 6.6 this seems probable, you are well suited to soft water fish. Many in NA would envy your water. This may have been part of the issue previously; mollies are livebearers, and all livebearers need hard water, though not as hard as rift lake cichlids. Shrimp too need hard water for the calcium to keep their exoskeletons healthy. Not saying this was the cause of the deaths, but fish that are weakened by inappropriate water parameters have weakened immune systems and are thus more susceptible to various health issues and external parasites can easily attack and kill them. Let us know the water hardness and we can suggest options.

Byron.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:06 PM   #4
 
Thanks Byron! I'll look up the water hardness information and post back.

In regards to filtration, the tank was never crystal clear and there always seems to be a lot of debris in the tank. Therefore, I'm thinking I don't have enough filtration. I'm thinking about picking up a Fluval 305 as a second filter. I think this would be perfect for the tank setup. Any opinions?

The front of the tank always looked "OK" but when viewed from the sides, the water looked very murky and cloudy.

What about lighting? Right now I have two Hoods + CCFL lights (standard petmart style tank kit lighting). I know Cichlids do not require any special lighting, however I find this light to be cheap, unattractive and a nuisance during tank maintenance. Can you recommend any other lighting that is REASONABLY priced? Again, since Cichlids don't care about lighting all that much, I do not want to spend a fortune on lights for no reason.

I appreciate the response!
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:17 PM   #5
 
Hmm, I found a water quality report but nothing in there stated the hardness. It only showed what ammount of 'substances' are in the tap water. Would posting that report help? Or do I need to perform my own test using some sort of test kit?

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:26 PM   #6
 
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You can try calling your local water people first to see if they can provide you with the information. For mine I actually found the information on the drain commisioners report.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:52 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnick View Post
Thanks Byron! I'll look up the water hardness information and post back.

In regards to filtration, the tank was never crystal clear and there always seems to be a lot of debris in the tank. Therefore, I'm thinking I don't have enough filtration. I'm thinking about picking up a Fluval 305 as a second filter. I think this would be perfect for the tank setup. Any opinions?

The front of the tank always looked "OK" but when viewed from the sides, the water looked very murky and cloudy.

What about lighting? Right now I have two Hoods + CCFL lights (standard petmart style tank kit lighting). I know Cichlids do not require any special lighting, however I find this light to be cheap, unattractive and a nuisance during tank maintenance. Can you recommend any other lighting that is REASONABLY priced? Again, since Cichlids don't care about lighting all that much, I do not want to spend a fortune on lights for no reason.

I appreciate the response!
As Barb has suggested, call them direct. Hardness is public info. Try to get the GH (general hardness) and the KH (carbonate hardness, some call it Alkalinity).

On the light, there are several options. First, I assume this is an incandescent (screw-in bulb) fixture with compact fluorescent bulbs, and not fluorescent tube? Do you want to just get better bulbs/tubes, or a new fixture?

Unless you intend fish that need water currents more than most, I would not add more filters. The Rena XP2 is more than enough for fish we are considering in a 55g tank. The water quality is likely caused by something, we have to find out what and fix it. More filters almost always will not mean better water. And in my experience, running both large filters as you were will keep the water churned up anyway.

We need some info. What is the substrate (gravel, sand), what size particles if gravel, and how deep?
What substances are/were going in the water? Conditioner presumably (which one?), anything else?
Ammonia, nitrite presumably zero in the tank, are either of these in the tap? What is thenitrate in the tank, and is this in the tap water?

Byron.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:36 PM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by BarbH View Post
You can try calling your local water people first to see if they can provide you with the information. For mine I actually found the information on the drain commisioners report.
Thanks for the tip! After being sent to a few different places, I got in contact with the water supply plant that performs all of the water maintenance.

My water is 2.8grains or 48.3 mg/literes. From my understanding that is hard water, correct?
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:02 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by jnick View Post
Thanks for the tip! After being sent to a few different places, I got in contact with the water supply plant that performs all of the water maintenance.

My water is 2.8grains or 48.3 mg/literes. From my understanding that is hard water, correct?
No, quite the opposite. This is very soft water. Mg/liter is about equal to parts per million (ppm), and 48ppm equates to 2.6 dGH. Almost as soft as mine, which is <1 dGH.

Perfect, and I mean perfect, for soft water fish. But you will not have luck with livebearers, rift lake cichlids, or the other fish that require basic medium hard/hard water. I am now quite convinced this was part of the issue with losing your fish.

If you want rift lake cichlids, hunt around for some dolomite gravel. It used to be widely available, now I believe it is still there but not so common. Online may be your best source if local fish stores do not have it. Dolomite is ideal because it releases calcium and magnesium, the two minerals that largely determine water hardness. Another aspect is to get a calcareous sand substrate; crushed coral is perfect, it releases calcium (being comprised of coral shells which are calcium). A marine sand would also work, as marine tanks need hard water, but most I believe are coral, same thing. You can add magnesium easily with Magnesium Sulfate, plain Epsom Salts. This is not "salt" as we think of sodium table or marine salt, but salts of magnesium and sulfur. One teaspoon in 30 gallons will raise GH by 1 d GH in your soft water. But the calcium side is necessary too.

I can explain more if needed. You might also find some useful background in my article on hardness and pH in the freshwater aquarium, here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

Byron.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:35 PM   #10
 
Thanks for the information Byron! It will take me a couple of reads to dissolve all of that! I'm sure I'll have a few more questions for you regarding the hardness after I take all of that in!

However, in regards to the filter, everywhere I'm reading, they state that African Cichlids, specifically Lake Malawi ones should be overstocked to combat aggression and territorial issues. Therefore, they believe that another filter, even if it is a HOB is necessary to combat the added waste, etc on top of water changes.

Is this information false? I'm not strictly adding a filter just to clear the water but rather to handle the added stress of more fish.

Thanks!
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