Positioning of Canister Filter and HOB Filter in 55 Gal Tank - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
Thanks! I'll hopefully have it set up during the course of the weekend and see how the water moves. Guess some tweaking will occur once the tank is cycled and I introduce the fish. You've been a big help, greatly appreciate it.
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 08:38 AM
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You are welcome! Do you have a stock list?
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
I really want 2 species, 1 male to about 4-5 females (5-6) fish total of each for a total of 10-12 fish

the two I like the most are Yellow Labs, (L. caeruleus)

and then Im torn between the following

P. demasoni
C. Afra (Coblue or White Top)

Any suggestions? Chose the Labs for their "Entry level hardiness, they are less agressive than others and they are a gorgeous bright yellow color.

Im actually worried when I do get my fish, and they are thriving of course, about my fish Breeding. I wouldnt know what to do if they did have babies....but everything Ive read says 1 Male to4-5 females.......to keep agression down.
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 12:01 PM
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Oh boy I can tell you are a Mbuna fan! I love those guys too, and we have several Yellow Labs in our tanks and 30+ Lab fry growing out right now. But... I have to be honest with you :( Get ready for a challenge and it may not hurt to have a spare tank or two ready for a time out tank to keep fatalities to a minimum.

Mbuna's are very aggressive, I am not saying it can't be done but do your research thoroughly before purchasing your stock. I am not qualified to help you with that because I gave up on trying to accomplish this task, even after racking my brain with extensive research.

One of the main problems I had is with most Mbuna, males and females look alike. You will not know what is what until you start seeing breeding behavior. Our Lab that just had fry looks like a male all day long, egg spots, very black top fin, pelvic fins and black slant in eyes.

I hate to say this, but our Mbuna tank was a disaster for us. For starters, they are landscape artists and will re-arrange your entire tank sifting sand and creating bare spots clear to the glass. In our case, this caused rockscape to topple over and scratch the glass, thankfully no fish were injured in the process. (this was despite the fact that I knew they were going to do this and carefully arranged the rocks to minimize disaster)

Next, once they get big enough to display breeding behavior, which in our case was about 2 to 3", watch out because that is when the real chase is on. Everybody is trying to find their breeding spot and entice the females. At least at this point you can start to determine the males from the females. The males will chase the other males away from "their honey hole" relentlessly and dig dig dig so much so that they don't care about eating. Dig dig dig all day long, that's your males. At this point the females are just trying to hide. Whenever a female gets close to a male, he will shimmy dance and look like he is having a serious seizure. Males will want to breed with any female in the tank, they are not picky as far as species. When you see this, the one not dancing is probably a female. This is when I started pulling out females and moving them to the time out tank.

If you are not home all day... you may not see the males fighting over the females and come home to find a dead fish and wonder what happened. It appears that having unidentified females in the tank causes this ruckus. This is when I attempted to pull out the most aggressive males into another tank with no females, just to keep the rest of the fish in the tank alive until I could figure out what was going on next.

The Demasoni never got large enough to cause much of a problem, but they were constant fin nippers. They were re-homed first.

I threw in the towel after all this hard work and 3 dead fish. Re-homed all of our Mbuna, except for the Labs.

You will need all of the expert advice you can get, but not from me. I tried my best, and failed. You will also need a couple extra tanks. That is why we moved on to all male haps and peacocks, at least with these fish you have a better chance of getting a male. I am only aware of one peacock where the female is just as colorful as the male and that is our F1 Aulonocara jacobfreibergi caroline "Swallowtail". Even with haps and peacocks you will have aggression with all males in the tank "i.e. jacobfreibergi hate each other" and will have to adjust according to what's going on in your tank. But, thankfully we have finally successfully accomplished a good mix now and the Boyz are getting along.

Stress in fish is the number 1 factor that leads to death by bullying and death from disease that multiplies when the fish's immune system is weakened because of stress. Some of our fish have died because of both reasons, despite my earnest attempt to keep them as healthy and safe as possible.

Go get em' tiger!!! If that is what you want, I truly admire you and wish you all the best. It can be done, I have seen it work in other people's tanks, I just didn't have whatever it takes to be successful with it. :)

Here's a link to the Screamo tank. This Red Zebra was the most aggressive guy we had and had to re-home him carefully. This tank set up was after the other fish had been re-homed and rocks were removed and replaced with a resin wood piece to minimize damage to fish and the inside glass of the tank. The tank water was always cloudy because of sand being moved around. I even tried using part sand and part small pebble substrate to give the large rock decorations something more substantial to sit on. That did not work either and eventually all of the sand got mixed in with all of the rock substrate creating a huge mess. Have you changed your mind yet??? (There are 4-5 pics in this album, I think you will be able to see all of them. Feel free to browse around my photobucket collection if you want to :))

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post #15 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
are the Haps and Peacocks also hard water, african Ciclids as well? if so, would maybe the Labs and one of the Peacocks or haps species work?

I thought about an all male tank too, and the first think I noticed about some of the species I like, you cant sex them untill they are mature, but that defeats the fun of buying adolecent 2" fish.....you wont know if you have a mix, all females or all males and color markings arent reliable....

I was quite aware to lay my rockwork first then add sand. hoping that Pool filter sand is a little bigger and wont could the water as much if stirred. But I know some ciclids are like dogs and love to dig...

Nothing is set in stone, Im still working on finishing setting up the tank and cycling it but your insight has really gave me some things to consider!
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 12:11 PM
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Oh, forgot... we chose not to use the "lighting grid" as a base for our rockscape because the sand would just go right through the holes anyway and the trapped funk would have been incredible I am sure. So... LOL... we tried styrofoam LOL You guessed it... the very first day with all of the digging going on... little white balls of styrofoam floating in the water. Are you REALLY sure you want to put yourself through all of this?? If so... I advise you place your largest rocks directly on the glass and build carefully from there with flat pieces of slate (nothing with roundness to it that will easily tumble) or you could use flat pieces of limestone if you can find any. Lace rock is pretty, we have some, but it is very sharp by nature so be careful "even with your hands moving it" and you can accomplish placing it where it is less likely to be moved or toppled.
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post #17 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
im acutlaly gonna lay all the foundation rocks on the glass and build up from there. I have flat flagstone which should be nearly impossible for it to tumble the way I plan to stack it up. Wasnt going to use the eggcrate because I wasnt putting but 40-50lbs of rock in the tank and once submerged, its not nearly as heavy anyways.

First time with sand so im anxious to see how hard it is to sift the waste off the top layer of sand without sucking up any sand....
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-05-2012, 12:56 PM
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Yes, the water parameters are the same for all Lake Malawi fish, Mbuna, Haps and Peacocks. The ph is the main factor and I think you have that covered with your aragonite and limestone rock decor. Water hardness is the measurement of magnesium and calcium in the water, which you also have covered with your aragonite which usually contains trace minerals (check your bag)

Peacocks do not grow as large as Haps. Peacocks top out at around 5-6". Haps at 10-12" and larger. I think Peacocks are more colorful than Haps. But, you... being a guy (at least I think you are a guy)... Haps are more manly fish. I would not mix Peacocks and Haps in the same tank. And, most Haps are Carnivores and some are Herbivores. This difference in food requirements can be resolved somewhat by feeding primarily Algae Spurlina based foods and New Life Spectrum which is designed for both Carnivores and Herbivores.

Excited to find out what you decide to do! Hope this info helps some :)

btw... not sure if my album posted correctly so will try it again here

if you have to have user name: vivienb1 password: tropicalfish
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-06-2012, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
the Caribsea Flordia Crushed Coral (40lbs) just arrived, reading the bag it is designed for a Marine substrate....is it still ok to use in a Fresh Water tank? Again I was going to mix some with Pool Filter Sand, but use it primarily in my filters as a Buffer.

Also says contains 7X the naturally occuring levels of Strontium than other brands of Crushed Coral....no clue what that is...
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-06-2012, 04:56 PM
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Hey there!

Is this what you got?

Caribsea Florida Crushed Coral Substrate - Marine Substrate

If so, I do not see a problem with adding it to your filter in a mesh bag. But, I would not mix it in with your pool filter sand because it contains sharp pieces and Cichlids are sand sifters.

If you want to mix something in with your pool filter sand, I would go with something more like this

CaribSea Aragonite Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand - Gravel & Sand - Fish - PetSmart

What you may want to do is add your Crushed Coral to the filter first. Check your ph before you add your fish. If your ph is between 7.4 and 8.0 you are in pretty good shape and may not need the aragonite added to your substrate.

Not sure where you are purchasing your fish but you do not want to ph shock them from the tank they are in to a much higher ph in your tank.
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