New setup in 29 Gal tank, need suggestions(cichlid) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-31-2010, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Talking New setup in 29 Gal tank, need suggestions(cichlid)

I have had a couple aquariums in the past, but I always stuck to the very community friendly species of fish. I recently decided its time to get my tank all setup again, but I would like to switch it up a bit.

I have a clean slate to start with. Just an empty 29 gal tank, waiting for occupants.

I really love cichlids(very general, I know, its just that I like them all). Oscars are a personal fav! But my boyfriend really wants to be able to have the community fish as well. Are there any cichlids that are more "community worthy" than the others?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-31-2010, 09:56 AM
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The size (29g is "small" when it comes to cichlids) is going to limit your choices. Oscars are out, they grow much too large. As it says in our profile on this fish, you need 75 gallons just for one single Oscar.

In a 29g many of the South American dwarf species would work. Check out our profiles on Mikrogeophagus ramirezi and Mikrogeophagus altispinosus [click on shaded fish names to see that fish's profile]. There are several species in the Apistogramma genus. Know your fish before you buy them, as each of these fish have slightly different requirements respecting the number. Some are best in pairs, some in groups, some one male to 2-3 females, etc. All need what we call "dither fish" which means other fish in the aquarium; this calms cichlids, and they will respond more naturally, and some of their behaviours are intriguing to observe. And with male/female all of them will spawn and they are generally good protective parents. Larger tetras, catfish, hatchetfish for the surface are all possible with dwarf cichlids. Remember tetras, many catfish (like corys) and hatchets need to be in groups of at least six, so adding one species adds 6+ fish. A pair/trio of cichlids, a group of 7 tetra of some species, a group of 5 corys, a group of 7 hatchets would complete the tank. And plants are essential for these fish.

I haven't mentioned your water parameters, this has a significance too. The SA dwarf species generally need soft slightly acidic water, some are OK in slightly basic. If you water is hard and alkaline, rift lake cichlids would be ideal, but in a 29g one has to select carefully. My knowledge of Africans is very limited, so I will leave that to a rift lake cichlid expert to handle if you are inclined to that group. They are sole fish in any aquarium, by which I mean only rift lake cichlids, due to their behaviours and their extreme water requirements.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 07-31-2010 at 09:59 AM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-31-2010, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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[quote=Byron;436465]
I haven't mentioned your water parameters, this has a significance too. The SA dwarf species generally need soft slightly acidic water, some are OK in slightly basic. If you water is hard and alkaline, rift lake cichlids would be ideal, but in a 29g one has to select carefully.[quote]

My pH is 7.0-7.2. Unfortunately our local store didn't have the master test kit.. so I ended up getting only the pH tester. So, thats really all the info I have on that.

I'm working on getting everything setup and ready, but the prices are killing me! I'm starting to regret getting rid of everything I used to have... its going to cost a fortune getting it ready for fish...
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-01-2010, 11:56 AM
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[quote=brn2shn89;436726][quote=Byron;436465]
I haven't mentioned your water parameters, this has a significance too. The SA dwarf species generally need soft slightly acidic water, some are OK in slightly basic. If you water is hard and alkaline, rift lake cichlids would be ideal, but in a 29g one has to select carefully.
Quote:

My pH is 7.0-7.2. Unfortunately our local store didn't have the master test kit.. so I ended up getting only the pH tester. So, thats really all the info I have on that.

I'm working on getting everything setup and ready, but the prices are killing me! I'm starting to regret getting rid of everything I used to have... its going to cost a fortune getting it ready for fish...
Not necessarily. It is amazing how little "equipment" one really needs for a successful tank. A few ideas.

Filter, a simple sponge with a small air pump is more than adequate. All the fish I previously named come from very still waters, slow streams, flooded forest, pools, etc. A sponge filter gently circulates the water. Plants are necessary to do the filtration part. But plain small-grain gravel or sand (for relatively new aquarists I suggest gravel over sand) and these can be bought in bulk. The light is important, but over 29g a single T8 fixture the length of the tank will be fine. A good daylight full spectrum tube with a Kelvin rating of around 6500K can be bought at hardware stores for a couple dollars. A heater will be needed, the most costly item of the lot--get a good one, and for a 29g I would suggest a 150w minimum or a 200w, they last longer and are more reliable. I have a 200w in my 33g, and a 150w in my 20g. Heaters are worth the money for a good one; I have lost fish when a cheap heater malfunctioned overnight.

You pH is quite good; you're in Seattle so the water is soft. This means the pH will acidify and lower into the 6's once the tank is established, and that is absolutely perfect for forest fish.Any of the fish I mentioned earlier will do well in this.

You can see the photo of my 10g Sand tank, an experiment in very low-tech. Only a heater. No light (it sits in front of a window), no filter, play sand substrate, chuck of wood. Thick with plants. This has been running for a couple months now, fish are doing very well. On a 29g I would get a light and sponge filter.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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