First real setup of a 145T and many questions.
Hello everyone. My name is ryan and I stummbled onto this forum two days ago and after reading a few posts, I realized some of you know more about this hobby than I do about most things. I am greatly impressed with the knowledge being shared here and the attitudes of the board members. OK, the a$$ kissing done, Here is why I am here:
My wife got me an acrylic, tall 145 gallon tank for x-mas 2 years ago. I had to move unexpectedly 3 months after setting it up and it stayed in storage for the next 18+- months(I am military and new that I wasn't going to be there for long). Now I have a more permanent position and have set up the tank. Here is a pic of what it looks like so far:
Here are the specs:
Cascade 1500 canister filter http://www.animalworldnetwork.com/ca15cafibype.html
Jager 3608 250 watt heater
48" single tube flourescent strip light
substrate is 20lbs small- 40lbs large light colored gravel from Petsmart and about 10lbs of playsand( might add more to one corner that just doesn't look right)
One large piece of Malysian drift wood(got most of the tannin out before emplacement, but not all)
Two pieces of driftwood brought down from Canada, eh.(these are still floating, not sure if I am going to try to tie them down or just wait till they water log on their own)
Stack of flat Texas river rock making several caves and several small cobbles strewn about.
3 fake plants for some color
3 Jewel cichlids(testers)
OK, now on to the issues/questions.
1. I have a low pH It was sitting at 7.0 for 2 weeks and I tried adding baking soda to bring it up, but it went down to 6.6. I went out and bought conditioning salts and a product called Proton pH8.2. I added the salt as directed and I was going to wait a while to add the Proton to let the salt circulate throught the tank, but the pH dropped to 6.2 in less than an hour. I haven't added the Proton stuff yet because I didn't know if the pH drop was normal when adding the salt or not. If it is normal? Please let me know and I will go ahead with the Proton stuff to try to bring up the pH. I would like the Jewels to survive this mess I piut them in.
2. What would be an ideal number of fish for a tank of this size? which leads to the next question...
3. Will my Jewels(assuming they survive) get along with several Yellow Labs and Acei? These are the species I want due to the striking colors of each[bright red Jewel(one at least), Yellow Labs, and purple Acei]
I appreciate any help you can give me with my questions/problems.
oh, here is a nice shot without the rooms lights
It's probably your driftwood that's killing your PH. Other cichlidophiles can correct me if I am wrong, but maybe some aragonite (crushed coral) in your substrate (and in your filter) would help bring the pH up.
You don't necessarily have to change sustrates. You can always filter over coral or aragonite. I would add more rockwork, too. Cichlids love rocks and caves.
Thanks guys. PH is finally at 8.0 and holding.
Most certainly, The tank would benefit from more rockwork (personally, I like the look of Lace Rock)
You should try to avoid chemical buffers as they can cause a ph crash.
The Jewel should do well with the Labs and Acei, but be mindful of the aggression in the tank, especially if you end up with a mated pair of jewels. Best to let the tank cycle fully, then add all or half the fish at once. If you plan to add the fish gradually, best to start with the Labidochromis as they are the least aggressive of the bunch. You can add quite a bit to that size tank as the Malawi cichlids should be kept slightly overstocked to help control the aggression. Consider also the Nimbochromis Venestus (giraffe hap) and the Cobalt Blue. Heavy filtration will be necessary, Personally, with that size tank, I would use 2 rena xp3 canister filters and a HOB Whisper 60 or equivilent for surface agitation.
Hope that helps
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